The End of the “Greater Middle East Project”: The Case of Kurdistan

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections has had dire implications for the American “Greater Middle East” project which has guided US foreign policy in the Middle East since it was first put forward in 2003. Trump’s reorientation toward internal US problems (migration, economy, protectionism), the emergence of new geopolitical rivals (China and Iran) and the turning point being reached in the war against Daesh in Syria have resulted, more or less, in a new balance of powers in the Middle East. While the situation is still rather chaotic, one fact is certainly clear: the Americans have lost their dominant position.

On top of all of this, following the events of July 2016, Turkey, one of the central players in the Middle East, headed for geopolitical rapprochement with Russia and began to distance itself from the United States. Turkish authorities accused Washington of having played a role in the attempted coup, driving a wedge in the relationship of the long-time allies. Up to this point, Turkey, together with Israel, were seen as outposts for pushing US foreign policy interests in the Middle East. However, contradictions began to emerge over the US’ reliance on the Kurdish separatists, who are locked in a state of open conflict with the Turkish government. As a result of disagreements over this issue, America began to lose one of its most important regional partners. After the coup attempt, hostilities between Turkey and the West escalated even further: Turkey openly discussed the possibility of a withdrawal from NATO, the West countered by threatening Turkey’s ongoing EU integration process.

Unsuccessful negotiations between Washington and Ankara over the extradition of accused coup leader Fethullah Gulen only complicated matters further, as did disputes over Turkey’s detention of Pastor Andrew Branson. The contradictions eventually reached their sharpest point as the US attempted to dissuade, and ultimately, threaten Turkey over their purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

In parallel with these processes, Saudi Arabia and Qatar began to adjust their foreign policy accordingly. Realizing that the West could no longer fully control the situation in the region, Qatar began to seek support from Russia, which had successfully shown the strength of its influence in Syria.

Qatar, being a traditional ally of Turkey (predominantly via the Muslim Brotherhood), began to follow Turkey’s lead, even improving relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia, a regional adversary of Qatar, was forced to follow a similar strategy… of course, not in terms of improving relations with Iran (their main regional adversary) but by establishing ties with Russia. This is evidenced in Riyadh’s attempt to buy S-400s from Moscow against Washington’s wishes.

Thus, the United States has lost most of its regional partners, with only the invariable Israel remaining a part of the Greater Middle East project. Trump has bent over backward to keep this relationship secure, even if it means finally destroy Washington’s relations with the Islamic world altogether and instead rely on the Kurds… a plan as obvious as it is failed.

Revising the Greater Middle East Strategy

The Greater Middle East project was the guiding light of US foreign policy strategy in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for decades. As of 2011, the project grew to include the Arab nations of North Africa and Syria in particular. On a project map designed by J. Kemp and R. Harkavy, the Republic of Turkey and Kazakhstan were also included.

The project aimed to spread and deepen “democracy” in the region. The plan had two sides: the official one, which was supposed to contribute to a rise in power for states led by pro-Western reformers (initially completely unrealistic) and the unofficial one, which was to actively destabilize existing Islamic regimes, support color revolutions, riots and even bring about regime change.

Creating controlled chaos has always been a central goal of the project. This goal was realized in Libya and Iraq, but its implementation in Syria was disrupted by the effective policy of Russia and Syria’s alliance with Iran and Turkey. In addition to these major powers, Hezbollah played a critical role in disrupting Washington’s plans.

However, the plan also involved the creation of a wider arc of instability – from Lebanon and Palestine to Syria, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Iran – right up to the Afghanistan border, where NATO garrisons are located. The levers of the project were numerous: large-scale financial investments in the economies of the Middle Eastern countries, support for extremist groups, information warfare, alongside open provocations and false-flags operations. During the implementation of the project, many Middle Eastern countries underwent “color revolutions” backed by Western operators who induced controlled chaos and exploited social media networks in order to use various countries’ social, political, religious, ethnic and economic problems against them. During the “Arab Spring”, this strategy led to regime change in 3 states: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while Libya and Syria were left in a state of civil war.

The US and EU were never completely unified over the project. At one G8 summit, the Greater Middle East project was criticized by French President Jacques Chirac, arguing that Middle Eastern countries do not need this kind of forcibly exported “democracy.”

The strategy for “spreading democracy” in the region had essentially become thinly , if at all, veiled US intervention in the domestic political life of Middle Eastern states. Military assaults began in Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Syria. However, the results were less than favorable for most, resulting in floods of refugees, including representatives of terrorist organizations. Western Europe was forced to face the brunt of the backlash for Bush and Obama’s Middle Eastern adventures. The globalists and neoconservatives were united in their efforts, and although their destructive goals were achieved, the majority of Americans did not even understand why these costly and brutal operations were being prioritized.

Trump properly grasped the mood of voters and promised to curtail the Greater Middle East project. After coming to power, he at least began to move in that direction: in December 2018, he decided to withdraw all American troops from Syria.

Project Implementation Opportunities

After the wave of color revolutions and the Arab spring, some states in the Middle East realized the real threat posed by America’s evolving strategy. Before their eyes, centralized and well-ordered states were turning into ruins. It was not just a change of leadership: the very existence of entire countries was threatened. Hence, many leaders concluded the need for a new emphasis on sovereignty. For example, Turkey, an important player in the region, focused on geopolitical interaction with Russia and China, reorienting itself toward the Eurasian axis which caused a crisis in relations with the United States (the purchase of the S-400s from Russia led the United States to refuse to sell Turkey F-35 fighter jets as previously agreed).

The region around Syria was gradually cleared of extremist groups, with the remaining militants relegated to the province of Idlib and the south-east of the country. When Imran Khan became Prime Minister, Pakistan also moved further away from the United States and began to develop pro-Chinese policies while establishing strategic relations with Russia.

Looking at all of these factors, we can conclude that the Greater Middle East project has already been curtailed.

However, the American strategy only partly depends on who runs the White House. That’s why it’s important to understand the role of the so-called Deep State in US politics. The Deep State has its own logic and direction, something which Trump needs to take into account. Due to the Deep State’s influence, America continues to take advantage of a number of complex problems for the region, one critical example being its tactic of fomenting conflict through support for the forces fighting for an independent Kurdistan. This conflict in particular is shaping  up to be the “last battle” of the Greater Middle East project.

