2003 March 06 Thursday
Turkey's Iraq Vote Harms Its Interests; Kurds May Benefit

James Dunnigan argues that Turkey's claim that it will economically suffer from a war is not accurate since the result of the war will be to end the UN embargo on Iraq and therefore greatly increase trade between Eastern Turkey and Iraq. At the same time, Turkey's refusal to allow US troops to pass thru to the northern Iraq front will cost Turkey billions in lost aid.

Saddam's refusal to get rid of his chemical, nuclear and biological weapons has kept the UN embargo on Iraq, which has crippled the Iraqi economy and much of the economy in eastern Turkey, which depends on trade with Iraq. The Turks have been complaining about this since 1991, but they don't want Iraq to get nuclear weapons, and don't want to go in and remove Saddam themselves.

There are upsides to Turkey's refusal to cooperate. First, it will save US taxpayers a lot of foreign aid money. Second, it will allow the Kurds in northern Iraq to be more free of Turkish influence and control. The United States ought to take the opportunity to give the Kurds a better deal in the post-war political settlement in Iraq.

Thr Kurdish region contains both Turkish troops and Shiite Arabs supported by Iran.

No one in northern Iraq is welcoming Hakim's men with any discernible warmth. "We hate Arabs sent by Iran to come in and learn information about our Kurdistan," says Mahmoud Amin, spokesman for the Kurdistan Social Democratic Party in Darbandikhan, a Kurdish town near the Kani Chinara camp. He says the presence of the soldiers reflects Iran's aim to "occupy" Kurdish areas. "We accept them on the condition they do not betray us."

Iran is funding forces in western Afghanistan. It is possible that Iran will similarly try to make a portion of Iraq autonomous from the central government in the post-war political order. Iran will probably face more resistance from the US in Iraq than it does in Afghanistan because for the US more is at stake in Iraq and the US will have a much larger post-war force in Iraq.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 06 01:00 AM  Reconstruction and Reformation

emre said at March 6, 2003 11:11 AM:

You might want to correct the type in the 4th paragraph; I guess that should be "The" instead of Thr...and then erase this comment :)

emre said at March 6, 2003 11:12 AM:

oops, that was supposed to be typo, not type hah

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