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Turkey will have to leave Iraq – former Pentagon advisor (exclusive)

Date: 11 December 2015 19:17

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.11

By Aygun Badalova – Trend:

Ultimately, Turkey will have to leave Iraqi territory, Michael Rubin, the former Pentagon advisor on Middle East, and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) told Trend.

“Iraq was willing to turn a blind eye to the presence of Turkish forces so long as the Turks were discreet but, by increasing their presence, Turkey is giving Iraq little choice but to increase the confrontation,” Rubin said.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe that there will be an outright war between the two sides.

“Many Iraqis believe that Erdogan is all bluster, but will ultimately back down,” said the former Pentagon advisor.

Turkey earlier deployed a group of its armed forces, including around 130 servicemen, tanks and artillery in the camp of Kurdish Peshmerga military forces where Ankara trains Kurdish fighters for attacking Mosul city captured by the IS terrorist group (ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh).

The Turkish side states that there was reached an agreement with Iraqi authorities on this issue.

This is while previously, the Iraqi authorities accused Turkey of military invasion and demanded the Turkish troops to leave the country. In addition, a number of Iraqi MPs demanded from the authorities to launch a military operation against the Turkish troops.

Rubin believes that ultimately, Iraq will be able to stand up to Turkish military forces.

“Firstly, there is a widespread belief that Turkey is sympathetic to Daesh, and so if Iraqi forces use their artillery or air force in the fight against Daesh, they might target whom Turkey trains,” he said.

“If Turkish advisors get killed [in this operation], I don’t believe the Iraqis will mourn,” Rubin added.

Further, he said that Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi may be forced to take some action just to prove that he is not as weak as his detractors claim.

Rubin said that one of the main allies of Turkey is Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq and the basis for that relationship is the financial aspect.

Moreover, Turkey’s allies in Iraq are Sunni Arabs, according to the former Pentagon advisor.

“Turkey might say it’s the Turkmen, but many of the Turkmen are Shiite and embrace their sectarian identity above their ethnic identity,” he added.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Ankara intends neither to deploy its new military units to Iraq nor withdraw the existing ones.

It was previously reported that Iraq will impose economic sanctions on Ankara in response to Turkey’s refusal to withdraw its tank battalion from Iraq’s Nineveh province.

As part of the economic sanctions, Iraqi companies can be prohibited from signing any agreement with Turkish firms.

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