Conditions, circumstances and opportunities are continuously changing, and accordingly, political positions change.


For five years, Turkey was dead against Assad of Syria. In fact, it took the leading role in inflaming the Syrian, so-called, civil war and was the vanguard in calling and working for Syria’s Assad ouster.

Then a series of events took place. Turkey got carried away and shot a Russian fighter jet, Crippling Russian economic sanctions were placed on Turkey, the long established Turkish Kurdish ceasefire collapsed and a mini Turkish civil war commenced, the Turkish tourist industry all but collapsed, the Syrian army pulled back from the brink of defeat with Russian air power intervention, the EU reneged on all its promises to Turkey, The USA became uneasy about Turkish policies and made it obvious by supporting the Syrian Kurds to probably create their own state in northern Syria, ISIS began targeting Turkish cities, Turkey became isolated geopolitically and then, came the attempted Turkish military coup to oust the president, which was rumored to have been instigated and/or blessed by the American CIA. The last event was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” causing Turkey to change its policies dramatically.

It takes courage, or bravado, to make a full 180 degree turn in a nation’s political direction. The question is whether this is a strategic change or only a tactical maneuver? Time will soon tell.

Whatever the type of change we are witnessing, Turkey suddenly veered off its 5-year course. It apologized to Russia for downing its jet, reconciled with Israel, commenced chummy talks with Iran, began bad-mouthing the US & EU and, to everyone’s surprise announced that will work to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity and accepts Assad’s presence for a temporary transitional period.


The Syrian regime must have been overjoyed with the last statement, and probably reciprocated one “good turn” with another, carrying out two air sorties on the Syrian Kurds in the Haska district in the past two days. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the sudden belligerence of the Syrian army against the Syrian Kurds, after five years of observing a hands-off policy.


On the Kurdish front, the Syrian Kurds, realizing that the tide was ebbing, suddenly announced that, after taking Manbij, which they fought bitterly to gain, they will not advance any further northwards i.e. they will not approach the Turkish border, thus hopefully pacifying Turkey and tucking away their ambitions for another day.


Another ebb and flow was observed between the US and Saudi Arabia. The US suddenly announced a couple of days ago, that it had withdrawn its tactical coordination, planning and support military staff assisting the Saudi army in their war in Yemen. As none of the two involved parties offered any reasonably good explanations, they left the field open to all sorts of good and bad conclusions by the only too willing western and Arab media pundits.


And so the tide ebbs and flows, while we the masses, stand bedazzled at the currents twirling around us. Each swish takes us in one direction while the other pulls us in the opposite. We are the last to know, but remain the ever-ready dupes, eager to step in as cannon fodder.

We, in the Middle East, have a history of jumping on bandwagons, beginning with Nasser, Saddam, Gadhafi, Arafat, Hezbollah, Hamas, Bin Laden, Daesh (ISIS), Khomeini, etc. They all came and went, while we remained marking time. Like a sad willow tree, we stand weeping while the winds of fortune blow our leaves away in all directions.



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