The departure of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state had become a foregone conclusion in Washington as he was at odds with President Donald Trump on many issues, especially on how to deal with Iran.
Trump is a hawk regarding Iran and wants to do away with the nuclear deal with Tehran and put more pressure on Iran to halt its expansionist drive in the Middle East. Tillerson did not agree with him regarding White House policies on Iran, so he got sacked.
Trump is now recruiting new hawks into his administration who will most probably intensify the animosity with Iran.
U.S. officials have seen that the young Middle Eastern monarchs are hardly the remedy for Iran. On the contrary, they are making too many mistakes that are actually helping Iranian expansionism in the Gulf as well as in Iraq and Syria.
As such, pragmatists in Washington are already calling for the U.S. to mend fences with Ankara and open viable avenues to restore some U.S. influence in the region.
A small but crucial area where Washington and Ankara can help to counter the Iranization process of northern Iraq is to help Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Necirvan Barzani and his administration in Irbil. Suleimaniyah, which is suffering political turmoil after the death of Jalal Talabani, has already fallen under Iranian influence. A joint Turkish-U.S. effort can at least salvage Irbil and Duhok provinces controlled by Barzani and his allies.
But more importantly, Turkey and the U.S. can find ways to cooperate in northern Syria. This means the U.S. has to give up its massive support to the people they call Syrian Kurds but in fact do not represent the bulk of Kurds in the country and are affiliates to PKK terrorist in Syria under the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG).
The U.S. administration and the Washington intelligentsia have to understand that the PYD and YPG hijacked Kurdish politics in Syria. They imposed their will on the people with arms and militants provided by the PKK, they terrorized the north of the country and made life hell for the local people with Stalinist methods. Yet the U.S. generals who desperately wanted to use the YPG, allegedly against Daesh, marketed them to the American public as people with a contemporary style of living who are moderate Muslims and tough fighters who could do the job.There will be those in Washington who wholeheartedly sympathize with the PYD, YPG and even the PKK who have to change their minds and deal with Turkey in earnest if the U.S. really wants to forge a new opening for themselves in the Middle East.
Beyond that, the human rights groups in the U.S. have to come to terms with the fact that Turkey did not crack down on innocent and helpless people after the bloody coup attempt of July 15, 2016, but it actually had to declare a state of emergency to deal with a massive criminal organization set up by Fetullah Gülen that nearly toppled the elected government. U.S. human rights groups have to appreciate that it took people of great courage and affection for democratic values to flock to the streets and stop the tanks with their bare hands. Now those people want justice and the Turkish courts are busy processing an array of trials against the putschists. Turkey had the chance to get rid of the putschists through summary executions, but it did not opt to partake of that crime. Does all this mean nothing in Washington?
Isn't it sad that Gülen lives in Pennsylvania as a first-class guest of the United States despite the crimes he has committed?
All these problems will have to be ironed out between Ankara and Washington, then Trump can count on Turkey's cooperation in the region.
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