First it was the ‘broad coalition’ that appeared a little narrower than President Obama explained to the world last week. Today, 2 more crucial aspects of the ‘strategy’ appear to be faltering. Despite the promise of $500 million to train “moderate” Syrian terrorist/rebels to fight ISIS, GlobalPost reports Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time. Under the deal, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime.” Not exactly what Obama and Kerry had in mind. But it is John Kerry’s trip to Iraq that appears to have had blowback already as Reuters reports the newly installed US-friendly PM al-Adadi ordered his air force to halt strikes on civilian areas, “even in those towns controlled by ISIS,” just a day after Kerry’s visit (which left Turkey explaining how it would not support US airstrikes either). So far, so good?!
So, to sum up…
Germany and the U.K. on Thursday ruled out carrying out air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria, a day after President Barack Obama authorized the start of U.S. air strikes there.
“We haven’t been asked, nor will we do it,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters when asked about German participation in air strikes against the Islamic State, known as ISIL or ISIS, in light of Mr. Obama’s speech.
“We need to be honest with ourselves in the current situation, we don’t yet have a final, blanket strategy which guarantees that we’ll be successful against ISIS and similar groups,” the German minister said in Berlin.
His U.K. counterpart Philip Hammond explicitly ruled out air strikes in Syria, after the U.K. parliament struck down such a move last year.
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Second, Turkey – the USA’s closest ally in NATO among the Middle East – denies them its airbases for use as launch sites of airstrikes and will not support airstrikes in Syria (after John Kerry visits)
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara Friday for talks aimed at building a coalition against Islamic State jihadists, a visit that comes after Turkey said it would not allow its air bases to be used for strikes on the extremists.
The top US diplomat, touring the Middle East to establish a coalition of more than 40 countries, is to meet with Turkey’s leaders including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on measures to defeat the militants in Iraq and Syria.
Turkey, a NATO member and Washington’s key ally in the region, is reluctant to take part in combat operations against Islamic State militants, or allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists from its territory.
On the eve of the visit, a Turkish official told AFP: “Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages.”
The official added that Turkey will “not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations.”
IS militants hold 49 Turks hostage, including diplomats and children, abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq in June.
Turkey is the only Muslim country in a coalition of 10 countries who agreed to fight ISIS at the NATO summit in Newport.
Turkey can open Incirlik Air Base in the south for logistical and humanitarian operations in any U.S.-led operation, according to the official who stressed that the base would not be used for lethal air strikes.
“Turkey will not take part in any combat mission, nor supply weapons,” he said.
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As Reuters reports,
Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday that he had ordered his air force to halt strikes on civilian areas.
“I have ordered the Iraqi Air Force to halt shelling of civilian areas even in those towns controlled by ISIS,” Abadi said on his official Twitter account, using the former name for militant group Islamic State.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East to coordinate a response to Islamic State’s growing power in eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Abadi said his order to protect civilians had been issued on Thursday, a day after he held talks with Kerry in Baghdad.
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Finally, The USA’s proxy boots-on-the-ground – Syria’s “moderate” rebels – have signed a non-aggression truce with ISIS.
Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between IS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.
Under the deal, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime.”
But apart from that, everything is going great…