October 9, 2019

"Will Turkey sacrifice its entire economy to attack the Kurds?"



Background:

"Turkey Begins Syria Incursion, Targeting Militia Backed by U.S." (NYT):
Turkey launched a planned military incursion into northeastern Syria on Wednesday aimed at flushing out a Syrian militia backed by the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about where Turkish forces had entered Syria or how far in they would go.
"The world must support Turkey’s plan for northeastern Syria," by Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s communications director.(WaPo):
Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs. Having suffered dozens of casualties in Islamic State attacks, Turkey was the first country to deploy combat forces to fight the terrorists in Syria. Our country also helped the Free Syrian Army keep thousands of Islamic State militants behind bars for years. It is in our interest to preserve what the United States has accomplished, and to ensure that history does not repeat itself....

Erdogan unveiled the details of Turkey’s “safe zone” plan at the United Nations General Assembly last month. Turkey estimates that up to 2 million Syrian refugees will volunteer to live in a 20-mile secure area spanning from the Euphrates River to the Syria-Iraq border. If the safe zone’s southern border reaches the Deir ez Zor-Raqqa line, that number could reach 3 million, including refugees currently in Europe.

Turkey will build on its past experiences in northern Syria to keep the safe zone secure and stable. We believe that the Syrian people are best equipped to govern themselves through elected local councils. It is crucial to support and foster local political representation in order to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State in northeastern Syria. In predominantly Kurdish areas, such as Afrin, Turkey oversaw the creation of local governing bodies with a Kurdish majority. The same will go for predominantly Kurdish parts of northeastern Syria. Our goal is to supplement those steps with international infrastructure investment for schools, hospitals and housing.

America has borne the brunt of the counter-Islamic State campaign for too long. Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest army, is willing and able to take the lead now and drive it home, bringing millions of refugees back to Syria in the process. At this critical juncture, the international community must rally behind Turkey’s rebuilding and stabilization efforts.

93 comments:

henry said...

At some point, the locals need to take care of themselves. Installing judeo-christian democracy on top of Islam as a state building exercise hasn't anywhere worked yet.

Richard Dolan said...

In that part of the world, events have a nasty habit of confounding the best laid plans.

Birches said...

WaPo spent all last year siding with Turkey over KSM. Now they have to keep backing them even if it puts them on the approximate same side as Orange Man Bad?

Popcorn please. The readers aren't going to like this.

Ken B said...

Adams asks the wrong question. The right question is not “are the Turks rational and trustworthy” but why should we risk them not being either. I don’t ask myself the question, can all my neighbors be trusted, I just lock my door.

Nonapod said...

It sure seems like Erdogan wants to establish The Ottoman Empire Version 2.0.

Kevin said...

Trust, but retain the ability to make the other side sacrifice their entire economy.

Levi Starks said...

They should be careful, they might accidentally cross a line drawn by a Nobel peace prize winner some few years ago.

narayanan said...

Turkey will learn what they have been trying to get Israel to unlearn

Fernandistein said...

Anagrams for: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

First one: A Cad Eyeing Property

Fernandistein said...

This documentary about Turkish foodstuffs explains a lot.

Narr said...

Fern's anagram wins it.

Let's do as old Ed Luttwak recommended and Give War A Chance.

Narr
Better the Turk than a bunch of grabasstic fanatics

Kevin said...

I just lock my door.

Sounds like a better strategy than going across town and declaring yourself the neighborhood watch.

Kevin said...

The Trump Doctrine: When we run out of people to kill, its time for us to leave.

GatorNavy said...

I have briefly reviewed the latest hysterical uttering's from the media, the politicians and the expert group thinkers over at the Pentagon. My conclusion is none of them have any skin in the game whatsoever or a coherent thought process concerning the Kurds and Syria. The fact of the matter, Turkey is a member of NATO, the Kurds are not. If we are to change the NATO treaty and kick out the Turks, Congress must do some heavy lifting to change the NATO treaty in conjunction with the President. The swanning brass over at the Pentagon needs to shut up and quit trying to get in the spotlight. Congress needs to shut up and perform the job they were elected for and deal with illegal immigration, the deficit and passing a real budget that involve compromise. One of the campaign promises that the President made was to get out of this Syrian mess and the President decided to keep his promise. But he should shut the hell as well.

