Monday, July 09, 2007

Is a very big shoe about to drop?

Back in late 2002, I had a conversation with a coworker about the upcoming war in Iraq. We were talking about whether the war was worthwhile as he was unsure about it. I carefully ran through the reasons why the war was not in our best interest.

One of the points I was careful to impress upon him was that the worst part of a war in Iraq would be the potential conflict between Turkey and Northern Iraq. This, I said, was probably the most overlooked problem in the run-up, yet it represented the gravest threat to all involved. Turkey would not appreciate an autonomous Kurdish territory on its border, as it would threaten their own internal stability by encouraging the Turkish Kurds to annex their section of Turkey. The U.S. as the assumed protector of Iraq, could not let another nation harm or threaten Iraqi civilians nor could it afford the potentially huge headache in the north. Yet, the U.S. was limited in its possible response to Turkey, a NATO ally. I explained, that it would take a miracle to avoid an added conflict in the region.

Up to now, it would seem that I have been proved wrong on this prediction. Perhaps by divine intervention or European pressure on Turkey, this area of the country has stayed peaceful and Turkey has kept to itself. If there had been a confrontation, it would have made the situation in Iraq infinitely harder to deal with. The U.S. would have needed to send logistical and military support to northern Iraq, further depleting it's already weakened force.

Unfortunately, things may be coming to a head:
Reports that Turkey has massed a huge military force on its border with Iraq bolstered fears that an invasion targeting hideouts of Kurdish rebels could be imminent. But how deeply into Iraq is the Turkish army willing to go, how long would it stay and what kind of fallout could come from allies in Washington and other NATO partners?

What is most infuriating about this scenario, is (like so many other things that have happened in Iraq) that these things were not hard to predict. It is not like I or the millions of other people against this war, were privy to some secret intelligence. We just didn't get our news "from the MOST TRUSTED SOURCES EVER!", we searched for news that was reputable and didn't carry water for Bush Administration. And if CNN did present this debate before the war it probably would have gone something like this:
Serious News Anchor: Can we expect any problems from Turkey, if there is an autonomous Kurdish section of Iraq?

Over matched anti-war Hollywood celebrity: This is something that really concerns those of us against the war, this could prove to be a Catch-22 for the U.S. If we placate Turkey, we lose the Kurds. If we placate the Kurds, we run the risk of instigating Turkey...

Conservative think tank shill: It is quite obvious that this liberal elite does not want freedom and ponies for Iraqi Kurds.

Serious News Anchor: We have to leave it there, you both make excellent points. Next up, are your children at-risk from backyard trampolines? A report you don't want to miss.

Actually...I don't want to pretend trampolines aren't treacherous. They are incredibly dangerous.

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