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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 10-Oct-2014
10-Oct-14 World View -- Turkey and America play a game of 'chicken' over ISIS and Kobani

Web Log - October, 2014

10-Oct-14 World View -- Turkey and America play a game of 'chicken' over ISIS and Kobani

Iran blames Pakistan for terrorist attacks

This morning's key headlines from

Turkey and America play a game of 'chicken' over ISIS and Kobani

Aftermath of US air strike on Kobani on Wednesday (Reuters)
Aftermath of US air strike on Kobani on Wednesday (Reuters)

A real geopolitical drama is in progress, as the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL) attack on the Syrian city of Kobani, on the border with Turkey, may be close to victory. An ISIS victory would have potentially severe consequences for both America and Turkey. The battle of Kobani is being watched very closely around the Mideast, and an ISIS victory would expose the American airstrike strategy as a failure that exposed hundreds of thousands of civilian Kurds to slaughter. An ISIS victory would also create hundreds of thousands of new refugees adding to the hundreds of thousands who crossed the border into Turkey in the last three weeks. An ISIS victory might also trigger a renewal of Turkey's civil war versus the the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

So Turkey and America are playing a grand game of "chicken." In the classic American 1950s game, two teenagers get into cars at opposite ends of a long street, and drive towards each other. The first teenager to turn aside to avoid a collision is a "chicken," and the other teenager wins. If neither teenager turns aside, then there's a collision, resulting in deaths and/or injuries, but both sides have "won" because neither of them is a chicken.

In the current game of chicken over ISIS and Kobani, both America and Turkey are making demands of the other side to save Kobani from ISIS. If either side gives in and does something to save Kobani, then that side will be "chicken," and the other side will have won. If neither side does anything, and Kobani falls, possibly leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and refugees, then both America and Turkey will have "won."

It would be funny if the consequences weren't so serious. America tells Turkey to send ground troops to save Kobani. Turkey says that they won't, unless America also sends in ground troops.

As I understand Turkey's statements in the last few days, Turkey might be willing to send in ground troops alone, provided that America agrees to set up a no-fly zone in Syria, restricting Syria's air force.

Akin Unver, assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, says that there are fundamental differences between Turkey's and America's strategies. In an interview on Al-Jazeera (my transcription):

"I think there's a fundamental difference in Washington's and Ankara's view on what ISIS is, and how best to counter ISIS. ...

For Washington, basically ISIS may be an unfortunate result of an Iraq war, but it has to be combatted.

For Ankara, ISIS is a product of Assad and Maliki's policies for a very long time, that Ankara was actually warning the world about. Ankara was basically asking for a Western coalition, a Western military coalition against Assad, as well as some diplomatic push for Maliki, so that radicalization in the form of ISIS wouldn't happen.

But when you think from the perspective of Ankara, all of these warnings are unheeded, so basically right now Ankara doesn't think that Washington sees the picture very clearly. So that's the bsic divergence. ...

But the logic, rationale and narrative is that we told Washington that ISIS or a similar organization would happen, because basically if you want to deal with ISIS, you first have to get rid of the fundamental causes that produce that kind of radicalization, and the number one culprit that Ankara can find is Assad. Maybe not remove Assad, but basically create a secure zone, or cordon sanitaire in northern Syria, so that Assad's forces will never be able to move in there. That's the only way that Ankara thinks they can resolve this issue."

I actually agree with this. I've been saying for almost two years that the actions of Syria's genocidal monster Bashar al-Assad and his slaughter and displacement of millions of innocent Sunni women and children would draw jihadists from all over the world, and that's exactly what's happened, resulting in the creation of ISIS. Turkey warned exactly the same thing, but it was ignored.

I've also pointed out for two years that the fault also lies with Russia, which has been supply al-Assad with unlimited amounts of heavy weapons to use in his campaign of extermination against Sunnis, making Russia's president Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

Syria is in a generational Awakening era (like America in the 1960s), an era in which civil wars are impossible, or fizzle quickly if they start. The Syrian civil war began in 2011, and fizzled within a year, turning into a proxy war between Russia and jihadist forces that became ISIS.

In an article by Akin Unver (quoted above), Unver says that Turkey is alarmed by Russia's support of al-Assad for another reason:

"In today's terms, Russia's annexation of Crimea is sufficiently alarming for Ankara, with the added dimension of Russian naval supremacy in the Black Sea. Turkey is now virtually defenseless there and has lost its deterrence or negotiation leverages against Moscow in a number of issues. The most immediate is the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) designations in the Black Sea, critical due to Shell, Exxon, and Chevron exploration operations on Turkey's northern coast.

