Saudi Crown Prince Defies the US Policy against Syria

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

In November 2022, Saudi Arabia formally changed its stance on Syria. Saudi Arabia is the political powerhouse of the Middle East, and often shares positions on foreign policy and international issues with the UAE, which has previously re-opened their embassy in Damascus.

“The kingdom is keen to maintain Syria’s security and stability and supports all efforts aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the November Arab League summit in Algeria.

Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 following the outbreak of conflict instigated by the US, and portrayed in western media as a popular uprising of pro-democracy protesters.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, “The developments in Syria still require a pioneering Arab effort. It is necessary to show flexibility from all parties so that the economic collapse and political blockage can be dispelled. Syria must engage in its natural Arab environment.”

The next Arab League summit will be held in Saudi Arabia, and there is a possibility of Syria once again taking its seat at the round table.

On January 16, the Syrian Foreign Ministry agreed to resume imports from Saudi Arabia after over a decade of strained relations, and Syria planned to import 10,000 tons of white sugar. This development signals a new beginning between the two countries.

Saudi and the Syrian tribes

The Arab tribes in the north east of Syria have traditionally had strong ties with Saudi Arabia, and have received support from the kingdom. The tribes have opposed the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Arab villages which the US-led YPG militia has conducted for years. Even though Saudi Arabia has been viewed as a US ally in the past, this has changed since the US military has supported the Marxist YPG who have oppressed Syrians who are not Kurdish.

The US occupied oil wells in north east Syria may come under attack by Arab tribes who are demanding their homes, farms and businesses back from the US-supported YPG.  Some analysts foresee the US troops pulling out of Syria after the Kurds find a political solution with Damascus.

Turkey and Syria repair relationship

Turkey and Syria have begun steps to repair their relationship, which ended after Turkey supported the US-NATO attack on Syria for regime change, and hosted the CIA operations room funneling weapons and terrorists into Syria, under the Obama administration.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demanded recently the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria to begin to repair the relationship.

Russia is brokering the reconciliation between Erdogan and Assad, which began with the Moscow hosted meeting of the three defense ministers, and a meeting between the three foreign ministers is upcoming.

The developments between Turkey and Syria are being watched by Iran. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said his country was “happy with the dialogue taking place between Syria and Turkey.” Amirabdollahian will travel to Damascus on Saturday for talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Mekdad.

Iran is looking to establish a new role in the recovery process in Syria. President Ebrahim Raisi will visit both Turkey and Syria soon, his first visit to Turkey since taking office two years ago.  While analysts see Saudi Arabia and Iran as antagonists, some feel the kingdom will ultimately realize they have to work with Iran in Syria and Lebanon.  Iran is part of the region and can’t be excluded from the geo-political sphere.

Saudi Arabian reforms 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) said on April 27, 2021 that the country was undergoing a sweeping reform which would restructure the role of religion in Saudi politics and society.  The process began a few years before he became crown prince, but under his leadership it has accelerated. Islamic institutions in the Kingdom have seen changes in procedure, personnel, and jurisdiction.  All of these reforms are in line with the future vision of the country.

Some analysts feel the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1960s eventually gave rise to support for domestic religious institutions, and eventually led to funding of religious activities abroad, while religious leaders at home wielded power over public policy.

Vision 2030

Saudi King Salman, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and his son, MBS have a plan for the country which is known as Vision 2030.  MBS is also Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.

The days of unlimited oil and markets are in the decline. Education, training, and employment opportunities are the stepping stones to building a thriving country and MBS is determined to plan for a long future of growth and innovation.

MBS

The Crown Prince is young and has new ideas.  He is instituting sweeping reforms to the society which have included more rights and freedoms for women. He has championed projects to place Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination, year round golf and soccer venue, and encouraged cultural arts such as musical productions. MBS is breaking the mold: no longer will Saudi Arabia be a breeding ground for Radical Islam.

Extremist preachers

Saudi Arabia had hosted many extremist preachers.  Some were featured on satellite TV channels located in Saudi Arabia, and others were local preachers, authors, or scholars.  Some had traveled abroad preaching in pulpits and exporting their hatred and sectarian bigotry.

One of the most famous preachers was Muhammed Al-Arifi, who has had an electronic surveillance device attached to him by Saudi intelligence agents, after they seized all of his social media accounts. His last tweet is said to be on May 6, 2019, when he had 20 million followers, and 24 million likes on Facebook, which ranked him as tenth in the Arab world and in the Middle East. The kingdom is shutting down clerics who are extreme.

In 2014, Great Britain banned Arifi from entering the UK following reports that was involved in radicalizing three young British citizens who went to Syria as terrorists.

A YouTube video in 2013 showed Arifi preaching in Egypt and prophesying the coming of the Islamic State.  Egyptian TV reported Arifi meeting with the former Muslim Brotherhood prime minister Hisham Qandil in his office.

Arifi is best remembered for his statement on the media Al Jazeera in which he called for jihad in Syria and supported Al Qaeda.

Adnan al-Arour is another extremist preacher who had appeared regularly on two Saudi-owned Salafist satellite channels. Arour was originally from Syria before settling in Saudi Arabia, and in the early days of the Syrian conflict he would stand up on camera, shake his finger, and called for his followers to ‘grind the flesh’ of an Islamic minority sect in Syria and ‘feed it to the dogs’.

These extremist preachers made it clear that the battles being waged in Syria had nothing to do with freedom or democracy, which the western media was pushing as the goal.  The truth was the conflict in Syria was a US-NATO attack for regime change and utilized terrorists following Radical Islam, who fought a sectarian war with the goal of establishing an Islamic State in Syria.

The previous Crown Prince

Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud (MBN) served as the crown prince and first deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2017.  On June 21, 2017 King Salman appointed his own son, MBS, as crown prince and relieved MBN of all positions.

MBN met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in January 2013. He then met with President Obama in Washington, on 14 January 2013. The discussion focused on the US-NATO attack on Syria and its support from Saudi Arabia.

In February 2014, MBN replaced Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia, and was placed in charge of Saudi intelligence in Syria. Bandar had been in charge of supporting the US attack on Syria. Bandar had been trying to convince the US in 2012 that the Syrian government was using chemical weapons.  However, research has shown that the terrorists used chemical weapons to push Obama into a military invasion, based on his speech of ‘The Red Line’.

In March 2016, MBN was awarded Légion d’honneur by French President François Hollande, another partner in the US-NATO attack on Syria.

On February 10, 2017, the CIA granted its highest Medal to MBN and was handed to him by CIA director Mike Pompeo during a reception ceremony in Riyadh. MBN and Pompeo discussed Syria with Turkish officials, and said Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US was “historic and strategic”.  Just months later in June MBS would depose MBN and strip him of powers, in a move considered to be “upending decades of royal custom and profoundly reordering the kingdom’s inner power structure”.

