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Opinion: The Plan to Cancel Turkey out of the Equation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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He who believes that the sudden outburst of the Iraqi government, a first of its kind since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, is against the presence of Turkish troops on Iraqi soil is wrong. The Turkish force comprises of 150 soldiers only, and is located in the vicinity of the city of Mosul which ISIS has been occupying for the last year and a half. Likewise, the escalating Russian threats to the Turks against their forces on the border with northern Syria is not directed at Turkey alone as this area is considered to be packed with armies and militias from all around the world.

Mounting aggravation on the part of Iran, Iraq and Russia against Turkey displays the characteristics of a plan to restrain Turkey and to abolish its regional role, thereby clearing the area of any obstacles to the Iranian project so that Tehran becomes the decision maker in Iraq and Syria. This has occurred amidst an American retreat during the last five years of the crisis and the lack of action on its part except for issuing statements of solidarity.

The Turkish battalion located outside the city of Mosul arrived at the invitation of the former governor of Mosul in order to train volunteers from the city to defend it after the Iraqi government’s forces fled and terrorists penetrated deeply into the rural areas of that province. Mosul has been left to ISIS and the Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi did not decide to liberate it because most of the latter is made up of Shi’ite sectarian militias formed by Iran as an alternative to the Iraqi army. In addition to this, Iran is training, preparing and directing it.

The truth is that Russia and Iran cannot be blamed for their clear progress in the plan to remove and dwarf Turkey regionally because we are in the midst of a big regional confrontation and because the government in Ankara itself has done nothing whatsoever to defend its interests during the turbulent years.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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