Turkish Troops Enter Northern Iraq

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According to the AP, Ankara has made good on its promise to cross the Kurdistan border in pursuit of PKK guerrillas:

Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.

Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

In September 2006 Michael Totten wondered if "freedom could flower in Iraqi Kurdistan."

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  1. Isn’t this an act of war? Shouldn’t we, as the great defender of Iraq, rush to their defense and fight of the invaders?

    No? Oh, you mean we’re just in Iraq to settle an old grudge? Well, alrighty then.

  2. As soon as I hear Iran invading from the east and sauds invading from the south, complete destabilization will have been accomplished and we can declare “Mission Accomplished”

    Go US.

    *bang head here*

  3. Oh, shit. This could turn ugly very quickly.

  4. Fuck ’em–I want Constantinople back, anyway.

  5. What happens when two members of NATO start shooting at each other?

  6. Isn’t this an act of war? Shouldn’t we, as the great defender of Iraq, rush to their defense and fight of the invaders?

    This is probably not a violation of international law/norms, just as the US crossing border to put a stop to the influx of fighters and materiel from Syria would not be a violation.

    Sovereignty presumes that you control what happens within your borders. If people are using your country as a safe haven from which to attack their neighbors, then either (a) you as the sovereign approve, and any attacks on your territory are self-defense or (b) you as the soverereign are helpless to stop the attacks, in which case you are not truly sovereign and no position to complain.

  7. Wait, I thought we wanted more NATO countries to send troops to Iraq! Isn’t this good news? 😉

  8. …I want Constantinople back, anyway.

    It’s Istanbul, not Constantinople.

  9. crimethink wins the thread.

    Here is your laurel wreath crimethink.

  10. It’s Byzantium, not Istanbul.

  11. Turkey. Kurds. Now I’m hungry. Just need some tasty Greece.

  12. THIS is what the Kurds get for being our allies? Does anyone else remember Slate’s “Kurd Sellout Watch” column from 2002-2003?

    I’ve been writing for years, we should have admitted that we weren’t going to find the pony in Arab Iraq three years ago, and redeployed some of our forces to defend the Kurds and their democracy in exchange for the Kurdish government sitting on the PKK.

    Maybe, must maybe, the Kurds might not be able to exercise control over their territory because the peshmerga are just as busy opposing Arab forces from the south now as they were when Saddam was in power.

    If somebody doesn’t take the keys away from Shrub, the Kurds are going to end up under some Arab dictator’s boot, just like they were before the first Gulf War.

  13. Actually it’s Miklagar?r.

  14. Why did Constantinople get the works?

  15. Just great.

    Turkey is getting pissed. We’re on the brink of war with Iran. We’re in a shithole of our own making in Iraq. Afghanistan is getting worse. Pakistan is one bad day away from becoming a radical Islamic state with nuclear weapons. We’re pissing off the Russians with NATO expansion, interference in neighboring countries, and an anti-missile system.

    Why haven’t the idiots in charge been impeached yet?

  16. crimethink wins the thread.

    True dat.

    THIS is what the Kurds get for being our allies?

    I doubt we ever promised to shelter Kurdish “fighters” crossing into Turkey to kill Turks and blow up their stuff. Maybe we should be sponsoring an independent Kurdish state that includes part of Turkey, but that’s a different issue.

    We’re pissing off the Russians with NATO expansion, interference in neighboring countries, and an anti-missile system.

    Personally, I have no problem with any of that. Given the revival of revanchist Soviet tendencies in Russia, I’m curious as to why CFisher thinks we shouldn’t be boxing the Russians in, peacefully and multilaterally.

  17. RC,

    “I doubt we ever promised to shelter Kurdish “fighters” crossing into Turkey to kill Turks and blow up their stuff.”

    Did you bother to read the rest of my comment?

    “I’ve been writing for years, we should have admitted that we weren’t going to find the pony in Arab Iraq three years ago, and redeployed some of our forces to defend the Kurds and their democracy in exchange for the Kurdish government sitting on the PKK.

    Maybe, must maybe, the Kurds might not be able to exercise control over their territory because the peshmerga are just as busy opposing Arab forces from the south now as they were when Saddam was in power.”

  18. Why did Constantinople get the works?

    That’s nobody’s business but the Turks’.

  19. RC,

    “I doubt we ever promised to shelter Kurdish “fighters”…”

    It’s not the PKK “fighters” I’m worried about. It’s the Kurdish people, their democracy, and their autonomy. Being invaded by a hostile neighbor, even if there are bad guys about, isn’t good for a people’s well-being.

  20. Hey, even old New York was once New Amsterdam

  21. Forget for a moment about who’s in the right here. This is ugly.

    Yeah, yeah, somebody’s in the right, but I doubt that will be the deciding factor in the outcome.

    Shit.

  22. Hey, even old New York was once New Amsterdam

    Can anybody say why they changed it?

  23. thoreau,

    I can’t say… maybe they just liked it better that way?

