“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Horror Vacui...translation: "There is No Way Out."

In c.350 BC, Aristotle proclaims, in opposition to Leucippus, the dictum horror vacui or “nature abhors a vacuum”. He was talking about physics and was proved wrong. In politics the theory works just fine. The forces are aligning for the anticipated realignment in the Middle East. That realignment was prompted by the removal of Saddam and the failure to as yet establish a viable successor in Iraq. We can try and get out but we will be likely sucked back in by the blow-back from the firestorm brewing. Anyone have any ideas?

Iraqi FM: Turkey massing 140,000 troops

BAGHDAD - Turkey has massed 140,000 soldiers on its border with northern Iraq, Iraq's foreign minister said Monday, calling the neighboring country's fears of Kurdish rebels based there "legitimate" but better resolved through negotiation.

The Turkish military had no comment to the remarks by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd from northern Iraq, and it was unclear where he got the figures. If they are accurate, Turkey would have nearly as many soldiers along its border with Iraq as the 155,000 troops which the U.S. has in the country.

Zebari's comments came amid calls by Turkey's military for the government to give it the green light to carry out military operations in northern Iraqi against the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

"Turkey is building up forces on the border. There are 140,000 soldiers fully armed on the border. We are against any military interference or violation of Iraqi sovereignty," Zebari said in Baghdad.

Turkey has been pressuring the United States and Iraq to eliminate PKK bases in Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq and has said it will carry out a cross-border offensive if necessary.

"Turkey's fears are legitimate but such things can be discussed," Zebari said. ""The perfect solution is the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from the borders."

He added: "No one wants a new military conflict in the region."

He said there had been no "Turkey military violation until now," citing artillery shelling and Turkish surveillance overflights.

Turkey has long complained of U.S. inaction against separatist rebels, who have escalated attacks inside Turkey in recent months. Last week, Turkey's military chief asked the government to set political guidelines for an incursion into northern Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Friday confirmed that detailed incursion plans were ready.

Zebari said that his government cannot send its troops to secure the border with Turkey at a time when U.S. and Iraqi forces are fighting a deadly insurgency that has killed thousands of people.

"Our military forces are over-occupied with securing the streets and we do not have forces enough to open a new front. We do not want any conflict. However, no military violation has taken place till now," Zebari said.

Turkey has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since 1984 in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. There has been a recent surge in rebel attacks, and 67 soldiers have been killed this year. More than 110 rebels were killed in the same period, according to the Turkish military.

Zebari said the best way is to address Turkey's "legitimate security concerns" and revive the security and military commission which is made up of the united states, Iraq and Turkey.


  1. The Turks had offered assistance in securing northern Iraq for the Coalition, but had been rebuffed by US.

    To culturally insensitive, to use Turkish troops in Iraq. History being what it is.

    But, since that offer was refused the US has not been able to provide border security on the Turkish / Iraqi border.
    The US is also proving unable to protect the Turkomen Shiites in northern Iraq either:

    The Iraqis calls for the arming of civilians to fight insurgents reflected the growing frustration with Iraqi security forces' inability to prevent extremists' attacks — like Saturday's devastating suicide truck bombing in the Shiite town of Armili, north of Baghdad, that killed more than 160 people, according to the latest toll from police and officials.
    Iraqi commanders say U.S. and Iraqi troops are making progress in a three-pronged security sweep launched in mid-June — one in Baghdad, another to the northeast in Baqouba and the third to the south. The offensives on Baghdad's doorsteps aim to uproot al-Qaida militants and other insurgents using the regions to plan attacks in the capital.

    But Saturday's attack on Armili — a town of Shiites from the Turkoman ethnic minority — indicated extremists were moving further north to strike at unprotected regions, and the devastation wreaked there sparked anger at Iraqi security forces for failing to stop them.

    Amin of the Tuz Khormato police put the toll from the blast at 160, including 10 more bodies newly found in the wreckage. Earlier Monday, Ali Hashim Mukhtaroglu, deputy head of Iraqi Turkoman Front, said the toll had reached 154 dead and 270 injured, and that 30 people were believed to be buried under the rubble of more than 100 mud-brick homes leveled in the town.

    US Commanders have said the US troops that are in Iraq, are it, no more a comin'.

    The Iraqi cannot stand up fast enough to hold the areas that US troops are clearing.

    Obviously well trained, NATO qualified troops should be welcomed into the fray.

    Taking the War on Terror to the terrorist, in Iraq, while securing the ethbic Turkomens' peace and prosperity. Right in line with the Goals of the Surge.

    Securing the Iraqi population from terror. Why not bring in the Turks to restore order?
    There is ample historical record of their success in stabilizing Iraq.

  2. Because, amigos, the Moderate Mussulmen are best represented by the Turkish Army.

    They are the secularist liberals of the Region. That we've spent 60 years training with and supplying.

  3. Grandpa Rat stood shoulder to shoulder with the Turks, or they with him, in the mountains of Korea.
    Claims they are the cause of my existance, that without them he'd been dead, well before my conception was even contemplated.

    So give the Turks their due, they've been with US through dire straits, we are in their backyard causing a commotion, they are the Regions best Army, next to US.

    Time we use 'em, as we head out the door. Then spin it as part of the victory, not a symptom of defeat.

    The US manages to stay so far behind the storyline curve. Not forecasting and then managing events at all.

  4. The Turks have the capacity to support their ethnic minority in Iraq, if the US cannot. It is exemplified by this story, out of Turkey.

    After the carnage in Iraq's Armili, Turkey swiftly sent two military air ambulances to Iraq in order to transfer the badly injured to Ankara

    ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

    Turkey yesterday sent two military air ambulances to northern Iraq to transfer to Ankara Turkomans who were seriously wounded during a suicide bombing which killed nearly 150 people in Tuz Khormato on Saturday.

    “The military planes will land at a military airstrip in Kirkuk if sandstorms do not hamper them and will transfer about 25 injured to Turkey,” a Turkish diplomat, in charge of coordination said to the Turkish Daily News yesterday, before the planes took off.

    According to Turkish diplomats in Iraq, Iraqi and united States officials did not oppose Turkey's proposal and accepted humanitarian aid by facilitating the procedures. The TDN learned that the planes took of from Etimesgut military airport in Ankara, and the injured will be treated in various hospitals in the capital. "The ones who cannot be treated in Iraq will be transferred here", noted the diplomat.