IGNORING THE MIDDLE EAST AT ONE’S PERIL: TURKEY PLAYS GAMES IN NATO

15.05.2022

Written by James M. Dorsey

Amid speculation about a reduced US military commitment to security in the Middle East, Turkey has spotlighted the region’s ability to act as a disruptive force if its interests are neglected.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off alarm bells this week, declaring that he was not “positive” about possible Finnish and Swedish applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO membership is contingent on a unanimous vote in favour by the organisation’s 30 members. Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.

The vast majority of NATO members appear to endorse Finnish and Swedish membership. NATO members hope to approve the applications at a summit next month.

A potential Turkish veto would complicate efforts to maintain trans-Atlantic unity in the face of the Russian invasion.

Mr. Erdogan’s pressure tactics mirror the maneuvers of his fellow strongman, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Mr. Orban threatens European Union unity by resisting a bloc-wide boycott of Russian energy.

Earlier, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rejected US requests to raise oil production in an effort to lower prices and help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

The two Gulf states appear to have since sought to quietly backtrack on their refusal. In late April, France’s TotalEnergies chartered a tanker to load Abu Dhabi crude in early May for Europe, the first such shipment in two years.

Saudi Arabia has quietly used its regional pricing mechanisms to redirect from Asia to Europe Arab “medium,” the Saudi crude that is the closest substitute for the main Russian export blend, Urals, for which European refineries are configured.

Mr. Erdogan linked his NATO objection to alleged Finnish and Swedish support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey in support of Kurds’ national, ethnic, and cultural rights. Kurds account for up to 20 per cent of the country’s 84 million population.

Turkey has recently pounded PKK positions in northern Iraq in a military operation named Operation Claw Lock.

Turkey is at odds with the United States over American support for Syrian Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State. Turkey asserts that America’s Syrian Kurdish allies are aligned with the PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey opposes a US decision this week to exempt from sanctions against Syria regions controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“This is a selective and discriminatory move,” Mr. Cavusoglu said, noting that the exemption did not include Kurdish areas of Syria controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies.

Referring to the NATO membership applications, Mr. Erdogan charged that “Scandinavian countries are like some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations. They’re even in parliament.”

Mr. Erdogan’s objections relate primarily to Sweden, with Finland risking becoming collateral damage.

Sweden is home to a significant Kurdish community and hosts Europe’s top Kurdish soccer team that empathises with the PKK and Turkish Kurdish aspirations. In addition, six Swedish members of parliament are ethnic Kurds.

Turkey scholar Howard Eissenstat suggested that Turkey’s NATO objection may be a turning point. “Much of Turkey’s strategic flexibility has come from the fact that its priorities are seen as peripheral issues for its most important Western allies. Finnish and Swedish entry into NATO, in the current context, absolutely not peripheral,” Mr. Eissenstat tweeted.

The Turkish objection demonstrates the Middle East’s potential to derail US and European policy in other parts of the world.

Middle Eastern states walk a fine line when using their potential to disrupt to achieve political goals of their own. The cautious backtracking on Ukraine-related oil supplies demonstrates the limits and/or risks of Middle Eastern brinkmanship.

So does the fact that Ukraine has moved NATO’s center of gravity to northern Europe and away from its southern flank, which Turkey anchors.

Moreover, Turkey risks endangering significant improvements in its long-strained relations with the United States.

Turkish mediation in the Ukraine crisis and military support for Ukraine prompted US President Joe Biden to move ahead with plans to upgrade Turkey’s fleet of F-16 fighter planes and discuss selling it newer, advanced F-16 models even though Turkey has neither condemned Russia nor imposed sanctions.

Some analysts suggest Turkey may use its objection to regain access to the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program. The US cancelled in 2019 a sale of the jet to Turkey after the NATO member acquired Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defence system.

Mr. Erdogan has “done this kind of tactic before. He will use it as leverage to get a good deal for Turkey,” said retired US Navy Admiral James Foggo, dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy.

A top aide to Mr. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, appeared to confirm Mr. Foggo’s analysis. “We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,” Mr. Kalin said, referring to the Turkish leader’s NATO remarks. “Of course, we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with Swedish counterparts.”

Spelling out Turkish demands, Mr. Kalin went on to say that “what needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organisations, individuals and other types of presence to…exist in those countries.”

Mr. Erdogan’s brinkmanship may have its limits, but it illustrates that one ignores the Middle East at one’s peril.

However, engaging Middle Eastern autocrats does not necessarily mean ignoring their rampant violations of human rights and repression of freedoms.

For the United States and Europe, the trick will be developing a policy that balances accommodating autocrats’, at times, disruptive demands, often aimed at ensuring regime survival, with the need to remain loyal to democratic values amid a struggle over whose values will underwrite a 21st-century world order.

However, that would require a degree of creative policymaking and diplomacy that seems to be a rare commodity.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

A podcast version is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, SpotifySpreaker, and Podbean.

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Interpreting Turkey’s Opposition To Finland & Sweden’s Planned NATO Membership

14 MAY 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The more that President Erdogan exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power.

Turkish President Erdogan said on Friday that his country isn’t supportive of Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership because of their governments’ backing of the terrorist-designated PKK. This Kurdish separatist group is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks across the decades, but its Syrian wing, the YPG, is regarded by the US-led West as a key ally against ISIS. Ankara and Washington’s polar opposite stances towards that branch are the reason why they began falling out in the middle of the last decade. This issue has once again come to the fore in light of two recent events.

The first is of course Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership, while the second is the US’ decision to waive its anti-Syrian sanctions in the YPG-controlled northeast of the Arab Republic. President Erdogan also expressed his opposition to that move on the same day that he condemned those two countries’ support of Kurdish terrorists. These developments created the opportunity for the Turkish leader to once again raise awareness of his country’s stance towards that group and its regional branches in the hopes of pressuring the US-led West to distance themselves from it.

The challenge that he’s forced to confront, however, is that his mutual defense ally considers terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists to be more important regional partners than his own country. The reason for this is that its Syrian branch serves as the US’ proxies for continuing its military occupation of the agriculturally and energy-rich northeastern region as well as its means for manipulating its stalled constitutional reform process. From the perspective of the US’ grand strategic interests, these objectives are considered to take precedence over retaining ties with its decades-long Turkish ally.

Although it’ll never be openly admitted, America might also be preparing to employ these same Kurdish groups as anti-Turkish proxies in the scenario that those countries drift further apart and Washington considers it advantageous to utilize them as a means for punishing its wayward ally. It’s this possibility that concerns Turkish strategists the most since it could prove to be extremely destabilizing for their geostrategically positioned civilization-state. That’s why President Erdogan uses every relevant opportunity to pressure the US-led West to cut off its Kurdish proxies.

It’s extremely unlikely that this well-intended campaign against America will ever succeed though, but it at the very least raises maximum global awareness about its unprincipled policy of literally endangering the security of its decades-long mutual defense ally all for the purpose of advancing its interests vis a vis Syria at Turkey’s expense. Furthermore, it should go without saying that the US’ European partners like Finland and Sweden are unlikely to change their governments’ policy of wholeheartedly supporting terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists because Washington exercises hegemonic influence over them.

Even so, Turkey can still hit those two countries where it hurts the most by continuing to talk about their scandalous support of the PKK. That’s because a disproportionate share of their influence is derived from their soft power, particularly the impression that they’re supposedly neutral, principled, and peaceful states that are shining examples in all respects for the entire international community. The dark reality, however, is that their backing of the PKK exposes them as American stooges. Moreover, it also suggests that their so-called “humanitarian policies” are actually anti-humanitarian to the core.

Finland and Sweden essentially consider the Kurds to be a so-called “oppressed minority” in West Asia, including in Turkey. Their unipolar liberal-globalist worldview is such that they believe that those people deserve the US-led West’s full support as a result, to which end they aim to disguise their tacit endorsement of those separatist-terrorist Kurdish groups like the PKK on a so-called “humanitarian basis”. Its Syrian wing’s rebranding as anti-ISIS fighters who saved their people from their terrorist rivals’ planned genocide of them endeared the PKK in the hearts and minds of many Westerners.

This in turn facilitated the US-led West’s efforts to continue supporting them in all respects on a false humanitarian pretext. The more that President Erdogan talks about this and exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power. In other words, this is an asymmetrical response to the threat that they pose to his country’s security.

That said, it remains unclear whether Turkey will formally block their NATO membership, which could provoke an intensification of the US-led West’s years-long Hybrid War against it that he might not be prepared for fully defending against at this time. If he ultimately supports their applications, then it can be considered that he did so knowing that the alternative could have been an exacerbation of the threats that his formal allies are nowadays posing to Turkey’s national security. In any case, it’s clear that Turkey’s troubled ties with the US-led West won’t improve anytime soon no matter what happens.

Turkey Opposes Sweden and Finland Joining NATO

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Turkey has opposed the alliance intentions of the Scandinavian nations, claiming they are like ‘a guesthouse for terrorists’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared on Friday that Ankara opposes the possibility of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO because he believes the two Scandinavian nations harbor ‘terrorists’.

By ‘terrorists’, the Turkish leader meant militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist movement operating in southeastern Turkey, and members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), an outlawed Turkish communist party.

The statement came after Helsinki and Stockholm demonstrated their intention to join the US-led military alliance.

“We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland [joining NATO], but we are not favorable towards it. At this point, it is not possible for us to have a positive approach,” the Turkish president told journalists.

“Scandinavian countries are unfortunately almost like guesthouses for terrorist organizations. PKK and DHKP/C are nested in Sweden and the Netherlands. And I’m going even further, in their parliaments,” he added.

In April, concerned with Russia’s military action in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland started to consider dropping their neutral status and joining NATO. Top Finnish officials have already supported the initiative. Sweden is set to decide on its accession to the military bloc on May 15.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the US-led organization would be eager to include both nations and would make the accession process move quickly.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it regards the expansion of NATO as a threat to its national security. The Kremlin has also warned Sweden and Finland that they would compromise their security, rather than improve it, by joining the alliance.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

RT

Why has Turkey Closed its Skies for Russian Aircraft Bound for Syria?

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

Valery Kulikov
On April 23, during a tour of Latin America, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that his country was closing its airspace to Russian military and civilian flights bound for Syria. But he added that this decision did not mean that Turkey was joining in the anti-Russian sanctions – it was simply that the agreement on an air corridor concluded between Moscow and Ankara was only valid for three months. That term is expiring at the end of April, and Turkey does not plan to renew it, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently informed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two nations have agreed that Russia will not use Turkish airspace to transport its troops to Syria, Mr. Çavuşoğlu added.

Clearly, Ankara’s decision is related to a number of situations that have taken a more serious turn in recent months.

One of these is Turkey’s new military operation against the Kurds – not just the Kurdish armed groups in Iraq, but also those in Syria. Clearly Ankara does not wish Moscow to get in the way of its plays in some way.

It should be noted that this operation, Ankara’s third special operation against the Kurds, is clearly not being conducted at Washington’s behest, as it is, in part, directed against Kurdish formations loyal to the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Evidently, in an attempt to rein in Turkey’s military zeal, Washington has pressurized it into taking certain anti-Russian steps, and as a result Turkey has closed its airspace to Russian military and civilian aircraft.

The US itself is also concerned to limit Russia’s military operations in Syria, intending as it does to step up its aggressive operations there and, it seems, to open a “second front” in the confrontation with Russia. To this end, on April 23 the US sent a “convoy of 35 vehicles with trucks with munitions and technical supplies” as well as tankers for transporting oil from areas of Syria under Kurdish control. On April 25 another US military convoy arrived at the Kharab al-Jir aerodrome in the al-Malikiya area district of Al-Hasakah Governorate. According to a source from the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reporter it consisted of 36 vehicles loaded with boxes, cement panels and generators, supported by four US military armored vehicles.

In a bid to reinforce its position in its conflict with the Syrian state, Washington appears to have encouraged its ally Israel to launch military attacks on Syrian territory. In the morning of April 27 sites in the suburbs of Damascus were hit by Israeli rockets – the third such attack in less than a month.

Washington is also clearly concerned that Moscow may redeploy Russian forces and Syrian volunteers from its Khmeimim and Tartus bases to its special operation in Ukraine.

In short, it is clear that Turkey’s decision to close its airspace to Russia is entirely consistent with both its own and Washington’s interests.

In recent months Turkey, has been walking a tightrope in an attempt to avoid damaging its own interests by antagonizing either Washington or Moscow. It has made a point of showing Moscow that it is complying with the Montreux Convention, and doing all it can to prevent the clashes between NATO and Russian forces in the Black Sea. On April 26 it even initiated a new round of talks with Moscow on the purchase of a second Russian-made S-400 air defense system. The talks were led by Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries, who declared that “Ankara has no wish to discontinue its cooperation with Russia on arms supply issues because of the situation in Ukraine.”

It should also be noted that Ankara has urged all concerned to resolve the crisis in the Azovstal steel plant, and in particular to evacuate “the civilians and military personnel who are trapped there.” These initiatives are clearly not just spontaneous gestures or motivated by humanitarian considerations. After all, Turkey is continuing, along with other NATO members, to supply the Kiev regime with arms and other military equipment. These include Bayraktar TB2 drones, which have already been used in strikes on Russian territory.

Ankara’s concern is understandable, as it is now known that the fighters trapped in the Azovstal steelworks by Russian, PRD/PRL soldiers include hundreds of mercenaries from Turkey and Europe and high-ranking instructors from NATO countries, who are managing Kiev’s military operation in the Donbass. It would therefore clearly not be in the interests of the “collective West” for them to fall into Russia’s hands or for their presence to be made known to and judged by the international community, thus confirming what is already clear from the documentary evidence received by Moscow – namely the provocative role played by Washington and Brussels in inflaming the war in Ukraine. That is why in the last few days the West has allowed Ankara a much greater role in regulating the current situation.

As for Turkey’s closing of its airspace to Russian aircraft bound for Syria, that decision will certainly have an impact on the development of relations between Moscow and Ankara. Russia’s could potentially retaliate in any number of ways. It could, for example, restrict fruit and vegetable imports from Turkey, or limit the number of Russian tourists visiting the country. After all, 18% of Turkey’s national budget comes from Russian tourists, and given its current economic woes it can ill afford to lose this source of income. Or Moscow could take measures against the Turkish Stream project, promoted by Ankara in a bid to replace Ukraine as the leading gas hub in the region. Russia has many other sources of leverage over Turkey, including in Central Asia, and Ankara is well aware of this fact and has in recent years managed a fine balancing act to avoid losing Russia’s support.

It should also be remembered that Russia would have no problem finding alternative flight routes to Syria. Moscow could transport all the necessary supplies, including military equipment, via the Caspian Sea and Iran, which is happy to allow Russian military and civilian aircraft to use its airspace 24 hours a day for purposes related to the two countries’ joint military operations in Syria.

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Ballistic Missiles Target Israeli Bases, US Consulate in Iraq’s Erbil

 March 13, 2022

Scores of ballistic missiles have targeted military bases belonging to Israeli Mossad spy agency in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region as well as the US consulate in that region, killing a number of Mossad officers.

