Turkish Invasion Of Syria Reveals Vortex Of Interests
As Turkey deepens its push into Syrian territory, numerous geopolitical interests are now colliding with one another in what appears to be a war worthy of the reputation the Middle East has for political and geopolitical complexity. Having had its immediate expedition across the Turkey-Syria border condemned by the Syrian government, Turkey is now facing some public criticism from the United States in regards to its military efforts against Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates who are themselves aligned with the United States, partially against ISIS and the Syrian government as well as staunch enemies of the Turkish government.
The United States is stating publicly (although public statements do not always mirror behind-the-scenes agendas) that fighting between Turkey, Turk-supported “rebels” (aka ISIS, al-Qaeda, FSA), and Kurdish forces is “unacceptable” and that the clashes must stop. The U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, Brett McGukr, stated that fighting in areas where ISIS was not present is “a source of deep concern.”
Turkish forces have attacked what they say are Kurdish “terrorists” since crossing the border last week.
But the Kurdish YPG militia says Turkey just wants to occupy Syrian territory.
Ankara says it aims to push both IS and Kurdish fighters away from its border.
Turkish forces and allied factions of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) forced IS out of the Syrian border city of Jarablus on Tuesday and have since pounded neighbouring villages held by Kurdish-led, US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Turkish military carried out 61 artillery strikes around Jarablus over the past 24 hours Reuters news agency reported on Monday,
Turkey has insisted Kurdish militia, which it regards as terrorists, retreat east across the Euphrates river.
For its part, Turkey has refused to buckle to the public statements of the United States with Omer Celik stating that “No one has the right to tell us which terrorist organization we can fight against.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that the YPG is attempting to seize territory where Kurds have not had a tradition of making up a large ethnic bloc. This much, at least, is undeniably true. “The YPG is engaged in ethnic cleansing, they are placing who they want to in those places,” he said.
The YPG, while denying that its forces were West of the Euphrates, responding by saying that the Turks merely want a pretext to annex Syrian land.
In terms of Turkish military progress, Reuters reports:
On Monday, Turkish-backed forces had advanced on Manbij, a city about 30 km (20 miles) south of Turkey’s border captured this month by the SDF with U.S. help. The Turkish military said it was also shifting operations westwards, which would take it into territory still under Islamic State control.
. . . . .
On Monday, Turkish-backed forces had advanced on Manbij, a city about 30 km (20 miles) south of Turkey’s border captured this month by the SDF with U.S. help. The Turkish military said it was also shifting operations westwards, which would take it into territory still under Islamic State control.
Sources on the ground inside Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) are reporting that the Turkish military has reached the outskirts of the city. Claims are now being made that the Turks are considering building a wall to separate the two countries.
What Is Turkey Doing?
The Turkish invasion is predicated on the basis of “fighting ISIS,” a wholly unbelievable goal since Turkey itself has been supporting, training, and facilitating ISIS since day one. Not only that, but Turkey is arriving in Syria with terrorists in tow since, as the BBC reported, “Between nine and 12 tanks crossed the frontier, followed by pick-up trucks believed to be carrying hundreds of fighters from Turkish-backed factions of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).” If Turkey was interested in stopping terrorism, why would they lead the charges for more terrorists to enter Syria? Indeed, if stopping terrorism was truly Turkey’s goal, it is capable of sealing the border from its own side without any need for invasion so why the war the party?
Turkey’s interests do not lie in stopping terrorism. Far from it. Turkey’s foreign policy and military decision to invade Syria are based along three lines; its desire for more territory (which it believes was stolen from it long ago), its willingness to continue working with NATO in its attempt to destroy the secular government of Syria, and its concern over the Kurdish expansion.
With this invasion, Turkey has solidified its willingness to risk outright war with Syria and perhaps even Russia in order to fulfill the goals of NATO and Anglo-American powers who have sought to destroy Syria from the beginning. Part of this strategy is the creation of “buffer zones” and “safe zones” in the north, precisely the concepts that were re-floated and discussed by the United States and U.K. only days before the invasion. Note that the invasion and operations are centering around Jarablus, the eastern border of the famed Jarablus corridor which, bordered by Afrin and Azaz in the West, make up the last fully functioning terrorist supply routes coming in from Turkey. These were precisely the dimensions that were discussed by Western think tanks and NGOs in regards to what a “safe zone” in Syria should look like. Although argued on the basis of “giving civilians somewhere to go” the zones were supposed to be controlled by “moderate” Western-backed terrorists and were clearly designed to prevent the Syrian government and Russian forces from closing the supply routes coming from the Turkish side of the border into Syria.
