A suicide bombing against the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday claimed the lives of two people – the bomber and an embassy guard. Police have sectioned off the area to determine what exactly happened, but suspicions are already falling on the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) or hitherto unannounced affiliates of Al-Qaeda elements operating in Turkey.
The bombing is likely an intentional message to the West to not intervene in Syria, but also a reminder to the U.S. that its Mideast policy is in crisis.
Following the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, this attack against an American diplomatic mission sets off a worrying trend, not just about the safety of diplomats, but also in questioning the legitimacy of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, especially as this bombing occurred in what is perhaps the most important American ally in the region.
Turkey is host to thousands of Syrian refugees and has deployed armed forces and NATO assets along its border with Syria in a preventive effort to curtail violence spilling over into its territory.
It is likely that extremist elements operating on the rebel side are seeking to send a warning to Turkey to stop advocating for a foreign intervention in Syria and discourage Western involvement, while seeking to prolong the strife in Syria, in order for groups such as Al-Nusra to gain an appreciable foothold in the country.
For Washington, this bombing is an urgent message that it needs to rethink the choice of policy in the Middle East, what must be John Kerry’s first job as he takes the reigns at the State Department. More precisely, the wisdom of supporting the overthrow of established regimes in favour of their Islamic equivalents is now under question as the best interest of the West.
The crisis also extends to the Turkish government, which already has significant security problems with its Kurdish minority, as it is split between itself, Iran, Iraq and Syria, and the conflict offers yet more opportunities to seek political independence.
The United States has little choice, but to react in a measured way to the tragedy and re-consider its methods for distinguishing between rebels and Islamic extremists. As far as support goes, we are at the point where the Syrian conflict must reach a political settlement of its own accord and all we can do is contain it as much possible, without intervening.
Re: Syrian options — when it comes to either being bogged down in another Mideast war for the next decade or letting the civil war end of its own accord, the last of those is the less costly option.
Practically, however, the time spent fighting and the total casualties might make these two devils indistinguishable from one another.