Two car bombs blasted a Turkish town near the Syrian border today, killing 20 or more people and injuring scores more. Turkey has a pretty good idea who’s behind it even before they start an investigation:
Turkish deputy prime minister says Assad administration “usual suspects” in southern Turkey bomb blasts #breaking
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 11, 2013
Twin car bombs killed at least 20 people near Turkey’s border with Syria on Saturday, increasing fears that Syria’s civil war was dragging in neighbors and drawing a swift warning from Ankara not to test its resolve.
Turkey supports the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was no coincidence the attacks in the town of Reyhanli came as diplomatic moves to end the conflict intensify.
“There may be those who want to sabotage Turkey’s peace, but we will not allow that,” Davutoglu told reporters during a trip to Berlin. “No-one should attempt to test Turkey’s power, our security forces will take all necessary measures.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
NATO member Turkey has been one of Assad’s harshest critics and has harbored both Syrian refugees and rebels during the uprising against him, now in its third year.
NBC’s Richard Engel says that Turkey will start with the presumption that the Assad regime set up the attacks as a warning to quit interfering in its civil war:
The timing would tend to suggest that as a possibility:
Erdogan said this week that Turkey would support a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone in Syria and warned that Damascus crossed President Barack Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons use long ago.
A no-fly zone to prohibit Syrian military aircraft from hitting rebel targets has been mentioned by American lawmakers as one option the United States could use to pressure Assad.
Erdogan is due to meet Obama in Washington on May 16.
Well, maybe — but that kind of provocation would make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. Turkey is a member of NATO, whose operational doctrine has always been that an attack on one member is an attack on all members. Barack Obama is already under a lot of pressure to increase American intervention in Syria; attacking Turkey will make that pressure all but irresistible. Maybe Assad thinks that Western intervention will galvanize Syrian nationalism and unite his country under his banner to repel the infidels, but that didn’t work out too well for Moammar Qaddafi.
Of course, that didn’t work out to well for us, either, or any of the other NATO nations that took part in the 30,000-foot Libyan intervention. The Washington Post caught up last night to the dire situation in Tripoli as the successor government can’t even clear its own capital streets of the Islamist “militias,” and the bug-out for which we are all preparing:
Growing concerns over protests roiling Libya prompted the State Department to begin evacuating some diplomats from Tripoli, as the Pentagon put troops stationed at nearby European bases on high alert. …
The protests that have spread in Libya over the past week stem largely from the passage of a law that bars from public office officials who served in key roles under the deposed Libyan regime of Moammar Gaddafi. There is no indication so far that the demonstrators are targeting Westerners.
Still, a senior defense official said a Marine quick-response team and a Special Operations unit have been placed on alert to ensure that they can respond if they are needed to evacuate personnel. The nearest U.S. troops are stationed in Spain and Italy. …
The State Department said in a statement that it has ordered the departure of a handful of “non-essential” personnel from Tripoli as a result of the “unsettled situation,” which includes mass protests outside government facilities.
Actually, the militias have been surrounding government buildings in Tripoli for more than two weeks, with only a one-day respite on May 5th. Don’t expect the US or the UK to be in Libya for much longer at all to celebrate the liberation that allowed terrorist networks to seize control of this Mediterranean nation, and don’t expect anything different as an outcome in Syria from another 30,000-foot intervention.