This “safe haven” is also a way for the neo-Ottoman Erdogan to lay claim to more territory in order to placate his dream of becoming the 21st Century equivalent of the leader of the Turkish empire. At the very least, this desire for more land under the Turkish flag will lead to a situation similar to that of the Golan Heights, which Israel has illegally occupied for decades but which there is frequent threat of military action and controversy.
Erdogan is also incredibly concerned about the growing Kurdish movement both inside Turkey and in Syria. With the Kurds gaining more and more territory in the north of Syria, in large part because of support being given by the United States, as well as Kurds in Iraq becoming more and more willing to work with YPG Kurds in Syria and the growing interest of dissent and military operations inside Turkey by the PKK, Erdogan is undoubtedly concerned that the Kurds could decide to unite and initiate a massive campaign for autonomy and independence or, at the very least, inspire Turkish Kurds to launch a revolution.
Carving Out Kurdistan
While the wheels of the propaganda machine is turning on the screens of Westerners in the US and Europe, the plan to carve out a Kurdistan is taking a much more violent form in Syria and Iraq. The ability to remove all forces within the borders of what would be called Kurdistan (except for the Kurdish forces) has been the result of constant U.S. bombing and death squad herding around towns like Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), Tal Abyad, and others where the Kurds have been able to outline their territory by virtue of military prowess.
After all, the US bombing has done nothing but strengthen ISIS at every other location in Syria and Iraq, while even bombing Syrian infrastructure and Iraqi military forces directly, and “accidentally” airdropping of support to ISIS. In the Kurdish areas, however, such bombing seems to be functioning as a primitive and violent method of border shaping that will outline the Kurdish territory from the Syrian and Iraqi territories. Increasing ISIS forces in Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) significantly hampers the ability of the Syrian Army to respond to defeat those forces in these specific areas, thus cutting off Ayn al-Arab from the Syrian Army and leaving the Kurdish areas to the devices of the Kurds as the ISIS forces are beaten back from inside the borders of the developing Kurdistan.
Leaving the question of the legitimacy of a Kurdistan aside for a while and acknowledging the heroism of the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, Nusra, and other terrorist forces, it should be noted that the Kurds have found some very unsavory allies in the process. Most notably, those unsavory allies turn out to be the United States and the Free Syrian Army (proxy terrorists of the US and NATO).
For instance, the United States has been tacitly supporting the Kurdish fighters in Iraq for some time under the pretext of assisting them in their fight against ISIS, despite the fact that the United States has armed, trained, funded, facilitated, and directed ISIS from the beginning. The United States has allegedly stopped short of directly arming the Kurds but it has maintained very close ties with them. Some would even argue that, with the exception of the ISIS fighters themselves, the Kurds have more friendly relations with the U.S. than the Iraqi government.
The US government has been attempting to pass legislation to directly arm the Kurdish and Sunni forces in Iraq for some time, recently passing part of that legislation in the form of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (although differences in the House and Senate version are currently being worked out).
The arming of the Kurds directly in Iraq, along with the Sunni forces, would thus create the perception of fully separate and independent principalities, free from the control of the Iraqi central government, leading to the breakup of the country as a whole into three separate entities – a Kurdish segment, Sunni segment, and Shiite segment. Such a plan has long been in the works for Iraq and, if the US continues its support of Kurds in Syria, the situation is ripe for the appearance of a Kurdistan entity across the borders of Iraq and Syria. Indeed, much like the plan to break up Iraq into three separate parts in Iraq, a similar plan was devised for Syria in the absence of total destruction in the same vein as Libya.
