Posts Tagged ‘Kobani’

US, UK and Turkey give up on Kobani

October 9, 2014

Neither the US or the UK see Kobani or its Kurds as having strategic importance. The US admits that air strikes alone cannot save Kobani. Turkey sees greater strategic value in not supporting the Kurds than in confronting ISIS.

As I thought, Turkey sees ISIS and their vision of a Caliphate as being a lesser evil than any future Kurdistan. Their reluctance to assist with ground troops to confront ISIS in Kobani has probably helped the US to stay out as well. John Kerry has confirmed what I suspected that helping the Kurds in Kobani is not a strategic objective (though one does wonder whether Obama and Kerry have any strategic objectives at all beyond public relations) for the US. The UK is content to follow where the US leads (or stays still).

ISIS must be quite encouraged by the US / UK idea of “a buffer zone for the influx of refugees crossing the border from Syria”. It suggests that the US and the UK have already given up on Kobani. They will effectively write off Kobani and put all the refugees into a miserable limbo. But it will help their ally Turkey from being invaded by more Kurds and in general a weakening Kurdish position. But they have no intention of protecting any such “buffer zone” from a rampaging ISIS. It will be nothing but a refugee camp with no exits.

Meanwhile the US-led air attacks against ISIS is giving Assad more room to attack his other opponents in Syria.

Deutsche Welle:

At a press conference on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that saving the besieged Syrian town of Kobani from the terror of the “Islamic State” (IS) was not a strategic military objective for the United States.

Joined by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to address the press, Kerry also said the idea of a buffer zone proposed by Turkey should be thoroughly studied.

“As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani … you have to step back and understand the strategic objective,” Kerry said.

“Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command and control centers, the infrastructure,” he said. “We are trying to deprive the (Islamic State) of the overall ability to wage this, not just in Kobani but throughout Syria and into Iraq.”

He said the US and the UK were considering a buffer zone for the influx of refugees crossing the border from Syria – an issue Turkey should not have to deal with alone.

The advance of IS into the Kurdish town of Kobani, which can be seen from the Turkish border, has prompted 180,000 residents to flee to Turkey.

Turkey continues to watch.


Turkey’s foreign minister says it cannot be expected to lead a ground operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria on its own.

Mevlut Cavusoglu also called for the creation of a no-fly zone over its border with Syria after talks in Ankara with new Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg. …… Activists say IS now controls about a third of Kobane after fierce fighting. Monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, quoting “reliable sources”, said IS was advancing towards the centre of the town from eastern districts. Earlier, a Kurdish leader in Kobane said IS had entered two more districts overnight, bringing in heavy weapons.

Mr Cavusoglu was holding talks with Mr Stoltenberg and US envoys on possible Turkish action against IS. “It is not realistic to expect Turkey to conduct a ground operation on its own,” he told a news conference. “We are holding talks. Once there is a common decision, Turkey will not hold back from playing its part.”

Turkey watches – while ISIS advances against Kurds

October 7, 2014

The US is bombing ISIS positions in Syria. But when ISIS advances against the Kurds in the border town of Kobani, Turkey – although a NATO ally – is content to watch. An enemy of the Kurds is almost a friend!!

Turkish tanks on the Syrian border near Kobani – image ibtimes

Of course nothing is simple in the Middle East.

But sometimes it seems to me that anything that weakens the Kurds is considered a “good thing” by the Turkish government. I have the feeling that even Turkey’s membership of NATO is subordinate to their goal of containing the Kurds and preventing the growth of a Kurdistan which stretches across part of present day Turkey. A “Great Kurdistan” as Ralph Peters’ map shows (from this analysis) is Turkey’s nightmare.

Great Kurdistan a Turkish nightmare – graphic Ralph Peters

For Turkey it is a choice between evils. They could well perceive that an ISIS Caliphate may be less of a geographic threat than a Great Kurdistan.

Caliphate claimed by ISIS – graphic

The many ISIS advances also cast doubt on whether the US air strikes will be anywhere near as effective as Obama hopes and has proclaimed.

Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

At Kobani, ISIS advances are not even being contained – let alone degraded and destroyed.

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