You can be sure no intelligence service in the Middle East can sleep comfortably. Not because of the traditional business traffic, but because of the sinister question they find 1,000 reasons to not be convinced about: "What was the motivation that dragged Erbil to hold a referendum? What or who did they trust when holding it?"
The U.S.? Yes. Israel? Of course, yes. Russia's silence, yes. Daesh and the Syria crisis nearing an end? Oil, yes. Yes, yes.
Yet it is still not considered convincing enough.
If the answer to all of these is yes, how is it that the game-setter – even though it seems conjectural – failed to estimate that it could trigger the Middle East's most effective, fearsome alliance/coalition?
Turkey-Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria. There is actually more to it. This lasso might leave its allies in the region and the West, from the East Mediterranean to the China Sea, breathless.
Wasn’t the Saudi Arabian king's Moscow-Kremlin visit because of the nightmare of the likelihood that this alliance based on conventional needs might rise to become a strategic partnership?
Aren't these agreements, which were "accidentally" presented to the "Global Coalition" and which may trigger the disintegration of that partnership, a sign that things are shortly evolving in the opposite direction? ("ABD Katar Krizi sebebiyle ortak tatbikatı durdurdu" [US stops joint drill due to Qatar crisis] 06/10.)
Just think, even Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "This being his first visit years after we recognized Riyadh (1926), without requiring any other reason, is enough to explain the importance." In other words, if the king had gotten off the plane, stepped on the ground and then turned and got back in the plane, even this would be confirmation that the region's balance had gone off the rails. And that is what happened.
why a referendum, why now?
"The [Kurdistan Regional Government] KRG is unaware of what it is doing, the kind of step it is taking. It is impossible to understand what Erbil based such an attitude on, and who it trusts. Who is giving you this idea? I am talking about a big game here that includes our country too."
This is what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday, when he accepted a visit by opinion leaders from eastern and southeastern Turkey.
On another note...
The reading that shows the motivation that led the Barzanis down this path is the heavy pressure the U.S. and Israel are under in the region – primarily in Syria and Iraq – is also prevalent. ("Erbil’e kim yürek yedirdi?” [Who encouraged Erbil?] 09/09, Yeni Şafak.)
Ok, so what was "expected/hoped" to happen after the referendum that when it didn't happen, the "plan" collapsed – as a matter of fact, it took a turn in the "opposite” direction?
Now that secret is hidden in the meeting between presidents Erdoğan and Trump.
"What did we say before? We will not allow a terror corridor be formed in our south. As a state, we are not going to permit the formation of a terror corridor there. The first of this is in north Syria. We told the U.S. about this. We spoke openly and clearly with Mr. Trump. We said, 'If something like that happens in our south we will certainly interfere.' This is also valid for northern Iraq. What happened to lead Erbil to do this? They pumped it up and it chose to take this path."
Add to this Erbil's sudden referendum decision to create an element of surprise, without informing Ankara, Tehran and Baghdad, which clearly have strategic relations with northern Iraq. That’s what was expected; to ensure Ankara as well as Iran make a wrong move. Because based on their valuation, the announcement of a referendum that would lead to the declaration of “Kurdistan” in this predicament of the Middle East would be met with Ankara’s “certain” move. Israel’s openly coming forward for the first time was also part of the same move. Those who wish are welcome to also add Talabani’s death to the list of “matters to consider.”
Armed UAVs and the plan that blew up in the face
Getting back to the previous matter...
Turkey is reaching the point of breaking the siege and almost eliminating the terrorism within its borders, and additionally developing new partnerships, increases Israel and the U.S.’s losses. The construction of the first U.S. base in Israel continues to be solid evidence of this.
The way armed unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) are brought to the agenda as well as its timing are, of course, part of this context. Because had what was expected happened, had the countries in the region – but especially Ankara – fallen for this trap, the hope was to transfer the Middle East crisis into Turkey.
This was the “big game encompassing our country” and the time was set for “now.” The president hosting the region’s opinion leaders and influential figures at the Presidential Complex as well as his acceptance of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli can be viewed from the same angle.
This was a plan with a high part effect and neutralizing it did not completely end the likelihood of activating a different secret ignition mechanism.
There are important elections to take place in Turkey’s near future and have no doubt that similar traps will be set.
But for now, that table is still intact. The cards have not been redistributed. We held on tightly to our cards and they are left with the ones in their hands.
And it has reached such a point that even if there is interference now, as a matter of fact, even if action was taken on the referendum day, what they could do is/was limited.
This is called “nil value.”
If they continue, another game will start.