20 October, 2020

Two Crescents Make A Moon

Will Turkey and Pakistan serve US strategic interests in Iraq?

Two Crescents Make A Moon
Though the Turkish government is still at sixes and sevens over whether to contribute troops to Iraq, Ankara is firm on one issue: the Turkish army will go into Iraq only if one other Muslim nation also sends a contingent. Ankara's preferred ally is Pakistan. And from all accounts, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is willing to play ball.

But first, a little on Turkey's strategic interests. Ankara sees Iraq, especially the north of the country, as being within its sphere of influence. Having almost completely subdued the 17-year Kurdish insurrection, Turkey's ruling class fears Iraq's Kurds will declare an independent state in north Iraq, consequently fanning separatist agitation within Turkey itself. During Gulf War II, Washington dissuaded the Turks from crossing into Iraq, promising to rein in Iraqi Kurds who, though, continue to control a number of major towns and cities in the oil-rich region.

When asked by Washington to contribute peacekeepers, Ankara demanded northern Iraq as its zone of operations. This the US and local Kurds rejected on the grounds that...


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