At first, Iraqi media, citing Kurdish officials, reported that several missiles had landed in Erbil early Sunday, but there were no confirmed casualties so far from the incident.

Citing security sources, Iraq’s Sabreen News reported two Mossad training centers were targeted by ballistic missiles in the early hours of Sunday.

Al-Mayadeen reported that Mossad’s base, located on the Masif-Saladin in Erbil, was “fully razed to the ground and a number of Israeli mercenaries were killed or injured” in the raid.

Reports, quoting Kurdistan region’s intelligence sources, said as many as 12 ballistic missiles were used in Erbil attack.

“Twelve ballistic missiles were launched from outside Iraq to target Erbil, the state news agency quoted the Directorate General of Counter Terrorism in the Kurdistan region as saying.

Some reports indicated that the alarm sirens have also been activated in the US embassy inside the highly secured Green Zone of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

A US State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to US government facilities in Erbil.

Source: National News Agency (translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

BALLISTIC MISSILES HIT US TARGETS IN ERBIL, IRAN SAID TO BE RESPONSIBLE (VIDEOS)

 13.03.2022

Early on March 13, a number of heavy missiles struck the outskirts of Erbil city, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Some Iraqi news sources said that the target of the missile strike was the US Consulate. Others, however, speculated that the target was a US military installation in Erbil International Airport, the US Harir Air Base or the Zerin residential complex which is frequented by American troops.

Videos from the scene of the strike show direct impacts and a large explosions with several columns of smoke rising from the target.

Iranian activists shared footage claiming to show the launch of a number of Fateh-110 tactical short-range ballistic missiles from a base in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah just a few minutes before the explosions were heard in Erbil. The footage is yet to be verified.

Iran fired ballistic missiles at the Kurdistan Region before. However, the target was Iranian Kurdish anti-government guerrilla groups.

The new missile strike may have been a response by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to the March 7 Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian capital, Damascus. The attack claimed the lives of two officers of the guards, colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour and Morteza Saidnejad.

On October 20, pro-Iranian forces attacked the US al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syrian in response to the October 13 Israeli airstrikes that targeted the outskirts of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. A number of Iranian-backed fighters were killed or wounded in the airstrikes.

The missile strike on Erbil could trigger a response from the US. This would further complicate the international talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

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Israeli espionage network foiled by Iranian intelligence

Iranian intelligence announced the busting of a spy network on the same day as the IRGC launched retaliatory strikes on a Mossad base in Erbil, Iraq

March 13 2022

ByNews Desk

Iran has foiled a cyber espionage network linked to the Israeli Mossad in the northwestern province of Iranian Azerbaijan, Iranian intelligence announced on 13 March.

This announcement comes on the same day that the IRGC launched more than 10 ballistic missiles at a Mossad base in Erbil, Iraq in retaliation for the murder of two IRGC officers in Syria by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) a few days prior.

The Israeli espionage network was attempting to carry out acts of sabotage in Iran, according to the Director General of Intelligence for the West Azerbaijan region.

Iranian officials have warned about Israeli-linked spy activity in the Azerbaijan region, but that the situation is closely monitored and fully under control.

Border Guard Commander Ahmed Ali Goudarzi has stated that despite the situation in the northwest being safe, Iran has warned its neighbors about Israeli spy rings and the presence of takfiri militant groups on the borders of the northwest.

Iran has also warned the state of Azerbaijan about their relationship with Israel, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stressing that such a relationship between Baku and Tel Aviv offers no benefit to Azerbaijan and that Iran will not tolerate Israeli presence on its borders.

The dismantling of an Israeli spy network and the retaliatory strike against a Mossad base in Erbil demonstrates Iran’s seriousness towards the presence of Israeli activity within its own borders and in neighboring countries.

Al Mayadeen reported that the Iranian missile strike on the Mossad base in Erbil led to the deaths of four Israeli officers and the injury of seven, with four of those in critical condition.

Israeli forces were on high alert for several days after Iran vowed revenge for the death of two IRGC officers in Syria, unsure of where or when the retaliation would take place.

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IRGC Confirms Missile Attack on Zionist Center, Warns of Devastating Response to Evil Acts

March, 13, 2022

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Sunday that it had launched a missile attack on a strategic center of Zionists, warning the Israeli regime that the repetition of evil conducts will draw Iran’s harsh and devastating response.

In a statement on Sunday, the IRGC Public Relations department said that following the fake Zionist regime’s recent crimes and the previous announcements that the hated regime’s crimes and evil conducts would not go unanswered, the IRGC hit the “Zionists’ strategic center of plot and evil acts” with powerful missiles with pinpoint accuracy last night.

“Once again, we warn the criminal Zionist regime that the repetition of any evil act will draw harsh, decisive and devastating responses,” the IRGC added.

The statement assured the Iranian nation that the country’s security and calm are the red lines for the Iranian Armed Forces and nobody would be allowed to threaten or violate them.

In the early hours of Sunday, a missile attack targeted a military base housing US forces in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, as well as the US consulate in that region.

At first, Iraqi media, citing Kurdish officials, reported that several missiles had landed in Erbil early Sunday, but there were no confirmed casualties from the incident.

Later reports, quoting Kurdistan region’s intelligence sources, said as many as 12 ballistic missiles were used in Erbil attack.

ما الاستراتيجيّة الأميركيّة الجديدة ضدّ سورية…؟

الجمعة 11 شباط 2022

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

عجزت أميركا التي قادت الحرب الكونية على سورية، عن تحقيق أهداف هذه الحرب التي اندلعت نارها منذ 11 عاماً وحشد لها خلال تلك المدة اكثر من 360 ألف مسلح وإرهابي من 83 دولة، وسخرت لأجلها المئات من المنصات العالمية المتنوّعة بين المكتوب والمرئي والمسموع واعتمدت فيها أساليب وأنواع الحروب من الجيل الثالث الى الخامس، ورغم كلّ ذلك فشلت تلك الحرب التي تحلّ الذكرى الحادية عشرة لإطلاقها بعد شهر من الآن. حرب فشلت في تحقيق أهدافها وتمكنت سورية بقواتها الذاتية أولاً ثم بمساعدة من الحلفاء في محور المقاومة ثم الأصدقاء الروس، تمكنت من صدّ العدوان واستعادت السيطرة الكاملة على معظم الأرض السورية (75٪ من مجمل المساحة السورية) وأن تتواجد بمستويات مختلفة في القسم الذي يمارس الاحتلال الأميركي او الاحتلال التركي السيطرة عليه، او في المنطقة التي أفسد الإرهاب أمنها او زوّرت النزعة الانفصالية الكردية هويتها.

ومع هذا النجاح المميّز وضعت الدولة السورية استراتيجية وطنية من أجل استكمال النجاح واستعادة او العودة الى الحياة الطبيعية بالمقدار الذي تتيحه الظروف المتشكلة. واقامت تلك الاستراتيجية على قوائم أربع سياسية وعسكرية ومجتمعية ـ مدنية واقتصادية.

ففي السياسة قامت الحكومة السورية بإجراء الانتخابات في مواعيدها رغم كلّ العراقيل التي وضعت أمامها، كما راعت انتظام الحياة القانونية في البلاد وانتظام الحضور الفاعل في المنظمات الدولية واتجهت لاستغلال أيّة فرصة تلوح لاستعادة العلاقات مع الدول العربية بخاصة المجاورة منها كلبنان والأردن والعراق، سعي جاء معطوفاً على مسعى جزائري لتهيئة البيئة المناسبة لعودة سورية لإشغال مقعدها في الجامعة العربية بدءاً من اجتماع القمة المرتقب انعقاده في الأشهر الثلاثة المقبلة.

وفي الشأن الأمني والعسكري حرصت الدولة السورية على الاستمرار في مدّ الجيش والقوات المسلحة الأخرى بكلّ أسباب القوة المادية والمعنوية من أجل استمرار النجاح في أداء المهام الوطنية واتجهت الى إجراء عملية تحشيد عسكري فاعل في محيط المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الدولة؛ عملية ترمي الى العمل على خطين خط المشاغلة العسكرية لتعهّد الميدان تحضيراً ليوم التحرير بالقوة ان فشلت مساعي التحرير الأخرى ودعماً للمقاومة الشعبية بوجهيها المدني والمسلح، والتي تشكلت في المناطق المحتلة.

أما على الصعيد المدني ـ المجتمعي والملاحقات القضائية فقد عملت سورية بقواعد العدالة الانتقالية والمتضمنة العفو والمصالحة وأطلقت ما أسمي «التسويات» لأوضاع الفارّين من الخدمة العسكرية او من وجه العدالة خاصة ممن لم تلوّث أيديهم بسفك الدم السوري. وقد نجح مسار التسوية هذا في استعادة أجزاء من الشعب خاصة الشباب منهم الى حضن الدولة فتوقفت الملاحقات بشأنهم ووفر ذلك للدولة أكثر من منفعة ومصلحة وحرم أعداء سورية من مصدر مهم لتحشيد المقاتلين ضدّ دولتهم.

ويبقى الشأن الاقتصادي الذي شكل الخاصرة الرخوة في الوضع السوري بسبب الحرب الاقتصادية الظالمة والإرهاب الاقتصادي الوحشي الذي تمارسه أميركا ومَن معها ضدّ سورية، وتحاول سورية استعمال المتاح من الإمكانات وما يتوفر لها من مساعدات من الحلفاء والأصدقاء تحاول وضع الخطط الاقتصادية التي تتكيّف مع الواقع الصعب القائم تكيفا يخفف أولاً من سلبياتها ثم يخرجها منه بعد حين.

في مقابل الاستراتيجية الوطنية التي أطلقتها سورية لاستعادة الحياة الطبيعية في البلاد بعد انكسار وهزيمة من شنّ الحرب الكونية عليها. في مقابل ذلك يبدو أنّ أميركا التي تكابر وترفض الإقرار بالهزيمة رغم انّ إعلامها يصرّح بذلك، يبدو أنها وضعت استراتيجية عدوانية مضادة بدأت ملامحها تتبيّن في الميدان وهي استراتيجية عدوان متجدّد، وصحيح أنها لا تتمادى لتصل بأهدافها الى حجم أهداف الحرب الكونية الأساس التي رمت الى إسقاط الدولة السورية كلياً وتفكيكها ثم إعادة تركيبها بما يناسب المشروع الصهيوأميركي في المنطقة، استراتيجية ترمي الى منع سورية من استثمار انتصارها والحؤول دون عودتها للحياة الطبيعية.

وعليه يبدو أنّ أميركا اعتمدت في سورية استراتيجية عدوان يمكن تعريفها بانها «استراتيجية استمرار العدوان وتعهد الإرهاب لمنع العودة للحياة الطبيعية» وهي تنفذ على الوجه التالي:

ـ على الصعيد السياسي ترمي الى الحدّ من تفعيل علاقات سورية بالخارج دولاً ومنظمات، ولذلك نجد كيف انّ أميركا عبر قطر تعارض عودة سورية الى مقعدها في الجامعة العربية وتراوغ لتعرقل العلاقات السورية مع دول الجوار. والمثل الأخير هنا عرقلة مسعى لبنان للاستفادة من الغاز المصري والكهرباء الأردنية رغم كلّ الوعود الأميركية التي أطلقت منذ عدة أشهر.

ـ أما على الصعيد الاقتصادي فهي تستمرّ بالتشدّد في الحرب الاقتصادية تحت عنوان «قانون قيصر» وتتوخى مزيداً من الضغط على الشعب السوري حتى لا يثق بحكومته او يعود للميدان احتجاجاً على النقص في الخدمات. فالحرب الاقتصادية هي ركن أساس من أركان العدوان الأميركي المستمر على سورية.

ـ اما التسويات المدنية القضائية فإنّ أميركا تنظر اليها بعين الخشية والرفض لأنها ترسي دعائم السلام المدني بين الشعب والدولة وتستعيد من غرّر بهم او أخطأوا بحق وطنهم تستعيدهم الى الوطن ليساهموا في إعماره من جهة، ويفقدوا أعداءه منجماً ومصدر تحشيد وتجنيد لذلك تعمل أميركا بشتى الطرق لعرقلة مسار التسويات تحت شعار «الحرب لم تنته بعد». وهو كلام يجافي الواقع.

ـ على الصعيد الأمني والعسكري، اتجهت أميركا الى تفعيل تنظيم داعش الإرهابي وأعادت انتشار عناصره بعد ان أطلقت العدد الكثير منهم من سجن الصناعة في الحسكة، ونقلت المئات من إرهابيّيه بطائراتها ونشرتهم في ميادين إرهاب محدّدة من قبلها في العراق وسورية ثم قامت بمسرحية قتل القرشي زعيم داعش في عملية عسكرية لم يطلع على تفاصيلها أحد من غير الأميركيين مما جعل الكثيرين من العقلاء يشككون بحدوث القتل ويتجهون للقول بانّ أميركا أرادت ان تسجل انتصاراً وتظهر عزماً على قتال داعش فنظمت هذه المسرحية الوهمية وهي تشتهر بالتلفيق وإخراج المسرحيات الوهمية.

إنّ الموضوع الأمني هو الآن الى جانب الإرهاب الاقتصادي هو الركن الأساس في استراتيجية العدوان الأميركي، وهو موضوع بدأت أميركا بالعمل عليه وتنفيذه منذ ثلاثة اشهر تقريباً وبات في مراحل متقدمة ويهدف الى زعزعة الأمن والاستقرار في المناطق المطهّرة وإشغال القوى العسكرية والأمنية السورية لمنعها من استكمال عمليات التطهير والتحرير لما تبقى من أرض سورية، وتعطيل الحياة وعجلة الإنتاج في المناطق التي تحكم الدولة سيطرتها عليها خاصة في المدن الكبرى، ولذلك جاء التحذير الروسي من هذا الأمر تحذيراً صدر عن المخابرات الروسية التي اعتمدت هذا الأسلوب في الإعلان لتبلغ أميركا بأنّ خططها الإرهابية العدوانية هي تحت مراقبة العين الأمنية الدفاعية السورية والحليفة.

أمام هذا المشهد يطرح السؤال ماذا تتوخى أميركا من خططها الإجرامية تلك؟ وهي تعرف انّ هجومها الأساسي الذي كان قد حشدت له كمّاً أكبر من المشاركين وسخرت له الأموال الأكثر ونفذته قواعد أوسع من الإرهابيين ورغم ذلك لم ينجح في إسقاط سورية، فما الذي تبتغيه الآن من استئناف العدوان المتجدد؟

لا نظنّ انّ أميركا تريد في نهجها الجديد «إعادة إحياء ما تسمّيه الثورة السورية» وهي أعجز من ذلك ولا يمكن ان تتصوّر أنها بهذه الاستراتيجية وفي ظلّ المشهد الدولي المتغيّر لغير صالحها فضلاً عن المناعة السورية الأساسية والمكتسبة قادرة على تعويض ما فاتها في الحرب الكونية الفاشلة، يبقى أن نظنّ او نعتقد بأنّ أميركا تريد من فعلها العدواني المتجدّد بالصيغة المتقدّم ذكرها تبتغي ان تبعد عن نفسها أولاً كأس الهزيمة في سورية لأنها لا تحتمل ذلك الآن بعد الخروج المهين من أفغانستان، ثم تريد أن تشغل سورية وحلفاءها بورقة ضغط عليهم لإعطائها شيئاً ما في المشهد السوري، فأميركا تريد أن تمتلك أوراق ضغط للتنازل السوري ولا نعتقد أنها تطمح بتحويلها الى عناصر تغيير وانتصار استراتيجي ضدّ سورية وحلفائها الذين يعملون مطمئنين لإنجازاتهم ولمستقبلهم الواعد خلال الأشهر الآتية… أشهر لن تحمل لأميركا ما يسرّها في الميدان او السياسة.

أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

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Asaib al-Haq leader strongly condemns Turkish air raids on Iraq, Syria

The Turkish army has recently targeted several Kurdish sites in Syria and Iraq, a move Iraqi resistance leader Qais al-Khazali says is a ‘breach of Iraqi sovereignty’

February 02 2022

ByNews Desk

File photo showing a Turkish military helicopter over a mountain in Yemisli, Hakkari province near the border with Iraq. (Photo credit: AFP/Mustafa Ozer)

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Iraqi resistance group Asaib al-Haq has strongly condemned Turkish raids on northern Iraq and Syria on in a Tweet 1 February.

In his post, he slammed Ankara’s “violation” of Iraq’s territorial “sovereignty” saying that Turkey “targets civilians under its pretext” of fighting Kurdish forces.

Al-Khazali also warned that “the time will come when the resistance of Iraq” will teach Turkey “harsh lessons.”

Al-Khazali’s statements came just hours before Turkey launched operation “Winter Eagle,” aimed at striking Kurdish targets in northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

On 2 February the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced that, at an unspecified time overnight, its warplanes had struck alleged “terror dens” in Derik, northern Syria, and Sinjar, and Karacak, located in northern Iraq.

In a statement published via Twitter, the Turkish defense ministry added that the sites “were used as bases by terrorists in northern Iraq and Syria.”

Al-Mayadeen cited Iraqi security sources as saying that Turkish warplanes flew over Makhmour, east of Mosul, where explosions were soon heard north of Sinjar in the Bara region.

The Turkish statement also added that its air raids targeted the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, both organizations considered terrorist groups by Ankara.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish Counterterrorism Agency in Iraq announced that, late on 1 February, Turkish warplanes “bombed a site in which there were fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Mount Karacho, and bombed two other sites of these militants in the Suhaila borders in Syrian territory (Muldreza), and two other sites in Mount Shingal, and Baray Hasanur in Syria.”

The statement added that the bombings by Turkey produced several casualties and material damage.

Al-Khazali had said on 30 August 2020 that “as long as the occupation exists […] the resistance’s weapons are legitimate” vowing that the Iraqi resistance alone will expel forces of occupation.

Ankara currently maintains 38 illegal bases in northern Iraq, aimed at creating a 40-kilometer wide security belt in northern Iraq.

Why does Turkey have 38 illegal bases in northern Iraq?

January 28 2022

The illegal Turkish military presence in Iraq is a blatant violation of that country’s territorial integrity. While Ankara claims it is a national security priority, it actually uses this military cover to influence and manage Iraqi and regional affairs

By Erman Çete

Almost 100 years after the Treaty of Ankara (1926), Iraq-Turkey relations remain fraught. Despite various disputes over water rights, territorial violations, unlawful oil trades, and alliances, the overriding reason for tensions remains the problem of Kurdistan.

Today, media headlines across Turkey continue to reflect the nation’s antagonism with the armed groups of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside Iraq, a neighboring state in which the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launch military operations with impunity.

But despite the repeated protests of the Iraqi government over these violations of its sovereignty, Turkish presence and operations in northern Iraq continue unabated.

In May last year, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited the Turkish military base Biliç Hill Base in northern Iraq to supervise Turkish troops deployed for an ongoing operation against the PKK.

Furious about the visit, Baghdad summoned the Turkish diplomatic envoy in Baghdad to express displeasure at Akar’s presence inside Iraq without providing prior notice.

Official numbers concerning the presence of TSK in northern Iraq are unclear. According to an Anadolu Agency article back in 2017, TSK had a battalion in the Bamarni Airport, near Duhok, as well as commando units in Kani Masi and Begova in northern Iraq.

In accordance with Ankara’s goal of unilaterally creating a 40km-deep security belt in northern Iraq, TSK has established new bases in the Iraqi regions of Hakurk and Metina.

One source claims that the number of Turkish troops in Iraq has risen to over 10,000, but a news outlet aligned with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) says there are only 2,000 troops, with approximately 500 of them mechanized units in Bamarni, and 400 of them from Bolu Commando Brigade in Kani Masi.

It also claims that there are 130 Special Forces as liaison officers in Erbil, Zaho, Dohuk, Batufa, Sulaymaniyah, and Amadiya. In the town of Simele, Turkish intelligence units are reinforced with new recruits, while military tanks, recently updated by Israel, are deployed in Bashiqa base.

In a rare move, Turkey’s Directorate of Communications published a map in 2020 which showed the positions of Turkish troops in northern Iraq. The map has since been removed.

According to the map, from Zakho to Hakurk in the west–east axis and from Avashin to Erbil in the north–south axis, Turkey has 38 military posts or bases in northern Iraq.

Source: Turkey’s Directorate of Communications, 2020

Bargaining chips in northern Iraq and wars on terror

It is quite significant that pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) news outlets portray Iraqi resistance against the US presence – many of them pro-Iran – as an indirect threat to Turkey.

Moreover, it appears that the US has given Turkish military operations a green light inside Iraqi territory, but attempted to create a schism between the PKK and its Syrian militia affiliate, the People’s Defence Units (YPG), with which Washington has common cause – to Turkey’s detriment.

Ankara, which enjoys cordial diplomatic and robust economic relations with Iran, can be just as opportunistic. According to the US’s former Syria special representative James Jeffrey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had personally told him twice that he too “considers Iran a threat.”

Such expressions reflect a constant principle within Turkish foreign policy: If you have problems with the west, turn to the east to create bargaining chips.

In this regard, Turkish hard power instruments in Iraq and Syria work against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), developing elements of pressure against Damascus and Tehran, and creating new opportunities to negotiate with Washington.

A new era for Turkey

During the 1980s, Turkey stepped into a new era marked by two intertwined developments.

The first development occurred when the Stabilization Decisions of 24 January 1980 changed the country’s existing economic model. The external debt of Turkey during the 1970s had triggered a ‘balance of payment’ crisis. The Turkish bourgeoisie desperately needed both foreign exchange and to transform import-substitution industrialization into an export-oriented economic policy.

Second, the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War created a sense of opportunity for Turkey. Neo-Ottomanism entered the Turkish political scene when the newly established Central Asian and Caucasian republics were seen as ‘Turkic hinterland’ for the post-Soviet order.

Today, among left-wing circles inside Turkey, it is still widely believed that the 12 September 1980 coup d’état was initiated to apply these economic policies.

As a result, the Turkish state re-evaluated its foreign policy in two broad ways: via the economic prism – diversifying export destinations to bolster and transform the economy; and via identity politics, transforming Turkey from a ‘secular’ state and society into a country in which Turkish and Islamic identities were promoted forcefully by the putschist government of the 1980s.

Turgut Ozal, the first post-coup prime minister, and later the eighth President of the Republic of Turkey, implemented these policies to ‘re-orient’ the new Turkey.

Mixed occasionally with both pan-Turkist and pan-Islamist ideologies, neo-Ottomanism became increasingly attractive for Turkey in furthering its economic and political visions.

It is no surprise then, that Erdogan views Ozal as his role model for Turkey. Both figures bind export–growth economic policies with proactive foreign policy adventures.

Along with other neighbors of Turkey, northern Iraq was now being viewed as strategically significant in this new political context. Iraq was the bridge through which Turkey could reach the Persian Gulf. Turkish state and foreign policy were thus restructured along this line in the early 1990s.

The First Gulf War, according to Ozal, was an opportunity for Turkey’s new foreign policy realignments. The president went on to join the US-led anti-Saddam Hussein coalition and began publicly championing the theme of a ‘Greater Turkey’ as the protector of Turkomen and Kurds in northern Iraq.

Although the Turkish army and foreign ministry resisted Ozal’s efforts, Ankara allowed the Poised Hammer force – an aviation unit consisting of American, Australian, British, Dutch and French troops – to deploy in Silopi, Şırnak and operate on Turkish soil.

In the meantime, Turkey continued its armed operations against the “terrorist threat of the PKK,” alongside efforts to legitimize its presence in northern Iraq, which are assessed by the Iraqi government as illegal.

There were two large operations in northern Iraq in the 1990s. In 1995, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched Operation Steel, during which over 35,000 Turkish troops crossed the border.

The second operation, in 1997, was Operation Hammer, and it had two goals: to destroy PKK camps and to strengthen the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) against the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the Kurdish civil war.

The anti-PUK strategy overlapped with the PUK’s so-called ‘pro-Iranian’ stance. This was another reason for Turkey to support the KDP against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and occasionally against the PUK, and it has been the repertoire of the Turkish state ever since.

Alongside irredentist claims over Iraq, Turkey began to exploit the post-Soviet world around it, exporting cheap and relatively high-tech Turkish goods to new destinations assessed as crucial areas.

The tide turned in 2008. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), with its neo-Ottoman figures like former Prime Minster Ahmet Davutoglu, reversed the Turkish course in Iraq. Ankara started to handpick Sunnis to take under its wings, and to develop solid relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Energy cooperation, particularly oil and natural gas investments, were primary motivations for both these governments. In 2004, Turkey’s exports to Iraq were less than two billion dollars, but by 2013, it had risen over 10 billion dollars, and the destination was the KRG, in particular.

Turkish construction companies earned lucrative contacts in the KRG. Erbil Airport was built by Cengiz İnsaat, which is owned by one of Erdogan’s closest allies, Mehmet Cengiz.

In 2014, despite the protests of Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) started to sell its oil through Turkish ports.

The new Turkey makes a retreat

After 2016, however, Turkish policy towards northern Iraq underwent a re-assessment.

One of the reasons was due to domestic political shifts. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) acquired strong support in the June 2015 general elections, and AKP lost its majority for the first time in 13 years, bringing an abrupt end to the AKP’s so-called ‘Kurdish opening.’

There were strong clashes between pro-Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in southern parts of Turkey, which paved the way for a return to the old counter-insurgency TSK tactics in regard to the Kurdish question.

Then, on 15 July 2016, a failed coup d’état triggered a further restructuring of the Turkish state.

Another reason for the change in Turkish policy towards Iraq was that foreign policy failures and disappointments had taken their toll on Ankara.

The Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief regional ascendence were snuffed out in Egypt and Tunisia, sending shockwaves throughout the Turkish government, and ending the rise of the Turkish model of a modern Muslim state throughout West Asia.

The Syrian government, with its allies Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia, held its ground and the US-backed regime change operation in Syria fell apart.

The so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ group splintered into Qatar-Turkey vs. Saudi Arabia-UAE, and started to fight each other.

The outward flows of Syrian refugees heightened tensions within Turkish society, and fueled both anti-AKP and anti-refugee sentiment.

Importantly, the YPG occupation of northern Syria, and its partnership with the US ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition supported by the PKK, created a ‘national threat’ for the Turkish government.

Turkey then set about modifying its policy on Syria. The result was a retreat from the aim of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the more humble goal of “eliminating the terror corridor alongside [Turkey’s] southern border.”

The paranoia of ‘Iranian influence’

As a result of its hard power policies over the years, Turkey has been denied access via Syria and Iraq to the lucrative markets of the Persian Gulf’s Arab states. These policies include Turkey’s too-cozy relationship with Iraq’s KRG, as well as its economic and sometimes military competition with Iran in Iraq.

Soaring inflation in Turkey also decreased the competitiveness of Turkish goods in regional markets, and the Iraqi government’s protective policies have slowed down Iraq–Turkey trade volume. At the same time, Iranian trade with Iraq began to increase.

Strategic calculations have also played their part. Turkey’s eagerness to wipe out Kurdish militias from northern Iraq’s Sinjar region has caused tensions with both Baghdad and Tehran.

When TSK launched a military operation against the PKK in Gara, northern Iraq, in February 2021, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU, or Hashd al-Shabi) deployed forces in the Sinjar area against Turkish troops.

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have also been training anti-PKK Iraqi politician Osama al-Nujaifi’s Hashd al-Watani forces in a Turkish base in Bashiqa, near Mosul. In Sinjar, a tacit alliance between the PMU and PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) confronted the TSK-backed Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

For Turkey, this confrontation represents an unholy alliance between Iran and the PKK. When Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, criticized Turkish operations in northern Iraq, then Turkish envoy Fatih Yıldız hit back, saying Masjedi should be “the last person to lecture Turkey.”

Ambitious goals, ambiguous future

Today, officially and firstly, TSK claims that its troops and bases are in northern Iraq for ‘fighting against terrorism’ and maintaining national security.

Secondly, as in the case of Bashiqa, Turkey lays claim to Iraqi Sunnis and legitimizes its assets by exploiting the sectarian fragmentation of Iraqi politics.

Thirdly, as long as the US remains in Iraq and maintains its ‘countering Iran’ policy in West Asia, Turkey will present its policy towards the KRG as a counterbalancing act against the so-called ‘Iranian influence.’

It appears that the KRG, and Sinjar in particular, will be the current focal point for the quarrel between Iran and Turkey. As a distant aim, in the event of the fragmentation of Iraq, Turkey would likely explore the annexation of northern Iraq, where it believes it has historic claims.

With respect to the Iraqi government, options against Turkey’s breaches of sovereignty and territorial integrity are limited. Ankara will remain as a big trading partner for Baghdad, with a staggering trade deficit to the detriment of the latter.

Turkey’s deep reach inside the KRG and warm relations with the ruling Barzani family will allow it to use northern Iraq as a bargaining chip with Baghdad in the post-US era – both unilaterally, and for the benefit of its NATO alliance.

Lastly, the recent thaw between Turkey, some Gulf states, and Israel may force Baghdad to accept the Turkish fait accompli in northern Iraq.

In short, Turkish troops in northern Iraq are useful for three things: Influencing the Kurdish question and directly tackling its PKK problem; boosting Turkish regional ambitions; and establishing a bargaining chip with its western allies.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

A nation imprisoned: A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey in 2021.

January 3, 2022

Erkan’s Field Diary

https://ift.tt/3JyLjyRPenal labor in Turkey: Prisoners build prisons

Bianet :: English

A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey this year, according to the Ministry of Justice.


Case of killed HDP worker Deniz Poyraz: ?Treat the murderer like a murderer?

Bianet :: English

An armed assailant stormed the HDP?s provincial office in İzmir and killed party worker Deniz Poyraz. He is facing an aggravated life sentence. The hearing has been adjourned to January 24.

