With America’s imminent withdrawal from Syria, analysts are turning to the position of other regional players including Turkey. Of all the regional players in the Middle East at this hour, Turkey is of particular concern since many in the media believe it was the telephone conversation between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that solidified Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria (which triggered the resignation of Secretary of Defense General Mattis).
As Clarion Project’s Shillman Fellow and Clarion Intelligence Network Director Ryan Mauro commented:
“We can now expect Turkey to control the non-Kurdish rebel areas using rebels loyal to Turkey’s Islamist and fanatical president, Recep Erdogan. Moreover, it’s not a coincidence this withdrawal comes at the same time that an offensive by Erdogan against the Kurds in northern Syria is imminent.”
Here’s how we can further frame a conversation on Turkey in the weeks and months ahead:
Turkey’s president has visions of recreating the Ottoman Empire, with him reigning as its caliph. In this dream, he is competing with Iran, which is steadily marching forward to actualizing its own vision — that of an Iranian-dominated “Shiite Crescent” that consolidates the ayatollah’s influence in a continuous arc from Iran to Lebanon.
The American withdrawal from Syria brings both of these dangerous men one step closer to realizing their twisted fantasies.
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