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Turkey's action against the ISIL and the PKK
Turkey armed forces have very recently started carrying out air-strikes against the ISIL targets inside Syria for the very first time since the war against it started last year. Only thing is that the Turkish government is also acting against the Kurds of the region, particularly against the PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistane) and it carried out simultaneous strikes against the armed Turkish Kurdish separatist group inside Iraq. Iraq called the attack as, "a dangerous escalation and an offense to Iraqi sovereignty." Turkish authorities in recent times have also arrested hundreds of ISIL and PKK suspects.

The Kurds of Syria and Iraq are the most trusted ground forces against the ISIL for the United States and the only effective moderates up to now on which the Pentagon can rely upon. Thus attacking them may severe their relationship with the United States and compromise the international fight against the ISIL.

Following the first attacks the Turkish government called on a NATO-members meeting and the military organisation supported Turkey's fight against its enemies though the organisation also asked it to show restraint while handling Kurdish separatists. Under American pressure Turkey may dilute its severity of attacks against the PKK.

The change in Turkey's strategy could be directly linked to killings of 32 Kurd students recently and possibly also to growing tension along the Turkey-Syrian border as well as to the rise of Syrian Kurds group in the Northern Syrian border. It has domestic dimension as well. The fact is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP has lost majority in the Parliament with pro-Kurdish HDP having a major gain in recent elections.

The opposition members are trying to cobble numbers together to form a coalition government. Obviously President Erdogan is not happy and if a government is not formed soon then he may call snap elections in November-December. He is trying to inflate nationalistic passion so that his party gains a majority, which could pave way to his dream of having American-like strong Presidential system in Turkey though such would require amendment in the Constitution.

I tell you Turkey's strategy on the war against the ISIL would change with time, fluctuating rapidly and equally frequently. It considers Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad as its enemy and calls for its removal. Even though Turkish government says that it is only against PKK and not against YPG, the Syrian Kurdish group, the fact is that there is a unity among Kurds of the region and non-Kurdish Turkey has huge resentment against Kurdish nationalism.

Turkey could also act against Syrian government's targets which could complicate equations not only in Syria and Iraq but also throughout the region. Fearing backlash back home it considers the rise of Kurds in Syria as antagonistic to its interests vis-a-vis Turkish Kurds. Thus it counts three enemies: the ISIL, Syrian state and Kurds of the region, particularly those of the Turkey. I do not think that its armed forces are so efficient and so professional and even free so as to counter all three simultaneously and thus it may like to put undue pressure on the Pentagon. Such could complicate the Pentagon's strategy on Syria and Iraq which because of the cooperation by Kurds on ground is showing some sign of successes.

Turkey's involvement in Syrian and Iraqi war is like addition of another nation like Saudi Arabia which is skeptical about America's plans towards Syria and Iraq and is ambiguous in its approach. But then like Saudi Arabia, Turkey's support is very important. Thus the United States can claim some gains with the inclusion of Turkey though the latter's policy would be very, very uncertain and ambiguous.

By the way Turkey has allowed its air-bases to be used against targets in Syria though it may like to put some conditions on which those targets should be. The availability of Turkish air-bases would be of great help to the Pentagon and would reduce significantly its cost of military mission against the ISIL.

Now let's have some more news. As per a New York Times report 'Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep ISIL militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.

The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an ISIL-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a "safe zone" for displaced Syrians. While many details have yet to be determined, including how deep the strip would extend into Syria, the plan would significantly intensify American and Turkish military action against ISIL militants in the country, as well as the United States' coordination with Syrian insurgents on the ground.'

In recent times the Obama administration is supporting Kurds' surge in Northern Syria in order to fight out the ISIL from the sub-region. The Pentagon is supporting Syrian Kurds' advancement through air-strikes. But then this strategy may fail over longer runs. Not simply because of concerns about rights violations of Syrian Arabs by Syrian Kurds alone as there are other reasons as well.

The fact is that if I could borrow a word from Hinduism then Kurds are outcastes in the region except within their own communities even though they are coordinating with Americans. The fact is that simmering fight for independent unified Kurdistan is taking place in four nations: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. None of the countries like them except for tactical reasons as is the case in Iraq.

Neither Sunnis nor Shiites as groups have any affection left for Kurds in these trying circumstances. They are not going to sacrifice the territory they consider rightfully theirs. The point is that independent Kurdistan is very unlikely to become a reality and the United States just cannot support it though it can support their lesser demands about more autonomy in each nation-state.

Mind you, while President Obama should be having an imprint on the newest strategy but it appears more likely that the Pentagon has bigger role in formulation of the present strategy on Syria. Their argument is that Kurds are least radical and most secular grouping in Syria and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not mind much and Syrian government will in all likelihood not come in open confrontation with them. Kurds have great reasons too to oppose rising Sunni and Shiite radicalism all over the places wherever they are in significant numbers.

But then first of all by doing so the United States looses any faint support that it may have among Sunnis of Syria. However, in an apparent anomalous strategy Americans are trying to help out Syrian Arab fighters as well to contain the rise of the ISIL though I think such could succeed only over longer terms. Second, it increases Sunni radicalism in many other parts of Syria.

Sure, capturing Ar-Raqqah is not an easy thing but should it happen with the help of Kurds then it will be all out chaos in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq. I am not saying that Raqqah should not be taken from the ISIL but definitely not with the help of Kurds.

Nevertheless, the military victory may matter politically and if the American and Turkish forces are able to enforce no-fly or buffer zone along the ISIL-held territories on Turkey-Syria border then it would be a significant advancement. It would mean a great defeat for the ISIL. Also, if Syrian refugees are rehabilitated then it would help a bit. But then this may not relieve pain and agony of millions of Syrians, particularly those of Sunnis and it would also not forge unity among Sunnis and Kurds. Also, the hypothetically returned refugees would not have normal life and they may face increased violence in their habitat. As a matter of fact, as a reaction, they would demand their humanitarian and political rights. However, I repeat, it would be a significant military advancement, if and when it happens.

I tell you, the Pentagon is a very, very powerful institution and it can destroy all that belongs to the ISIL around and inside their headquarter city. But then the political cost will be very high, may be prohibitive. It should be noted that the Pentagon will rarely care about the economic cost of its operations.

I think that the Pentagon should create a viable Sunni fighting outfit which is not that radical and keeps wish to rule over Syria politically after defeating radical Sunni organisations in Syria and battling out forces loyal to Mr. Assad with the help of American air-power and other aid and assistance. I know it is easy to advice but difficult to actualise.

The fact is that things are very hot in Syria and the Pentagon just cannot sit in inaction with empty hands inside the nation. Maybe this is still the least terrible of the bad options but then it too may fail over the longer space-time domains of Syria. I think that the Pentagon should worry about politics of the region and consequences of its actions over the larger space-time besides caring for military side of the wars and battles that it is fighting in many places in the Middle East.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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