Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turkey pulls out of Iraq

We doubt many people knew that Turkey had conducted a limited invasion of northern Iraq to deal with the PKK -- the Kurdish terrorist group that had been staging attacks against Ankara. Turkish officials claim they have dealt the death blow to the PKK, and began pulling troops out this morning:

Turkey pulled its troops out of northern Iraq on Friday, ending a major offensive against Kurdish PKK rebels that Washington feared could spread conflict through the region.

A statement by Turkey's armed forces General Staff denied any foreign influence on the decision, which came a day after President George W. Bush urged a swift end to the offensive.

"There was no question of completely liquidating the terrorist organization, but Turkey has shown the organization that northern Iraq is not a safe haven for them," the General Staff said.

Turkey sent thousands of soldiers into mountainous northern Iraq on February 21 to crush rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who use the region as a base for attacks on Turkish territory.

"It was determined that the aims set at the start of the operation had been achieved," the General Staff said in its statement. "Our units returned to their bases (in Turkey) on the morning of February 29."

Announcing the withdrawal ahead of the General Staff, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari welcomed the decision to leave.

But Turkey's Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, quoted by TV networks, said Ankara reserved the right to send troops again into Iraq if needed. A parliamentary mandate allowing the army to stage cross-border operations only expires in October.

Washington, like Ankara and the EU, brands the PKK a terrorist organization, and has been supplying intelligence to the Turkish military on the PKK in Iraq.

Part of the blame for this lies at the feet of the Iraqi government. They failed to reign in the PKK, despite requests from Turkey and the US to do so. They had been operating in northern Iraq, in an isolated valley, and they flourished there. Turkey, after repeated incursions by the PKK, was left with no choice but to invade.

Turkey abided by it's promise to not engage any US or Iraqi forces there. They went right for the PKK, and according to the report, the PKK has been severely weakened. While the Kurds cried foul, the Iraqi government didn't raise a finger to stop the invasion. But if this is to end, it must be done by the Iraqis. We can ill afford to be caught in the middle of a conflict between Iraq and Turkey, and we shouldn't. If this persists we may have to do a joint operation in northern Iraq to finish off the PKK. We'd really rather not, as we have protected the Kurds since the invasion began. To do so could drive a wedge between us and them, and they have long supported our efforts to liberate their nation.

Publius II


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