Pando

The War Nerd: Don’t be fooled -- Turkey is attacking the Kurds

By Gary Brecher , written on July 29, 2015

From The The War Nerd Desk

If you’re a trusting type, you might be cheering for the Turkish Air Force, which according to the more gullible news services has finally decided to strike Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.

Don’t believe it.

It’s not IS the Turkish planes have been bombing. Here’s a breakdown of the actual targets of the Turkish airstrikes:

The attack on IS was a single sortie against limited targets and closer to the Turkish border, while the one against the PKK was much different. The air force dispatched 75 F-16s and F-4E 2020s in three waves during July 24-26. Some 300 smart bombs were dropped in 185 sorties against approximately 400 PKK targets.

The Turkish raids were almost insulting in their bait-and-switch: One little strike on Islamic State, or a nice vacant lot that might once have been visited by IS . . . and then 300 sorties, with the best US air-to-ground ordnance you can buy, killing God knows how many hundreds or thousands of Kurdish socialist fighters.

Oh, and by the way, don’t expect most Western leftists to shed any tears over those dead Socialist fighters. You’d think Western lefties would be happy that a radical-feminist, non-sectarian, aggressively pro-LGBT, egalitarian/socialist militia is taking back ground from the most reactionary, sectarian killers on earth. Nah. The most you can hope for is guarded silence. Kurds make them nervous for reasons I’d rather not think about.

Nobody much likes the Kurds, especially Erdogan’s AK party. In fact, the AKP hates the Kurds so much that this shared hobby of Kurd-killing has been the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Turkish military and IS. IS fighters have always been able to move easily over the Turkish border, and there are persistent reports that Erdogan’s daughter herself is playing their Florence Nightingale, patching up those rapists’ boo-boos in one of the quasi-secret hospitals along the border.

The AKP’s position is simple: They hate the Kurds, period. Islamic State also hates the Kurds. So Erdogan has to force himself to mouth even the slightest objection to IS, whereas the spittle really flies when he starts ranting against the Kurdish PKK/YPG.

And what makes Erdogan maddest of all is that the young women and men of the YPG/J keep winning. That’s the real reason Turkey has launched every fighter-bomber it’s got, after years of watching indifferently as IS spread over Syria and Iraq: Because the Kurds were coming closer to Raqqa and Jarabulus every day, and had to be stopped.

The Kurds have been gaining ground in Turkey itself too, and that upsets the AKP more than anything the Kurdish militia is doing south of the border. The Turkish/Kurdish party HDP took a huge chance in the 2015 Turkish elections, and won. The gamble was that the party could draw some non-Kurdish voters sick of Erdogan’s quasi-fascist antics to cross the 10% margin it needed to get seats in parliament. The HDP’s best previous showing was 9.77%; if it stayed at that level, it would end up with nothing based on the election rules, and put the AKP back in power.

But the HDP passed the 10% hurdle, winning over many Turks and Alevi, getting more than 13% of the vote, winning 80 seats.

Thanks mostly to the success of the HDP, Erdogan’s AKP lost its majority for the first time in more than ten years. They were seriously pissed off, and they’re not over-delicate people. Erdogan’s demographic is Turkey’s redstaters, inland reactionary hicks, like I said a long time ago.

People like that don’t mind a little blood. Red-staters like a good killer; Lt. “Rusty” Calley was everybody’s friend in the Georgia hinterlands.

Actually, it’s a good exercise, transferring what’s happening in Turkey/Syria to the US. Imagine (and it takes some imagining, I admit) that a truly noble, progressive, socialist movement took over Northern Mexico. It would be a godsend for the people there, but you think the US would stand for it? Nah. The F-16s would be flying day and night to wipe those do-gooders out.

And that’s what the Turkish AF is busy doing right now, while pretending to attack IS. In reality, the Turkish military has stepped in to keep IS in power from total collapse against the Kurdish advance. It was the Kurds’ military victories, combined with the HDP’s electoral success, that finally drove Erdogan’s AKP right over the edge.

