25
Dec

Last week the Iraqi government in Baghdad claimed that Turkey had violated its sovereignty by deploying troops and tanks to the town of Bashiqa, north of Mosul. Turkey has stated that this deployment is part of a previously agreed plan to train Iraqi Kurdish forces to combat ISIL. Some Iraqi officials in the central government deemed it a Turkish “invasion”.

The deployment, which had the blessing of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, but resulted in condemnation from the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, is symptomatic of the schizophrenic foreign policy of post-2003 Iraq, compounded by a complete reversal of a Turkish policy of allying with Iraq’s Kurds against Turkey’s own Kurds

I am not using “schizophrenia” to be dismissive of this medical condition. Adham Saouli, professor at St Andrews University, applied this “condition” to Iraq, writing: “As fragmented states, Lebanon and Iraq suffer from what one may call political schizophrenia. Like schizophrenia, this is a personality split resulting from the coexistence of opposed sets of identities and pursuits.”

Confusing matters

To highlight this dynamic, the KRG in Iraq is governed by two Iraqi Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Turkey is in an alliance with the KDP, the party of Masoud Barzani, president of the KRG.

To make matters more confusing, Fouad Massoum of the PUK is the president of Iraq itself, thus representing the central Iraqi government. The secular, ethno-national PUK has cultivated ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, yet is pro-US at the same time. Read more…

 

Published on Dec. 16 in www.aljazeera.com

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of “Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History.” He is a former professor in the Master in International Relations at IE School of International Relations.

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