Turkey bombed Kurdish rebel bases in Iraq and massed troops along the border Wednesday. Washington and Baghdad pledged to step up efforts to rein in Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, hoping to avert a full-scale invasion that could destabilize the most secure region in the country. “Iraq should not be a place where terrorism can hurt Turkey,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.
What the commentators said
It looks like the “Turkish saber rattling” has worked, said William M. Arkin in The Washington Post’s Early Warning blog. Washington, Baghdad, and Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq have been “forced” into finally doing something about the Kurdish rebels crossing the border to attack Turkish soldiers, which could “avert” the immediate crisis. But this could be the beginning of “another front in the war on terrorism.”
“How badly does the U.S. want to keep Turkey from invading Iraq?” said Noah Shachtman in Wired’s Danger Room blog. Pretty badly, from the looks of things. Washington is considering giving Turkey three decommissioned guided-missile warships, and launching airstrikes against Kurdish rebel targets.
“Only action, not words, will resolve the crisis now,” said Morton Abromowitz in Newsweek. Washington has been acting like it was “deliberately” undermining the Turkish government’s “efforts to modernize its country.” The Armenian genocide resolution and Washington’s failure to do anything about the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) rebels taking refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan have nearly pushed “a vital NATO ally out of the American orbit.” It’s time to “mend” relations with Turkey before it’s too late.