While the question of accepting arms may easily be explained by the “gold is where you find it” motive, the fact that the YPG is now working directly with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is further evidence of collusion between NATO/US and the YPG. While presented as moderate by the mainstream western press, the FSA is nothing more than al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Nusra. Indeed, there is no such thing as a moderate rebel in Syria and there never has been. The FSA is documented to have committed massive atrocities and the groups – directed, armed, controlled and funded by the US – are intent upon implementing Sharia law on the subjugated populations. As I and other researchers have documented, the FSA is nothing more than a wing of al-Qaeda/ISIS and has even publicly stated that it was working with the terrorist organizations (also funded, trained, armed, and directed by the West) in the past.
The fact that the YPG would be willing to cooperate with the FSA is telling but the fact that the FSA would be willing to cooperate with the YPG is even more telling. After all, the Iraqi Kurds have long been connected to US intelligence and military operations in the past. With an increase of signs of cooperation between the YPG and their Iraqi counterparts, one can only wonder if the events transpiring on the ground in relation to the Kurds in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are part of an overarching US plan to finally carve out a pound of geographic flesh out of Iraq and Syria.
Unfortunately for the Kurds, the history of their community and the US has been one of short-term usefulness and treachery. Seldom have the Kurds benefited from supporting American actions or working in the service of US geopolitical agendas, whether wittingly or unwittingly. In almost every single circumstance, the Kurds have provided yeomen’s service in the name of destabilization and the strategy of tension but have been left holding the bag in the end. That bag almost always contains horrific slaughter and subsequent oppression of the Kurdish people.
The legitimacy of anything resembling a Kurdistan in Syria, however is easily disproven as a justifiable option. As Maram Susli wrote in her article “Why A Kurdish Enclave In Syria Is A Bad Idea,” for Global Independent Analytics,
The region of Al Hasakah, which the Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG have declared a Kurdish federal state, does not have a Kurdish majority. Al Hasakah Governorate is a mosaic of Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Turkmen, Kurds and Bedouin Arabs. Of the 1.5 million population of Al Hasakah, only 40% are ethnically Kurdish. Moreover, parts of Al Hasakah Governorate, such as Al Hasakah district, is less than 15% Kurdish (!). Among the other large minorities in the area the Arabs and Assyrian Christians form a majority. Declaring a small area with a wide array of ethnic groups as belonging to a specific ethnic minority is a recipe for oppression.
The Kurdish population of Al Hasakah has also been heavily infiltrated by illegal Kurdish immigration from Turkey. Kurdish immigration to Syria began in the 1920’s and occurred in several waves after multiple failed Kurdish uprisings against Turkey. It continued throughout the century. In 2011 the Kurdish population in Syria reached between 1.6 to 2.3 million, but 420,000 of these left Syria for Iraq and Turkey as a result of the current conflict. Some Syrian Kurds have lived in Homs and Damascus for hundreds of years and are heavily assimilated into the Syrian society. However, Kurdish illegal immigrants who mostly reside in north Syria, and who could not prove their residence in Syria before 1945, complain of oppression when they were not granted the rights of Syrian citizens. Syrian law dictates that only a blood born Syrian whose paternal lineage is Syrian has a right to Syrian citizenship. No refugee whether Somali, Iraqi or Palestinian has been granted Syrian citizenship no matter how long their stay. In spite of this, in 2011 the Syrian President granted Syrian citizenship to 150,000 Kurds. This has not stopped the YPG from using illegal Kurdish immigrants who were not granted citizenship as a rationale for annexing Syrian land. Those who promote Federalism are imposing the will of a small minority – that is not of Syrian origin – on the whole of Al Hasakah’s population and the whole of Syria.
. . . . .
PYD did not bother to consult with other factions of Syrian society before its unilateral declaration of Federalism. The other ethnicities that reside in Al Hasake governate, which PYD claims is now an autonomous Kurdish state, have clearly rejected federalism. An assembly of Syrian clans and Arab tribes in Al Hasaka and the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) rejected PYD’s federalism declaration. In Geneva, both the Syrian government and the opposition rejected PYD’s federalism declaration. Furthermore, PYD does not represent all of Syria’s Kurdish population. The Kurdish faction of Syrian national coalition condemned PYD’s federalism declaration. Most of Syria’s Kurds do not live in Al Hasakah and many that do work outside it. Thousands of Kurds have joined ISIS and are fighting for an Islamic State not a Kurdish one.
