Iraqi Negotiations in Ankara
Ahmad Chalabi, the current president of the Interim Governing Council, led a delegation to Turkey on Wednesday for bilateral talks. A source in the delegation told al-Sharq al-Awsat that the IGC has decided to decline peacekeeping troops from any neighboring countries, including Turkey, so as to avoid complications. This decision would rule out not only Turkish troops but also Jordanian ones. (Saudi and Kuwaiti militaries are not developed anyway). Other Arab and Muslim troops, he said, would be welcome, however. This decision of the IGC flies in the face of previous Pentagon statements and negotiations with Turkey. It remains to be seen whether the US Defense Department will let Iraqis make this decision, which does potentially affect when US troops can come home.