Turkey bargaining with base for US, wants no-fly zone in Syria

By Juan Cole

Earlier this week Turkish officials met American ones on the issue of combating ISIL. The US wants to use Incirlik Air Force Base for the purpose, but Turkey has been cagey about whether that permission will be forthcoming, at least through Wednesday evening. The no fly zone idea is coupled with the notion of a humanitarian corridor and a buffer zone in Syria but along the Turkish border.

My guess is that President Tayyip Erdogan fears blowback on Turkey from ISIL reprisals if he gets too involved, Turkey earns a lot of money from the tourist sector, which is vulnerable to terrorist attacks. He therefore wants a buffer zone.

The humanitarian corridor has been proposed by human rights organizations before. It is now being endorsed by Sen. Carl Levin, a senior Democrat.

Russia, a major patron of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, opposes humanitarian corridors in Syria.

Syria is denouncing the idea of an international imposition on its sovereign territory

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related video added by Juan Cole:

The Young Turks from Monday: “ISIS Pushes Right Up To Turkish Border”

5 Responses

  1. ISIS is incredibly well organized. They have different revenue sources and use good military strategy. The Kurdish town of Kobani isn’t connected to the Kurdish part of Syria. It’s isolated. Only the Kurds in Turkey live that far to the west. ISIS realized they could lay siege to the town and attack it from three sides.

    In Kobani and western Iraq, ONLY military men with strategic training could design such a campaign. Sunnis from Saddam Hussein’s old army must be running part of ISIS. How else could Mosul have been overrun so quickly?

    And Saddam Hussein had the same type of gangster regime. ISIS is like Al Capone in Chicago.

    • How else: The Iraqi Army has little will to fight. I don’t consider the tactics of IS advanced or sophisticated. They have enjoyed little real opposition. In fact, they have been dismal failures at Kobani really, even if they take the town for good. Kobani is defended by a small rag-tag unorganized and poorly equipped impromptu militia.

      Are there Iraqis amongst IS — I would imagine so –they are pretty much from everywhere.

      But I don’t get the point of worrying about Saddam’s old army.. I don’t see IS as the resurrection of Saddam.

      The Al Capone and Chicago analogy is hilarious but pointless.

      If I had to say, it has a lot to do with power vacuums and poverty, the latter tends to render all kinds of people susceptible to radicalism and violence.

      IS gained some battle experience over the past years in Syria, not much else. Right now, except for Kobani and some other Kurdish paramilitary, IS has more will and has lately acquired all the heavy guns abandoned by the so-called Iraqi Army at the first sign of an attack.

      I think you are over-interpreting and free-associating too much.

      • Google this “ISIS uses mafia tactics in Mosul.” After ISIS took over in Mosul, there were lots of articles comparing their tactics to similar ones used by the mafia to get money. Without a steady revenue stream ISIS goes out of business.

  2. Erdogan wants that buffer zone as a container for refugees – push more of the burden on international community.

    Equally important, the zone will put the anti-ISIS coalition in direct conflict with Assad, end any pretense of cooperation with Assad. That territory will serve as a sanctuary for Turkey’s flavor of the Free Syrian Army.

    I’ve read some suggestions that the buffer zone will provide a means for Turkey to check Kurdish independence in Northern Syria. I’m not sure how that would work, but the Kurds are fiercely opposed to the buffer zone, so they must think this is credible possibility.

  3. Of course the US has another ally in the region just as close as Turkey is to the ISIS forces. It also has airbases suitable for bombers and an advanced air-force and its troops face ISIS at the Golan Heights.
    Of course this ally can not get involved as it would inflame the situation- which rather begs the question of why spend billions on an ally which will not and can not help you?

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