Attack on HDP office in İstanbul leaves two injured

Party members said that the assailant ran away after they took away his weapons in what was the third armed attack targeting the party in six months.

?Seeking justice, not begging?: Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk in prison despite severe illness

Bianet :: English

Tuğluk?s brother says, ?We are trying to find justice, if there is any. We are not begging anyone. However, they can?t prevent my sister?s…

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Kurdish Terrorist Factions bring their Conflicts to Syria from Kurdistan

ARABI SOURI 

Kurdish groups attacking Kurdish groups in Hasakah northern Syria

Kurdish PKK members attack a so-called Kurdish ‘Democratic’ Union Party quarters after the US calls on the warring parties to mend their ties in the face of the Syrian people, this is a continuation of the ongoing schism between the Kurdish Democratic Party KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK.

As a preamble, do not be fooled by inserting the word ‘democratic’ in all their names, it’s two mafia families the Barzani and the Talabani running the two main parties in Kurdistan reflecting on the relations with the two main Kurdish factions in Syria.

On Friday, 17 December, a group of the so-called Kurdish Democratic Union Party attacked a quarter manned by members of the so-called Kurdish National Council in the Syrian city of Ad Darbasiyah, in the northern Syrian Hasakah province. The attackers burned down the quarter and beat up its staff.

Two days earlier, the same group, said to be loyalists of the Kurdish PKK party, attacked the Faysh Khabur border crossing between Syrian Hasakah province and the Iraqi Kurdistan separatist region, the assailants also beat up the staff of the quarter.

US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists rushed to the attacked posts to guard the Kurdish staff against the Kurdish attackers, the Israeli staff acting as the commander of the Kurdish SDF, so-called Mazloum Abidi condemned the attack calling the attackers as ‘outlaws’ targeting his group’s dominance in the regions it occupies on behalf of Israel and the United States of America in northern Syria.

So-called Abidi vowed to hunt down the assailants and present them to ‘justice’, he didn’t specify what does he mean by ‘justice’ since his own group he commands operates illegally in Syria, steals Syrian oil and wheat with the help of Biden oil thieves aka the Army of the United States of America, and attack Syrian troops, kidnaps Syrian people, kills and maims farmers and burn their farmlands and crops!

These in-between attacks among the Kurdish numerous factions are not different from the attacks between the other NATO-sponsored terrorist groups of Al Qaeda and its affiliated different factions over spoils of the war, the main beneficiary remains at the end Israel, and the main victims are the Syrian ordinary people.

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As Turkey’s currency plummets, Al Jazeera guests clash over state of economy

December 6, 2021

Description: 

In a recent episode of the long-running program Al-Etejah al’Mu’akis on Al Jazeera Arabic hosted by Faysal al-Qasim, two guests based in London and Istanbul, debated ‘why the value of the Turkish Lira was falling rapidly’. The following are key excerpts from this episode translated into English.

According to various media reports, Turkey’s currency has lost about 45% of its value this year.

The two guests featured in this episode were:

– London-based writer and journalist Ghassan Ibrahim (situated on the left of the host in the image above)
– Istanbul-based economist and political analyst Yusuf Katipoglu (situated on the right of the host in the image above)

Source:  AlJazeera Channel (YouTube)

Date:  November 16, 2021

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Transcript:

Host:

You know that a while ago Turkey ranked 17th place in terms of GDP. The question is: where is Turkey now? It was among the top twenty. It went down from 17th place to 20th. Today, Turkey ranks lower than 20, maybe 21 or less. Do you think that this indicates that the Turkish economy is improving and advancing?! Or if we add the insane collapse of the (Turkish) lira to that, we find that, as Ghassan told you a little bit ago, this bubble will burst or has already begun to burst.

Yusuf Katipoglu, economist and political analyst:

Please give me enough time (to answer), Mr. Faisal. I hope there would be a fair distribution of time.

Host:

Go ahead.

Katipoglu:

First, I would like to raise my objection to you for not giving me enough time. You were not fair to me. I will respond to your guest’s words first, then I will respond to yours. Your guest says that the industrial sector did not make any profit, therefore there is no funding going towards the industrial sector. He said that Erdogan is taking all the money for himself and his group. Well, if this is true, then why is there a rise in FDI reaching to $210 billion in the last 15 years? It was 1.2 billion from 1982 until 2002 before the Justice and Development (Party took over). Once it did, the FDI became $217 billion.

(Your guest) says that no one is investing (in Turkey) and that there are no foreign investments. Well Siemens made a billion-dollar investment in solar energy in the Turkish market. (Your guest) talks about Erdogan’s mentality and says that he is making mistakes in the management of the country’s affairs and that Turkey has been added to the grey list. This is good as it proves that the matter is subject to politicisation. Credit rating providers: Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rated Turkey as not suitable for investment with a B-, but classified Egypt, which is indebted to the International Monetary Fund, as attractive for FDI. This is what we were talking about at the beginning of the episode: conspiring against Turkey by politicising economic matters, by attacking Turkey.

Let me tell your guest something. He says that Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu were great economists and they left Erdogan because he mismanaged the country’s affairs. Well, if he did so, then how did the GDP in Turkey rise by 21%?

Host:

21%?! Wait a second, wait a second. A growth rate of 21%, Mr. Youssef! Come on! Who gets such a percentage? China’s is 8 for God’s sake!

Katipoglu:

Let me tell you something. In the second quarter of 2020, the growth rate reached 21.7%. I know what I’m saying. In the second quarter of 2020, (it reached) 21.7 %, number one worldwide. These are official numbers. This does not appeal to your guest.

Then you said that Turkey has left the G20. Logically, Mr. Faisal, how did Turkey leave the G20 and get invited to the G20 (summit) at the same time? The report says that Turkey is now 16th in the G20 ranking. It is qualified to rank 13th in 2030. Be fair!

Host:

Nice, nice.

Katipoglu:

Then your guest says that Halkbank and other banks in Turkey are accused of corruption and he makes a lot of accusations. These accusations are groundless. The (existing) reserves in the Central Bank of Turkey are 127 billion dollars. Your guest says that there are no reserves in the Central Bank! Let me tell you something. Why is Turkey being targeted? Turkey has withdrawn 606 tons of gold, which is the tenth largest reserve of gold, from the banks of America and Switzerland, and has brought them to the country. Why is Turkey being targeted? They are fighting Turkey because it refused to take loans from the International Monetary Fund despite external pressures from here and there, (because) it is a sovereign country that does not follow (foreign) orders like the rest. Turkey is being targeted because it wants to support all sectors and all Turkish people of all stripes.

Host:

I agree, there is a conspiracy (against Turkey), but what is this (strong) economy and this arrogance, after which an American official comes with a tweet – Trump wrote a tweet of 5 words after which the Turkish lira and the entire Turkish economy collapsed?! Come on now! I mean, an American word can destroy the Turkish economy. You are only powerful when it comes (to fighting) Syrians.

Katipoglu:

You don’t know (the state) of the Turkish economy only by its currency, Mr. Faisal. It is Turkey’s ability to have strong production, strong exports and a high growth rate, and its record breaking, and this reflects its powerful economy…we expect an (economic) growth rate of 10% on a yearly basis, I told you, the (growth rate) was 21.7% in the last quarter, and 7% in the quarter before, (and) we expect (a rate of) 10% by the end of the year. The economy of Turkey is strong with its defense industries, 80% of which is comprised of domestic manufacturers. One of every three electronic devices sold in Europe is a Turkish device. Turkey is the largest iron-producing country in the world. The US and foreign countries import (products) from Turkey. Turkey now is manufacturing its own cars, aircrafts, and weapons. The defense industries now have a budget and it’s considered an internal budget (i.e., government-funded).

Host:

– great –

Katipoğlu:

– and I’ll tell you another thing, why is Turkey economically strong? It’s economically strong because it holds the decision of sovereignty in its hands. It’s true, the (Turkish) currency gets affected (by external factors) and is changing, but (the fact is that) there is currency speculation, there is (external) influence on the currency (exchange rate), and there are some who want to demonise (the Turkish economy) and say that the Turkish economy is weak. (However,) if the Turkish economy wasn’t strong – let me tell you another thing, the ratio of trade deficit has been reduced by 40% because the exports achieved record numbers and the imports decreased. Moreover, the energy bill that Turkey pays for importing energy is $42 billion, half of it will be compensated by the discoveries of natural gas and resources of alternative energy existing today in Turkey. Turkey, my friend, is strongly heading into the 10 most powerful economic states in the world, your guest does not know what Turkey is –

Host:

– Very good, just a minute –

Katipoğlu:

– He only gives ear to those who wish to demonise Turkey –

Host:

– I gave you enough time. Ghassan, I challenge you to answer (back) to these reasonable economic (facts) said by Yusuf Katipoğlu: 80% of Turkey’s defense needs are of domestic production; find me a country in the world that has reached this level of defense industry (advancement) which Turkey has reached! (In addition to) the electronics (industry), and the sovereign decision, Turkey is being fought because it practices national decision-making in its economic (sphere), and that’s what upsets the West. The West tried to stage a coup in Turkey years ago and failed, so they started to economically bring Turkey to its knees and demonise it and strike the Turkish economy etc. What do you have to say about this Mr Ghassan?

Ghassan Ibrahim, Writer & Journalist:

Actually – regarding the conspiracy mentality, that the West staged the coup and it wasn’t (planned) internally in Turkey, that’s another thing. However, there are many issues which your guest has talked about and contradicted himself on within 2 minutes (only).

He said that Turkey’s ranking is 16, then he said it’s 10 and that the economic growth (rate) is 21%. I dare anyone to go to Google – I call upon the audiences to grab their phones and browse Google and look up the rate of economic growth in Turkey; there’s no (growth) rate such as 21%! And no state in the world has (achieved such a rate)! Therefore, there are figures being thrown out absurdly.

He also talks about the investment flows, these are previous investments that occurred when the Justice and Development Party claimed that it wishes to join the European Union. It was the European funds that caused the economic bubble and the temporary economic renaissance, and its negative effects that we began to see (are clear) with the decline of the (Turkish) lira and the halt of foreign investment.

As for what he said, that 80% of Turkey’s military needs is made up of local industries, it’s simply because the Americans stopped selling aircrafts to the Turks, which is the highest cost; I mean, Turkey participated with the Americans in the manufacture of simple parts for the F-35 aircraft, (but) when the Americans got upset with the Turks, they told them ‘we won’t sell you these (weapons)’. Therefore, they (i.e., the Turks) are forced to manufacture armoured vehicles, (and) Turkey has been (undergoing the process of) manufacturing armoured vehicles for 10 years using German, Russian, and Korean parts, and it hasn’t succeed yet, and the only thing that (Turkey) succeeded (in manufacturing) was drones, whose designs were stolen from American aircrafts.

Thus, they are forced to depend (on themselves) because no one wants to sell them (weapons) except for the Russians; they would sell them a missile, and when they launch it, it would fall inside Turkey! So, they couldn’t obtain any (foreign-manufactured weapons); the French do not sell them, nor the Germans or the Americans. So, they are forced to (depend on themselves), it’s not a heroic act. Secondly, if all this data your guest talked about (shows) that Turkey is actually successful, why are we witnessing the drop of Erdogan’s popularity (among the Turkish people)?

Host:

– Ghassan, Ghassan hang on –

Ibrahim:

– it’s a simple question! –

Host:

Your talking as if the Turkish people wish to immigrate man!

Ibrahim:

Of course! (it’s true), have you noticed – an opinion poll was conducted last month and the results were announced this month, it says that two thirds of Turkish youths would have immigrated from Turkey if they could. This is an indicator that assures you that the Turkish people are dissatisfied with these policies

Erdogan, through his attempts of doing heroic acts dealing with external countries, is trying to convince the Turkish street to vote for him; he was threatening the Syrian Kurds for more than two weeks, that he will strike the Syrian Kurds, (but) without an American or Russian green light, Turkey cannot do anything! Erdogan is (now) counting on convincing the Russians by any means to conduct a military operation in Syria. The Americans preferred to cooperate with Kurdish factions over cooperation with Turkey, which is a member of NATO.

As Turkey has no friends left, its economic collapse is normal. Let’s be realistic: the people wish to escape from this country, and the economic (facts) lack any facts that indicate an actual revival. It is normal for the Government Statistical Institute to give (unrealistic) figures, to say that the rate of growth is 20%, 5%, or 10%, it is (arbitrarily) throwing figures. (Yet, for these) figures to be real, you should see that there are people working, that there are people who want to stay in Turkey, and (it would be real) when you see funds flowing into Turkey.

Transparency International ranked Turkey – I believe – 117 out of 140, and Turkey was (previously) ranked among the 90s; its transparency decreased due to the spread of corruption –

Host:

– Great –

Ibrahim:

– there is also a very important indicator emanating from the idea of the sovereignty (integrity) of justice; imagine a country being governed by the Justice and Development Party, but ranks among the worst countries in the world for the lack of justice –

Host:

– (Okay,) great –

Ibrahim:

– there is no rule of justice –

Host:

– Very good, Mr Yusuf –

Ibrahim:

– Erdogan can ask a judge to take whatever decision (suits him) with (just) one phone call!


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Another Erdogan Assassination Attempt Foiled; All Signs of a False Flag!

ARABI SOURI 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey

Erdogan was miraculously saved from an assassination attempt, a bomb was discovered under a car of a low-ranking riot control police officer parked far away from the Turkish madman Erdogan during events in the southeast of Turkey.

As the Turkish Lira continues its free-fall in exchange rates, the inflation is growing among the highest in the world, the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood control of Muslim-majority countries failed, the popularity of Erdogan at its lowest ever since he was the mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan’s propagandists are promoting a story of a foiled plot to kill him.

In the details: a bomb was planted beneath a car of one of the riot control officers who was heading near a place where Erdogan was opening some development projects in the southeastern Siirt Province, a province of Kurdish majority which happens to be a constant target of bombing and oppression by the consecutive Turkish regimes and increased by Erdogan. A colleague of the officer noticed the bomb, somehow, beneath the car and called on non-other than the National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT).

MİT officers cordoned the area, dismantled the bomb, and Erdogan was notified but since he’s the nation’s hero and doesn’t fear death, he instructed to continue the ceremonies because he loves the people and doesn’t want to spoil their joy of his presence among them, actually among his security details who usually outnumber the crowds in areas of his hardcore loyalists, and later said ‘There is no place for terrorists among us.’

That’s the whole story as of now of the latest episode in the foiled Erdogan assassination attempts.

