Things are never simple in the Middle East. For example, consider the current struggle for a Kurdisn Syrian town on the Turkish border, presently attacked by ISIL and defended by a smaller and more lightly armed group of Syrian Kurds, a place called Kobadne. The town offers ISIS a foothold on the Turkish border, a presence in Kurdistan and control of access to a considerable area.
The Kurds have received some helpful NATO air support, but nothing definitive. They are limited in ability to support the town from Iraq and blocked by the Turkish government from doing it through Turkey. While a large number of Kurdish refugees have been allowed into Turkey, Kurdish fighters, including those wounded and seeking medical help, are not. And Turkey recently bombed groups of armed Kurds near the border inside Turkey.
In Syria, the civil war is three-sided, with the original Syrian rebels and their enemy the Syrian Assad government, fighting both each other and ISIS. Turkey wants the U.S. to help against the Assads, which to date, the U.S. has refused. The Assads have been clients of Iran, no friend of Turkey but a nuke-seeder with whom the U.S. has been recently making nice in search of help against ISIS in Iraq.
Most of non-Iraqi Arabia is now anti-ISIS though folks there still provide ISIS funding. They are Sunni Arabs and ISIS is mainly an Iraqi Sunni branch broken off from al-Qaeda. This should clear it all up for you … oh, yes and the Iraqi Sunni minority wants to seize control of that country from the majority Shia and join it to Syria, with of course, them in charge. That should clarify things.
The Turks ruled the Arabs and the Kurds until WWI. They are accused of wanting that back. So did the Iranians a bit farther back and there isn’t much doubt that they would like that back. And for now, the Turks would rather have Arab ISIS on their border than a Kurdish presence. They have enough trouble with the Kurds inside Turkey and Arabs don’t scare them, even ISIS. They’ve been beating up on Arabs for centuries.
Exactly what the U.S. and Europe want is debated, other than oil. Whoever wins Syria seems likely to be a U.S. enemy. The coalition’s ‘help’ for the Libyan rebels has produced a failed state embroiled in a little-reported civil war of its own. Not very encouraging …
As we started: Nothing is ever simple in the Middle East. We do however, have one simple question: We can’t afford the cost of involvement, what we’ve done has produced only dead people and more turmoil; why do we persist?