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Turkey attacks: civilians will die, allies will fall, and Trump will reap the ISIS whirlwind
Using President Trump’s permission slip for the slaughter of those who partnered with America against ISIS, Turkey has begun its offensive into northern Syria. There will be blood, much of it from civilians.
Turkey’s military is now embarked on what it will regard as an almost holy struggle to purge its Kurdish nemesis. Turkish commanders and frontline combat units have been chomping at the bit to launch this offensive. Contrary to some reporting, they have not started with a slow roll.
Turkish forces have already launched air and artillery strikes across the area they wish to seize. The town of Tal Abyad has faced particularly heavy air strikes. While Turkey has some advanced artillery platforms and bomb munitions, it lacks an integrated intelligence-targeting capability anywhere close to that of the United States. If it is to take ground quickly and with acceptable losses, the Turkish military will have to rely on the indiscriminate use of force.
President Trump thinks he can temper Turkey’s threat to civilians by threatening Erdogan with devastating economic sanctions. But he’s wrong. This operation gives Erdogan a nationalist rallying cry to expand his fraying base. Erdogan would smash his Islamo-nationalist credibility, which is to say his base, were he to withdraw Turkish forces in face of American economic threats. The man who sees himself as a new Islamist Kemal Ataturk will not do that.
Where does this leave us? With blood and misery to come.
Chief Political Correspondent Byron York on the expanded Washington Examiner magazine
While Turkey has legitimate security and refugee concerns in Syria, this “safe zone” operation doesn’t involve the U.S. for a simple reason — it’s not actually about a safe zone. It’s about smashing the YPG-aligned Kurds and then dumping Sunni-Arab refugees into their heartlands. The outcome of the conflict isn’t yet clear. But we already know of one immediate victor and one immediate loser.
The victor is ISIS. Its fighters will flood out of their Kurdish prison camps and go back to their home nations or to the growing safe havens in Iraq. They will regroup to continue their global struggle another day.
The loser is Trump, the man who has sacrificed American allies and given a lifeline to America’s ISIS enemy, all so that he can send out a few tweets to the most delusional of his base.