Turkish Forces Enter Iraq

Oy.

Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.

Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

Call it a “cross-border excursion” or some other happy talk, this is an invasion of sovereign territory. Crossing Iraq’s borders will inflame Kurds from both countries so severely that escalation now seems inevitable. Turkey’s army is creating a situation where any option other than the one they want – a large scale invasion of northern Iraq – becomes practically impossible.

The political situation for Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki will quickly become untenable unless he can marshal the only credible security force in Iraq, the American army, against the invaders. We obviously cannot act against a NATO ally and Maliki cannot act without our help, so I have a hard time seeing how long his government can survive a shooting war with Turkey. The new Sadrist coalition may get its chance sooner than expected.

One other thought. Today’s incursion follows several days of shelling by both Turkey and Iran. The Iranians also own a chunk of Kurdistan and PKK rebels have terrorized both countries. If Turkey starts carving out pieces of Iraq for itself I wonder how long the healthy Iranian army will go on sitting on its hands.

***Update***

Both the Kurdish and American authorities deny that Turks have entered Iraq. Since those sources are willing to go on record, the AP’s sources are not and nobody has any pictures of Turks running around Iraq I think we have to put this story in the provisionally bogus category.

***Update 2***

What the hell? I saw this story come over DEBKAFile and thought screw this, wait until a real outlet picks it up. Then the AP jumped in and it seemed at least moderately safe to take the Turkish “invasion” seriously. Well the joke’s on me – the AP basically stitched together the DEBKAFile story with some source reporting that probably would not have merited a story on its own. Peckers. I could have told them that DEBKAFile has a signal-to-noise ratio that puts Doug Feith to shame.






43 replies
  1. 1
    Jake says:

    If the Turks get the flowerzncandeez (TM) Bush will be miffed.

    this is an invasion of sovereign territory.

    But it can’t be an invasion if it is done in response to terra. The President has firmly established that if you so much as think there’s a terrist in a country you’re allowed to take a little cakewalk through the nation and slam dunk some bad guys. That’s not invading, that’s establishing democracy.

  2. 2
    Rome Again says:

    meanwhile Bush and Putin are arguing over nuclear weapons sheilding in Europe. Scary shit.

  3. 3
    Wilfred says:

    According to the US State Dept., the PKK is a terrorist organization; its presence on the list predates al qaeda, actually. The Turks are entirely within their right to exercise the hot pursuit clause.

  4. 4
    Jake says:

    Checking …
    Washington Post (e): Nothin’.
    Checking … [Gags]
    Washington Times (e): Ticker at the top with AP headline.
    Checking …
    New York Times (e): Nothin’.
    Checking [Holds nose]…
    New York Post (e): News Alerts box. Link to AP story.

    Sheesh.

  5. 5
    Tim F. says:

    The Turks are entirely within their right to exercise the hot pursuit clause.

    America no doubt sees it that way (we would be rank hypocrites not to) and the UN could probably be convinced, but I strongly doubt that the government in Iraq will accept Turkish boots on their soil for very long. If anything Jalal Talabani must be spitting fire right now.

  6. 6

    Blogs4Brownback has an interesting take on all this:

    Excellent news- Turkey has finally joined the Coalition of the Willing, and is going to contribute troops to the occupation. They should be helpful in overseeing the partition of the country.

    Everything is going according to plan. Now, all we need is the Iranians to try and invade Kurdistan, and we have a cassus bellie. We’ll clobber them from the Shat-al-Arab to Herat! Turkey will inherit the northwestern portions of Iran, Kurdistan the Kurdish portions, the Shiite Iraqis the Shat-al-Arab, and the rest will be liberated and finally get to taste freedom!

    I think this has crossed over the line from wingnuttery into spoof, and then from spoof into insanity.

  7. 7
    The Other Steve says:

    Ok, this is wild speculation.

    Let’s just see what happens.

  8. 8
    Pug says:

    Mr. Talabani should face the microphones and say something brilliant like:

    “There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring ’em on.”

    The government in Iraq has its hands full but you can count on the Kurds, who basically don’t consider themselves part of Arab Iraq, to be ready and willing to fight.

    Just when you think things can’t get any worse…

  9. 9
    Andrew says:

    Ok, this is wild speculation.

    Let’s just see what happens.

    No! We must invade Iran and possibly Mongolia immediately!

  10. 10
    Tim F. says:

    Ok, this is wild speculation.

    While true, I have a very hard time seeing how Kurds in Iraq and Turkey don’t go nuts about this. Everything else flows from that.

  11. 11

    While true, I have a very hard time seeing how Kurds in Iraq and Turkey don’t go nuts about this. Everything else flows from that.

    The Turks will be greeted with flowers and cheers.