US diplomats argued that MBN was “the most pro-American minister in the Saudi Cabinet”. That is what brought MBN down. The days of blindly following the US directives are over in Saudi Arabia.  MBS has refused to bow down to Biden when he demanded an increase in oil production.  The Vision 2030 that MBS developed does not include financing failed wars in the Middle East for the benefit of the Oval Office. MBS has a strained relationship with Biden, and he wears it as a badge of honor.

Saudi role in the Syrian war

Saudi Arabia played a huge role in the large-scale supply of weapons and ammunition to various terrorist groups in Syria during the Syrian conflict.  Weapons purchased in Croatia were funneled through Jordan to the border town of Deraa, the epi-center of the Syrian conflict.

At the height of Saudi involvement in Syria, the kingdom had their own militia in Syria under the command of Zahran Alloush. The Jaysh al-Islam are remembered for parading women in cages through the Damascus countryside prior to massacring them.

In summer 2017, US President Donald Trump shut down the CIA operation ‘Timber Sycamore’ which had been arming the terrorists fighting in Syria. About the same time, Saudi Arabia cut off support to the Syrian opposition, which was the political arm of the terrorists.

Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, expressed his view at the time that “Saudi Arabia is involved in the ISIS-led Sunni rebellion” in Syria.

Syria has been destroyed by the US and their allies who supported the attack beginning in 2011.  Now, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are looking to find a solution which will help the Syrian people to rebuild their lives.  Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have turned away from past policies which found them supporting the conflict in Syria at the behest of the US.  There is a new Middle East emerging which makes its own policies and is not subservient US interests.


Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

Global South: Gold-backed currencies to replace the US dollar

The adoption of commodity-backed currencies by the Global South could upend the US dollar’s dominance and level the playing field in international trade.

January 19 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Let’s start with three interconnected multipolar-driven facts.

First: One of the key take aways from the World Economic Forum annual shindig in Davos, Switzerland is when Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan, on a panel on “Saudi Arabia’s Transformation,” made it clear that Riyadh “will consider trading in currencies other than the US dollar.”

So is the petroyuan finally at hand? Possibly, but Al-Jadaan wisely opted for careful hedging: “We enjoy a very strategic relationship with China and we enjoy that same strategic relationship with other nations including the US and we want to develop that with Europe and other countries.”

Second: The Central Banks of Iran and Russia are studying the adoption of a “stable coin” for foreign trade settlements, replacing the US dollar, the ruble and the rial. The crypto crowd is already up in arms, mulling the pros and cons of a gold-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC) for trade that will be in fact impervious to the weaponized US dollar.

A gold-backed digital currency

The really attractive issue here is that this gold-backed digital currency would be particularly effective in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Astrakhan, in the Caspian Sea.

Astrakhan is the key Russian port participating in the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), with Russia processing cargo travelling across Iran in merchant ships all the way to West Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean and South Asia.

The success of the INSTC – progressively tied to a gold-backed CBDC – will largely hinge on whether scores of Asian, West Asian and African nations refuse to apply US-dictated sanctions on both Russia and Iran.

As it stands, exports are mostly energy and agricultural products; Iranian companies are the third largest importer of Russian grain. Next will be turbines, polymers, medical equipment, and car parts. Only the Russia-Iran section of the INSTC represents a $25 billion business.

And then there’s the crucial energy angle of INSTC – whose main players are the Russia-Iran-India triad.

India’s purchases of Russian crude have increased year-by-year by a whopping factor of 33. India is the world’s third largest importer of oil; in December, it received 1.2 million barrels from Russia, which for several months now is positioned ahead of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as Delhi’s top supplier.

‘A fairer payment system’

Third: South Africa holds this year’s rotating BRICS presidency. And this year will mark the start of BRICS+ expansion, with candidates ranging from Algeria, Iran and Argentina to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has just confirmed that the BRICS do want to find a way to bypass the US dollar and thus create “a fairer payment system not skewed toward wealthier countries.”

For years now, Yaroslav Lissovolik, head of the analytical department of Russian Sberbank’s corporate and investment business has been a proponent of closer BRICS integration and the adoption of a BRICS reserve currency.

Lissovolik reminds us that the first proposal “to create a new reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of BRICS countries was formulated by the Valdai Club back in 2018.”

Are you ready for the R5?

The original idea revolved around a currency basket similar to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) model, composed of the national currencies of BRICS members – and then, further on down the road, other currencies of the expanded BRICS+ circle.

Lissovolik explains that choosing BRICS national currencies made sense because “these were among the most liquid currencies across emerging markets. The name for the new reserve currency — R5 or R5+ — was based on the first letters of the BRICS currencies all of which begin with the letter R (real, ruble, rupee, renminbi, rand).”

So BRICS already have a platform for their in-depth deliberations in 2023. As Lissovolik notes, “in the longer run, the R5 BRICS currency could start to perform the role of settlements/payments as well as the store of value/reserves for the central banks of emerging market economies.”

It is virtually certain that the Chinese yuan will be prominent right from the start, taking advantage of its “already advanced reserve status.”

Potential candidates that could become part of the R5+ currency basket include the Singapore dollar and the UAE’s dirham.

Quite diplomatically, Lissovolik maintains that, “the R5 project can thus become one of the most important contributions of emerging markets to building a more secure international financial system.”

The R5, or R5+ project does intersect with what is being designed at the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), led by the Macro-Economics Minister of the Eurasia Economic Commission, Sergey Glazyev.

A new gold standard

In Golden Ruble 3.0 , his most recent paper, Glazyev makes a direct reference to two by now notorious reports by Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar, formerly of the IMF, US Department of Treasury, and New York Federal Reserve: War and Commodity Encumbrance (December 27) and War and Currency Statecraft (December 29).

Pozsar is a staunch supporter of a Bretton Woods III – an idea that has been getting enormous traction among the Fed-skeptical crowd.

What’s quite intriguing is that the American Pozsar now directly quotes Russia’s Glazyev, and vice-versa, implying a fascinating convergence of their ideas.

Let’s start with Glazyev’s emphasis on the importance of gold. He notes the current accumulation of multibillion-dollar cash balances on the accounts of Russian exporters in “soft” currencies in the banks of Russia’s main foreign economic partners: EAEU nations, China, India, Iran, Turkey, and the UAE.

He then proceeds to explain how gold can be a unique tool to fight western sanctions if prices of oil and gas, food and fertilizers, metals and solid minerals are recalculated:

“Fixing the price of oil in gold at the level of 2 barrels per 1g will give a second increase in the price of gold in dollars, calculated Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar. This would be an adequate response to the ‘price ceilings’ introduced by the west – a kind of ‘floor,’ a solid foundation. And India and China can take the place of global commodity traders instead of Glencore or Trafigura.”

So here we see Glazyev and Pozsar converging. Quite a few major players in New York will be amazed.

Glazyev then lays down the road toward Gold Ruble 3.0. The first gold standard was lobbied by the Rothschilds in the 19th century, which “gave them the opportunity to subordinate continental Europe to the British financial system through gold loans.” Golden Ruble 1.0, writes Glazyev, “provided the process of capitalist accumulation.”

