Friendly Enemies and Unfriendly Friends: Two US Allies Fight Each Other in Syria
The Mideast is such a mess it's hard to tell friends from enemies, especially under the idiotic policy under which we operate: "The enemy of our enemy is our friend."
Here is one certainty though: It's better to have friendly enemies than unfriendly friends. Turkey is a prime case in point.
Two US Allies Fight Each Other in Syria
The Kurds have been the only effective force in battling ISIS, but Turkey our alleged friend has been bombing the hell out of them.
Turkey on Sunday shelled US-backed Kurdish rebels in northern Syria as they attempted to take over an abandoned air base near its borders, ignoring US requests to stop targeting the fighters.
The shelling -- just days after a tentative ceasefire was announced in Munich -- complicates the US-led coalition's efforts to support Kurdish militias, especially the Popular Defence Forces (YPG), without provoking Turkey, a Nato-ally that considers the YPG an extension of terrorist groups that have waged a 30-year secession battle with the Turkish state. It also means two US allies are actively fighting one another on the ground in Syria.
"We have seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and urged Turkey to cease such fires," said John Kirby, a State Department spokesman. He added that Washington had also "urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory."
Ankara has warned the American government for more than a year that it was frustrated with US support for the Kurdish militias, which now control large swaths of territory just south of the Turkish border.
The YPG is trying to take Azaz in a bid to link the pockets of territory it controls in northern Syria. Turkey fears this could be the beginnings of an autonomous Kurdish region in an area bordering its own Kurdish population.
In a statement Jaish al-Thuwwar condemned the Turkish strikes, saying "no one can hide that Turkey supports terrorists groups and nourishes them to serve its own interests".
Turkey's shelling took place amid an uptick in Russian air strikes on non-Kurdish rebel forces in the Azaz region, with Moscow in effect supporting the YPG, which insists it does not co-ordinate with Russia.
At the same time that warring Syrian sides rush for Azaz, Mr Assad's forces are advancing toward the Isis-controlled Tabqa air base in Raqqa province. Advances in that region could bring Mr Assad's Russian-backed forces into an area whose skies have been dominated by the US-led coalition strikes against Isis. This could create yet another flashpoint between foreign powers in the increasingly convoluted civil war.
Increasingly Convoluted Civil War
- Russia is openly supporting the Kurds while the US pays lip service.
- The Syria ceasefire never got off the ground in the first place because our alleged friend Turkey would not sit at the same table with our true friends, the Kurds.
- Iran, our enemy wants to fight ISIS but the US does not want help from Iran because Iran is our enemy.
- The US also does not want help from Russia even though Russia and the Kurds have been the only positive force against ISIS.
- The US backs alleged moderate Al Qaeda rebels even though those rebels are highly likely to Join ISIS.
- Turkey has not lived up to its end of the bargain in preventing refugees to flow into Greece.
Adding to the sheer stupidity of conflicting US goals, former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford says 'Moderate' Rebels Are Actually Backed By ISIS.
Robert Ford served as the U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014. While he once championed the cause of arming Syrian rebels as a way to topple the presidency of Bashar Assad, he began speaking out against this policy last year. An active Twitter user, Ford admitted last year that the groups being armed by the rebels are actually tied to Al-Qaida and Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the group commonly known in the West as ISIS or ISIL).
There will not be peace in the region until ...
- Turkey sits down at a peace table with the Kurds
- The US stops its foolish attempts at nation building
- The US takes a more even stance with our alleged enemy Iran and our alleged friend Saudi Arabia
- The US takes a more even stance on Israeli/Palestinian issues
Former ambassador Ford accurately sums up the convoluted mess as follows: "It becomes impossible to field an effective opposition when no one even agrees who or what is the enemy."