A unilateral declaration of federalism carries no legitimacy since federalism can only exist with a constitutional change and a Referendum. Federalism is unlikely to garner much support from the bulk of Syria’s population, 90-93% of whom is not Kurdish. Knowing this, PYD has banned residents of Al Hasakah from voting in the upcoming Parliamentary elections to be held across the nation. This shows the will of the people in Al Hasakah is already being crushed by PYD. It is undemocratic to continue to discuss federalism as a possibility when it has been rejected by so many segments of Syrian society. Ironically we are told the purpose of the US’ Regime change adventure in Syria is to bring democracy to the middle east.
. . . . . .
While Kurds make up only 7-10% of Syria’s total population, PYD demands 20% of Syria’s land. What’s more, the region of Al hasakah, which YPG wants to annex has a population of only 1.5 million people. Much of Syria’s agriculture and oil wealth is located in Al Hasakah and is shared by Syria’s 23 million people. Al Hasakah province produces 34% of Syria’s wheat and much of Syria’s oil. The oil pumping stations are now being used by ISIS and YPG’s Kurds to fund their war efforts while depriving the Syrian people.
While headlines abound about Syria’s starving population, there is little talk of how federalising Syria could entrench this starvation into law for generations to come. Instead, promoters of Federalism talk about how giving the resources shared by 23 million people to 1.5 million people will lead to peace.
. . . . . .
Since the majority of Syria’s population and Syria’s government oppose Kurdish annexation claims, PYD will not be able to achieve federalism through legal means. The only way the PYD and YPG can achieve federalism is through brute force. This brute force may backed by the US air force and an invasion by special forces which contradicts international law. Head of PYD Saleh Islam has already threatened to attack Syrian troops if they attempt to retake Raqqa from ISIS. A Kurdish state in Syria as the Iraqi Kurdistan ensures US hegemony in the region. Like the KRG  the YPG are already attempting to build a US base on Syrian soil. Russia, which has been an ally of Syria for a long time, will be further isolated as a result. This will once again tip the balance of power in the world.
All of Syria’s neighbouring countries are also opposed to an ethnocentric Kurdish state in Syria. The YPG is linked to the PKK, which is active in Turkey and which the United Nations has designated a terrorist organisation. Turkey will see YPG’s federalism claims as strengthening the PKK. Turkey may invade Syria as a result, guaranteeing at least a regional war. This regional war could involve Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Israel.
Israel wants to establish a Kurdistan, as a Sunni-Iranian rival to Shi’ite Iran. They hope such a Sunni state will block Iran’s access to Syria and will also prevent Lebanese resistance against Israeli invasion. This was all outlined in Israel’s Yinon Plan published in 1982. Israel is an extension of US influence and hegemony in the region, the Israeli lobby holds much sway over US politics. Strengthening Israel in the region will strengthen US influence over the region, once again shrinking Russian influence and pushing the nuclear power into a corner. Journalists who show a sense of confusion about the reason the West is supportive of Kurdish expansionism should consider this point.
Finally, a designated ‘Kurdish area’ in Syria is deeply rooted in ethnocentric chauvinism. A US state strictly designated for Hispanic, White or Black ethnicity would be outrageous to suggest and would be considered racist. But the use of ethnicity as a means to divide and conquer is the oldest and most cynical form of imperialism. Syria must remain for all Syrians, not just for one minority. Voices who oppose this should be discouraged. The Syrian Constitution should continue to resist all ethnocentric religious-based parties. If there is a change to the Syrian constitution, it should be the removal of the word Arab from Syrian Arab Republic. In spite of the fact that the vast majority Syrians speak the Arabic language, the majority of Syrian are historically not ethnically Arab. All sections of Syrian society should be treated equally under the Syrian flag.
One can scarcely argue with the points made by Susli. In addition to those listed above, however, Susli also draws attention to the question of Kurdish ethnic cleansing campaigns that could be potentially launched against Assyrians and Christians. She writes,
Since the Kurdish population is not a majority in the areas PYD are trying to annex, the past few years have revealed that PYD/YPG are not beyond carrying out ethnic cleansing of non-Kurdish minorities in an attempt to achieve a demographic shift. The main threat to Kurdish ethnocentric territorial claims over the area are the other large minorities, the Arabs and the Assyrian Christians.
