(Ankara, Turkey) Thousands of Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq today in order to pursue suspected Kurdish guerrillas who are known to operate from bases in border areas.
Two senior Turkish security officials, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said that the raid was limited in scope. Moreover, this does represent the type of full-scale incursion that Turkish leaders have hinted at in recent weeks.
"It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands," one of the officials told the Associated Press.
US officials have not issued a response, except to indicate that they have not been able to confirm the incursion into Iraq. The last significant Turkish troop movement into northern Iraq was in 1997, when Turkey deployed about 50,000 troops.
The move by the Turks could mean that regional powers are growing weary of the sectarian violence that threatens to spill over from Iraq. The very real threat of a disintegrating Iraq could result in a multipartite splintering of Iraq into zones of influence, with Turkey, Ian, Saudi Arabia, and several other nations seeking autonomous client states as buffers against hegemonic actions by other actors.