J. Farmer said...

@GatorNavy:

One of the campaign promises that the President made was to get out of this Syrian mess and the President decided to keep his promise.

Troops are not being withdrawn from Syria. They’ve simply been redeployed to another part of the country.

gspencer said...

"Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria"

Same line given in 1974 for their military occupation of Cyprus. They're still there.

Big Mo told them to fight until the whole world worshiped their Allah.

rcocean said...

Its Munich all over again. The Ottoman Empire is on the March. The USA must stop it - before its too late!

Seriously, the capacity of our Military leaders and Foreign policy elite to obsess over every detail of every tiny struggle/conflict all over the world is amazing. And I wonder how many pundits and commentators could pass a simple 10 question quiz about the Kurds/Turkey and the whole situation.

Big Mike said...

Erdogan thinks Trump is bluffing. Trump knew that Erdogan would think that, but said what he said anyway. Ergo, Trump is not bluffing.

rcocean said...

The Kurds have never been a country. They're in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq and all three countries regard them as a troublesome minority. As far as I can tell, no one in the USA cared about them until we invaded Iraq, at which time they became our "Noble Allies". They then faded into the background, as people forgot them again. Now they can used as a stick to beat trump with, so they're now our "Noble allies who must not be betrayed". Prediction: In two months they will be forgotten - again.

Michael K said...

Nothing in WaPoo or the NYT can be trusted, especially if Trump is concerned in any way. We spent 28 years protecting the Kurds. It's not as if they were Christians, who we have ignored.

jr565 said...

There are actually three factions of Kurds. They are not homogoneous. There is one faction that Turkey has legimitate grounds to attack. Since they are terrorists. And we may not want to back those terrorists to block Turkey on the grounds that the Kurds are our allies. Not all of them.

Michael K said...

Troops are not being withdrawn from Syria. They’ve simply been redeployed to another part of the country.

You would never know that from the press.

rcocean said...

Never trumper: Trump's withdrawing troops from Syria. That's INSANE. Congress must act.
News: He's just re-deploying them to another part of Syria.
Never Trumper: Trump is lying again. He promised to withdraw the troops.

narciso said...

and they are closing the air corridor, when we had 150,000 troops in Iraq, the Turkish army struck targets in Kurdistan during the time eric Edelman, then ambassador there, now cited in the dinghy, (my name for the Omidyar dispatch,) not so much for the islamists the then seeking sanctuary in Syria,

narciso said...

the pkk is the most militant, the pdp is less so, the sdk is the compromise,

Yancey Ward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yancey Ward said...

I think the Turks will attack, but I think the Turks greatly overestimate their own capabilities, and they will run into the exact same problem we ran into in Afghanistan and Iraq- guerilla warfare can ultimately defeat the most professional invading armies, and I doubt the Turkish army is any more professionally effective than the various Arab armies have proven over the last 60 years. I predict the Kurdish problem for the Turks grows exponentially from this point forward.

Trump made the right decision, though. We cannot police the world, and shouldn't even try to. These people in the Middle East need to work this out amongst themselves- our involvement hasn't improved the situation either.

rcocean said...

Here's some questions for the F.P. gurus:

What is the purpose of the US having troops in Syria?
Did the Syrian Government ask us to send troops?
If not, why are we ignoring the wishes of the Syrians?
What is "Victory" and how close are we to it?
When will the troops come home?

roesch/voltaire said...

Lets see who will guard the 11,000 ISIS fighters under the watch of the Kurds who now will have to defend themselves against Turkey with much less US aid, Good one Trump undercut our credibility with a reliable partner.

narayanan said...

