When it comes to Iraq's Kurds, the United States needs to make a deal with Turkey or face the consequences later.

Issue: July-Aug 2007

NORTHERN IRAQ has represented the one success of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It is quiet and prosperous, and American troops are welcomed by the population there. This can all crumble in the next six to nine months if Washington is not careful. Neighboring Turkey, alarmed at the emergence of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq and the presence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) there, may throw caution to the wind by engaging in a cross-border military operation. Such an event is likely to pit Ankara, a nato ally, against both the U.S. military and its Kurdish allies. Fighting between Turks and Kurds in Iraq could spread to Turkey itself and, in the end, lead to a severe rupture in U.S.-Turkish relations. An unstable and violent northern Iraq would deal a fatal blow to the United States's Iraq project by accelerating, widening and deepening the current inter-communal carnage.

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