The Kurdish Map

The Greater Middle East project, according to Ralph Peters and Bernard-Henri Levy (the plan’s most important European propagandists), involves the creation of an independent “Free Kurdistan” which includes a number of territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. The creation of a single state entity through the unification of the 40 million Kurds residing in these countries could lead to a number of serious problems.

The idea of ​​creating an independent Kurdish state openly and clearly began to emerge at the end of the 19th century (the first Kurdish newspaper in Kurdish began to circulate in Cairo in 1898). At the end of the 19th century, the Kurdish people seemed as though they might actually embrace Turkey. The founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, was positively greeted among the Kurds – some Alevite groups interpreted the role of Atatürk as Mahdi, the last successor of the prophet Muhammad. However, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds did not receive their desired autonomy, which began to cause problems.

Historically, the “Kurdish map” has always been an ace-up-the-sleeve of various geopolitical powers striving for influence in the Middle East: Woodrow Wilson first supported the creation of an independent Kurdish state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the US again supporting Kurdish forces in the 1970s in an attempt to overthrow the Iraqi Ba’ath party… in 2003, it used the Kurds to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The Iranians used the Kurds against Iraq in the 70s as well, while in more recent times the Syrians have tried to use the Kurdish issue against Turkey. Israel has strongly supported the Kurdistan project in order to weaken the Arabic States.

The fragmentation of the Kurds who live in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, as well as in the Caucasus, is one of the reasons why it is currently impossible to build a single Kurdish state. The Kurdish people have historically been prone to clan and political fragmentation. There are several factors which strongly separate the various groupings of Kurds.

One complication to the formation of an independent Kurdistan is linguistic fragmentation – Soran is spoken in eastern Iraq and Iran, while Kurmanji is spoken by Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds. Some Kurds in Iraq speak yet another dialect – Zaza.

Religious issues also hinder the unification of Kurdish tribes and clans into a single state: the majority of Kurds are Sunnis (with a large number of Sufi tariqas),  while Zoroastrian styled Yazidism is less widespread. Meanwhile, In Iran, Kurds are mainly followers of Shia Islam. Yazidism is considered the Kurdish national religion, but it is too different from orthodox Islam and even from the rather syncretic Sufi Tariqas.

Yazidism is prevalent mainly among the northern Kurds – Kurmanji.

New year celebrations in Lalish, 18 April 2017. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Religion is a mixture of Zoroastrianism (manifested in the doctrine of the seven Archangels and a special attitude to fire and the sun, along with a strong caste system) with the Sufi teachings of Sheikh Abi ibn Musafir. The unexplored and closed sources of the Yazidi religion strongly complicate the Kurdish factor. The Muslim nations surrounding them often characterize the Yazidi Kurds as worshipers of Shaitan. Shiite-style Kurds (mainly residing in Iran) are a separate group, difficult to reduce to the Shiite branch of Islam as such, and are more approximately a Zoroastrian interpretation of it. Interestingly, Shiite Kurds believe that the Mahdi should appear among the Kurds, suggesting a degree of ethnocentrism.

Another important factor in assessing the chances of creating an independent Kurdistan is their cultural specificity in the Iranian context: the Kurds, unlike other Iranian peoples, maintained a nomadic lifestyle far longer than others.

We can conclude that building a unified Kurdistan is essentially a utopian idea: the rich diversity of the religious, linguistic and cultural codes would be impossible obstacles in building a traditional nation-state… and this is without taking into account the stiff opposition to the project from other states in the region, including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. For these countries, the implementation of the Greater Kurdistan project would actually mean the end of territorial integrity and a fundamental weakening of their sovereignty, and perhaps even their complete collapse (particularly given the fact that other ethnic minorities would likely want to follow the Kurdish path).

Although an independent state might be a pipe-dream, Turkey’s current tactical ally, Russia, could play a positive role in solving and regulating the Kurdish issue by other means. Being neutral in the conflict, despite historically positive relations with the Kurds, Russia could act as a mediator and guarantor of Kurdish rights while fighting to maintain the territorial integrity of existing states. Russia could assist in providing the Kurds with the possibility of cultural unification, protection and the development of their identity, but this implies the concept of a cultural and historical association rather than a political one. This association could grant the Kurds a certain degree of autonomy while preserving the territorial borders of the states in which they live.

In Iraq, a solution to the Kurdish issue is possible through the construction of a tripartite confederation between the Shiite majority, the Sunnis (with the rejection of Salafism and extremism and with the Sufis playing a predominant roe) and the Kurds (mainly Sunnis). It is also necessary to take into account Assyrian Christians, Yezidis and other ethnic-religious minorities of Iraq.

At present, Iraqi Kurds have the maximum autonomy and prerequisites for the implementation of the Kurdistan project under the leadership of Masoud Barzani. The origins of the relative independence of Iraqi Kurdistan are in American operations during the 2000s. It was during this period that Iraqi Kurds gained a maximum degree of autonomy. At the moment, Iraqi Kurdistan has its own armed forces, currency and even its own diplomats. Its main income comes from oil sales. Interestingly, the per capita GDP in Iraqi Kurdistan is quite high and exceeds that of Iran and Syria.

Moreover, in September 2017, the autonomous region’s leadership held a vote on secession from Iraq – 92.73% voters voted in favor of creating an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. Erbil’s plans in this direction have been met with negativity both in Iraq and in Turkey (despite Erdogan’s partnership with Barzani).

However, the situation in Iraq has its own difficulties and complications – the Barzani clan controls only half of the region, the second part of Iraqi Kurdistan, including the capital located in Sulaymaniyah, is controlled by the Talabani clan (the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan” party is subordinate to it). Conditional partnerships have been established between the Barzani clan and the Talabani clan, but their orientations differ due to their diverging political priorities: this also manifests itself in terms of foreign policy: The Talabani clan is focused on Iran while the Barzani clan is focused on Turkey. This situation shows that even in the strongest part of Kurdistan there are heavy internal contradictions which make state-hood impossible.

