World View: Turkey and Jordan Separately Plan Invasions of Syria

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Greece’s chaos continues as banks are closed
  • Turkey considers invasion of Syria to prevent a Kurdish state
  • Jordan makes plans for Syria invasion to protect its northern border

Greece’s chaos continues as banks are closed

Greeks rally in Athens on Monday in favor of 'NO' vote on referendum (Kathimerini)
Greeks rally in Athens on Monday in favor of ‘NO’ vote on referendum (Kathimerini)

With Greece’s banks closed, citizens stood in long lines at ATMs, where they are limited to withdrawals of 60 euros per person per day. Thousands of pro-government protesters gathered in Syntagma (Constitution) Square in Athens on Monday to demand that citizens vote “NO” on Sunday’s planned referendum. An anti-government rally is expected on Tuesday, to demand a vote of “YES”.

One commentator is describing Greece’s referendum this way: If you want to be executed vote YES; if you would rather commit suicide say NO. Another says that only God can save Greece now.

It is really hard to believe the farcical proceedings going on with the Greece crisis. On Monday, Greece’s government finally released the wording of the referendum question to be asked on Sunday:

Should the proposal that was submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund at the Eurogroup of June 25, 2015, which consists of two parts that together constitute their comprehensive proposal, be accepted?

It is referring to the Eurogroup proposal that has been withdrawn. What are we to make of this?

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras has referred to the June 25 proposal using the words “blackmail,” “humiliation” and “ultimatum,” making it clear that he would like Greeks to vote “No.”

So what happens if the Greeks vote “No”? Tsipras seems to believe he can go to the Eurogroup and say, “See? I won the referendum. Give me all the bailout money I want, and I’ll spend it as I please.” What do you think the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers will respond to that demand?

What happens if the Greeks vote “Yes”? I heard a Syriza spokesman on the BBC say that they still would not agree to the Eurogroup proposal. So what is the point of a referendum if the results are going to ignored?

One analyst has suggested that Tsipras chose the above wording for an emotional reason — not to make sense, but to link this referendum to Benito Mussolini’s October 1940 ultimatum to occupy Greece, which the Greeks firmly rejected.

I have been asked to state my opinion as to whether Greece will remain in the euro currency.

This is certainly NOT a Generational Dynamics prediction, but my personal opinion is that Greece will, one way or another, remain in the euro currency. The reasoning is that even if Greece issues drachmas, there is no way to expel Greece from the euro. There are even off-the-wall scenarios possible, where the drachma would simply be equivalent to, say, one-tenth of a euro, or something like that, probably with a variable exchange rate.

Another possibility is that the Game of Chicken is still being played. The June 30 date may be a day of default, but otherwise it has apparently become somewhat meaningless now, and the next crucial date will be July 6, the day after the referendum. Some formula may yet be found to reach an agreement at the last moment. However, this would just “kick the can down the road” for three or four months, and new negotiations on a new bailout loan would have to begin immediately.

Whatever scenario unfolds, it is going to be horrible for the Greek people, and dangerous for the global financial system. Kathimerini and Forbes and Greek Reporter

Turkey considers invasion of Syria to prevent a Kurdish state

Turkish officials are sending shock waves through the Mideast by notifying Nato and US officials that they are preparing plans to invade Syria for humanitarian reasons.

By itself, this would be a significant escalation of the war in Syria. But it also comes at a time when Jordan is considering its own invasion of Syria to create a buffer zone (see next story), and at a time when Israel is considering entering the Syrian war to protect the Druze community.

Turkey’s stated objective is to create a buffer zone in Syria for refugees who are targeted by the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), but it is believed that the real reason is the prevention of a Kurdish state along Turkey’s border in Syria.

Over the weekend, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

We will never allow the establishment of a state in Syria’s north and our south. We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs.

At a separate event, prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey would take “all measures” to protect its borders:

No one should be concerned that the fire would spread to Turkey. Even if we are in power for one second, we won’t remain silent; we will take all necessary measures. State structures will implement these measures. No one is more important than the comfort and peace of Turkey.

The triggering event for these concerns was the stunning victories of the Kurdish YPG militias in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa province, especially the seizure of the town of Tal Abyad, which is right on Turkey’s border. ( “24-Jun-15 World View — US aligns with Kurds and Shias in Syria and Iraq, angering Turks and Saudis”)

According to reports, some 18,000 soldiers are expected to take part in the operation to take place on both sides of the border, with plans to establish a 110-km long and 28-km wide buffer zone.

A Turkish invasion of Syria would have significant implications for Europe and Nato. Since Turkey is a member of Nato, the invasion would technically mean that Nato was at war in Syria.

Reports indicate that Turkey will first try to get diplomatic support of its Nato allies and US-led coalition forces. Failing that, “Plan B” will come into plan, and Turkey will create a buffer zone on its own, and will train and equip the Free Syrian Army. Daily Sabah (Turkey) and Telegraph (London) and Hurriyet (Turkey) and Today’s Zaman (Turkey)

Jordan makes plans for Syria invasion to protect its northern border

While Turkey considers an invasion of Syria to create a buffer zone in Syria’s north, Jordan is considering an invasion to create a buffer zone in Syria’s south. This is apparently a completely separate plan, with the joint timing a coincidence.

As in the case of Turkey, the stated object would be humanitarian, for the protection of refugees. Like Turkey, Jordan is hosting millions of Syrians who have been forced to flee their homes to escape the fighting.

The plan is to bolster rebels from the anti-Assad Southern Front alliance and the Free Syrian Army, many of whom have already received US-supplied training in Jordan. It is not clear to what extent Jordan’s own army will participate, or whether Jordan will also build a militarized zone that will separate the buffer zone from the Syrian government forces in the north. However, this would be a significant escalation of Jordan’s involvement in Syria, and would contradict oft-repeated statements by Jordanian officials that they would stay out of the war.

As we’ve been writing for many months, there is a growing trend of Muslims killing Muslims in the Mideast, heading for a major sectarian war that will engulf the region. Middle East Eye and Times of Israel

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greece, Alexis Tsipras, Eurogroup, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ahmet Davutoglu, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurds, YPG militias, Tal Abyad, Nato, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Jordan, Free Syrian Army, Southern Front, Israel, Druze
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