- - Sunday, February 7, 2016

ANALYSIS

The reason Russia is possibly building a new airbase on the Turkish border inside Syria became clearer today as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted Turkey could enter the war on the side of the anti-Assad forces who Russia has been primarily targeting. The Syrian government made major gains against the Sunni opposition in recent weeks as the Syrian city of Aleppo looked to fall from the opposition’s control. Turkey has repeatedly urged the American-led coalition against ISIS to do more to help the anti-Assad forces.

“We don’t want to fall into the same mistake in Syria as in Iraq,” Mr. Erdogan said, recounting how Turkey’s parliament denied a U.S. request to use its territory for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “It’s important to see the horizon. What’s going on in Syria can only go on for so long. At some point it has to change,” he told journalists on the return flight from a tour of Latin America, reported Bloomberg News.

When asked if Turkey could enter the Syrian conflict, Mr. Erdogan said, “You don’t talk about these things. When necessary, you do what’s needed. Right now our security forces are prepared for all possibilities.”

To Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Erdogan said, “What are you doing in Syria? You’re essentially an occupier.”

Late last week, Saudi Arabia stated it could send ground troops into the fight to support Sunni forces. Now other Gulf states seem to be following suit.

“A real campaign against Daesh has to include ground elements,” Anwar Gargash, U.A.E. minister of state for foreign affairs, said when asked if the emirates would send ground troops to fight Islamic State, using an Arabic acronym for the group. “We’re not talking about thousands of troops, but we are talking about troops on the ground that will lead the way, that will train, that will support,” Mr. Gargash said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. American leadership of such an effort “is a prerequisite,” he added.

The Syrian civil war is now becoming a confusing, full-fledged, proxy war for Shia against Sunni, East against West, terrorism against the Western, civilized world. This is the result of American abdication of leadership in the region and across the globe.

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