Salih Muslim, the leader of PYD, openly declared his intention to conduct an ethnic cleansing campaign against Syrian Arabs who live in what he now calls Rojava. “One day those Arabs who have been brought to the Kurdish areas will have to be expelled,” said Muslim in an interview with Serek TV. Over two years since that interview he has fulfilled his word, as YPG begun burning Arab villages around Al Hasakah Province hoping to create a demographic shift. It is estimated that ten thousand Arabs have been ethnically cleansed from Al Hasake province so far. The villages around Tal Abayad have suffered the most as Kurdish expansionists seek to connect the discontiguous population centres of Al Hasakah and Al Raqqa. “The YPG burnt our village and looted our houses,” said Mohammed Salih al-Katee, who left Tel Thiab Sharki, near the city of Ras al-Ayn, in December.
In addition, Susli points out that such campaigns are not without precedent. She continues,
YPG have also begun a campaign of intimidation, murder and property confiscation against the Assyrian Christian minority. The YPG and PYD made it a formal policy to loot and confiscate the property of those who had escaped their villages after an ISIS attack, in the hope of repopulating Assyrian villages with Kurds. The Assyrians residents of the Khabur area in Al Hasaka province formed a militia called the Khabour Guard in the hope of defending their villages against ISIS attacks. The Khabur Guard council leaders protested the practice of looting by Kurdish YPG militia members who looted Assyrian villages that were evacuated after ISIS attacked them. Subsequently, the YPG assassinated the leader of the Khabur Guard David Jindo and attempted to Assassinate Elyas Nasser. At first, the YPG blamed the assassination on ISIS but Elyas Nasser, who survived, was able to expose the YPG’s involvement from his hospital bed. Since the assassination YPG has forced the Khabour Guard to disarm and to accept YPG ‘protection.’ Subsequently, most Assyrian residents of the Khabour who had fled to Syrian Army controlled areas of Qamishli City could not return to their villages.
The Assyrian Christian community in Qamishli has also been harassed by YPG Kurdish militia. YPG attacked an Assyrian checkpoint killing one fighter of the Assyrian militia Sootoro and wounding three others. The checkpoint was set up after three Assyrian restaurants were bombed on December 20, 2016 in an attack that killed 14 Assyrian civilians. Assyrians suspected that YPG was behind these bombings in an attempt to assassinate Assyrian leaders and prevent any future claims of control over Qamishli.
It would be foolish to ignore the signs that more widely spread ethnic cleansing campaigns may occur if Kurdish expansionists are supported, especially since other ethnic groups are not on board with their federalism plans. It has only been 90 years since the Assyrian genocide which was conducted by Turks and Kurds. This history should not be allowed to be repeated. Assyrians have enjoyed safety and stability in the Syrian state since this time. Forcing the Assyrians to accept federalism is not going to ensure their safety. Establishment of a Kurdish federal state in Iraq has not protected Assyrian villages from attacks by Kurdish armed groups either. The campaign of ethnic cleansing against both Assyrians and Arabs in Al Hasakah has already begun and may now only escalate.
The Difference Between ISIS and FSA
So what’s the big difference between the “moderate” terrorists and the extremist terrorists running rampant in Syria today? At one time, we were told there were no terrorists at all. Then, we were told terrorists were indeed present but that there were also moderate, secular, democracy-loving freedom fighters in the country. Now, after the nature of the so-called “rebels” has been revealed ad infinitum by the alternative and independent press, it is admitted that the “fighters” in Syria are terrorists but, apparently, some are moderate and some are extreme.
Of course, they all have the same goal of Sharia. They all hate minorities, Christians, Alawites, Shiites, etc. They all torture. They all rape. We could go on and on. In the world of the West’s “rebels,” there is not one shred of difference between any of the armed groups fighting against the secular Syrian government besides the names they call themselves.
Still, we are told there are clear differences and that the U.S. State Department knows just what they are. Only, they aren’t telling the American people. Or the Russians. Or the Syrians. Or anybody. The “moderate” terrorists are thus a very mysterious force, a group of which we may speak but also one that never shows itself.
