US Hawks Gamble on Turkey’s Invasions

Exclusive: The Mideast chaos gets more and more complicated as Washington’s hawks encourage Turkey to invade Syria but worry about a possible clash between Turkey and Iraq, a maelstrom of violence that could spin out of control, writes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

As Turkey mobilizes fresh troops on the Iraqi border, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned that Turkey’s invasion of his country will mean war. “Turkey and its forces will be damaged and we warn them again, if their troops enter Iraq we will fight them and we will look at them and treat them as the enemy,” he said.

Turkey has threatened to take part in the U.S.-led military operation to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city now occupied by Islamic State militants. Turkey already has illegally deployed troops inside Iraq but the broader invasion deeper into Iraqi territory from an attack on Mosul would represent a more direct challenge to Iraqi sovereignty.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses citizens in front of his residence in Istanbul on July 19, 2016. (Photo from official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses citizens in front of his residence in Istanbul on July 19, 2016. (Photo from official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)

“If we engage in war with them, the Turks will pay a heavy price, they will be damaged,” al-Abadi vowed to reporters in Baghdad last Tuesday. “We warn Turkey if they want to enter Iraq, they will end up becoming fragmented,” because Turkey is “not a country to able to fight outside their borders.” Turkey invaded Cyprus 50 years ago, he said. “but Iraq is not Cyprus.”

The silence to this dangerous situation from Washington is deafening. As corporate media depends on official U.S. sources, it too is silent on this new crisis. But there are substantive questions that are whispered amid the silence:

Are the hawks in Washington exploiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s neo-Ottoman dreams of capturing former imperial Turkish territory in Iraq (and Syria) to covertly achieve U.S. objectives? Could this plan go horribly wrong if two of their major regional allies go to war?

Since American officials rarely explain fully what they are up to in the Middle East, beyond slogans like “Fighting ISIS” and “The War on Terror”, understanding U.S. policy in the region is reduced to educated guesses based on official and leaked statements and assessments of complex developments on the ground.

For instance, U.S. officials are backing Syrian Kurds, not Turkey, in the operation launched Sunday to take Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria. Less than two weeks earlier, Erdogan proclaimed that during its invasion of Syria, Turkey “will go towards Raqqa.” In the last debate, Hillary Clinton said the U.S.-led operation to liberate Mosul should continue to Raqqa. Now it has. But the devil is in the details.

Events on the ground suggest Washington has two policies: one public and the other hidden. (Just as Clinton has advocated, more generally, for in one of her paid speeches.)

Publicly the U.S. opposes Turkish military intervention in Raqqa and Mosul, while privately it is effectively riding Erdogan’s outsized ambitions to let Turkish NATO troops create Hillary Clinton’s desired “safe zone” for rebel forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. This “safe zone” is on territory taken mostly from Islamic State that could eventually stretch from northeast Syria into western Iraq.

Yet, there is abundant evidence that Turkey has supported Islamic State from its incarnation as one of the jihadist forces seeking to overthrow Syria’s secular government of Bashar al-Assad. If Erdogan is now fighting the terrorist group, it may well be because he wants something like the Caliphate for himself and for Turkey, which abolished it in 1924. And that just might fit into U.S. plans, which President Obama has already altered to accommodate Clinton’s desires.

“The goal here is to take back Mosul,” Clinton said at the last debate, as if already speaking as the U.S. President, “and then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa.”

A Sunnistan Corridor

A safe area in eastern Syria stretching to western Iraq could implement the so-called Plan B: dividing Syria to weaken it, while also creating a “Sunnistan” corridor for a gas pipeline from Qatar through the Iraq/Syria border area to Turkey and on to Europe.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected a Qatar pipeline through Syrian territory in 2009, a move that some analysts think spurred the Gulf-backed insurgency to overthrow him. However, settling for Plan B, a partition of Syria, would be an admission that Plan A, “regime change,” had failed.

There might also be another crucial task for Turkey on behalf of Washington’s hawks in both Syria and Iraq. Erdogan may well target his move into Iraq on the area of the Shia Turkmen around Tal Afar. The Shia-led Iraqi government wants to get that area under central government control to possibly open a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, a corridor Clinton has vowed to close in accordance with a longstanding Israeli goal. Turkey could also cut this passage in northern Syria.