You may recall a little town called Kobane kicked up some dust last winter, when the Kurdish kids of the YPG/J stopped the supposedly unstoppable IS forces dead, killing something like 3000 of them in the ruins before the Caliph finally pulled his brain-dead war tourists from Dusseldorf and Marseille back south.

Welp, the Kurds pursued. They pushed out from Kobane, west, south, and east—every direction except north, because that’s Turkey, where the very existence of Kurds was denied until recently.

When Kobane failed to fall on schedule, the Kurds held three “cantons” in northern Syria, separated by hostile turf.

But they kept pushing, and there were signs that the jihadis of IS, always bragging about how eager they were to get their precious deaths, weren’t in such a hurry to die anymore. In fact, they were starting to break.

In mid-June 2015, YPG units pushing east from Kobane and west from Hasakeh took Tal Abyad, uniting two out of the three cantons of Syria in one continuous strip of land along the Turkish border.

This was not supposed to happen, in the smug little world inhabited by Mr. Erdogan and his Islamist buddies. The idea was to sic IS on the Kurds, then mop them up when they’d killed those crazy socialist kids. Now those kids were in charge of a huge stretch of Northern Syria, waving to their Kurdish kin across the border in Turkey, where hating Kurds is a national sport.

After the YPG/J took Tal Abyad, Islamic State was in a hopeless position . . . unless the Turks intervened. No more wave-throughs across the border, no more easy delivery of munitions and medicines to the boys in Raqqa. And the Kurds soon turned south, pushing against Raqqa itself. They took Ayn Issa, the only major town between Kobane and Raqqa, a week after meeting up in Tal Abyad.

Suddenly IS was breaking in every front where it faced the Kurds. Failing on the battlefield, they went back to what they do best—killing 32 young Kurdish socialists in a suicide bombing in Suruc, just across the border from Kobane. Turkish collusion was all over that massacre, but that shit only works on people who haven’t been through the Hell which is Kurdish history. The YPG/J vowed revenge and marched on.

Revenge wasn’t long coming, either; the YPG/J took Sarrin on July 26-27 2015. Sarrin is on the Euphrates, with an important bridge over the river (which is more like a lake around there, thanks to the dam). IS should have been able to hold Sarrin indefinitely, but their scumbag men were running, not fighting:  

Some of [the Islamic State fighters in Sarrin] drop their weapons and run away when they see us. They are running away now. We are on top of a hill in Sarrin," said one Kurdish fighter.

Sarrin is perfectly positioned to cut off the town of Jarabulus from all contact with IS HQ in Raqqa. And that matters a lot, because the area between Jarabulus and A’zaz to the west is the last strip of Turkish border still held by Turkish intel’s little friends in IS. Better yet, this strip includes Dabiq, the town IS named its house mag after, the glossy little number that published those famous articles justifying selling Yazidii women and girls as sex slaves.

It wouldn’t do, if you’re one of Erdogan’s generals, to let the Kurdish commies take Dabiq, let alone Jarabulus, which was the site of IS’s first grandiose “emirate” in northern Syria.

If YPG/J had been allowed to advance across the Euphrates, breaking up the “emirate” around Jarabulus, and liberating Dabiq, IS wouldn’t just be defeated, it’d be laughed at. And if there’s one thing slave-selling jihadis don’t enjoy, it’s people laughing at them. Or with them. Or anywhere near them.

So the Turkish Air Force is sending the best planes and munitions the US can send them to wipe out these pesky kids in YPG/J, while making noises about giving their IS clients a good spanking. At the moment, the Turkish generals are claiming they’re only hitting PKK/YPG in northern Iraq, but there are already reports of Turkish strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria.

It’s inevitable that the Turkish military will focus on those targets once it’s done its job of distracting the gullible media with this pantomime strike on IS.

YPJ/G is the most heroic group I’ve seen since I started writing about war. So it makes perfect sense that everybody wants to wipe them out.