  24. What happens when two members of NATO start shooting at each other?

    Arguably, that scenario already happened due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

  25. New Amsterdam was for the time the Dutch controlled the area. New York was the new name when the English moved in on the Dutch turf.

    What’s interesting is that “Istanbul” is derived from a Greek phrase.

    Save highnumber!

  26. god this is bad news. It suggests we’re in a weak position if we can’t get them to agree to chill out on the border.

  27. Did you bother to read the rest of my comment?

    Sure. A bunch of “coulda woulda shoulda” that doesn’t really address the question of whether we should be shooting up Turkish troop convoys because they are on the Iraqi side of the border.

    Being invaded by a hostile neighbor, even if there are bad guys about, isn’t good for a people’s well-being.

    I couldn’t agree more. My only point, if people would read what I write, and not imagine what they think I might mean if I used different words, is that countries are within their rights to cross international borders in order to prevent violence being initiated on the other side of said borders.

  28. New Amsterdam? It’s become much too much.

  29. “A bunch of “coulda woulda shoulda” that doesn’t really address the question of whether we should be shooting up Turkish troop convoys because they are on the Iraqi side of the border.”

    You mean, my comment was about strategy, not tactics or operations? Ohnoes!

    “…countries are within their rights…”

    Turkey has the right to chase down terrorists, I agree. Yay, they’re “good guys” instead of “bad guys.”

    Still, I daresay that there are other issues of relevance that we might want to discuss. Like, for example, the implications this event has for the well-being of our democratic allies.

  30. is that countries are within their rights to cross international borders in order to prevent violence being initiated on the other side of said borders.

    No. Only if the violence is state sanctioned, or if the state is actively ignoring the issue. Otherwise, their legitimate enforcement authority ends at their borders.

  31. Does Turkey even recognize Kurdistan (or whatever the Kurdish part of Iraq calls itself)?

    “…countries are within their rights to cross international borders in order to prevent violence being initiated on the other side of said borders.”

    If Pancho Villa raids New Mexico and attacks out troops, we shouldn’t have to declare war on Mexico to chase him across the border. …and Mexico doesn’t have to declare war on us for doing so, but occupying a nation in order to quell violence there–I think that’s a stretch.

    Chase attackers back across the border, okay. …but preventative camping, if that’s what you’re talking about, that seems like it would be pretty hard to defend. Why not just police your own side of the border?

  32. The Turks entered Iraq? Maybe Bush can gain support for the surge by relabelling it the reach around.

  33. Does Turkey even recognize Kurdistan (or whatever the Kurdish part of Iraq calls itself)?

    Uh, no one recognizes Kurdistan as an independent country. In theory it’s still a subdivision of Iraq. But Turkey does recognize Iraq.

  34. I’m having a striking sense of deja vu, that feeling you get. . . . Anyway, this reminds me of the Kurdlahoma thread.

  35. Ken Shultz brought up the Pancho Villa point I was gonna make…. sigh

    England traded Suriname to the Dutch for New Amsterdam (Manhattan). The Dutch wanted to be able to plant more sugar cane and had been unable to obtain much carib land (even though they tried to seize some of North East Brazil from Portugal) and was wary about eventually having Manhattan surrounded by English colonies
    on all sides.

  36. What happens when two members of NATO start shooting at each other?

    A wacky mix-up comedy of errors a la most episodes of Fraiser?

  37. It’s all part of the master plan!

    Once the Turks launch a massive invasion of Iraq, General Petraeus says, “Tag, you’re it!” and the American troops run away very quickly, leaving the foolish Turks to take responsibility for the mess.

    If we’re lucky, they’ll also start wearing fezzes again. I miss those things.

  38. “What happens when two members of NATO start shooting at each other?”

    They deny it, but don’t necessarily stop.

  39. “In theory it’s still a subdivision of Iraq. But Turkey does recognize Iraq.”

    My reading of the Iraqi Constitution was that it was essentially a divorce contract. My understanding was that Kurdistan essentially seceded at adoption and that some of the heavily Shia dominated portions would follow them out the door shortly thereafter.

    I have a hard time imagining the people who run Kurdistan submitting their national defense policy to the Council of Representatives for approval. If memory serves, the provinces maintained a right to their own security services.

    I suppose this is a pretty good counter to the question about why Iraqi Kurdistan couldn’t have served sufficiently as the regional fountain of democracy by itself (without the rest of Iraq).

    …I suppose some would counter–because a state of war between Turkey and a unified Iraqi Kurdistan was very likely if not inevitable.

  40. Hmm, this is being walked back.

    Now they’re saying 150 Turkish commandos landed at a PKK-controlled village in helicopters, had a smoke, and left without firing a shot.

    Worrisome, but maybe we’ve got some time.

  41. Pro Lib, Garth, (and anyone else) if you were scratching your heads over the one-liners, look heir

  42. I live and grew up in the English part, close to its fuzzy western border with the Dutch at about the Bronx R. Another border was between Suffolk & Nassau on Long Is.

  43. Why not just police your own side of the border?

    First you have to agree on the border.

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