by Ramtanu Maitra
July 31—As thousands of Sunni terrorists from Britain, the Arab world, the Maghreb, and South Asia converged on the outskirts of Syria’s most populous city, Aleppo, planning a violent confrontation, the Syrian military was poised to counter the terrorist offensive. According to some analysts, the battle for Aleppo is a decisive one for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is visiting the region and is known for mouthing what the White House wants him to say, told reporters aboard a military plane en route to Tunisia, that “if they [the Syrian military] continue this kind of tragic attack on their own people in Aleppo, I think ultimately it will be a nail in Assad’s coffin.”
Major players in this conflict are already planning a post-Assad Syria. Reuters reported on July 31, citing a statement from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office in Ankara, that a 36-minute phone call took place between Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama on July 30. The two heads of states discussed “how they could work together to speed up political transition in Syria,” the statement said. “In the talks, they took up the co-ordination of efforts to accelerate the process of political transition in Syria, including Bashar al-Assad leaving the administration and the meeting of the Syrian people’s legitimate demands.”
However, unlike what Erdogan or Obama would like to consider a done deal, the Syrian conflict is heading towards chaos, which could lead to full-fledged war in the region, posing even a threat of thermonuclear war. The reasons are the following:
First and foremost, the strategic goal of the Anglo-American puppet-masters who are stoking the war has nothing to do with Syria per se, but with destroying national sovereignty as the fundamental principle of world relations. This is the stated goal of the British monarchy and its hangers-on internationally. The target is not so much the small nation of Syria, with its 22 million people and few resources, but superpowers Russia and China.
Out of Control
It is widely accepted around the world that most of the “Syrian rebels” are not Syrians at all. They are a contingent of Sunni terrorists, some of whom belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, while others come from a mish-mash of terrorist groups, spawned and nurtured since 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
These terrorists, who have been bunched loosely under the banner of al-Qaeda, are funded by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar, and a few other nations, and are being used by Britain and the United States. The groups’ primary objective is to establish a Wahhabi extremist variety of Sunni Islamic rule, even an Islamic Caliphate, throughout the Islamic world, from northern Africa to Russia’s northern Caucasus.
Those, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar, who are funding these terrorists, are doing so primarily for two reasons. The first is the elimination of Shi’ite power, led by Iran’s political influence, on the Arabian peninsula. The second objective is to protect their fragile monarchies, which are coming increasingly under attack from their own citizens. By sidling up to the old colonials, such as Britain and France, and the most powerful protector of the colonial powers, the United States, these fragile regimes are clinging to the hope of maintaining their decrepit monarchies. In order to meet these colonials’ needs, as a quid pro quo, the Saudis, Qataris, and Kuwaitis are infusing their oil-generated surplus cash into the bankrupt colonial powers of Europe.
This policy has sharpened the Shi’a-Sunni conflict, a conflict that remained dormant within Islam for centuries, and has been exploited ruthlessly during the last century by Britain, in particular, to expand its Empire, which needed cash and control of waterways vital for its global maritime trade and troop movements.
As a result, Iran has been isolated, and the Arab world, with the exception of Syria and Iraq (particularly when Saddam Hussein was in power) has abandoned what was previously the burning issue: the occupation of Palestine by Israel. In essence, the Saudis, Qataris, and Kuwaitis have become the local supporters of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Iran, the world’s leading Shi’a nation, along with Syria and Iraq, became the primary backer of the Palestinians, invoking the fury of the colonial nations and the United States.
This means that Iran and the Shi’as in the region consider the Syrian conflict an existential threat posed to them by the West and its bag-carriers in the Arab world. Some analysts openly say that the road to Tehran goes through Damascus: that the forces that are adopting terrorist means to destroy Syria will pounce upon Iran once their present objective is attained.
Why Russia Will Resist
Two other global powers besides the United States—Russia and China, Russia in particular—may oppose such a takeover, by meeting the challenge using full force, including their nuclear arsenals. There are reasons why Russia will be left with no choice but to use force.
To begin with, Syria had long been a Russian ally, defying the colonial powers’ designs. In 2007, Moscow announced that its Navy would be revived and that it would build up a constant naval presence throughout the world’s oceans. This was reaffirmed by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Feb. 20, 2012, when he vowed to restore Russia’s “bluewater Navy.” Once one of the world’s most powerful forces, the Russian Navy now has few ships regularly deployed on the open seas. In this context, the Russian interest in Syria is vital.
