Iraq Downplays Dispute, But Militias Threaten to Confront Turkish Forces

Badr Brigade: Troops 'Will Pay Dearly Because of Turkish Arrogance'

Iraq has approached the UN Security Council and NATO over last Friday’s incursion of Turkish troops into the Nineveh Province, but officials tried to downplay the dispute, saying they believe bilateral talks with Turkey will ultimately resolve the situation.

Shi’ite militias backing the Iraqi government don’t seem to be on the same page, however, with some threatening direct attacks on the Turkish troops, and the largest, the Badr Brigade, vowing the unwelcome forces “will pay dearly because of Turkish arrogance.

In practice, the Shi’ite militias are nowhere near the Turkish troops, so near-term clashes are unlikely, but it does reflect an atmosphere of growing mistrust between the two sides in the ISIS battle, not to mention the struggles by the central government to get pre-approval over military deployments into Iraq.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that the troops were approved by the Iraqi government back in 2014, though the Iraqi government denies this. Several hundred new troops arrived Friday, which began the dispute, though troops were already in Nineveh on a training operation before this.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.