69 million page views

More war.

Reader comment on item: Making Sense of the Ankara Bombing

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Oct 13, 2015 at 06:49

The victims were Kurds, Leftists, Alevis and Secular young people -- all opponents of Erdogan and the ruling AKP. It's hard to believe that anyone other than Erdogan and his cronies could have been responsible. As one article said,

"suspicion of responsibility for Saturday's attacks will inevitably also fall on ultra-nationalist groups, including the shadowy Grey Wolves Turkish nationalist group and rightwing elements within Turkey's security apparatus."
-- http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/10/turkey-bombing-ankara-many-will-have-seen-this-attack-coming

It is good that the PKK declared a ceasefire, almost simultaneously with the Ankara attack -- a ceasefire pointedly ignored by Erdogan, who followed it up by attacks on Kurdish areas that killed dozens. Today's Zaman, the news outlet of the Gulen movement, predicts that many will switch from the opposition Nationalist party to the pro-Kurdish HDP, because of the attack:

"The Alevi, leftist and young supporters of the Republican People's Party (CHP) are more inclined to support the HDP now. The inclination of all Alevis towards the HDP will be the end of the CHP." -- http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/hasan-kanbolat/how-will-the-ankara-attack-affect-nov-1_401335.html

How will that affect the election? As it stands, the Islamist AKP has only a minority of representatives in Parliament because the voters split 3 ways last time, voting for AKP, CHP and HDP. Turkey has the highest threshold of votes required to attain seats in Parliament (10%), of all countries with parliamentarian systems. If the CHP falls below this threshold in the coming election, the AKP could snatch a majority against the HDP. That would be Erdogan's every wish come true.

So, who were the main victims of the attack? Erdogan's enemies. And who stands to benefit the most from the attack? Erdogan. Golly -- that's motive and opportunity! Surprize, surprize!

THE CHANGING PICTURE IN SYRIA

The Russian intervention in Syria seems to have really changed the dynamics of the region. Now,

  • Assad is protected against all his enemies
  • Russia has gotten stuck in a Middle East tar baby, similar to what the US did in Vietnam in the '60s,
  • Obama had largely given up on the idea of Sunni Arab support in Syria, and thrown in his lot with the Syrian Kurds -- who, ironically, support the PKK and HDP opponents of Erdogan. Isn't that a fine kettle of fish?
  • The Israelis seem to have worked out a deal with the Russians, sharing intelligence on Syria.

How will all this work out? For Israel; because Hizbullah now has three countries restraining it from reckless action: Syria, Iran and Russia. For Assad, this is good news: The Russians have saved his neck. For ISIS, I think this is good: Their greatest asset has been their ability to inspire Islamic Sunni youth to fight the "Infidel" Jews, Christians Shiites and others. I don't think that appeal will diminish any time soon; the transformation of the fight in Syria to a defense against the Russian Crusader "invasion" and "occupation" will even give them additional street cred. It may be harder for them to hold some cities, highways, etc.; but that should actually be a relief, because they're abominable as governors. If they lose ground in Syria and Iraq, they can easily fan out into Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Xinjiang.

For the Russians, I don't think this is such a good deal, nor is it for Erdogan's Turkey, nor especially for the Syrian people -- and hence for the Europeans, who have to care for their refugees. In order to stop bumping into one another, the Russians and NATO may carve Syria into two mutually-exclusive "no fly zones" -- the Russians taking the south and central parts, and NATO focussing on the north and east -- in other words, on Syrian Kurdistan and environs. This will be good for the Syrian Kurds, at least in the short run, because the Americans will be materially helping them; unlike the Turks, who wanted to establish a no-fly zone over the Kurds in order to contain them.

What happens in the South, is anyone's guess. DEBKA says the Lebanese army has gone on alert against the threat of ISIS fleeing the Russians in Syria, to establish a new base in Lebanon. That would be a viable tactic: The Russians are sticking their necks out in Syria; do they want to get sucked into Lebanon as well? They aren't beholden to the Lebanese, as they are to Syria's Assad.

Back to the Kurds, consider the following headlines:

  • Syrian Kurdish forces see Raqqa assault 'within weeks' -- October 13, 2015
  • Iraqi Kurdistan PM sacks four Gorran ministers after violent unrest: spokesman -- October 13, 2015

Kurdistan may well be in for a civil war, between the pro-Turkish Barzanni faction and the anti-ISIS, pro-American groups.

All in all, what I see happening in Syria and Iraq (and possibly Lebanon as well) is more war. Add Turkey to that list, If Erdogan can't find any way to avoid a civil war there.

Shalom shalom

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)