In Turkey, the project faces several particularly sharp problems, a notable one being the ruling circle’s strong views on the Kurdish issue. Erdogan came to power in part by playing on the Kurdish factor (in efforts such as the Western-supported Kurdish–Turkish peace process), but, as relations with the West worsened, he began to return to a national Kemalist course, which traditionally takes a tough anti-separatist position, seeing any compromises with separatists as weakening Turkey’s national unity. As a result, Erdogan is now pursuing a policy of suppressing the movement for Kurdish autonomy – the PKK has responded in turn by carrying out terrorist attacks and issuing ultimatums.

The most stable situation for the Kurds in the Middle East is the one in Iran. The Kurds there live in four provinces – Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Western Azerbaijan and Ilam.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The second seed of the Kurdish state is a network of associations of followers of the partisan leader Abdullah Ocalan, a left-wing politician, and the mastermind/creator of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Ocalan’s teachings are about creating a special political union of Kurds in the spirit of “democratic confederalism”. This project promotes the creation of a virtual Kurdish state, based on socialist ideas. The center of this teaching is currently Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), which has raised strong concerns from Turkey who sees the Syrian Kurds as an integral part of the PKK. Consequently, Erdogan’s policy is based on the uncompromising political rejection of the Syrian Kurds political formations, which is why he is preparing for military operations in northeastern Syria.

In Ocalan’s ideas, we find the interesting postmodern political project of creating a post-national virtual state called a “confederation” which relies on disparate associations, clans and tribes rather than a formal nation. This network-based society surprisingly coincides in its general features with postmodern theories in international relations, promoting the end of the era of nation-states and the need for a transition to a virtual structure of power. In philosophical terms, the idea is inspired by left-wing French postmodernists, in particular, the Deleuzian concept of the “rhizome” – a scattered mushroom in which there is no center, but everything is still connected in a network. The idea is manifested in the Kurdish anarcho-communist project which combines leftist ideas, postmodern philosophy and feminism. Representatives of anarchist communities inspired by globalist financier George Soros also have sympathy for the idea of a virtual rhizomatic state.

The main enemies of Ocalan’s project are Turkey and Syria (in Syria, the followers of Ocalan are based in the North – they call themselves the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria). Support for the Syrian Kurds has also come from the US government… for several years, they have sent financial assistance to the Kurds to fight Daesh terrorists. In the Western media, far more attention was paid to the Kurd’s fight against Daesh than the actual large-scale victories of the Syrian and Turkish armies.

Israel is betting heavily on the Kurds in its regional policy since the Israelis are well aware that a Kurdish state would be a fundamental problem for all of their regional opponents (Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria). Although the Kurds are Muslims, and therefore hardly enthusiastic about Israeli policy toward Palestine, the pragmatic interests of Kurdish nationalism often outweigh confessional solidarity.

Following the recent strengthening of Assad’s position in Syria, Iran’s tough opposition to US policy and Turkey’s geopolitical reversal toward multipolarity, America is also increasingly putting its money on the Kurds, literally and figuratively. In 2019, the Ministry of Defense allocated $300 million to support Kurdish forces in the war against Daesh. The United States, according to UWI sources, continues to supply arms to Kurdish militants from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) today, using them as a weapon in the struggle to overthrow Assad. A report by the Carnegie Foundation notes that Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq that successfully conducted operations against Daesh are “key US allies.” In the Western media, the Kurds are usually portrayed as “peacekeepers.”

The Americans (who are well aware of the difficulties involved) believe that the process of trying to build a Kurdish state will weaken or destroy their Middle Eastern rivals. After all, the creation of a free Kurdistan would entail the territorial division of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, creating a wide-ranging but controlled chaos.

An Alternative to the Greater Middle East Project

It has become apparent that the Kurdish issue needs to be resolved in the framework of a new project, an alternative to the globalist’s Greater Middle East strategy. It is important to create an alternative project that could rely on Ankara, while taking into account the interests of Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus. It should be Moscow, and not Washington (at least, not the American deep state) that plays the central mediating role. The project should work to preserve the territorial integrity of existing nations and even strengthen their overall sovereignty… at the same time, it is extremely important to take into account the diversity of peoples in the Middle East, and the Kurds in particular. Within this new political framework, the Kurds should have certain powers and guarantees – but at the same time, they must not be allowed to be exploited by globalist forces looking to destabilize the region to their own advantage.

In the context of the transformation of the Middle East, powers should reorient themselves towards cooperation with the Eurasian pole. China and Russia could become the key players in resolving the Kurdish issue, ensuring a balance between real Kurdish interests and the countries seeking to maintain their territorial integrity. The only way out of the current Kurdish impasse is finding a strict, consistent and integrated approach to solving the problem of Kurdish identity.

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How Syria Defeated the 2012-2019 Invasion by US & Al-Qaeda

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How Syria Defeated the 2012-2019 Invasion by US & Al-Qaeda

September 4, 2019

On August 31st, the brilliant anonymous German intelligence analyst who blogs as “Moon of Alabama” headlined “Syria – Coordinated Foreign Airstrike Kills Leaders Of Two Al-Qaeda Aligned Groups”, and he reported that,“Some three hours ago an air- or missile strike in Syria’s Idleb governorate hit a meeting of leaders of the al-Qaeda aligned Haras-al-Din and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) aka Jabhat al-Nusra. Both were killed. It is likely that leaders of other Jihadist groups were also present. The hit completely destroyed a Haras al-Din guesthouse or headquarter. The Syrian Observatory says that more than 40 people were killed in the strike. The hit will make it much easier for the Syrian army campaign to liberate Idleb governorate.

At long last, Syria’s army and Russia’s air force are no longer being threatened with World War III by the US and its allies if they proceed to destroy the tens of thousands of Al-Qaida-led jihadists whom the US had helped to train and arm (and had been protecting in Syria ever since December 2012) in order to overthrow Syria’s non-sectarian Government and replace it by a fundamentalist-Sunni Government which the royal Sauds who own Saudi Arabia would appoint. All throughout that war, those Al-Qaeda-led ‘moderate rebels’ had been organized from the governate or province of Idlib (or Idleb). But now, most (if not all) of their leadership are dead.

