The Obama middle east gong show goes from the ridiculous to the absurd. The attached stories are about the manner in which the logical military bulwark against ISIS---that is, Turkey with its 600,000 soldiers, 3,500 tanks and 1,000 aircraft and helicopters---is fighting terrorism.
To wit, it has unleashed its bombers, but on domestic Kurdish separatists, not ISIS butchers in Syria. And it flat-out rebuked the Sunday talk show statements of Obama's top national security advisor, Susan Rice, in which she claimed Turkey had agreed to let Washington use its own air bases in Turkey.
Not true, said the prime minister's office. And why is Ankara dragging its feet on releasing the keys to our own airfields? Well, they are demanding as a quid pro quo that Turkey be allowed to establish a 20-mile buffer zone inside the northern border of Syria.
And there can be little doubt as to what strategic purpose that would accomplish. Namely, it would enable Turkey to kill more terrorists, albeit of the Kurdish variety. Likewise, it would help them manage the millions of Syrian refugees by marching them---especially the half-million Kurds which have already fled over the border---back into the Syrian buffer zone. Sort of an open air prison camp.
Yes, Obama and Kerry have marshaled a great coalition of the willing.......willing dissemblers and opportunists, that is.
By Jason Ditz
Tensions between Turkey and its Kurdish minority were already on the rise over the refugee crisis at the border town of Kobani. Today, it got dramatically worse, as Turkish warplanes bombing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters near the Iraq border.
The Turkish military claimed the attacks at Daglica, due north of Irbil, were retaliation for a PKK shelling of a nearby military outpost. Details of casualties are as yet unclear, though the PKK denied any.
The PKK slammed the move, saying it was a violation of the existing ceasefire between them and the Turkish government. The ceasefire was supposed to lead to a settlement of decades of conflict.
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had recently warned that the peace process was about to collapse anyhow over Turkey not intervening on the behalf of Syrian Kurds along the border, and today’s attacks seem to have sealed that......
By Jason Ditz
Susan Rice’s Meet the Press claim yesterday that the Obama Administration had reached a deal with Turkey on the use of Turkish military bases has been denied by top Turkish officials, who say that no decision had been reached.
“There is no decision at the moment concerning Incirlik or any other issue,” noted Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Incirlik air base, along the Syrian border, was seen as particularly valuable for attacking Syria.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office similarly denied that any deal had been made on any base, and though it is said to be likely a deal on training Syrian rebels was made, it is clear there wasn’t one on the air bases.
Turkey is pushing hard for the creation of a “buffer zone” inside Syria to house the refugees currently in Turkey, and the establishment of a no-fly zone across northern Syria, and is likely holding off on the bases’ commitment for some movement on that.