Is the U.S. allowing Turkish troops to create these facts on the ground? It’s impossible to know for sure because of the lack of transparency coming out of Washington. But in this scenario, Erdogan would get to control Syrian Kurdish areas and possibly parts of Iraq, satisfying his neo-Ottoman fantasies, while Clinton would get her “safe zone” protected by NATO troops (from Turkey), but without deploying U.S. soldiers on the ground.

Erdogan’s Dreams of Ottoman Glory

After Russia’s September 2015 intervention in the Syrian war seriously turned back the jihadists’ advances, their principal backers, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, became so alarmed that in February they demanded that the U.S. allow them to invade Syria. It was a momentous decision for Obama. Would he risk war with Russia to save another “regime change” project?

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter “welcomed” the Saudi-Turk plan to launch an invasion by air from Turkey’s Incirlik NATO air base, and by land through the wastelands of Jordan or western Iraq. The Saudis staged a 350,000man invasion war game in the desert. In the end, Obama stood for reason and stopped it.

But in July, an attempted coup against Erdogan was crushed, allowing him to seize the opportunity to eliminate almost all opposition to his nearly complete one-man rule. By late August, Erdogan was ready to make his move with no one left in Turkey to oppose him.

On Aug. 24, with U.S. air cover, Turkey invaded Syria. This time Obama did not stop him. Washington clearly approved as its planes protected Turkish tanks and infantry rolling across the border. Vice President Joe Biden was in Ankara a day before the invasion.

The pretext was to fight Islamic State, but it became clear immediately that Turkey’s main target is the Syrian Kurds, one of Islamic State’s toughest foes on the ground. The U.S. protested, but Washington surely knew what Turkey’s intentions were.

The date of Aug. 24, 2016, was significant because exactly 500 years to the day earlier, on Aug. 24,1516, the Ottomans left Turkey to begin their empire by invading their first country, Syria. This was hardly a coincidence when one considers Erdogan’s history. He spurred a violent police crackdown in Istanbul’s Ghezi Park in 2013 on demonstrators against his plan to build a replica of an Ottoman barracks in the park. In April, Erdogan named a new bridge over the Bosphorus after Osman, founder of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkish-backed rebels took the Syrian town of Dabiq from Islamic State on Oct. 16. It was victory there in 1516 that established the Ottoman Empire.

The Safe Area

Hillary Clinton has been pushing for a no-fly zone and a safe area in Syria since she ran the State Department. She has called for both as recently as the last presidential debate, despite the inherent dangers of confronting Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 21, 2012. [State Department photo]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 21, 2012. [State Department photo]

The safe area is supposed to shelter internally displaced Syrians to prevent them from becoming refugees. But it could also be used as a staging ground to train and quip jihadists intent on “regime change,” a strategy that was employed in Libya in 2011. A safe area would need ground troops to protect it. Clinton says there will be no U.S. ground troops in Syria.

Turkey has also been clamoring for a safe area on the ground for the past few years. Erdogan called for it (as well as a no-fly zone in northern Syria) as recently as last September in his address to the U.N. General Assembly.

The hawks appear to have bested Obama this time. He has not stood in the way of Clinton’s hawkish allies in his administration letting Erdogan pursue his neo-Ottoman dreams (even when that has meant killing U.S.-backed Kurds) in exchange for Turkish NATO forces establishing a safe area without U.S. ground troops. Turkey and its rebel forces already control about 490 square miles in northern Syria.

In early October, Erdogan also began his war of words with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi about 1,000 Turkish troops based at Bashiqa, inside Iraq around 10 kilometers from Mosul. Iraq has been insisting the troops leave the country for months.

With the operation to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city about to begin last month, it was clear to me that Erdogan would threaten to take Mosul, based on a World War I-era Ottoman claim.

On Oct. 30, 1918, Britain and the Ottomans signed an armistice, but three days later British Lt. Gen. Sir William Marshall invaded Mosul and captured it on Nov. 15. Arguing that they were double-crossed, Turkey continued to claim Mosul despite it being given to British-controlled Baghdad in the Treaties of Serves (1920) and Lausanne (1923).

A 1926 League of Nations commission sided with Britain, and Turkey reluctantly agreed to its border with Iraq. But revanchists like Erdogan still don’t buy it. “We did not voluntarily accept the borders of our country,” Erdogan said on Oct. 27.

He then made no secret of his plans to enter Mosul. “You are not on my level,” Erdogan told al-Abadi. “Know your place! Your screaming and shouting is of no importance to us. You should know that we will do what we want to do.”

