THOUSANDS of Turkish soldiers, backing a number of tank led armoured columns, crossed into northern Iraq on Thursday evening, after a massive artillery bombardment of the area.
There is no doubt that this is a major military operation and part of a strategic plan of the Turkish government and military.
It is certainly not a hunt after several hundred PKK Kurdish Workers party members, since they will have fled the area as soon as the artillery bombardment started.
Senior puppet government ministers in Baghdad yesterday denied that any such movement of the Turkish military was taking place in northern Iraq, while a US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza admitted ‘This is not the greatest news’ and added that this major military intervention marked ‘a whole new level.’
The European Union has meanwhile urged Turkey that while ‘exercising its right to fight terrorism’ it must ‘refrain from taking disproportionate military action’.
All that the Turkish government would say is that its forces ‘will return to the homeland in the shortest time possible’.
This was taken to mean that Turkish forces will be in northern Iraq in force for a number of months.
In fact the Turkish government and military are taking advantage of the fact that the United States has not been able to control, never mind conquer Iraq, and that after the next US presidential election, the likelihood is that a new US president will begin the full scale withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq.
The US military are also preparing for this prospect.
Not only are they wooing the Ba’athists, and standing in the way of the execution of Ba’athist leaders such as Hassan Ali al-Majid, the leader of the Anfal military campaign, they are now wooing Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi nationalist leader of the Mahdi Army.
The US which has spent $400 billion removing the Ba’athists from government, and has fought them in Al Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit, Baquba and Baghdad, is now seeking to work with them against Iran, and its supporters.
The leader of the Mahdi Army is still wanted under an arrest warrant issued at the behest of the US military, who not so long ago were vowing to hang him.
The Mahdi army has fought two insurrections against the US army in which it killed hundreds of US soldiers. It now currently controls a major part of Baghdad, Sadr City, and many districts of Basra.
The US generals now respectfully refer to Moqtada al-Sadr by using his full religious title and they are overjoyed that he has decided to extend his truce with the US forces.
They are now wooing Moqtada al-Sadr as determinedly as they have been wooing the Ba’athists.
History has been turned on its head by the US failure to defeat the Iraqi insurgents and its need to bring together an anti-Iranian bloc.
In fact, the president of Iran is due to visit Iraq shortly at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister.
This visit is certain to bring the tensions between the Iraqi factions to the boil.
Turkey meanwhile has organised its intervention into the north, which it still claims as part of its territory all the way up to and including the Mosul oil fields.
Turkey is getting into position to grab this territory in the event of the collapse of the puppet government amidst a withdrawal of US troops.
No doubt Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran are getting ready for the same eventuality, to carve up the country, should it be seen to be collapsing.
It is in this situation that the Iraqi insurgents must unite to concentrate their forces in the struggle to end the occupation by driving out all the US forces, just as the British and the Australians have been driven out.
This will prepare the way to form a government of national liberation that will hold the country together and rapidly rebuild it, using Iraq’s considerable oil wealth, that the imperialists wanted to steal, to do so.