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Centre of National Security and Foreign Policy Researches|01 Şubat 2018 Thursday

Afrin Aftermath; Manbij, Idlib, Sunni Region, East Euphrates/USA-PKK Partnership ?

Cahit Armağan Dilek tarafından yazıldı.

 

To prevent the terror aisle, I believe Turkey's prior and main objective is East Euphrates. I have been mentioning this and writing about it for the last two years. It is so unfortunate yet essential to mention that up until the Afrin operation, the subject of East Euphrates being the main threat was not on the agenda of Turkish media and public opinion. But at least, with the current Afrin operation, this main threat in the east side of Euphrates is finally started to be apprehended by certain people.

Main Threat/Main Objective-Secondary Objective

If the threat -that goes all the way through our borders- is to be analyzed in the big picture, we can realize that Afrin is the secondary target. Because the center of gravity of the terror aisle and furthermore the on-going construction of the state of terror, is in the east side of Euphrates. Since it is impossible to organize one big simultaneous operation on the battlefront that goes for hundreds of kilometers, the course of action should focus on striking and defusing the center.

Keeping the Syrian crisis in mind, Turkey commenced the operation from the exact opposite of the where it should have commenced which is the center of the aisle; east side of the Euphrates. Turkey took off with harder, long termed and a lot more costly objective. This is harder, long termed and a lot more costly because Turkey chose the path to the opponent -which is the on-going construction of the state of terror- from the objective which is known to have limited effect to the éminence grise of the center which will continue towards the strongest center. Furthermore, with the Afrin operation, the political stand which consists repressions and accusation against Turkey on the international level reveals an augmentation of the  potential that might alter the course of action of the operation; in other words, obstruction of the operation of the operation.

Would there be a Turkey-USA armed conflict in Manbij?

In the forthcoming period, in order to rectify the mistake of this preference or the mistake of evaluation of the prioritization of the objective, Turkey might feel the necessity to change the direction towards Manbij under obligation. Whereas, there is no change in posture for USA when it comes to the subject of Manbij. USA did declare  to not yield in Manbij. As the last statement was given by the CENTCOM commander Votel to whom the mandatory instructions were given by the president of USA, demonstrates the indirect response from Trump to president Erdoğan. After the mentioned clarification, Votels statement about continuation on putting support behind YPG gives hints about stationary state of the the ultimate stand of USA.

Lastly, Pentagon did announce that USAs adressee in Manbij is the Manbij Military Council and that majority of the council includes primarily Arabs which is followed by Kurds and local folks. With the mentioned statement, USA claims that the control of Manbij is not in the hands of YPG-PYD but instead in the hands of a democratically chosen council. USA emphasizes that the military forces in Manbij are not YPG-PYD but the members of the military council and that USA does not deal with YPG-PYD. As a result, USA wishes to send the message of ‘‘YPG-PYD doesn’t exist in Manbij, the local people are ruling themselves’’ to Turkey and nullify the demands of Turkey.

Despite USAs clarification of not withdrawing its forces, Turkeys attempt of conducting a combat operation towards Manbij would imply acquiescence of engaging in confrontation with USA. Certainly, Turkey can conduct such operation in defiance of USA. Cyprus Peace Operation being in the first place, there are many several of this in the history yet each situation is due to be analyzed within its time-location-conditions. The relation of cost&outcome should be studied carefully. The effect and the consequence of the operation with its contribution to the ultimate objective must be analyzed with a studious manner.

In regard to the current military/political ambiance and comparison of aramaments, Turkey is not expected to lunge such an operation. The Turkish government will continue to keep the Manbij intervention in the agenda with various justifications. Here is the piece de resistance; the statements of the Turkish government does not clearly express military intervention towards Manbij but rather demands USA to fulfil the promises pledged earlier. Perhaps the rulers expressed the probability to advance towards Idlib after Afrin while thinking the possible problems that might occur on the way to Manbij. Thus, Turkish government which is unable to advance towards Manbij, might change the direction of the operation towards Idlib.