Golden Ruble 2.0, after Bretton Woods, “ensured a rapid economic recovery after the war.” But then the “reformer Khrushchev canceled the peg of the ruble to gold, carrying out monetary reform in 1961 with the actual devaluation of the ruble by 2.5 times, forming conditions for the subsequent transformation of the country [Russia] into a “raw material appendage of the Western financial system.”

What Glazyev proposes now is for Russia to boost gold mining to as much as 3 percent of GDP: the basis for fast growth of the entire commodity sector (30 percent of Russian GDP). With the country becoming a world leader in gold production, it gets “a strong ruble, a strong budget and a strong economy.”

All Global South eggs in one basket

Meanwhile, at the heart of the EAEU discussions, Glazyev seems to be designing a new currency not only based on gold, but partly based on the oil and natural gas reserves of participating countries.

Pozsar seems to consider this potentially inflationary: it could be if it results in some excesses, considering the new currency would be linked to such a large base.

Off the record, New York banking sources admit the US dollar would be “wiped out, since it is a valueless fiat currency, should Sergey Glazyev link the new currency to gold. The reason is that the Bretton Woods system no longer has a gold base and has no intrinsic value, like the FTX crypto currency. Sergey’s plan also linking the currency to oil and natural gas seems to be a winner.”

So in fact Glazyev may be creating the whole currency structure for what Pozsar called, half in jest, the “G7 of the East”: the current 5 BRICS plus the next 2 which will be the first new members of BRICS+.

Both Glazyev and Pozsar know better than anyone that when Bretton Woods was created the US possessed most of Central Bank gold and controlled half the world’s GDP. This was the basis for the US to take over the whole global financial system.

Now vast swathes of the non-western world are paying close attention to Glazyev and the drive towards a new non-US dollar currency, complete with a new gold standard which would in time totally replace the US dollar.

Pozsar completely understood how Glazyev is pursuing a formula featuring a basket of currencies (as Lissovolik suggested). As much as he understood the groundbreaking drive towards the petroyuan. He describes the industrial ramifications thus:

“Since as we have just said Russia, Iran, and Venezuela account for about 40 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, and each of them are currently selling oil to China for renminbi at a steep discount, we find BASF’s decision to permanently downsize its operations at its main plant in Ludwigshafen and instead shift its chemical operations to China was motivated by the fact that China is securing energy at discounts, not markups like Europe.”

The race to replace the dollar

One key takeaway is that energy-intensive major industries are going to be moving to China. Beijing has become a big exporter of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe, while India has become a big exporter of Russian oil and refined products such as diesel – also to Europe. Both China and India – BRICS members – buy below market price from fellow BRICS member Russia and resell to Europe with a hefty profit. Sanctions? What sanctions?

Meanwhile, the race to constitute the new currency basket for a new monetary unit is on. This long-distance dialogue between Glazyev and Pozsar will become even more fascinating, as Glazyev will be trying to find a solution to what Pozsar has stated: tapping of natural resources for the creation of the new currency could be inflationary if money supply is increased too quickly.

All that is happening as Ukraine – a huge chasm at a critical junction of the New Silk Road blocking off Europe from Russia/China – slowly but surely disappears into a black void. The Empire may have gobbled up Europe for now, but what really matters geoeconomically, is how the absolute majority of the Global South is deciding to commit to the Russia/China-led block.

Economic dominance of BRICS+ may be no more than 7 years away – whatever toxicities may be concocted by that large, dysfunctional nuclear rogue state on the other side of the Atlantic. But first, let’s get that new currency going.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Putin Tells Raisi in Phone Call: Russia Ready to Upgrade Cooperation with Iran

January 20, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is ready to upgrade cooperation with Iran in different fields as he held talks with President Raisi for the second time in less than ten days.

The Iranian and Russian presidents discussed bilateral ties and regional developments during a phone conversation initiated by the Kremlin on Thursday.

During the phone conversation, Raisi stressed the need to boost bilateral cooperation and coordination in various fields.

He also described as “positive and constructive” the agreements between the two countries for expanding cooperation in the fields of energy and transit.

For his part, Putin said Moscow is ready to boost cooperation with Tehran in the areas of energy as well as transit.

Iran and Russia are working to advance the North-South corridor which will facilitate transportation and greatly reduce transportation time.

In 2002, Russia, Iran, and India signed an agreement for the International North-South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a 7,200 km multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

The INSTC is seen a game-changer that will shorten the distance and lower the cost of transportation from South Asia to Europe through Iran and Russia and potentially serve as an alternative to the Suez Canal for East-West trade.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria during the conversation. Raisi stressed that Iran supports solving the Syrian crisis through the Astana Format.

Putin also highlighted the role of Astana talks in solving the Syrian conflict, noting that all sides are committed to the format.

 Iran and Russia, as the allies of the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, which sides with the opposition, set up the Astana peace process in January 2017 intending to put an end to the Syrian conflict through the involvement of the Syrian government and the opposition.

The leaders of Russia and Iran also agreed “to maintain contacts at different levels,” the Kremlin’s press service said, TASS reported.

The two leaders had discussed issues of mutual interest on January 18. Raisi had then expressed Iran’s readiness to play a positive intermediary role in ending the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“The Islamic Republic invariably lays emphasis on the [importance of] strengthening of regional convergence and [points out] the detrimental effect of the foreign intervention [in the region],” he said then while referring to developments in the Caucasus region and Syria.

The latest phone conversation comes a year after Raisi made a two-day visit to Moscow. After arriving in Tehran on January 21, 2022, Raisi told reporters that “fundamental agreements” on expanding all-out bilateral relations were clinched during the trip.

واشنطن تحشد ضد التطبيع مع دمشق | أنقرة: مستعدون للانسحاب

الخميس 19 كانون الثاني 2023

علاء حلبي  

سربت أنقرة تصريحات تفيد بموافقتها على الانسحاب من سوريا جزئياً أو كلّياً وفق جدول زمني محددّ (أ ف ب)

على رغم العقبات الكثيرة التي تعترض طريق التطبيع السوري – التركي، تشير المعطيات المتوافرة كافة إلى أن أنقرة متمسّكة بهذا المسار، وهو ما أنبأ به مثلاً تسريبها حديثاً لأحد مسؤوليها عن استعدادها للانسحاب الكلّي أو الجزئي من الشمال السوري. ولعلّ ذلك التمسّك يفسّر جانباً من «الهَبّة» الأميركية، متعدّدة الأشكال والمستويات، لعرقلة عملية الانفتاح على دمشق، بدءاً من محاولة حشْد المعسكر الغربي بأكمله ضدّها، مروراً بالاشتغال على الربط الاقتصادي بين مناطق سيطرة «الإدارة الذاتية» وتلك الخاضعة لسلطة أنقرة، وليس انتهاءً بالعمل على تهشيم «الائتلاف» ومحاولة استنبات تشكيلات معارضة بديلة