Turkey’s leader Tayyip Erdogan had hoped that he would be allowed both by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and by the United States’ Donald Trump to grab for Turkey at least part of Idlib province from Syria. But now, he is instead either participating in, or else allowing, Syria’s army and Russia’s air force, to slaughter Idlib’s jihadists and restore that province to Syria. On 9 September 2018, Russia and Iran had granted Turkey a temporary control over Idlib, and Erdogan then tried to seize it permanently, but finally he has given it up and is allowing Idlib to become restored to Syria. This turn-around signals Syria’s victory against its enemies; it’s the war’s watershed event.

Here is the history of how all that happened and how Syria is finally a huge and crucial step closer to winning its war against the invaders (which had originally been mainly Al Qaeda, US, Turkey, Qatar, and the Sauds,, but more recently has been onlyAl Qaeda and US):

reported, back on 10 September 2018, that:

Right now, the Trump Administration has committed itself to prohibiting Syria (and its allies) from retaking control of Idlib, which is the only province that was more than 90% in favor of Al Qaeda and of ISIS and against the Government, at the start of the ‘civil war’ in Syria. Idlib is even more pro-jihadist now, because almost all of the surviving jihadists in Syria have sought refuge there — and the Government freely has bussed them there, in order to minimize the amount of “human shield” hostage-taking by them in the other provinces. Countless innocent lives were saved this way.

Both Democratic and Republican US federal officials and former officials are overwhelmingly supportive of US President Trump’s newly announced determination to prohibit Syria from retaking control of that heavily jihadist province, and they state such things about Idlib as:

It has become a dumping ground for some of the hardcore jihadists who were not prepared to settle for some of the forced agreements that took place, the forced surrenders that took place elsewhere. … Where do people go when they’ve reached the last place that they can go? What’s the refuge after the last refuge? That’s the tragedy that they face.

That happened to be an Obama Administration official expressing support for the jihadists, and when he was asked by his interviewer “Did the world fail Syria?” he answered “Sure. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, the first person who failed Syria was President Assad himself.”

Idlib city, incidentally, had also been the most active in starting Syria’s ‘civil war’, back on 10 March 2012 (that’s a news-report by Qatar, which had actually helped to finance the jihadists, whom it lionized as freedom-fighters, and Qatar had also helped the CIA to establish Al Qaeda in Syria). Idlib city is where the peaceful phase of the “Arab Spring” uprisings transformed (largely through that CIA, Qatari, Saudi, and Turkish, assistance) into an armed rebellion to overthrow the nation’s non-sectarian Government, because that’s where the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda was centered. On 29 July 2012, the New York Times headlined “As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role” and reported that “Idlib Province, the northern Syrian region where resistance fighters control the most territory, is the prime example.” (Note the euphemism there, “resistance fighters,” not “jihadists,” nor “terrorists.” That’s how propaganda is written. But this time, the editors had slipped up, and used the honest “Jihadists” in their headline. However, their news-report said that these were only “homegrown Muslim jihadists,” though thousands of jihadists at that time were actually already streaming into Idlib from around the world. Furthermore, Obama lied and said that the people he was helping (the al-Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and the al-Thani family who own Qatar) to arm, were not jihadists, and he was never called-out on that very blatant ongoing lie.) But the US-allied, Saud-and-Thani-financed, massive arms-shipments, to the Al-Qaeda-led forces in Syria, didn’t start arriving there until March 2013, around a year after that start. And, then, in April 2013, the EU agreed with the US team to buy all the (of course black-market) oil it could that “the rebels” in Syria’s oil region around Deir Ezzor were stealing from Syria, so as to help “the rebels” to expand their control in Syria and thus to further weaken Syria’s Government. (The “rebels,” in that region of Syria, happened to be ISIS, not Al Qaeda, but the US team’s primary target to help destroy was actually Syria, and never ISIS. In fact, the US didn’t even start bombing ISIS there until after Russia had already started doing that on 30 September 2015.)

A week following my 10 September 2018 news-report, I reported, September 17th, about how Erdogan, Putin, and Iran’s Rouhani, had dealt with the US alliance’s threat of going to war against Russia in Syrian territory if Russia and Syria were to attack the jihadists in Idlib:

As I recommended in a post on September 10th, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan jointly announced on September 17th, “We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20km wide,” which compares to the Korean DMZ’s 4-km width. I had had in mind the Korean experience, but obviously Putin and Erdogan are much better-informed about the situation than I am, and they have chosen a DMZ that’s four to five times wider. In any case, the consequences of such a decision will be momentous, unless US President Donald Trump is so determined for there to be World War III as to stop at nothing in order to force it to happen no matter what Russia does or doesn’t do.

What the Putin-Erdogan DMZ decision means is that the 50,000 Turkish troops who now are occupying Idlib province of Syria will take control over that land, and will thus have the responsibility over the largest concentration of jihadists anywhere on the planet: Idlib. It contains the surviving Syrian Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters, including all of the ones throughout Syria who surrendered to the Syrian Army rather than be shot dead on the spot by Government forces.

However, after Erdogan got control over Idlib, he double-crossed Putin and Rouhani, by trying to solidify his control not only over Idlib but over adjoining portions of Syria, I headlined on 14 July 2019 “Turkey Will Get a Chunk of Syria: An Advantage of Being in NATO”, and reported:

Turkey is already starting to build infrastructure even immediately to the north and east of Idlib in order to stake its claim to a yet larger portion of Syria than just Idlib. This might not have been part of the deal that was worked out by Russia’s Putin, Iran’s Rouhani, and Turkey’s Erdogan, in Tehran, on 9 September 2018, which agreement allowed Turkey only to take over — and only on a temporary basis — Idlib province, which is by far the most pro-jihadist (and the most anti-Assad) of Syria’s 14 provinces. Turkey was instead supposed to hold it only temporarily, but the exact terms of the Turkey-Russia-Iran agreement have never been publicly disclosed.

