Turkey Responsible for Iraq Insurgency?

By Steve Clemons

Commentary's Jonathan Tobin has an interesting piece out on the ruffled relations between Israel and Turkey.  His primary assertions are that Prime Minister Netanyahu can do no wrong and that Turkey set on a path to downgrade its relations with Israel far earlier than the Gaza flotilla dispute.

But the zinger that has many folks chattering is that Turkey was somehow responsible for Iraq's insurgency.

Tobin writes:

In 2003, Turkey's decision not to allow coalition troops to use their territory in the effort to depose Saddam Hussein in Iraq not only was a blow to the U.S.-Turkey alliance but set in motion circumstances that ultimately helped create the insurgency. Since then Turkey has consistently set itself apart from its NATO allies on a host of security issues.

In on-the-record conversations I have had with US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, Daalder has stated that Turkey has been careful not to mix issues at play in its bilateral tensions with Israel with its obligations and commitments within the multilateral discussions inside NATO, so I don't believe that Tobin's assertion about Turkey vs. other NATO members is correct.

Tobin suggests that Turkey is undermining NATO by attempting to pursue closer commercial ties with Tehran, but just this week, Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced that it "agreed to host an early warning radar as part of NATO's missile defense system aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from neighboring Iran."

On the linkage between Turkey and Iraq, I am really scratching my head.  I guess I'd need to see a much longer article on how Turkey bore responsibility for "creating the insurgency" inside Iraq. 

From my perspective, those dots just don't connect, but I look forward to someone trying to give that puzzle a try.

h/t to Ali Gharib.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/09/turkey-responsible-for-iraq-insurgency/244524/