US Scrambles to Contain Flaring Turkey-Iraq Tensions

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Source: Voice of America

U.S. officials are scrambling to contain flaring tensions between Ankara and Baghdad after Turkish officials announced their troops Sunday shelled Islamic State positions near the Iraqi city of Mosul – an artillery barrage, the Turks say, requested by Kurdish peshmerga commanders.

A dispute between Baghdad and Ankara over Turkey’s insistence on participating in the retaking of Mosul has simmered for months, prompting Western alarm over yet another complication in a highly complex military campaign involving an unruly alliance of many rival forces to oust IS militants from Iraq’s second largest city.

In the run-up to the Mosul offensive, launched a week ago, U.S. officials struggled to resolve disputes between anti-IS allies – Iraqis, Shi’ite militias, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s forces and local Sunni tribesmen. One of the thorniest disagreements has revolved around Turkey’s demand that it play a role in ousting the jihadists from Mosul and its insistence on having a “seat at the table” when it comes to how the city is governed after the militants’ ouster.

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