TURKEY AND SYRIA….The invasion of Iraq may very well have played a role in prompting Moammar Gaddafi to give up his WMD programs, and if so that’s good news. But the invasion apparently has a downside as well:
Syrian President Bashar Assad began a landmark visit to Turkey on Tuesday, marking a dramatic shift in relations between the two countries that were close to war just five years ago.
….Ties have been steadily improving for several years, but shared concerns over Iraq have accelerated the thaw between Syria and Turkey. Both countries fear that with tacit backing from the Americans, the Kurds of northern Iraq are moving toward independence. The disintegration of Iraq could trigger unrest among Syria’s and Turkey’s own Kurdish minorities and destabilize the region as a whole.
This isn’t necessarily all bad, actually, but at the same time it’s part of a pattern of events over the past 12 months in which the war has caused considerable strain between Turkey and the U.S. (and between Turkey and Israel). And it comes at the same time that Egypt and Iran are apparently planning to restore diplomatic ties that were severed 20 years ago.
So will the invasion prompt greater cooperation with the United States out of fear of retribution? Or will it prompt states in the region to band together in order to stand up to us?
Perhaps a bit of both.