Baghdad, Iraq – Turkey’s government has had forces in Iraq under the guise of training local Sunnis to fight against terrorism. Recently, the Turkish government has been bombing Kurdish positions inside Iraq and has began a force buildup within the war-torn country. The Iraqi government, seeing the writing on the wall, has demanded the troops be pulled out of their nation.
The Iraqi government used tough language indicating that it has tried to resolve the situation peacefully with no success. It is now demanding that UN stop what it calls a “flagrant violation of the provisions and principles of the UN charter and in violation of the sanctity of Iraqi territory.” Turkey’s leader has stated the country has no plans to remove the troops.
Understand the propaganda: Turkey is a member of NATO. Western media outlets will attempt to cast this as the Turkish government stepping up the fight against the Islamic State. There is nothing in the actions of the Turkish military to suggest this. In fact, less than 72 hours ago Turkish warplanes were bombing in Iraq. The attacks were targeting the Kurds, not the Islamic State.
Understanding the importance: Despite all propaganda to the contrary, Iraq is a failed state. The only governing body that retains any tangible control is the Kurdish Regional Government in the northern part of the country. The national Iraqi military is combat ineffective. Numerous think tanks have predicted the breakup of Iraq. It is very likely that Baghdad sees the Turkish move as an attempt to position itself for what seems to be inevitable dissolution of the country.
Erdogan, Turkey’s leader, has repeatedly been accused of attempting to reestablish his nation as an imperial power. With Syria in disarray, now would be the opportune time for Turkey to initiate its plans for resurrecting the Ottoman Empire. It seems as though the starting point for this new empire is northern Iraq. This is the only possible explanation for the Turkish military’s attacks on Kurdish forces inside of Iraq. The Kurds are the only fighting force standing between the Islamic State and Turkey. The Turkish strategy seems to be to degrade Iraq’s last functioning and effective government before claiming it has been forced to move into the area to protect themselves from the threat of the Islamic State.
A small area of control inside Iraq places some of the territories of Syria that Turkey would like to reclaim in between two Turkish forces. While the plan to establish a pocket of Turkish control inside of Iraq may seem sound on paper, it doesn’t address the realities on the ground. Looking at a map of the Middle East, yes, it appears the move would open a two-front war for Syria when the times comes for a territory grab. The problem is that the Syrian government doesn’t really control the territory any more than Baghdad controls Mosul. Almost all of the territory in the immediate vicinity, on both the Syrian and Iraqi sides of the border, are controlled by the Kurds. Given Turkish treatment of Kurds already within their borders, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds would never surrender to Turkish forces.
While the West continues pumping arms and money into the region, the stage is being set for an ever-widen regional conflict.