Yancey Ward said...
These people in the Middle East need to work this out amongst themselves- our involvement hasn't improved the situation either.
__________________

They do manage to come here and reinvent their feuds and get USA involved.

Char Char Binks said...

I really don't care about Turkey, Turks, or Kurds.

AMERICA FIRST!

Clyde said...

Removing our troops from the border area was a mistake. Turkey wasn't stupid enough to attack the area if our troops were there. Now they are doing it. Hopefully the Kurds will bloody their noses.

mandrewa said...

It sure feels like a betrayal to me.

I don't understand this at all.

Realize I'm not believing anything the Washington Post or the New York Times says. I don't want to even hear their lies.

But we have been more or less allied with the Kurds in the Middle East since I think the first Gulf War. That's about 28 years. They were a major factor in the defeat of Saddam Hussein and then later Al-Queda and the Baathist remnants in Iraq.

There were a major factor in the defeat of Isis in Syria. And far more important than our fake ally Erdogan.

What is behind this? What actually is going on?

narciso said...

https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/09/top-military-officers-misfire-in-atlantic-hit-on-trump-foreign-policy/

madAsHell said...

Today's troublesome minority becomes tomorrow's affirmative action hire.

roesch/voltaire said...

Not to worry Trump in his infinite wisdom and knowledge certainly knows more than the pentagon or Linsey Graham and other Republican who oppose this change of support for the Kurds.

Michael K said...

R/V is on fire. Another reinvented neocon.

Sam L. said...

They might. Wouldn't put it past them.

bbkingfish said...

"What is behind this? What actually is going on?"

What is behind this, and what really is going on, is that Trump is trying to divert the news cycle away from the topic of impeachment.

gerry said...

Erdogan, with the full cooperation of China’s Xi Jinping, is planning to tie Turkey into the Chinese ‘Belt and Road’ project that China hopes will extend its spheres of control and of influence across Asia and into Europe.

The Chinese communists are up to their asses in the region. They are also suffering economically. Hong Kong is something they'd like to go away. And now, Turkey is upping the ante in a region in which the Chinese have invested heavily. It's now a Chinese problem.

FullMoon said...

roesch/voltaire said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Not to worry Trump in his infinite wisdom and knowledge certainly knows more than the pentagon or Linsey Graham and other Republican who oppose this change of support for the Kurds.


Very Inga-like, as are all your comments.

Keep hope alive.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Supremo said...

We ended WWII in less than 5 years on both sides of the world. I'd tell the Generals: "you had your chance in Syria." We should not enter any more conflicts unless we do it with overwhelming force to accomplish the mission immediately - collateral damage be damned, becuase in the end, it saves lives and treasure to do it hard and fast. What we have been doing is only encouraging our foes to ignore our threats and stretch it out. They have nothing better to do living in their hell hole sandboxes. They aren't interested in building a peaceful prosperous society, and haven't been for centuries. Sure some of them will kill each other, but we aren't stopping that anyway, becuase they don't know how to stop. Do we?

Iman said...

Provide support for a Kurdish state, let these people sort out their own region, or plan on U.S. boots on the ground in perpetuity.

J. Farmer said...

@mandrewa:

But we have been more or less allied with the Kurds in the Middle East since I think the first Gulf War. That's about 28 years.

I don't think "allied" is the appropriate term. We have made use of the Kurds when it has been in our security interests, and we've dropped them when it no longer was. This goes back at least to the 1970s.

El Supremo said...

"What is behind this, and what really is going on, is that Trump is trying to divert the news cycle away from the topic of impeachment."

That would be the first time a President ever tried that by disengaging in military operations. It's not a "wag the dog" - "it's leave the sleep". Yea, very attention getting.

As if the press would ever let Trump do such a thing. The media is part of the impeachment effort 100%. Which again proves that they are indeed the enemy of the people, or at least the enemy of democracy.

Big Mike said...

Turkey has no ambition ...

Didn't we hear something like that from Herr Hitler in the runup to the invasion of Poland in 1939?

