President Obama’s ace diplomats have been working hard to bring Turkey into the alleged coalition with which he hopes to counter ISIS. Susan Rice claimed that the U.S. at least had secured permission to use Turkish bases to launch strikes against ISIS. That claim is false, according to Turkey (which should know).
Now comes word that Turkey has taken military action. Unfortunately, it has done so not against ISIS, but against Kurds who are protesting Turkish inaction in Kobani. Reuters reports:
War against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq threatened on Tuesday to unravel the delicate peace in neighbouring Turkey after the Turkish air force bombed Kurdish fighters furious over Ankara’s refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.
Turkey’s banned PKK Kurdish militant group accused Ankara of violating a two-year-old cease-fire with the air strikes, on the eve of a deadline set by the group’s jailed leader to salvage a peace process aimed at halting a three-decades-long insurgency. . . .
“For the first time in nearly two years, an air operation was carried out against our forces by the occupying Turkish Republic army,” the PKK said. “These attacks against two guerrilla bases at Daglica violated the ceasefire,” the PKK said, referring to an area near the border with Iraq.
We see in this story the main reason why the U.S. cannot rely on foreign countries — individually or collectively — to advance our national security interests. Every nation has its own axe to grind. In the Middle East and Central Asia, they typically have multiple axes. Seldom will they align with ours sufficiently to make them reliable partners.
Our narcissistic president apparently believes that, owing to his charisma, his status as a Citizen of the World, and perhaps his middle name, he can rally Middle East nations with vastly divergent interests into a serious coalition that will do his bidding. This was a pipe dream even before Obama thoroughly discredited himself through lack of judgment (e.g., his decision to leave no troops in Iraq, his characterization of ISIS as “the jayvee,” etc) and lack of resolve (e.g. his failure to take military action when Assad crossed the alleged red line by using chemical weapons).
They don’t agree on much in the Middle East, but every nation understands that following the feckless is a losing proposition.