Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG) President Massud Barzani says that he is determined to avoid getting drawn into the ongoing Syrian Civil War, but he looks to be making the first steps in that direction today, announcing his intention to strike against “terrorist criminals” in Syrian Kurdistan.
By that Barzani means the jihadist factions within Syria’s rebellion, notably the Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been attacking targets across Syrian Kurdistan with an eye toward taking border crossings into Turkey.
Barzani has raised the prospect of sending troops from the Peshmerga to Syria before to protect Kurdish civilians, but never actually did so. The late September attack on the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Arbil looks like it might be the tipping point, however.
The Iraqi Kurds have no real interest in aiding the Assad government in Syria, but the constant al-Qaeda probing against their Syrian is going to put them on roughly the same side in an increasingly complex, multi-faceted civil war.