69 million page views

Turkish plans to invade (ahem -- "provide havens in") Syria and Iraq

Reader comment on item: Will Turks Accept the Election Results?
in response to reader comment: Once Again - Hostility Towards Democracy - Turkish Style

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Nov 5, 2015 at 14:43

Hi, Tovey. You said,

"Americans should be wary as well; for democracy neither protects rights nor protects itself when the form of government is twisted to suit the powers that be."

That's true; but the main problem isn't defending our right to elect politicians (which are inevitably bought and sold anyway by Big Money), but the fact that Americans themselves, voting or no, are getting insidiously sucked into a faith and lifestyle that looks good but leads to death. By this, of course, I mean the Atheist Utopia of free sex and drugs and a Nanny State. The saying is true, "You can't fight Santa Claus and win".

You continued,

"Turkey is involved in its redefinition away from that which was started in the 1920's"

I think that's becoming painfully obvious to readers here. Also,

"But democratic he is not"

That is also probably true; but as in the American case as well, Democracy at its best can only allow the people to have their will; and if the majority want an Islamic state, as seems to be the case in Turkey, this spells trouble no matter who the Sultan is. The record of true and sort-of democracies (such as India, Brazil and South Africa) voting in the UN is that the popular will of most of the world favors the destruction of both Israel and the US.

The big issue here isn't protecting democracy from dictatorship, but what the man in charge plans to to concerning Israel and the US. The following is from a notorious rumor mill, DEBKAfiles, quoting an unreliable Turkish source; but "leaks" like this can be useful for sensing the intentions of leaders:

"Turkish FM says Ankara planning operation against ISIS in Iraq
DEBKAfile November 5, 2015, 12:24 PM (IDT)
Turkey's Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said Wednesday that his country is planning a large-scale operation against ISIS in Iraq that will begin within days. DEBKAfile sources, however, consider the statement to be unreliable, estimating that there is little chance of Turkey carrying out such an operation."

For once, I suspect that DEBKA may be uncharacteristically erring on the side of caution here. Both Turkey and the US have been trumpeting a crusade against ISIS that in reality consists of a very few wet-noodle-strong airstrikes against an occasional building or Toyota; while the Russians are mounting a muscular attack on ISIS on behalf of their client, Bashar al-Assad. Beneath the surface, it's politics as usual: Obama will do anything to keep negative press from happening; which in a wartime sitation translate to actually doing anything. The Turks, meanwhile, have been conducting business as usual: striking not at ISIS but at their age-old enemies and scapegoats, the Kurds... Not just any Kurds, though:

Turkey's President Erdogan is close friends with Kurdish crime boss and regional leader Massoud Barzani, who illegally sells Kurdish oil to the world, often to Israeli customers. The Turks, of course, get transit income for this, and Barzani likely pockets most of the proceeds for himself and his family: The Kurdish people get little or nothing, and there seems to be no public accounting of the deals. From the Turkish political perspective, Barzani is a useful puppet because he spies on and allows the Turks to come attack the secular Kurdish PKK forces who are, in turn, at the forefront of attacking ISIS not only in Syria but also in Iraq. PKK, by the way, are Northern Kurds, whereas Barzani's Kurdish Regional Government are mostly Southern Kurds; and the Kurds are much more clannish than nationalist. It's like the Campbells massacring the MacDonalds.

As for ISIS, this land-locked entity obviously wouldn't have a chance if it weren't for a continual resupply and black market trade with Turkey. On the western end, Turkey has been actively conducting airstrikes against Kurdish forces fighting ISIS; in fact, they've brazenly proclaimed as much in the face of Obama sending 50 GIs to ostensibly help the Syrian Kurds -- though actually, those GIs are probably there to spy on the Kurds for the Turks, and keep them in check, just as the Yank troops in Israel do on their Jewish allies. The Kurds are no fools, and they are negotiating with the Russians for REAL support at the same time they're doing sham service for their American frenemies.

On the eastern ISIS front, ISIS is also doing a brisk black market trade in oil, weapons, etc., with Barzani's Southern Kurds. The reader might note that the Southern Kurds of Iraq are primarily clannish and conservative, compared to their Northern neighbors in Turkey and Syria. In those northern climes, the PKK is most popular. It is a secular and socialist movement that is famous for its spunky female fighters.

Turkey has been threatening for some time, to send troops into the western ISIS areas, which split the Syrian Kurdish areas of control in two. Ostensibly, this would be to provide a "safe zone" for Syrian refugees; but in reality, it would be to stifle the Kurds and protect the supply lines of ISIS. On the eastern front, in Iraq, a Turkish invasion would serve the purpose of again protecting ISIS supply lines (and thus giving Erdogan some control over the Islamists), and also of protecting KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) Prezident Massoud Barzani from his political enemies -- Barzani's term of office expired in August, and he has not allowed elections for a replacement.

From the east and from the west, then, Turkey has designs on Iraqi and Syrian territory, designs that are inexorably drawing it closer to conflict with Israel. It looks like this process will take some time. It is being impeded by American political constraint, and by Russian and Iranian military support for Assad.

On that front, the Iranians seem to be performing poorly; and the Russians may be open to cutting a deal with the Americans and Europeans to extricate them from a messy situation. The latest scent in the breeze is that some sort of sham or real transitional arrangement would be put in place, so Assad could make a dignified exit to Russia or some other destination of choice. That spells personal disaster for the Syrian dictator, of course, because he will probably immediately be tried by the ICC for "genocide" and become everyone's sacrificial lamb. Russia's main interest is to maintain its naval facilities at Tartus.

I don't imagine peace breaking out on that front any time soon.

Shalom shalom :-)


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.)