The current developments follow a similar pattern to the analysis featured in the Washington Post on March 20th, 2018, which is also the source of inspiration for this article. Even though it is not a one to one copy, the outline is similar. Overlapping announcements forthcoming from the United States of America (USA) and France with put forward great confusion and contradiction is closely related to the rock threw into the river.
The rock lobbed by Turkey is indeed closely related to Turkey’s policy towards Syria and its military dimension. The Afrin/Olive Branch operation successfully initiated by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has rattled the existing scheme and balance in the region. Hence, this is the underlying cause of Turkey being a focus of discussion both in the East (Russia-Iran) and the West (France-US).
Had if Turkey not alluded, it would have failed to become an effective actor in the “New Middle-East”. Furthermore, it would have been pushed into a position where it could be a new address of sharing, since the establishment of a terror corridor on Turkey’s southern border is equivalent to paving the way for a civil war.
The success of Turkey is not only limited to the military dimension. Herein, diplomacy which formed the basis of the intervention and de facto alliances established in this context are paramount. This leads us directly to the normalisation process initiated between Turkey and Russia on 27th of July 2016 prioritising on Syria-Iraq dimension and the subsequent Jerablus/Euphrates Shield operation on 24th August 2016.
Later on, largely under the initiative of Turkey and Russia through talks in Moscow a triplet alliance between “Turkey-Russia-Iran” was founded that became the forefront for Astana-Sochi talks and effectively concluded the Geneva Peace Process which was totally under the influence of the US. With this development, the Syria-Iraq based “New Middle-East Project” of the Us entered a period of decline.
The relevant article of the Washington Post penned by Hassan Hassan, President of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy indicates that the “ripples caused by the rock thrown by Turkey will last more then expected”. Hassan also makes the following determination; “Even though Washington has not halted its operation in Syria, it is constantly being squeezed into the corner by regional power”.
The Bankrupt US Policy
The United States being squeezed into a corner in Syria reveals the fact that it is drawing a bow at a venture. This situation of the US has been voiced by Nicolas Heras from the Center for a New American Security in an editorial in Washington Post. Heras has indicated that; “the Afrin crises has showed US politicians how difficult it was to carry out more than one agenda in Syria”.
Therefore, this development is substantial to understand the impact of Turkey’s such on the Eastern shore of the Atlantic. Herein, Turkey has achieved a sizeable success by positioning the US as a “coward” and “untrustworthy” ally in the region.
In fact, those who relied on the US in Northern Iraq and Syria are in a great vain and despair. The US is suffering from a serious loss of “reputation” in Iraq and Syria and to avoid further losses it is planning on scraping the complete scheme.
This is the underlying reason of Trump’s shifting policy towards Turkey. Therefore, the recent asseveration of Trump to pull out off Syria indicate to an end of US’s Syria policy. This is also forms the basis of advice and reaction towards the French president Emmanuel Macron.
The Middle-East was Seen as a Swamp
It is quite interesting to see those who until yesterday called the Middle-East a swamp now calling it a lake. It also quite remarkable that many including numerous domestic parties had warned Turkey to stay away from this swamp. Turkey was even belaboured as frog on hunt for flies in the Middle-East quagmire.
However, with Turkey gaining ground in Syria, the terminology changed too. Overturning the scheme has brought more victories than major military-strategic achievements.
In this context Turkey should endure its policy, since this approach is pushing the US/West into a substantial crisis. In fact, Seth Frantzman who writes in the National Interest confesses to this fact by stating that; “The US is facing a crisis of confidence in Syria. Its anti-ISIS which ended in the fall of 2017 are now in trouble. Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran are calling upon Washing to terminate its operations”.
Therefore, surely “the ripples in the lake will last long”. Turkey should lengthen its current actions and not fall for US’s endearment and pledges. It should continue to speak in the language the US understands and pursue an active foreign policy based on balance of power until it achieves its mission.