By M.G. Oprea
The United States has a problem on its hands. The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, is militarily invested in Iraq and Syria. Yet it has no strategic vision for Syria after the fight against ISIS is over. Without an endgame, the United States might easily get drawn into a protracted role as mediator between a dizzying array of warring factions in the crumbling state.
Events this week brought this looming problem into sharp relief. On Tuesday, Turkish airstrikes in Syria and Iraq targeted Kurdish fighters and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K), a Turkish separatist group. Turkish armed forces claim the strikes killed 70 P.K.K. “terrorists” in the two countries.
But here’s the problem. The Turkish airstrikes also allegedly hit Kurdish members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq, both of which are American allies in the fight against ISIS. This puts the United States in an increasingly awkward position.
U.S. officials said they are “deeply concerned” that Turkey targeted its allies and gave U.S. forces less than an hour of warning, which could have put U.S. soldiers stationed in Syria and Iraq in danger. But little can be done about it because of …read more