Of course, there are groups that the United States admits are brutal killers but somehow rationalizes to the public that they are “our” brutal killers. The U.S. can, at times, be forced to admit that the groups it supports as “freedom fighters” have committed atrocities, rapes, murders, torture, and establishment of Islamic theocracy upon unwilling inhabitants. Essentially, the U.S. can admit (when pressured) that these groups have the same ideology as ISIS, although the State Department will never say these exact words.
Thus, it is clear that any designation of terrorist groups as “extremist” or “moderate” is obviously based on political motivation and geopolitical designs, not the nature or action of the terrorist group in question. If that were the case, then Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, and other groups would easily be listed as terrorist organizations that would subsequently not be covered under the “ceasefire” agreement. After all, there is no distinguishing characteristic that sets these groups apart from ISIS or Nusra other than a name.
But when the Russians attempted to remove these groups from the list of non-protected terrorists in Syria (terrorists protected at the insistence of the West), the United States, Britain, France, and Ukraine rushed to their rescue and blocked the Russian proposal. This is, of course, despite the fact that both of these groups, which make up around half of the “Syrian opposition forces” thanks to Western name changes, have repeatedly worked together with Nusra and ISIS forces. Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham have both worked so closely with ISIS and Nusra that the groups themselves are virtually interchangeable. Nevertheless, the U.S. is only digging its own international public relations grave with its refusal to designate known and obvious terrorists as precisely that, particularly when it has launched campaigns of destruction and death across the world on the basis of allegedly “fighting terror.”
The fact is that there never has been a difference between these organizations and this reality has been exposed time and time again in growing numbers of outlets in the alternative and independent media.
As Tony Cartalucci wrote in his article, “In Syria, There Are No Moderates,”
. . . . . there were never, nor are there any “moderates” operating in Syria. The West has intentionally armed and funded Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists since as early as 2007 in preparation for an engineered sectarian bloodbath serving US-Saudi-Israeli interests. This latest bid to portray the terrorists operating along and within Syria’s borders as “divided” along extremists/moderate lines is a ploy to justify the continued flow of Western cash and arms into Syria to perpetuate the conflict, as well as create conditions along Syria’s borders with which Western partners, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, can justify direct military intervention.
Indeed, even the New York Times has been forced to admit that there are, as Cartalucci expertly argues in his article, no moderates in the ranks of the Syrian death squads. As Ben Hubbard writes,
In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law. Elsewhere, they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of. [emphasis added]
While some may suggest that Turkey is getting off the reservation and simply acting on its own interests (i.e. rolling back the Kurds), Erdogan has long acted as a major tool of the NATO agenda against Syria. The very fact that the United States is aiding the Turkish operation with airstrikes of its own should go some length in demonstrating that the NATO powers are in full support of the military incursion.
Still, others have a different perspective. Andrew Korybko of Katehon argues that the Syrians, Iranians, and Russians are tacitly supporting the incursion because it alleviates them of the responsibility of cleansing ISIS and Kurdish battalions from northern Syria. Korybko points to increased political talks between Syria and Turkey in recent days as well as the domestic climate of Russia in terms of support for increased military operations. Korybko suggests that the United States has been duped by Turkey into falling in line with the incursion which is, in reality, an agreement on strategy and policies related to Syria by the “multipolar bloc.” Korybko writes,
. . . . . Damascus and Ankara have been engaged in secret talks for months now in the Algerian capital of Algiers, as has been repeatedly confirmed by many multiple media sources ever since this spring. Moreover, Turkey just dispatched one of its deputy intelligence chiefs to Damascus a few days ago to meet with his high-level Syrian counterparts, so this might explain the reason why Russia and Iran aren’t condemning Turkey’s incursion into Syria, nor why the Syrian officials aren’t loudly protesting against it either. More and more, the evidence is pointing to Turkey’s operation being part of a larger move that was coordinated in advance with Syria, Russia, and Iran. Nevertheless, for domestic political reasons within both Syria and Turkey, neither side is expected to admit to having coordinated any of this, and it’s likely that bellicose rhetoric might be belched from Ankara just as much as it’s predictable that Damascus will rightfully speak about the protection of its sovereignty.
