Strike 'Strike Kirkuk' off the list

From time to time I read a blog called TalkTurkey. This time, there was an article called 'Turkey Must Strike' which drew my attention. Rather than writing a comment on the TalkTurkey's article, I decided to look at the article which seems to be the inspiration.

Scott Sullivan: Turkey must strike, immediately to take Kirkuk and Basra

First, Turkey now knows, if it had any lingering doubts, that the US favors an independent Kurdistan and the Kurdish annexation of Kirkuk, as shown by the favorable US stance on Iraq's oil law, which opens the way to both Kurdish objectives.

Cannot speak on behalf of the whole country (Turkey), but personally I am not at all sure that US is ever likely to stand behind the current pseudo-promises and apparent encouragement that it has been lending to the Kurds.

We do, after all, all remember how easily the US exchanges the Kurds for anything. And, I don't think this time it will be much different. The US isn't capable of sustaining a 'Berlin' right in the middle of Middle East. It will have to be patched up against a 'Germany' somehow.

And, no, I do not see any meaningful benefit of the US to try to carve up some part of Turkey to make up that new 'Germany'.. this would be far too costly.

Second, the US has demonstrated that it is prepared to deceive Turkey about its pro-Kurdish stance, as when the US defends its stance on Iraq's oil law. In other words, US assurances that it will constrain the PKK in Kirkuk are worthless and are humiliating for Turkey, while emboldening the PKK, when Turkey accepts them.

First, PPK has nothing to do with Kerkuk. PKK is, in fact, a non-entity. It's just a symbol to see what length the US will go to show sincerity to Turkish interests. Again, a US action against PKK is just a gesture.. much like a box of chocolate or a bottle of something to drink to show goodwill.

And, yes, the US seems to be rather reluctant in forthcoming with any such gesture. We could, of course, also interpret this as 'US wants give a bigger, more meaningful gift' such as most of Iraq..

The thing is, I am not so sure that TR wants a bigger gift. Especially since --as far as 'bystanders' are concerned-- there may be a disporoportiante amount of envy against that gift. It has all the signs that of a potential to turn into a poison pill in the medium- and/or long-run.

Third, Turkey is deceiving itself if it believes the Iraqis want to discuss the Kirkuk issue in good faith. Postponing the Kirkuk referendum is not an option for Baghdad, which is in the hands of Iran and the Kurds.

There seems to be an unfortunate mixup here.. In what way Baghdad could be in the hands of both Iran and the Kurds?

Iran? How on earth can Iran be pronounced in the same breath with the Kurds?

Fourth, assured of Iranian and US support, the Kurds have no incentive to compromise on Kirkuk. As time goes by and the US support is formalized in agreements, the more eager the Kurds will be eager to escalate against Turkey in hopes of drawing Iran or the US, hopefully both, on their side. Moreover, as the Iranian-US partnership deepens in Iraq, they will coordinate their actions against Turkey, especially in Kurdistan.

Well.. where do I begin?.. From where I look, hell might freeze before we can begin to utter the words such as Iran along with US and Kurds...

So, no, this is far more unlikely than the off chance that there could be a long lasting land-locked Kurdish state.

In other words, in my humble opinion, Mr. Sullivan's last two paragraphs are more than wishful thinking.

Fifth, time is not on the side of Turkey in building military capabilities in Kirkuk. The longer Turkey waits, the more Barzani can change the facts on the ground by allowing more Kurds to resettle in Kirkuk, while each day more of the pro-Turkish population is forced out of Kirkuk.

This does make sense.

Except that, this paragraph itself is proof that Barzani is on his way to change the facts in Kerkuk. Which further means, any new state of fact in Kerkuk will be wide open to all sorts of objections for a very long time.

This alone, will serve to assure the validity of any claim for a need for correction of such wrong doings.. As far as Barzani is concerned, this does not seem to be the wisest route to take.

Sixth, with each passing day the PKK is able to strengthen its combat capabilities in Kirkuk. The opposite is true for pro-Turkish forces, such as Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, which is growing weaker by the day due to US repression.

Again, the author seems to be mixing up a few things. PKK is a non-entity.

Seventh, if Turkey takes Kirkuk now, Turkey can count on the support of Syria and Saudi Arabia, including participation in a Turkish-led peacekeeping force. If Turkey waits, the US is provided the opportunity to co-opt or coerce both against Turkey.

I am not at all sure in what way, or for what reason Syria and Saudi Arabia would want to support TR in this case. Do we believe they have some unexplained interest in seeing a stronger TR presence in that area? If so, why? Why now?

Eighth, as Iraq's new oil law kicks in, Kirkuk will experience a financial bonanza that will underwrite a military buildup, to Turkey's disadvantage. Moreover, the international oil companies will increasingly become stakeholders in Kirkuk.

This would be a lot more convincing if I had known of a single petrol-rich country that ended up being able to spend its riches on being a strong military power --unless it was a military power to begin with...

Is there really an example that I might have missed.

Ninth, with each passing day, Kurdistan takes on more of the trappings and the legitimacy of a genuine state. This trend is obviously not to Turkey's advantage. In this context, European support for the Kurdish state will grow as time goes by.

This whole article is getting more colorful by the paragraph..

In the third and fourth items in this so called analysis the author bundled up pro-EU Iran with pro-USA Kurds.. Which --to me-- would be as good as saying Germany and France will join forces with the USA in the Iraqi occupation..

Such fiction is nice, but unfortunately does not hold water --well, it didn't so far--, nor would there be any sensible reason why the EU would back a Kurdish state that is fully controlled by USA.

Tenth, and most importantly, with each passing day the PKK is better able to coordinate an internal uprising in Turkey with the defense of Kirkuk. As this PKK capability improves, Turkey may discover that the military option for Kirkuk is no longer on the table and that the PKK has prevailed in Kirkuk and in Turkey itself.

This is, again, I have to say, political fiction. The author, in my opinion, has very little idea --if any-- of what PKK can and cannot do right now.

The reason I am saying this is because, PKK has been losing its touch with its grassroots for so long that it may as well be irrelevant by the time the events the author imagines will take place.

In short, Turkey must act now to secure Kirkuk. A decision to delay brings Turkey no advantages but many disadvantages. Act with overwhelming strength today.

A list of ten items.. yet they are really short.. short of proper content as a result of lack of proper analysis of the reality in this part of the world...

I do hope the US has better people for doing the actual thinking. And, yes, the same hope applies here to the TR side too.

Scott Sullivan is a former Washington government employee. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

In contrast, I am not and have never been affiliated with any govermental, or political organisation.

It goes without saying that I do not share most of the author's views --not because I have any contradictory interests (I have none), but for the simple reason that they are fictional and too simplistic.