Turkey was building in those adjoining Syrian areas not only facilities from two Turkish universities but also a highway to extend into the large region of Syria to the east that was controlled by Kurdish separatist forces which were under US protection. In July 2019, Erdogan seems to have been hoping that Trump would allow Turkey to attack those Kurdish proxy-forces of the US.

For whatever reason, that outcome, which was hoped for by Erdogan, turned out not to be realized. Perhaps Trump decided that if the separatist Kurds in Syria were going to be allowed to be destroyed, then Assad should be the person who would allow it, not he; and, therefore, if Erdogan would get such a go-ahead, the blame for it would belong to Assad, and not to America’s President.

Given the way Assad has behaved in the past — since he has always sought Syrian unity — the likely outcome, in the Kurdish Syrian areas, will be not a Syrian war against Kurds, but instead some degree of federal autonomy there, so long as that would be acceptable also to Erdogan. If Erdogan decides to prohibit any degree of Kurdish autonomy across the border in Syria as posing a danger to Turkish unity, then Assad will probably try (as much as he otherwise can) to accommodate the Kurds without any such autonomy, just like in the non-Kurdish parts of the unitary nation of Syria. Otherwise, Kurdish separatist sentiment will only continue in Syria, just as it does in Turkey and Iraq. The US has backed Kurdish separatism all along, and might continue that in the future (such as after the November 2020 US Presidential election).

Finally, there seems to be the light of peace at the end of the nightmarish eight-year invasion of Syria by the US and its national (such as Turkey-Jordan-Qatar-Saud-Israel) and proxy (such as jihadist and Kurdish) allies. Matters finally are turning for the better in Syria. The US finally appears to accept it. America’s threat, of starting WW III if Russia and Syria try to destroy the jihadists who have become collected in Syria’s Idlib province, seems no longer to pertain. Maybe this is because Trump wants to be re-elected in 2020. If that’s the reason, then perhaps after November of 2020, the US regime’s war against Syria will resume. This is one reason why every US Presidential candidate ought to be incessantly asked what his/her position is regarding the US regime’s long refrain, “Assad must go”, and regarding continued sanctions against Syria, and regarding restitution to Syria to restore that nation from the US-led war against it. Those questions would reveal whether all of the candidates are really just more of the same actual imperialistic (or “neocon”) policies, or whether, perhaps, one of them is better than that. Putin has made his commitments. What are theirs? Will they accept peace with Russia, and with Iran? If America were a democracy, its public would be informed about such matters — especially before the November 2020 ‘elections’, and not merely after they are already over.

US Bases in the Region: The Precious Catch

By Staff

A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure

Global Research, August 03, 2019
Global Research 8 July 2019

Updated, July 21, 2019

In this article, we examine America’s war strategies, including its ability to launch an all out theater war against the Islamic Republic on Iran.

A follow-up article will focus on the History of US War Plans against Iran as well as the complexities underlying the Structure of Military Alliances. 

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Under present conditions, an Iraq style all out Blitzkrieg involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval  forces is an impossibility. 

For several reasons. US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened largely as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.

The US does not have the ability to carry out such a project.

There are two main factors which determine America’s military agenda in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

1. Iran’s Military

There is the issue of Iran’s military capabilities (ground forces, navy, air force, missile defense), namely its ability to effectively resist and respond to an all out conventional war involving the deployment of US and Allied forces. Within the realm of conventional warfare,  Iran has sizeable military capabilities. Iran is to acquire Russia’s S400 state of the art air defense system.

Iran is ranked as “a major military power” in the Middle East, with an estimated 534,000 active personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It has advanced ballistic missile capabilities as well as a national defense industry. In the case of a US air attack, Iran would target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf.

2. Evolving Structure of Military Alliances

The second consideration has to do with the evolving structure of military alliances (2003-2019) which is largely to the detriment of the United States.

Several of America’s staunchest allies are sleeping with the enemy.

Countries which have borders with Iran including Turkey and Pakistan have military cooperation agreements with Iran. While this in itself excludes the possibility of a ground war, it also affects the planning of US and allied naval and air operations.

Until recently both Turkey (NATO heavyweight) and Pakistan were among America’s faithful allies, hosting US military bases.

From a broader military standpoint, Turkey is actively cooperating with both Iran and Russia. Moreover, Ankara has acquired (July 12, 2019) ahead of schedule Russia’s state of the art S-400 air defense system while de facto opting out from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system.

Needless to say the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is in crisis. Turkey’s exit from NATO is almost de facto. America can no longer rely on its staunchest allies. Moreover, US and Turkish supported militia are fighting one another in Syria.

Moreover, several NATO member states have taken a firm stance against Washington’s Iran policy:  “European allies are grappling with mounting disagreements over foreign policy and growing irritated with Washington’s arrogant leadership style.”

“The most important manifestation of growing European discontent with U.S. leadership is the move by France and other powers to create an independent, “Europeans only” defense capability” (See National Interest, May 24, 2019)

Iraq has also indicated that it will not cooperate with the US in the case of a ground war against Iran.

Under present conditions, none of Iran’s neigbouring states including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia would allow US-Allied ground forces to transit through their territory. Neither would they cooperate with the US in the conduct of an air war.

In recent developments, Azerbaijan which in the wake of the Cold War became a US ally as well as a member of NATO’s partnership for peace has changed sides. The earlier US-Azeri military cooperation agreements are virtually defunct including the post-Soviet GUAM military alliance (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).

Bilateral military and intelligence agreements between Iran and Azerbaijan were signed in December 2018. In turn, Iran collaborates extensively with Turkmenistan. With regard to Afghanistan, the internal situation with the Taliban controlling a large part of Afghan territory, would not favor a large scale deployment of US and allied ground forces on the Iran-Afghan border.


Visibly, the policy of strategic encirclement against Iran formulated in the wake of the Iraq war (2003) is no longer functional. Iran has friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which previously were within the US sphere of influence.

The US is increasingly isolated in the Middle East and does not have the support of its NATO allies

Under these conditions, a major conventional theater war by the US involving the deployment of ground forces would be suicide.