Al-Abadi insists that only the Iraqi Army and federal police are allowed inside Mosul. Even the Kurdish peshmerga have agreed to stay out. But Erdogan continues to claim Mosul and even called for ethnic cleansing of Shia from the city, which had a pre-Islamic State population of around 2 million people.

After American silence, al-Abadi threatened to fly to Washington to demand the U.S. stop Erdogan. Officially the U.S. has told Turkey to stand down. But it is not clear how much control Washington has over Ankara in this matter, or where exactly Erdogan’s plans fit into the hawks’ agenda.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Such complexities and cross-currents have been the problem whenever the U.S. allows surrogates to think they are pursuing their own agendas in the service of America’s larger one. One only has to think of the U.S. alliances with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Ankara on Sunday meeting Erdogan. It might well have been a tense meeting with the volatile Turkish leader, who said on Sunday that Turkey is charting an independent course from the West, adding, “I don’t care if Europe calls me a dictator.”

The trick for U.S. officials who see Erdogan’s military interventions as helpful is that they must let him think he is acting independently without him undercutting American interests. After Sunday’s meeting, the two sides said the U.S., its Syrian allies and Turkey would jointly control Raqqa after Islamic State is ousted.

“The coalition and Turkey will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa,” Dunford said after his meeting with Turkish Army Gen. Hulusi Akar, according to Department of Defense  News. In the scant U.S. news coverage of the plan, it passed with little or no notice that Raqqa is part of the territory of the Syrian nation.

However, a touchy question for Washington is whether the U.S. can keep the tension in check between al-Abadi’s insistence on Iraqi sovereignty and Erdogan’s inner Sultan to prevent the two from going to war and then somehow turn their ambitions toward Washington’s Mideast goals.

That won’t be easy if the U.S. intends for Turkey to take territory in northern Iraq. A war between the two U.S. allies would threaten Washington’s aims in the region, whatever they may really be.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached atjoelauria@gmail.com  and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

22 comments for “US Hawks Gamble on Turkey’s Invasions

  1. Lawrence Fitton
    November 9, 2016 at 13:07

    syria is a sovereign nation. russia is the only party invited to be there. the other warring factions – whatever their goals – are breaking international law. how the u.n. can declare that syria must expect to give up part of its territory is beyond me. but then again, the u.n. is a corrupt political organization that carries no ethical voice.
    i wonder if the u.n. would announce that the u.s. should expect to give up arizona if mexico invaded?

  2. Realist
    November 8, 2016 at 17:22

    I’ve seen published photos of US special forces already in Raqqa. They say hundreds. They’ve probably been their all along aiding Daesh, but now their task is to convince the world that those jihadis have been driven out whilst they are really magically transformed into “Moderate Rebels.” Washington plans to use Syria north of the Euphrates as a staging area in its upcoming total war on Damascus (as soon as Killary gets sworn in). What better ally for holding America’s hat than Turkey, which can expect a handsome tip probably in the form of some Syrian and Iraqi territory after the NATO blitzkrieg is in the books. Sadly, Iraq is a toothless castrated pussycat and can threaten Turkey only with words, especially since Washington will never really let a Shiite-led potential ally of Iran defend its own interests. Should Iran enter the fray against Turkey to defend Iraq alongside its defense of Syria, the U.S. and NATO will leap for joy at the excuse to bomb the bejeezuz out of another country they have already decimated with years of economic sanctions and one-sided treaties we cheat on before the ink is dry.

    What America wants to accomplish in the Middle East will require the spilling of unbelievable amounts of blood, blood of both warriors and the innocent. But the real war criminals in this world seem not to give a care about their practiced hypocrisy and immorality. They will pay any cost in blood and treasure, as long as it is taken from other “unexceptional,” “dispensable” peoples, in order to impose absolute rule over the ash heap left of the Middle East. They envisage every population center from Tripoli to Tehran trembling at the voice of their new American overlords, and obeying every word of it. The coming Pax Americana will be the peace of the grave for most of the locals, assuming America is in reality not stumbling into a fatal snare woven from its own hubris and greed. Because how predictable and stable has human history ever been, really? A few years from now, Killary may well face a redux of the Fall of Saigon, but on a much more massive scale. Would we finally learn that the world is not ours for the taking?

