Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Kobani Uprising

Turkey has troops on their border with Syria poised to intervene in Syria against ISIL. Are the Turks waiting for ISIL to inflict a defeat on Syria's Kurds before they move in?

This is disturbing:
Turkey's president said the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani was "about to fall" as Islamic State fighters pressed home a three-week assault that has cost a reported 400 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The prospect that the town could be captured by Islamic State, who are now within city limits, has increased pressure on Turkey to join an international coalition to fight against the jihadists. ...

He said Turkey would take action if there were threats to Turkish soldiers guarding a historic site in Syria that Ankara regards as its territory. But so far Turkey has made no move to get involved in the fighting across the border.

Ah, a threat to a historic could move the Turks. But not dead civilians. Not Kurdish civilians, anyway.

It reminds me of the Poles rising up in Warsaw as the Soviet army approached in 1944. The Russians held back and watched while the Germans brutally put down the uprising, which killed people that the Russians would have had to kill later to cement their control of Poland as a subservient satellite.

So the Turks may let ISIL kill potentially problematic Kurds, and after those Kurds bleed ISIL a bit in the process of being wiped out, sweep in to protect some historic sites and kill ISIL terrorists.

UPDATE: The Turks are conflicted. NATO wants them to save the Kurds at Kobani. Kurds in Turkey would like that. But other Kurds don't want to get involved in Syria on the ground. And the Turks want to defeat Assad while not being left all alone on the ground inside Syria. Turkey wants alliance support for a security zone (where Syrian refugees can go instead of Turkey) and no-fly zone above that, with more aid to acceptable anti-Assad rebels.

Add to this that we need the Kurds in Iraq as well as in Syria, who might be upset that we aren't doing enough to help Kurds in Syria avoid a slaughter.

Our strikes paused the ISIL advance:

U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said.

Turkey might like the Kurds in Syria weakened, but allowing that might anger Turkish Kurds enough into resuming rebellion.

Stratfor discusses Turkey, too. Basically, if we wish to lead from behind Turkey, Turkey wants to set the objectives.

What a shock.

UPDATE: More on the blowback Turkey risks by standing by while Syria's Kurds are slaughtered.

UPDATE: Belmont Club thought of Warsaw, too. Although the Soviets didn't have a sizable minority upset that the Red Army sat and watched the slaughter.