The Great Debate
Police stage a dawn raid on a large-circulation newspaper armed with warrants to take the editor-in-chief into custody. There can be no image quite so potent of a government that has lost its democratic legitimacy or one that has something to hide. It’s happened in Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, and Somaliland. Last Sunday, it happened in Turkey.
It’s easy to get depressed about the Middle East these days. The bloodshed continues unabated in Syria. Islamic State advances across Iraq, sacking towns and slaughtering innocents. Millions are refugees. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems well ensconced in Damascus, on track to outlasting President Barack Obama in office.
ISTANBUL – Mayhem and civil war in Syria has become a grim spectator sport on the Turkish side of the border. Turkish Kurds gather on the hilltops overlooking the smoldering Syrian town of Kobani, under siege from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. They cheer and sing patriotic songs, certain that the town’s defenders, Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units, hear them and take heart.
Since few nations can go it alone militarily, alliances are now crucial for ensuring security. To mount a common defense, allies need weapon systems that can operate together. In military parlance, the ability to work with other systems and share data with them as if they were one system is known as “interoperability.”
Few countries are in a better position than Turkey to help the United States fight Islamic State. The moderate Islamic country shares a 750 mile border with Syria, is a NATO member and a long-time ally of America. But don’t hold your breath for Turkey’s support.