  3. Sam
    November 8, 2016 at 13:56

    The article assumes that “American interests” require us fight Russia and Iran and Iraq to cut off their E-W corridor to Lebanon. Would that be a WWIII proposal to Killary or a strategy to get Russia to nuke Turkey to teach the DC warmongers a lesson? The problem of trying to set up a N-S Sunni corridor to obstruct the existing E-W Shia corridor is far more than just getting Turkey to stop when it has achieved “US interests.” The four opposing powers will certainly declare war on Turkey if it does any such foolish thing, Iraq has already said so, and Russia has warned.

    There is no US interest in the region, so it won’t do to assume that “we” need a N-S Sunni corridor. We can get oil from whomever has it, and Europe can get natural gas from Russia with no loss to anyone but the lunatic fringe zionists opposing Russia. So this article assumes the zionist and anti-Russian position primarily to obstruct the E-W corridor to Lebanon supported by Russia and Iran and Iraq. The writer should explain why he supports this position.

    • Sam
      November 8, 2016 at 14:11

      Or why the writer thinks that Turkey or the US would take such a great risk.

    • Joe Lauria
      November 8, 2016 at 14:38

      First of all I have never and do not in this piece refer to the United States as “we.” Nor do I support in any way what the United States is doing, and the piece does not reflect that. The U.S. wants to (and a Clinton email says so) cut off the supply line from Teheran to Hezbollah. Reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas is a US and Gulf goal, so building that pipeline would compete with Russia’s supply to Europe.

    • Joe Lauria
      November 8, 2016 at 14:47

      I am in northern Iraq at the moment and this is a report of what’s going on, trying to figure out what the US is trying to do. It is in no way a piece of advocacy journalism.

    • Realist
      November 8, 2016 at 17:25

      You’re a brave man, and it’s a helluva an economic policy that America imposes at the point of a gun. I thought the market place alone was supposed to reflect the divine will.

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      November 8, 2016 at 17:37

      Say hi to the many Mossad agents running their own show in the area around you……After they started a sectarian war they are focusing on using the Kurds to destabilize both Turkey and Iran……..

    • Sam
      November 8, 2016 at 19:29

      Sorry to misread your meaning, Joe. Agreed that there seem to be pipeline goals, although I am sure that this is mostly an excuse for the zionist scheme to disrupt Hezbollah. Both put the entire region into a certainty of major power conflict for no significant gain for anyone but Israel and its bribed US politicians, with a great likelihood of theater nuclear weapons coming into use.

      If we go ahead on that plan, and if Turkey is so foolish as to block the E-W corridor perhaps playing dumb, with the result of major conventional war between Turkey-Israel-Qatar and Russia-Iran-Iraq-Lebanon, perhaps Russia will find a cause to nuke Israel and Qatar first as a warning to Turkey, and to avoid nuking a NATO power. It would solve most of the intractable problems of the mideast in a hurry, and be very therapeutic for US politics as well. We would really owe Russia something, and they could take up a collection here in the US to cover their expenses. And that ain’t anti-semitism, my Jewish friends, it is anti-fascism, and the restoration of demo racy and sanity in US foreign policy.

      But I very much doubt that Turkey will be so foolish, or cares much for more territory, or cares where natural gas comes from. I also rather doubt that they are secretly advancing US goals right after an “accidentally” US-financed coup attempt. They probably just want to stop the Kurds at the river. But soon we shall see.

  4. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    November 8, 2016 at 13:26

    “A war between the two U.S. allies would threaten Washington’s aims in the region, whatever they may really be.”

    So, the writer does NOT really know Washington’s aims in the region!!!! Let me tell the writer in very simple straight forward terms: Washington has two main aims in the region:

    – OIL OIL OIL and Natural Gas………controlling oil and natural gas is paramount to Washington because the International Bankers make a lot of money from them and by recycling the petrodollars.

    – Protecting ISRAEL and setting the grounds for “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East”……read “Greater Israel”.

    See, the real name of the United States is “The United States of ISRAEL” and America is no more than an attack dog for the Zionists who control Washington……….

    The Iraq Iran war in the 80’s was part of that plan and every major event that happened in the Middle East since are parts of that ultimate goal. It does NOT matter if the warring parties are US allies or NOT as long as they lead to the fulfillment of the ZIONIST DREAM……..

