Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Turkey's invasion of Iraq continues

Another day and yet the conflict between Iraq and Turkey remains unresolved.

Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave Turkey 48 hours to remove their troops from Mosul.  Yesterday saw Turkey's response: We'll stop sending troops into Iraq . . . but we're leaving those already in Mosul.

In someone's mind, that was an 'answer.'

The same way, when Iraqi officials -- including Haider -- denounced Turkey's bombing of northern Iraq and Turkey -- with the backing of the US government -- blew off the concerns and continues to bomb northern Iraq.

Yesterday, Russia -- which has its own tensions with Turkey -- took the matter to the United Nations Security Council.  Edith M. Lederer (AP) reports that Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, states he declared Turkey was conducting itself "recklessly and inexplicably" and that they were acting without legal backing.

Though Hadier had insisted he would take the matter to the United Nations, he did not do so.

In  a chance to play catch up -- and also an effort to practice some face saving -- he's made a move.  Tulay Karadeniz and Ercan Gurses (REUTERS) report that he issued a statement (whine?) insisting, "NATO must use its authority to urge Turkey to withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory."  RUDAW adds:

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowed Tuesday  to preserve the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the organization to use its authority to force a withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq.

Turkish troops come at a time when Iraq's political class has already been dealing with the announcement that US President Barack Obama plans to send more US troops into Iraq and to use them as combat forces.  As the White House and Secretary of State John Kerry have confirmed, this plan was already discussed with Haider al-Abadi.

However, the reaction to this was so charged that Haider was granted permission to play dumb in public and pretend the news took him by surprise.

That act didn't go over well.

And members of Parliament, fueled by Turkey's own refusal to remove troops, are taking matters into their own hands.

SPUTNIK reports:

The Security and Defense Committee of the Iraqi Parliament has called for a review or cancellation of an agreement with the United States on security over Washington’s lack of a clear reaction to the worsening situation in the country, committee member Hamid al-Mutlaq told Sputnik on Wednesday.

At the White House, there must be intense frustration and the realization that backing Turkey's actions is backfiring.

This doesn't mean the US won't send ground troops into Iraq.

It means that, yet again, it's time to send US officials throughout Iraq with money to grease the palms of Iraqi politicians.  They've bought off various votes before and they will try to do it again but, in the midst of everything else, you can be sure devoting time to this yet again was not part of the plan.


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