Halt! Ambush of Sunni Region in the West Side of Euphrates in Exchange to the East Side

As the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said 2,5 millenia ago ‘‘supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting’’. Keeping it in mind, the most preferable solution is to find a way without facing with USA on the field. But the threat of terror which gains steam on the subject of becoming a state obstructs it. Regarding the statements of Pentagon which consists ‘‘Cooperation might solutionize Manbij’’, it can be confirmed that USA will rather tend to convince Turkey that YPG-PYD does not exist in Manbij.

While doing so, USA will present a distractor for Turkey. This, as well, is one of the subjects we have adressed earlier; a proposition of a Sunni region under the Turkish influence in the region of Euphrates Shield, Afrin, northern side of Idlib. It is vitally important to consider that USA would not offer such an unexpected move but rather to ensure the region of YPG-PYD in the east side of Euphrates and furthermore, such motion would mean the intention of dividing Syria in regard to Israels security.

Considering the undisputable certainty of Turkey announcing the will of toppling Assad to visit a rulership with Sunni tendencies and putting this wish into practice by organizing an armed militia like FSA to fight against Assad, it is a great possibility for USA to think that Turkey would agree on such a proposition. I’d like to underline that this will cause the end of the territorial integrity of Syria, ergo, an ambush when considering the domino effect which will reflect to Turkey.

Within this framework, the answers to questions mentioned below can be arbiter:

- Is it non-objectionable to see a Manbij with no YPG-PYD on sight yet with the military existance of USA?

- What is the ultimate picture or end-state  in Manbij for Turkey?

- If USA truely fulfils the promises and crosses the YPG-PYD to the east side of Euphrates, what will Turkey do to the PKK/YPG militias in this new location?

- Will Turkey lean towards the idea of constructing a Sunni region within the regions of Euphrates Shield, Afrin and northern side of Idlib? Is Turkey aware of the fact that such plan will pave the way for the state formation of YPG-PYD and end of Syrias territorial integrity?

- Why does the Turkish government, which creates a perception of affording the risk to confront with USA in the northern side of Syria, allow USA to supply YPG-PYD with logistical and operational support over Turkish territories and even further, Turkish military stations? Just as we said and are saying from the very first days; why is the İncirlik Consensus, which was decreed to fight against ISIL, still not terminated to operations of foreign militaries?

 To intervene or not; there is no low cost !

Turkey is relatively late to get involved in the northern side of Syria. The terror aisle realized in a very clear and public way. Instead of instantly intervening the trailer trucks that were on their way to transport aid to the terrorist organization, we settled down to inventory counting and complaining. On-site, there have been actions and formations against Turkey. Finally, the consequences were met; rooting and growing of the threat which then advanced to state-building point.

Thus, as Turkey is already late, the obligation of striking back with only military lunges did emerge. Unfortunatelly, each and every plan of action choice will have high cost. Under these conditions, necessary preparations regarding each and every military lunge -including confrontation with USA- should be taken. Simultaneously, Turkey should focus on displaying all evidences to the world that proove the fact that PKK and YPG-PYD are the same organization, thus presenting the cooperation of USA and a terror organization (PKK), which was listed as a terror organization by itself as well, to break down the USA-PKK partnership.

End State - Political Objective; termination of partnership of USA-PKK in the east side of Euphrates

What we tried to discuss above is to show that with the subjects of Manbij, Idlib, east side of Euphrates, Sunni region; the Turkish government is confused. To contribute to the ending of this confusion, we can sum all we have talked up until here; about which I have been voicing for years:

It is correct that the east side of Euphrates is the center of PKK state-to-be and in the very core of this center; there lays the USA-PKK partneriat. The breakdown of this partneriat will speed up the decentralization of the PKK. While doing so, to indicate the determination of Turkey, instead of executing wide-ranging cross-border operations, the PKK/YPG targets in the east side of Euphrates should be shot with point target airstrikes.

Without a doubt, while taking these decisions, Turkey should clearly specify the ultimate objective, ergo the political objective, of fighting the terrorist organization of PKK. Not determining the ultimate objective indicated to cause troubles  in determining the political objectives of Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations.

One of the most essential points of succeeding in such operation in Syria is direct and close collaboration with the host country in which operations are going to be executed -Syria- and the rulers of this country -the Damascus government-. We must bear in mind that the chain of mistakes in Turkeys Syria policy started with ignoring the legitimate government of Syria. For the interests and survival of Turkey, the very first mistake of the Syria policy should be corrected.

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