A U.S. Congress report calls the role of Turkey as the key to
in the current war against Iraq.
Congressional sources said Turkey's refusal to allow passage for
troops to Iraq has prevented the formation of a second front. They said
Ankara's policy has significantly damaged U.S. Central Command
plans for a quick war against the regime of President Saddam Hussein.
The report by the Congressional Research Service provided the first
official glimpse of the extent to which U.S. military plans were based
Turkey's cooperation in the war, Middle East Newsline reported.
The United States had asked Turkey to
62,000 troops to form a northern front against Baghdad. Ankara refused
instead limited cooperation to the U.S. military
use of Turkish air space.
"The attitude of the Turkish government towards U.S. military action
against Iraq was a very important consideration for U.S. military
the report entitled "Iraq: U.S.
Military Operations," said. "The Turkish parliament's rejection of a
proposal allowing U.S. ground troops to operate from Turkey delivered a
setback to Centcom planners, though Centcom spokesmen have downplayed
impact of the Turkish decision upon their prospects for a successful
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to
in Ankara to meet Turkish leaders regarding the war in Iraq. U.S.
said Powell will urge the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep
to ease restrictions on the use of Turkish territory and air space for
forces heading toward Iraq.
The congressional report, based on open-source information, said the
U.S. 4th Mechanized Infantry Division had been designated to attack from
wake of Ankara's refusal, the division was diverted to Kuwait.
"Aside from permitting air operations from Incirlik and other bases,
Turkish cooperation would also have provided an easier approach for a
northern front for U.S. ground operations," the report said. "Now, it
appears, that U.S. airborne and air assault troops coming from Kuwait
assigned this mission. Though very difficult, mountainous terrain
challenges in this area, if the United States intends to coopt the
indigenous Kurdish opposition forces as part of its attack strategy, a
significant troop presence in northern Iraq is crucial."
The report said the U.S. military strategy for the war against Iraq
"greatly dependent upon the continued cooperation of regional nations
substantial staging areas/airbases and has required months to deploy the