Up North

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"Up North"

Since I last checked on developments in Iraq, it seems that Turkey’s invaded and folks aren’t so happy about it:

In Baghdad, the Iraqi government demanded that Turkish forces withdraw from northern Iraq, where they have been fighting Kurdish guerrillas who use the area as a base to mount attacks in Turkey. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq’s cabinet condemned the incursion and called it a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

“The cabinet calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops immediately and stop the military interventions, and stresses that the military action by one side is unacceptable and threatens the good relations between the two neighboring countries,” Dabbagh said.

But of course these protests are going to be ineffectual. Given the Iraqi government’s dependence on the U.S. military, a Turkish invasion of Iraq that the United States approves of isn’t something the Iraqi government can or will do anything about. Thus this incident becomes one more case where U.S.-supported Iraqi leaders see their credibility as national leaders leeched away. If you think of the goal in Iraq as helping to prop up a government that’ll be able to stand up on its own, this sort of thing is a disaster. If, by contrast, the idea is to ensure that the authorities governing Iraq are permanently dependent on external American support to maintain their grip on power, it’s actually pretty good. But once again, it all comes down to a question of what do you think the right strategic priority are for the United States, not to any question as simplistic as whether or not green-lighting a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq is “working.”

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