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.
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.
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.