This does not mean, however, that war will not take place. In some regards, with the advances in military technologies, an Iraq-style war is obsolete.

We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads. Other diabolical forms of military intervention directed against Iran are currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon. These include:

  • various forms of “limited warfare”, ie. targeted missile attacks,
  • US and Allied support of terrorist paramilitary groups
  • so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons),
  • acts of political destabilization and color revolutions
  • false flag attacks and military threats,
  • sabotage, confiscation of financial assets, extensive economic sanctions,
  • electromagnetic and climatic warfare, environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)
  • cyberwarfare
  • chemical and biological warfare.

US Central Command Forward Headquarters Located in Enemy Territory

Another consideration has to do with the crisis within the US Command structure.

USCENTCOM is the theater-level Combatant Command for all operations in the broader Middle East region extending from Afghanistan to North Africa. It is the most important Combat Command of the Unified Command structure. It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It is also involved in Syria.

In the case of a war with Iran, operations in the Middle East would be coordinated by US Central Command with headquarters in Tampa, Florida in permanent liaison with its forward command headquarters in Qatar.

In late June 2019, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone President Trump “called off the swiftly planned military strikes on Iran” while intimating in his tweet that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM), confirmed the deployment of the US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters to the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, intended to “defend American forces and interests” in the region against Iran. (See Michael Welch, Persian Peril, Global Research, June 30, 2019). Sounds scary?

“The base is technically Qatari property playing host to the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.” With 11,000 US military personnel, it is described as “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet”   (Washington Times). Al-Udeid also hosts the US Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, considered to be “America’s most vital overseas air command”.

What both the media and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s forward Middle East headquarters at the al-Udeid military base close to Doha de facto “lies in enemy territory”

Since the May 2017 split of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qatar has become a staunch ally of both Iran and Turkey (which is also an ally of Iran). While they have no “official” military cooperation agreement with Iran, they share in joint ownership with Iran the largest Worldwide maritime gas fields (see map below).

The split of the GCC has led to a shift in military alliances: In May 2017 Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border. In turn Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE have blocked air transportation as well as commercial maritime shipments to Doha.

What is unfolding since May 2017 is a shift in Qatar’s trade routes with the establishment of bilateral agreements with Iran, Turkey as well as Pakistan. In this regard, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves.

The Al-Udeid base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar. Turkey is no longer an ally of the US. Turkish proxy forces in Syria are fighting US supported militia.

Turkey is now aligned with Russia and Iran. Ankara has now confirmed that it will be acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system which requires military cooperation with Moscow.

Qatar is swarming with Iranian businessmen, security personnel and experts in the oil and gas industry (with possible links to Iran intelligence?), not to mention the presence of Russian and Chinese personnel.

Question. How on earth can you launch a war on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran?

From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric underlying the official US-Qatar military relationship, The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to both the Pentagon and NATO, confirms that Qatar is now a firm ally of both Iran and Turkey:

Put simply, for Qatar to maintain its independence, Doha will have essentially no choice but to maintain its strong partnership with Turkey, which has been an important ally from the perspective of military support and food security, as well as Iran. The odds are good that Iranian-Qatari ties will continue to strengthen even if Tehran and Doha agree to disagree on certain issues … On June 15 [2019], President Hassan Rouhani emphasizedthat improving relations with Qatar is a high priority for Iranian policymakers. … Rouhani told the Qatari emir that “stability and security of regional countries are intertwined” and Qatar’s head of state, in turn, stressed that Doha seeks a stronger partnership with the Islamic Republic. (Atlantic Council, June 2019, emphasis added)

What this latest statement by the Atlantic Council suggests is while Qatar hosts USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters, Iran and Qatar are (unofficially) collaborating in the area of “security” (i e. intelligence and military cooperation).

Sloppy military planning, sloppy US foreign policy? sloppy intelligence?

Trump’s statement confirms that they are planning to launch the war against Iran from their forward US Centcom headquarters at the Al Udeid military base, located in enemy territory. Is it rhetoric or sheer stupidity?

The Split of the GCC

The split of the GCC has resulted in the creation of a so-called Iran-Turkey-Qatar axis which has contributed to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East. While Turkey has entered into a military cooperation with Russia, Pakistan is allied with China. And Pakistan has become a major partner of Qatar.

Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map above). Moreover, since the GCC split-up Kuwait is no longer aligned Saudi Arabia. It nonetheless maintains a close relationship with Washington. Kuwait hosts seven active US military facilities, the most important of which is Camp Doha.

Needless to say, the May 2017 split of the GCC has undermined Trump’s resolve to create an “Arab NATO” (overseen by Saudi Arabia) directed against Iran. This project is virtually defunct, following Egypt’s withdrawal in April 2019.

The Gulf of Oman 

With the 2017 split up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman appears to be aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf are potentially in jeopardy.

The Fifth Fleet is under the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). (NAVCENT’s area of responsibility consists of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea).

With the split up of the GCC, Oman is now aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf would potentially be in jeopardy.

The strait of Hormuz which constitutes the entry point to the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman is controlled by Iran and the Sultanate of Oman (see map, Oman territory at the tip of the Strait).

The width of the strait at one point is of the order of 39 km. All major vessels must transit through Iran and/or Oman territorial waters, under so-called customary transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

More generally, the structure of alliances is in jeopardy. The US cannot reasonably wage a full-fledged conventional theatre war on Iran without the support of its longstanding allies which are now “sleeping with the enemy”.

Trump’s Fractured “Arab NATO”. History of the Split up of the GCC. 

Amidst the collapse of  America’s sphere of influence in the Middle East, Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) consisted at the outset of his presidency in an improvised attempt to rebuild the structure of military alliances. What the Trump administration had in mind was the formation of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), or  “Arab NATO”. This US-sponsored blueprint was slated to include Egypt and Jordan together with the six member states of the GCC.

The draft of the MESA Alliance had been prepared in Washington prior to Trump’s historic May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia, meeting up with King Salman, leaders of the GCC as well as “more than 50 high-ranking officials from the Arab and Islamic worlds in an unprecedented US-Islamic summit.”

