Time for another NATO Article 4 meeting

Speaking of America’s close Turkish ally, apparently whatever leeway they bought themselves at that NATO Article 4 meeting a couple of weeks ago has run out, as far as some folks in the Pentagon are concerned:

A senior U.S. official said Turkey gave American officials assurances last week that it planned to wrap up attacks on the Kurds in short order, but it has kept up the bombardments focused on the group’s bases in northern Iraq near the Turkish border.

“It’s clear that ISIL was a hook,” said a senior U.S. military official, referring to Islamic State. “Turkey wanted to move against the PKK, but it needed a hook.”

The PKK is branded a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Turkey. But its affiliate in Syria has proved an effective ally to the U.S. by battling Islamic State on the ground.

American officials said it could still take time before Turkey joins the fight against Islamic State. Turkish and U.S. officials explained the delay by saying their countries were still working out the details of joint air operations. Until those details can be finalized, the U.S. military has asked Turkey not to carry out any strikes against Islamic State, Pentagon officials said.

Sure, sure, that’s what’s happening. I actually have a transcript of those discussions on working out the details:

US OFFICIAL: OK, so we’re really excited that you’ll be bombing ISIL now
TURKISH OFFICIAL: Yes, the Kurds
US OFFICIAL: Right, we’ll need you to–uh, wait, did you say the Kurds?
TURKISH OFFICIAL: Yes, we’ll bomb the Kurds
US OFFICIAL: No, guys, you’re helping us fight ISIL
TURKISH OFFICIAL: That’s what I said, we’re helping you bomb the Kurds
US OFFICIAL: We’re not bombing the Kurds
TURKISH OFFICIAL: That’s why we’re going to help you
US OFFICIAL: Uh, maybe you guys ought to sit out a few more plays

The Turks haven’t struck an ISIS target since they day they announced they were going to start striking ISIS targets. I don’t know who’s supposed to be fooled here, but so far the only people who are buying this are people who have to buy it for diplomatic reasons. To be fair to Ankara, they do seem to have tightened up somewhat on the flow of ISIS-bound fighters and supplies crossing the border into Syria, but that’s literally the least they could do short of doing nothing at all, and it’s a far cry from what they seem to have agreed to do.

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