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Friday, November 9, 2007

Cleaning up Pelosi's Mess


I wrote recently about what I consider to be an ill-advised move by Nancy Pelosi and others to pass a resolution condemning Turkey for the 1915 Armenian Genocide (a term that Turkey disputes.) The almost immediate result was a diplomatic crisis between the US and Turkey, as well as the threat of Turkey to invade the Kurdish part of Iraq in pursuit of fighters of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a Marxist organization that has carried out violent attacks across the Turkish-Iraqi border. Since the Kurdish part of Iraq is aligned with the US, and represents the most successful region of post-Saddam Iraq, the US has every reason to head off a Turkish invasion that would seriously destabilize that region.

In response, the Bush Adminstration has been laboring very hard recently to patch up relations with Turkey, a critical ally. Now the Administration has worked out an agreement with Turkish President Erdogan by which the US has labeled the PKK "an enemy of Turkey, a free Iraq and the US." In addition, Bush has promised to furnish the Turks with actionable intelligence on the PKK. Meanwhile, the Kurdish regional government has arranged for the release of 8 Turkish soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the PKK. It also appears that the Kurds will turn a blind eye to "hot pursuit" incursions across the border by Turkish troops.

How well these agreements hold up remains to be seen. However, at this point, a regional crisis has been averted, at least temporarily. Credit should go to the Bush Adminstration for this piece of diplomatic work. At the same time, Congress, namely Pelosi and others who were pushing the Armenian resolution, should be embarrassed for causing a diplomatic incident with an important ally and exacerbating problems in Iraq vis-a-vis Turkey.

As I said before, I mean no disrespect to the Armenian cause of publicizing what happened in 1915. However, at the moment, there are more important considerations pertaining to our relationship with Turkey and the situation in that region. Pelosi et al acted in an irresponsible manner and created a crisis that Bush had to clean up.

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