Obama's latest Middle East blunder hands the initiative to Turkish, Russian despots

Daily Beast:
Turkey’s week-old intervention into northern Syria, which began with the successful expulsion of the Islamic State terror group from the border town of Jarablus, could be the beginning of the end for the Islamic State terror group’s haven in northern Syria.

But it may also be the beginning of the demise of the People’s Protection Units or YPG, the Kurdish militia that has been fighting ISIS with U.S. military support.

The Turkish intervention revealed the outlines of a dramatic shift in the international landscape surrounding the world’s most deadly conflict.

The picture now emerging was inconceivable just weeks ago: Russia, which has taken severe criticism for bombing civilian targets, has gained the initiative at U.S. expense.

Faced with the passivity of the lame duck Obama administration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as the prime mover in the drama.

Before sending troops into Syria last Thursday, a move he has been weighing for more than one year, Erdogan swallowed his pride and issued his regrets to Russia for shooting down a Russian aircraft that crossed into Turkish territory last November. Then he flew to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin. Erdogan’s top aides also had intense exchanges with Iran, the other major outside backer to the Assad regime.

To all appearances Russia has now changed sides, dragging its Syrian client with it. It’s also taking a direct role in the fight against the so-called Islamic State, even claiming credit for this week’s airstrike in al-Bab, Syria, that killed Abl Mulhammad al Adnani, the Islamic State “attack dog” who was responsible for exporting the group’s terror attacks abroad. (One U.S. defense official called Russia’s claim “a joke.”)

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and the scorecard today is very different from that of a few weeks ago.
There is more.

Obama has become the lamest of ducks.  He is so strategically inept, he probably thinks he is winning.  Like his move that gave ISIL room to become the dominant player in the region most of his mistakes are tied to his timidity and his belief that retreat is superior to taking the initiative.


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