Drago said...

bbkingfish: "What is behind this, and what really is going on, is that Trump is trying to divert the news cycle away from the topic of impeachment."

LOL

So much stupid.

Trump draws attention to the hoax "impeachment" effort every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Trump goes on Twitter egging the dems on in their impeachment delusions! Trump publicly dares the Democrats to go full speed ahead with an impeachment vote.

To morons like bbkingfish, these are examples of Trump trying to avoid the subject!!

LOL

If you were wondering how it is Trump is so easily able to outmaneuver the dem idiots, bbkingfish pops on in to give you a real time demonstration.

Drago said...

Leftists yesterday: Trump must support NATO more and help our beloved NATO allies more!!!

Leftists today: OMG!!!!eleventy!! Trump isn't standing up to a NATO member!!!

Rick said...

roesch/voltaire said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Lets see who will guard the 11,000 ISIS fighters under the watch of the Kurds who now will have to defend themselves against Turkey with much less US aid, Good one Trump undercut our credibility with a reliable partner.


It's always amusing watching the far left which cheerfully abandoned South Vietnam and helped obscure 1.5 million dead in the resulting re-education camps whine about undercutting an ally as if they don't value undermining American foreign policy as a positive outcome.

Hubert the Infant said...

I think that this goes to the "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" conundrum. Many Americans -- especially, unfortunately, Senator and Representatives from Massachusetts -- had the same issue with respect to the IRA. Turkey considers the PKK to be terrorists. Simply responding that the U.S. should protect the Kurds is not helpful

ga6 said...

On the subject of foreign military entanglements I must agree with Smedley Butler. (having been involved in three such entanglements at a young age).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

Michael K said...

What is behind this, and what really is going on, is that Trump is trying to divert the news cycle away from the topic of impeachment.

That must be why he tweets about every four hours. Come on you know better than this.

robother said...

You wonder how Afghanistan turned into America's longest war, with no prospect of ending? The Defense Department, the State Department and CIA each have a Kurdish desk, manned by folks with a career interest to protect, revolving doors to keep open. There is no American desk.

roesch/voltaire said...

Well the tweeter in chief has spoken, he called the invasion by Turkey a “bad idea.l that should make everyone feel better.

Hagar said...

Iran and Russia is now warning Turkey not to get carried away with their invasion of Syria or the Iranian/Iraqi/Syrian forces stand ready to resist.
The statements seem rather stately and lacking in fire though. I wonder if this is all stage managed or for real.

However, I do think the remaining "ISIS" fighters and their families are likely to be massacred along with a good many Kurdish independence supporters.

Calypso Facto said...

"We have made use of the Kurds when it has been in our security interests, and we've dropped them when it no longer was. This goes back at least to the 1970s."

And vice versa. The Kurds' focus is Kurdish interests, which means "alliance" with the US only when it suits them. Never forget that.

Jim at said...

Good one Trump undercut our credibility with a reliable partner. R/V

You forgot to scream about the Trump Towers in Istanbul. Step up your game.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Guise, definitely-not-a-chicken-hawk r/v is totally going over there to support the plans of the foreign policy experts who have done such a great job in the Middle East. He’s fully prepared to stay another 28 years, and 28 after that, too.

Rabel said...

The Kurds have a good PR operation here in the US.

chickelit said...

Kurds are in harm’s whey.

Ken B said...

Farmer:
“I don't think "allied" is the appropriate term. We have made use of the[m] when it has been in our security interests, and we've dropped them when it no longer was.”

Sounds like Vietnam Vets.

Ray - SoCal said...

From what I read it was moving 50 Soldiers.

The US had a choice. Either reinforce US Soldiers there, or move.

The US had partnered with former Russian / Communist supported Kurdish group, that Syria had in the past used as leverage against Turkey.

I expect the Kurds in Syria to make a deal with Assad / Russia in the near future.

Phidippus said...

To Scott Adams: Of course they would. When have Islamists ever cared about the side effects of their holy wars?

The ruling class will never even notice that anything is different.

The West will grumble and pretend to be shocked for a few months, then it will be back to business as usual.

