September 28, 2007

Ankara And Baghdad, Together Again For The First Time

Turkey and Iraq have reached agreement on a new security partnership and have signed an agreement to fight terrorism on both sides of their shared border. The development strengthens the credibility of Nouri al-Maliki's government, especially since the Turks had to dispense with a major demand:

Iraq and Turkey have signed a security agreement aimed at curbing the activities of the Turkish Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

However, the final agreement does not include a key Turkish proposal that its troops be allowed to pursue PKK fighters over the border into Iraq.

The proposal had been strongly opposed by the Kurdish officials in Iraq.

Turkey says they will continue to press the issue of hot pursuit for PKK terrorists. They will have much less leverage now, however, after the completion of these negotiations. Maliki needed the prestige that came with a partnership with Turkey, and he needed to make sure the Kurds did not see Turkish troops crossing the border. He's unlikely to back down now that he has the security agreement in hand.

Maliki scored a major victory in this agreement. Not only did he manage to work an agreement on a highly contentious international issue, he also delivered a victory for the Kurds that they will not soon forget. The treaty will sharply increase Maliki's international prestige, as it should, and it will solidify ties to the Kurds that Maliki began nurturing during the US surge.

Turkey doesn't exactly lose in this arrangement, either. While they didn't get their hot-pursuit demand, Ankara had to know that would have been a long shot, anyway. The US does not want to see Turkish troops cross the border, either, or watch a war break out between its two Muslim democratic allies in the region. Washington would have made that clear during these negotiations, and that leverage undoubtedly played a role in the final shape of the document. In return, Turkey can rely on American friendship and pressure on Maliki and the Kurds to curtail PKK activity.

Who loses? Moqtada al-Sadr and the few remaining Sunnis boycotting the Maliki government. Maliki has shown that he can operate without them, thus marginalizing them. Most of the Sunnis have already started coming back to the government, and the success with Turkey will convince them that they can't budge Maliki from office now. Maliki will also have more political capital to push for the reforms that the US wants to see on reversing de-Baathification, oil revenues, and local elections.

It's just another piece of good news from the political realignment taking shape in Iraq, thanks to the surge. Pretty soon, that will be so obvious even Congress will see it.


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Comments (7)

Posted by Immolate | September 28, 2007 9:29 AM

Time to shift the paradigm again moveon. I suggest "It isn't about political progress, it's about Balkanization. How can we call it a win when millions of Iraqis are living in Syria or Jordan or exiled from their homes into other parts of Iraq?"

We'll know we're in good shape when the goalposts are moved to "It's about them having 'In Shari'a We Trust' on their pennies".

Posted by Carol Herman | September 28, 2007 12:59 PM

Maliki is out of his league. He also bet a wad going into this, by coupling himself to Sadr's goons. ANd, iran. With a little bit of "halp" from syria.

Why we are at a loss to understand what's going on, now? Doesn't surprise me. The mainstream media doesn't work. And, Bush has used the silence, and his own "going slow" policy; to bring Irak around to a shape we're watching take hold.

While over in the Kurdish section, in Sulamania, they just opened a Vegas Style Casino. Bringing night life, to what's being built "without arab help." WHile the country "safely divides.

Yes, the Sunni's were outraged that the local Shi'a dared to think they could run anything. While the Kurds kept playing ball with America. And, building for herself a new country. Part of Irak. But also what you'll see ahead, is a "Federation."

With Maliki's goons trying to hold on for dear life! That's how bad the bets Maliki has made, have been. Why? Because American "sugar" doesn't fall into Shi'a pockets. And, now, with the fake charges against Blackwater roiling through the Shia community; they do understand they're own "police" and "army" can't hold a candle to American trained troops.

We've trained the Kurds. And, we're training the Sunnis, now. While in cities like Ramadi, (seeing is believing ... so you need to search out Michael Totten's blog for photos) ... Ramadi was practicaly turned into a parking lot! (Totten compares the damage; huge in Ramadi. To what he saw in Beirut, during Israel's incursion: Which, in comparison, is very small potatoes.)

One of the benefits of stripping out the housing; so you have freeway sized lanes from one side of the road, to the other. Is that anything moving now is seen from many views. ANd, gone to dust.

What Petraeus has done is actually shown the Sunni tribal elders, what it means to "SELF-PROTECT." The SUnni's won't be able to take on the Shi'a, outside of their own neighborhoods. But Maliki can't get his Shi'a IN ... into Sunni neighborhoods.

And, that's the beginning of watching Irak heal. Not to be mistaken with Vietnam. Because there's 20% of the world's oil supply in Irak. And, this is a bonanza.

For a "new approach" to using America's military might; I think lots of AMericans, today, recognize our biggest problems are in congress. And, have to do with mispending billions on pork.

Again, the Internet is alive and well. But we are the "foot traffic" in this war. So, we gain experience by speeding up the old "media time zone," of all the time in the world to spread their propaganda.

While it still remains how things will shape up in 2008. Anyone betting yet on an "independent runner?" (Remember, Ralph Nader has been running. with lower and lower returns, per election cycle.)