Some points to note that are out of the norms in Turkey and for Erdogan:

  • Erdogan is visiting the southeast of Turkey of Kurdish majority, the people he hates most.
  • Erdogan is opening ‘development projects’ in Siirt province, not only he hates the Kurds he is opening development projects for them.
  • A colleague of the owner of the vehicle where the bomb was planted beneath it saw the bomb, were there arrows pasted obviously on the rear of the car pointing to the bomb which is usually concealed when the goal of it was supposed to be detonated and not discovered?
  • The MİT was notified, now here’s where it becomes laughable; the MİT is headed by Erdogan’s most loyal mini-madman Hakan Fidan, the man who is well known for his ideas of false flags like the one of bombing Turkish forces to justify attacking certain areas.
  • Erdogan has a history of failed assassination attempts in which he uses to the max to consolidate his powers, get rid of his opponents and opposition figures, gain popularity among his die-hard ignorant loyalist, and divert the attention of the public away from their daily living pressing issues.
  • The timing couldn’t be more convenient with today’s price of 13.70 Turkish Liras for a dollar down from its previous record-breaking which we reported of 9.22 Liras for a dollar on 15 October, and from 1.54 Liras for a dollar in the year 2010, that’s just before Erdogan waged his war of terror on Syria.

Merely 3 days ago, Erdogan fired his minister of finance who barely completed one year in his post trying to save the Turkish economy from its deteriorating status because of policies set by the former minister of finance who happens to be Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, yeah Turkey is a ‘role model of a democracy’ in the Muslim world [sic]. Erdogan appointed Nureddin Nebati as his new minister of finance, a deputy of his predecessor known to praise Erdogan’s economic policies.

The Turkish madman met Joe Biden on the margins of the G20 Summit on the 31st of October, Erdogan had high hopes for the meeting with the man who vowed in his presidential elections to get rid of Erdogan ‘democratically’ and left the meeting totally disappointed. In the same year, not only did Erdogan lose his idols and main supporters Trump at the White House and Netanyahu in Israel, Trump’s replacement doesn’t like him, and Netanyahu’s replacement is dumb in politics.

What’s better than a failed assassination attempt with no risk at all on Erdogan to boost his popularity, tighten his security grip on the country, and avert the public’s attention from their chasing of bread struggle?

The Turkish opposition figures need your prayers, not all of them, some of them were Erdogan’s closest friends and allies who helped him in his early days and share much of the blame for the bloodshed spilled at his hands and share the responsibility of Erdogan’s policies who became opposition only after fearing Erdogan’s dagger being sharpened for them.

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Erdogan and Macron, between Competition and Hostility, there’s One Understanding! إردوغان وماكرون.. بين المنافسة والعداء تفاهم واحد!

ARABI SOURI 

Erdogan and Macron, between Competition and Hostility, there’s One Understanding!

France Macron and Turkey Erdogan

Macron’s visit to the region comes to obstruct what Erdogan is striving for regionally and internationally.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

A week after the visit of the “biggest enemy” Mohammed bin Zayed to Ankara and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s talk of his desire to achieve similar reconciliations with Egypt, “Israel”, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, French President Emmanuel Macron came to the region to obstruct what Erdogan is striving for, regionally and internationally.

Abu Dhabi was Macron’s main station, where he persuaded bin Zayed to buy 80 Rafale planes and 12 helicopters, and he agreed with him to coordinate and joint cooperation on all the issues discussed. This is what Macron reached during his talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after winning his affection, because he is the first Western president to visit Saudi Arabia after the crime that targeted Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, which everyone blamed bin Salman for it. The duo’s contact with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was the first fruit of this coordination and cooperation, and it was translated into practice through Saudi-French projects and plans backed by the United States, which will target Hezb Allah and through it Syria and then Iran.

As for Qatar (Erdogan will visit it on Sunday), which is Macron’s third station, Prince Tamim welcomed him warmly, perhaps as a response to the hospitality with which his ally Erdogan received his enemy Mohammed bin Zayed in Ankara, especially since Macron’s visit came two days after the agreement signed by Cyprus with Qatar National Petroleum Company and the American ExxonMobil Company for gas exploration in the vicinity of the island, this was strongly denounced by Ankara and pushed Erdogan to visit Doha (Sunday), especially since this signing came on the day the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee ratified an agreement with Doha under which Ankara would allow 36 Qatari warplanes to come and stay in Turkish bases and fly in the Turkish air, in conjunction with the visit of Pope Francis to Cyprus and Greece.

This is in the narrow context of the competition between Erdogan and Macron, and it seems clear that it has acquired the character of direct hostility over the past few years. This explains the violent attack which was launched and is being launched by President Erdogan from time to time on Macron personally, and the latter responds to him with two strikes, without preventing them from reconciliation and warm hugs on various occasions, the most recent of which was the G20 summit in Rome at the end of last October, at a time when Paris was confronting President Erdogan’s plans and projects in many arenas, the most important of which are Libya, Somalia, and Karabakh, and after Ankara mobilized all its capabilities to compete, if not confront, the traditional French role in its former African colonies that Erdogan visits from time to time, and hosts their leaders In Turkey constantly, and without Erdogan neglecting the interest in the Turkish community in France, which numbers about 600,000, in an attempt to incite it and incite the Arab Islamists (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) and those residing in France and Europe in general against Macron.

The latter had previously accused the Turkish intelligence of adopting sabotage acts in his country and Europe in general, at a time when many see the position of Paris, which recognized the Ottoman genocide against the Armenians in 1915 and President Macron (in February 2019) announced the 24th of April of each year a day of national mourning in remembrance of this genocide, as one of the main causes of hostility between the two sides. While recalling the other reason, which has historical roots, as France and Britain occupied the land of Anatolia after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. France and Britain were a major party to the Sèvres Agreement (August 1920) and its goal was to establish a Kurdish state in the region.

With Ataturk’s rejection of this agreement and its failure after the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, and Paris’s efforts to win Ankara’s friendship again, and through cooperation with it in the issue of the Alexandretta Strip (Liwa Iskandaron 1938 – 1939), the French interest in the Kurds remained one of the most important causes of apathy and tension between the two parties and still is. Paris has supported and continues to support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, directly or indirectly, which is what it is doing with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Syria. Macron (last July) and Hollande (February 2015) received some of its military and political leaders at the Elysee.

As for the traditional support of France (along with the UAE, Egypt, “Israel” and sometimes Saudi Arabia) for Greece and the Greek Cypriots, it was also and still is one of the most important causes of apathy and tension between Ankara and Paris which is in solidarity with Nicosia and Athens in their differences with Ankara on many issues, The most important of these are the problems of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, and the search and exploration for gas in the vicinity of Cyprus, which Ankara, on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, objects to, and refuses to talk about the Armenian genocide.

While awaiting the results of the eighth round of the Iranian nuclear talks (and the visit of Faisal Miqdad and Tahnoon bin Zayed to Tehran on Sunday and Monday) and most importantly, the meeting of Presidents Biden and Putin (December 7), President Macron will continue his regional moves that he wants to achieve for Paris political, military, and economic gains on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections, and after he lost the submarine deal with Australia, with Britain and America plotting against him. The timing of these elections acquires another meaning for Turkey because its second round will be on April 24, the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Macron seeks to get out of these elections victorious, after achieving his goals in Lebanon in coordination with Riyadh which Mohammed bin Salman wants to return to a major party in the region’s equations in the face of other parties who took advantage of Saudi Arabia’s isolation after the Khashoggi’s crime and wanted to convince Washington that they are the most important. This explains the alliance of the Emirates and Qatar separately with Egypt and Turkey, the two regionally important and historically competing countries and ideological enemies who indirectly agree to confront the Iranian role in the region in general.

It also explains the alliance of everyone against Damascus at the beginning of the crisis in 2012 when Paris, London, Berlin, and Washington were in constant contact with Ankara to get rid of President Assad, and Erdogan predicted his downfall within months, saying in September 2012 that he would pray soon in the Umayyad Mosque. The calculations of everyone, led by Turkey and France, met in Syria and through it in Lebanon as if they were and are still saying all, including Macron and Erdogan, “My brother and I are against my cousin, and my cousin and I are against the stranger,” but without it being clear who the brother is and who the cousin is, and why ‘Lebanon the Resistance’ is the strange thing in the play of the West, in which everyone has his role according to the place and time determined by the author of the saying “I” who does not want anyone else to say “Me too”!

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إردوغان وماكرون.. بين المنافسة والعداء تفاهم واحد!

كانون الأول 5 2021

في انتظار مكالمة بايدن.. كيف يستعدّ إردوغان؟ | الصحيفة السياسية

المصدر: الميادين نت

حسني محلي

زيارة ماكرون إلى المنطقة تأتي لعرقلة ما يسعى من أجله إردوغان إقليمياً ودولياً. 

سبق لماكرون أن اتهم الاستخبارات التركية بتبنّي أعمال تخريبية في بلاده.

بعد أسبوع من زيارة “العدو الأكبر” محمد بن زايد لأنقرة وحديث الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان عن رغبته في تحقيق مصالحات مماثلة مع مصر و”إسرائيل” والسعودية والبحرين، جاء الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون إلى المنطقة ليعرقل ما يسعى من أجله إردوغان إقليمياً ودولياً. 

كانت أبو ظبي محطة ماكرون الرئيسية، حيث أقنع ابن زايد بشراء 80 طائرة رافال و12 مروحية، واتفق وإياه على التنسيق والتعاون المشترك حول مجمل القضايا التي تمت مناقشتها. وهو ما توصّل إليه ماكرون خلال مباحثاته مع ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، بعد أن كسب ودّه، لأنه أول رئيس غربي يزور السعودية بعد الجريمة التي استهدفت جمال خاشقجي في القنصلية السعودية في اسطنبول في تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 2018 وحمّل الجميع ابن سلمان مسؤوليتها. وكان اتصال الثنائي برئيس الوزراء اللبناني نجيب ميقاتي أولى ثمار هذا التنسيق والتعاون، وتمّت ترجمته عملياً عبر المشاريع والمخططات السعودية-الفرنسية المدعومة أميركياً، والتي ستستهدف حزب الله وعبرها سوريا ثم إيران.

وأما في قطر (يزورها إردوغان غداً الاثنين) وهي محطة ماكرون الثالثة، فقد رحّب الأمير تميم به ترحيباً حاراً، وربما كردّ على الحفاوة التي استقبل بها حليفه إردوغان عدوّه محمد بن زايد في أنقرة، وخاصة أن زيارة ماكرون جاءت بعد يومين من الاتفاقية التي وقّعتها قبرص مع الشركة الوطنية للبترول القطرية وشركة أكسون موبيل الأميركية للبحث والتنقيب عن الغاز في جوار الجزيرة، وهو ما استنكرته أنقرة بشدة ودفعت إردوغان إلى زيارة الدوحة (الأحد)، وخاصة أن هذا التوقيع جاء في اليوم الذي صادقت فيه لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في البرلمان التركي على اتفاقية مع الدوحة تسمح بموجبها أنقرة لـ 36 طائرة حربية قطرية بالمجيء والبقاء في القواعد التركية والتحليق في الأجواء التركية، بالتزامن مع زيارة بابا الفاتيكان فرنسيس لقبرص واليونان.

هذا في الإطار الضيّق من المنافسة بين إردوغان وماكرون، ويبدو واضحاً أنها قد اكتسبت طابع العداء المباشر خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية. ويفسّر ذلك الهجوم العنيف الذي شنّه ويشنّه الرئيس إردوغان بين الحين والحين على ماكرون شخصياً، فيردّ عليه الثاني الصاع صاعين، ومن دون أن يمنعهما ذلك من المصالحة والعناق الحار في المناسبات المختلفة، وآخرها قمة العشرين في روما نهاية تشرين الأول/أكتوبر الماضي، في الوقت الذي كانت فيه باريس تتصدى لمخططات الرئيس إردوغان ومشاريعه في العديد من الساحات، وأهمها ليبيا والصومال وكاراباخ، وبعد أن استنفرت أنقرة كل إمكانياتها لمنافسة، إن لم نقل مواجهة، الدور الفرنسي التقليدي في مستعمراتها الأفريقية السابقة التي يزورها إردوغان بين الحين والحين، ويستضيف زعماءها في تركيا باستمرار، ومن دون أن يهمل إردوغان الاهتمام بالجالية التركية في فرنسا وقوامها نحو 600 ألف، في محاولة منه لتحريضها وتحريض الإسلاميين العرب (المغرب والجزائر وتونس) والمقيمين في فرنسا وأوروبا عموماً ضد ماكرون.

 وسبق للأخير أن اتهم الاستخبارات التركية بتبنّي أعمال تخريبية في بلاده وأوروبا عموماً، في الوقت الذي يرى فيه الكثيرون في موقف باريس، التي اعترفت بالإبادة العثمانية ضد الأرمن عام  1915 وإعلان الرئيس ماكرون (في شباط/فبراير 2019) 24 نيسان/أبريل من كل عام، يوم حداد وطني إحياءً لذكرى هذه الإبادة، من أهم أسباب العداء بين الطرفين. مع التذكير بالسبب الآخر، وهو ذو جذور تاريخية، حيث كانت فرنسا ومعها بريطانيا تحتلان أرض الأناضول بعد سقوط الدولة العثمانية 1918. كما كانت فرنسا ومعها بريطانيا طرفاً أساسياً في اتفاقية سيفر (آب/أغسطس 1920) وهدفها إقامة دولة كردية في المنطقة. 

ومع تصدّي أتاتورك لهذه الاتفاقية وإفشالها بعد قيام الجمهورية التركية عام 1923 ومساعي باريس لكسب ودّ أنقرة من جديد، ومن خلال التعاون معها في قضية لواء اسكندرون (1938 – 1939) فقد بقي الاهتمام الفرنسي بالكرد من أهم أسباب الفتور والتوتر بين الطرفين وما زال. فقد دعمت باريس وما زالت تدعم حزب العمال الكردستاني بنحو مباشر أو غير مباشر، وهو ما تفعله مع وحدات حماية الشعب الكردية في سوريا، واستقبل ماكرون (تموز/يوليو الماضي) ومن قبله هولاند (شباط/فبراير 2015) البعض من قياداتها العسكرية والسياسية في الإليزيه. 

وأما دعم فرنسا (ومعها الإمارات ومصر و”إسرائيل” وأحيانا السعودية) التقليدي لليونان والقبارصة اليونانيين، فقد كان هو الآخر وما زال من أهم أسباب الفتور والتوتر بين أنقرة وباريس التي تتضامن مع نيقوسيا وأثينا في خلافاتهما مع أنقرة حول العديد من القضايا، وأهمها مشاكل المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة، والبحث والتنقيب عن الغاز في جوار قبرص، وهو ما تعترض عليه أنقرة، وباسم القبارصة الأتراك، كما ترفض الحديث عن إبادة الأرمن. 

ومع انتظار نتائج الجولة الثامنة من مباحثات النووي الإيراني (وزيارة فيصل المقداد وطحنون بن زايد لطهران الأحد والإثنين) والأهم من ذلك، لقاء الرئيسين بايدن وبوتين (7 كانون الأول/ديسمبر) سيستمر الرئيس ماكرون في تحركاته الإقليمية التي يريد لها أن تحقق لباريس مكاسب سياسية وعسكرية واقتصادية، عشيّة انتخابات الرئاسة المقبلة، وبعد أن خسر صفقة الغواصات مع أستراليا بتآمر من بريطانيا وأميركا ضده. ويكتسب التوقيت الزمني لهذه الانتخابات معنى آخر بالنسبة إلى تركيا، لأن جولتها الثانية ستكون في 24 نيسان/أبريل، ذكرى الإبادة الأرمنية.

