Macron Might Trap France in a Malian-Like Quagmire in Northern Syria
France declared that it’s dispatching troop to northern Syria in support of the Kurds
President Macron announced Paris’ unprecedented decision after meeting with Kurdish leaders in the French capital last week, a move that was summarily denounced by Ankara as “crossing the line” and amounting to the Western European country supporting terrorism through what Turkey would ironically consider to be an “invasion” of Syria. Intra-NATO conflicts are reaching a boiling point as the US, Greece, and now France all align themselves against Turkey’s regional interests in response to Ankara’s post-coup embrace of multipolarity, which has put tremendous pressure on President Erdogan to walk back his developing pivot or dangerously face the consequences. The Turkish leader has refused to back down and is now forced to confront the prospects of joint American-French support for what his government considers to be Kurdish terrorists, which will only deepen his desire to intensify his country’s strategic redirection eastward.
Not only that, but Turkey might asymmetrically counter France’s unfriendly military deployment through pro-Ankara proxy forces in northern Syria. Turkish media leaked the location of each place that France’s forces will supposedly be deployed to just like they did to the Americans last summer, which can be read as a tacit threat that both countries’ troops might now be targeted by armed groups sympathetic to Turkey in the incipient “Rojava Civil War” that’s unfolding in northern Syria. France’s plans to assist the US in this battlespace and potentially even replace it to a degree if Trump goes through on his intentions to withdraw from the country “very soon” might inevitably lead to Paris getting caught in a second Malian-like quagmire, albeit this time it would be fighting against actual rebels in what has now become a multisided “civil war within a civil war” and not against terrorists.
The fast-moving developments go to show that the old model of colonialism no longer works in post-colonial societies where former colonizers sought to exploit minority groups against the majority. The people of northeastern Syria will not allow their actual former colonizer to return to their country and use pro-Western Kurds as their proxy tool for suppressing the Arab majority. Furthermore, Turkey is cooperating with Russia via the Astana peace process and will likely reach an eventual “compromise” to at the very least nominally return the territories that its allied rebel groups control to the authority of the Syrian government, though probably after securing its geopolitical interests through the forthcoming UNSC-mandated “constitutional revision” that will probably lead to a degree of “decentralization”. France, however, has no such intentions in doing the same vis-à-vis its proxies and Russia, so it represents a much more dire threat to Syrian sovereignty than Turkey does at this moment.