Report

Turkey Says New Counter-ISIS Plan Reached, U.S. Denies

The United States and Turkey have agreed to a plan to launch “comprehensive” air operations beginning “soon,” according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, though the United States says talks are ongoing. Cavusoglu told Reuters that the new joint offensive is designed to flush the Islamic State from a proposed safe zone in Syria along ...

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The United States and Turkey have agreed to a plan to launch “comprehensive” air operations beginning “soon,” according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, though the United States says talks are ongoing. Cavusoglu told Reuters that the new joint offensive is designed to flush the Islamic State from a proposed safe zone in Syria along the Turkish border and said other nations in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State have been briefed on the plan and may participate. The second tranche of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels will participate in the operation, but Cavusoglu stressed that they are just one part of the plan. He also noted that Kurdish militias, which are operating in the safe zone, should not have a major role in controlling the area because they are “not fighting for the territorial integrity or political unity of Syria. This is unacceptable.”

Obama Administration Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied that the United States and Turkey had reached an agreement on a join counter-Islamic State plan. Those negotiations are still happening, he said, but no plan has been finalized.

Protests in Lebanon Continue after Violent Weekend

Protests in Lebanon continued on Monday as citizens galvanized by the trash crisis in Beirut call for the better provision of basic services. The Lebanese government convened a cabinet meeting today. The military also erected blast walls around the seat of Lebanese governance, which quickly became targets for graffiti and the free expression of the protesters’ demands. This morning, the concrete barriers were ordered to be removed.

Headlines

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally called for new elections to be held after his Justice and Development could not form a governing coalition despite having a plurality of seats; new elections are expected around the beginning of November.

 

  • The U.N. Security Council heard testimony from gay refugees from Iraq and Syria who escaped the terrorist group’s persecution; the hearing was the first ever Security Council meeting on the subject of LGBT rights.

 

  • Facing nationwide protests over corruption and the provision of basic utilities, the Iraqi parliament has threatened the country’s electricity minister with a vote of no confidence unless he appears for questioning on the nation’s power crisis.

 

  • Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people so far this year, putting it on track to surpass its 1995 record of 192 executions in one year, according to a new report by Amnesty International; the report notes that foreign nationals are disproportionately more likely to be executed.

 

  • The United States will accept 5,000 to 8,000 Syrian refugees next year, according to U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

Arguments and Analysis

A new episode in the Turkish civil war?” (Aysegul Aydin and Cem Emrence, Monkey Cage)

“What should we now expect in light of this shocking new violence? In our new book, ‘Zones of Rebellion,’ we examine the patterns of violence in the long-running war between the PKK and the Turkish state in which the combatants’ long-term ties to the disputed territory and its people explain resilient sub-national patterns in the distribution of insurgent and state control. In short, violence in the Turkish civil war has strong historical lineages. Both the state and the insurgency have a clear set of policies that they repeatedly drew upon in the three decades of conflict that engulfed Turkey’s southeast. We are unlikely to observe any change in this final episode of war: Control remains fixed, and combatants’ military tactics closely reflect their control over territory and people.”

 

Is Turkey’s War on Terror a Consequence of the Iran Deal?” (Joshua Walker and Gabriel Mitchell, War on the Rocks)

“Legitimized by the Suruc bombing, Turkey’s two-front military campaign against the Islamic State and the PKK reminded many in the West of its irreplaceable geostrategic value and was initially received with great fanfare. But American observers of the region largely ignored the intense media battle this operation has sparked between Ankara and Tehran. Iranian state media repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting the Islamic State, even going as far as to assert that Erdoğan’s daughter Sümeyye visited wounded jihadists in Syria, while in Turkey the pro-AKP media blamed Iran for instigating regional violence through its multifarious proxies, particularly the PKK. One pro-government Daily Sabah column went as far as claiming that the Iran deal emboldened Tehran’s support for terrorist organizations like the PKK while employing rhetoric similar to the Iran deal’s opponents in Washington. And on August 24 images circulated in the Turkish press of Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli visiting the Qandil Mountains where the PKK operates. This isn’t mere propaganda. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif cancelled his scheduled visit to Ankara amidst speculation that Erdoğan refused him an official face-to-face meeting.”

-J. Dana Stuster

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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