Iraq's stabilization is an overriding aim of Turkey.Byline: Ahmet O. Evin
Summary: A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the Turkish Parliament's March 1, 2003, vote that failed to allow American troops to move through southeastern Turkey and open a second front of attack from the north on Iraq. Washington's frustration and anger over that vote have gradually subsided and the differences over Iraq between Turkey
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the Turkish Parliament's March 1, 2003, vote that failed to allow American troops to move through southeastern Turkey and open a second front of attack from the north on Iraq. Washington's frustration and anger over that vote have gradually subsided and the differences over Iraq between Turkey and the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. appear to have been bridged. Both Washington and Ankara insist that there is a significant improvement in Iraq's security situation. Both governments utilize, as if to convince skeptics, the same mildly optimistic op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op tone in emphasizing their overriding objective to see Iraq stabilized.
Who doesn't? Not a minute should be lost in putting an end to Iraq's painful humanitarian crisis A humanitarian crisis (or "humanitarian disaster") is an event or series of events which represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security or wellbeing of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wide area. as well as to the prevailing chaos there that continues to pose a serious security threat to the region and beyond. But the task is not easily accomplished and, despite arguments to the contrary, there is room for skepticism regarding the prospects of achieving stability in Iraq. Just as these lines are being written, a suicide bombing Noun 1. suicide bombing - a terrorist bombing carried out by someone who does not hope to survive it
bombing - the use of bombs for sabotage; a tactic frequently used by terrorists
suicide bombing n → took place in Kirkuk that killed 35 people and wounded over 200. Is the violence spreading north, as some fear in the wake of these developments?
Violence on the same scale as witnessed in Baghdad, the central provinces or in the south in Basra is highly unlikely to occur in the north because of topographic topographic
describing or pertaining to special regions. (mountains) and demographic (size and concentration of population in urban areas) reasons. Moreover, ethnic and confessional cleavages pose far less of a threat in the north because of the solidarity existing among the Kurds, who represent an overwhelming majority of the population there. Nevertheless, not the existence of a comparatively less violent province, or statistics of decreasing casualties in the capital and surrounding provinces, or the apparent success of the Iraqi security forces' operation last March in Basra constitutes convincing evidence of increasing stability. Immensely difficult challenges will have to be met before Iraq can be put back together again.
Among the internal challenges, the most important one is to re-establish the armed forces as a credible, coherent, professional institution of the state that commands loyalty and respect. Legislation passed by the Iraqi Parliament on January 12, 2008, to allow former Baath members to return to government service was a step in the right direction for both reconciliation and strengthening government by bringing back experienced cadres. But it will take time to get back on duty a critical mass of former officials and then to integrate them into the new environment.
The political arena, including particularly the relationship between central and regional administration, is likely to be affected in the foreseeable future by the tensions and polarization polarization
Property of certain types of electromagnetic radiation in which the direction and magnitude of the vibrating electric field are related in a specified way. across the country. The party-slate system adopted for national elections has resulted, not unexpectedly, in a race to win favor from party leaders, thus deflecting attention from pressing issues of national concern. Ideological polarization (along ethnic or sectarian sec·tar·i·an
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
2. Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
3. Narrow-minded; parochial.
1. lines) is a collateral damage collateral damage Surgery A popular term for any undesired but unavoidable co-morbidity associated with a therapy–eg, chemotherapy-induced CD to the BM and GI tract as a side effect of destroying tumor cells of the party-slate choice that puts party loyalty before representation. Although the legislation governing provincial administration passed last spring aims to curb the power of national government over local communities, it remains to be seen whether representation at the local level will help to solve problems of particular communities or add strains to the relationship between green zone politicians and local administrators.
Moreover, an overriding emphasis on elections as the sole indicator of democratic development has deflected de·flect
intr. & tr.v. de·flect·ed, de·flect·ing, de·flects
To turn aside or cause to turn aside; bend or deviate.
[Latin d attention from the way in which decisions are made and consensus achieved in tribal societies. It is the culture of tribal consultation, shared by all ethnic and sectarian groups, that is likely to facilitate the acceptance and implementation of political decisions countrywide coun·try·wide
adv. & adj.
Throughout a whole country; nationwide: launched a fundraising campaign countrywide; a countrywide search.
Adj. 1. .
As far as the neighborhood is concerned, Iraq's stability is linked to Turkey's own security interests. Turkey has actively contributed to Iraq's reconstruction and security by means of investments, trade, technical assistance and training of Iraqi security forces Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is the Multi-National Force-Iraq umbrella name for the military and police forces that serve under the Government of Iraq.
The armed forces are administered by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), and the Iraqi Police is administered by the Ministry of . It was instrumental in recently establishing a Strategic High Level Council, co-chaired by the prime ministers of the two countries, with the objective of enhancing cooperation on projects. Also, increased cooperation with Iraq's Kurdish leadership has followed US-Turkey cooperation in intelligence exchange that has allowed the Turkish armed forces to accurately target PKK PKK Player-Killer Killer (multiplayer gaming)
PKK Partiya Karker Kurdistan (Kurdistan Worker's Party)
PKK Kudistan Isci Partisi (formerly Kurdistan Workers Party, now KADEK) hideouts in northern Iraq. During his visit to Turkey last March, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani identified the PKK as a common threat to both Iraq's and Turkey's national security. Ankara has welcomed Iraq's provincial elections and has begun communicating directly with Massoud Barzani Massoud Barzani (Kurdish: مهسعوود بارزانی as the leader of the local administration. Despite occasional disruptions, Kirkuk oil is now flowing to the Ceyhan terminal at the rate of 800,000 bbd.
All of these positive developments are consistent with Turkey's aim to achieve regional cooperation by means of having no problems with its neighbors. But Iraq is more than a mere neighbor: Developments there are related inextricably in·ex·tri·ca·ble
a. So intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible: an inextricable maze; an inextricable web of deceit.
b. to Turkey's domestic security as well as its trans-Atlantic relations. Also, Turkey's ability to support Iraq is necessarily limited, given the enormous challenges the country faces. Sharpened sectarian divisions, moreover, have resulted in substantially increased Iranian influence among Shiites in Iraq. Though both Ankara and the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq may see a window of opportunity for future cooperation, how Iran might shape its policies toward the north remains to be seen. In any case, the Iran factor is likely to pose yet another difficult challenge to achieving stability in Iraq and the region.
Ahmet O. Evin is founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is the largest faculty in the National University of Singapore (NUS). It is made up of three main departments, Asian Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences. at Sabanci University. He is a professor of political science at Sabanci and is a member of the board of directors of Istanbul Policy Center. This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons-international.org, and online newsletter.
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