Türkei verzögert Manbij Abkommen wegen Tod eines saudischen Dissidenten
As Turkey continues its investigation into a vanished Saudi journalist, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a deal with the US in northern Syria had been postponed. Speaking on Thursday the president, returning from a trip to Hungary, said the agreement with Washington over the Syrian town of Manbij was delayed “but not dead.”
Manbij is one of a series of interlinked entanglements with the US, Syria and Saudi Arabia. On October 2, Saudi journalist and former Riyadh insider Jamal Khashoggi went missing in Istanbul after visiting the Saudi consulate. Turkey has released video and information alleging that Riyadh was responsible for his disappearance, or even perhaps, for killing him. This has reverberated far away in Washington where the Trump administration has been frantically calling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, seeking answers. At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence has offered Ankara FBI assistance. (...)
Turkey sees the Khashoggi affair as a way to leverage Washington back into its camp. There are many voices in the US, increasingly in Congress and in major media, which are critical of Saudi Arabia’s current policies. Ankara hopes that the US might now be encouraged to see things from its viewpoint in Syria and elsewhere. The Manbij postponement may relate to that. It also relates to continued US pressure for Turkey to release detained pastor Andrew Brunson.
What is at stake here is a larger regional struggle. The US is close to Riyadh and Jerusalem, and the Trump administration has sought even warmer ties with Israel and the Saudis. Turkey withdrew its ambassador after the US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Turkey has also been meeting with Iran and Russia regarding Syria. It signed an agreement with Russia regarding Syria’s Idlib province.
All of this points to the US being sidelined and even isolated. But Turkey and Qatar are traditional US allies, and the division between them on one side and Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt on the other have divided the Sunni states in the region as Iran seeks greater influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. What happens in Manbij, with pastor Brunson, and with the Khashoggi affair are all tied to this current regional strategic map.