Semih Idiz writes: Speaking a few days after Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir put to rest speculation that Turkey and his country were preparing for a ground operation in Syria, [Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu made several remarks that are bound to go down badly in Moscow and Tehran, suggesting that Ankara is betting on a defeat of the Syrian regime and its principal allies Russia and Iran, much like the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He also said Turkey would not actively intervene in Syria because it was not confident of support from Arab countries, citing the condemnation by the Arab League of the deployment of Turkish troops in Bashiqa near Mosul on Dec. 3.
Davutoglu’s remarks revealed that the Arab League’s reaction to the Bashiqa deployment, the complaint lodged at the UN Security Council by the Iraqi government and the lack of support from Arab countries for this deployment still rankle in Ankara.
Jubeir told Agence France-Presse on Feb. 18 that any special forces sent by Saudi Arabia to Syria would only fight the Islamic State, underlining that they would not get involved in unilateral operations against the Syrian regime unless an international coalition was established for this purpose. Jubeir’s remark deflated growing expectations in some quarters of the Islamist and pro-government Turkish media that Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with their own “coalition of the willing,” were preparing to intervene in Syria. [Continue reading…]