If the US wants to recruit Turkey's support against ISIL, not only should it address the full spectrum of the causes that created ISIL in the first place, but also make longer-term commitments against a Russian backlash against Turkey in the Black Sea. Only by approaching Ukraine and ISIL as complementing grand strategy issues can Washington find the ally it seeks in Ankara, without any need to counterproductively move any bases out of Turkey or clumsily write-off Ankara's cooperation."

Turkey's issue with Russia in the Black Sea is totally ignored in almost all media discussions of Turkey's strategy in Syria. World War I and the Crimean War were the last two generational crisis wars of both Russia and Turkey, and they were on opposite sides in both wars. Washington Post and Today's Zaman (Istanbul) and Al-Jazeera (Doha) and The National (UAE)

Russia makes farcical demand for Security Council resolution on Kobani

Turkey is saying that the anti-ISIS coalition will get Turkey's military support only if the coalition will target the Bashar al-Assad regime as well. Specifically, Turkey is demanding:

Russia's Foreign Ministry is making a farcical demand to submit the discussion on buffer zones in Syria to a vote in the United Nations Security Council (so that they can veto it). According to spokesman Alexander Lukashevich: "It is up to the UN Security Council to make decisions on these (buffer) zones. You remember the way it was in Iraq, Libya, and what it resulted in."

Russia has been using the UN Security County to humiliate the United States since 2010, by lying repeatedly and then vetoing any attempt to stop the genocide in Syria. Lukashevich mentioned Iraq and Libya, but didn't bother to mention Ukraine, where Russian soldiers invaded Crimea and annexed it to Russia, and then Russian soldiers invaded east Ukraine, leaving it an unstable mess, after shooting down an airliner. And Russia did all this without getting approval from the UN Security Council.

I don't know what decision the Obama administration will make in Syria, but I hope that it will just take the decision, without a farcical vote in the UN Security Council. BBC and Itar-Tass (Moscow)

Iran blames Pakistan for terrorist attacks

A car bomb attack on a police station in an Iran city on the border with Pakistan on Thursday morning killed a police officer, injuring others. The day before, three other police officers were killed in a separate terrorist attack. The Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-ul-Adl (Army of Justice) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks.

Iran is blaming Pakistan's government for the attacks. In an official statement by former IRGC commander MP Mohammad Esmail Kowsari:

"We wish that these acts of terror in the country, especially in border towns would end for good, but the main issue is that the Pakistani government does not secure its borders.

The Pakistani government has practically no control over the border areas and if they really cannot control it they better tell us so that we ourselves could take action."

This may be a veiled threat to send Iranian forces into Pakistan to pursue Jaish-ul-Adl, just as American forces entered Pakistan to capture Osama bin Laden. Pakistan Today and Tasnim News (Iran) and AEI Iran Tracker

The continuing realignment of the Mideast

During the last six weeks, I've written several articles on the Mideast realignment following the Gaza war. Iran is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s, and has a similar "generation gap," separating the survivors the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution and Iran/Iraq war from the younger generations that have grown up afterwards. This has resulted in schizophrenic Iranian policies, balancing the hardline attitudes of the Supreme Leader and other geezers who survived the Islamic Revolution versus the people in the younger generations, who like the West and don't hate Israel.

What decision will the American administration make with regard to Kobani? In particular, with America challenge al-Assad militarily?

It's impossible to predict individual political decisions, but it is possible to describe the long-term trends. And as I've been saying for almost ten years, based on a Generational Dynamics analysis, India, Russia and Iran will be our allies in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, versus China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslims. Several long-time readers have written to me recently to say that they didn't believe these predictions ten years ago, but are now astonished to see them coming true.

So let's focus now on Kobani and Syria. The long-term trends indicate that America will hold its nose and side with Russia, Iran and al-Assad. In the immediate context, this probably means that America will NOT support Turkey's demands for a buffer area or no-fly zone in Syria.

However, I can find no long-term trend that provides a way to forecast what will happen to the people of Kobani. What America or Turkey will do is a purely political chaotic (in the sense of Chaos theory) decision, which can't be predicted. The Kurds in Kobani claim that they're holding off the ISIS fighters, and hope to win. Or maybe either Turkey or America will find a way to provide ground troops. Or maybe Kobani will fall, with all the repercussions outlined above. Right now, there is no way to predict.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Oct-14 World View -- Turkey and America play a game of 'chicken' over ISIS and Kobani thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Oct-2014) Permanent Link
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