Saturday, January 7, 2023

Turkey’s Erdogan Flips Syria on Its Head By Tom Luongo

 While we are all, rightfully, worried about what’s going on in Ukraine, those sneaky Russians are shoring up their situation on the south shores of the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.

As reported last week the meeting between Russia, Turkiye, and Syria took place between their Defense Ministers where they all described the talks as ‘constructive’ towards solving multiple outstanding issues like refugees and the backing of radicals.

This meeting was put in motion by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the Moscow Times article notes:

In November, Erdogan said a meeting with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was a possibility, after cutting diplomatic ties with Damascus throughout the 11-year conflict.

In mid-December, he indicated that he could meet with Assad after the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers meet.

“We want to take a step as Syria, Turkey and Russia,” [emphasis mine] he said at the time.

The issues discussed are especially important for Erdogan as the protracted war is sapping his popularity at home in the face of an ongoing pull out of western capital from Turkey that has seen the lira go through what can only be described as a hyperinflation since 2018.

With elections on the horizon and Erdogan’s position tenuous for the first time in his political career, moves need to be made now to improve things. Allowing the millions of Syrian refugees the opportunity to go home would be a big win for Erdogan politically.

This is also a good use of Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, since he’s not in charge of the operation in Ukraine and hasn’t been since October, with good reason.

Shoigu, I’m sure, has been preparing for this meeting for months, laying the groundwork for talks between Turkiye and Syria that are long overdue.

As Alex Mercouris pointed out in a recent Duran video, Turkiye’s president Erdogan set three steps for a resolution of the conflict between it and Syria.  This meeting of the Defense Ministers is the 2nd of them.

The Foreign Ministers are now clear to meet.  Presumably, after that, Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will meet with the Russians as negotiator to hammer out an official end to Turkiye’s involvement in the Syrian War which began more than a decade ago.

Without Turkiye’s involvement in Syria, the Neocons’ goal of strangling Russia on gas imports to Europe never happens. This was the main impetus behind the Syrian War in the first place. To get him on board, Erdogan had to be bribed with a massive land grab, which he’s tried to accomplish.

But when he didn’t do enough to start a war with Russia in November 2015 after Turkiye supposedly shot down a Russian SU-24, he was rewarded with a coup attempt against him led by the CIA and US military out of the Incerlik airbase, by all accounts.

He was saved, apparently, by an early warning from Putin and ferried out to Iran to issue his counter-attack orders to the Turkish military on the night of the coup attempt.

This was the beginning of the end of Turkiye’s relationship with NATO and the US.

The road between Turkey and Russia to this point has been incredibly rocky. Putin has been exceedingly patient with Erdogan over a dozen issues, his back-pedaling and, at times, double-dealing.

But the reality is that, like him or not, every year since Russia’s move into Syria Erdogan has acted in his interest, creating leverage on the ground by taking territory in Syria, making outrageous claims against the Eastern Mediterranean, while playing the West and Russia against each other on NATO expansion, refugee policy, and his support of Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

I’ve even come to the conclusion that his repeated violations of Greek airspace, something that no one else does in the world and the Greeks are well within their rights to stop with force, is likely part of his whole “Crazy Sultan” schtick to keep people on edge.

As I’ve said many times Erdogan plays both sides, dropping a white or black stone on the Geopolitical Go board when it suits his agenda.

And his agenda today is nearly complete; an independent yet still pivotal Turkiye.

So, against that backdrop his making nice with Syria is a bombshell that the West shouldn’t be surprised about since Erdogan has been throwing wrenches into their works since the beginning of the Ukraine War in February.

But the timing of this is the most inconvenient for the US/UK neocons who are clearly ramping up a 2023 regime change operation against Putin in Russia.

When you put it all together — Erdogan facing stiff opposition in the polls, hyperinflation, unrest at home, and an election later this year — ending the war in Syria had to be tops on his to-do list for 2023.

It won’t come without consequences. And while he’s tried to play ‘possum on his real intentions for years, is anyone really surprised that he’s making this move now?

At some point everyone runs out of room to maneuver and you have to not only choose your side, but announce it to everyone and take the reaction to it.

So, John Bolton’s mustache is all aquiver over this and he wants Turkiye booted from NATO. Clearly this is because Erdogan is blocking Sweden and Finland’s accession which apparently is more important to Bolton than maintaining supply routes to US troops trapped in Syria and Iraq should Erdogan expel the US from Incerlik in response.

Con Coughlin at The Telegraph has come to this same conclusion in a screed that reads like a prelude to another attempt to get rid of this agitator in Ankara.

Turkey’s decision to press ahead with the Russian purchase [S-400’s] has not only put it on a collision course with Washington, which is threatening to scrap the F-35 deal at the end of the month; it also shows Ankara’s utter contempt for the Nato alliance, an attitude that key European member states such as Britain must demonstrate they are no longer able to tolerate.

His conclusion, Turkiye’s contempt for NATO, which I can’t really argue with, is grounds for its dismissal from the alliance.

But, as I said, this kind of reaction is exactly what Erdogan needs from the West, who have treated him and Turkiye as a fifth wheel for a long time. The neocons can frame his antics however they like but have they really thought through what happens after that?

Knowing the neocon mindset, I don’t think they have. They are so focused on Russia and convinced of the outcome of their war against it that they can just kick one of the largest armies in the world to the curb with immense geostrategic importance in the crotch and it won’t matter.