ويسعى ماكرون للخروج من هذه الانتخابات منتصراً، بعد أن يحقق أهدافه في لبنان بالتنسيق مع الرياض، التي يريد لها محمد بن سلمان أن تعود طرفاً رئيسياً في معادلات المنطقة، في مواجهة الأطراف الآخرين الذين استغلوا عزلة السعودية بعد جريمة خاشقجي، وأرادوا أن يقنعوا واشنطن بأنهم الأهم. ويفسّر ذلك تحالف الإمارات وقطر على حدة مع مصر وتركيا الدولتين المهمتين إقليميا والمتنافستين تاريخياً والعدوتين عقائدياً والمتفقتين بنحو غير مباشر على مواجهة الدور الإيراني في المنطقة عموماً.

ويفسّر أيضاً تحالف الجميع ضد دمشق في بداية الأزمة عام 2012 عندما كانت باريس ولندن وبرلين وواشنطن على اتصال دائم مع أنقرة للتخلص من الرئيس الأسد، وتوقّع إردوغان سقوطه خلال أشهر، ليقول في أيلول/سبتمبر 2012 “إنه سيصلّي قريباً في الجامع الأموي”. فالتقت حسابات الجميع، وفي مقدمتهم تركيا وفرنسا، في سوريا وعبرها في لبنان، وكأنهم كانوا وما زالوا يقولون جميعاً، بمن فيهم ماكرون وإردوغان، “أنا وأخي على ابن عمي وأنا وابن عمي عالغريب”، ولكن من دون أن يكون واضحاً من هو الأخ ومن هو ابن العم، ولماذا لبنان المقاومة هو الغريب في مسرحية الغرب التي لكلٍ فيها دوره بحسب المكان والزمان اللذين يحدّدهما صاحب مقولة “أنا” ولا يريد لأحد غيره أن يقول “وأنا أيضاً”! 

The Kurdish project in Syria would be a new Israel in the Middle East

Dec 2, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Syrians accuse the Western-backed Kurdish enclave in the country of using ethnic cleansing and child soldiers against them to form a new anti-Arab state. The parallels with Israel’s creation in the 1940s are striking.

Kurdish forces in Syria have been lauded by many in the West as being fighters for freedom and an autonomous society. But, unless you’ve been following independent researchers and the Syrian media, you might be unaware of the crimes the US-backed group have been committing over a number of years.

On November 25, the Daily Sabah (a website not sympathetic to the Syrian government) reported on one of their most sickening practices. It revealed, “YPG/PKK terrorists detained three more 15-year-old girls – Hediyye Abdurrahim Anter, Evin Jalal Halil and Ayana Idris Ibrahim – in Amuda in Hassakeh province on Nov. 21 to forcibly recruit them as ‘child fighters.’ The terror group detained two children, aged 13 and 16, in early August. And two children aged 16 and 13 were kidnapped Aug. 23.”

The piece went on to note that this practice of abducting children and forcing them to fight has been documented by the United Nations, with one report stating that the YPG/PKK used more than 400 children between July 2018 and June 2020.

Yet, the world has been led to believe that the self-declared autonomous region – known as Rojava and comprising areas of Hassakeh, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo governorates – is a haven for liberals and feminists, with freedom-loving Kurdish fighters based there fighting ISIS and liberating Syria.

Indeed, the YPG Rojava page claims“The YPG was set up to protect the legacy and values of the people of Rojava and is founded on the principles of the paradigm of a democratic society, ecology and woman’s liberation. Without preferring or discriminating any religion, language, nation, gender or political parties, the YPG is protecting the country against all attacks from outside. The YPG is the Democratic Nation’s defense force and is not related to any political party.”

It reads like a feelgood fairytale, but is not based in reality.

The utopian image of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the YPG and PKK, is betrayed by the kidnappings, which sadly are not a new development. Search for QSD – their Arabic acronym – on Syrian media and you’ll see regular updates on Kurdish forces kidnapping civilians and journalists.

This image is further betrayed by their ethnic cleansing of indigenous Syrians from the northeastern Syrian regions Kurdish forces occupy and collaboration with illegally occupying US forces.

But this won’t be highlighted in corporate media. Instead, you will still find odes romanticizing Kurdish fighters, with one such recent story deceptively saying that the areas controlled by Kurdish forces have a “predominantly Kurdish population” – a claim not backed up by the truth.

As author Stephen Gowans detailed in a 2017 article, Kurds in Syria comprise, “only a small percentage of the Syrian population… Estimates of the proportion of the total Kurd population living in Syria vary from two to seven percent based on population figures presented in the CIA World Factbook.”

And yet, Assyrians, Arameans, and other Syrians who have lived there for generations should accept being ruled, or expelled, by Kurds?

Gowans went on to note, “Kurdish fighters have used the campaign against ISIS as an opportunity to extend Kurdistan into traditionally Arab territories in which Kurds have never been in the majority.”

In 2018, Syrian journalist Sarah Abed wrote of the SDF’s kidnapping and ethnic cleansing, noting not only the abductions of men, but, again, children. She recorded how Eddie Gaboro Hanna, the founder of Patriarchal Relief Care Australia, a group providing assistance to Christian families impacted by wars in Syria and Iraq, had explained, “They are taking young Christian boys by force to sign them up for the Kurdish military and send them to the front line.”

And he added, “Christians are treated as second-class citizens [here] in their own land. Just like how ISIS has the Islamic tax they have their own Kurdish one. They’ve replaced ISIS.”

Although the BBC’s coverage of the Kurds’ activities in Syria is predictably pro-SDF, in 2015, even it reported on their ethnic cleansing and displacing of indigenous Syrians. Citing an Amnesty International report, it noted the YPG were accused of “razing entire villages after capturing them from Islamic State (IS),” in Hassakeh and Raqqa provinces.

The Kurds’ history in Syria

In January 2019, I spoke with geopolitical analyst and Sputnik contributor Laith Marouf about the Kurds in Syria. A descendant of eastern Syria’s Deir ez-Zor governorate, part of which is now occupied by Kurds, Marouf had a lot to say about the history of the Kurds in Syria and this 21st century land-usurpation project.

He told me, “There was a wave of Kurdish refugees coming down to Syria (from Turkey) in the 1940s, and the second wave of them in the 1960s when the PKK started the armed rebellion against the Turkish government in what was Arab lands.”

“They were given citizenship by the Syrian government. They were armed and given protection by the Syrian state to fight for their liberation in the Kurdistan mountains in Turkey, and the Syrian government housed the leadership of all the Kurdish resistance up until the early 90s.”

Marouf noted that Syria’s support for the Kurds saw Turkey threatening to invade in the 1990s and building numerous dams on the Euphrates, cutting the water flow. Yet, Syria refused to hand over PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Marouf emphasized: “Syria almost went to war with Turkey, and the Syrian people (in the northeast) went thirsty and the agricultural fields—the breadbasket of Syria—almost collapsed those couple of years, to protect Kurdish rights.”

“And then what happens now is some crazies are saying there’s something called Rojava and that they can secede and colonize and settle and steal parts of Syrian lands.”

He, too, spoke of the years of kidnappings and disappearances of those critical of Kurdish rule. “Even Kurdish Syrians that are critical of what the YPG is doing, even remotely critical professors in the universities in Hassakeh and Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, were disappeared. And these were just critical Kurds.

“So you could imagine what happened to the Assyrian and the Arab leaders in the area, thinkers, tribal leaders, ex-military – huge amounts of disappearances and forced displacements.”

And as Abed’s article highlighted, formerly Assyrian villages in Hassakeh and Raqqa have been fully taken over by Kurdish forces. “They’re moving in the Kurdish militias and their family members into those villages and creating new ethnically pure towns and villages that are Kurdish. And this is expanding to the holdings of the Syrian churches and their Armenian churches, they confiscated all their land.”

So much, then, for the Rojava “legacy and values” that included “without preferring or discriminating any religion, language, nation, gender or political parties.

Marouf also said, “They have enforced an educational curriculum on all the schools—including schools that are run by ethnic and/or religious groups – so all those that are run by the churches are being told that they have to teach a certain curriculum that specifically promotes and propagates falsehoods about the Kurdish control of the area.”

“When the Assyrians refused, because these are their own private schools that are controlled by the church, the YPG went ahead and shut down all the schools, with armed men making sure the kids cannot go to school.”

The ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion of indigenous people sounds horribly familiar, as Marouf pointed out. “So, the reality is that we have an ethno-nationalist settler colonial state being enforced by the empire, called Rojava – and it’s being sold the exact way that Israel was being sold in the 1940s. It’s like cut and paste propaganda saying that we’re creating a utopia of secular and socialist government in the ‘sea of barbaric Arabs.’”

Over the years, I’ve had Rojava supporters criticize me for respecting Syria’s sovereignty and speaking critically about the West’s attempt to overthrow the Syrian government. Instead, according to them, I should have been supporting this false utopia which has killed and displaced many. To them, I say you have been deluded, as much of the Western left has on Syria.

And you can rest assured that had it been Syria committing these crimes, the media would be reporting loudly and regularly. But because they are being carried out by puppets of the West, all is quiet on that front.

RELATED LINKS:

The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence

Kurdish Militias in Northeastern Syria Turn to Kidnapping, Conscription, ISIS-like Tactics

A History Of Violence – The Myth Of The Moderate Kurdish Rebel

The Kurds: Washington’s Weapon Of Mass Destabilization In The Middle East

The Kurdish Connection: Israel, ISIS And U.S. Efforts To Destabilize Iran

Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’

“So when people speak to us here in Syria about the imaginary Rojava land, we will never forget that there was an ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Assyrians from our lands at the hands of Kurdish militias under the order of the order of the Ottomans.”

“This is a monument to the 1915 genocide of Syriac Assyrians, it’s around the same time as the Armenian genocide. Syria is full of Armenians, it’s where Armenians came and hid. My family is from Deir ez-Zor. The first land that Armenians escaping genocide reached, a safe place, was Deir ez-Zor. My great grandparents hid a lot of Armenian families from the Kurdish militias that were coming into Deir ez-Zor to look for Armenians that were escaping.”

Erdogan’s Democracy… Tension in a Dangerous Direction! ديمقراطية إردوغان.. التوتر في اتجاه خطِر!

Erdogan’s Democracy… Tension in a Dangerous Direction!

ARABI SOURI 

Opinion polls rule out that Erdogan will win the upcoming elections, which leads him to more tension and hostility towards opposition parties.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The Turkish political and media scene is witnessing an exciting debate after some media professionals loyal to Erdogan spoke about the possibility of banning the CHP’s activity, prosecuting its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and some of the party’s leaders, and placing them in prisons.

This media talk was accompanied by a very violent attack by the Turkish president on the leader of the Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and his ally in the ‘Nation’s Alliance,’ the leader of the Good Party, Maral Aksanar. Erdogan does not miss any occasion, whether internal or external, without attacking Kılıçdaroğlu and Aksanar, with the most violent words, descriptions, and phrases, including those targeting their dignity and honor.

In all of his speeches, Erdogan accuses Kılıçdaroğlu (Kilitchdar-oglu) and Aksanar of allying with the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, in an attempt to win the sympathy, solidarity, and support of the popular street, arguing that “Kurdistan Party” is a terrorist organization and the enemy of the Turkish nation and state. This has failed, at least so far, as all independent opinion polls have proven the decline in the popularity of the Justice and Development Party (Erdogan’s AKP) and its ally the National Movement, in return for a noticeable increase in the popularity of the Good Party and the Republican People’s Party and the Democratic People’s Party.

All polls also ruled out a victory for President Erdogan in the upcoming elections and expected his rivals, including Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, to receive at least 58% of the vote compared to Erdogan’s 40-42%.

Such possibilities push Erdogan to increase tension and hostility towards opposition parties and all opponents, with all their political and social affiliations and alignments, and they are all subjected to a very violent attack by Erdogan and his ally, the leader of the nationalist movement Devlet Bakhchali and the media loyal to them together. The media attack acquires a frenzied character without limits, as long as the judiciary does not move a finger against these, and unlike everyone who utters even one word against Erdogan, the judiciary is prosecuting him for insulting the President of the Republic.

The judiciary is also prosecuting Erdogan’s opponents, including journalists, academics, intellectuals, artists, and others, and without this attack being sufficient for Erdogan and his media to limit the activity of the opposition parties and their forces, which are taking advantage of Erdogan’s failure in the foreign and domestic policies, the most important of them is the serious economic and financial crisis that the opposition leaders expect to bring the country to the brink of complete bankruptcy with the continued depreciation of the Turkish lira by at least 15% in just one month, which was reflected very dangerously on the high prices of all services and basic materials and the cost of living, then unemployment, poverty, and hunger which have become a daily phenomenon.

The opposition expects Erdogan and his government to impose a new series of taxes to cover the budget deficit, which will burden the citizen who will take revenge on Erdogan in the first upcoming elections. Such a possibility prompts Erdogan to seek “hellish” plans, as characterized by the opposition, to ensure that he remains in power, no matter what it costs him. Within these endeavors, Erdogan seeks and will seek to divide the ranks of the nation’s coalition parties, which includes the Republican People’s Party – CHP (28%) and the Good Party (14%), and indirectly the HDP – People’s Democratic Party (10%).

The polls expect Ali Babacan’s Progress and Democracy Party (3%) and Davutoğlu’s Future Party (2%), along with the Democratic and Happiness Party, to agree with the Nation’s Alliance against the Public Alliance, which includes the Justice and Development Party – AKP (30%) and the National Movement (8%), in addition to the Great Unity Party.

The opposition also expects Erdogan to impose strict control over the media and social media networks, while working to change the election law at the last moment, with the possibility of postponing or canceling the elections with security justifications, both internal and external, which is Erdogan’s prerogative according to the constitution. The opposition also talks about the possibility of electoral fraud, as was the case in the April 16, 2017 referendum. On the basis of this referendum, Erdogan changed the political system to become a presidential one, taking control of all state agencies, facilities, and institutions, and becoming the absolute ruler of the country. The leader of the Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, accused the Supreme Electoral Commission, at the time, of falsifying the results by agreeing, after the polls were closed, to adopt the more than two million unsealed ballot papers.

Talking about the possibility of banning the activity of the Republican People’s Party and prosecuting its leaders remains the most dangerous scenario for Turkey’s future, because Ataturk was the one who founded this party that ruled the country alone until the end of World War II. This concern may not be enough to deter Erdogan from thinking in this way, after he put the two co-leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtaş and Vikan Yoksakdag, and a number of party leaders in prison, five years ago, and joined them with about forty of the mayors elected in 2019, which was not enough for the party’s supporters and followers to take to the streets, because they know that the authorities will not spare them, even though 5.86 million voted for the party in the June 2018 elections.

In all cases, and with the exclusion of any possibility of holding early elections in light of the difficult internal and external conditions that the country is going through, everyone knows that Erdogan does not and will not, in any way, accept defeat and hand over power to his enemies. He knows that they will pursue him on many charges, the most important of which is serious corruption and his involvement in foreign files, the most important of which is his relations with armed groups in Syria and Libya.

Washington’s position is not clear, at least until now, on the overall developments inside Turkey, recalling that President Biden had spoken at the end of 2019 “about the need to get rid of Erdogan democratically”, after describing him as “authoritarian.”

The media presents many future scenarios, not only regarding Washington’s possible position, but also the position of Western capitals, and even Moscow, all of which are said to turn a blind eye to Erdogan’s staying in power, whatever his negatives, as long as it benefits directly or indirectly of him. Defenders of this view say that the mentioned capitals are more likely to deal with the absolute ruler Erdogan instead of a new president or a new coalition government with several contradictory parties, and their agreement even on crucial issues will never be easy.

Some see in such a scenario a sufficient reason for Erdogan to continue his current policies internally and externally, as long as the aforementioned capitals content themselves with denunciation and condemnation, without taking any practical action against Ankara.

Everyone knows that Erdogan plans to stay in power, drawing lessons from the experiences of regimes in Arab and Islamic countries, and whether they remain in power or fall from it was in most cases subject to American indication.

This is the case for Adnan Menderes, who made Turkey (1950-1960) an “American state.” The military overthrew him and executed him, while Washington did nothing, which it did with the Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and others in other countries in which America has accounts and accounts!

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ديمقراطية إردوغان.. التوتر في اتجاه خطِر!

2021 18 تشرين ثاني

المصدر: الحسني محلي

استطلاعات الرأي تستبعد أن يفوز إردوغان في الانتخابات المقبلة ما يدفعه إلى مزيد من التوتر والعداء تجاه أحزاب المعارضة.

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يبقى الحديث عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري وملاحقة قياداته قضائياً السيناريو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى مستقبل تركيا.

تشهد الساحة السياسية والإعلامية التركية نقاشاً مثيراً بعد أن تحدث البعض من الإعلاميين الموالين لإردوغان عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري، وملاحقة زعيمه كمال كليجدار أوغلو والبعض من قيادات الحزب قضائياً، ووضعهم في السجون. 

حديث الإعلاميين هذا رافقه هجوم عنيف جداً من الرئيس التركي على زعيم حزب الشعب الجمهوري كمال كليجدار أوغلو وحليفته في تحالف الأمة، زعيمة الحزب الجيد مارال أكشانار. فلا يفوّت إردوغان أي مناسبة، داخلية كانت أو خارجية، من دون أن يهاجم كليجدار أوغلو وأكشانار، وبأعنف الكلمات والأوصاف والألفاظ والعبارات، بما فيها تلك التي تستهدف كرامتيهما وشرفيهما. 

ويتهم إردوغان في كل أحاديثه كليجدار أوغلو وأكشانار بالتحالف مع حزب الشعوب الديمقراطي، الجناح السياسي لحزب العمال الكردستاني، في محاولة منه لكسب تعاطف الشارع الشعبي وتضامنه ودعمه، بحجة أن” الكردستاني” تنظيم إرهابي وعدو الأمة والدولة التركيّتين. هذا الأمر فشل فيه، على الأقل حتى الآن، حيث أثبتت جميع استطلاعات الرأي المستقلة تراجع شعبية حزب العدالة والتنمية وحليفه الحركة القومية، مقابل زيادة ملحوظة في شعبية الحزب الجيد وحزبي الشعب الجمهوري والشعوب الديمقراطي. 

واستبعدت كل الاستطلاعات أيضاً الفوز للرئيس إردوغان في الانتخابات المقبلة، وتوقعت لمنافسيه، ومنهم رئيس بلدية إسطنبول أكرم إمام أوغلو، ورئيس بلدية أنقرة منصور ياواش، أن يحصلوا على ما لا يقل عن 58٪ من الأصوات مقابل 40-42٪ لإردوغان. 

وتدفع مثل هذه الاحتمالات إردوغان إلى مزيد من التوتر والعداء تجاه أحزاب المعارضة وكل المعارضين، بميولهم وانتماءاتهم السياسية والاجتماعية كافة، ويتعرّضون جميعاً لهجوم عنيف جداً من إردوغان وحليفه زعيم الحركة القومية دولت باخشالي والإعلام الموالي لهما معاً. ويكتسب الهجوم الإعلامي طابعاً مسعوراً من دون حدود، ما دام القضاء لا يحرك ساكناً ضد هؤلاء، وخلافاً لكل من يتفوّه ولو بكلمة واحدة ضد إردوغان، حيث يلاحقه القضاء بتهمة الإساءة إلى رئيس الجمهورية، كما يلاحق القضاء معارضي إردوغان من الصحافيين والأكاديميين والمثقفين والفنانين وغيرهم، ومن دون أن يكون هذا الهجوم كافياً بالنسبة إلى إردوغان وإعلامه للحدّ من نشاطِ أحزاب المعارضة وقواها، والتي تستغل فشل إردوغان في السياستين الخارجية والداخلية، وأهمهما الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية الخطيرة التي تتوقع لها قيادات المعارضة أن توصل البلاد الى حافة الإفلاس التام مع استمرار تراجع قيمة الليرة التركية بما لا يقل عن 15٪ خلال شهر واحد فقط، وهو ما انعكس بشكلٍ خطير جداً على ارتفاع أسعار كل الخدمات والمواد الأساسية وغلاء المعيشة ثم البطالة والفقر والجوع الذي تحول الى ظاهرة يومية. 

وتتوقع المعارضة لإردوغان وحكومته أن يفرضا سلسلة جديدة من الضرائب لتغطية العجز في الموازنة، وهو ما سيثقل كاهل المواطن الذي سينتقم من إردوغان في أول انتخابات مقبلة. ويدفع مثل هذا الاحتمال إردوغان إلى السعي من أجل خطط “جهنمية”، بتوصيف المعارضة، لضمان بقائه في السلطة، ومهما كلفه ذلك. وضمن هذه المساعي، يسعى وسيسعى إردوغان لشق وحدة الصف بين أطراف تحالف الأمة الذي يضم حزب الشعب الجمهوري (28٪) والحزب الجيد (14٪)، وبشكل غير مباشر حزب الشعوب الديمقراطي (10٪) . 

وتتوقع الاستطلاعات لحزب التقدم والديمقراطية بزعامة علي باباجان (3٪) وحزب المستقبل بزعامة داود أوغلو (2٪)، ومعهما الحزب الديمقراطي والسعادة، أن تتفق مع تحالف الأمة ضد تحالف الجمهور الذي يضم حزب العدالة والتنمية (30٪) والحركة القومية (8٪) إضافة إلى حزب الوحدة الكبرى. 

كما تتوقع المعارضة لإردوغان أن يفرض رقابة صارمة على الإعلام وشبكات التواصل الاجتماعي، مع العمل على تغيير قانون الانتخابات في آخر لحظة، مع احتمالات تأجيل أو إلغاء الانتخابات بمبررات أمنية، داخلية وخارجية، وهو من صلاحيات إردوغان وفق الدستور. كما تتحدث المعارضة عن احتمالات تزوير الانتخابات، كما جرى في استفتاء 16 نيسان/أبريل 2017. وقام إردوغان بناء على هذا الاستفتاء بتغيير النظام السياسي ليصبح رئاسياً، فسيطر على كل أجهزة الدولة ومرافقها ومؤسساتها، وأصبح الحاكم المطلق للبلاد. واتهم زعيم حزب الشعب الجمهوري كمال كليجدار أوغلو آنذاك الهيئة العليا للانتخابات بتزوير النتائج عبر موافقتها، بعد إغلاق صناديق الاقتراع، على اعتماد بطاقات الاقتراع غير المختومة، وعددها أكثر من مليوني بطاقة.   

ويبقى الحديث عن احتمالات حظر نشاط حزب الشعب الجمهوري وملاحقة قياداته قضائياً السيناريو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى مستقبل تركيا، لأن أتاتورك هو الذي أسّس هذا الحزب الذي حكم البلاد حتى نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية بمفرده. وقد لا يكون هذا القلق كافياً لردع إردوغان عن التفكير بهذا الأسلوب، بعد أن وضع الزعيمين المشتركين لحزب الشعوب الديمقراطي صلاح الدين دميرطاش وفيكان يوكساكداغ وعدداً من قادة الحزب في السجون، قبل خمس سنوات، وضمَّ إليهم نحو أربعين من رؤساء البلديات المنتخبين عام 2019، من دون أن يكون ذلك كافياً بالنسبة إلى أنصار وأتباع الحزب للخروج الى الشوارع، لأنهم يعرفون أن السلطات لن ترحمهم، مع أن عددهم كان 5.86 ملايين صوّتوا للحزب في انتخابات حزيران/يونيو 2018. 

وفي جميع الحالات، ومع استبعاد أي احتمال لإجراء الانتخابات المبكرة في ظل الظروف الداخلية والخارجية الصعبة التي تعيشها البلاد، يعرف الجميع أن إردوغان لا ولن يقبل بأي شكل من الأشكال بالهزيمة وتسليم السلطة لأعدائه. فهو يعرف أنهم سيلاحقونه بتهم كثيرة، أهمها الفساد الخطير، وتورطه في ملفات خارجية، وأهمها علاقاته مع المجموعات المسلحة في سوريا وليبيا.  

ومن دون أن يكون واضحاً، على الأقل حتى الآن، موقف واشنطن من مجمل تطورات الداخل التركي، مع التذكير بأن الرئيس بايدن كان قد تحدث نهاية 2019 “عن ضرورة التخلص من إردوغان ديمقراطياً”، بعد أن وصفه “بالاستبدادي”. 

ويطرح الإعلام العديد من السيناريوهات المستقبلية، ليس فقط بالنسبة إلى موقف واشنطن المحتمل، بل أيضاً موقف العواصم الغربية، وحتى موسكو، والتي يقال إنها جميعاً قد تغض النظر عن بقاء إردوغان في السلطة، ومهما كانت سلبياته، ما دامت المستفيدة منه بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر. ويقول المدافعون عن هذا الرأي إن العواصم المذكورة ترجّح التعامل مع الحاكم المطلق إردوغان بدلاً من رئيس جديد أو حكومة ائتلافية جديدة بعدة أحزاب متناقضة، واتفاقها حتى في القضايا المصيرية لن يكن سهلاً أبداً. 

ويرى البعض في مثل هذا السيناريو سبباً كافياً لاستمرار إردوغان في سياساته الحاليةِ داخلياً وخارجياً، ما دامت العواصم المذكورة تكتفي بالاستنكار والتنديد، من دون أن تتَّخذَ أي إجراء عمليّ ضدّ أنقرة.

ويعرف الجميع أن إردوغان يخطط للبقاء في السلطة، مستخلصاً الدروس من تجارب الأنظمة في الدول العربية والإسلامية، وبقاؤها في الحكم أو سقوطها منه كان في معظم الحالات رهن الإشارة الأميركية. 

وهذه هي الحال بالنسبة إلى عدنان مندرس الذي جعل من تركيا (1950-1960) “ولاية أميركية”، فأطاحه العسكر وأعدموه، فيما لم تحرّك واشنطن ساكناً، وهو ما فعلته مع شاه إيران وحسني مبارك وزين العابدين بن علي وآخرين في دول أخرى، ما زال لأميركا فيها حسابات وحسابات!

Why Russia Protects the YPG in Syria

November 16, 2021

Moscow regards the legitimate Syrian opposition as a bigger threat than the YPG.

Russian military vehicles drive on the road as Russia makes a new military and logistic reinforcement of 30 vehicles to its military points in Kamisli occupied by YPG, Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization on September 14, 2020 Photo by Samer Uveyd, Anadolu Images


F
or years, the Turkish public criticized the U.S. administrations for their support of the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization, which poses a threat to Syria’s territorial integrity and a national security threat to Turkey. At the same time, Russia also tried to use the YPG as a card against Turkey in 2015 and early 2016, but later changed its position and declared its support for the territorial integrity of Syria, and acknowledged the threat the group poses against Turkey. However, in the end of 2019, Russia viewed the partial American withdrawal as an opportunity and re-changed its position again.

In this manner, in 2018, Russia withdrew from the Afrin region and opened the way for the joint Turkish-Syrian military operation of the Syrian National Army (SNA), the former Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) against the YPG.

Moreover, Russia accepted to exclude YPG figures from the Syrian constitutional committee and signed several Astana resolutions which define the YPG as a threat to Syria’s territorial integrity. However, Russia changed its approach to the YPG following Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring and became – along with the U.S. – the new military protector of the YPG in Syria.

Read: The Only Way Out for Russia Is to Let Turkey Weaken the YPG

Why did Russia change its attitude towards the YPG? In order to understand this policy change, one should first analyze Russia’s overall Syria policy before Operation Peace Spring. No doubt, for Moscow, autonomy and federal governments or other forms of decentralized government are not a threat to the territorial integrity of a state since Russia itself is a federation. Nobody should expect Russia to oppose a federal system in Syria.

Therefore, Russia does not recognize the PKK and its Syrian branch, the YPG, as terror groups, and, in principle, does not oppose the YPG per se; however, Russia opposes the YPG’s current policies. For Moscow, the YPG’s partnership with the United States has been the main source of its distrust toward the organization. Moscow wants the YPG to quit working with the U.S. and cooperate with the Russia-backed Assad regime. Until Operation Peace Spring, all Russian charm efforts failed and the YPG remained loyal to the United States.

With Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, the YPG felt the urgent need to invite the Assad regime and Russia to provide military protection against Turkey and the Syrian Interim Government. The YPG’s request was seen by Moscow as a golden opportunity to gain extensive leverage. Russia wanted to fill the void and was further encouraged when U.S. CENTCOM officials decided to hand over their bases to the Russian military rather than seeing a further push by the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army.

Read: The YPG Myth Downplays a Danger For the West

With this momentum, Russia deployed its troops to Manbij, Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), Ayn Issa, Tal Tamr, Dirbasiyah, and Amudah along the front lines or the border region, and entered the towns of Tabqah and Raqqa. As Russia had troops in the YPG-held Tal Rifaat pocket since 2016, with this development, the YPG was on the verge of coming under full Russian military protection.

Moscow was expecting to enter the far east of Syria at the Iraqi border and the oil-rich region of Deir Ezzor in the southeast, but Trump’s decision to protect the oil hindered Russia from doing so. U.S. soldiers stayed in a strip in the east of the country and prevented Russia from entering. Since then, the YPG militants maintained a balancing act between Moscow and Washington as demonstrated by the visit of the PKK veteran and head of the political supreme body of the YPG, Elham Ahmad, to Moscow before heading to Washington.

Following the partial U.S. withdrawal and the new Russian protection of the YPG, Turkey signed two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia. The deal with the U.S. stopped the SNA-TAF advancement and canceled U.S. sanctions against Turkey in return.

