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Kurds in Iraq Fear Turkish Incursion

With Turkey finally ready to sign an accord to host U.S. troops, Kurdish officials in northern Iraq have begun to warn of turmoil and armed conflict if, as part of the deal, thousands of Turkish troops enter the hills and towns where Kurds have enjoyed self-government for a decade under cover of U.S. and British air patrols. For the United States, a deal with the Turks makes sense, easing the way for a northern front against the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and providing help for securing this volatile region. For the Kurds, however, any deal that includes an extensive Turkish military presence in northern Iraq is unwelcome, even if it is allowed on grounds of preventing a refugee flow into Turkey. In the Kurdish view, Turkey’s arrival would undermine the de facto independence, in effect since 1991, of 3.5 million Kurds and their armed militias. The Kurds fear that once Turkish soldiers are in, they will never leave, and that two other neighbors, Iran and Syria, might also invade to protect their Kurd-inhabited border regions. Full Story

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