Next, Turkey?

While everybody is focusing on the fighting in southern Iraq, another crisis is brewing — despite warnings from the US and the EU, the Turks appear ready to cross their border with Iraq. While the Turks claim only peaceful intentions, it’s well known that they want to claim Iraqi Kurdistan to keep its people from setting up their own independent state. Given the way Turkey treats its own Kurds, however, the Iraqi Kurds don’t want to live as Turks any more than they want to live as Iraqis, and they’re ready to fight if pressed. So if the Turks move, we’ll have to deal not just with the Iraqi army, but with a civil war between the Iraqi Kurds and the Turkish army — both of which are (nominally) friends of the U.S. Since we were happy enough to let Saddam massacre the Iraqi Kurds when they rose up during the last Gulf War (at our urging, mind you), the prospects that we’d choose to really oppose Turkey in such a case are not what you would call comforting. Will these people ever get the chance to live without some other country keeping them under its thumb?