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The U.S. policy toward Iraq operates as though it is insulated from the buffeting effects of the greater Middle East.  The BBC reports Iraqi accusations of Iranian incursions in the Kurdish north.  It has always seemed more than less likely that Iran and Turkey would seek to influence envents in post-Saddam Iraq either indirectly through the Kurds in the North (Turkey) or directly with the Shities in the South (Iran).

BBC - Iraq has accused Iranian forces of entering Iraqi territory and shelling Kurdish rebel positions in the north.

Iranian troops bombed border areas near the town of Hajj Umran before crossing into Iraq, the defence ministry in Baghdad said on Sunday.

If Iran leaning groups were to instigate trouble in the Iraqi north among the Kurds would Turkey seek to become engaged?

Elements of the Kurds have been fighting an insurgency of their own for some time against and within Turkey. Some Shiites groups in the Iraqi south are aligned with Shiites in Iran. The proverbial land of Kurdistan is presently split among Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.  Ethnic boundaries and ancient borders do not neatly line up with today's political realities and modern maps; many drawn up under international and British guidence in the early part of last century.

Competing enthic, military, and political relationships mean that U.S. operations may serve to upturn and enflame the balance of ethnic and political power in the greater region.  If the Sunni/Shiite divisions have manifest into the war with the insurgency in Iraq, consider that the overlapping and competing tensions throughout the Middle East could produce widespread suffering if further destablized.  We need to do everything possible to stablize the area, and one way to do that is to remove U.S. troops to beyond the line of fire.

Turkey has a recent history of democracy compared to many other regimes in the area.  The pressure to continue to develop along this path is coming from the EU, which maitains that Turkey adopt key  measures before being able to join the Union. This is a significant prize and may be enough to prevent Turkey's engagement.  It could make the difference in what could turn out to be a developing communal Middle East war; but given the level of international discord with the Iranian reqime, I don't see anything holding Iran back.

Originally posted to TPaine on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 09:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipjar n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck, nyarlahotep, Quicklund

    "What's in the name of lord, that I should fear; To bring my grievance to the public ear?" - The Crisis, January 13, 1777

    by TPaine on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 09:39:30 AM PDT

  •  Destabilising Iran from Iraq (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There have been mentions in here of destabilisation attempts on Iran by way of Iraq where the countries share a border and oil reserves. Looks like more pot and kettle calling all in the name of neocon attempts to destabilise the area for influence. I always try to see who benefits and it's a game both sides play.

    It still doesn't look like its working to me.

  •  Who knows what the truth is? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Quite frankly, it could be in the best interest of present day Iraqi officials to accuse Iran of being a part of their shifts the blame from themselves.  

    Its also entirely possible that Iran is interferring...and its often been suggested that its along these lines that Iraq will be broken up.  

    Another reason why we should have stayed the hell out of there....there just isn't a good answer to the whole mess.

  •  Now, think of it in the opposite direction. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You raise good points and an excelent topic.  But my time is short so I have to be brief.

    Have you cosidered this event from teh Iranian point of view?  The incursion claimed by Iraq, might be seen by Iran as they driving off an Iraqi incursion.

    There is no question but that American forces have been operating in Iran, just as Iranians meddle in Iraq.  American forces have specifically been said to support anti-Tehran elements inside Iran with money and supplies.

    So while I think your points are all valid, they seem to be made from only one perspective.  The reality is likely to be even more complex (and worrisome!)

    Lincoln said it; Bush proves it: "...but you can't fool all the people all the time." Are these men the GOP's bookends?

    by Quicklund on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 10:00:49 AM PDT

  •  A related FAR more interesting story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is that the Turks actually are making raids into northern Iraq.

    30,000 additional troops have just been sent.

    But noticing what Turkey does isn't important, I suppose.

    Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

    by cskendrick on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 10:26:46 AM PDT

  •  I'm not quite sure why Iran would want to help (0+ / 0-)

    the Kurds. I thought they had their own problems with Kurdish militants...

    •  They don't. They absolutely do not... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Arken the Iranians and the Turks are this close to forging a defensive alliance, with an implicit agreement on the disposition of Iraq.

      Of course, there's the minor matter that stirring up as much civil war in Iraq as possible both helps this along and helps encourage the Americans to move along.

      Looks like we just got some real problems.

      We're about to become enemies with Turkey.

      Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

      by cskendrick on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 10:42:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating Stuff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    April 25: Rice Cautious on Turkey-Iraq Spat Can't imagine why not. Oh, yeah. Turkey's an even more dangerous adversary on the ground than Iran. But supporting Turkey over Iraq is exceptionally dangerous, too. Then there's that whole thing that you ain't seen nothing in the way of insurgency, until you have the Kurds angry with you.

    April 27: Turkey to Iraq: Stop PKK Using Your Territory implicit: or we will.

    April 30: Dangerous Passage: Turkey Embraces 'Hot Pursuit' in Northern Iraq

    Oops. Too late.

    Could another front be opening in the Iraq war? Over recent weeks, some 200,000 Turkish troops, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, have massed along the mountainous border with Iraq. Trucks passing from Turkey, ferrying the imported goods and foodstuffs that are the lifeblood of the Kurdish economy, have slowed from 1,000 a day to just a couple of hundred. The Turkish military says its troops are there only to prevent armed insurgents of the Kurdish PKK rebel group from crossing into Turkey from their bases on Iraq's Kandil Mountain. But last week, according to angry Foreign Ministry officials in Baghdad, Turkish commandos briefly crossed 15 kilometers into Iraqi territory in pursuit of PKK rebels--a move that could signal dangerous new frictions to come.

    April 30: Interior minister: Security, interests of Iran, Turkey interlinked

    This the official news agency of Iran doing the talking.

    Apparently, the Turkish ambassador to Iran was called in to answer some questions...the answers were more than satisfying to the Teheran government.

    Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

    by cskendrick on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 10:39:38 AM PDT

  •  Will now our puppet government in Baghdad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, TPaine

    appeal to the US for help against alleged Iranian aggression?
    A casus belli in the making?

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Sun Apr 30, 2006 at 12:26:15 PM PDT

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