In Response To Question Raised About

In response to a question raised about the request Paul Wolfowitz made to put 100,000 US troops into eastern Turkey on the Iraq border, and whether there was a prospect of Turkish troops going into Iraq in case a war broke out:

The whole point of asking permission to put US troops into Turkey on the border with Iraq is to *forestall* Turkish military interference in the Iraq campaign. My own view is that it is unlikely that the American force striking from the north is actually necessary militarily or perhaps even wise. It is rugged territory and in any case is held by Kurdish U.S. allies. Rather than being aimed at Baghdad, such a force may well be envisioned as securing the Kirkuk oil fields. The Kurds have pretty openly announced that they will try to take them in the fog of war, and the Turks have been equally clear that they would find such a development unacceptable to the point of intervening themselves. Putting US troops in the north could forestall a Kurdish-Turkish side-war. But of course it risks the possibility of a US-Kurdish confrontation during the early stages of the war.

The US is not seeking to inject Turkish troops into Iraq. I think the wording is simply that there are two actions that require parliamentary approval–putting US troops into Turkey, and sending Turkish troops abroad. Although it has long been likely that the Turkish National Security Council would cooperate with a US war on Iraq, despite public opposition, it is not clear that the Islamist Ak party representatives in Parliament will go along with thousands of US troops being put on Turkish soil to fight a Muslim neighbor. But, $5 bn. (which is what is being asked for by the Turks in aid as a quid pro quo) is quite an incentive.

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