The Magazine

Enabling Kurdish Illusions

Independence isn't in the cards.

Mar 19, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 26 • By MICHAEL RUBIN
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Nor would fear of European disapproval deter Ankara from attacking PKK bases. Too many European leaders have already made clear that Turkey has no hope of entering the European Union. And polls show the Turkish public no longer looks favorably upon E.U. membership. Turkish officials understand that even if they receive no green light from Washington, the only consequence of a cross-border raid would be to force Iraqi officials to seal their northern border.

It would be ironic if, while the surge is beginning to show success in Baghdad, Senate leaders undercut Iraq's integrity. The Biden-Gelb plan may look good on paper. So did the Oslo Accords and, for that matter, the Bush administration's emphasis on holding free elections where they had never before been held. But in each case, good intentions were undermined by the same Achilles' heel: the unwillingness of U.S. officials to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward incitement and terrorism.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders continue to shelter the PKK. Whether their support is active or passive is irrelevant, for there are no acceptable levels of support for terror. Nor is it responsible to undercut the security of a long-term NATO ally like Turkey. Until Iraqi Kurdish leaders expel terrorists in their midst and renounce interests beyond Iraq's border, any congressional encouragement of ethnic federalism risks plunging the region into chaos.

Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, recently returned from both Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey.