Turkey Refuses To Withdraw Troops From Iraq, Threatens To Slap Sanctions On Russia

Last Friday, Turkey invaded Iraq.

That sounds more dramatic than it actually was. Turkey sent around 150 soldiers and two dozens tanks to Bashiqa, just northeast of Mosul in what Ankara described as an effort to replace an existing contingent of around 90 troops that have supposedly been on a “training” mission with the Peshmerga for the better part of two years.

As we documented over the weekend, this is hardly the first time the Turks have entered the country.

However, the circumstances are quite different this time around. That is, this isn’t a anti-terror mission aimed at tracking the PKK. Over the weekend, we asked if Turkey was simply trying to protect lucrative oil smuggling routes run by both ISIS and the KRG. On Sunday, an angry Iraq gave Ankara 48 hours to withdraw the troops – or else. 

Ok, or else what? Or else Iran’s Shiite militias will hunt them down and kill them according to a statement from Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. On top of that, at least one influential Shiite politician (the infamous Moktada al-Sadr-linked Hakim al-Zamili) wants PM Abadi to appeal to Moscow for “direct military intervention.”

“The arrival of a heavily armed Turkish contingent at a camp near the frontline close to the city of Mosul has added yet another controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State that has drawn in most of the world’s major powers,” Reuters notes. “Russia, already furious after Turkey shot down one of its jets flying a sortie over Syria last month, said it considered the presence of the Turkish forces in Iraq illegal.”

And Russia is correct. Iraq is a sovereign state and the Turks were most certainly not invited which means that by definition, what Ankara is doing is illegal. Hilariously, Turkey contends that Baghdad did invite them – it’s just that Iraq doesn’t remember doing it. “Training at this camp began with the knowledge of the Iraqi Defence Ministry and police,” Turkish PM  Ahmet Davutoglu says. Iraq says no such agreement exists.

Still more absurd is Davutoglu’s contention that it is in fact Baghdad who’s being “provocative.” “Those who make different interpretations of the Turkish military presence in Mosul are involved in deliberate provocation,” he claims.

So breaking that down, Turkey deploys 300 troops and 21 tanks to a sovereign country without that country’s permission, then tries to claim that the “host” country agreed to the deployment even if they don’t recall doing so, and finally, when the country that was invaded cries foul, they are being “provocative.” It doesn’t get much more ridiculous than that.

Speaking of Turkey’s “NATO allies”, one has to believe that the only reason Erdogan has been able to get away with the troop deployment in Iraq is because Turkey is a member of the alliance. If Russia had simply sent 300 marines to Mosul and rolled in 25 tanks against Baghdad’s wishes, the Western powers would have lost their minds.

Full article: Turkey Refuses To Withdraw Troops From Iraq, Threatens To Slap Sanctions On Russia (Zero Hedge)

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