With Erdogan’s decision to invade Syrian Kurdistan serving to raise his popularity across Turkey, there is an increasing chance that his march towards Manbij, which serves as the epicenter for US forces in the region may very well bring Turkish forces into direct conflict with the USA.
This appears to be of no concern to Erdogan as the Syria conflict spirals further out of control. With the US and Russia consolidating their proxy territories, Erdogan’s bid to push out the Kurds is in fact much more than a simple power play. The ground in Syria is still shifting and if there is ever a chance that the neo-Otoman empire Erdogan promised his supporters will arise, now seems to be the most opportune moment to implement it.
With the US forces in Manbij squarely behind the Kurdish majority SDF it is hard to see a peaceful way out of the approaching conflict. If Turkey hits Manbij hard and harms US forces there, it won’t be the SDF Turkey will have to deal with, it will be the US itself. Of course, this is Erdogan’s drive, to create as much chaos as possible and capitalize on it.
Russia Staying Out and Playing Both Sides Against One Another
Putin does not hide his hate for NATO’s desire to expand on Russia’s doorstep. A war between NATO allies no matter how limited will be a blow to NATO’s expansionist doctrine post Cold War. Yet, Putin has a bit of a dilemma since he too is materially invested in the proto-Kurdistan now forming in both Syria and Iraq. Expect Russia to back the Kurds while pushing Turkey and the US into a direct conflict.
With the stakes being high for all the actors, war is almost inevitable. The only question is the scope and collateral damage.
Some people are gamblers and others are just downright insane. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey appears to be shifting from political gambler to a completely insane autocrat. Turkey’s current invasion of the autonomous Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin has not only unnerved the United States, who is the main backer of the the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but Russia’s Putin as well. Given the neo Cold War relationship between Russia and the USA, Erdogan has actually accomplished an astounding feet.
Due to the SDF’s American training and advanced weaponry, Turkey has found its operation harder than originally expected. Most leaders would stop after watching a number of their tanks get blown up in the first hours of combat, but this has made Erdogan more set on invading the Kurdish areas of Northern Syria. He claims that he will move South into Idlib as well as moving forces into the Kurdish heartland of Manbij which hosts a sizeble American base.
“We will rid Manbij of terrorists, as it was promised to us, and our battles will continue until no terrorist is left until our border with Iraq,” Mr Erdogan said this past Friday.
This maneuver alone brings Erdogan close to a direct confrontation with US soldiers who according to reports have not planned on moving aside for Turkey’s assault.
As far as the possibility of the US pulling its forces from the Manbig, General Joseph Votel, head of the United States Central Command, Speaking on CNN, said that withdrawing US forces from the strategically important city is “not something we are looking into.”
Yet Erdogan insists he is in the right as his Turkish forces are simply destroying “terrorists.” The question is whether Erdogan will actually make a move against US forces in Manbij. For the US, there has been no question that its position in the area is not only just, but necessary.
“Turkey knows where our forces are in Manbij, and what they are doing there, and why they are there –to prevent any kind of escalation between the groups who are in that area,” Dillon told Rudaw TV. “The Coalition will continue to support our Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. We have said this all along, and we have said this with the Kurdish elements of the SDF. We will provide them equipment as necessary to defeat ISIS.”
As if this was not enough, Erdogan’s move South to Idlib brings Russia into the mix. The following set of Tweets from Jenan Moussa, reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV gives over another one of Erdogan’s toughtless maneuvers.
7/ Due to nearby Russian bombing &Syrian shelling, witnesses on the ground now say that the Turkish military convoy has basically turned off its lights and is waiting in the area. We are trying to find out if they will turn back or continue advancing despite warnings. @akhbar
News that America has sent marines into Syria to first bolster Kurdish forces in the North of the country and then to spearhead the fight to rake Raqqa has raised the prospect of all out war with US boots firmly on the ground.
This sudden injection of US fighting forces has changed the nature of the war being fought to wipe out ISIS. Up until Trump gave the go ahead, the Russian along with Syrian and Iranian forces were fighting head on against ISIS. There have been some wins, but nothing decisive.
With the American military now directly involved in Syria, the battle of Raqqa may prove fatal for the young caliphate. Yet, Donald Trump’s decision to send troops into Syria may offer something else to ISIS, hope.
There is an Islamic Hadith dating back to the time of Muhammed that says the following:
“The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them).”
