It’s hard to imagine a part of the world with more conflicting alliances than the Middle East. And if the Middle East is the region of conflicts, then Syria is the current focal point.
Included in this conflict, naturally, is Syria’s own military. But we also must add those of Turkey, Iran, Russia, and even Israel. The Kurds are very much involved as is ISIS.
There is no way to enter this conflict without getting caught between warring parties that might be willing to ally themselves with you, but which are also fighting each other. The U.S. has now deployed troops at the Turkey-Syria border, and will find itself in the middle of these conflicts.
The Kurds are allies with the U.S. in fighting ISIS, and “[t]he U.S. views the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces as the most effective partner to counter the Islamic State group in northern Syria, an assessment bolstered by the SDF’s steady advances against the jihadists. But it has complicated relations with Turkey, which views the group’s Kurdish component as an extension of a terror group operating inside its own borders.”
Turkey also wishes to destroy ISIS, but is also unwilling to ally itself with the Kurds since the Kurds desire to carve a piece out of Turkey, as well as other nations, to fashion a homeland and country for their own people. Hence, that is one problem that the U.S. will face.
In fact, Turkey has been attacking Kurdish forces. “Last week, Turkey struck at YPG [Kurdish] positions inside Syria, killing 20 fighters and media activists, according to the group, prompting Kurdish parties to call for a U.S.-enforced no-fly-zone over northern Syria.”
As Turkey engages in airstrikes in Syria, the Kurdish problem becomes plain. “In Istanbul, Erdogan insisted that U.S. support for such groups ‘must come to an end,’ and said he would bring up the matter at a meeting with President Donald Trump next month.”
Bringing up a matter and resolving it are two very different projects. President Trump’s negotiation skills and willingness to engage difficult problems are real sources of strength and are to be commended. Yet this is the Middle-East, where these tensions have existed for hundreds and thousands of years.
Even a small amount of progress in such an area of twisted and shifting alliances would be a welcome accomplishment, especially as U.S. forces becoming involved on the ground.
Source: Associated Press