مقالات مرتبطة

قُبيل زيارة وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، لواشنطن، ولقائه نظيره الأميركي، أنتوني بلينكن، عقد ممثّلو دول الاتحاد الأوروبي اجتماعاً في العاصمة البلجيكية بروكسل، بدعوة من المبعوثة الأوروبية لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، هيلين لوكال، لمناقشة الأوضاع في سوريا، ليخلص الاجتماع إلى تأكيد استمرار موقف الاتحاد الأوروبي القائم، والمتمثّل في رفْض أيّ خطوات تطبيعية مع دمشق، ورفْض رفْع العقوبات عن الأخيرة، كما ورفْض إعادة الإعمار، الأمر الذي يتماشى مع حملة التصعيد التي تقودها واشنطن في الملفّ السوري هذه الأيّام. كذلك، سارعت الولايات المتحدة، التي لمست رفضاً قاطعاً من أنقرة لخطّتها القديمة – الجديدة للربط بين مناطق «الإدارة الذاتية» التي تقودها «قوات سوريا الديموقراطية» الكردية (قسد) والشمال السوري الذي تسيطر عليه تركيا، كبديل للانعطافة التركية نحو دمشق، إلى الإعلان عن اجتماع تشاوري في جنيف لممثّلي الدول التي تماثلها في مواقفها من الأزمة السورية، في إشارة إلى التحالف السياسي الذي تقوده ضدّ روسيا، حيث تربط واشنطن بين ملفَّي سوريا وأوكرانيا، وتَعتبر أيّ تقدّم في الملفّ السوري نجاحاً لموسكو، وفق مصادر سورية معارضة، تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار».

المصادر ذكرت أن جدول أعمال اللقاء لم يتبلور حتى الآن، غير أن المؤكد أنه سيستمرّ ليومَين: اليوم الأوّل (يُتوقّع أن يكون الإثنين القادم) يناقش فيه المجتمعون الخطوات الموحّدة التي يمكن اتّباعها لمنع أو تخفيف أيّ آثار للانعطافة التركية، وإعادة تقييم قانون العقوبات الأميركية على سوريا، ومدى إمكانية تنفيذ بنود منه ضدّ الدول التي انفتحت أو تسير نحو الانفتاح على دمشق، على أن يُعقد في اليوم التالي اجتماع مع الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، أنطونيو غوتيريش.

استبَقت واشنطن زيارة أوغلو بجولة لمنسّق البيت الأبيض للشؤون الأمنية للشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا شملت الأردن والعراق


واستبَقت واشنطن زيارة وزير الخارجية التركي بجولة قام بها منسّق البيت الأبيض للشؤون الأمنية للشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، بريت ماكغورك، شملت الأردن والعراق، حيث ناقش المسؤول الأميركي ملفّات عدّة من بينها الموضوع السوري. وبحسب مصادر كردية تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار»، فإن ماكغروك ناقش مع أربيل سُبل التنشيط الاقتصادي لمناطق «الإدارة الذاتية»، والاستفادة من استثناءات قانون عقوبات «قيصر»، والتي تشمل مناطق «الذاتية» وأخرى تسيطر عليها تركيا في الشمال السوري باستثناء إدلب وعفرين. في المقابل، أشار أوغلو، قبل انطلاقه إلى واشنطن، إلى أن الملفّ السوري سيحتلّ حيّزاً رئيساً من مباحثاته هناك، مضيفاً أن ملفّ طائرات «F16» سيكون حاضراً أيضاً، علماً أن الولايات المتحدة استثمرت هذا الملفّ مرّات عدّة للضغط على تركيا، بعد إخراجها إيّاها من مشروع تطوير طائرات «F35» إثر شراء الأخيرة منظومة «S400» الدفاعية الروسية.

وبالإضافة إلى الحراك السياسي والميداني (عبر إعادة نشْر القوّات الأميركية وتوسيع رقعة تمركزها، ومحاولة إحياء فصائل عربية تابعة لها في مناطق نفوذ «قسد»)، أعلنت الخارجية الأميركية ضخّ 15 مليون دولار لدعم ما سمّته «مكافحة التضليل، وتوسيع بثّ وسائل الإعلام المستقلّة، وتعزيز مبادئ حقوق الإنسان». ويتوافق ذلك مع التحرّكات الأميركية الأخيرة لخلق معارضة سورية بديلة لـ«الائتلاف» تنشط من نيويورك، تمهيداً لسحب البساط من تحت أنقرة، وإنهاء «الائتلاف» الذي يمثّل واجهة سياسية للمعارضة تتحكّم بها تركيا، علماً أن حملة كبيرة بدأت تَظهر بالفعل عبر وسائل الإعلام ومواقع التواصل الاجتماعي ضدّ هذا التشكيل. وفي المقابل، وفي تصريحات يبدو أنها تهدف إلى الضغط على واشنطن، سرّبت أنقرة إلى وسائل إعلام تركية تصريحات لمسؤول تركي كبير لم تُسمّه، أعلن خلالها موافقة بلاده على الانسحاب من سوريا جزئياً أو كلّياً وفق جدول زمني محدَّد، في ردّ مباشر على مطالب دمشق. كذلك ذكر المسؤول التركي أن بلاده متّفقة مع الجانب السوري على عدم وجود أيّ خطوط حمراء لا تمكن مناقشتها، الأمر الذي يعني إصراراً تركياً على الانفتاح على دمشق، خصوصاً بعد الزيارة التي أجراها وزير الخارجية الإيراني، حسين عبد اللهيان، لأنقرة قادماً من سوريا، وإعلانه دعم بلاده هذا الانفتاح، واستعدادها للانضمام إليه وتحويله إلى لقاءات رباعية تضمّ روسيا وإيران وتركيا وسوريا، وفق «مسار أستانا» الذي تحدّث عن إمكانية تعديله وتحديثه أيضاً. بدورها، أكدت موسكو مضيّها في تقريب وجهات النظر بين أنقرة ودمشق، حيث أعلن وزير الخارجية الروسي، سيرغي لافروف، استمرار العمل لإجراء لقاء على مستوى وزيرَي خارجية سوريا وتركيا، مرحّباً في الوقت ذاته بالمسار التركي للحلّ في سوريا.

ميدانياً، تابعت «هيئة تحرير الشام» (جبهة النصرة) هجماتها التصعيدية لتسخين جبهات القتال، عن طريق إرسال «إنغماسيين» إلى محاور «خفض التصعيد» في إدلب. وأفادت مصادر ميدانية بأن هجوماً جديداً شنّه عدد من «الجهاديين» على محور قرية معرة موخص في ريف إدلب الجنوبي، ردّ عليه الجيش السوري بقصف مكثّف على مواقع المسلحين، الأمر الذي أدّى إلى مقتل عدد منهم، عُرف منهم «أبو عبيدة النعماني» و«أبو جهاد الحلبي»، وهما من فصيل «أنصار التوحيد».

