The Corner

re: Turkey in Iraq

Kathryn, you’re right that Tony Blankley’s timing is impeccable. He ends his article with this:

It is time to flop down on the side of American action to really pressure our Kurdish friends and allies to take such actions as will convince Turkey that military invasion is not necessary to stop the PKK terrorists from using Iraq as a base of operation.

There are three things we–and our regional allies and the Europeans–can do:

1) Pressure Iraqi Kurdish leader Masud Barzani to declare publicly, and in writing, that Iraqi Kurds have no interests outside the borders of Iraq; and,

2) With federalism comes responsibility: Barzani has vetoed deployment of the Iraqi army into the northern three provinces, as is the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s right under the Iraqi constitution. But he has failed to deploy the peshmerga, the Kurdish militia, to secure Iraq’s northern border with Turkey or, for that matter, its eastern border with Iran. He may not want to do so, for the peshmerga do not like to be away from their homes, and Barzani might prefer to spend his money on other things, but he must be responsible or the Turks have every right to defend themselves.

3) Terrorism is not subjective. Even Iraqi Kurdish officials acknowledge that senior PKK officials are in Barzani’s territory, not in the mountains, but in Erbil hotels and restaurants and medical centers. This must stop. Barzani should do what Syrian President Hafez al-Assad did almost a decade ago: Expel them. There is no excuse for providing safe-haven to terrorists, not matter how sympathetic Barzani may be to their cause.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.