The other day I was warning about the "doomsday scenario" in which Turkey crosses the northern Iraqi border to deal with their PKK insurgency problem and, apparently as I was writing about his, the Iranians were dealing with their own Kurdish problem.
The FT reported on the 2nd that, "Iraqi Kurdish officials yesterday reported Iranian artillery shelling of positions held by fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside Iraq. This was a day after the Iraqi defense ministry said Iranian troops had recently attacked PKK positions inside Iraq, crossing 5km into Iraq territory near Haj Umran." Another group associated with the PKK, Pejak, has been fighting with Iranian forces for over year the FT writes.
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the Iranian Interior minister says northern Iraq is the "center for terrorist attacks" and that Tehran and Ankara are committed to "intelligence co-operation and increasing border guards."
It’s still a little difficult to see what we're doing about this PKK problem in the north of the county. We've got by far the biggest military force in Iraq but we're pretty much doing nothing about a situation that is continuing to escalate. The fact that the Iranians have actually gone over the border should be quite an eye opener for whoever is running Iraq policy in the administration. (Who is running Iraqi policy anyway?)
Another thing they should be concerned about is the extremely low esteem that the U.S. is currently held in Turkey. They used to be our best friends in the world, but after the whole pre-Iraq invasion arm-twisting and insulting that went on trying to get them to let us use their territory, relations between us have deteriorated quite a bit.
Along with all the "thousands of tactical errors" we've made probably one of the most important strategic mistakes we've made is alienating the Turks. This will come back to haunt us down the road. And it doesn't help that Iran supplies a significant amount of natural gas to Turkey. A reminder of this was a few months back when Iran turned off the spigot, just to focus Turkey's attention on making sure the do the right thing as far as the Iranians are concerned.
Stay tuned and keep your eyes on Turkey.