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دمشق – أنقرة: تصلّب المواقف يؤخّر الخرق

الإثنين 16 كانون الثاني 2023

لا تزال العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا «خياراً» تركيّاً مطروحاً على الطاولة (أ ف ب)

محمد نور الدين  

تتزايد الإشارات الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري حيال مسألة التطبيع وما يعتيرها من معوّقات لا تزال تحول دون إتمامها. ويجلّي تلك المعوّقات اشتراط الجانب السوري إنهاء الاحتلال التركي كمقدّمة لأيّ مصالحة محتمَلة من جهة، وعودة الأتراك إلى العزف على نغمة التهديد بعملية عسكرية بريّة في الشمال السوري، قالوا إنها لا تزال خياراً مطروحاً، من جهة أخرى. في هذا الوقت، يَظهر الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، التواق إلى إحراز أيّ اختراق يعزِّز من شعبيته المتراجعة قبل الانتخابات، إلى الآن، كَمَن «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، أقلّه بالنسبة إلى دمشق

صدرت، في اليومَين الماضيَين، عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري، إشارات عكست أنّ «شيئاً ما» يَعترض مسار المصالحة بينهما، وإنْ كان جليّاً أن الطريق ليس سهلاً أو مفروشاً بالورود. ففي حوار إذاعي أبرزته الصحف التركية في صدْر صفحاتها، يوم أمس، تحدّث الناطق باسم الرئاسة، إبراهيم قالين، عن أن العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا لا تزال «خياراً» مطروحاً على الطاولة، ويمكن أن تُنفَّذ في أيّ لحظة، ووفقاً لمستوى التهديد الأمني. وأعلن قالين أن اجتماعاً لوزراء خارجية تركيا وسوريا وروسيا سيُعقد في أواسط شهر شباط المقبل، وحتى ذلك الحين بإمكان وزراء دفاع الدول الثلاث أن يجتمعوا مجدَّداً، مؤكداً، في الوقت ذاته، أن العملية السلمية ستستمرّ، وأن أنقره تدعمها، وإنْ جدّد الإشارة إلى أن «قوات حماية الشعب» الكردية، و«حزب العمّال الكردستاني» مجموعتان «إرهابيتان» يجب التخلُّص منهما لحماية أمن تركيا. وجاء حديث قالين في أعقاب تأجيل موعد اجتماع وزيرَي خارجية البلدَين، مرّتَين على التوالي: الأولى على إثر الاجتماع الأوّل لوزيرَي دفاع البلدَين في موسكو، في 28 كانون الأوّل الماضي، حين توقّع وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، أن ينعقد اللقاء في منتصف كانون الثاني الجاري، ثمّ قال إنه سيجري في مطلع شباط المقبل. والثانية، لدى الإعلان أن وزيرَي الدفاع قد يجتمعان مجدّداً، وهذا يعني أن هناك قضايا لوجستية وميدانية وأمنية وعسكرية لا تزال عالقة، وتحتاج إلى المزيد من التشاور لإيجاد حلول لها. وعلى ضوء نتائج هذه الاجتماعات، يمكن أن ينعقد أو يتأخّر أو لا ينعقد لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية.

وعلى الجانب الآخر، السوري، صدرت مواقف ربّما تكون الأكثر إشارةً إلى دقّة مسار المصالحة، وما يعتريه من تعقيدات لا تُحلّ بمجرّد لقاء أو اثنين أو صورة مشتركة. وفي هذا الإطار، قال الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، بعد لقائه المبعوث الروسي إلى سوريا، ألكسندر لافرنتييف، إن «هذه اللقاءات، حتى تكون مثمرة، يجب أن تُبنى على تنسيق وتخطيط مسبقَين بين سوريا وروسيا من أجل الوصول إلى الأهداف والنتائج الملموسة التي تريدها سوريا، انطلاقاً من الثوابت والمبادئ الوطنية للدولة والشعب المبنيّة على إنهاء الاحتلال ووقْف دعم الإرهاب». وجاءت الإشارة الثانية على لسان وزير الخارجية، فيصل المقداد، بعد لقائه نظيره الإيراني، حسين أمير عبد اللهيان، في دمشق، السبت، من أنه «لا يمكن عودة العلاقات الطبيعية بين تركيا وسوريا من دون إزالة الاحتلال التركي». من جهته، تحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن أن أيّ حوار بين دمشق وأنقرة يمثّل خطوة إيجابية تصبّ في مصلحة البلدَين والمنطقة «إذا كان جادّاً»، مؤكداً أن بلاده «تثق ثقة كاملة» بالمواقف والقرارات السورية. ولربّما يعكس ما تقدَّم تشكيكاً إيرانياً في جديّة الجانب التركي، كما أن الحديث عن «ثقة كاملة» بالموقف السوري ربّما يبدو ردّاً على شائعات تباينات الموقف بين طهران ودمشق في شأن المصالحة مع أنقرة. إلى ذلك، عكست تطوّرات ميدانية أيضاً ما يعتري عملية التطبيع من عوائق، من مثل مقتل جنود سوريين في قصف تركي في شمال البلاد، ومن ثم إعلان أنقرة أن أحد جنودها قتل في قصف على قاعدة تركية في ريف حلب، فضلاً عمّا أفيد به من مقتل أربعة جنود سوريين جرّاء اشتباكات عنيفة مع مسلّحي «هيئة تحرير الشام» في ريف اللاذقية.

بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه إردوغان

وفي ضوء المواقف الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري وأيضاً الإيراني، بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري، لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه الأول، وربّما تأتي الانتخابات التركية لتطيحه إلى ما بعدها، في حال مضيّ مسار المصالحة قُدُماً. كذلك، تطرح التصريحات المختلفة أكثر من علامة استفهام تتعلّق بأساسيات ومحدّدات التطبيع بين تركيا وسوريا، كما مواقف الأطراف الأخرى، ومنها روسيا وإيران. كما أتت التصريحات «الصارمة» للأسد والمقداد، بعدما لفت المراقبين «تأخُّر» الردّ الرسمي السوري على ما كان يَصدر من مواقف تركية منذ مطلع آب من العام الماضي. وكان كل ما يتعلّق بالمصالحة المفترَضة يأتي من الجانب التركي، وآخرها ما اعتُبر خريطة طريق رسمها إردوغان قبل حوالي شهر ونصف شهر، على أساس لقاءات تتدرّج من المستوى الاستخباري إلى وزراء الدفاع، فالخارجية والرؤساء. وجاء بيان وزارة الدفاع السورية الإيجابي بعد لقاء موسكو، في إطار العموميات، ليُحكى من بعده عن تأجيل لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية ومن ثم اشتراط الأسد، للقاء إردوغان، زوال الاحتلال أوّلاً، ليؤكد الموقف الرسمي السوري الحذر من الرغبة التركية المفاجئة في المصالحة، خصوصاً أن هذه الرغبة لم تقترن إلى الآن بأيّ خطّة عملية ومبرمجة زمنيّاً. وقد انتظرت القيادة السورية اجتماع موسكو لتبني على الشيء مقتضاه، وقد بُني هذا الشيء، أخيراً، على لسان الأسد والمقداد، وعنوانه أن الرئيس التركي «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، ويُقدّم وعوداً غير مقنعة لدمشق.