The Riyadh Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the summit on May 21, 2017, announced the intention to establish MESA in Riyadh.” (Arab News, February 19, 2019). The stated mandate of the “Arab NATO”  was to “to combat Iranian hegemony” in the Middle East.

Two days later on May 23, 2017 following this historic meeting, Saudi Arabia ordered the blockade of Qatar, called for an embargo and suspension of diplomatic relations with Doha, on the grounds that The Emir of Qatar was allegedly collaborating with Tehran.

What was the hidden agenda? No doubt it had already been decided upon in Riyadh on May 21, 2017  with the tacit approval of US officials.

The  plan was to exclude Qatar from the proposed MESA Alliance and the GCC, while maintaining the GCC intact.

What happened was a Saudi embargo on Qatar (with the unofficial approval of Washington) which resulted in the   fracture of the GCC with Oman and Kuwait siding with Qatar. In other words,  the GCC was split down the middle. Saudi Arabia was weakened and the “Arab NATO” blueprint was defunct from the very outset.


May 21, 2017: US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh

May 23, 2017: The blockade and embargo of Qatar following alleged statements by the Emir of Qatar. Was this event staged?

June 5, 2019: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt sever diplomatic relations, cut off land, air and sea transportation with Qatar  accusing it of  supporting Iran.

June 7, 2017, Turkey’s parliament pass legislation allowing Turkish troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar

January 2018, Qatar initiates talks with Russia with a view to acquiring Russia’s  S-400 air defense system.


Flash forward to mid-April 2019: Trump is back in Riyadh: This time the Saudi Monarchy was entrusted by Washington to formally launching the failed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) (first formulated in 2017) despite the fact that three of the invited GCC member states, namely Kuwait, Oman and Qatar were committed to the normalization of relations with Iran. In turn, the Egyptian government of President Sisi decided to boycott the Riyadh summit and withdraw from the “Arab NATO” proposal. Cairo also clarified its position vis a vis Tehran.  Egypt firmly objected to Trump’s plan because it “would increase tensions with Iran”.

Trump’s objective was to create an “Arab Block”. What he got in return was a truncated MESA “Arab Block” made up of a fractured GCC with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egypt withdraws.

Kuwait and Oman officially took a neutral stance.

Qatar sided with the enemy, thereby further jeopardizing America’s sphere of influence in the Persian Gulf.

An utter geopolitical failure. What kind of alliance is that.

And US Central Command’s Forward headquarters is still located in Qatar despite the fact that two years earlier on May 23, 2017, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was accused by Saudi Arabia and the UAE of collaborating with Iran.

It is unclear who gave the order to impose the embargo on Qatar. Saudi Arabia would not have taken that decision without consulting Washington. Visibly, Washington’s intent was to create an Arab NATO Alliance (An Arab Block) directed against Iran “to do the dirty work for us”.

Trump and the Emir of Qatar, UN General Assembly, October 2017, White House photo

The rest is history, the Pentagon decided to maintain US Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, which happens to be Iran’s closest ally and partner.

A foreign policy blunder? Establishing your “official” headquarters in enemy territory, while “unofficially” redeploying part of the war planes, military personnel and command functions to other locations (e.g. in Saudi Arabia)?

No press reports, no questions in the US Congress. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Trump’s war on Iran, if it were to be carried out, would be conducted from the territory of Iran’s closest ally.

An impossibility?

***

Part II of this essay focuses on the history and contradictions of US war preparations directed against Iran starting in 1995 as well as the evolution of military alliances.

*

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Trump Warns Again He Could “Kill Millions of Afghans”!

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump has once again warned that American troops could win the Afghan war within days by killing millions across the conflict-ridden country.

Trump made the warning on Friday as he hailed the “progress” made in peace talks between his administration and the Taliban militant group.

“We’ve made a lot of progress. We’re talking,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

He further claimed that US forces, bogged down in the country for nearly two decades, “could win Afghanistan in two days or three days or four days, but I’m not looking to kill 10 million people.”

In a similar comment in July, Trump spoke about 10 million casualties but this time he specified that no nuclear weapons would be involved, saying, “I’m talking conventional.”

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.  While the invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country, it has failed to eliminate the militant group. Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] has also emerged in the Asian country more recently.

The US has been attempting to negotiate an alleged peace deal with the Taliban militant group, which now controls or influences about half of Afghanistan’s territory.

The Afghan government is left out of the talks between the Taliban and the US. The Taliban say they don’t recognize the Kabul government and that they will not hold talks with it unless all foreign forces exit the country.

Meanwhile, about 20,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, are based in Afghanistan.

Washington representatives and those of the Taliban are soon expected to begin their eighth round of talks in the Qatari capital of Doha to reach an agreement on ending the Afghan war, with the US saying it wants to see a deal inked by September 1.

According to a UN report released this week, at least 1,366 civilians were killed and another 2,446 wounded during the first six months of 2019 as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Aleppo: New Atrocities by Erdogan, Qatar, & NATO Terrorists

 

aleppo bombing

Another savage attack against Aleppo by terrorists supported by Erdogan, Qatar, US, EU — and now also officially by the Holy See — murder 3, injured 15, and destroyed cars and property, 24 July. Two of the martyrs are children. This carnage follows the terror attacks of Monday.

The Nusra faction of al Qaeda against Syria — Qatar’s faction of wahhabi savages — fired rockets into Aleppo from al Rashidin, causing death and destruction in al Hamadaniyah and Seif al Dawlah neighborhoods.

Sohayb Masri@Sohayb_Masri1

Video of armed terrorist groups targeting the “Hamdania” district of with rocket-propelled grenades

Embedded video

See Sohayb Masri’s other Tweets

In April 2017 a deal brokered with Qatar by Iran to exchange imprisoned terrorists for civilian kidnap victims ended in a massacre of upwards of 130, and the kidnapping of dozens of Syrian children. Qatar subsequently offered security to OPCW investigators to enter Khan Sheikhoun, but they declined.

The Syrian Arab Army responded by destroying rocket launch pads and an undisclosed amount of human garbage.

It is unlikely Pope Francis has been able to send another diplomatic letter to President Assad at this time.

