Tuesday, November 6, 2007

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Credit where credit is due

Two weeks ago your humble blogger was very disturbed by the prospect of a large-scale incursion by Turkey into Iraqi Kurdistan.

It should be noted, therefore, that my concerns have not come to pass. In fact, if this Newsweek report by Owen Matthews and Sami Kohen is correct, the Bush administration deserves some credit for defusing a situation that could have been really, really ugly:

Fortunately for both sides, yesterday's White House encounter produced a solution that allowed both sides to step back from the brink. Bush not only declared the Kurdistan Workers' Party (or PKK), "an enemy of Turkey, a free Iraq and the United States," but also committed to providing actionable intelligence to Ankara on the whereabouts of PKK positions. Officially, Bush publicly stuck to the line that Iraq's territory should not be violated. In practice, though, the United States would cooperate "in order to chase down people who murder people," Bush pledged. Essentially, that appears to be a green light for the Turks to carry out limited raids into Iraqi territory with the blessing of the United States. And, crucially, it also allows Erdogan to call off a full-scale land invasion—though he stressed that that option remained on the table if raids proved unsuccessful.

"Finally, we have a plan of action," says one senior Turkish official not authorized to speak on the record. "We are tired of promises with no action."

Getting to this agreement was the result of weeks of intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy by the administration.
Read the whole thing. The final solution is not a great one, but given the current state of play, it was probably the best feasible bargain.

posted by Dan on 11.06.07 at 02:58 PM


Wow. I wonder what the Iraqi government thinks about that deal. I also wonder what the two major Kurdish parties in Northern Iraq think about that deal. I'm guessing the fun has just begun and wouldn't declare a diplomatic victory just yet. Of course, if the short term result of not cutting this deal really would have been a Turkish invasion, then that is indeed an accomplishment.

posted by: Mike on 11.06.07 at 02:58 PM [permalink]

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