Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Will Erdogan defy Russia and the US over Afrin?"

The Kurds got trouble.
The U.S. has proven itself to be an unreliable ally for the last fifty-five years since Kennedy okayed Diem's assassination so the only thing the Kurds have going for them is the fact Erdogan purged a lot of the army in his coup paranoia but unlike Stalin's purges probably won't extend the war for a year and cost a million troops.

From Al-Monitor:
Concerned that time is running against Turkey’s interests in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered a military operation into Syria aimed at taking the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, only a stone’s throw from the Turkish border.

Turkish press reports say the army has already started shelling the enclave from across the border. Whether the main operation will go ahead is not certain, though. If it does, it will be a high-stakes move whose outcome, analysts say, remains uncertain.

Many believe this development reflects Ankara’s anger with the United States and Russia. Both powers are supporting Syrian Kurdish groups that Turkey considers to be its enemies.
Turkey’s failure to convince the United States to end its support for the Kurds and Moscow’s refusal to accept Ankara’s demand to prevent the same Kurds from participating in efforts to reach a Syrian settlement have left Ankara deeply frustrated.

Addressing supporters in the Black Sea city of Tokat over the weekend, Erdogan said Turkey’s operation would begin over the next few days. He said this would be a follow-up to Operation Euphrates Shield, the operation Turkey launched in August 2016 in northern Syria, with its Free Syrian Army allies, against the Islamic State (IS).

Ankara said at the time that the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Kurdish group it considers a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, would also be targeted. Washington and Moscow prevented it from carrying out this threat.

The disclosure by US military that the US-led coalition in Syria was establishing a Border Security Force (BSF) to patrol the Turkish and Iraqi borders poured more fuel on Erdogan’s anger with the United States.

News about this force broke immediately after Erdogan said the operation against Afrin was imminent. Ankara interpreted this as a veiled warning that any Turkish incursion into Syria would be challenged....MORE
Just to make things interesting:

Syria to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if Afrin operation launched