  12. 12
    Cyrus says:

    Wilfred Says:
    According to the US State Dept., the PKK is a terrorist organization; its presence on the list predates al qaeda, actually. The Turks are entirely within their right to exercise the hot pursuit clause.

    Hot pursuit (based on my extensive knowledge gleaned from novels) is an exception to a lot of rules, but several thousand troops seems like it could be an exception to the exception. And whether what they’re doing might be legal, but even if so, that’s not the same as whether it’s smart or necessary or safe.

    And on an even less substantive note, I loved this part.

    Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

    It seemed so much like a Tony Snow job. “No, it’s a complete coincidence that what we’ve just done looks like the bad thing we’ve been talking about doing!”

  13. 13
    tBone says:

    Finally. I was beginning to think the Rapture was never going to come, but this has restored my faith.

  14. 14
    Wilfred says:

    strongly doubt that the government in Iraq will accept Turkish boots on their soil for very long. If anything Jalal Talabani must be spitting fire right now.

    Well, what can he do? It’s not as if the Turkish presence in Iraq is suddenly going to compel national unity in order to oust the invader, espceially seeing as how the Kurds have welcomed the US, to the enduring hatred of the Arabs. So now they are going to get fucked in return. The Kurds have set their own course, haven’t they, placing their own nationalist aspirations over those of the Arabs? Had they shown Iraqi Arabs any loyalty they’d have the right to expect some in return.

    Besides, I’ve been up there. It’s not as if there are only Kurds, there’s also lots of Turkmen who’d welcome Turkey grabbing off a piece of Iraq to create a buffer zone. And don’t kid yourself, the Turks would destroy anything the Kurds threw at them.

    The whole thing is totally fucked up. Just another birth pang in the new Middle East.

  15. 15
    Jim Henley says:

    Imagine even thinking that someone might view “several thousand troops” crossing the border as a “large incursion.” I weep that the anonymous officials even feel the need to clarify.

  16. 16

    The whole thing is totally fucked up. Just another birth pang in the new Middle East.

    Freedom is on the march!

  17. 17
    Rome Again says:

    Finally. I was beginning to think the Rapture was never going to come, but this has restored my faith.

    Sorry to disappoint you tBone, but this isn’t the Rapture, it’s only mankind’s attempt to bring it about. The attempt is real, the assumed ending is not.

    What these Rapture Ready freaks are doing is putting the entire human race into a pot of water on the stove and trusting on faith something that will never happen, something they believe will remove them before the water gets too hot. Don’t count on it. They’re cooked as well.

    Wheeeee! Lobster anyone?

  18. 18
    Rome Again says:

    I would like to hear The Decider’s explanation of how Turkish forces in Kurdistan is a good thing. Really, I would.

  19. 19
    tBone says:

    The attempt is real, the assumed ending is not.

    I hope you remember that when you’re stuck here with the rest of the sinners, moonbat. Assuming that you’re not killed in a freeway pileup when all of the good Christians are Raptured out of their cars, that is.

  20. 20
    Pb says:

    I would like to hear The Decider’s explanation of how Turkish forces in Kurdistan is a good thing.

    Let’s see…

    The United States has been urging Iraq’s neighbors to take an interest in the security of Iraq, and that’s exactly what Turkey is doing. I praise Turkey for helping to combat islamofascism, and helping to keep Iraq secure. It’s a serious issue, and they’re taking it seriously, unlike the Democrats, Turkey knows there’s a war on terror that we have to fight, and that they have a stake in it.

    How’s that?

  21. 21
    Rome Again says:

    I hope you remember that when you’re stuck here with the rest of the sinners, moonbat. Assuming that you’re not killed in a freeway pileup when all of the good Christians are Raptured out of their cars, that is.

    tBone, we all die. It would be no different for me either way.

  22. 22
    Dreggas says:

    Rome Again Says:

    I would like to hear The Decider’s explanation of how Turkish forces in Kurdistan is a good thing. Really, I would.

    It’s quite simple, the turks are fighting them in Iraq so they don’t have to fight them in turkey.

  23. 23
    Pooh says:

    this is an invasion of sovereign territory.

    Good thing we have standing to complain about such things…

  24. 24
    Rome Again says:

    How’s that?

    OMG Pb, that’s too much!

  25. 25
    Tim F. says:

    I hope you remember that when you’re stuck here with the rest of the sinners, moonbat. Assuming that you’re not killed in a freeway pileup when all of the good Christians are Raptured out of their cars, that is.

    Sorry, the Rapture happened when Celia Cruz died. The rest of us just have to suck it up and go on with our lives.

  26. 26

    I suspect the big-picture thinkers at Bush & Co. are thinking:

    OK, whatever. No sweat. Just so nobody starts making unhelpful noises about the U.S. destabilizing the region.