    • Joe Lauria
      November 8, 2016 at 14:34

      If you read the entire piece you’d understand that I’m not referring to overall US objectives in the Middle East, such as supporting Israel and ensuring the flow of oil, but to what it is doing in allowing Turkey to invade Syria and perhaps Iraq. The US has not at all been forthcoming on this, leaving only speculation as to what it is up to.

    • Peter Loeb
      November 9, 2016 at 08:02

      LET’S MOVE ON…..

      An excellent article by Joe Lauria but collectively we
      must disentangle ourselves from what Hillary Clinton
      said in the third debate, what she and her lackeys
      do or do not plan etc.

      What will President Donald Trump do as the months
      go by?

      It is early in the morning. Perhaps Consortium writers
      with special resources and insights can to move our
      discourse forward

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      PS: A deep appreciation for your comments to commenters
      and all of us. Not all authors have time for this. It is not
      for the egos of particular commenters (shhh! we all do have egos)
      but to the clarification of all Consortium readers.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  5. James Charles
    November 8, 2016 at 12:25

    “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected a Qatar pipeline through Syrian territory in 2009, a move that some analysts think spurred the Gulf-backed insurgency to overthrow him.”

    It may have spurred on the Gulf-backed insurgency, but the ‘destabilisation’ was a little earlier than 2009?

    ‘A December 13, 2006 cable, “Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,”1 indicates that, as far back as 2006 – five years before “Arab Spring” protests in Syria – destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck, at the time chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government. In his summary of the cable, Roebuck wrote:
    We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.’

    http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33180-wikileaks-reveals-how-the-us-aggressively-pursued-regime-change-in-syria-igniting-a-bloodbath

  6. Tom Welsh
    November 8, 2016 at 11:40

    “Turkey has threatened to take part in the U.S.-led military operation to liberate Mosul…”

    American occupqation is like having AIDS – it lays you open to other “opportunistic” infections. Being invaded by Turkey is like an AIDS sufferer getting candida albicans as a result.

  7. Mistaron
    November 8, 2016 at 10:43

    Where is Russia in all this? What kind of understanding, if any, do Putin and Erdogan have? What reason has the US put forward in denying Raqqa be returned to the jurisdiction of the Syrian government? Have the US and Turkey not broken international sovereignty laws in this endeavour?

    This is just about as illegal as the corrupted US election. It appears that most of the world is condoning this dismissive shredding of international laws with nothing but a whimper.

    It would seem that greed and cowardice has been bred into the Western leaders prostrating themselves to American lawlessnes. If Clinton wins the election tonight, a much wider war, if not a nuclear one, will become inevitable.

    • Joe Lauria
      November 8, 2016 at 11:07

      Russia and the Syrian government are distracted by Aleppo. A perfect time for the US to move on Raqqah. Putin has told Assad not to expect to regain control over all of Syria. So there may be some compromise in the works to end the war with the US getting its part of Syria. None of this is clear at the moment.

    • Evangelista
      November 8, 2016 at 21:55

      “Putin has told Assad not to expect to regain control over all of Syria.”

      Mr. Lauria,

      Has Putin really told Assad this? Or is this a U.S. Advisor’s assumption of what the U.S. Advisor would tell Assad, if the U.S. Advisor was positioned to, and if Assad would listen to U.S.Advisors?

      I ask because for Putin to tell Assad how to run his war, and what his options are, or will be, would be contrary to the ‘Putin position’, that controls the Russian presence in Syria. The ‘Putin position’, as delineated by Putin, and by Lavrov, and by Churkin, is that Russia is aiding Assad legally as an ally to the sovereign nation Syria, of which Assad is the legally elected president and so representative head of state, wherefore Russia is not in Syria as an imperial power and so is, in Syria, subordinate to Sovereign Syria, the nationof which Assad is legal sovereign. “Legal”, here, means legal per International Law and U.N. protocols and rules and definitions.

      The conflict in Syria being a conflict between Imperial powers ‘The U.S. Coalition Partners’ and Russia, maintaining ‘The Assad Regime’, a Protectorate Government ‘effectively emplaced’ and being propped by Russia, taking place in a geographic area previously defined ‘Syria’, is a U.S. (and “Coalition Partners” [and their International Elite directors]) construction. It is a construction that Russia, and Sovereign Syria, are contesting, in the U.N., in Switzerland and elsewhere diplomatically. Thus, it is extremely unlikely that Putin would undermine his nation’s current fully solid legal ground, that Russia is currently holding by being in Syria, on the ground, doing the hard work that the U.N. is lawfully responsible to be there doing, by assuming a stance vis-a-vis the sovereign nation ally, and U.N. member state, who it is aiding to guard its sovereignty against a Coalition of aggressor invaders and their backing supporters, that would justify, or justificate, its opponents’ self-moralizing artifice false construction.

