Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.
The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians.
Believe it or not, there once was an ISIS-free “safe zone” in Syria. It was called “Syria.” There used to be one in Iraq, too, known as “Iraq.” And one in Libya called “Libya.”
Of course, all those countries as we once understood them are gone now. ISIS has filled the military and moral vacuums left in the wake of American retreat and indecision. This is what the Obama Administration calls “not doing stupid shit.”
Still, it is nice to have Ankara back on our side, even if only out of desperation. We’ll see how long the Turks stick with us, and you’d be right to suspect that that will depend on whether the White House allows the Pentagon to implement a serious warplan.
You should also wonder about the wisdom of allowing Syrian insurgents in on establishing this safety zone. They seem more likely than not to be ISIS or terrorists by some other name — so it’s a safe bet they were included at Obama’s insistence.
There’s all kinds of pre-fail baked right into this plan.