According to the BBC: “Turkey’s air strikes against Kurdish rebels in Iraq on Sunday were approved by the United States in advance, the Turkish military says. The country’s top general, Yasar Buyukanit, said the US opened northern Iraqi airspace for the operation. Jets targeted the Kurdish rebel PKK in areas near the border. The Turkish media said up to 50 planes were used. Iraqi officials say bombs hit 10 villages, killing one woman, while the PKK reported seven deaths. Iraq has summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad and demanded a halt to the strikes“
Fascinating, isn’t it? The USA has, presumably, returned its sovereignty to Iraq. Yet it enables an attack on Iraqi soil by one of its neighbors. The occupation forces have, of course, already kidnapped Iranian diplomats in Iraq against the will of the legal government of Iraq, but actually assisting an external power to conduct airstrikes on targets in Iraq is something of a different order of magnitude.
So much for the issue of whether one should speak of a sovereign Iraq or not. Ditto for whether the Imperial forces should be called ‘coalition forces’ or ‘occupation forces’ (not to mention that there still is no SOFA agreement in Iraq).
These airstrikes also settle the issue of whether the USA supports the Kurds or not: while having to deal with the ‘good’ Iraq Kurds who are needed as a showcase for the ‘stable Iraq’ Washington is more than willing to assist Turkey to attack the ‘bad’ Turkish Kurds even if that means carrying out strikes inside the territory controlled by the ‘good Kurds’. Washington’s “good Kurds, bad Kurds” policy is yet another monument to the phenomenal hypocrisy of the Neocons whose entire Middle-East policy is defined by one and only overwhelming goal: to please the Israeli Likudniks, hence the support for Turkey against the “bad Kurds” and AIPAC’s support of Turkey in Congress (talk about an ‘axis of evil’!).
What will the effects of these strikes be? Beyond stroking the ruffled feathers of the Turkish population and killing a number of (mostly civilian) Kurds – nothing. If there is one thing which military history has proven beyond the slightest doubts is that air and artillery strikes do not work in mountains.
There is, of course, the remote possibility that these strikes are just part of a preparation for a larger ground invasion by the Turkish military. I personally doubt that the Turks could actually be stupid enough to try something like that, but then I would never have thought that Olmert would be stupid enough to launch a ground invasion of Lebanon last year. So maybe the Turks need a good whopping by the PKK to come back to their senses.
The only certain effect of the US support for these strikes is that it will show, yet again, to the Kurds and the Iraqis that they are dealing with one common enemy who hypocrisy truly know no bounds. But they already knew that, of course.