Also on 24 July, Syrian sappers inspecting liberated areas of Deir Ezzor discovered an underground cache in al Mayadeen Bayida desert area, of more than 1,000 (one thousand) mortars left behind by retreating terrorists.

deir ezzor mortars

Aleppo continues to rebuild its infrastructure.

— Miri Wood

Shifting Alliances: Is Turkey Now “Officially” an Ally of Russia? Acquires Russia’s S-400. Exit from NATO Imminent?

Global Research, July 13, 2019

Turkey is taking delivery of Russia’s S 400 missile defence system. What this signifies is that Turkey and Russia are now “officially” allies. The first shipment of the S-400 landed in Ankara on July 12, according to Turkey’s Ministry of Defense. (see image below)

Two more shipments are due, with the third delivery of “over 120 anti-aircraft missiles of various types… [scheduled] tentatively at the end of the summer, by sea.” 

Reports confirm that the “Turkish S-400 operators will travel to Russia for training in July and August. About 20 Turkish servicemen underwent training at a Russian training center in May and June, …”(CNN, July 12, 2019)

How will the US respond?

In all likelihood, Erdogan’s presidency will be the object of an attempted regime change, not to mention ongoing financial reprisals directed against the Turkish Lira as well as economic sanctions. 

Bloomberg screenshot

What is unfolding is an all out crisis in the structure of military alliances. Turkey cannot reasonably retain its NATO membership while at the same time entering into a military cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation. 

Reminiscent of World War I, shifting alliances and the structure of military coalitions are crucial determinants of history.

Today’s military alliances, including “cross-cutting coalitions” between “Great Powers” are markedly different and exceedingly more complex than those pertaining to World War I. (i.e  the confrontation between “The Triple Entente” and “the Triple Alliance”).

Turkey’s de facto exit from NATO points to a historical shift in the structure of military alliances which could potentially contribute to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East as well as creating conditions which could lead to a breakup of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

NATO constitutes a formidable military force composed of 29 member states, which is largely controlled by the Pentagon. It is a military coalition and an instrument of modern warfare. It constitutes a threat to global security and World peace. 

Divisions within the Atlantic Alliance could take the form of one or more member states deciding to “Exit NATO”. Inevitably an NATO-Exit movement would weaken the unfolding consensus imposed by our governments which at the this juncture in our history consists in threatening to wage a pre-emptive war against Iran and the Russian Federation.  

Sleeping with the Enemy

While Turkey is still “officially” a member of NATO, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (right) has for the last two years been developing “friendly relations” with two of America’s staunchest enemies, namely Iran and Russia.

US-Turkey military cooperation (including US air force bases in Turkey) dates back to the Cold War.

Turkey by a long shot has the largest conventional forces (after the US) within NATO outpacing France, Britain and Germany,

#NATOExit

Broadly speaking, the US-Turkey rift and its implications for the Atlantic Alliance have sofar been ignored or trivialized by the media.

NATO is potentially in a shambles. The delivery of the S-400 almost a year ahead of schedule will contribute to further destabilising the structure of  military alliances to the detriment of Washington.

Turkey is also an ally of Iran. Inevitably, Turkey’s possession of the S-400 will affect ongoing US war plans directed against Iran (which will also be acquiring the s-400).

Does this mean that Turkey which is a NATO member state will withdraw from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system? Such a decision is tantamount to NATOExit.

Moreover, Turkey’s long-standing alliance with Israel is no longer functional. In turn, The US-Turkey-Israel “Triple Alliance” is defunct.

In 1993, Israel and Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding leading to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”

Image on the right: Sharon and Erdogan in 2004

The triple alliance was also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises.”  These military cooperation ties with NATO were viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.”

The “triple alliance” linking the US, Israel and Turkey was coordinated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was an integrated and coordinated military command structure pertaining to the broader Middle East. It was based on close bilateral US military ties respectively with Israel and Turkey, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. In this regard, Israel and Turkey were close partners with the US in planned aerial attacks on Iran since 2005. (See Michel Chossudovsky, May 2005). Needless to say, that triple alliance is defunct.

With Turkey siding with Iran and Russia, it would be “suicide” for US-Israel to even consider waging aerial attacks on Iran.

Moreover, the NATO-Israel 2005 military cooperation agreement which relied heavily on the role of Turkey is dysfunctional. What this means is that US-Israeli threats directed against Iran are no longer supported by Turkey which has entered into an alliance of convenience with Iran.

The broader Realignment of Military alliances

The shift in military alliances is not limited to Turkey. Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map below)

The Al-Udeid military base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East, which hosts US Central Command’s forward headquarters in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

A profound shift in geopolitical alliances is also occurring in South Asia with the instatement in 2017 of both India and Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).  Inevitably, this historic shift constitutes a blow against Washington, which has defense and trade agreements with both Pakistan and India. “While India remains firmly aligned with Washington, America’s political stranglehold on Pakistan (through military and intelligence agreements) has been weakened as a result of Pakistan’s trade and investment deals with China.”  (Michel Chossudovsky, August 1, 2017)

In other words, this enlargement of the SCO weakens America’s hegemonic ambitions in both South Asia and the broader Eurasian region. It has a bearing on energy pipeline routes, transport corridors, borders and mutual security and maritime rights.

Pakistan is the gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, where US influence has been weakened to the benefit of China, Iran and Turkey. China is involved in major investments in mining, not to mention the development of transport routes which seek the integration of Afghanistan into Western China.

Where does Turkey fit in? Turkey is increasingly part of the Eurasian project dominated by China and Russia. In 2017-18, Erdogan had several meetings with both president Xi-Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Turkey is currently a dialogue partner of the SCO.

The Antiwar Movement: #NATOExit People’s Movement

Of crucial significance, the crisis within NATO constitutes a historic opportunity to develop a #NATOExit people’s movement across Europe and North America, a people’s movement pressuring governments to withdraw from the Atlantic Alliance, a movement to eventually dismantle and abolish the military and political apparatus of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Image right; logo of the No Guerra No Nato Florence Movement to Exit NATO

Part of this updated article was taken from an earlier text by the author.

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