I think Scott missed his Adderall today, or took MDMA instead by mistake.

cubanbob said...

Turkey is going to get itself once again stuck in the briar patch. The Arabs, the Persians and the Kurds all hate the Turks and the Turks them all back. The Kurds made two big mistakes, one is to have the PPK Communist keep picking at the Turks. The second was not killing every ISIS clown they captured.

Narr said...

r/v again: "who will guard the 11,000 ISIS fighters"?

Gather them in a large barren enclosure in the desert. Keep them there for a week w/o
provisions (as they would happily do to the Kurds, or to us) and they will be dead.

Very cheap, a few hundred well-armed Kurds who need light duty should do the trick.

Narr
It's been done before, with less excuse

narciso said...

reports of a victory, have been exaggerated,

https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2019/9-october-ground-attack-by-turkish-forces-has-been-repelled

Ken B said...

Michael K
Three theories:
He tweets about a Turkey to distract from impeachment.
He tweets about impeachment to distract from Turkey.
He tweets about both to distract from the economy.

Michael K said...

He tweets about both to distract from the economy.

You mean the 3.9% unemployment and Dow Jones 27,000 economy ?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"Good one Trump undercut our credibility with a reliable partner."

Absolutely. Given that so much of our trade and global strategic interests are tied up in our relationship with The Republic of...no, that's not it...I mean The United...no, wait...yeah, The Kurdish Union o...oh shit, that's not it either...

The Kurds are to America as the Palestinians are to Saudi Arabia. Here's some cash and here's some weapons but don't ever think we'll put your interests before ours.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

This post certainly aged quickly. No sooner was it posted than Turkey started bombing the Kurds. Seems like they don't give a fuck about what the Great Pumpkin thinks. Was that an option?

Lydia said...

The Great Leader says kiss off the Kurds because they "are fighting for their land, just so you understand. They’re fighting for their land. And as somebody wrote in a very very powerful article today: They didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example".

I can't even.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/465098-trump-defends-syria-move-the-kurds-didnt-help-us-in-normandy

roesch/voltaire said...

Even Liz Cheney has her eyes and ears open, not like some on this blog, and has denounced the sell out of the Kiurds by Trump.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Lefties now love American Empire!!!

mandrewa said...

Dave Rubin on our obligation to the Kurds in Syria.

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

Shouldn't we be bombing Istanbul now R/V and ARM? That's what stopped the Serbs during the Balkan War.

Drago said...

roesch/voltaire: "Even Liz Cheney has her eyes and ears open, not like some on this blog, and has denounced the sell out of the Kiurds by Trump."

The left has declared Liz Cheney to be a non-woman "woman" racist nazi warmonger white supremacist.

Now with Strange New Respect from R/V!!!

LOLOLOL

roesch/voltaire said...

Yes Liz Cheney is a huge lefty!

James Sarver said...

"Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs."

Yeah, right. And neither does Iran or Russia. Or the Kurds. Everybody just wants to do the right thing... and take their piece of a failed state.

As for abandoning the Kurds, nobody is taking away their weapons or their training or their access to intelligence. Erdogan is up for a nice bloody nose, taking on a well trained, well equipped, battle-hardened militia with his clunky, politicized military that recently sent a lot of its officer and pilot corps to prison or worse.

And its not like the Kurds were totally cool with being assimilated into a radical Sunni caliphate until we came along and got them to do our bidding against ISIS.

Iman said...

This is an interesting take from an ME policy specialist…

”Over the last few days, a host of former Obama officials have been repeating this story, which is highly misleading, to say the least. Rice and her colleagues would have us believe that Team Obama created a highly effective plan for stabilizing the Middle East by working through groups like the YPG, and Trump, mercurial and impulsive, is throwing it all away by seeking a rapprochement with Ankara. That’s nonsense. In fact, the close relationship with the YPG was a quick fix that bequeathed to Trump profound strategic dilemmas. Trump inherited from Obama a dysfunctional strategy for countering ISIS, one that ensured ever-greater turmoil in the region and placed American forces in an impossible position.