في المقابل، فإن العزف التركي الجديد على وتر العملية العسكرية البرّية جاء كما لو أنه ردّ على موقفَي الأسد والمقداد، وأيضاً كمؤشر من شأنه تعزيز التقديرات القائلة بأن تركيا ليست جادّة في عملية التطبيع ولا تريد منها سوى تقطيع الوقت من الآن وحتى الانتخابات الرئاسية في حزيران (وربّما في أيار) المقبل، وأن الأهمّ لإردوغان هو الظهور في صورة مشتركة مع الأسد يستثمرها في الانتخابات الرئاسية، فيما تنتظر دمشق من أنقرة أجوبة واضحة ومفصّلة عن خريطة طريقها للانسحاب من الأراضي السورية وتصفية المسلّحين المعارضين في إدلب والمناطق المحتلّة، بمن فيهم ما يسمّى «الجيش الوطني»، وعدم الاكتفاء، كما قال قالين، بتصفية قوات «قسد».

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President Assad Resisting Russian Pressure to Help Erdogan

 ARABI SOURI J

Russian President Putin continues his extensive efforts to help the Turkish madman Erdogan in ruling Turkey, economically, Russia has done its uttermost to help the Turkish economy after the US and European Union pressure on it and despite the policies of Erdogan prior to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine were very harmful to Russia itself. The latest attempt by Mr. Putin to help the Turkish madman is to pressure President Bashar Assad to meet Erdogan in a photo-op summit which Erdogan will sell to his people as a sign of resolving the Syrian refugees issue in Turkey.

Syria’s response to previous attempts to mend ties with Turkey falls very much under the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and the bases of the Adana Accords, Turkey has interfered in Syria militarily, politically, economically, and by sponsoring tens of thousands of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, Syria has not harmed Turkey in any way possible.

After a meeting in Moscow that joined the Syrian minister of defense to his Turkish counterpart with the presence of the Russian minister of defense, Erdogan started selling his election promise that he’s on the verge of rapprochement with Syria that will see millions of refugees return to their home country.

The Turkish regime has even set dates for a meeting between the foreign ministers of Syria and Turkey which prompted the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates to visit Damascus and ask President Assad to include his country in such a meeting.

Syria’s response to further meetings with the Turkish side are varying from negative to suspicious regarding the Turkish commitments, after all, Turkey is a NATO member state and the leaders of this ‘defensive’ alliance are not known to keep their words, especially Erdogan. Russia knows that firsthand and now even more after the revelations of former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande that they were never serious to implement the Minsk agreements regarding the Donbas and were using them only to buy time for Ukraine to build up a strong army and threaten Russia.

Erdogan has also not only failed to implement the Idlib agreements in which he promised to cease supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS and to dismantle these terrorist groups, but he also went on beefing up these terrorists with more imported terrorists, supplies of weapons, and by sending the Turkish army, NATO’s second-largest army to protect those terrorists turning posts which were supposed to serve as observation posts to see the dismantling and withdrawal of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists into military bases to support those terrorists inside Syrian territories.

All of this has not stopped Mr. Putin from adding more pressure on President Assad to help the Turkish madman in the upcoming elections to the extent of sending his special envoy, Mr. Lavrentiev, to Damascus to try to convince President Assad.

After receiving the Russian envoy President Bashar Assad said:

“The meetings with the Turkish side must be based on prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia in order to be fruitful, and in order to reach the tangible goals and results that Syria wants from these meetings.”

President Assad then added:

“The objectives of the meetings stem from the national constants and principles of the state and the people, which are based on ending the Turkish occupation of the Syrian lands, and stopping support for terrorism.”

Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL – Daesh), their affiliates, and offshoots are considered terrorist groups by Syria, and most of the world including the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Security Council, however, the regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan considers these same terrorists as moderate rebels and builds its policies toward Syria over a potential essential role for these terrorists in Syria’s future political leadership!

Yet, seems that the Russian leadership, and especially President Putin sees the Turkish madman Erdogan as a winning card against NATO and a reliable person.

The failed foreign policies of the Turkish madman Erdogan have stripped him of his friends in his country and abroad, the biggest failure was in Syria when he vowed to pray in the Grand Omayyad Mosque in Damascus as a conqueror after toppling the government of Bashar Assad, it was President Assad who saved the Turkish economy under Erdogan and Gul after the European Union doors were closed in its face when the Syrian gates were opened for Turkish businesses inside Syria and through it to the Arab world.

All of Turkey’s economic gains in the past two decades are merely because of President Bashar Assad, and all of Turkey’s economic losses in the past few years are merely because the Turkish madman Erdogan failed to topple the only person who helped him and his country stand on its feet no matter how much Qatar, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and now the combined Gulfies help Turkey. With the southern gates blocked and with millions of refugees pressuring the Turkish economy, there’s no way Erdogan can win the upcoming elections.

Erdogan’s future without the presidency is in a confined prison cell, his and his family’s corruption is beyond comprehension, even his own partners in the Turkish mafia went against him, by winning the elections, the Turkish dictator can immune himself from the prosecution he’s promised by the Turkish opposition, and can solidify more powers under him to rule without opposition, anyway, most of the Turkish opposition are either in jail or in exile.

Sedat Peker, The Mafia and Erdogan… And Syria, Again
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An adviser of the Turkish madman Erdogan exposed his boss’s real intentions toward Syria: Erdogan will not implement any agreement he strikes with President Assad before the Turkish elections, and will allow 1.5 million to 2 million Syrian refugees to return to their home country only if Aleppo is placed under the administrative control of Turkey!

Will the Russian leadership of Mr. Putin continue to pressure Syria into helping Erdogan win re-election coming this mid-May, or understand that the likes of the Turkish madman Erdogan cannot be trusted no matter what other concessions the Russians are able to get out of him?

It was the war criminal and former US President George W. Bush who tasked the Turkish madman Erdogan with a leading role in the region if he helps the USA implement its PNAC (Project for the New American Century) by dismantling all secular Arab countries especially Syria to protect the creation of the Jewish state of Greater Israel aka Greater Middle East Project, known in biblical terms as the kingdom of the antichrist; the Turkish madman Erdogan will become the neo-Ottoman sultan of the divided Muslim world in exchange. The whole world changed after the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood project of Erdogan failed miserably in Syria which caused a reverse domino effect in the Arab states in which it succeeded earlier: Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt.

The Turkish madman Erdogan started the war on Syria turning his country into the main hub for all sorts of terrorists hired by the different ‘intelligence’ agencies of NATO and Gulfies to fight the Syrian state, and it’s in the hands of the Turkish madman to end the war on Syria and secure re-election, Russia must not ask of Syria to help Erdogan, it must pressure Erdogan to at least comply with the agreements the latter signed of which Russia and Iran were the guarantors.


