Turkey, Iran fighting their proxy wars in Middle East with militia – analyst

Turkey and Iran are employing proxy militias to intervene in conflicts across the Middle East, including Iraq, Nagorno-Karabakh and the eastern Mediterranean, Maya Carlin,analyst at the Washington D.C. -based Center for Security Policy, said on Monday.

While Washington has focused on isolating arch rival Iran and its militant proxies in recent years, Carlin said in the National Interest, Turkey has been able to “extend its military influence unchecked across the globe.”

There is mounting evidence thatTurkey has been meddling in external conflicts in numerous countries, according to Carlin, with Ankara “providing troops, military equipment, and incessant propaganda on behalf of Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Turkey stands accused of sending Syrian militias to join the fighting that erupted in September between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, following the deployment of such mercenaries to another war-torn country, Libya. 

Turkish support earlier this year, including the militias, helped Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) reverse a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s rival self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).

Meanwhile, Ankara has been aggressively flexing its claims through energy exploration and naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, where it is in conflict with Cyprus and Greece over hydrocarbon resources.

“As the upcoming U.S. election looms,” Carlin wrote,“the presidential candidates must contend with how best to confront the growing threat Turkey poses.”