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Turkey sends troops and tanks to Iraq without permission from Baghdad

Dec 07, 2015

Turkey has sent troops and 25 armored tanks to northern Iraq, supposedly to train Kurdish troops and support them in liberating Mosul from ISIS. In fact, they have set up a permanent military base in northern Iraq.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/05/iraq-orders-turkey-to-immediately-withdraw-troops-sent-across-border

The problem is that the Iraqi government did not invite Turkish troops into the country. So on December 5, the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad has been summoned to explain Turkey’s actions.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/05/iraq-summons-turkish-ambassador-demand-withdrawal-of-troops

The meeting resulted in Iraq ordering Turkey to remove its troops within 48 hours.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/05/iraq-orders-turkey-to-immediately-withdraw-troops-sent-across-border

Turkey refused to do so. On December 7 it is being reported that Iraq is now taking the matter to the UN.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/07/turkey-refuses-to-withdraw-troops-from-north-iraq-base-isis

Back on October 6, the Iraq government asked Russia to target ISIS with air strikes in Iraqi territory.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/iraqis-urge-russia-to-strike-isis-1444152440

Now after the Turkish air strike against the Russian bomber, and with tensions heating up, will Russia take out Turkey’s military base in northern Iraq? What Turkey has done is an act of war, essentially occupying a portion of Iraq without their permission. They did the same in Syria, of course, but President Assad was in no position to argue.

Iraq, however, is a different matter. No nation argues any longer for regime change in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein is long gone. Turkey claims to have been invited by the Kurds. Which Kurds, one might ask? They should be reminded that there is no UN-recognized sovereign nation of Kurdistan.

Turkey is playing a dangerous game with Russia these days, a game that they cannot possibly win. If they are in Mosul, it is more likely that they are there either to protect ISIS in Mosul, or to fight ISIS in hopes of redeeming their international reputation.

Either way, however, it is likely that Russia will be studying the situation carefully and will be in negotiations with Baghdad—and with the Kurdish provincial government—to know its options. Do not be surprised if we hear that Russian planes have demolished an illegal Turkish military base in Iraq. This would certainly escalate the war between Russia and Turkey. Both sides are being careful to avoid being on the wrong legal side of a dispute. The problem is that the law can be twisted and re-interpreted.


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Dr. Stephen Jones


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