Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Turkish Invasion of Iraq Would Only Bring More Tragedy to the Region

By Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) Oct. 18, 2007 - Some of us who are old enough to remember this episode in American history will recall the decision by the Pentagon, in 1970, to invade Cambodia in the height of the war for national liberation in Vietnam. Ostensibly, the U.S. military invasion was carried out to dislodge North Vietnamese Army and National Liberation Front troops from their sanctuaries in Cambodia. However, the real effect of the American incursion was to bring more fervor to the U.S-and global-anti-war movement.

Three years later, in 1973, U.S. forces withdrew in defeat from Vietnam. A much more recent, but similar fate, befell the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006.

It's unfortunate that the war planners in Ankara are apparently not very astute students of recent military history, because the Turkish parliament is now apparently ready to approve an incursion by Turkey into Northern Iraq, with the purpose of routing Kurdish militants from the PPK from their Iraqi staging areas. The proposed invasion, much to the dismay of Iraq (but with the approval of Syria, which has its own problems with a Kurdish minority) would bring heightened war to the one region of Iraq that has avoided much of the carnage that grips the southern part of than nation. And it would likely result in untold deaths and casualties, not only among armed resistance fighters, but primarily among innocent civilians as well.

But an invasion of Iraq would hardly mean the end of the armed resistance by the Kurds, or the desire for an autonomous Kurdistan favored by the Kurdish minority in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Armed resistance movements are mobile, and resilient; many of them would simply withdraw from some areas and regroup in others. And widening the war could possibly increase the militancy and resistance of the Kurdish population in Iraq to Turkish military forces. Moreover, it could poison the already-strained relationship between Turkey and its southern neighbor.

For the sake of human lives and the hope of an end to bloodshed, we urge the government of Turkey to resist any pressure to invade Iraq. The centuries-old issue of the political status of the Kurdish people must be resolved in some other way.

In the final analysis, history has a way of demonstrating that these cross-border military incursions, for whatever reason they are executed, almost always come back to harm the invading nation more than those whom they attack.

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