Political Observation - The Turkish Operation in Afrin

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - The Turkish Operation in Afrin

The Turkish Attack on Afrin followed by Manbij

The tension between Erdogan and the United States reached a new high after the latter announced its intent to establish a 30 thousand strong Kurdish army, citing the fight against ISIS as a justification for the decision. As it is widely known, the United States seeks to establish a Kurdish entity along the border of Turkey, the aim of which is tearing the countries of the region apart including Turkey, as well as consolidating its presence and military bases to protect its interests, specifically with regards to control of Syria's oil in the eastern region and to ensure a purely American-dominated century.

It is also believed that establishing a Kurdish entity will not only threaten the unity of the Turkish territory but will also affect the AKP and the Nationalist Movement alliance weakening the influence of Erdogan's party on the domestic political landscape. Both Turkish parties derive some of their popularity and mainstay from nationalist Turanian principles, standing in the face of Kurdish nationalism that threatens the Turkish state and society. That is why Erdogan said: "To those who wonder: what does Turkey have to do with Syria and Iraq? ... I say, you have no nationalism nor patriotism because Turkey must be there for the sake of its survival, its future and its independence."

Turkey was a US partner in the Greater Middle East Initiative, something that Erdogan himself never hid. He hoped to remove the Syrian president and establish a new regime with an Islamic character because that would have strengthened his rule. He had believed the American promises to get rid of Bashar but discovered that the fireball was moving towards him, dividing Syria would affect Turkey itself and eradicating ISIS would replace them with the Kurdish units. That is why the United States supported the Kurdish units in controlling the areas held by ISIS, and that is how Erdogan became sure of the US intentions to target Turkey.

Distrust widened the rift between the US and Erdogan and prompted the latter to attack the Kurdish units based in Afrin in order to abort the US plan to establish a Kurdish entity from the prospective border army, akin to the establishment of the state of “Israel”. It is also clear that Russia is playing on the conflict of interest between Turkey and the United States which led her to withdraw its troops stationed in the area of Turkish operations, thus facilitating the task destined to deepen the Turkish-American conflict. Russia is also aware of the strategic threat it faces if a Kurdish entity is established in southern Turkey, becoming a launch pad for a civil war in Turkey.

This Kurdish entity, which the US seeks to create in Syria, will not only pose a danger to Turkey but will extend its threat to Iran following the project of Greater Kurdistan. This means that, strategically, the US will besiege Russia from both the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea after opening a new front in Afghanistan in the form of ISIS that has Khorasan as its current stronghold. It is this strategic understanding that explains Russian officials' statements in favour of Turkey and explains Russia's understanding of Operation Olive Branch and its hidden support, along with Iran, within the confines of certain arrangements. Therefore, the statement of the Turkish presidential spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, was in line with this understanding, stating: "The operation in Afrin was coordinated with Russia and Iran."

As for the US, despite her hopes that Erdogan will be embroiled in a war of attrition that will spread the operations to Turkish territory, thus impacting negatively on Turkey's security and economy and undermining the regime's internal structure, and despite stating that "Afrin is not within our scope of operations", the truth is that the US is deeply concerned about the expansion of the Turkish military campaign towards the city of Manbij and the region of Eastern Euphrates after liberating Afrin from the YPG units affiliated to the PKK which is no different from ISIS in serving American schemes.

The US urging France to move against the Afrin operation at the international level confirms its concerns. French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced on 21 January 2018 that the UN Security Council was scheduled to meet on Monday, at the behest of his country, to discuss developments in Syria including the Turkish military operation in Afrin to assess the high humanitarian risks, calling for a cessation of hostilities and allowing access for humanitarian aid. The Turkish Foreign Minister responded during a news conference in Baghdad by stating that raising the issue of operation Olive Branch against the YPG in Afrin at the UN by France or any other country would amount to standing with terrorists and not with an ally state.

4 Jumada al-Oulah 1439h
21 January 2018