To get to an "independent runner," now? You need someone who can out-do Ross Perot's 19%.

Oh, even clowns can make the circus interesting, ya know? Especially if there's no sound way to discard Hillary from the race. Bumper stickers aren't gonna help her.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 28, 2007 1:18 PM

Funny, how the left keeps reaching to Vietnam. To explain America; rather than just "explaining" affirmative action.

If you really want to see "debates," you'd have to go back to the American defeat of the Mexicans; when Santana had twice as many troops as Zachary Taylor.

Zachary Taylor, by the way, (who also becomes a US President), had no use for uniforms. Period. And, this would be a great influence on U. S. Grant.

Even better; Grant was only 24, during the Mexica-American war. When he was 60, he took no pride in those battles. But, still. When you look at an American map, and you see Texas to California; you get an idea of what "wins" look like. Even if they were not particularly popular.

As a matter of fact, Polk was President. He tried to "buy" rather than fight, the Mexicans. The Mexicans, however, chose war. And, war they got.

While Abraham Lincoln, a new member of the US House, in Congress; stood up and lambasted Polk. He held up a map. Pointed to it. And, said "Polk should come to Congress" to point to what Americans thought "was theirs." Polk didn't go.

Lincoln went home, after his first term, royally getting screwed, ahead, by the hacks in the WHIGS.

Till the WHIGS were no more.

America manages to survive wars, good and bad. With outcomes on the map, where countries who look, opt to be on our side. And, not the side, say, of the Chinese. Or the Russians. Those are facts.

Nothing turns off more people than living under communism. And, it's other forms of despotic dogs; without the voices given to all. Who then complain a lot.

When you don't hear those complaints? You're looking at the belly of the beast.

Posted by Ken Oglesby | September 28, 2007 3:07 PM

It's just another piece of good news from the political realignment taking shape in Iraq, thanks to the surge. Pretty soon, that will be so obvious even Congress will see it.

Posted by Ed Morrissey on September 28, 2007 8:45 AM | Comments (3

I don't know about that,Captain.
This and previous Congress's have a pretty good record of not seeing what they don't want to see.

Posted by OPeck | September 28, 2007 3:28 PM

Maliki seems to be turning into a pretty adroit leader. I think that it was necessary to give the new Iraqi government some time to learn how to govern, how to work together; to learn to compromise and negoitate. The majority of the Iraqi people had never had that opportunity. They were either under Saddam's boot or they were part of someone's empire. Like teaching a child to ride a bicycle, we needed to let them try to solve problems in their own way while we were there running along behind holding on to the seat. A parent does not teach their child to ride a bicycle by putting them on and shoving them out into the street.

Posted by exDemo | September 28, 2007 5:08 PM

The MSM doesn't cover news that doesn't fit their pre-arranged pre-determined news and party line.

The reality is that the Kurds have established an national homeland in the Kurdish autonomous= provinces and are at peace. the Iraqi war is over in those provinces.

At the same time the Kurds are trying to free their fellows in Turkey and Iran and possibly in Syria. The Media won't cover it but Persia's theocratic government is fighting a guerrilla war in its NW Kurdish provinces with guerrillas from Iraq and internal Persian Kurds.

I have no proof but Syria is probably facing a similar guerrilla war in its NE provinces.

What Maliki has done is free the Kurds to redirect their efforts at Syria and Iran's Kurdish persecuted minorities in the provinces of both countries where the Kurds are the majority. The good that Turkey has done is to remind the Kurds that it is much safer to be an autonomous region of Iraq supported by the USA and Britain, than to be a fully independent Kurdish State that is then attacked and extinguished by Turkey, Iran and or Syria.

Victory smells so sweet. And it is becoming more clear every day. Will the Iraqi war be won by next November? It looks more and more certain.

Posted by MarkJ | September 28, 2007 6:54 PM

Victory smells so sweet. And it is becoming more clear every day. Will the Iraqi war be won by next November? It looks more and more certain.

Well, let's not do any end-zone dances just yet, shall we? Need I remind you that Hitler was still able to mount a surprise offensive in the Ardennes less than five months before the German surrender.

Having said this, I'm in general agreement with you that "nothing succeeds like success." The fact that we've just whacked a big AQI fish (i.e., al-Tunisi) is evidence that improved intel and aggressiveness are paying big dividends. I'm not precisely sure where al-Tunisi stood (or crouched) in the AQI hierarchy, but, to use another WW II analogy, his death may be roughly equivalent to our taking out an important Nazi field commander (e.g., Erich von Manstein).

Yeah, somebody will likely step into al-Tunisi's smoking, blood-stained sandals, but whether he'll be even half as good is very questionable. And that's why AQI is likely doomed to a continued degradation of leadership and organization, leading to an eventual death from a thousand cuts.

Much the same can be said for Donk and RINO attempts to impose a withdrawal timeline:

Given our current rate of success, and given continued good news like al-Tunisi's death, it simply ain't gonna happen. Continued attempts to impose one in the face of probable victory will be as laughable as they are irrelevant.

No end-zone dances are in order yet, but I've already bought my bottle of Cristal and have stuck it in the fridge!

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