With the impending U.S. withdrawal from Iraq just 16 weeks away, Washington has found itself in need of a new location to house its Predator drones. Not coincidentally, Ankara, which extensively uses information captured with those drones to keep track of Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) rebels, has offered to let the U.S. base those drones in Turkey.
According to leaked cables, the Turkish military is extremely dependent on U.S. intelligence gathering in its operations against the P.K.K. in northern Iraq. Should those sources disappear, it could mean a significant turn of fortune for the rebels. Perhaps, that is why Ankara has stepped up its air strike campaign in the last month.
Although the White House has not publicly decided on the offer yet, a State Department spokeswoman recently gave tacit approval to the latest anti-rebel operations, suggesting the U.S. approves of the relationship and could ultimately honor Turkey’s request to maintain the status quo.
At least 13 Iraqis were killed and 15 more were wounded in new violence.
In Baghdad, a drive-by shooting left three soldiers dead and four others wounded. A policeman was shot to death in Zayouna. Last night, gunmen killed an imam at a mosque in Zaafaraniya.
In Mosul, gunmen killed two soldiers at a checkpoint in Nahrouan. Nearby, two policemen were also killed. A bomb targeting police killed one civilian and wounded three others. A policeman killed a civilian during a quarrel. A four-year-old boy was liberated, and his abductors were arrested.
A bomb at a Baquba cafe killed two people and wounded eight others. One of the dead was a journalist.
A kidnap victim was liberated in Samarra. Two kidnappers were arrested.