World View: Turkey, Syria Exchange Fire Across Border

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, afterSyrian army mortar shells traveled across the border to the bordertown of Akcakale, Turkey, killing a woman and her three daughters,along with another woman. Turkey’s army struck back at targets insideSyria, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement: 

Our armed forces in the border region respondedimmediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules ofengagement; targets were struck through artillery fire againstplaces in Syria identified by radar.

Turkey will never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation bythe 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, damaginghomes and workplaces, but causing no casualties. Turkey’s response atthat time was to deploy dozens of armored vehicles to the Syrianborder, and issue a statement threatening military action: “I wouldlike the public to know that if such breaches towards our borderscontinue we are reserving our rights and we are exercising ourrights.”

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

Erdogan is under intense domestic nationalistic pressure to dosomething about the Syrian situation, particularly since Turkey ishosting over 90,000 Syrian refugees, with hundreds more crossing theborder every day. However, it’s not believed that he wants to getinvolved in Syria militarily, and so today’s respond may have beenjust 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 dollarin the last few days, and a catastrophic 80% of its value since2011. 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 theriots that occurred in 2009. In those riots, students weredemonstrating against the political system that reelected MahmoudAhmadinejad as president. Today’s riots are political, notgenerational. The protesters today are not students, but they’remerchants and money changers from Tehran’s sprawling Grand Bazaar.

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

The merchants and money-changers are closely allied with the SupremeLeader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who last year had a vitriolicsplit with Ahmadinejad. So these riots serve Khamanei’s purpose indeflecting criticism away from himself.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Iran is ina generational Awakening era, just one generation past Iran’slast generational crisis war, the 1979 Great Islamic Revolutionand the Iran/Iraq war that climaxed in 1988. We’re now seeinga transition in Iran that also occurred in America at the same pointin its generational Awakening era of the 1960s-70s.

In 1967, America had a huge student-level protest in the form of theseparated the young Boomer generation from their parents. Buta generational split of this type forces everyone in all generationspick sides, and so the generational split morphs into a politicalsplit, as it did in America in the early 1970s. The result wasthe Awakening era climax, when President Richard Nixon was forcedto resign in 1974. 

Now we see the same thing happen in Iran. The generational split of2009 is now morphing into a political split. As Iran’s Awakening eraprogresses, we would expect the political split to lead to some kindof Awakening crisis, quite possible the hoped-for “regime change.”And of course if regime change occurs, then whoever is theU.S. President at the time will take full credit. Independent (London) and Tehran Times and US News

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail