Stratfor provides insights into understanding Turkish President Erdogan’s ambiguous actions regarding ISIS, in an interesting piece, “Why Turkey Will Not Help Kobani”:
“Turkey does not sponsor the Islamic State, nor does Erdogan actively collude with the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But Turkey has done little to prevent the group from wresting control of Kobani, and its abstention from the conflict has raised concerns among its neighbors and the United States. In fact, Turkey has not participated in the campaign against the Islamic State at all even though the militant group holds positions precariously close to its southern flank. Instead, it has elected to secure its border. With the most powerful conventional fighting force in the region, Ankara knows it will not succumb to the group’s advances as Iraq did. With that in mind, Erdogan and his associates are looking at the bigger picture — a view that conflicts with Washington’s plans for the Levant.”
The Independent, a British publication ran a lengthy opinion piece, “War against Isis: US strategy in tatters as militants march”, offering the following views on Turkey’s reluctant support:
“In the course of the past week it has become clear that Turkey considers the Syrian Kurd political and military organisations, the PYD and YPG, as posing a greater threat to it than the Islamic fundamentalists. Moreover, the PYD is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984.
Ever since Syrian government forces withdrew from the Syrian Kurdish enclaves or cantons on the border with Turkey in July 2012, Ankara has feared the impact of self-governing Syrian Kurds on its own 15 million-strong Kurdish population.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would prefer Isis to control Kobani, not the PYD. When five PYD members, who had been fighting Isis at Kobani, were picked up by the Turkish army as they crossed the border last week they were denounced as “separatist terrorists”.”
Sounds like the oft-repeated saying, “one group’s terrorists are another group’s freedom fighters”, but there you have it. Not being an expert nor on the ground in Kobani to ascertain which Kurdish groups determinedly fight on to hold Kobani, I’d welcome any information or insights into the US stance on the PKK, PYD and YPG and on the boots on the ground units, for whom we’re providing air support in this
war plan of President Obama’s. This reminds me of our intervention in the former Yugoslavia, where we armed KLA separtists, whom certainly wouldn’t meet even the most generous definition of “moderates”.
Once again, the Obama administration seems stuck on parsing, because they don’t understand the lay of the land, the history of the region, the rivalries, hostilities or alliances in this volatile region fraught with many duplicitous players. A safe bet is that “moderates” aren’t in Kobani, vowing to fight to their death. The American press has presented these Kurdish fighters as heroic freedom fighters, but does our intelligence and historical research support that image? Are we witnessing two terrorist entities fighting it out in Kobani? Shouldn’t our CINC have a grasp of the details and a clear understanding of the positions of regional leaders, before launching air strikes? Opinions and insights to help sort this out are welcome.