Rumsfeld Casts Doubt on Turkish Troops in Iraq
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
EFL... From AP
WASHINGTON â Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday left open the possibility that Turkeyâs offer to deploy thousands of troops to Iraq -- a move seen just weeks ago as a critical breakthrough for U.S. diplomacy -- could be dropped because of Iraqi opposition.
Awriiiiight!!! Theyâre listening!
Turkish officials have indicated in recent days that the proposed deployment, approved by the Turkish Parliament on Oct. 7, could unravel if opposition remains strong.
Good, maybe even they realize theyâd be targets. Nawww, they wouldnât care, methinks.
Asked whether the Bush administrationâs interest was waning, Rumsfeld suggested that the Turks had set conditions that might not be met. "What the Turkish government did -- at least my understanding of it -- was they said that under certain circumstances they would be willing to offer forces, subject to finding a method" that satisfied all parties, including their own government and the Iraqi Governing Council, he said.
"Yes. We are allies. Hereâs our list."
"It is only a small matter. We want the Kurdish region -- and the oil."
"Uh, okay... Hey, Iâm gonna have to call some people... weâll get back to you, K?"
"That process is under way," Rumsfeld added. "Whether it will ultimately find a method of satisfying everybody, I donât know. I hope so because obviously we would like additional forces to be available."
"But weâre not quite that desperate or stupid. So, uh, donât call us, weâll call you..."
Another senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States still wants Turkish troops in Iraq but is encountering resistance from the Iraqis. Iraqi objections are based in part on the views of Iraqâs Kurds, who make up about a third of the countryâs 25 million people. They are sensitive to the legacy of nearly 400 years of Ottoman rule in Iraq.
"Donât you Merkins watch your own movies? Ever see Mignight Express? Did ya get it? Doh!"
A 15-year insurgency by Kurdish rebels in Turkey ended in 1999, but the rebels now have bases in northern Iraq and the potential to resume fighting. Turkey fears that Kurds living in an autonomous area of northern Iraq could declare independence, rekindling the insurgency in Turkey.
Donât worry about the bad Kurds. It would be smart if we did not screw over the good Kurds. They will help us take care of the bad Kurds - because it is the one thing that will demonstrate their goodwill, integrity, and intentions beyond doubt. Hands down, they are the class of Iraq.
Turks are mostly Sunni Muslims and their predecessors -- the Ottomans -- favored Iraqâs Sunnis, sidelining the Shiite Muslims, now a majority in Iraq. A large community of ethnic Turks, known as Turkomans, also live in Iraq.
Itâs a rainbow thing. I like strawberry, myself.
Rumsfeld was careful to note that the U.S. government appreciates the Turkish offer, coming from a longtime U.S. ally whose population strongly opposed the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. "We certainly appreciate their coming forward as they have," he said.
"But the, uh, Turkish demands, however, have given us pause... (Hey, did you guys read this shit?)"
The administration pushed hard for a Turkish troop contribution in part because it wants an international force to take the place of the U.S. Armyâs 101st Airborne Division when it completes its scheduled one-year tour of duty in Iraq. It also wants more Muslim troops in Iraq to reinforce the administrationâs argument that the occupation effort is not purely American.
And that, as any RB regular can tell you, has far less value than risk attached.
Rumsfeld said the Bush administration is in discussion with several other countries about possible troop contributions for Iraq, but Turkey is the only one so far to offer large numbers.
"We were hoping for a âbig winâ with Turkey..."
A day after the Turkish Parliamentâs vote to approve the troop deployment, the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council told L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Baghdad, that it opposed a Turkish military presence but was willing to discuss it.
"Yes, of course we will talk to you about it, but make no mistake, lunch is on you..."
On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was taking into account the view of the Iraqis. "We arenât longing to send soldiers to Iraq," he was quoted as saying by Turkeyâs semi-official Anatolia news agency. "If the Iraqi people say, âWe donât want anybody,â thereâs nothing else we can do," Erdogan was quoted as saying. "If wanted, weâll go. If not wanted, we wonât go. We havenât made a definite decision."
But the Iraqis and Kurds have - thanks, but no thanks."
On Monday the prime minister noted that the parliament had already given its blessing. "But the developments after that authorization became different," he said. "As the Turkish government we fulfilled our responsibility. From now on it is up to them [the Americans]."
"Curses, foiled again!" (Was Simon Legree a Turk - or a Pfrenchman?)
Of the 156,000 coalition troops in Iraq, Rumsfeld said 132,000 are American and 24,000 are from other nations, including Britain, Poland and Spain.
Floating this story is the best news Iâve read in several weeks - and means they are thinking about it, at least. Letâs hope that the arrogance of the Turkish demands makes this an obviouse no go decision - Iâll bet that is what has gummed up the gears on this stupid idea. Thanks, Erdogan, keep it up. Yo Dubya, read my lips: stretched is better than sabotaged or screwed, bubba.
Posted by: .com 2003-10-22