Isis looks set to overrun Kurdish resistance at Kobani. Not because these fanatics are invincible but because, as ever in the Middle East, a grim realpolitik prevails in the stakeholder capitals.
Let’s set aside – we don’t have all day! – Washington’s Faustian bargains with Tel Aviv and Ryadh, and the Orwellian irony of appointing as ‘Peace Envoy’ a man who in a saner world would be in the dock at the Hague. Instead, fast-forward to the current plight of a railroad town near the Turkish-Syrian border, one time shelter for Armenian refugees as the sun went down on the Ottomans.
Air strikes won’t do it. Turkey could crush Isis but why would she? Leaving aside her turn from secularism (hence from EU aspirations and even the presumption of NATO allegiance) the view from Ankara – understandably, since “our” freedom fighter is Erdogan’s terrorist – is that these guys are brothers to a PKK that’s spent three decades fighting for a Kurdistan inside Turkey’s current borders. May as well ask Mrs Thatcher to have the SAS help out a beleagured IRA! What’s more, Ankara has every interest in seeing the back of Assad and – with Washington in no position to lecture on the myopia of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” – we can ask again, why would Erdogan move against Isis, the most credible on the ground threat to his erstwhile “brother” in Damascus?
No use hectoring. Expulsion from NATO? Music to Putin’s ears, and Ankara knows it. I’ve been sniffing the odd remark in the commentariat about a military coup against Erdogan in the spirit of Attaturk. Maybe there’s something in it; I wouldn’t know. It does smack though of wishful thinking by liberals with a loose grip on reality.
And Assad himself? This morning I heard Defence Secretary Phil (Parliamentary Expenses) Hammond explain why “we” won’t be backing him against Isis:
“Assad is the cause of all this”.
Right. I’d forgotten that. Too busy pondering the energy reserves in Northern Syria, I guess. And western capitalism’s track record on post ‘liberation’ asset-stripping.
Better send in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard then.