Turkey allows U.S. troops; Saddam to Iraqis: “lock and load!”
Whoa. Turkey has apparently reversed course and will now allow its territory to be used by U.S. troops.
There are no details on how all this will go down yet, but the Turkish lira slid to a new low against the dollar, suggesting at least one reason for Turkey’s sudden conversion.
Materiél and equipment has been transiting the country for weeks, but no troops other than a token contingent of “base inspectors.” Most of the boats that were always described as “idling off the Turkish coast” have split for the Suez Canal and Kuwait. What good is this reversal?
Well, as reported before, hanging back until it was too late to offer much help (except maybe overflight rights) was probably Turkey’s plan along. But now that Erdogan is Prime Minister, he’s going to do all he can to prove his intentions to Washington. Perhaps he’s reasoning that if Turkey’s help is too little, too late that can hardly be blamed on him, can it?
Meanwhile, farther south, average Iraqis are apparently arming themselves in preparation of the chaos that will surely follow the onset of hostilities, um, Wednesday? It’s apparently an old cultural tradition of Iraqis, but this time — surprise! — it’s been encouraged by the Ba’ath regime.
But the real danger is not that Iraqis will start firing on American troops but on each other. “No one knows at whom these weapons will be pointed and after a U.S. strike we might see a new Iraq, in the Lebanese or Algerian style,” an Arab diplomat said.