Turkey wants to take credit for the demise of the Islamic State, insisting that Turkey's actions in northern Syria have helped lay the groundwork for a sustainable peace. But the evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
Turkish President Erdoğan is attempting to cement his political legitimacy among Syrian Sunnis by portraying himself as their savior. If the United States withdraws from Syria after the mission to defeat ISIS is complete, it will essentially be ceding the advantage to Erdoğan, who can continue pushing his agenda.
Erdogan's tolerance of ISIS fighters in Turkey amounts to tacit approval. The danger posed by ISIS using Turkey as a staging ground could become more formidable than the threat currently posed by Kurdish terrorism. Tolerating ISIS to fight the Kurds is therefore a dangerous and myopic policy.
President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has exacerbated tensions between Turkey and Israel. Economic interests had provided incentives for thawing relations in June 2016, but separating economic interests from political differences is harder today given the mistrust between Ankara and Jerusalem.
Treating migration from Libya as a border security issue has reduced migration across the Mediterranean. But efforts to keep migrants in Libya are fraught with risks, exacerbate a massive human rights problem, and do not address Libya's long-term economic and political stabilization.
From Vietnam in the 1960s to the Afghanistan of this decade, James Dobbins has been on the frontlines of American diplomacy, working to advance U.S. national interests in some of the world's most difficult and troubled situations. His new book provides a thoughtful insider's account.
RAND's James Dobbins spent five decades on the frontlines of U.S. diplomacy. Now he takes readers behind the scenes of the Vietnam peace talks, the Cold War, German reunification, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, and more.
While Turkish President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump emphasized the positive aspects of bilateral relations after their meeting, there remain points of contention. The stakes at this meeting and its outcome are high for both Turkey and the United States, and could mark a major milestone in the relationship.
Russia's use of subversive actions, such as information and cyber operations, threatens U.S. interests in Europe. Addressing this hybrid threat will take time and effort. And any U.S. response must be developed alongside efforts to bolster conventional deterrence.
This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on regional foreign policy dynamics and their implications for stability and security.
The recent strengthening of ties between Turkey and Russia may represent more of an economic marriage of convenience than a deeply rooted political alliance. On a number of important issues, particularly the Syrian conflict, the two nations have very different interests and priorities.
If the Kurdish region of northern Iraq were to become an independent nation the move would create important political and economic problems for the neighboring nations of Turkey and Iran, as well as for the Iraqi central government.
The Kurds make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never formed a permanent nation state. If the Kurdish region of northern Iraq were to declare its independence, the move would create political and economic problems for Turkey, Iran, and the Iraqi central government.
Whether or not the Nusra Front's new name means a genuine break from al Qaeda, the rebranding could prolong Syria's civil war. The worst-case scenario is that the group enjoys longevity like that of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The analogy between Islamist Iran and a possibly soon-to-be Islamist Turkey is not perfect. But there are striking similarities between the state of affairs in Turkey today and the 1979 revolution in Iran that established the Islamic Republic.
The leaders of France, Mali, and Turkey have declared formal states of emergency. France's Hollande and Mali's Keïta, while responding to real threats, are risking democracy. Erdogan appears to be targeting democracy and using Turkey's recent failed coup as a pretext.