30 August 2016

Told Ya!

Last night, I said that Syria was a clusterf%$#, and that the Turkish invasion made it worse.

Tonight, we learn that the Turks gave no warning before launching their invasion:
When Turkish ground forces delivered a lightning strike on Islamic State fighters in Syria last week, the Pentagon hailed what it described as close U.S.-Turkish coordination.

But behind the scenes, cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners broke down at senior levels, according to officials on both sides. The two countries weren’t as aligned on the operation as their public statements indicated.

While the White House was preparing to consider a secret plan to have American special forces join the Turks, Ankara pulled the trigger on the mission unilaterally without giving officials in Washington advance warning. When clashes started between Turkish and Syrian Kurdish fighters—who are directly backed by U.S. Special Forces—the Pentagon issued unusually blunt calls for both to stand down.

U.S. officials say the Turks’ decision undercut a behind-the-scenes effort to clear rival Syrian Kurdish elements out of the conflict zone first and created a prickly, new challenge for the U.S. as two of its most important partners in the campaign fight each other instead of Islamic State. The breakdown in coordination adds a new layer of tensions between Washington and Ankara on top of those sparked by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown since the July coup attempt in Turkey.

Officials in Washington said they warned their Turkish military counterparts Monday that the U.S. won’t provide air support to Turkish forces pushing southward, deeper into Syrian territory. The U.S. will continue to provide air support to Turkish forces moving westward, into the border area threatened by Islamic State. Likewise, U.S. officials told the Kurds that U.S. air support hinged on their forces moving east of the Euphrates River and on advancing south toward Islamic State’s self-declared capital, Raqqa, to ensure they wouldn’t come into conflict with the Turks, according to the officials. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday that the Kurdish forces had begun to move eastward, easing the friction between the two sides.
(emphasis mine)

Just lovely. More clusterf%$#s in the Levant.

You have Jihadis, a Turkish president who makes Charles deGaulle look humble trying to reinstate the Ottoman Caliphate, the antediluvian kleptocratic Persian Gulf monarchies, which are terrified at both the possibility of a successful secular Arab state and any non-Sunni regime, you have the Iranians trying to protect the Shia across the Arab world, the Russians trying to preserve an allied government, and the US both supporting and opposing pretty much all these elements.

All the while, the refugees created by this situation is destabilizing both the EU and NATO,

Like I said, a complete clusterf%$#.


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