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August 03, 2015

In Deadly Complication of Obama's Half-Assed Action Against ISIS, Turkey is Now Bombing a Key US Ally, the Only Trustworthy Ground Troops Fighting ISIS

The Kurdish militia, the YPG, coordinates with the US in the few airstrikes we lodge against ISIS. I suppose that means they provide us the enemy's location and maybe conduct maneuvers designed to hold them while bombers are scrambled.

But in Turkish-occupied northern Kurdish enclaves, the PKK -- officially branded a "terrorist" organization (and I think that's a fair label) -- shoots Turkish cops and plants bombs.

What set this off? Well, a couple of weeks ago a suicide bomber killed 20 people in a Turkish town near the Syrian border, but most believe this was an ISIS suicide bomber, having nothing to do with the PKK.

A suspected female Islamic State suicide bomber has set off an explosion near a cultural centre hosting youth activists in a Turkish town near the border with Syria, leaving 32 dead and scores injured.

The blast ripped through the centre in Suruc, just a few miles from the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane - which was itself later hit in a co-ordinated suicide car bombing.
Most of the dead were university students with the Federation of Socialist Youths, who had been planning a mission to help rebuild Kobane, which was retaken by Kurds from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants earlier this year.

This has outraged Turkey, and Erdogan, being a politician, promised action. But while he is bombing ISIS, he's also taking the opportunity to bomb the PKK, Turkey's long-standing foe because, hey, why not. YOLO.

Turkey says the YPG sometimes works with the PKK, so now they're bombing our only real ground-troops allies in the fake war on ISIS.

Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State in Syria accused Turkey on Saturday of targeting it at least four times in the past week, calling the attacks provocative and hostile.

Turkey began a campaign of air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq and Islamic State fighters in Syria last Friday, in what Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called a "synchronized fight against terror."

The campaign has raised suspicions among Kurds that Ankara's real agenda is checking Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than fighting Islamic State.

The president of Iraq's Kurdistan region on Saturday condemned Turkey's bombardment of Zargala, a village there which he said had killed civilians, and called for a return to the peace process between Ankara and the PKK.

Nine were killed in the Zargala. The Kurds claim a pregnant woman is among the dead, which is certainly possible, but I think we've all come to be skeptical of reports of massacres by partisans in Middle East conflicts.

Turkey called an Article 4 (not 5) NATO meeting, which is a request for consultation when a member nation is threatened. NATO backed all of Erdogan's actions, for some reason.

And then PKK got vengeance, by blowing up a Turkish gas pipeline.

Turkey has also agreed to let America use our Incirlik air base to conduct raids (piloted and drone) on ISIS.

Now, you may be worried that amidst this backdrop of complex, ancient hatreds, President Obama might not have a plan capable of dealing with any of this.

But on that, you'd be wrong:

The plan is for Iran to fix everything with its brand-new Nuclear Bomb Rangers.

Correction: Embarrassing error: I wrote that America was letting Turkey use America's Incirlik base. In fact, the base is Turkey's; they're allowing the US to use it.

When I wrote that, I thought "This doesn't make any sense" but I told myself "Oh well, must be one of those bases like Diego Garcia that I haven't heard of."

Ah well. I call Mondays "Matt Yglesias Days." The days for Learning Adventures, each started by embarrassing mistakes.

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posted by Ace at 12:37 PM

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