Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Opinion: 'Why Turkey and Syria are Heading toward War'

"... some other dynamics pushing these countries toward war:
[1] ....... refugees and Kurdish nationalism--could lead Turkey to conclude that the sooner the Syrian civil war ends, the better. And helping fight it could help end it--especially if Turkey's fellow members of NATO help out.

[2] Speaking of NATO: The fact that a Turkish-Syrian war could draw America into the conflict will make such a war more attractive to some backers of American intervention. That includes some influential Americans (largely, but not entirely, drawn from the crowd that got the U.S. into the Iraq war), but it also includes non-Americans, among them, presumably, the leaders of some Arab states. And the more influential players there are who want a war to happen, the more likely it is to happen.
[3] Syria feels it can't afford to ignore the Turkish border. The casual reader of the news might ask: If Syria doesn't want a war, and Syrian shells that fall on the Turkish side of the border could start a war, why doesn't Syria quit firing shells anywhere near the border? Indeed, why not bow to the Turkish demand for a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border? The answer is simple: The Syrian regime is fighting for its life, and along the Turkish-Syrian border lies the lifeline of its enemy. The rebels are being supplied with weapons via Turkey and are seizing control of border crossings inside Syria, and their goal is to build, from there, an expanding zone of control. Can you imagine any regime, in the Syrian regime's situation, not fighting to keep control, or retake control, of border crossings, and not trying to disrupt the enemy's supply of arms and ammunition near the point of origin? 
[4] Turkey is, in a sense, already at war with the Syrian regime. The rebels aren't just being supplied via Turkey; they're being supplied by Turkey--at least in the sense that Turkey has willingly, even eagerly, turned itself into an arms and ammunition conveyer belt that is stocked by such countries as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. (The US is confining its contribution to "non-lethal" supplies such as communications equipment--which, of course, does in fact help the rebels kill people.) So the Turkish indignation at shells landing on Turkish soil is ironic; Turkey is sending lots more ammo into Syria than Syria is sending into Turkey--the difference is that the ammo Turkey is sending actually kills lots of people. That Turkey's role as a conduit of arms and ammunition isn't a passive one may make Syria even less inclined to keep its fire far from the border.
None of this changes the fact that the Syrian regime doesn't want a war with Turkey or the fact that the Turkish regime can't possibly be sanguine about war with Syria. But in the end these two facts may not matter."

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