Good News For People Who Like Bad News
There's a new front in Iraq:
Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq have killed more than 150 rebels and hit more than 200 targets in recent days, the Turkish military said Tuesday, countering Kurdish claims that only a handful of people were killed in the attacks.
The air raids, on Dec. 16 and 22, were the first large-scale assaults on Iraqi territory since the Turkish Parliament approved cross-border operations in mid-October against hide-outs of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, known by its Kurdish initials P.K.K.
According to a statement by the Turkish Army, Turkish fighter planes hit 22 targets in the Metina, Zap, Avashin and Hakurk regions in Iraq on Dec. 16, after intelligence confirmed a rebel presence at the sites [...]
Turkey’s assertions came as Kurdish and American officials said that Turkish jets crossed into Iraqi airspace again on Tuesday, in what American officials said was the fourth such flight over the border in two weeks.
And we all know how precise those bombings are when the US military does them, I'm sure the Turks employ even more laser-like proficiency.
Talk about playing both sides of the fence. We are providing intelligence to the Turks about rebel hideouts. This enables them to pummel their neighbor, which is our strongest ally in Iraq. Spencer Ackerman lays this out well.
...the Kurds of northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish Regional Government fear and distrust Turkey as well. They're the closest allies the U.S. has in Iraq, and the U.S. occasionally relies on them to broker political truces between the Arab Sunnis and Shiites. They don't like being bombed and invaded, and, not unreasonably, blame the U.S. for the Turkish incursion.
Add to that the Shiite-dominated government, which has its own uneasy relationship to its American patron, looks weak in the eyes of both its own people and regional governments because a neighboring country is bombing and invading what's technically its territory with no reprisal. It comes at an inopportune time: that Shiite government is already pretty angry at the U.S. for funding and arming anti-government Sunni ex-insurgents who swear they would never dream of using their weapons against the government. And it's in the eyes of precisely those roughly 70,000 mostly-Sunni militiamen -- to say nothing of Moqtada al-Sadr and al-Qaeda in Iraq -- that the government doesn't think it can afford to look weak.
I know the Iraq war is over and everything and I should just be happy with the decrease to 700 or so civilians being killed a month (don't you like freedom?), but it seems to me that aiding and abetting airstrikes on a nation we're supposed to be protecting and defending is something only the galactically stupid would do. It also seems vaguely illegal, although we've already broken Iraqi law to renew the UN mandate providing the legal means for foreign troops to stay in the country, so just throw that violation on the pile.
Earlier in the week, a group representing a majority of lawmakers in Iraq's parliament -- a group made up of Sunni, Shiite and secular leaders -- sent a letter to the Security Council, a rough translation of which reads: "We reject in the strongest possible terms the unconditional renewal of the mandate and ask for clear mechanisms to obligate all foreign troops to completely withdrawal from Iraq according to an announced timetable."
Why do the Iraqis hate Iraqis? Don't they WANT to live in peace?
UPDATE: Shorter Matt Yglesias: The surge has become a Baghdad surge. No areas of the country unaffected by the surge have experienced any kind of security change, as evidenced by yesterday's bombings. And when the surge ends, so will the security gains in those parts which have been affected.