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Is Turkey In Over Its Head?

Is Turkey In Over Its Head?

Erdogan, cc Flickr thierry ehrmann

Turkey’s war against Islamic State began with bombs being dropped on Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) forces – a central actor in the ongoing insurgency across parts of Syria (a country that ostensibly no longer exists) and Iraq. The PKK has sought autonomy from Turkey since the mid-1980s, with tens of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish soldiers and civilians being counted as part of the casualties of the roughly 30-year conflict. Attempts to carve out a sovereign Kurdish homeland from Turkey during the 1980s led to the deaths of over 30,000 people, many of whom were ethnic Kurds. As part of Turkey’s new role in its conflict with ISIS, the United States has been granted permission to launch aircraft from the Incirlik airbase located near Adana. The United States already has approximately six fighter aircraft and several hundred military personnel stationed at the base.

The battle of Kobane, which lasted from mid-September 2014 until mid-March 2015, brought the fighting to the borders of Turkey. At the end of July 2015, when Turkey entered into the conflict, its attacks against the PKK were the first strikes against the Kurds situated in northern Iraq since the brokering of a peace deal between Turkey and the PKK in 2013. The Kurdish group’s accusations that the Turkish government is plotting terrorist attacks (in collusion with ISIS forces) against ethnic Kurdish communities greatly adds to tensions due to Ankara’s already inimical disposition toward the Kurds.

The situation in northern Iraq and Syria is a Gordian knot: Turkey vs. Kurds (with Kurdish intergroup fighting predating ISIS) vs. ISIS (with internal fragmentation and al-Qaeda support) vs. Syrian opposition groups.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

How ISIS Pays Its Fighters——From Gulf State Bankrollers

How ISIS Pays Its Fighters——From Gulf State Bankrollers

Islamic State is still receiving significant financial support from Arab sympathisers outside Iraq and Syria, enabling it to expand its war effort, says a senior Kurdish official.

The US has being trying to stop such private donors in the Gulf oil states sending to Islamic State (Isis) funds that help pay the salaries of fighters who may number well over 100,000.

Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President, Massoud Barzani, told The Independent on Sunday: “There is sympathy for Da’esh [the Arabic acronym for IS, also known as Isis] in many Arab countries and this has translated into money – and that is a disaster.”  He pointed out that until recently financial aid was being given more or less openly by Gulf states to the opposition in Syria – but by now most of these rebel groups have been absorbed into IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, so it is they “who now have the money and the weapons”.

Mr Hussein would not identify the states from which the funding for IS comes today, but implied that they were the same Gulf oil states that financed Sunni Arab rebels in Iraq and Syria in the past.

Dr Mahmoud Othman, a veteran member of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership who recently retired from the Iraqi parliament, said there was a misunderstanding as to why Gulf countries paid off IS. It is not only that donors are supporters of IS, but that the movement “gets money from the Arab countries because they are afraid of it”, he says. “Gulf countries give money to Da’esh so that it promises not to carry out operations on their territory.”

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Latest ISIS attack on Kobanê implicates Turkey once more | ROAR Magazine

Latest ISIS attack on Kobanê implicates Turkey once more | ROAR Magazine.

This weekend ISIS attacked Kobanê from Turkish soil. While Turkish complicity in the attack is hard to prove, the events raises some important questions.

In the early hours of Saturday, November 29, on the 75th day of the resistance of Kobanê, the militants of the Islamic State launched yet another attack against the city. In the 2.5 months that ISIS has been besieging the predominantly Kurdish city at the border with Turkey it launched numerous attacks — ranging from indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas with tanks, mortars and heavy artillery to suicide attacks by individuals and car bombs (VBIEDs) — but never before did it attack the city from the north, from the Turkish side of the border.

For many international observers and Kurdish activists this fact confirmed once again that the Turkish state is in bed with the Islamist militants, and that the two are collaborating closely in their fight against the region’s Kurdish population. Despite many clues pointing in this direction, one has to be careful in drawing too many conclusions from Saturday’s attack.

At this point it is a well-established fact that ISIS launched its latest attack on Kobanê from Turkish soil, but the extent to which the Turkish military and/or state has been complicit in this event remains impossible to determine. Aaron Stein’s Open Source Analysis of the attack presents the possibility that ISIS entered Turkey without the latter’s knowledge, crossing the border from Kobanê just a few hundred meters to the east of the border crossing before looping south and attacking the border gate from the north.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

ISIL fighters make gains in northern Iraq – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

ISIL fighters make gains in northern Iraq – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has continued to gain ground in northern Iraq despite weeks of US-led air strikes, and are now moving closer to the Iraq-Kurdish city of Erbil.

ISIL fighters are battling Kurdish volunteer troops in the town of al-Kuwayr, about 60km southwest of Erbil.

However, national security expert Douglas Ollivant, of the New America Foundation, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that for now there was no immediate threat of ISIL closing in on Erbil.

Ollivant said that it is likely that the armed group will concentrate on al-Kuwayr, as they face a stronger resistance from Kurdish fighters and US-led air power should they make their way further into Kurdish areas.

“There are significant defences between these towns and Erbil,” he said. “Erbil and Baghdad are still safe at this point.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

After Gezi: Erdoğan and political struggle in Turkey | ROAR Magazine

After Gezi: Erdoğan and political struggle in Turkey | ROAR Magazine.

Post image for After Gezi: Erdoğan and political struggle in Turkey

The latest Global Uprisings film chronicles a year of resistance and repression that has left Turkey profoundly divided in the wake of the Gezi uprising.

Political struggles over the future of Turkey have left the country profoundly divided. Former Prime Minister, now President, Tayyip Erdogan, has fueled growing polarization through his authoritarian response to protests, his large-scale urban development projects, his religious social conservatism, and most recently, through his complicity in the Islamic State’s war against the Kurdish people in Northern Syria.

In the year after the Gezi uprising, protests continue against the government’s urban redevelopment plans, against police repression, in response to repression of the Kurdish and Alevi populations, and in honor of the martyrs that lost their lives in the uprising. Most recently, angry protests and riots have spread across the country in solidarity with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units fighting against the Islamic State in Kobanê, Rojava. This film chronicles a year of uprisings, resistance and repression since the Gezi uprising in Turkey.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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