Grave setbacks for Obama’s strategy: Turkey backs out of US-led war on IS. Germany, UK say no to air campaign

The Turkish government inflicted a stunning blow to President Barack Obama’s strategy for a broad US-led coalition for tackling and defeating the Islamic State, Thursday, Sept. 11 – just hours after the plan was unveiled in Washington. One of the 11 Sunni Muslim nations invited to Jeddah by US Secretary John Kerry Thursday to join the coalition’s establishment, Turkey announced instead that it wants no part in the US strategy for destroying IS.

In his speech Wednesday night, President Obama specifically named Turkey as one of the “friends and allies” who would contribute troops to the mission.

However, an official in Ankara, who chose to remain anonymous, stated later: “Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants.” The statement continued: “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will concentrate entirely on humanitarian operations.”

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that Turkey has knocked out one of the main props from under the Obama plan, which was its reliance on regional forces for combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, while the United States provided air strikes and cover.

As prime minister of Turkey eleven years ago, President Tayyip Erdogan confronted former US President George W. Bush with the same letdown when, on the eve of the US 2003 invasion of Iraq, he withheld Turkish bases for the deployment of 60,000 US troops to open a northern front against Saddam Hussein.

But meanwhile, Germany and Britain have said they would not take part in the US air campaign in Iraq and Syria.

debkafile reported earlier: In his speech to the American people, Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama unveiled a four-point strategy “to roll back, degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, at the head of “a broad coalition of friends and allies.” The US would lead off with systematic air strikes against IS targets, while local forces would perform the fighting on the ground. “No US combat troops would be involved,” he pledged.

As for the broad coalition of friends and allies, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated in Baghdad Wednesday that it would consist of 40 nations. So far only 10-15 governments have signed up. At the same time, President Obama appeared to be firm and determined in his resolve the eradicate the terrorist scourge that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but he made no bones about a mission that would start slowly and stretch out over a long period.

Full article: Grave setbacks for Obama’s strategy: Turkey backs out of US-led war on IS. Germany, UK say no to air campaign (DEBKAfile)

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