  27. 27
    cleek says:

    from TPM, State Dept says Nuh uh. Not True.

  28. 28
    Mikkel says:

    Imagine even thinking that someone might view “several thousand troops” crossing the border as a “large incursion.” I weep that the anonymous officials even feel the need to clarify.

    From AP:

    “There has been intermittent shelling, for instance, attacks, certain violations, minor violations on the border which we have documented and reported back to the Turkish side, but honestly we haven’t seen any major operations along the border,” Zebari told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

    The Middle East is hardcore.

  29. 29

    This is a great story by the Assocaited press, relying on anonymous sources to one reporter.

    It’s too bad that both the Turkish and Iraqi Ministers are denying that such an incursion took place.

  30. 30
    Jake says:

    Rome Again Says:

    I would like to hear The Decider’s explanation of how Turkish forces in Kurdistan is a good thing. Really, I would.

    “Well I did say ‘Bring it on!’ Heh.”

    OR

    He’s waiting for the graphic designers to finish putting Iranian flags on any pictures of tanks in Kurdistan so he can declare war.

    OR

    He’ll spring into action just like he did when New Orleans began to fill up with water.

    I’ll say this now tho’: If he hauls out the flight suit with Xtra Bulgee cod piece (TM), I will scream.

  31. 31
    tBone says:

    Sorry, the Rapture happened when Celia Cruz died.

    Impossible. Kirk Cameron is still here.

  32. 32
    kchiker says:

    Cheney must think the Iranian mullahs read Drudge.

    “TURKS IN KURDISTAN!!!!!”

    A lone dumbass Iranian truck enters the region…and we now have a major provocation and attack on American troops that allow a carpet-bombing of all suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Farfetched? You don’t think that Cheney takes that sentence yesterday…personally?

  33. 33
    Pb says:

    State Dept says Nuh uh. Not True.

    Well, that confirms it, then!

  34. 34
    Rome Again says:

    State Dept says Nuh uh. Not True.

    So, is this a confirmed denial, or a denied confirmation?

  35. 35
    The Other Steve says:

    Ok, this is wild speculation.

    Let’s just see what happens.

    I WIN!

    Where’s my free subscription to Balloon Juice?

  36. 36
    Filthy McNasty says:

    Your entire blog is a bogus category.

  37. 37
    Rome Again says:

    Your entire blog is a bogus category.

    If you don’t like this blog, there’s this button up in the right hand corner with a big X on it? You can click that and never have to torture your sorry eyes again. Bye :)

  38. 38
    Northman says:

    One other thought. Today’s incursion follows several days of shelling by both Turkey and Iran. The Iranians also own a chunk of Kurdistan and PKK rebels have terrorized both countries. If Turkey starts carving out pieces of Iraq for itself I wonder how long the healthy Iranian army will go on sitting on its hands.

    For one, Turkey isn’t looking to carve out any piece of Iraq. They’re looking to do to the PKK what Israel hoped to do to Hezbollah last summer, smash them up and if they’re lucky, remove them as a threat. They’d just smash things up until the US stepped in to get them back across the border, which conveniently leaves the US to do the clean-up.

    Two, Iran knows the US is just looking for an excuse to start dropping bombs on them. The only way they’ll step in is in the unlikely case that the Turks make a formal request. Otherwise, they stick to the border, shelling occasionally, sealing it up as tight as they can, and possibly playing the anvil to the Turks’ hammer if it goes that far.

  39. 39
    Pb says:

    Scarborough Country just ran with this story; it should be interesting to see what they say about it (if anything) tomorrow…

  40. 40
    The Other Steve says:

    If you don’t like this blog, there’s this button up in the right hand corner with a big X on it? You can click that and never have to torture your sorry eyes again. Bye

    If you’re on a Mac, I think the big X is on the left…

  41. 41
    DougJ says:

    Better for the Turks to fight the Kurds in newly autonomous Kurdistan than…you get the picture.

  42. 42
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    When I saw:

    “TURKS IN KURDISTAN!!”

    I read that as: “KURKS IN TURDISTAN!!”. The words Turks and Kurds should not be used in close proximity to each other… ;)

    I must be tired. Finals approaching…

    That Rapture ready bunch of nutcases can have the sausage-fest that Heaven is described as in the bible. 144,000 male virgins in utopia! God has to be a gay male…

    At least the Muslims have a bunch of virginal females waiting for us guys if we want to assimmilate…

    Welcome to Heaven
    Population: A preordained 144,000 virgin dudes

    No thanks, I’ll pass…

  43. 43
    ATS says:

    With Dekba, MEMRI and CAMERA, our Israeli allies use our tax dollars to keep us ritually misinformed about everything in the Middle East.

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