      You will notice, if you review diplomatic dealings in regard to the Syrian situation in which Russia participates as a principal negotiator, 1., that it does so because the counter-parties negotiate with Russia but not with Syria, and, 2., that Russia carries negotiated conditions, and proposals, to the government of Syria for that government’s final decision-making, to accept or reject, and define positions.

      As far as I understand the situation in Syria, the government of Syria, and its ally, Russia, are focusing on recovering Aleppo. They are leaving Raqqah for later. I have neither seen, nor heard, anything indicating that Syria does not intend, ultimately, to recover Raqqah and all surrounding Syrian territory, or indicating that Syria intends to abandon Syrian Kurds, either to Turkey, or to the U.S., or to a ‘Moderate Al Qaeda Da’Esh Salafist or U.S. Protectorate State’.

      To squat its Coalition’s ‘Moderate Al Qaeda’ Salafist Stateless State’ in and around Raqqah, effectively carving away a part of Syria to do so (perhaps with a vision of repeating the creation of Israel, but for “the Other Semites”) does seem to be a ‘U.S. and Coalition Parties’ aim, or perhaps ‘dream’. And the current U.S. and Coalition Partners’ enthusiasm for pushing its Moderate Al Qaeda allies from Iraq (where they are an embarrassment to the U.S., who “liberated” Iraq) does seem to be motivated by a desire to coerce a “compromise”, as you call it, to give its favored Moderate Salafists a ‘homeland’ cut out of Syria (or, as you put it, in U.S. perspective phrasing, “the US getting its part of Syria.”).

      I suspect that Erdogan is pushing toward the limits of the Russia-Syria alliance with his anti-Kurd invasion of Syrian territory, which has been objected toby Syria, but is being allowed by current necessities. Russia, as Syria’s ally, has no position of its own, and the U.S. Coalition, whose ally the Kurds ostensibly are, and whose efforts the U.S. and Coalition are dependent on, are in a bind, having lost Turkey from their ‘Coalition Alliance’ (of the greedy), for supporting the Coalition having begun to cost Turkey, instead of rewarding it.

      It should be noted, going forward, that if the ‘Coalition For A Moderate Salafist State’ undertakes to impose a ‘no-fly’ policy over sovereign Syrian territory, it will be Syria who will oppose their doing so. It will not be Russia. Syria has, apparently, already asked Russia for aid to protect against a ‘no-fly’ aggression against its sovereign airspace, and Russia has indicated by actions, and has stated, that it will aid Syria. So, when U.S. aircraft are shot down by Russian ordinance, it will be Russia shooting down for Syria, providing legal defensive aid per International Law and U.N. protocols, rules and treaties. Samantha Powers claiming in the U.N. the U.S. being attacked, in such an event, will be a repeat of Ribbentrop claiming Germany being attacked when it invaded Poland to “protect” the Danzig Corridor.

    • Joe Lauria
      November 9, 2016 at 09:46

      I’ve been a reporter for 30 years. I don’t just write things if there’s no evidence. Vitaly Churkin has told the UN press corps, which I’ve been a member of for a quarter of a century, that Assad should not expect to take back all of Syria. Churkin is Russia’s ambassador at the UN. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-russia-syria-idUKKCN0VR287

    • November 9, 2016 at 19:52

      That’s (Churkin’s statement) a thin reed in support of some very weighty inferences. All Russia’s statements about the need to respect national sovereignty everywhere contradict it.

    • Evangelista
      November 10, 2016 at 21:20

      From the cited Reuters.com/article, Reuters reporters said (opening paragraph):

      “President Bashar al-Assad was out of step with the views of his main ally, Russia, when he said he planned to fight on until he re-established control over all of Syria, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations was quoted as saying on Thursday.”

      From the cited Reuters.com/article, Churkin said, (about the middle of the article):

      “”The discussions are about a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities in the foreseeable future. Work is underway on this.””

