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Regime Change in Ankara? More Likely Than You Think

By       Message Mike Whitney       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Reprinted from Counterpunch


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On Friday, the United States rejected a draft resolution by Russia that was intended to prevent a Turkish invasion of Syria. Moscow had called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to address its growing concern that Turkey is planning to send thousands of ground troops and armored vehicles it has massed on its southern border, into Syria to protect Turkish-backed militants and to block the Kurdish militia, the YPG, from establishing a contiguous state in northern Syria. Moscow's one-page resolution was a thoroughly-straightforward document aimed at preventing a massive escalation in a conflict that has already claimed the lives of 250,000 and left the country in ruins.

According to Russia's deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, "The main elements of this Russian draft resolution are to demand that all parties refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Syria, that they fully respect Syria's sovereignty and independence, stop incursions, and abandon plans for ground operations."

The resolution also expressed Moscow's "grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic."

There was nothing controversial about the resolution, no tricks and no hidden meaning. The delegates were simply asked to support Syrian sovereignty and oppose armed aggression. These are the very principles upon which the United Nations was founded. The US and its allies rejected these principles because they failed to jibe with Washington's geopolitical ambitions in Syria.

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Quashing the resolution confirms in the clearest terms that Washington doesn't want peace in Syria. Also, it suggests that the Obama administration thinks that Turkish ground troops could play an important role in shaping the outcome of a conflict that the US is still determined to win. Keep in mind, if the resolution had passed, the threat of a Turkish invasion would have vanished immediately.

Why?

Because the Turkish "military has publicly stated that it is not willing to send troops across the border without U.N. Security Council approval." (Washington Post)

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Many people in the west are under the illusion that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dictatorial powers and can simply order his troops into battle whenever he chooses. But that is not the case. While Erdogan has removed many of his rivals within the military, the top brass still maintains a certain autonomy from the civilian leadership. Turkish generals want assurances that they will not be prosecuted for war crimes in the future. The best way to do that is to make sure that any invasion has the blessing of either the US, NATO or the UN.

The Obama administration understands this dynamic, which is why they quashed the resolution. Obama wanted to leave the door open so Turkish troops could eventually engage the Russian-led coalition in Washington's ongoing proxy war. This leads me to believe that the Washington's primary objective in Syria is no longer the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad but the bogging down of Russia in a never-ending conflict.

Just hours after the US defeated Moscow's draft resolution at the UN, closed-door talks were convened in Geneva where high-level U.S. and Russian military officials met to discuss the prospects for ceasefire.

The cease-fire, which is typically referred to as a "cessation of hostilities," is aimed at temporarily stopping the fighting so the battered jihadists and US-backed rebels can regroup and rejoin the war at some later date. Both Moscow and Washington want to deliver humanitarian aid to war-torn cities across Syria, and to move towards a "political transition" although both sides are deeply divided over Assad's role in any future government. According to the Washington Post:

"One of the many problems to be overcome is a differing definition of what constitutes a terrorist group. In addition to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Russia and Syria have labeled the entire opposition as terrorists.

"Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out." ("U.S., Russia hold Syria cease-fire talks as deadline passes without action," Washington Post)

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Repeat: "Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra (al Qaida) off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out." In other words, the Obama administration wanted to protect an affiliate of the group that killed 3,000 Americans in the terror attacks on 9-11 and that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians whose only fault was that they happen to occupy country that these Wahhabi mercenaries wanted to transform into an Islamic Caliphate. Naturally, Moscow refused to go along with this charade.

Even so, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced on Sunday that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, "had reached a 'provisional agreement in principle' for a temporary truce in the Syrian civil war and that it could start within days" although no one really knows how the "cease-fire would be enforced and how breaches would be resolved."

Consider how hypocritical it is for Obama to reject Russia's draft resolution at the UN and, just hours later, try to put Al Qaida under the protective umbrella of a US-Russia brokered ceasefire. What does that say about America's so called "war on terror"?

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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