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Kurdish Conundrum
Erdogan Hints at New Military Action in Syria
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  • Beauceron

    I always feel bad for the Kurds.
    If there was one group in the Syrian war that was worth supporting, it may have been them, despite the weird communist personality cult they’ve got going on. Still, in Iraq, they’ve been both stable and relatively solid partners. In Syria they protected Yazidis and Christians alike. They let women become soldiers and are, relatively speaking, pretty modern minded.
    Erogan, on the other hand, seems intent on dragging his country back a century.

  • D4x

    Erdogan’s Saturday Aug. 5 speech must have assumed ongoing Russian-American dialog on the de-escalation zones in Syria had been stopped by HR3364 sanctions. Erdogan was prepping for the next Astana Agreement talks in Teheran Aug. 8-9, with Russia-Iran-Turkey.

    A few hours ago, Al-Monitor posted this very informative report on FM Lavrov’s bilateral with Sec. Tillerson on Sunday, Aug. 6, at the ASEAN meet in Manila:

    “US and Russian officials will try to maintain contacts concerning world hotspots within the limits impose by US sanctions on the
    Kremlin. Author Maxim A. Suchkov Posted August 7, 2017”

    “…Lavrov and Tillerson’s Aug. 6 meeting in Manila, which lasted about an hour, kicked off, according to Lavrov,

    with Tillerson’s “being interested in details of the decision [on the expulsion of American
    diplomats] that we took in retaliation to the anti-Russian sanctions law. … We
    waited for a long time, expecting that the US would not take the
    confrontational course. But unfortunately the Russophobic bias of members of
    Congress prevailed.” Remarkably, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment, despite
    the sanctions, to the Putin-Trump Hamburg agreements “to get the cooperation
    started on cybersecurity and a joint effort against cybercrimes and the
    prevention of them.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry also hopes for contacts with the
    State Department on the North Korea problem, saying such communications “would
    be useful.” Moscow is also expecting Kurt Volker, the US envoy on Ukraine, to
    meet with his Russian counterpart Vladislav Surkov “very soon.” Similarly,
    Russian diplomacy has seemingly special hopes for the Ryabkov-Shannon mechanism
    as a main (crisis) communication channel for bilateral relations, where US
    Undersecretary Thomas Shannon has contact with Russian counterpart Sergei
    Ryabkov.

    A big part of the Tillerson-Lavrov conversation was devoted
    to three issues affecting Middle East security: the situation in Afghanistan,
    the intra-Gulf spat and the state of affairs in Syria. Lavrov emphasized that
    “the contacts between Russians and Americans will continue to build on the
    agreements reached between Russia, the US and Jordan on the creation of the
    southern de-escalation zone in Syria. We expect our contacts with the US to
    continue on other aspects of the Syrian settlement — both military and
    political ones. Essentially these contacts have never ceased.”

    The issue of the de-escalation zones was also discussed by
    Lavrov in his ASEAN meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The
    two exchanged views on the progress on implementation of the Astana agreements
    and the upcoming meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian representatives in
    Tehran scheduled for Aug. 8-9. The agenda of the meeting is believed to be
    focused on “consolidation of the de-escalation zones in Syria.” Now that the
    three such zones are in place in the southwest of Syria, in Eastern Ghouta and
    in northern Homs, “the parties are working on the fourth one in Idlib, which is
    the biggest and most complex,” Lavrov said.

    Asked if Moscow was disturbed that the militants who refused to sign the cease-fire had left for Idlib, Lavrov said of the fourth de-escalation zone: “This is indeed the most difficult zone to establish of all those agreed upon by Russia, Turkey and Iran. We are coming to the belief that the ‘troika,’ as well as other players, including possibly the US, have influence in the aggregate over all militant and armed groupings, excluding terrorists who will never be a part of such agreements. If Russia, Turkey and Iran as well as the US-led coalition simultaneously use their influence over concrete actors that are fighting each other on the ground, then some compromise-based proposals can be found that would aid cease-fires and create conditions for the political process.” …”

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/us-russia-syria-dialogue-despite-sanctions.html

    [ADDING: Russia deployed Chechen ‘military police’ to Afrin, until Russia decides what to do about Erdogan’s obsession with Kurds.
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/how-moscow-gaining-upper-hand-post-islamic-state-syria-1617659604
    Not sure the status now, but, Afrin’s Kurds were being protected from Turkish assault. Afrin is NOT dependent on US presence in Rojava.]

  • FriendlyGoat

    Chalk up another usage of “drain the swamp” as a vague phrase which really means attack the good guys and roll back both progress and freedom.

  • Attila_the_hun

    One way or another Syria will be divided along ethnic lines And Turkey has no veto power over it. The question is Erdo crazy or suicidal enough to try to prevent it?

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