Saturday, October 19, 2019

Washington’s Sum of All Fears

From the Ron Paul Institute:
The reality of the situation is that Turkey sprung a trap set by Damascus and its allies. In doing so, Turkey helped to cleaned up what was previously a near impossible situation for Damascus. While much of the western mainstream media has laboured over "Trump’s decision" to full-out US troops from Syria, there are other factors which have been driving the current situation. If you’ve been monitoring the Turkish press over the last few years, you would know that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been eager to fire-up his AKP base at home and project Neo-Ottoman power regionally, so this latest Turkish foray into Syria can be seen as a resumption of the "New Turkey" – the AKP’s gradual transformation of Turkey from a secular Kemalist state, to an Islamic one.

This gradual revolution is not confined within Turkey’s own borders though, as it hopes to extend its micro-colonial project of Sunnification to include areas in question located inside and along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. Hence, Ankara has moved its forces into Syrian territory for the third time in as many years, this time dubbed, “Operation Peace Spring,” with Erdogan justifying the move under the auspices of "fighting terrorism," vowing once again to secure the country’s national security by stamping-out the Kurdish YPG-PKK ‘terrorist threat’ embedded in northern Syria.

Unknowingly perhaps (or not), Turkey helped towards resolving at least three separate problems which had been grating at Damascus and Moscow for at least the last three years. Firstly, the Turkish incursion has finally displaced uninvited US military forces that had begun illegally occupying northeastern Syria since late 2016, effectively propping-up their SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Kurdish-led proxy militants, many of whom share membership with Kurdish YPG/PKK militant groups. This weekend has shown the world that without its US protection, Kurdish-led forces are not a viable as they have been depicted in the western media, now exposed to the painful reality that their "autonomous" status in northeastern Syria is on borrowed time, evidenced by the fact that they failed to protect Kurdish residents from the Turkish military and their jihadi vanguard ground forces, formerly known as Free Syrian Army (FSA), who’ve rather cynically rebranded themselves now to the "Syrian National Army."

With Syrian Kurdish forces now on their back heals, they were left with no other option than to approach Damascus to negotiate an alliance. That agreement was inked this weekend, with the SAA now heading towards key towns and cities in the northeast of Syria including one of the centers of fighting – the hotly contested Syrian border town of Kobani. This new reality also means that Turkish military will not willingly fire upon SAA forces inside of Syrian sovereign territory, although Turkey’s jihadist FSA/SNA militias might engage with its old nemesis. Those side skirmishes could prolong instability, but they are not nearly as insurmountable as entrenched US forces in the area. (Read more.)

 From The Federalist:
Even though I am a conservative foreign policy realist, my research deals with great powers and neorealism, and I regularly advocate restraint and retrenchment and amoral realpolitik in these pages, I never in my wildest dreams anticipated waking up to an actual realpolitik move from the White House.

Naturally, the laments are severe. From Sen. Lindsey Graham to The Guardian and BBC, everyone is accusing the White House of giving up on U.S. responsibilities, and worse, “stabbing the Kurds in the back.” None of those is true. Moving American troops would be perhaps the most far-sighted thing Trump does as president, and it would be beneficial to the United States in the years to come.

Two separate arguments arise in opposition to this decision. One, that Americans have backstabbed the Kurds. The argument is false prima facie because the Americans were not in Syria to be the Kurds’ bodyguards.

The Kurds have been fighting the Turks for centuries, and the modern Kurdish forces, who are mostly followers of heavy left-wing Stalinist ideology, were allies due to their convergence of interests. In international relations, the theory of balance of threat suggests that whenever a new threat emerges, a balancing coalition develops. Historically, that might even include some fairly different and opposite forces, such as a revolutionary Joseph Stalin and reactionary Winston Churchill coming together to square off against Adolf Hitler.

Likewise, the American troops were positioned in the Middle East due to the simple reason that an Islamist sect had metastasized and formed a statelet, which turned expansionist, and a balancing coalition was needed. The balancing coalition had strange bedfellows. When Russians were bombing Aleppo, Western forces were simultaneously bombing Raqqa.

But that threat of ISIS as a state is over. ISIS is still there, but not as a state and definitely not as an expansionist nation. In fact, the majority of ISIS fighters and their families, including those deemed to be poor, brainwashed refugees by bleeding-heart nongovernmental organizations, are now threatening to take over refugee camps. Regardless, they are not an expansionist nation-state and should not require regular American presence.

While the Kurds were allies during the war against the Islamic State, they were also benefiting from generous American aid, weapons, and air cover. That need has now disappeared. If the U.S. Senate wishes to continue the new mission of “protecting the Kurds,” it has to authorize that. (Read more.)

From The New York Post:
Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cut a deal for a 5-day cease-fire Thursday, in which Turkey will suspend its incursion into northern Syria to give Kurdish fighters time to clear out of the territory. “Today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,” Pence said during a news conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of [Kurdish] YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.”
But Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu contradicted Pence minutes later, saying there was no cease-fire, just a 5-day pause in its operation. “Pause in Turkey’s operation in Syria is not a cease-fire, cease-fire can only happen between two legitimate sides,” he said. “We agree on collecting YPG heavy weapons, destroying their positions, fortifications. Within 120 hours YPG/PKK will leave the zone, it’s not a stop in the operation, it’s a pause. We will stop the operation when all the terrorists will leave the safe zone.”
Pence said there was already a 20-mile corridor for the Kurds to use to escape the territory that they had taken as US allies in the fight against ISIS. (Read more.)

More HERE. And HERE. Share

1 comment:

julygirl said...

President Trump is responding to the average American's plea to extricate the U.S. from foreign entanglements and the idea that the U.S. needs to police the world. He has moved us away from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil which fired our interest in the stability of the Middle East along with our sense that we need to protect our ally Israel.