I have to hand it to Vladimir Putin for both his cunning and black sense of humor. The day after he said he would pull out his planes from Syria, which he did by flying one half of them home, he gives the Kurds in Northern Iraq anti-aircraft guns. Putin then says, with a straight face, he is giving them so they can fight ISIS. I mean this is just priceless black humor. ISIS has no planes or helicopters. ISIS is not bombing the Kurds in Iraq. It is Turkey that is flying jets over Northern Iraq and bombing the Kurds. Putin knows this as well as anybody does. He just sent a very clear message to Erdogan that any helicopter that flies over to bomb the Kurds will get shot down. The issue of whether he has given them manpads to shoot down Turkish jets is unclear. ISIS or Al Qaida shot down a Syrian jet the other day, and just like the Russian pilot they shot this one out of the sky. Again, Putin is making it clear he will keep his hand in both Syria and Iraq. Russia has cemented a new relationship with the Kurds, much to the anger of NATO and the USA. Considering the several times the US has betrayed the Kurds, it isn’t surprising they now prefer to work with Putin and not Obama.
I ask myself several questions about this whole situation. Is Syria less violent, more stable, and engaged in less combat than one month ago. Did the so called cease fire reduce, increase, or leave the combat level the same. The answer is Syria is more unstable, more violent and engaged in more combat than one month ago. Putin clearly agrees with this view or he wouldn’t be giving AA batteries to the Kurds, or keeping his latest generation SAM missiles deployed in Syria.
Is Turkey more stable than one month ago, less violent than one month ago, and engaged in less combat than one month ago. The answer is Turkey is now run by a raving lunatic, involved in a civil war with the Kurds, suffering a wave of bombings, and engaged in offensive combat operations in both Syria and Iraq.
The Kurds have now said they want to create a federated Kurdish state from Northern Iraq all the way to Syria’s coastline. Erdogan now faces the partition of his country. He now faces a Kurdish Peshmerga force directly on his Syrian and Iraq borders, backed up by Russian military technology. Turkey and Saudi Arabia now face the total collapse of their political schemes, their military operations and the extinction of their proxy forces.
The choice facing Erdogan is stark. He rolls the dice again, and tries to live through the process, or he backs off and admits defeat. The fact he now wants to arrest any Kurdish political leader in Turkey, call them traitors and throw them into jail tells me he is doubling down as they say. The NATO airbase in Turkey is now reported to be on full alert. Erdogan must know the next airstrike he sends into Iraq will get shot at. What will he do then, is a very good question.
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