Deadly raids into Turkey by Kurdish militants holed up in northern Iraq are the focus of urgent diplomacy, with Turkey threatening invasion of Iraq and the United States begging for restraint while expressing solidarity with Turkish anger.
Yet out of the public eye, a chillingly similar battle has been under way on the Iraqi border with Iran. Kurdish guerrillas ambush and kill Iranian forces and retreat to their hide-outs in Iraq. The Americans offer Iran little sympathy. Tehran even says Washington aids the Iranian guerrillas, a charge the United States denies. True or not, that conflict, like the Turkish one, has explosive potential. [complete article]
Scrambling to forestall a threatened Turkish retaliatory attack in northern Iraq, the Bush administration pressed Iraq’s Kurdish leaders on Monday to rein in the Kurdish group whose raids into Turkey have heightened tensions along the border.
But American officials acknowledged that neither the United States nor Iraq had done much recently to constrain the Kurdish group, known as the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or the P.K.K. Current and former Bush administration officials said a special envoy appointed by the Bush administration in 2006, Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, who had retired from the military after serving as NATO’s supreme allied commander, had recently stepped down in frustration over Iraqi and American inaction.
The United States lists the P.K.K. as a terrorist organization, but American military commanders in Baghdad have long resisted calls by Turkey to devote American military resources to going after the group in mountainous northern Iraq. The commanders say they have barely enough troops to deal with the insurgency in Iraq, so using them to contain the P.K.K. has never been a serious option. [complete article]