World View: Turkey, Syria Exchange Fire Across Border

This morning's key headlines from
  • Turkish army returns fire after Syrian shells kill five in Turkey
  • Iran's currency crash brings riots and government crisis

Turkish army returns fire after Syrian shells kill five in Turkey

The Syria conflict took a substantial escalation on Wednesday, after Syrian army mortar shells traveled across the border to the border town of Akcakale, Turkey, killing a woman and her three daughters, along with another woman. Turkey's army struck back at targets inside Syria, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement: 

Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement; targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar.

Turkey will never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security.

It's not known what Turkey's targets were inside Syria.

A Syrian mortar barrage struck inside Turkey last Friday, damaging homes and workplaces, but causing no casualties. Turkey's response at that time was to deploy dozens of armored vehicles to the Syrian border, and issue a statement threatening military action: "I would like the public to know that if such breaches towards our borders continue we are reserving our rights and we are exercising our rights."

It was believed that Friday's incident was an accident by Syria, but there are unproven suspicions that the new incident was intentional, and the town may have been targeted. This would be consistent with the vitriolic criticisms of Turkey by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad for aiding and training the Syrian opposition.

Erdogan is under intense domestic nationalistic pressure to do something about the Syrian situation, particularly since Turkey is hosting over 90,000 Syrian refugees, with hundreds more crossing the border every day. However, it's not believed that he wants to get involved in Syria militarily, and so today's respond may have been just for domestic consumpsion. Zaman (Istanbul) and Bloomberg

Iran's currency crash brings riots and government crisis

Iran's currency, the rial, has lost 40% in value against the dollar in the last few days, and a catastrophic 80% of its value since 2011. This has dramatically affected the lives of ordinary Iranians, as most imported goods, including things as varied as meat, oil, sugar, tires and car parts have doubled in price in the last few months. 

This triggered riots in Tehran, but these were different than the riots that occurred in 2009. In those riots, students were demonstrating against the political system that reelected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Today's riots are political, not generational. The protesters today are not students, but they're merchants and money changers from Tehran's sprawling Grand Bazaar.

The standard response of the Iranian regime to any problem is to blame it on the Great Satan (the U.S.), and Ahmadinejad has been struggling to find ways to point the blame at America. However, this trick has stopped working, and the Iranian people are blaming Ahmadinejad for the failure of the financial crisis. Although Ahmadinejad is blaming the U.S.-led sanctions, many people are blaming Ahmadinejad for adopting policies that don't respond properly to the sanctions, such as by spending money supporting terrorist activities by Hizbollah.

The merchants and money-changers are closely allied with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who last year had a vitriolic split with Ahmadinejad. So these riots serve Khamanei's purpose in deflecting criticism away from himself.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Iran is in a generational Awakening era, just one generation past Iran's last generational crisis war, the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war that climaxed in 1988. We're now seeing a transition in Iran that also occurred in America at the same point in its generational Awakening era of the 1960s-70s.

In 1967, America had a huge student-level protest in the form of the "Summer of Love." (From 2007: "Boomers commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.") This was the height of the "generation gap" that separated the young Boomer generation from their parents. But a generational split of this type forces everyone in all generations pick sides, and so the generational split morphs into a political split, as it did in America in the early 1970s. The result was the Awakening era climax, when President Richard Nixon was forced to resign in 1974. 

Now we see the same thing happen in Iran. The generational split of 2009 is now morphing into a political split. As Iran's Awakening era progresses, we would expect the political split to lead to some kind of Awakening crisis, quite possible the hoped-for "regime change." And of course if regime change occurs, then whoever is the U.S. President at the time will take full credit. Independent (London) and Tehran Times and US News

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