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Assad demands withdrawal of Turkish forces for continuation of talks

Lavrentiev stressed the importance of these meeting in order to resolve tensions between Damascus and Ankara

January 12 2023

(Photo Credit : SANA)

ByNews Desk- 

On 12 January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with the special envoy of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss Moscow’s proposal to establish bilateral talks between Damascus and Ankara; however, Assad remarked that any talks between the two states would require Ankara to end its presence in northern Syria.

The Syrian government indicated that the discussions during the meeting revolved around international and regional issues, with Assad noting that media and political battles are at their height in recent years, adding that these disputes require more stability regarding clarity on political positions, referencing Damascus’s position on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Russia’s envoy, Alexander Lavrentiev, clarified that Moscow appreciates Damascus’s position throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and despite Washington’s efforts in placing pressure on nations on good and neutral terms with Russia, it failed to isolate Moscow and Damascus.

Lavrentiev also reiterated that Moscow is seeking a tripartite meeting between Turkiye, Russia, and Syria, stressing the importance of following up with one another to resolve tensions between the neighboring countries.

Earlier this month, the US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, expressed grave concern over Turkiye’s recent rapprochement with the Syrian government, adding that the US calls on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Damascus. 

The Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, has previously affirmed Turkiye’s respect for the sovereignty of Syria and announced their presence in the country is limited to fighting Turkish-designated terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Turkiye has been launching indiscriminate artillery attacks across northern Syria and Iraq over recent months, targeting positions held by the People Protection Units (YPG) and the PKK.

Despite Moscow’s stress on the importance of mending ties between Damascus and Ankara, Akar revealed last month that discussions are being held with Russia to use the airspace above northern Syria for a potential cross-border operation that targets Kurdish militant groups.

UN Security Council Extends Al Qaeda Lifeline in Idlib, Again

JANUARY 9, 2023

 ARABI SOURI

United Nations Security Council extended its Resolution 2642, the Al Qaeda lifeline supplies through Turkey breaching Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity officially for an additional six months.

The resolution which was supposed to be met with at least Russia’s veto provides thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists in the province of Idlib enough material and a direct internationally-secured supply route from NATO member state Turkey to occupied Idlib province through the Bab Al Hawa border crossing currently manned by Al Qaeda terrorists.

The NATO-controlled United Nations Security Council with Russia and China despite being permanent members of it and despite being opposed to NATO proxy armies of terrorists have condemned up to 4 million Syrians to continue living under the mercy of the Al Qaeda terrorists for an additional six months as if the past decade is not already more than enough for them.

United Nations Security Council lists Al Qaeda Levant, aka Nusra Front – HTS (Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham) and its affiliated groups as terrorist organizations, yet this particular resolution seems to acknowledge the control of these terrorists over Syrian territories against the will of the Syrian people and the Syrian state, a founding member of the United Nations and one of the victims of the biased acts of the United Nations and its different entities.

UNSC Resolution 2642 is a continuation of a series of resolutions regarding Syria starting with resolution 2042 in 2012 adopted by the international body entrusted to preserve peace and security around the world, none of these resolutions favor the Syrian people despite its wordings unless some still believe that NATO is a defensive alliance responsible for spreading democracy and freedoms in the world and ignoring this ‘defensive’ alliance’s role, collectively sometimes, and unilaterally in others in the illegal invasions of a number of countries with Libya and Iraq as horrible examples with millions of people killed, maimed, raped, displaced, their countries ruined, and their riches plundered by the ‘defensive’ alliance.

UNSC 2642 Extending lifeline supplies for Al Qaeda in Idlib - Syria
https://tass.com/politics/1462691

The Syrian people continue to suffer with this same Security Council that refused to convene to discuss and condemn the repeated Israeli bombings against Syria the latest of which the bombing of Damascus International Airport, or the continuous illegal occupation of parts of Syria including not coincidentally the main oil fields and food basket farmlands by the US Army.

Meanwhile, 90% of the Syrians, especially those in the areas under the control of the Syrian government are living under the poverty line and watching the US Army stealing their oil, and wheat, and occupying their main gas field depriving them of their basics while the USA and its European Union cronies impose a complete blockade preventing them from importing these basic needs from other countries.

We have no clue yet why Russia did not veto the extension of Resolution 2642 this time, its officials signaled on earlier occasions that their previous approvals to extend the same resolution would be the last yet they still allow the resolution to be extended.

Those concerned about the well-being of the Syrians trapped in regions occupied by Al Qaeda and the army of NATO member state Turkey could rely on the humanitarian corridors into Idlib under the control of the Syrian authorities, bypassing these corridors implies that the intention of extending the 2642 resolution in its shape is meant to allow the continuous supplies of weapons to the terrorists in Idlib from their sponsors in Turkey and other NATO member states and to hold the Syrian people hostages to the conceits and control of Al Qaeda fanatics in Idlib.

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A Moscow meeting shatters fantasies of a Syrian ‘confederation’

January 11 2023

Source

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Malek al-Khoury

The newly-initiated Syrian-Turkish rapprochement talks are headed in Damascus’ favor and the “Turkish concessions” derided by opponents are just the start, insiders tell The Cradle.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already abandoned his dream of “praying in the Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus. But sources say this will be swiftly followed by further concessions that will throw a wrench into the ambitions of Syria’s opposition factions.

An undivided Syria

There will be no “federalism” or “confederation” – western codewords for the break up of the Syrian state – at these talks, but rather a “Turkish-Russian” acceptance of Damascus’ conditions.

For starters, Ankara plans to open the strategic M4 highway – which runs parallel to the Turkish border and connects all the vital Syrian cities and regions – as a prelude to opening the legal border crossings between Syria and Turkiye, which will re-establish trade routes between the two countries.

This move, based on an understanding between Damascus and Ankara, will essentially close the door on any opposition fantasies of breaking Syria into statelets, and will undermine the “Kurdish-American divisive ambition.”

It is not for nothing that Washington has sought to thwart communications between Ankara and Damascus. Under the guise of “fighting ISIS,” the US invested heavily in Syrian separatism, replacing the terror group with “Kurdish local forces” and reaped the rewards in barrels of stolen Syrian oil to help mitigate the global energy crisis.

Now Turkiye has closed the door to that ‘federalization’ plan.

A Russian-backed proposal

The Syrian-Turkish talks in Moscow on 28 December focused mainly on opening and establishing the necessary political, security, and diplomatic channels – a process initiated by their respective defense ministers.

While resolving the myriad thorny files between the two states is not as easy as the optimists would like, it is also nowhere as difficult as the fierce opponents of rapprochement try to suggest.

The Moscow discussions centered on mild, incremental solutions proposed by Russia. The Kremlin understands that the minefield between Ankara and Damascus needs to be dismantled with cold minds and hands, but insists that the starting point of talks is based on the political formulas of the Astana peace process that all parties have already accepted.

