Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 27
By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:
World media outlets are discussing comments made by the spokesman of Turkish President Erdogan’s government that the US should stop the armed support for the North Syrian Kurdish YPG (PYD) fighters, or face confrontation from Turkish military forces.
Possible clashes between the two allies - the Turkish armed forces and the US military personnel deployed near the town of Manbij, which is, according to a statement of President Erdogan, the next target of the Turkish armed forces, are being savored with mixed sense of astonishment and pleasure.
However, I bet you won't live to see it happen. Turkey and the US will remain close allies. The rest is simply rhetoric.
President Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey would extend its military operation in Syria to the town of Manbij. In a day he said Turkey is prepared to take its fight against Kurdish forces in northern Syria as far east as Iraq.
The Kurds control nearly the entire Northern Syria – an oil-rich area that makes up at least 20 percent of the country’s entire territory. About 90 percent of the Syrian-Turkish border is under the Kurdish YPG/PYD forces’ control.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, in turn, said it is time to act and Turkey will do everything to eliminate the threat of terrorism at its borders.
The US has almost lost Syria as a zone of its national interests as it has not had any tangible achievements there. The country is strongly controlled by Russia and Iran, which have invested much in the Syrian conflict including millions of dollars and human lives. The Pro-Russian/Pro-Iranian President Assad, who also has an army of some sort, is in power. The free Syrian army together with numerous opposition groups did not meet the U.S. hopes to topple the Assad regime.
With all this, who will listen to a US representative at future international negotiations on Syria, if the superpower has nothing at hand?
But the US is not accustomed to play secondary roles and clearly stated it wasn't going to leave Syria. The US representative to the UN, Nikki Haley said in November last year that with the unity of the UN Security Council, or alone, Washington “will continue to fight for justice and accountability in Syria.”
The US plan becomes a lot clearer if to keep in mind that Turkey is a sole American ally that is of direct relevance to Syria and might change the current unfavorable state of affairs.
If we exclude the option of sending US forces to Syria, for which Washington has not even the slightest pretext (ISIS no longer an excuse), there remains only one chance for the US to largely strengthen its position in Syria with the aid of Turkey.
There is no contradiction here. Turkey, even without an agreement with the US had to take measures to ensure security along its entire southern borders controlled by the Kurds from the Syrian side.
The Turkish-American interests overlap. Turkey resolves its security issues, while the US needs to have assets to strengthen its position in Syria, albeit not all by itself, but by hands of a close ally.
The Kurds will play the role of a bargaining chip, and Turkey instead could obtain some bonuses, for example, the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, or some other preferences, of which we have no clue.
I have to reiterate it one more time – Turkey and USA are close allies and members of NATO – a fact that can’t be ignored.
It is not so important whether they have made a backroom deal or not. If the “Olive branch” is a success and Turkey can take control over all of the Northern Syria up to the border with Iraq, then the US will benefit from such course of events, and will have a good reason to ensure its national interests in Syria in further negotiations with Russia and the confrontation with Iran.