Austin Bay

Later, hocus pocus or Syrian and Iranian sweetness allow Syrian and Iranian Kurdish regions to secede and form Greater Kurdistan, uniting all Kurds in one happy state with billions of barrels of oil. Then -- the dream continues -- politically moderate Turkish Kurds (who exist) and Iraqi Kurds (who for the moment run Iraq's most stable and economically productive region) will agree the PKK's senior commanders should dominate Greater Kurdistan. Why, if they don't they'll either be killed or forced into exile.

Then ... it's time to wakeup. What the PKK's leaders are risking is really a potential Kurdish nightmare.

Here's why:

-- Turkey is not going to accept an independent Kurdistan. Iraq's would-be partitioners, whether in al-Qaida or American academia, don't understand the certainty of Turkey's veto. Forget the United Nations and whatever. Proud Turkish nationalists know they have the military power to enforce the veto.

-- If a Turkish attack on PKK bases in Iraq induces Iraqi collapse -- which is doubtful, since 30 or so previous incursions haven't -- the resulting chaos will destroy Iraqi Kurdistan's stability and erase its economic and political gains. Iraqi Kurds know this.

Iraqi Kurds, however, are reluctant to arrest fellow Kurds. That's very politically unpopular.

This is where Turkey's scenario begins, one with an assumption or two, but the kind of assumptions that military and economic pressure can move toward certainties. Perhaps a "bluffed invasion" and U.S. diplomatic pressure will force Iraqi Kurds to hand over senior PKK leaders (like the threat worked on Syria). It's doubtful, but possible. More likely, Turkey will attack, pressing its assault and destroying the PKK bases. PKK leaders will flee, attempting to hide among Iraqi Kurds as they have in the past. This time, however, the leaders are quietly disarmed and detained, by Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi government.

Bet that Turkey and Iraq have already discussed the terms of detention.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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