10,000 Turkish Troops for Tikrit region
According to al-Zaman, the Turkish government is considering sending 10,000 troops to Iraq, many of which will be deployed in the Tikrit region (the birthplace of Saddam Hussein). The US military apparently hopes that Sunni Muslim troops like the Turks will be able to deal with the resistance in the Sunni Arab regions better than the US Army has been able to do. I doubt this is true. The guerrillas are Sunni Arab nationalists who have grievances toward Turkey, and they won’t hestitate to attack the latter. That the coming of the Turks is still in the cards shows that the US is the unchallenged governing authority in Iraq. Hoshyar Zebari, the appointed interim Foreign Minister, had earlier attempted to shoot down the idea of Turkish troops being deployed in Iraq, saying that the Interim Governing Council had decided against allowing armies of neighboring countries to come in. The Iraqis appear not to have a say in the matter. The US military is badly over-stretched, and is having to call up 15,000 reservists as it is, and desperately needs the Turkish division (or 2/3s division). Few other countries have shown a willingness to send their military to Iraq, and if the Turks are willing, the US will have them. That their presence will make the Iraqi Kurds nervous and upset doesn’t matter to Washington.