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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/3/15

Erdogan Blackmails NATO Allies

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Reprinted from Counterpunch

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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You know the country has really gone to the dogs when Washington's main allies in its war on Syria are the two biggest terrorist incubators on the planet. I'm talking about Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both of which are run by fanatical Islamic zealots devoted to spreading violent jihad to the four corners of the earth. Not that the US doesn't have blood on its hands too. It does, but that's beside the point.

The point is that if you're trying to sell your fake war on terror to the public, then you might want to think twice about lining up with Grand Sultan Erdogan and King Chop-Chop of Riyadh. The optics alone should have sent the White House PR team running for cover. I mean, couldn't they have hired squeaky-clean Iceland to join the fray just to persuade the public that the ongoing proxy war wasn't a complete sham. Which it is.

It all goes to show that no one in the administration really gives a rip about appearances anymore. Obama is going to do what he wants to do, and if you don't like it: Tough!

Isn't that the message?

Of course it is. But just look how that apathy transfers itself into other areas of governing like, let's say, strategic planning. Take Syria for example, where the think tank pundits were given the task of coming up with a plan to topple a secular regime without: 1--triggering a violent insurgency. 2--igniting massive antiwar demonstrations around the world and, 3--producing hundreds or thousands of US casualties. In other words, our esteemed leaders didn't want another Iraq which is understandable.

Anyway, that was the basic assignment. So the think tankers came up with this brilliant plan to enlist Sunni militants that the CIA would fund, arm, train and deploy into Syria to shoot the place up, raise holy hell, and then topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. That was the plan, at least.

Four and half years later, the place is a worse mess than Iraq. Half the population is either dead or internally displaced, the civilian infrastructure is a shambles, and nothing has been achieved. Nothing. Assad is safely tucked away in Damascus, the jihadi proxies are on the run, and everyone hates the US more than ever.

Great plan, eh? Where's the downside?

The downside is that now Washington finds itself backed against the wall with precious few options that don't involve a direct confrontation with Moscow. Of course, all of this could have been avoided had the White House been more eager to negotiate a settlement to the conflict months earlier in Vienna. But, instead, the bullheaded Obama team decided to stick with its dreary "Assad must go" mantra which put the kibosh on any long-term agreement or ceasefire proposal. So now, the Russian-led coalition has made significant gains on the ground, retaking numerous key cities, highways and airbases in the west and south while sending US-backed terrorists fleeing eastward towards Raqqa. These developments have forced Washington into a fallback position that will likely entail air-support for Turkish ground forces who will be deployed to Northern Syria to take and hold area sufficient for a "safe zone", which is an innocuous sounding moniker the media invokes to conceal the fact that Turkey plans to annex sovereign Syrian territory which, by the way, is an act of war.

Now fast-forward to last week:

Some readers may have noticed disturbing headlines like this in the Wall Street Journal: "U.S. Urges Turkey to Seal Border."

Or this Reuters piece that popped up on Monday: "NATO allies act to strengthen Turkey's air defenses."

Why, you may ask, does Obama want Turkey to close the border now when the horse has already left the barn? What I mean is that the White House has known for over three years that the bulk of the jihadis were transiting Turkey on their way to Syria, just like they knew that ISIS's oil was being transported across Turkey. They knew it all because they have their damn spy satellites and AWACs circling overhead. In fact, they could probably tell you how many bumblebees crossed the border at any given time, so they sure as heck saw the throngs of bearded roughnecks moving southward in droves. So why is it so urgent to close the border now, after all, the damage is already done, right?

Could it have something to do with the fact that Putin's legions are moving north to seal the border? Could there be an alternate objective, for example, could the US and Turkey be setting the stage for an incursion into Syria that would secure the land needed for the glorious safe zone?

That's what most of the analysts seem to think, at least the ones that haven't been coopted by the mainstream media. But why is NATO suddenly getting involved? What's that all about? After all, Putin was reluctant to even commit his airforce to the Syrian conflict. It's not like he's planning to invade Turkey or something, right?

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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