Thursday, November 1, 2007

Iraq appeals to Iran for help defusing the Kurdish crisis

As tensions ratchet up between Turkey and Iraq over PKK terrorists who find safe haven in Iraq from which to stage cross-border raids and kill Turkish soldiers, and the United States stands by helplessly, unable to even comprehend the scope of the clusterfuck created by the hubris of George Bush, Iraq is reaching out to Iran for help.

That's gonna go over like a pregnant pole vaulter.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki met with Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki and asked him to help present Iraq's positions at a regional summit meeting in Istanbul scheduled for Thursday. “The prime minister asked the Islamic Republic to present their full support to Iraq during the Istanbul meeting and also to participate in solving the border crisis between Turkey and the P.K.K.,” a statement from Mr. Maliki’s office said. The summit will be attended by representatives from countries in the region, including Syria, Iran, Iraq andTurkey. The United States will be represented by Condoleeza Rice, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and a number of other foreign ministers are also expected to attend.

[keep reading]

P.K.K. terrorists have killed over 35,000 Turks since launching their most recent separatist terror campaign in the 80's. For perspective, consider that in 2 decades, the P.K.K. has killed ten times the number of Turks that America lost on September 11.

Turkey, tired of the terrorists who attack them finding safe haven in Iraq, hiding beneath the petticoats of Turkey's NATO ally the United States in the Kurdish north of Iraq, has massed troops on the border and announced that they will pursue Peshmerga and P.K.K. fighters across the border, engage them and kill them.

Iran has been sympathetic to the Turkish position, because the P.K.K. launches terrorist raids into Iran as well. But the situation is not that simple. Iran and Iraq are both Shi'ite majority countries, and the Iraqi government is Shi'ite majority (al Maliki spent many of his years in exile in Tehran).

From the New York Times:

Iraqi diplomats said they were worried that after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met with President Bush on Nov. 5, Turkey may take action against the Kurdish guerrillas, a step that could further antagonize Iraq’s Kurds.

“They are under a lot of pressure from the public, so we think they will do something,” said a senior Iraqi official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter. “We hope they will not.”

Mr. Erdogan has asked the United States to help the Turks take “concrete steps” to reduce the P.K.K. threat.

In Washington, Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that the United States military was giving “lots of intelligence” to Turkey in its effort to halt the rebel attacks.

As if the situation were not complicated enough, the American forces are still holding five Iranians that were taken into custody in January. Iran says they are diplomats, the United States insists they are members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. “The arresting of Iranian consular officials is a very big strategic mistake,” said Mr. Mottaki. Mr. Mottaki also expressed his displeasure at a comment made by General Petraeus that the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad was a member of the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard.

And I would like to point out, again, that Petraeus really hasn't done much, if anything, right. Last summer, he managed to piss Maliki off to the point that Maliki threatened to have the General recalled. Generals have to be politicians, that's how they get past the rank of Captain. But this is 4G warfare. They need to be diplomats. And lets differentiate right now: diplomacy and ass kissing are two completely different things. Petraeus has a handle on the latter, there's no doubt. But the former? Not so much.