Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 24, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

UPDATE FROM KURDISTAN....Now blogging over at World Politics Review, Judah Grunstein casts a gimlet eye on the recent Turkish incursion into Iraq that's aimed at beating back PKK guerrillas operating from bases just inside the border of Iraqi Kurdistan:

There are conflicting reports about just how many troops Turkey has sent into northern Iraq, with the general trend being bearish. Initial Turkish TV reports (passed on by the press) put the number at 10,000, citing unnamed military sources. Reuters put the number at 8,000, or two Turkish brigades. Later television reports lowered it further to 3,000, which the Iraqi government today bid down to 1,000, only to be undersold by the American military command in Iraq which claimed that only a few hundred Turkish troops took part. The Turkish military, meanwhile, closed the bidding by warning that "media reports about the scope of the operation were misleading and exaggerated." (If this keeps up, look for reports of a Kurdish incursion into Turkey by tomorrow.)

Actually, it's probably a good thing that everyone is trying to downplay this. But read the whole post for more.

Kevin Drum 3:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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Comments

I rather believe the last time you had Kurdistan on your screen this was predicted.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on February 24, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand how deliberately "underplaying" a story is "a good thing". The story is what it is; the facts are what they are. Why not just report them, without sticking your thumb on the scale? Dishonest journalism is never a "good thing."

Posted by: mg on February 24, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

mg - I sense a hint of scarcasm in Kevin's writing here. I'm sure the surge is working crew isn't going to report this. Now if this gets 24/7 coverage over at Faux News, I'll eat my hat.

Posted by: pgl on February 24, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

I can understand the comment about the value of downplaying this. I could well imagine us delivering an ulitmatum to Turkey, and then having our bluff called. Also the Republicans would like this little complication of our excellent Iraq adventure from being noticed by the public -or the press.

Posted by: bigTom on February 24, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Man, those poor Republicans just can't catch a break can they?

You'd think that no one had pointed out what a bad fucking idea it would be to unseat a petty tyrant whose iron fist held the nation together and replacing him with another petty tyrant whose genocidal tools are ignorance and incompetence.

But then they wouldn't be Republicans if they had even the first clue about foreign policy.

Posted by: the on February 24, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

McClatchy had an interesting story on this as well:

www.mcclatchydc.com/iraq/story/28458.html

Juan Cole has also noted this.

Posted by: pgl on February 24, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

There are conflicting reports about just how many troops Turkey has sent into northern Iraq...

That Turkey may have mounted a concerted operation in Northern Iraq may be news; the presence of Turkish troops certainly shouldn't be. Turkey has had a few hundred troops scattered across several semi-permanent bases in Northern Iraq for years.

Posted by: has407 on February 24, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Eh? A "gimlet eye"? You mean he's got an eye like that dwarf who runs the delicatessen on Cable Street?
- sorry, sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 24, 2008 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's probably a good thing that everyone is trying to downplay this.

I've wondered why nobody made a bigger deal out of this than they did. I would think that even a small incursion by Turkish groups would provoke a response from the Bush administration. Has there been one? No? Why not? Was it simply not a big deal or does Bush approve of what Turkey is doing?

Posted by: e. nonee moose on February 25, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

This looks to be heating up into something rather nasty. My expectation of this is that the administration is going to have to decide who they're going to stand with: our NATO ally or the Kurdish Regional Government. Whatever comes of it will further degrade the ability of the US to ever make allies anywhere (at least while republicant's run the US govt).

Was it simply not a big deal or does Bush approve of what Turkey is doing?
Our fearless leader finally surrendered and rolled over for the Turks. Up until 2007, the administration was able to tell Turkey to shut up and get to the back of the bus about PKK terrorists operating in Turkey. And the Turks finally had enough. This isn't the first incursion, it isn't even the second. It is yet another one in a long series to come.

Posted by: Peter on February 25, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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