Bizarre ‘anti-ISIS’ operating zone planned on Syrian border has U.S. military stumped

Interesting times.

Turkish tank patrols the border near Suruc.  (Image: AP via EKurd)
Turkish tank patrols the border near Suruc. (Image: AP via EKurd)

What lies beyond surreal?  Whatever it is, America is about to probe its depths, unless something intervenes to prevent the implementation of a U.S.-Turkish accord that would allow American forces to use Turkish air bases for strikes in Syria.

The U.S. has for months been seeking permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik air base in the campaign against Islamic State.  Incirlik is a Cold War-era base from which U.S. air forces have operated for years.  But Turkey has been selective about its use in the post-1991 period (prohibiting American use, notoriously, for the 2003 invasion of Iraq).

After the terrorist attack on the border town of Suruc, Turkey on 20 July – linked to Islamic State – Obama and Erdogan reportedly agreed in a phone call to bring Turkey into the campaign against ISIS, and begin operating American military aircraft in that fight from Turkish bases. Continue reading “Bizarre ‘anti-ISIS’ operating zone planned on Syrian border has U.S. military stumped”

Peace in our time: Militaries, state visits flood the Great Crossroads

When there is no peace.

The Pax Americana now being defunct, regional initiatives are coming alive in and around the Red Sea and Levant.  I refer to the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa as the “Great Crossroads,” where sooner or later everyone will make a transit or have an interest.  No one’s national security is untouched by what’s going on there.  America’s trade and alliances depend heavily on whether the maritime precincts of the Great Crossroads are a quiescent “free space,” through which everyone can pass without let or hindrance by a regional power – or if they become a space over which a regional power holds a veto.  Every new development there has implications for US security.

Egypt-Turkey exercise

And the new developments just keep on coming.  Between 7 and 14 October, Continue reading “Peace in our time: Militaries, state visits flood the Great Crossroads”