Read: Why Turkey Is Dismantling the YPG from Northern Syria

The deal with Russia was more comprehensive. After Operation Peace Spring, the YPG invited the Assad regime and Russia to protect the front lines against a further push by the joint Turkish-Syrian forces, and Russia obligated itself under the terms of the deal to enforce a full withdrawal of all YPG forces from Tal Rifaat, Manbij, and an area extending 32 km from the Turkish border in the east of the Euphrates to the border with Iraq. The deal also foresaw joint Turkish-Russian patrols in a 10-kilometer-wide strip across the Turkish-Syrian border. Except for the joint patrols, Russia failed to deliver on any of the terms of the agreement.

Let alone keeping their promise, Russians have done the opposite and supported the YPG in its terror campaign against the Syrian Interim Government and Turkey. The YPG engaged in several attacks with various weapon systems against civilian-populated areas of the Syrian Interim Government such as Afrin, Azaz, Al-Bab, Jarablus, Tal Abyad, and Rasulayn.

The YPG used new models of Russian-supplied anti-tank guided missiles to target Turkish soldiers

The YPG used new models of Russian-supplied anti-tank guided missiles to target Turkish soldiers, infiltrated the front lines to kill SNA soldiers, and operated a network of cells in the areas of the Syrian Interim Government located in northern Syria. With these cells, the YPG could plant IEDs and attempt assassinations against the SNA, Syrian local politicians, and Turkish soldiers.

Read: The YPG Has a Bloody History in Syria, But the West Turns a Blind Eye

The YPG used the Russian-protected areas as a safe zone to conduct ranged artillery attacks against hospitals and civilian infrastructure. Yet, the most brutal of the YPG attacks were the constant car bomb attacks carried out in urban areas which randomly killed innocent civilians.

The YPG tries to maintain plausible deniability and rejects responsibility. However, car bombs intercepted at crossing points from YPG-held areas to the areas of the Syrian Interim Government, and the logic behind the attacks leave no doubt about who the perpetrators are. The YPG’s foreign backers, like the U.S., condemn the attacks without naming any suspect or culprit, or turn a blind eye to them entirely, like Russia.

For Moscow, the YPG’s systematic use of terror is a preferred tool to prevent the Syrian Interim Government from establishing a sustainable alternative to the Assad regime without getting into a confrontation with Turkey. The attacks are not conducted directly by Russia, but by the YPG, and the U.S. support and protection of the YPG shields Russia from Turkish criticism.  The Turkish public focuses on the U.S. support of the YPG rather than the military protection Russia provides the YPG and its pragmatic attitude to the YPG’s terror campaign.

In fact, Russian policy shows that Moscow regards the legitimate Syrian opposition as a bigger threat than the YPG. For Russia, the Syrian Interim Government is a direct alternative to the Assad regime, and the YPG represents only a territorially limited pursuit of autonomy. Therefore, Russia prefers to protect the YPG in order to disrupt the Syrian Interim Government rather than implementing its obligations stemming from the Turkish-Russian agreement of 2019.

In fairness, it should be underlined that the Russian position regarding the YPG’s demand to establish an autonomous region in northeast Syria has changed in line with the Astana accords. In the negotiations between the Assad regime and the YPG, Moscow puts its weight behind the regime’s categorical rejection of autonomy. In line with the Astana agreements, Russia rejects the separatist agenda of the YPG on paper. While the U.S. actively supports the political ambitions of the YPG in Syria, Russia supports the military presence of the YPG only as a temporary tool.

VIDEO: Exploiting the Female Body: The YPG Case

ضابط الإيقاع الدمشقي… كلّ الطرق تؤدي إلى سورية


ألثلاثاء 9 نوفمبر 2021

 محمد صادق الحسيني

لا أحد من العارفين والمطلعين على موازين القوى المترتبة على خسارة الأميركان وهزيمتهم المدوية في ديارنا سيستغرب وصول كلّ رموز الحرب الكونية على سورية تباعاً إلى دمشق، بضوء أخضر أميركي ساطع. كل ما هنالك أنه ثمة توقيت لكلّ تابع والكلّ واقف بالدور.

وصول وزير خارجية الإمارات على رأس وفد كبير إلى قصر الشعب السوري ليس بعيداً من هذه الأجواء، بل هو في صميمها.

فواشنطن قرّرت تسليم مفاتيح المنطقة دولياً للروس، وإقليمياً للإيرانيين.

قد يستغرب المواطن العربي غير المتابع لعمق ما جرى خلال العقد الماضي إذا ما سمع هذا الكلام الكبير.

ما تقوم به الإدارة الأميركية ليس سببه أن روسيا حطمت الجيش الأميركي، ولا لأنّ إيران أخرجته من المنطقة، بكلّ بساطة ولكن بحسابات دقيقة أيضاً كشف عن بعضها الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وهو يبرّر انسحاب قواته المذلّ من أفغانستان.

أميركا لم تعد قادرة ولا تريد دفع المزيد من الأثمان دماً وأموالاً لانتشارها في منطقتنا، لذلك من الأفضل لها الانسحاب اليوم قبل الغد.

ولكنها وهي تقوم بهذا، فإنها باقية على جوهرها المعادي للشعوب وطبيعتها الناهبة لثروات ومقدرات بلادنا.

في هذه الأثناء فهي تريد إغراء روسيا لإبعادها عن الصين استراتيجياً من جهة، وفتح باب إغراقها بكلّ مشاكل إعادة بناء دول المنطقة من جهة أخرى.

وهي تريد إغراق إيران بحروب فتنوية متنقلة إلى حين استكمالها لعمليات الهروب الكبير الذي تستعد له من كل من سورية والعراق.

لكنها في هذه الأثناء ترسل رسائلها الواضحة إلى دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي كما إلى الكيان الصهيوني، بأنها ليست مستعدة لتقاتل نيابة عنهما مطلقاً، لا ضدّ إيران، ولا من أجل إبقاء الوضع الجيوسياسي «الشرق أوسطي»  الراهن، لأن عقلها وجلّ اهتماماتها انتقلت إلى الشرق الأقصى وبحر الصين.

وحتى تتمكن واشنطن من إدارة ملف تراجعها وخروجها وتداعيات هزيمتها في غرب آسيا، فهي تبحث عن ضامن لمصالحها التجارية وغير التجارية إلى حدّ كبير في المنطقة، عبر العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران من جهة، والدخول في تفاهمات دولية مع موسكو بدأتها في هلسينكي في ما سمّته الإبقاء على الاستقرار الاستراتيجي!

تحويل ملف الكرد في شرق سورية من الحضن الأميركي إلى الحضن الروسي، والبدء بترتيبات مصالحة وطنية في دير الزور على شاكلة ما جرى في درعا، وفتح باب عودة خط الغاز المصري والكهرباء الأردنية إلى لبنان عبر سورية، إشارتان إضافيتان لمجموع محور التحالف الإيراني الروسي السوري في مسرح عمليات محور المقاومة تحديداً، أيّ شرق سورية وفي لبنان، إيذاناً ببدء تراجع واشنطن عن ما كانت تتباهى به أيام ترامب وسمته بسياسة الضغوط القصوى على كلّ من إيران وسورية والمقاومة اللبنانية.

هذا الوضع الجديد سيطغى على سياسة بايدن إلى حين الانتخابات الفرعية للكونغرس الأميركي، والتي قد تنذر بعودة هيمنة الجمهوريين من جديد على القرار التشريعي الأميركي، ما يجعل إدارة بايدن تسير الآن وكأنها نصف عمياء، عين على الواقعية السياسية التي تجبرها على حزم حقائبها والرحيل كما أرادت إدارة ترامب أصلاً، وعين على الصراع الأيديولوجي والسياسي الداخلي الذي يدفعها إلى الإسراع في إنجاز ما طرحته من شعارات انتخابية داخلية تجعلها تضمن عودة الديمقراطيين لولاية ثانية.

أياً تكن تلك الضرورات الأميركية الداخلية، إلا أن القدر المتيقن مما يجمع عليه الأميركيون بكل أجنحتهم هو أن عليهم سحب جنودهم من بلاد العالم وتقليص نفوذهم في بلادنا من أجل إنقاذ أميركا أولاً.

أما الذين اعتادوا على تلقي التعليمات أو ربطوا اقتصادياتهم بالأساس مع رؤوس الأموال اليهودية العالمية، ومنهم بشكل خاص الإمارات وتركيا والكيان المحتل الذي هو القاعدة الأميركية الأكبر المنصبة فوق أرض فلسطين، فما عليهم الا اتباع اشارات المرور الأميركية إلى حين صدور أوامر تفكيك «مستعمراتهم» وانتهاء دور أنظمتهم!

في المقابل نحن على ثقة بأنّ قادة محور المقاومة لن تغريهم كلّ هذه الإشارات من الانحراف عن بوصلة الصراع الواضحة وضوح الشمس، وأملنا بالصديق الروسي «المقاول الدولي» المتميّز حتى الآن بأن لا يذهب بعيداً في الاسترخاء لأنّ «الموسكوبية» في فلسطين لن يحميها الغزاة والطارئين، بل أهل الأرض والحق والمبادئ السامية.

من الآن إلى حين النزال الأكبر أو منازلة ما قبل يوم القيامة نقول:

بعدما طيّبين قولوا الله…

Muqtada The Conqueror gains ground in Iraqi poll

October 12, 2021

In recent elections, Muqtada al-Sadr’s popularity was confirmed, but the infighting in Iraq is just starting

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Muqtada The Conqueror gains ground in Iraqi poll

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It would be tempting to picture the Iraqi parliamentary elections last Sunday as a geopolitical game-changer. Well, it’s complicated – in more ways than one.

Let’s start with the abstention rate. Of the 22 million eligible voters able to choose 329 members of Parliament from 3,227 candidates and 167 parties, only 41% chose to cast their ballots, according to the Iraq High Electoral Commission (IHEC)

Then there’s the notorious fragmentation of the Iraqi political chessboard. Initial results offer a fascinating glimpse. Of the 329 seats, the Sadrists – led by Muqtada al-Sadr – captured 73, a Sunni coalition has 43, a Shi’ite coalition – led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – has 41 and the Kurd faction led by Barzani has 32.

In the current electoral setup, apart from Shi’ite coalitions, Sunnis have two main blocks and the Kurds have two main parties ruling autonomous Kurdistan: the Barzani gang – which do an array of shady deals with the Turks – and the Talabani clan, which is not much cleaner.

What happens next are extremely protracted negotiations, not to mention infighting. Once the results are certified, President Barham Saleh, in theory, has 15 days to choose the next Parliament speaker, and Parliament has one month to choose a President. Yet the whole process could last months.

The question is already in everyone’s minds in Baghdad: true to most forecasts, the Sadrists may eventually come up with the largest number of seats in Parliament. But will they be able to strike a solid alliance to nominate the next prime minister?

Then there’s the strong possibility they may actually prefer to remain in the background, considering the next few years will be extremely challenging for Iraq all across the spectrum: on the security and counter-terrorism front; on the ghastly economic front; on the corruption and abysmal management front; and last but not least, on what exactly the expected US troop withdrawal really means.

The takeover of nearly one-third of Iraqi territory by Daesh from 2014 to 2017 may be a distant memory by now, but the fact remains that out of 40 million Iraqis, untold numbers have to deal on a daily basis with rampant unemployment, no healthcare, meager education opportunities and even no electricity.

The American “withdrawal” in December is a euphemism: 2,500 combat troops will actually be repositioned into unspecified “non-combat” roles. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis – Sunni and Shi’ite – won’t accept it. A solid intel source – Western, not West Asian – assured me assorted Shi’ite outfits have the capability to overrun all American assets in Iraq in only six days, the Green Zone included.

Sistani rules

To paint the main players in the Iraqi political scene as merely a “Shi’ite Islamist-dominated ruling elite” is crass Orientalism. They are not “Islamist” – in a Salafi-jihadi sense.

Neither they have set up a political coalition “tied to militias backed by Iran”: that’s a crass reductionism. These “militias” are in fact the People’s Mobilization Units (PMUs), which were encouraged from the start by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to defend the nation against takfiris and Salafi-jihadis of the Daesh kind, and are legally incorporated into the Ministry of Defense.

What is definitely correct is that Muqtada al-Sadr is in a direct clash with the main Shi’ite political parties – and especially those members involved in massive corruption.

Muqtada is a very complex character. He’s essentially an Iraqi nationalist. He’s opposed to any form of foreign interference, especially any lingering American troop presence – in whatever shape or form. As a Shi’ite, he has to be an enemy of politicized, corrupt Shi’ite profiteers.

Elijah Magnier has done a sterling job focusing on the importance of a new fatwa on the elections issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani, even more important than the “Fatwa of Reform and Changes” which addressed the occupation of northern Iraq by Daesh in 2014 and led to the creation of the PMUs.

In this new fatwa Sistani, based in the holy city of Najaf, compels voters to search for an “honest candidate” capable of “bringing about real change” and removing “old and habitually corrupt candidates.” Sistani believes “the path of reform is possible” and “hope … must be exploited to remove the incompetent” from ruling Iraq.

The conclusion is inescapable: vast swathes of the dispossessed in Iraq chose to identify this “honest candidate” as Muqtada al-Sadr.

That’s hardly surprising. Muqtada is the youngest son of the late, immensely respected Marja’, Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who was assassinated by the Saddam Hussein apparatus. Muqtada’s immensely popular base, inherited from his father, congregates the poor and the downtrodden, as I saw for myself numerous times, especially in Sadr City in Baghdad and in Najaf and Karbala.

During the Petraeus surge in 2007, I was received with open arms in Sadr City, talked to quite a few Sadrist politicians, saw how the Mahdi army operates both in the military and social realm and observed on the spot many of the Sadrist social projects.

In the Shi’ite collective unconscious Muqtada, at the time based in Najaf, made his mark in early 2004 as the first prominent Shi’ite religious leader cum politician to confront the US occupation head-on, and tell them to leave. The CIA put a price on his head. The Pentagon wanted to whack him – in Najaf. Grand Ayatollah Sistani – and his tens of millions of followers – supported him.

Afterward, he spent a long time perfecting his theological chops in Qom – while remaining in the background, always extremely popular and learning a thing or two about becoming politically savvy. That’s reflected in his current positioning: always opposed to the US occupation forces, but willing to work with Washington to expedite their departure.

Old (imperial) habits die hard. Out of his status of sworn enemy, routinely dismissed as a “volatile cleric” by Western media, at least now Muqtada is recognized in Washington as a key player and even an interlocutor.

Yet that’s not the case of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq group, which was born of the Sadrist base. The Americans still don’t understand that this is not a militia but a party: they are branded by the US as a terrorist organization.

US occupation actors also conveniently forget that the way Iraq’s “dysfunctional” Parliament is configured, along confessional lines, is inextricably linked to the project of Western liberal democracy being bombed into Iraq.

Geopolitically, looking ahead, Iraq’s future in West Asia from now on will be inextricably linked to Eurasian integration. Not surprisingly, Iran and Russia were among the first actors to officially congratulate Baghdad for running a smooth election.

Muqtada and the Sadrists will be very much aware that the Axis of Resistance – Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah in Lebanon – is strengthening by the minute. And that is directly linked to the Iran-Russia-China partnership strengthening Eurasia integration. But first things first:  let’s get an “honest” prime minister and Parliament in place.

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