Without Turkiye’s backing in Idlib, the rebels there won’t survive in the long run.  Erdogan will ratchet up his attacks on the SDF Kurds in the east backed by the US. This leaves Israel in a more tenuous position as well, surviving really only on Russia’s continued good graces.

Because the recent reports of US troops coming under intense missile attacks in Deir Ezzor where they are protecting the stealing of Syrian oil are a signpost that both Syria and Iran have had their shackles taken off by Putin in confronting the US in Syria.

In light of Angela Merkel’s admission of the Minsk Accords being a ruse to arm Ukraine, I don’t think you need further proof that Putin now has his legal ducks in a row to take the fight directly to the US, knowing that conflict is inevitable.

Think of it this way.  Before Merkel’s admission, the West was able to credibly compose the narrative that Putin unjustly invaded Ukraine. Guys like Con Coughlin still calling Russia ‘a rogue state’ is ridiculous when the pretense of diplomacy is gone. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle and still declare Russia’s move into Ukraine on 2/24/2022 was wholly unprovoked.

With a viable Minsk document in place it gave Putin’s new ‘allies’ a public reason to point to when stabbing him in the back if Russia faltered on the battlefield or their proxies like Syria.

Now, with that narrative blown up — not for the normies, but for the Heads of State of the Global South — Putin is justified to no longer play footsie with the US through proxies.

There is no reason to not cross redlines that were always there as olive branches to form the basis of future diplomatic efforts. The current crop of morons and psychopaths leading the West with their prep school antics are irredeemable in the eyes of not just the Russians, but also now the Turks, Iranians, Chinese, Pakistanis, etc.

There are consequences to bragging on Twitter like Michael McFaul that as an ambassador he openly lied, or worse former Sec. of State Mike Pompeo making it effectively State Dept. policy to lie because that was his training at the CIA.

Need more proof? Putin just sold Iran dozens of SU-35s.  This was another implicit redline to placate the US he just crossed, casually I might add.  As long as Iran had a joke of an air force Putin could maintain at least the pretense that he was listening to the US.

But, now all of that is out the window.

Iran is selling Russia drones to wipe out the Ukrainian army and Russia is sending Iran SU-35s to end the threat of Israel doing any more long-range bombing runs in Iran.

The old stalemates are gone.

Given everything that’s happening is it any wonder that the newly-resurrected Bibi Netanyahu in Israel has stepped up the bombings of the Damascus Airport, apparently now shutting it down?  Are we surprised that he is really saber-rattling against Iran?

But at the same time his new defense minister is having second doubts about supporting Ukraine. How do the British neocons square that position with Russia being the rogue state here?

The point is that Putin had to hold out hope for diplomacy and not cross a line until the US/EU came clean with their lying and duplicity. It had to be public before he could do this, otherwise the fragile coalition he’s formed to combat the West could collapse.

In this respect, Merkel did him a favor.  She also did Davos the favor of framing the US for all the troubles now.

Now he’s crossing them all and Erdogan is following along.

I get why the neocons are pissed, but they have no one to blame but themselves for being sucked into a war with unreliable European partners, who have a very different agenda.

Remember, also, Erdogan’s very troubled relationship with Merkel over the migrant issues and EU accession.  The EU dangled that in front of him for years while he threatened to flood Europe with more migrants.

That standoff broke down a couple of years ago and now Erdogan has to allow the Syrians and the Lebanese a path to going home, if only to unburden the Turkish economy and social fabric.

So, Erdogan has always known who Merkel really was.  She’s exactly as Mercouris has described her in the past, someone juggling all of these balls with the intent of maintaining the status quo.  That status quo was buying time for the Davos agenda to mature.  That’s all it was.

I’ve always maintained that Putin and his staff utilize parallel-aggression to counter the neocons’ implacable commitment to being on offense.  They push in one theater, he pushes in another equally.

And what’s interesting here is that at some point the whole ‘Putin is the aggressor’ narrative will collapse in normie space when the stakes get high enough because the people of the West aren’t committed to why Ukraine or Syria is our fight.

These deals were never really sealed.

It means that Syria will shoot down an Israeli F-16 at some point and Israel will have to take it.  Or it will provoke Bibi to do something so rash that no one will be able to spin it in his favor.

Davos is hanging Israel out to dry at the UN, driving the Neocons to the point of alcoholism.

Either way, what Putin has done here, with Erdogan’s help, is turn the entire power dynamic of aggression on its head.

Now, the Russians can allow Syria and Iran to ‘defend themselves’ while keeping his hands mostly clean there.

Now the real ‘bluff calling’ phase of this situation begins.

Now, we’ll see how long “Biden” will keep troops in Syria, stealing oil and enforcing sanctions that Turkiye will make redundant in a few weeks?

Expect regime change operations in Turkiye this fall.  Expect stepped-up Israeli aggression against both Syria and Iran until such time as Iran’s IRGC air force is strong enough to defend itself.

The timer is ticking on all of the conflicts in this region: Syria, Iraq, Yemen.

And the key to it all was always getting Erdogan to flip them all on their heads by helping expose the mendacity of this generation of ‘leaders’ in the West.

Reprinted with permission from Gold Goats ‘n Guns.