What’s most important, though, isn’t to listen so much to Turkey and Syria, but to watch and observe what Russia and Iran say and do, since these are the two countries most capable of defending Syria from any legitimate aggression against its territory and which have been firmly standing behind it for years now, albeit to differing qualitative extents though with complementary synergy (i.e. Russia’s anti-terrorist air operation and Iran’s special forces ground one). This isn’t in any way to ‘excuse’, ‘apologize for’, or ‘explain away’ the US’ opportunistic and illegal inadvertent contribution to this coordinated multipolar campaign, but to accurately document how and why it decided to involve itself in this superficially Turkish-led venture, namely because it was cleverly misled by Erdogan into thinking that this is a precondition for the normalization of relations between both sides.
Russia lacks the political will to cleanse the Wahhabi terrorists and Kurdish separatists from northern Syrian itself, and for as much as one may support or condemn this, it’s a statement of fact that must be taken into account when analyzing and forecasting events. With this obvious constraint being a major factor influencing the state of affairs in Syria, it’s reasonable then that Syria, Russia, and Iran wouldn’t vocally object too much to Turkey tricking the US into doing this instead out of the pursuit of its own self-interests vis-à-vis the attempted normalization with Ankara. The major qualifying variable that must be mentioned at this point is that serious Russian and Iranian condemnation of Turkey’s ongoing operation would signal that something either went wrong with their multilaterally coordinated plan, or that Turkey was just a backstabbing pro-American Trojan Horse this entire time and the skepticism surrounding Moscow and Tehran’s dedicated efforts to coax Ankara into a multipolar pivot was fully vindicated as the correct analysis all along.
Still, with all that in mind, it should be remembered that Washington has essentially led Erdogan by the nose through most of the Syrian crisis. Only recently has the neo-Ottoman shown signs of moving away from U.S. influence, but even those apparent moves are being questioned by researchers and analysts. At this point, we still do not definitively know if the United States was behind the coup in Turkey or if it was an inside job/false flag staged by Erdogan and the U.S. in order to justify a clampdown on Erdogan’s opponents. Judging by the fact that no diplomatic staff has been recalled, Incirlik continues to be use by the United States, and now joint military operations are taking place between the United States and Turkey, it is difficult to believe that Turkey truly believes the U.S. was behind an attempted coup against Erdogan.
Regardless, Turkish incursions into Syrian territory on the basis of a false flag, all the while being supported by the West, are nothing new. Remember, in 2014, Turkey was exposed for planning to use an alleged attack on the tomb of Suleiman Shah as well as a false flag attack on Turkish territory in order to justify an invasion of Syria.
In its article, “Turkey YouTube Ban: Full Transcript Of Leaked Syria ‘War’ Conversation Between Erdogan Officials,” the International Business Times released the transcript of a conversation between members of Turkish leadership planning a false flag using their terrorist proxies in order to justify an invasion:
Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”
Hakan Fidan: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”
Yaşar Güler: “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
With this in mind, it is interesting to note that an eerily similar type of “opportunity” took place right before the recent invasion. As the New York Times described,
A bombing on Saturday night at a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep, a Turkish town near the Syrian border, was one of the deadliest in a string of terrorist attacks that have struck Turkey. Since June 2015, Kurdish and Islamic State militants have staged at least 15 major attacks across Turkey, killing more than 330 people.
The New Atlas also sees the Turkish invasion as part of the NATO goal of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. The website writes,
Thus, Turkey’s government and a complicit Western media have helped place the blame equally on both the Islamic State and Kurdish militants ahead of the now ongoing cross-border operation.
The above mentioned BBC article would also note:
Turkey has vowed to “completely cleanse” IS from its border region, blaming the group for a bomb attack on a wedding that killed at least 54 people in Gaziantep on Saturday.
In the aftermath of the July coup, many were hopeful Turkey would realign itself geopolitically and play a more constructive and stabilising role in the region.
Instead, while citing the threat of the Islamic State and Kurdish forces along its border, a threat that its own collusion with US and Persian Gulf States since 2011 helped create, Turkey has decisively helped move forward a crucial part of US plans to dismember Syria and move its campaign of North African and Middle Eastern destabilisation onward and outward.
