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The Convoluted War in Syria

Updated on February 17, 2016

The convoluted war in Syria continues to spin more chaos than anyone could have imagined. A reluctant American president Obama has with good and bad reasons, tried to steer clear of the messy war with odd bedfellows and self serving interests based along the Sunni and Shiite lines. However, tiptoeing in this war has actually made it more convoluted. Russia stepped up to the plate and took control where the USA did not. They supported Assad and the Syrian rebels and are actively pounding away at them and the allies that the USA supports.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia have grudges to resolve and along with the Kurds, truly makes this a war to avoid at this stage. As the USA supports the Kurds, who are the most successful fighters on the ground with weapons against ISIS in Syria, Turkey, a NATO country, bombards the same group from across the border because of the bad blood from a long ago. In effect, fighting the allies the USA supports! Crazy, it is. Turkey considers the Kurds a terrorist group in that country who want their own country. They have been battling them long before ISIS was around. Syria, before and during WW1, was part of greater Turkey and when the war was over, it lost Syria when Allied nations carved up the Middle East as it is today. While, there are no such desire for Turkey to reclaim it, the thought may have occurred as Syria crumbles away.

Russia is targeting the Syrian rebels but not ISIS who are nearby. This could allow ISIS to control the areas once held by Syrian rebels. Even though ISIS claimed responsibility for blowing up the Russian airliner killing hundreds from Egypt, even though Putin said he will seek revenge for it, he chose not to bomb them in Syria. Crazy, I know.

Since Russia and Iran support the Shiite sect and America and its allies support the Sunni, it is inevitable that the convoluted war will spiral around and around. Saudi and Turks have said Assad must go, and Saudis seem to willing to use some ground force. This will only get more messy. The Russia-Turkey sparring might get serious if another mishap occurs, like a Turkish plane be shot down. Or, Turkish artillery fire hitting Russian or Iranian troops.

The only clearly defined war is the US against ISIS in Iraq. Allied airpower attacking the ISIS oil tankers and fields have caused a great loss of revenue to ISIS, along with the cheap cost of oil on the market. The Kurds are being armed by NATO and with US advisors are making progress against ISIS. But as long as Raqqa is not pulverized, ISIS will continue. If either Russia or US carpet bombed the city in Syria for several days straight and not worry about their losses or collateral damage, ISIS would be crippled in many ways because Raqqa is its capital for the caliphate.

The convoluted war today would not have happened had Obama allowed a no fly-zone two years ago, so Turkey could send troops into Syria to create a buffer zone for the millions of refugees. Then, there was no Russia in Syria. But, Obama was afraid, too afraid.

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