Sunday, December 06, 2015

Turkey Unilaterally Deploys a Battalion near Mosul - ISW Blog

Key Take-Away: Turkey deployed an armored battalion northeast of Mosul, ostensibly as part of a training mission for Kurdish Peshmerga and a local anti-ISIS militia. Turkey’s forces bolster Masoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), a primary rival to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) active in Syria, Turkey, and parts of Iraq. Turkey will also maintain influence over any future operation to recapture Mosul and Ninewa from ISIS. Turkish military forces have been present in northern Iraq since 1997, but the size and composition of the new force, reports that Barzani has granted the Turks a permanent base outside of Mosul, and the expected deployment of U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to Iraq have made Iraqi politicians extremely sensitive to the arrival of any foreign forces. The deployment has sparked a rhetorical backlash from Iraqi politicians that will likely outweigh any impact the Turkish force will have on the battlefield. The Turkish deployment will generate greater resistance from Shi’a political parties against the involvement of any foreign military force in Iraq and will make it even harder for Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi to publicly support any additional Coalition deployment, such as the U.S. Special Operations forces that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced on December 1. The Iranian-backed militias have already threatened the Abadi government with a no-confidence vote if he accepts U.S. forces. ....

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