Feb 10 2019

Gulf states need Turkey amid threat of Iranian expansionism - columnist

Gulf states must realise the looming threat of Iranian expansionism and come to see that they will need the help of Turkey's help to counterbalance Tehran in the Middle East, wrote Burhanettin Duran in his column for pro-government Daily Sabah.

According to Duran, there are two obvious problems with the U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria, which was announced in December of last year, citing the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region.

Trump has thus far been unable to fill key positions at the Pentagon which has to oversee the withdrawal, Duran wrote, underlining that just where the National Security Council and the State Department fit into the process remains unclear.

Secondly, the White House appears to have not taken into consideration the potential side effects of the U.S. withdrawal before announcing the plans, Duran wrote, adding, ‘’Washington does not seem to care how those steps will affect various parts of the world and its allies.’’

The U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to return to Syria if the terrorists get back on their feet, monitoring Iran from Iraq in order to stop Tehran from building nuclear weapons.

While stating that it is unlikely Trump will keep the promises that he made when he signed off on the withdrawal, the Daily Sabah columnist noted that the ‘’idea of keeping an eye on Iran from Iraq seems vague and reminiscent of the 12-step plan to contain Iran the administration unveiled earlier.’’

The U.S. president has clearly called off the plan to contain Iran's influence in Syria, Duran wrote, and he most likely will not accomplish that goal in Iraq.

‘’Washington, which would rather focus on China and the Asia-Pacific region, thinks that it spent too much money on Middle Eastern adventures – which means the U.S. won't contain Iran per the Israeli and Gulf request. Instead, Washington hopes to cripple Iran's economy with sanctions to renegotiate the nuclear deal,’’ the Daily Sabah columnist said.

Underlining that even if Washington does not stop protecting the Gulf from Iran, ‘’its withdrawal from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq could fuel fierce competition among regional powers,’’ Duran wrote, with Turkey and Iran standing as heavyweights in that arena.

Gulf states, which try to harm Turkey by way of covert operations against it, Duran said, must wake up to the the inevitability of the Iranian expansionism threat.