The Associated Press reports that Turkey has begun to shell positions held by Syrian Kurds close to its border, the first stage of a cross-border offensive against the Kurds. The trouble is that Syria’s Kurds are allies of the United States, which plans to arm and train a 30,000-man militia over Turkey’s vehement protests.
“Erdogan’s strategic embarrassment” is the top headline in Germany’s leading center-right daily Die Welt. Writes Michael Stuermer, “Erdogan is in a pickel. If he does nothing in northern Syria, he’ll be in trouble in domestic politics; if he lets the tanks fire, he’ll be in a foreign policy situation that could run out of his control.”
The Syrian Kurds were boots on the ground that kicked ISIS out of northern Syria, de facto allied to the Assad government, which also fought ISIS, but they are also a threat to the Syrian government, which fears a Kurdish independence movement allied to the Kurds of northern Iraq. The US is arming and training the Kurds as a bulwark against ISIS, but also as an obstacle to Iran’s ambitions in Syria; Iran’s Kurds would also like to break away and someday reunite with Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
The situation resembles the final scene of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” in which each member of a gang points his pistol at another member of the gang, and, inevitably, everyone gets shot.
Bottom line: Sell the Turkish lira and get out of Turkish stocks.