November 1, 2007
The New York Times

Iraq Asks for Iran's Help in Calming Kurdish Crisis

by Alissa J. Rubin

BAGHDAD, Oct. 31 Iraqi officials asked for Iran's help on Wednesday in negotiating a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Turkey over Kurdish guerrillas who have been using northern Iraq as a base to stage raids on Turkish troops across the border.

Tensions between Iraq and Turkey over the issue threaten to overshadow other topics at a regional meeting that starts Thursday in Istanbul, which Iraq hoped would focus on its internal security.

The United States, which will participate in the meeting, said Wednesday that it has stepped up the amount of intelligence it shares with Turkey on the Kurdish rebels, known as the P.K.K.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq met with the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, on Wednesday and asked him to intervene on Iraq's behalf at the meeting. . . .

The P.K.K., or the Kurdistan Workers' Party, has killed at least 42 people in Turkey in the past month, mostly soldiers. The group, which has supporters among Turkey's Kurdish minority as well as in Iraq, has fought in the past for a separate Kurdish state in Turkey but now appears to be focused on winning rights for Kurds living there.

Turkey has threatened to invade Iraq in pursuit of the rebels but has so far refrained.

Iran has been sympathetic to Turkey's position, because Kurdish guerrillas have also been attacking Iran, but it has loyalties to Iraq which, like Iran, has a Shiite-majority government. Iran has also worked closely with the Kurdish leadership in Iraq. . . .


Alissa J. Rubin, "Iraq fears border crises overtaking agenda," International Herald Tribune, October 31, 2007

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