Norm’s note: as a counterpoint to M.K. Bhadrakumar’s article, you might want to read Prof Michel Chossudovsky‘s :
H/T to Off-guardian
Joe Biden came, saw, but failed to conquer Turkey
If US Vice President Joe Biden hoped for a trade-off with Turkish President Recep Erdogan – US assurances over Euphrates River ‘red line’ for Kurdish militia in lieu of Turkey’s acquiescence with Islamist preacher Fetullah Gulen remaining in Pennsylvania – that was not to be. ‘Euphrates Shield’ pre-empted Biden’s bidding. Erdogan thereby made Gulen’s extradition a ‘stand-alone’ issue. US’s Syria policies are in free fall and Turkey is increasingly eyeing Russia and Iran as its key interlocutors to resolve the Syrian problem.
Strategic ambiguity becomes necessary even between allies while addressing difficult issues. Turkey, with its long experience in diplomacy, displayed this week its exceptional mastery over the concept of strategic ambiguity.
- Turkish Special Forces had crossed the border into Syria by the time US Vice President Joe Biden landed in Ankara
When US President Barack Obama ‘upgraded’ the mission to Ankara from the level of secretary of state to the vice-president, Turkey was expected to feel honored. Instead, when Joe Biden arrived in Ankara on August 24, he was received at the airport by the deputy mayor.
Again, even as his aircraft was approaching Turkish air space, Ankara deftly undercut his negotiating brief. Turkish Special Forces had crossed the border already into Syria by the time Biden landed in Ankara.
Turkey maintains that it is fighting the Islamic State, reputed to be present in Jarablus. But Biden understood the explicit meaning of ‘Euphrates Shield’.
In plain terms, Turkey intends to send the Kurdish militia packing across the Euphrates River, which is its ‘red line’.
Washington was ambivalent over Turkey’s ‘red line’, Ankara’s demarches notwithstanding. Turkey decided, finally, to present Washington with a fait accompli.
Within hours of Biden’s departure from Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to inform Ankara on phone that Kurdish militia will retreat to the eastern side of Euphrates.
Yet, Ankara maintains that the operation is directed against the IS, leaving Pentagon to grind its teeth and helplessly watch its only reliable ally in Syria being made mishmash.
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