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Syrian Slaughterhouse
Turkey Sets Its Sights on the Kurds
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  • Anthony

    In line with DM’s fine overview, consider the Turks don’t want a Kurdish mini-state on their frontier any more that the Syrians want to lose territory to the Kurds.The above piece brings to mind the idea (in some quarters) that “the West would love to believe that Turkey;s army in Syria all 10 tanks of it are striking at last at everyone’s enemy, the blood-soaked cult of the Islamic State.” See:

  • James Banks

    The problem with this analysis is that it diminishes too much the roles of the proxies themselves and discusses the conflict as though it were a direct war between the US, Russia and Turkey. For this reason, it underestimates the advantage that the US might be able to exploit from having Turkey in the region. As Turkey continues to push the interests of Sunni rebels, the proxies of it and Russia will likely lock horns on new fronts, which will make both Turkey and Russia realize that they do not have many interests in common in the Syrian Civil War. They may continue gestures toward reconciliation as they share common values, but without common interests this new found friendship will become essentially meaningless. Meanwhile, there is now more potential for the rebels to take Raqqah (something which, from the American perspective, is much better than allowing the SAA to drive ISIL from the city). There never was much possibility for the Kurds to take Raqqah–at least not in a way that would have been welcomed by the city’s Arabic population. Finally, the Kurdish withdrawal across the Euphrates may allow for them to continue their implied co-belligerence with the SAA which could open the door to Kurdish autonomy (if not independence) in northeast Syria after ISIL is defeated. The US has had quite a few failures in Syria, but it isn’t clear yet that this is one of them.

    • To be fair, I really did try to not have this be a post proclaiming the imminent failure of U.S. policy, such as it is. There has long been this unresolved tension in our relationship with Turkey over our support of the Kurds, and we’re having to endure some uncomfortable moments as we try to balance those competing loyalties.

      There are certainly many ways that this could all work itself out into a meaningful breakthrough of some sort, especially if wise statesmanship breaks out on all sides. I’m not terribly optimistic about that happening, but it could come to pass.

  • Pete

    Turkey out of NATO … now!

    • f1b0nacc1

      Lets save time…US out of NATO…now!

      If NATO wants to continue to tolerate the Turks, let them do it on their own nickel.

  • gabrielsyme

    How many times can the Obama administration hang the Kurds out to dry? Obama supported the Maliki regime long after its malevolent hostility to both the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs became apparent; he refused to enable the Kurds to market their oil except through Maliki and the central Iraqi government; he declined to arm the peshmerga even as the Islamic State flourished and threatened the Kurds – to the extent that the peshmerga were forced to retreat due to shortages of ammunition, resulting in the genocide of the Yazidis. Now the US is busy giving Ankara the go-ahead to war against an aligned Kurdish force that is fighting ISIS.

    Unbelievably incompetent. Who will risk being an American ally when this is the degree of support they receive?

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