The response by Syria and its allies in the wake of Turkey’s cross-border foray has so far been muted. What, if any actions could be taken to prevent the US and its allies from achieving their plans remain to be seen.
While the toppling of the government in Damascus looks unlikely at the moment, the Balkanisation of Syria was a secondary objective always only ever considered by US policymakers as a mere stop gap until eventually toppling Damascus as well. Conceding eastern and parts of northern Syria to US-led aggression will only buy time.
The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the West to Jarablus in the East and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo.
The zone would have much smaller than that which Turkey and the United States have called for in the years prior and wouldn’t have necessarily stretched the length of the Turkey-Syria border. But it is a start.
True to form, the US and Turkey attempted to obfuscate the fact that their agreement was the creation of a no-fly zone by renaming it an “ISIL-free zone.” This is the same tactic used when the term “no-fly zone” and “buffer zone” began to draw too much ire from observers only a year ago. Then, the term became “safe zone.”
Semantics have served NATO and the United States well over the years. After all, a simple name change of terrorist organizations has made the Anglo-American powers able to produce “moderate rebels” and the most frightening terrorist organization the world has ever seen while using the same group of terrorists.
The description of the “ISIL-free zone” of 2015 was that it would be a distinguished area in which the Turkish and U.S. military would engage in aggressive operations against ISIS. It was floated that this area would have also functioned as a place where civilians displaced by the Syrian crisis may run to for safe haven and where “moderate rebel” forces can maintain a higher presence free from the battles with ISIS.
“Once the area is cleared, the plan is to give control to as-yet-unidentified moderate Syrian rebel groups. The United States and Turkey have differing interpretations as to which groups can be defined as ‘moderate,’” the Washington Post reported.
The reality, however, is that the “ISIL-free zone” would have been nothing more than a Forward Operating Base deeper into Syrian territory, working under the direct protection of the U.S. military and Turkish air force. That is exactly what the British and the U.S. are arguing for today.
Going further back, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.
The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
Of course, the establishment of a “No-Fly Zone” is tantamount to a declaration of war. Such has even been admitted by top U.S. Generals when explaining exactly what a No Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,
We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.
General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,
I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability
Regardless of the fact that the Anglo-American empire may very well be risking a direct military confrontation with another nuclear power, the NATO forces are intent on moving forward in their attempt to destroy Syria and its government. The major victories by the Syrian military that have taken place in recent weeks as well as the inability of the West’s terrorists to roll back SAA gains have obviously convinced NATO that more drastic measures are needed and that proxies are simply not enough to defeat a committed military supported by its people. Thus, we now see the plan so heavily promoted by Western think tanks and military industrial complex firms being implemented.
Clearly, the Turkish agenda is not focused on combating ISIS. If it was, the Turks would have long ago sealed their borders with Syria as well as ceased their training and facilitation of terrorist groups flowing into Syria from Turkish territory.
The Turks do not need NATO Buffer Zones to end terrorism within their own country. They need to seal the borders with Syria, immediately cease funding, training, and facilitation of terrorists operating inside Turkish borders alongside a massive sting operation netting and eliminating these organizations. Turkey would also greatly benefit by backing away from Erdogan, his idiotic policies, and his equally idiotic Islamist government. Turkey must put aside “political Islam” and return to a culture of secular governance. Lastly, Turkey must pursue a reasonable and fair policy toward the Kurds in its Southeast.
Of course, Turkey has sent every signal possible to announce that they intend to stick with the NATO line of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad and replacing it with a government or governments beholden and favorable to Washington and the Anglo-American oligarchy.
Obviously, a “buffer zone” and/or a “no-fly zone,” of course, is tantamount to war and an open military assault against the sovereign secular government of Syria because the implementation of such a zone would require airstrikes against Assad’s air defense systems.
With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria. While one wishes for the best of all possible worlds – the roll back of Western-backed terrorists and Kurdish fanaticism while, at the same time, seeing the Syrian government regain control over all of its territory – we cannot wish away the facts. Amidst the tangled web of political and geopolitical interests at play in regards to this invasion, the fact is that neither the United States, the Kurdish militias, or the Turks have the best interest of Syria or the Syrian people at heart.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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