The End of NATO?
It is a comparatively rare event to watch the birth of a nation. However, that is exactly what is happening with regards to the Kurdish population not just of Iraq but also of Northern Syria and, most alarmingly from the perspective of of Western governments, southeastern Turkey.
Few can deny the moral claim of the Kurds to their national freedom. Apart from anything else, they have been in the frontline of the military struggle against ISIS. Indeed, at a time when many so-called allies of the West have been secretly aiding ISIS, the people who, the reader should never forget, literally indiscriminately kill us and our children, incidentally including Turkey, the Kurds have been giving their lives to wipe ISIS the face of the earth. So, you would think they would be in line for some serious gratitude and support wouldnt you?
Wrong. Rex Tillerson has been doing his best to stymie the efforts of Iraqi Kurds to hold a referendum on independence and when the unstable, Islamist, dictator currently ruling the roost in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan menaces the Kurds in Northern Syria, the US is silent. Be under no illusions. I have no doubt that Erdogan would respond militarily to such a state being declared and while the Turkish state seems to be reticent to intervene in Northern Iraq it would realistically lead to open armed conflict within days if the Kurds in Northern Syria declared themselves free and sovereign.
If it hopes to save NATO, then US and indeed foreign policy is as deluded as it is dangerous. NATO is dead. Turkey, despite being nominally Sunni is already seeking a strategic alliance with Shia Iran (somewhat ironically, the Kurds are majority Sunni). A close partnership is forming not just to counter what both see as the threat from the Kurds but the increasingly demented actions of the Saudi government as well – actions which in a further concessions to Washington’s advancing neo-cons, President Trump is shortsightedly supporting.
Military conflict in Northern Syria between the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and Turkish forces would only be yet another nail hammered in the coffin of NATO. Under the infamous Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty, Ankara has the right to say an attack by the Kurds on Turkish forces is an attack on all of its allies. However, I cannot see military action in defence of Turkey being a political ‘easy-sell’ either in the US or Britain. The British public showed its lack of appetite for foreign military adventures in response to calls for wider intervention in Syria and President Trump was elected on a platform of precisely ending this kind of thing; North Korea he may get away with and even tokenistic interventions in Syria but anything more, especially a sally abroad in defence of a clearly democratically deficient basket case such as Turkey would definitely be an ask too far and would seriously risk shattering the Presidents base of electoral into tiny shards. In practice then, none of Turkey’s ‘allies’ in NATO are in a position to intervene which will only, in turn, push the Turkish government closer to Iran and Russia.
Personally, I am not sad about this. Why a single drop of British blood should be spilled in defence of Erdogan is utterly beyond me. The fact that our membership of NATO puts us in such a position shows us just what a dangerous anachronism NATO actually is. Turkey under its current regime has no place amoung civilised nations and certainly no lives should be spent defending it. My sympathies, and I believe the sympathies of nationalists in general should be with the Kurds. They have fought and died to keep us safe while our leaders sell us out to the people who fund the people who blow us up. I put it that graphically to illustrate the sheer horror of the actual truth. They are struggling to be free from overbearing and tyrannical masters in the guise of the Turks and if you put it like that, the story starts to sound awfully familiar doesnt it??