October 13, 2015

ALWAYS AIM THE BLOWBACK ELSEWHERE WHEN YOU CAN:

Turkey Angers the Jihadists It Once Tolerated (Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, 10/13/15, Bloomberg View)

Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, told us that if it turns out that the Islamic State planned the attack over the weekend, then the violence flows from Turkey's murky support and tolerance for jihadists fighting Assad. But Edelman also stressed that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack in Ankara, or an earlier suicide bombing in Suruc this summer, which Turkish authorities have compared to the bombing over the weekend.

"Turkey has had a lax policy on its border," Edelman said. "It has given aid and comfort to Jabhat al Nusra. It's only relatively recently that Turkish authorities concluded these were not just misguided pious youth. If it turns out to be them, this is blowback."

One theory of the attack is that the Islamic State has started striking inside of Turkey in response to Erdogan's decision to allow NATO to use the Incirlik base. Michael Smith, the chief operating officer for Kronos Advisory, which tracks jihadist groups on the Internet, told us that Erdogan and Turkey have been featured more prominently in Islamic State propaganda in recent months. For example, the cover of the latest issue of Dabiq, the group's online English-language magazine, shows a photo of Erdogan and President Barack Obama.

"There has been a sizable uptick in pejorative references to Turkey in IS propaganda, Dabiq in particular," Smith told us. "These include reference to Turkey as 'Base #1' for the 'Sahwah,' repeated depictions of Turkey as an ally of al-Qaeda's Syria branch, as well as a lengthy discussion of Turkey's increased role in the Coalition to Counter IS in the most recent edition of Dabiq." Al-Qaeda's Syria branch has fought bitterly over territory with the Islamic State, even though the Islamic State was until 2014 formally part of al-Qaeda.

Posted by at October 13, 2015 6:09 PM
  

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