, 39 tweets, 11 min read
#Breaking Turkey announces the start of its operation in the territory currently currently by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces

In a phone call, Russian president Putin urges Turkish president Erdogan to “assess the situation carefully” so that the Turkish operation does not hurt “peace efforts” in Syria (the Astana process).
The Turkish invasion, dubbed “Spring of Peace”, will likely be in stages over several months.

Probably a play on the word for one of the two towns, with large Arab population, that the operation might start with — Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê).
Erdogan’s announcement of the Turkish invasion in Syria, blessed by Russia, the rebels that Russia is fighting, and the United States that supposedly backs the force being attacked.
The immediate priority for Turkey now is to plan the flag before Trump changes his mind, so they moved quick to attack towns with large Arab populations, where they'll be likely stationed.

For now, the attack is almost entirely from the air.
Turkish strikes everywhere in northern Syria, it doesn’t seem to be concentrated on an area do take it. Just an attempt at shock and awe it seems. Kurds say the population is terrified, and it’s all chaos.
Turkey's vice president confirms that this is just the initial phase of the operation.

#Trump probably surprised even Turkey with his approval of the operation.
To reiterate, this operation could take several months, for now it's mainly to plan the Turkish flag and mark its territory.

The operation will be concentrated first in Arab-majority areas, hoping Kurds will flee. Judging from Turkey's previous operations in northwestern Syria.
This is on Trump, but mostly on officials (working for him or for his predecessor) who were so clueless about how far Turkey will go to dismantle what it sees as "the territorial caliphate of Ocalan".

Also because they didn't attempt to make it bloodless & protect civilians.
Preventing the Kurds from building a statelet of any kind to the south of its borders, by a group they see as an extension of the insurgency that's been fighting inside Turkey for four decades, eclipses any other priority for Turkey. That brought it ever closer to Russia.
Journalists and officials can be outraged and preach about Trump, but this was going to happen sooner or later. The US had years to fix the SDF, but officials kept saying 'we believe in delegating authority to the locals' (defined as the YPG and those working with them).
So it's really just outrageous to see Obama officials, for example, deflecting blame and presenting themselves as policy sages. They messed up, and all of us told them they were planting the seeds of future disastrous. It's all documented and in writing, predicted play by play.
In American foreign policy, those fools fail up.

Every time they mess up, they emerge as in charge of managing the mess they had created. And media applaud them, and give them the platforms to re-write history. It's a systemic mess.

Fools cheering for fools.
Who is paying for this mess now?
No surprise but media outlets affiliated to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are up in arms about the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. Suddenly they care about Syria.
To understand what Turkey is trying to do in Syria, check this map.

The yellow strip north of Syria is where the Kurdish population is concentrated. The operation might look geographically limited to those critical areas near Turkey’s borders, it practically involves other areas
Once Turkey takes over that area, it’ll be become a lot easier to weaken the Kurds in the remaining areas. Many of the SDF’s internal cadres will walk away and join Turkey, others will operate in areas with zero Kurdish populations, and the SDF could slowly crumble from within.

Turkey has just started the ground operation inside Syria, after a string of bombings across northern Syria:

I just remembered—

It’s almost exactly 2 years since the Trump administration abandoned their longstanding Kurdish allies in #Iraq and blessed a takeover of Kirkuk by pro-Iran forces+militias.

That was one of the defining moments of today’s Iraqi politics.

This is going to be a bigger moment in history than we probably think. ISIS revival is not the only worry. It's the easier way for outsiders to capture the moment, but it goes beyond this.

And if you think this will stop in those northern areas, or in Syria, you're mistaken.
A good analogy for Turkey's strategy is the US strategy against ISIS. The priority is to expel an adversary from territory. Beyond that, no clue. There are ideas yes, but no real plan.

Russia too, as one knowledgeable friend says, has no endgame either.

The US, forget it.
Lindsey really doesn’t get it — Turkey was willing to go to war there, notwithstanding the costs, but it was physically & literally stopped by the US military. Once they were able to do it, his threats mean what they would have always meant — nothing.

Turkey’s intervention is informed by its top national security priority, whatever the costs. After this, it has NO exit strategy.

Damascus & Tehran had no say in this, since Russia coordinated it with Turkey. Russia, as said above, has no endgame there:

One thing is clear:

What’s happening today is the beginning of something big, no seems to have any idea what that might be. This could be akin to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, or something like that. It could shift Turkey’s plan for Syria entirely, against Assad for example.
Different things, ostensibly unrelated, are happening from Iran to Iraq to Syria to Turkey, and then from Egypt to Yemen to Saudi Arabia.

Things look fragile/precarious, fragmentation is expanding, aggressiveness is increasing, and various problems are expounding.
We’re unlikely to see immediate consequences for these big events, but they’re definitely complicating matters across the region.

In Syria, conditions could dramatically change in 1-2 years. After a period of quiet and apparent equilibrium.
Syrians, get yourself ready for another round of unknowns.

Iraqis, same thing.

Assertions about new and lasting trends are proving short-sighted.
To grasp what #Turkey’s intervention in #Syria might mean, consider the following fact:

The decision was made by three men.



Erdogan had a chat with Trump and Putin about invading Syria, and he got himself a deal.

Trump did this impulsively without his team.

Putin decided this on his own without allies in Tehran & Damascus

Erdogan knows exactly why he had to invade, but beyond that he got no plan.

Reports of clashes between the Kurdish-dominated SDF and an Arab tribe in Ras al-Ayn (Sere Kaniyê), and several Turkish-backed fighters were reportedly killed in the first clashes of this operation:

Some may not like to hear this.

The Turkish operation marks the absolute & indisputable end of anything that used to identify as the Free Syrian Army or the mainstream opposition.

Syria is now fully under foreign control, and forces have extremist ideologies or mercenaries.
Even those forces that used to claim the name of the FSA have now organized under the full sponsorship of Turkey, and ironically called themselves "the National Army".

They wisely and rightly dropped the words 'Free' and 'Syrian'. But they're not nearly "national" or "army".
Syria answers to these foreign leaders:

Abdullah Ocalan (eastern Syria)

Recept Tayyip Erdogan (northern Syria)

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (western & southern Syria)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (ISIS)

Ayman al-Zawahiri (some in Idlib)

Jihadists and Islamists (Idlib)
Both Washington and Moscow oppose a UN Security Council resolution to condemn #Turkey’s intervention in Syria.

That doesn’t happen every day
Just so people are clear about all the U.S.’s conflicting views about Turkey’s intervention in Syria, know that Lindsey Graham has conflicting views on it himself.

New details about the US role:

Trump asks US diplomats to broker Turkey-Kurds ceasefire in Syria — AFP.

The two countries are coordinating on air & efforts on the ground like ISIS detainees.

(This will likely mean the US will try to ensure Turkey’s intervention is limited.)
US shared intelligence with Turkey that may have aided attack on Kurds businessinsider.com/us-shared-inte…
Erdogan is most probably referring to the Ottoman conquerer Mehmed, rather than Prophet Mohammed
If you follow how many in the region/Syria reacted to the Turkish intervention, you maybe notice how they perceive Erdogan in Ottoman terms. Or at least behave as such.

You'll find parallels in this book that @ImaraWaTijara recommended a while back
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