The US troops started disarmingKurdish militia in northern Iraq Saturday, while warning Turkey notto arm the Turkmen to pit the two ethnic groups against each otherin the area.
In Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, Peshmerga fighters loyal tothe Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) yielded to unequaled Americanfirepower after initial resistance.
The US military said the operation was intended to push theTurkish Peshmerga out so as to pave the way for setting up a civilgovernment there and to clear the worries of Turkey.In the wake of Baghdad's easy fall into the hands of the US-ledcoalition forces on April 9, hundreds of peshmerga entered Mosuland another northern oil city of Kirkuk.
The Kurdish militia were soon in bloody confrontation with localTurkmen, who speak the same launguage as in neighboring Turkey andhave asked Ankara to protect them from attacks by peshmerga.Turkey fears that Iraqi Kurdish groups could try to seizecontrol of the area, gaining resources that could help fund anindependent Kurdish state.
Some 1,000 Turkish special troops dressed in civilian clothesoperating in northern Iraq have reportedly provided the Turkmenwith weapons to stave off any Kurdish attack against them in thefuture.
US ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson told Turkish ForeignMinister Abdullah Gul Friday that arming the Turkmen would provokea Kurdish outcry and destabilize northern Iraq.