At a time when the United States needs Turkey to focus on its role in Syria, Washington is at odds with Ankara over Turkey’s unauthorized deployment of troops in northern Iraq. The squabble is just the latest example of the disconnect between the U.S. and Turkey, which the White House will have to manage as part of its strategy for the region. The divergent interests of the American and Turkish governments constitute the biggest factor obstructing international efforts against the Islamic State.
In a Dec. 16 phone conversation with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sought to defuse tensions between Ankara and Baghdad that have been brewing for several weeks now. The Iraqis have been demanding that Turkey pull its forces that were deployed near Mosul for the purposes of training Iraqi militias to fight against the Islamic State, however, the Turks have been largely defiant.
Turkish military interventions in Iraq complicate the pre-existing p
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