The Hadith is referrng to the Western powers coming to do battle with the army of the Caliphate. The US troops were sent to a base West of Manbij. Their first mission was to protect the Kurdish forces there from the Turkish army. Now that this has been accomplished, the US troops and their Kurdish allies will move on Raqqa in an attempt to finish off ISIS.
Look at the map below and notice that Dabiq is about 36 miles from Manbij. The US troops landed west of Manbij, putting them awefully close to Dabiq. Many observers falsely quote the Hadith in saying the battle takes place in Dabiq, but it clearly states they land there.
Have a look at the map below to learn just how close Dabiq is to Manbij.
So why are we quoting a Hadith, afterall Muhammad was crazy, right?
Two points must be made clear. First, Muhammad did not know how to read or write. He was orphaned at a young age and spent lots of time with the Jewish merchants in his area. He began to keep many Jewish traditions. When he proposed that he was actually the long awaited Messiah, many Jewish tribes rejected him outright. Many of these tribes were either killed or expelled.
Despite the Jewish opposition many Jewish tribes actually converted after the Exilarch Shallum ben Hushiel (the head of the Jewish community in Babylon and descendent of King David) met with Muhammed and converted. This weakened the resolve of the Jewish tribes’ opposition to Muhammed.
The Koran and early Hadiths were inspired by Muhammed’s connection to Judaism.
The second point is the fact that Islam draws from what is called “Dark Side Emunah (faith).” This gives its followers strength to see the task through to the end, yet there is something far deeper than simple preserverence. The fact that the Hadith were drawn from a point of faith that was twisted means there are elements of truth to it. Afterall, those Jewish tribes that converted did so even after they saw their brothers and sisters massacred in the battle of Kaibar.
Keep in mind this does not mean the Hadith will come true in its entirety, but that pieces of it may point to signs of an end time war.
The Bible also speaks of an End Time War in the North of Israel in Zecharia and then again in Isaiah chapter 17 with the destruction of Damascus.
Whether it is the Hadith or the Bible, US troops in Syria in combat positions seem to indicate an important line has been crossed. Is the final battle coming? We are certainly closing in on it.
Of all the spinoff conflicts connected to the Syrian Civil War and the fight to destory ISIS, the Turkish offensive to wipe out the growing strength of the Kurdish militia in Northern Syria is the most important.
Despite claims to the contrary, Erdogan helped fund ISIS in its early days in order to create enough chaos to further his interests in spreading Turkish power into Northern Iraq and Syria. He both allowed ISIS fighters to travel from Turkey into Syria and provided the same fighters medical attention when necessary.
When stories of Turkish aid convoys reached the news, Erdogan pivoted and joined the fight to “destroy the group.” Turkey then used their offensives into Syria to achieve three objectives: show the world it is not in collusion with ISIS, stand up to Russia, and most importantly destroy the nascent Kurdistan.
Kurdistan factors heavily into Trump and Putin’s post ISIS Syria and Iraq. The Kurdish Peshmerga has been the only force that has showed the ability to defeat ISIS. As long as Turkey stayed out of Syria, the Kurdish YPG could continue gaining ground.
The Battle of Manbij Will Prove Pivotal
Manbij is a Kurdish controlled town just 40km from the Turkish border and this week it has provided the setting for what will no doubt prove to be the beginning of an independent Kurdistan. With Turkey deciding to push out the Kurds who have controlled the town, the Trump administration took the opportunity to team up with Russia in order to thwart Erdogan’s plans.
A U.S. deployment and a Russian-brokered deal with Syrian forces created buffer zones that headed off any Turkish campaign against the Kurdish forces who hold the town — seen by Washington as key allies against Islamic State and by Turkey as terrorists.
Once again Erdogan’s plans of dominating the Kurds have faltered. With Russia and the US working together Turkey is forced to deal with the reality that the Kurds are here to stay.
Is Kurdistan Next?
Although rumors of an independent Kurdistan have risen higher in the years since ISIS came to power, the reality of the rumors have never been more actual than now. Kurdistan offers the ability to right an historic injustice by creating a state for the Kurds who have been stateless for centuries. In fact, it is the Kurds who are indigenous to the area, going as far back as the ancient Medes. An independent Kurdistan would create stability in the Middle East and act as a buffer to the madness of the Arab tribes to the South and Turkish regional aspirations from the North.
Furthermore an independent Kurdistan would quickly become an ally of Israel in its fight against radical Islam.
Will Trump and Putin make it happen? So far their cooperation in relation to Manbij makes the prospect likely.