On the Fall of Kobani and Southwest Asia
October 9, 2014 • 10:03AM

The leading developments in Southwest Asia center on the imminent fall of Kobani, the Turkish and British Support of ISIS, and the failure of the Obama Presidency.

Erdogan Sets Up Fall of Kobani

Turkey is more than willing to join President Obama's anti-ISIS coalition, to include putting troops on the ground in Syria, provided that its condition of directing the effort to the overthrow of Syria's Bashar al Assad is met. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated this point in an interview yesterday with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

London-based Turkish Banks Funneling Money for ISIS

Marianne, one of the major French magazines, which on occasion defends anti-oligarchic views, published a short but damning detail in their latest issue. They revealed that certain Turkish banks, based in London, are funneling funds from private Saudi networks to the IS.

Kobani on the Edge of the Abyss; Dempsey Fears 'Fall' of Kobani

Intense US air strikes—perhaps more than a dozen in the last two days—on ISIS positions around Kobani may have monentarily stalled the ISIS takeover of the city of 40,000. According to a Reuters wire published yesterday, ISIS forces have withdrawn to the outskirts of the city, though no one expects the air campaign to be decisive.

Turkish Opposition Leader Says Government Still Supports ISIL

Turkish opposition leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, in an interview with Hurriyet Daily News, said Turkish troops should not enter Syria and that the government was still supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He also said that he believes that the Turkish military also does not want to enter Syria.

Obama's Failure in Southwest Asia

Obama Told el-Sisi, During New York Meeting, To Bring Back the Muslim Brotherhood

President Barack Obama is still sour that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, on popular demand, removed his good buddy, Egyptian Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, from the country's Presidency. According to an article in Al Ahram, Obama, during his meeting with el-Sisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting last month, pressured him to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back into the political system.

Pentagon Program To Train Syrian Rebels Going Nowhere

Pentagon officials have told the Guardian that no decisions have yet been made about the creation of the Syrian rebel force that the Pentagon wants to build to fight ISIS in Syria. The Pentagon has yet to even assign a US officer to the task of determining which rebels are trustworthy and capable enough to comprise that force. "No decision has been made as to who will lead the program," commander Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.

Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman is suitably skeptical of the FSA in reporting this, referring to it as "supposedly moderate," and he points out that "vetted" and "moderate" rebels approved by the US have consistently lost ground to ISIS and other Islamist groups. "The Syrian rebels are the soft underbelly of the Obama administration's strategy against Isis," he writes. In short, the program hasn't even begun to get off the ground yet, because of uncertainties about nearly every aspect of it, such as who is going to run the vetting of prospective rebel fighters, what intelligence sources are they going to rely on for it to work, and so on. One official told Ackerman that the GCC countries will have some input (who have been supplying weapons to many of the most radical groups) in determining which Syrians to include in the program and which not.

Apache Helicopters Join the Air War in Iraq

The ISIS thrust toward Baghdad from the west has now come close enough to the city that US Apache attack helicopters are now involved in combat. An Oct. 6 statement issued by US Central Command indicated a number of air strikes in the vicinity of Fallujah by "rotary wing aircraft" along with drones, but didn't specify the type of "rotary wing aircraft"; but they could only be the Apaches that were first deployed to Baghdad International Airport as part of the strengthening of US security forces in Iraq that president Obama ordered back in July. Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security think tank, told Reuters that the military's decision to use Apaches "demonstrates that they've only achieved limited results with the air strikes from fighters and bombers and drones." The advantage of using Apaches is that they fly lower and slower than jet bombers and so can see the situation on the ground much more clearly, but this also makes them much more vulnerable to ground fire, thereby increasing the risk that one may be shot down.