Saturday, July 05, 2003

The U.S. has detained members of the Turkish special forces operating in northern Iraq, possibly on intelligence that they were plotting to assassinate a Kurdish official in Kirkuk. Kirkuk is a northern oil city where tens of thousands of Kurds were forced from their homes and replaced with Arabs under Saddam's regime. As seen in this news report from last week, the Kurds are understandably determined to undo that ethnic cleansing, which is helping to inflame ethnic tensions in the city. According to the New York Times, there have been discussions of Turkish troops helping to patrol Iraq, something for which Turkey, a strong opponent of Kurdish rights, would likely demand concessions on those issues. The U.S. currently has its hands full trying to end resistance in Arab Sunni central Iraq. It does not need the situation to spiral downward in the Kurdish north.


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