by Kemal Okuyan of the Turkish daily paper soL
September 23rd 2014 (soL news portal)
We are told that the process is out of control, that the actions of main actors have strayed away from rationality, that there may be unexpected alliances or confrontations. And it is the ISIS that is at the forefront. It is pronounced that this gory organization is the product of lack of perspective, lack of planning, shortsightedness of imperialism and fanaticism. It is mentioned that the actor (ISIS) who was put on the stage for a different role has started improvising and that the director, the script writer, the stage and costume designers are dumb-stricken.
When the topic is the U.S. policies in the region, we encounter the concept of “controlled chaos” very often. One should obviously not interpret this concept as the planning and creation of the state of chaos in every detail. In a region where destructive energy can keep recreating itself, by providing inputs that trigger the release of this energy, the U.S. is attempting to push wholesale to a different state a wide domain where different elements start moving in different directions and where they confront one another. By establishing overt or covert relations with all the elements and by continuously opening for itself new channels of intervention…
In summary, these days there is no reason to state that certain actors are out of control or unmanageable. Have these actors ever been managed in the sense it is implied anyway? We are constantly talking about the Islamist groups, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Al- Nusrah and now the ISIS and attempting to figure out when these groups were friends of the U.S. and when they were its enemies.
Let us look at a different side, say Saddam. Saddam Hussein, who has been overthrown by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, wasn’t he steered by the US for war with Iran? Later on, wasn’t he given the “go-ahead” by Washington for the occupation of Kuwait? And wasn’t he added to the list of U.S. enemies right after? Was Saddam out of control or was U.S. imperialism following a dynamic “strategy” that had been matured at a faster pace than anyone else could follow in complicated region? 2 This strategy that constantly hits the wall can be thought as the toy cars that change direction every time it bumps an obstacle. This way, the U.S. gets to control the field until someone steps on the toy car or releases a more capable car else in this region, which is like a minefield…
The ISIS is out of control, Turkey is ruled by maniacs, the U.S. is dumbfounded…
Is it really possible to explain all that is going on in this manner? If one pays attention, it can be observed that the ISIS is behaving in a predictable and logical way. Do they want us to believe that its leaders are psychopaths? OK, there is that side to it. But they are not any more psychopaths than the ones in Washington or Ankara! In that case, what determines the behavior of the ISIS? Religious fanaticism… more towards the bottom, less towards the leadership.
Money… In huge quantities.
The desire to govern, to rule… In a fashion that increases every passing day.
Foreign influence… No doubt, absolutely! The question one should be asking here is whether the USA was caught unprepared for the last ISIS actions.
Let me give the answer. The reaction of the U.S. administration on the capture of Mosul by the ISIS is similar to Davutoğlu’s reaction to the Reyhanlı attack (In Reyhanlı, a border town of Turkey with Syria, more than 50 were killed in a bombed attack last year. When Davutoğlu was asked a question on the killings, he replied with a slight smile in his face). The U.S. administration is extremely pleased with the ISIS agenda. Over time it may face undesired consequences, unexpected results, but that is something they will ponder about then.
Hasn’t it always been the case? 3 Another question pops up on right this issue. What is Turkey up to? Are they playing the new role they have been given as part of US’s redistribution of roles to the players or is the Erdoğan- Davutoğlu team following a path of madness which will put them on contradicting sides with the U.S.? Neither. To be precise, the question is not the right one.
Turkey doesn’t move in the region solely by a program handed over by the U.S. As an important force, in its decision processes, it also leaves space for its own ideological and political priorities.
These decision do not always need to be aligned with the dynamic U.S. strategies, this is impossible anyway.
Let’s us dig in the issue of ISIS a little more. Among the countries who have joined the U.S. led coalition against ISIS, aren’t there some that still finance ISIS? Yes, there are. In case Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan were to stop the flow of money and arms to ISIS, it would not take more than a week for the whole business to be over. However, other than a few symbolic measures, nothing substantial has been done on that front. In other words, the reactionary coalition keeps feeding the organization that they have declared as the “enemy”. Who would believe you after this? But they want us to believe it. ISIS is out of control(!). Let us state it then: it was desired that ISIS gets out of control! And right at this point, AKP administration announces publicly its commitment to ISIS, it feigns reluctance on joining the coalition, it can’t declare ISIS “terrorist” and from time to time it confronts the U.S. administration. The existence of military, economic, political and ideological ties of Turkey and ISIS is public knowledge. It is not a matter of debate whether these ties exists, it is the scale and depth of these ties that is under debate.
How does Erdoğan get this much freedom of movement? Because, if the U.S. is to forge a “system” under its supervision out of this chaos, it will require a supra determinant that can speak the same language with the Islamist tribal states. The AKP also knows that this determinant can not be anyone but them. There is no 4 other force appropriate for this role. A secularist government in Turkey willing to collaborate with the US could play various roles too but they could not speak the reactionary ideological language the AKP can speak. For the AKP to stay in power, it has to watch over ISIS and others. The U.S. understands this. And for the continuation of the excuses for American intervention in the region, the ISIS needs supported, needs to be strong, at least for a while.
The U.S. understands and turns a blind eye to the situation.
And while all this is going on, the AKP is digging its own grave at the same time. With the desire to be the central force in a potential Middle Eastern Union (read union of tribal states) as the neo- Ottoman, it is getting in on adventures beyond its capacity. Without taking into account the possibility that one-day the masters of “dynamic strategy” can say “You are our enemy now.”…