Under a 1971 agreement during the Soviet era, Russia maintains Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus. The port, which has been in serious disrepair since 1992, is Russia’s only access to the Mediterranean. Moscow has plans to modernize Tartus to accommodate heavy warships after 2012. In February 2010, Russian Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky told RIA Novosti news daily that “Tartus will be developed as a naval base. The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012,” adding that it could then serve as a base for guided-missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers. According to Russian Navy experts cited by RIA Novosti, the facility is being renovated to serve as a foothold for a permanent Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.
Moscow is aware that one of the objectives of the colonial forces, and the United States, is to prevent Russia from developing this important naval base. On July 26, the news agency DNA reported that Syrian rebels had threatened to attack Russia’s naval base. The British- and French-backed Free Syrian Army, whose soldiers are mostly non-Syrians and terrorists from various nations, issued a threat: “We have a warning for the Russian forces: If they send any more weapons that kill our families and the Syrian people we will hit them hard inside Syria.”
Secondly, Russia does not want to see Syria used to re-route the energy corridors in the Caspian Basin and the Mediterranean Basin. If Syria were to fall to the Saudis, Qataris, and others who are avowed enemies of Iran and Russia, these routes would be changed to reflect a new geopolitical reality. At the expense of Iran, oil from the Persian Gulf could also be rerouted to the Mediterranean, through Lebanon and Syria.
Moreover, Russia is already a victim of the Saudi/British-promoted extreme form Islamism inside Russia. The current decade-long war in Afghanistan, brought about and deliberately prolonged by the United States and NATO, has enhanced the jihadi threat in Russia’s southern flank, as well as in the Northern Caucasus. Now, the Islamic threat has raised its head even in the Volga region, a very important economic area of Russia.
A full-fledged takeover of Syria by the jihadis will further increase the jihadi threat not only to Russia, but also to China. These guerrillas—trained, armed, and sustained by their controllers through “charities” and drug banks such as HSBC—have been shifted from one area to another (from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, etc.) to meet their controllers’ requirements; they will no doubt be unleashed in and around Russia and China. This is a serious threat that neither Russia nor China can ignore, and it has been reflected in some of the recent deliberations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian organization led by Russia and China.
The ‘Turkish Delight’
The Syrian conflict is taking place, of course, in a region where things are already particularly unstable. Take Turkey, for instance. Unlike the savory “Turkish delight,” what Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan will taste soon, if Assad falls, will be most unsavory.
It is likely that Erdogan, driven by his dreams of revival of a neo-Ottoman Empire and Turkey becoming the leader of the Islamic world, has been blinded by the “realities” that have been implanted on the ground. The ingredients that concoct the most unsavory aspect of those realities point clearly to wide-ranging regional warfare, which could lead to the dismemberment of Turkey in the not-too-distant future. And, that future could be most brutal. Erdogan’s Greater Turkey dream may lead to a Lesser Turkey. This is the reality that Erdogan fails to see and that his recently acquired friends in the West, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will never tell him.
While Erdogan has resorted to sending more troops, armored personnel carriers, and missile batteries to the Syrian border to satisfy the terrorists, whose on-the-ground controllers operate from within Turkey, the Kurdish groups in Turkey, some of which are downright terrorists; plus a large number Kurds from Iraq working under the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK); and the pro-Assad Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) in Syria, have begun to coordinate preparations to launch their demand for a separate nation of Kurdistan. Their demand will include a chunk of Iraq and Turkey, and a part of Syria bordering Turkey. The terrorism and bloodshed that would ensue from such a campaign could also lead to a worldwide war.
As we observe the goings-on in Syria, Erdogan’s Air Force continues to bombard the Kurds in Turkey. None of that draws the media’s attention, but it means one thing for sure, which is the hardening of the Kurds’ resolve to hit Turkey whenever they can.
The problem that Erdogan and his Saudi-trained banker-President Abdullah Gul face is that they, and their party, the AKP, have been intensely involved in trying to undermine the Kemalist ideology in Turkey, which has predominated since the secular rule of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1923-38), the founder of the Republic of Turkey. In order to fulfill their dream of reestablishing an Eastern-oriented Ottoman Empire, as opposed to Atatürk’s efforts to move Turkey toward the West and keep it a secular nation, the first target of Turkey’s neo-Islamists (of which Erdogan is one) was the military. If, indeed, Erdogan achieves the goal of weakening the military, it is a foregone conclusion that Kurdistan will come into existence, sooner or later.
And, to his surprise, Erdogan will find that the “friends” he aligned with in order to dismantle the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and spread chaos all around, are in the front line, pushing the cause of an independent Kurdistan.