To be sure, the YPG are good fighters, and the American soldiers who have fought alongside them hold them in very high esteem. But the decision to make them the primary ally for defeating ISIS came at a hidden cost: the alienation of one of America’s closest allies. The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, the Kurdish separatist group in Turkey.

Designated as a terrorist group by the State Department, the PKK has prosecuted a long war against the Turkish Republic, resulting in the death of some 40,000 people.”

https://nypost.com/2019/10/08/how-obamas-team-set-up-trumps-syrian-dilemma/

Narr said...

Used to spell it Koords (see any old Britannicas). Now they're Kiurds ?

Ooh! Liz Cheney.

Narr
Bigfoot in da house!

Giovan Pietro Bellori said...

I’m talking about the lefty frauds in the comment section like you r/v.
Team Neocon 4evah r/v!!!

JamesB.BKK said...

Installing judeo-christian democracy on top of Islam as a state building exercise hasn't anywhere worked yet.

To be fair, that hasn't worked well anywhere else - to the extent it is even an arguably a true concept given that Judaism is axiomatically the rejection of Christianity. Opposites as modifiers suggests trickery IMHO.

JamesB.BKK said...

Perhaps Biden's only good idea was to allow for the breakup of the artificial construct that is Iraq. Let the Kurds' (Koords') nation have their own country. They might be able to attract Syrian Kurds to join and of course - which is the motivator of Turkey - those Kurds currently residing in the country that is the remains of an empire known as Turkey.

Narayanan said...

Trump giving NATO pop-quiz.

They don't even know what questions are being asked of them.

Drago said...

roesch/voltaire: "Yes Liz Cheney is a huge lefty!"

Note to self: r/v's already limited reading comprehension "skills" continue to atrophy at an accelerating rate.

That explains a great deal.

ISSUES THAT CONCERNS US said...

Turkey has resources and we have seen its concerns with US over Kurds in Iraq and adjoining countries. Its very less likely that there would could need of it.

Big Mike said...

Erdogan thinks Trump was bluffing. I’m waiting to see what Trump does in the way of economic sanctions. They have to bite deep or he really was bluffing.

Narr said...

Why should he sanction Turkey? Because they're mean to their mean neighbors and minorities?

Narr
Seriously

Michael K said...

One of the leakers has now been taken off the streets.

DIA employee and Trump hater is now in jkail and probably for a long time.

Remember the IG report, "the size of a telephone book," is coming out next week. Kyle Frese will have company soon.

Michael K said...

It looks like my comment about the Erdogan thing has disappeared.

In other words Syria risks becoming Erdogan's Vietnam. The Independent writes:

Turkey is already fighting a guerilla war against the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in its own southeast provinces. Expanding the ground war into Syria against the PKK’s allies risks sparking a separate insurgency. The Syrian Democratic Forces, the collection of Kurdish-led armed groups partnered with the US in its fight against Isis, said it was “determined to defend our land at all costs” against Turkey.

“What makes Turkey think they’re not going to get caught in northern Syria fighting a protracted campaign?” said Steven Cook, a Turkey and Middle East specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations. ... “They’re really exposed going deeper into Syrian territory,” said Mr Cook. “And they’re not going to get any help. If Erdogan gets into trouble, the cavalry is not coming to the rescue.”

Far from being primarily a Kurdish problem Turkey's offensive underscores the unresolved threat of Syria to the region's security. Europe may be hesitant to take a forceful position because it is terrified of a new flood of migrants into the continent. "Greece’s prime minister accused Turkey on Friday of appearing to “exploit” Europe’s migrant crisis for its own ends and said Ankara could and should control migrant flows to the continent."


Erdogan is not strong enough to do much more then try to control his border. The lefties and the neocons are freaking out about nothing.

RichAndSceptical said...

Don't forget that Russia, Iran, and the Syrian government also have a stake in this. They are not going to let Turkey go very far.