      From the cited Reuters.com/article, Churkin is quoted, (at the end of the article):

      “”this again is my personal opinion — […] If they [Syria] take the position that they don’t need any ceasefire, and they need to fight on to the end and to victory, then this conflict is going to carry on for a very long time. And it’s frightening to imagine that,” Churkin said.”

      My reading of the cited evidence is that Churkin was discussing Assad accepting a ceasefire, not Assad’s stated long-term intention to recover all invaded Syrian territory.

      Reuters, obviously, was seeking to define a ‘rift’ between Syria and Russia, in February, 2016. The Reuters writers suggest that Assad’s statement proofed Assad not ‘following orders’ from ‘his’ Russian ‘superiors’.

      Churkin’s response to queries indicates Assad, and Syria, autonomous, and Russia’s focus to be to arranging a near-term ceasefire, with his view that Assad would face difficulties if he attempted to fight through, without a ceasefire (which would provide a diplomatic window).

      Through 2016 Assad has agreed to, and participated in, several ceasefires, and continues to seek full recovery of all Syrian territory. Assad’s agreements, and Russia’s efforts, to provide opportunities for diplomatic resolutions have bolstered Syria’s diplomatic, and moral, position in the warfare, while they have given Assad’s opponents, including the United States and Coalition, opportunities to bolster their armaments and field positions, weakening their diplomatic positions (they have, for these utilizations of ceasefire pauses no moral positions anymore at all).

      I suggest that at this point the United States and its Coalition compatriots should not anticipate Syrian cession of any territory to what would be a hostile Salafist military camp on its territory, or border, as a demarcation would be defined.

    • ziad
      November 16, 2016 at 21:38

      sorry Joe but you are a poor judge of character and not very good in analysis,,,churkin said many things that seem to counter what Assad wants,like the time he said Assad should not rely on military solution by russia and needs to have cease fire and go to the tables,now russia did slow things down in order to open that venue but they knew(as i predicted) washington was never interested in peace talks and having them would further expose there weakness as well as the groups they support(ie terrorists) and despite these words both russia and syria press on to eliminate the garbage and re take every inch of syria as you know by now putin increased the military power in syria recently,why else do you think the US sabotaged the last cease fire deal? they do not want to work with russia and they have just exposed themselves for not being able to separate the moderates from the terrorists because there never was any moderates,,washington has been supporting terrorists and this has been exposed now through those papers as well as through the sabotages and deal breakers as they keep pretending to be making deals for peace ,they know if they agreed to a deal it would mean they have to implement there part of it and this would only expose there weak hand or who they are really supporting and so it is all window dressing,every cease fire deal was just another regroup and re arm of the terrorists,usa does not want them to go away or negotiate nothing ,they want the misery to continue to keep justifying there presence and use these groups as leverage still hopelessly pretending to be backing moderates or freedom fighters where there are non despite all the atrocities we have seen from them the US keeps pretending,also another thing i have predicted was US intending to use the kurds as there next so called moderates to possibly create a real civil war in syria,,ppl laughed at me when i said the kurds might become a bigger problem than isis,because no one cares if the saa and assad are killing isis but if they have to kill kurds whom are considered not only syrians but moderates then it will be a field day in the western media for the warhawks ,perhaps turkey put an upset on those plans and this is why i believe for the time being both russia and syria are allowing erdogan to act as a buffer doing the dirty work to keep the kurds from ever expanding like the US wants them to ,there is no way erdogan can be crazy enough to pull this stunt after having many kiss ass meetings with putin while both syria and russia seem quite calm about the situation despite a few verbal objections ,eventually turkey will need to pull back if they know what is good for them,and putin and assad were both counting on time and new elections,,now the terrorists will soon run for there lives as the western gravy train will no longer feed them and forget about a US kurdish backed invasion of raqqa,the sunis there want nothing to do with them ,,yes eventually assad will get all of syria back as will abadi in iraq and all of them are working together,now with trump in it will be that much faster,,many ppl like you who think they have exp because they are journos or understand geopolitics also greatly underestimated assad’s syria and thought it would fall in a matter of months,i at the very beginning 5 years ago knew it would never fall

  8. Gregory Kruse
    November 8, 2016 at 09:31

    “Erdogan’s inner Sultan”. Good one. Very funny. I’ve been saying that Clinton is already President for months now, and I don’t think she has ever been seriously challenged throughout the whole election process. In some ways it’s like the World Series. The seventh game may not have been rigged, but games one through six might have been. Everything depends upon the drama and the money.

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