Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan says he has evidence that the United States has supported ISIS.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan. IBT

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan says he has evidence that the United States has provided support for ISIS and other terror groups operating in Syria. IBT. Erdogan said at a press conference that the US had provided funds to both ISIS and Kurdish groups including the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD). Erdogan said he had evidence that included pictures and video but has not released that evidence. Turkey is a NATO ally and has been accused in the past of helping ISIS as well, before entering the war in Syria and driving the terror group from the border region. Since the fall of Aleppo, Turkey has shown more willingness to work with Russia and Iran to end the war in Syria. 

My Comment:
Very interesting comments by Tayyip Erdogan and a huge sign in how much US-Turkey relations have deteriorated since the coup attempt. Regardless of the truth of these claims, Erdogan would not have made them if relations with the US were good. He essentially threw down the gauntlet to the United States, daring them to respond. 

Are the claims true? Some of them certainly are. We have given quite a bit of support to the Kurds in Syria. That is absolutely true and some of that aid has undoubtedly gone to some of the more extreme elements within the larger Kurdish movement. Are the Kurds terrorists? Well some of them are, arguably, but I don't know if the YPG really qualifies. Indeed, the YPG have been one of our better allies in the fight against ISIS.

But did America support ISIS? I think there is a case to be made that we supported them indirectly. Wikileaks showed that the Obama administration was aware that ISIS was part of the resistance against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad yet supported the rebels anyways. And you could argue that by supporting rebels that are fighting the regime we are also supporting ISIS, but I doubt that is what Erdogan was talking about. 

I don't think there is any evidence that the United States has provided direct support to ISIS. If there is, Erdogan should release it because I haven't seen anything that shows that ISIS got arms or money from the United States. It is certainly possible, but an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence and right now Erdogan hasn't provided any. 

There is a better case to be made for al-Nusra, the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and even then it was more of an issue of incompetence then malfeasance. Our complete failure trying to train rebels in Syria did lead to al-Nusra gaining quite a bit of our equipment and weapons. It had more to do with the rebels being incompetent then anything else though, 

It's fairly hypocritical for Erdogan to make these accusations since the case for him and Turkey helping ISIS is much stronger then the case against America doing so. For a very long time Turkey was the main route for ISIS recruits coming in from across the world. Turkey's border with Syria was open and recruits and weapons flowed into the country while oil and terrorists flowed out. It's even been alleged that Turkey was buying some of the oil from ISIS. Even if Erdogan's accusations are true, it's not like his hands are clean either. 

But what if the allegations are true though? What if Erdogan releases indisputable proof that the United States was providing or has provided aid to ISIS? If true then it is treason and whoever is responsible for it needs to be removed from office and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I don't think that is going to happen though... 

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