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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/11/12

What's goin' on at the Turkish-Syrian border?

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There is a video [1] that could be loosely translated as "Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side" that pretty accurately sums up what's going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment.

The voice-over says, "This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] ... The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized."

What this means is that Turkey is sheltering the FSA right on the border, only a few meters - and not kilometers - away from Syrian territory. Way beyond hosting a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command and control center in Iskenderun for months now - a fact already reported by Asia Times Online - Turkey has now advanced right to the border, enabling a back-and-forth by heavily weaponized guerrillas/mercenaries to attack a sovereign state.

Imagine a similar scenario happening, say, at a Mexican-US border in Arizona or Texas.

This can be seen as a very peculiar Ankara interpretation of "safe havens" and "humanitarian corridors" as outlined by what can be seen as the prime blueprint for regime change in Syria: a report [2] by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, authored by the usual cocktail of Israeli firsters and Qatar-affiliated Middle East "experts."

So expect to see this movie generating countless sequels; the FSA attacking a Syrian border checkpoint, killing soldiers and then retreating under a hail of bullets, which will inevitably hit a nearby Syrian refugee camp.

The border escalation graphically illustrates the wider scenario: civil war.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu -- of the fabled "zero problems with our neighbors" policy -- had to abruptly cut short his trip to China and return to Turkey because of the border escalation. It would be very enlightening to learn how the Beijing leadership told him that Turkey's agent provocateur gimmicks amount to playing with a ball of fire.

The border escalation also proves that NATO has less than zero interest in the success of the ceasefire widely brandished as the Kofi Annan plan (that's in fact a diluted version of both the Russian and Chinese plans). Trouble will escalate further -- as suggested by a RT report. [3]

Obviously, a sovereign government -- in this case Syria -- had to demand written guarantees that its weaponized opponents would also abide by the Annan ceasefire.

The single-most important reason that they won't -- and they have already stressed so publicly -- is that not only the FSA and splinter guerrillas will continue to be weaponized by Qatar and the House of Saud, and sprinkled with Libyan "rebels" flown into Syria; it's that two United Nations Security Council permanent members -- Britain and France -- also have their own special forces on the ground, engaged in training, intel and combat operations.

The trillion Turkish lira question is whether Ankara will go one step beyond and actually implement those "safe havens"; that would amount to being directly involved in the Syrian civil war, i.e., a declaration of war against Damascus. That's exactly what the FSA has been begging the Turks to do. But even that would not be enough to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime.

As for the Assad police state/military apparatus, it just has to be wily enough not to be provoked into an orgy of torture, summary executions and artillery bombardment -- the necessary condition to maintain the key diplomatic support of BRICS members Russia and China. Once again, it's average Syrians, caught in the middle, who will be the tragic losers.

1. See here.
2. See here.
3. See here.
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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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