Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Turkey's military operation "could lead to a messy confrontation between the Turkish government and the U.S.-backed [Kurdish] YPG," observes the Christian Science Monitor. (Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Image)

U.S.-Backed Turkish Offensive in Syria Targets U.S.-Backed Kurds

Under guise of fighting ISIS, U.S. policy in Syria is growing increasingly incoherent, say critics

Nika Knight

Turkey has "launched a major military intervention in Syria," the Guardian reports, dispatching tanks and warplanes to purportedly reclaim the city of Jarabulus, currently held by the Islamic State (ISIS), and to attack Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

"At 4am this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on Wednesday, according to the Guardian. Turkey's government classifies Kurdish nationalists as terrorists, although Erdoğan also pointed to a bomb attack that killed 54 in Southern Turkey, which the Turkish regime blamed on ISIS, as justification for Wednesday's siege in Syria.

Turkey's onslaught is backed by the U.S., while the Kurdish group that Turkey is targeting, the leftwing Kurdish nationalist YPG, is also backed by the United States.

"If Turkey's forces drive out ISIS," observes the Christian Science Monitor, "it could lead to a messy confrontation between the Turkish government and the U.S.-backed YPG."

And while Turkey has long battled against Kurdish nationalists both within and outside of its borders while the West turned a blind eye, Wednesday marks the first large-scale Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in Syria.

"Turkey is desperate to halt [an] attempt at Syrian Kurdish consolidation of territory."
—Juan Cole
It appears the military operation is in part to prevent the creation of a Kurdish-controlled territory on the other side of Turkey's border. Just days ago, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces successfully overtook the former ISIS stronghold of Manbij—after U.S. bombs killed up to 28 civilians in the northern Syrian city.

"If the YPG took Jarabulus, it would be in a position to close the gap between two Kurdish cantons in the north of Syria and create a united strip of Kurdish control along the Turkish border, which Syrian Kurds refer to as Rojava," writes Middle East expert Juan Cole. "Turkey is desperate to halt that attempt at Syrian Kurdish consolidation of territory." There have already been reports of Turkish airstrikes on Syrian Kurds, Cole notes.

"Kurdish gains along the Turkish border have been anathema to Erdoğan's government, which had restarted its war against the Kurdish population inside Turkey as well as against [Kurdish] PKK camps in Iraq," argues commentator Vijay Prashad. "It was this war that opened up tensions between Washington and Ankara, with the former uneasy with the Turkish assault on some of the main groups that had been fighting [ISIS]."

Vice President Joe Biden is also currently in Ankara, reportedly to assure Erdoğan that the U.S. is not behind the country's recent failed military coup, and to request that Turkey "step up to do its part" against ISIS, Cole notes.

If Turkey has agreed to target ISIS to assuage D.C. politicians, it seems that Washington may be threatening to pull support from the Kurds in order to assuage Turkey: the AP reported Wednesday that Biden has ordered U.S.-backed Kurdish militias to give up territory and "move back across" the Euphrates River, as Turkey desires, or risk losing U.S. support.

Indeed, the Middle East Eye quotes a Turkish official saying that the U.S. "promised" Turkey that the U.S.-backed YPG will not try to consolidate more territory near the Turkish border—and if the group did, Turkey would "take the requisite action":

Turkish foreign minister Mevlet Cavusoglu told a press conference in Ankara that the Turkish army would continue its efforts against the YPG, saying they were "no different" from the PKK[, which is recognized by the E.U. and U.S. as a terrorist organization].

"Why did Salih Muslim and the YPG get upset by our operation against [ISIS]?" he asked. [...] "They have their own hidden agenda."

He added that the YPG should "not cross west of the Euphrates".

"The U.S. promised this to us," he explained. "If they cross we will take the requisite action."

With Wednesday's developments, President Barack Obama's much-criticized policy in Syria grows increasingly incoherent, critics argue.

Indeed, Turkey's military assault also comes on the heels of news that U.S.-backed Kurdish forces are currently attacking Syrian President Bashar Assad's militias in the northern city of Hasakah. The Daily Beast notes: "In a conflict where alliances shift kaleidoscopically and the potential consequences of unwanted clashes are apocalyptic, this battle has raised the possibility Washington will be drawn into a direct conflict with the Syrian regime even as the Obama administration continues to focus its war effort on [ISIS]."

And while alliances shift and U.S. policy becomes more and more contradictory, the horrific Syrian war is now in its sixth year: "[...] the kaleidoscope continues to turn, and the war goes on," as the Daily Beast writes.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·


Carbon Offsets Are Nothing But a 'Dangerous' Con Job, Warns Climate Group

"The best way to prevent the heating of our planet," says Friends of the Earth, "is to end the use of fossil fuels for good."

Andrea Germanos ·


In Face of Planetary Emergency, US Climate-Related Financial Risk Report Denounced as 'Pitiful' Failure

"Finding consensus between those who see or don't see our climate reality," said one critic, "is not democracy in action: it's homicidal."

Jon Queally ·


Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo