Posted by: Shaun | June 6, 2008

Suppressing Kurds makes strange bedfellows

Who would have thought that the Near East’s beacon of secularism could be united with the region’s most notorious theocracy by something as simple as crushing another people’s aspiration to statehood:

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey and Iran have been carrying out coordinated strikes against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, a top Turkish general said Thursday. It was the first confirmation by a military official of Iranian-Turkish cooperation in the fight against the rebels.


“We are sharing intelligence with Iran, we are talking, we are coordinating,” General Basbug said at a security conference in Istanbul, CNN-Turk television reported. “When they start an operation, we do, too.”

Of course, the story makes no mention of protests on the part of the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but then why would it?  Iraq’s state of disarray leaves it basically powerless in the face of its neighbors, capable of mere tongue-lashings even when Turkish ground troops violate its sovereignty. It is, for the time being, utterly dependent on the United States to protect its interests in such cases and Washington has no sympathy for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) either.

Moreover, Iraq itself has little desire to lose territory to Kurdish separatism.  Though it would certainly rather not have Turkish and Iranian troops operating on its soil, such incursions are arguably less of threat to Iraqi security than the prospect of a large scale Kurdish secession.

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