On the ground, Moscow is busy marketing satisfactory security settlements for all, though those on the battlefield appear to be the least flexible so far. The Russian plan is to “present security formulas to the military,” intended to be later translated into the integration of forces – whether Kurdish fighters or opposition militants – into the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

This will be achieved via committees led by both Syrian and Turkish intelligence services, a Russian source involved in coordinating the talks tells The Cradle.

Occupied areas of Syria, in 2023

Co-opting the Kurds

The Russian proposals, according to the source, rely on two past successful models for reconciliation on the battlefield. The first is the “Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood model in northern Aleppo,” an area once controlled by Kurdish forces who began to coordinate with the SAA after the sweeping 2016 military operation that expelled opposition militants from the eastern neighborhoods of the city.

The Russian source says that the “Sheikh Maqsoud” model succeeded because of “security coordination,” revealing that “Syrian state security is deployed at the entrances to the neighborhood with checkpoints that coordinate with the Kurdish forces inside – in every way, big and small.” This security coordination includes “arresting criminally wanted persons, and facilitating administrative and service services” in coordination with Damascus.

The second reconciliation model used by Russian forces in Syria succeeded in bringing together the SAA and Sheikh Maqsoud Kurdish militias in a joint military maneuver conducted near the town of Manbij in the countryside of Aleppo last August.

While the Russian source confirms that the experience of “security coordination” between the SAA and the Kurdish forces was “successful,” he cautions that these models need “political arrangements” which can only be achieved by “an agreement in Astana on new provisions to the Syrian constitution, which give Kurds more flexibility in self-governance in their areas.”

Opposition amnesty

A parallel proposal revealed to The Cradle by a Turkish source, approaches ground solutions from a “confederation” angle, anathema to the Syrian authorities. According to him, “Damascus must be convinced of sharing power with the qualified factions of the (Turkish) National Army for that.”

While the Turkish proposal tried to move a step closer to Damascus’ aims, it seems that Russian mediation contributed to producing a new paradigm: This would be based on the tried-and-tested Syrian “military reconciliation” model used for years – namely, that opposition militants hand over their arms, denounce hostility to the state, and are integrated into the SAA.

Turkiye’s abandonment of its “demand to overthrow the regime” applies also to its affiliated military factions inside Syria, as the latter’s goals have dwindled to preserving some areas of influence in the north of the country. This is the current flavor of Turkiye’s reduced “confederation” ambitions: To maintain Turkish-backed factions within “local administrations” in northern areas where Turkiye has influence. This, in return for giving up on Ankara’s political ambition of “regime change” in Damascus and redrawing Syria’s northern map.

The solution here will require amending the Syrian constitution, a process that began several years ago to no avail.

From the Syrian perspective, officials are focused on eliminating all opposing separatist or terrorist elements who do not have the ability to adapt to a “unified” Syrian society.

Therefore, Damascus rejects military reconciliation proposals for any “sectarian” separatist or factional militias. Syrian officials reiterate that “the unity of the lands and the people” is the only gateway to a solution, away from the foreign interests that promote “terrorism or secession” – a reference to the Turkish and American role in Syria’s war.

Reconciliation on Damascus’ terms

There is no “confederation” in the dictionary of the Syrian state, and it is determined to stick hard to the principle of Syrian unity until the end. Damascus is intent on one goal: Reconciliations based on surrendering arms in the countryside of Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, Hasakah, Qamishli, and al-Tanf, which are the areas that are still outside the control of the state.

According to the Turkish source, Syria refused to discuss anything “outside the framework of reconciliations and handing over weapons and regions,” which he says “makes it difficult for Ankara to undertake its mission,” especially in light of the fact that the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front controls large parts of these target areas.

A Syrian source tells The Cradle that the “Qamishli model” of military reconciliation is the closest one that applies to this case: Wherein “the SAA and national defense forces (the majority of which are pro-Damascus Kurds) coordinate fully.”

He makes clear that Damascus has already provided ample self-governance mechanisms for Kurds in the country’s north:

“The (Kurdish-run) Autonomous Administration in Syria already exists. It deals directly with Syria’s Ministry of Local Administration (in Damascus) and has multiple agencies that work through local representative councils to implement government plans in terms of security, tax collection, and services,” and of course it consists of the people of the region – Kurds.

The recent statement of top Erdogan advisor Yassin Aktay may throw a wrench in those works. His insistence that Turkiye should maintain control over the city of Aleppo – Syria’s second most populous, and its industrial heart – did not come out of nowhere.

Ankara considers that its repatriation of three million Syrian refugees should start from “local administrations run by the (Turkish-backed) Syrian National Army (a rebranded version of the opposition ‘Free Syrian Army),” says the Turkish source.

He is referring to Idlib, Aleppo, and their countrysides, and the areas in which Turkiye launched its “Olive Branch” and “Euphrates Shield” military operations. These locales in Syria’s north include the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo, including Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab, Afrin, and its environs.

Turkiye may consider gradually handing over these strategic zones to its allied Syrian militias, he says.

“Call it confederation or not, these areas should be controlled by the Syrian National Army factions instead of the Al-Nusra Front – in order to ensure the safe return of the refugees.”

Steady progress

In short, the Russian mediation to bring Damascus and Ankara closer is moving slowly, but according to the Turkish source, “it is closer to reconciliation because the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration is beginning to take charge of regional affairs after holding new local council elections – in compliance with plans forged in the Astana process.”

Regarding Astana, the Turkish source says, “Let the Syrians treat the Kurdish and opposition areas as one, if the Kurds agree to dismantle their factions and join the Syrian army within a certain equation, the opposition factions will also accept.”

Regarding the complicated geopolitics of Syria’s east – currently occupied by US troops and their proxies – a high-ranking Syrian official who recently visited Saudi Arabia and Cairo, proposed “Arab intervention with the Syrian tribes to disengage tribe members in the Al-Tanf region from the US forces.” But according to the official, this would be subject to “the progress of relations between Damascus, Riyadh, Cairo, and possibly even Jordan.”

A few days ago, a video message was sent by Nusra Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani, in which he thundered: “Where are the armies of the Muslims?” It is a topical message from Al Qaeda’s Syria boss, who is angling to maintain his sectarian “area of ​​influence” in northwest Syria – strategic Idlib on the Turkish-Syrian border. Julani’s destructive narrative may be the last barrier to break for Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow to strike a deal on the ground.

A Rift in the Lute?

January 10, 2023

By Batiushka

A U.S. 51-star flag has already been created just in case there ever is a 51st state.

Foreword

Joke of the Decade from the quisling Stoltenberg: ‘NATO is united’. (Amazing what a few million dollars deposited into their bank accounts will do to some people’s sense of truth-telling. Ask the President of the Ukraine, if you do not believe me). Apparently, Stoltenberg has not heard of Greece and Türkiye (whose President the NATO US tried to assassinate). Or Romania and Hungary. Or try Germany and Poland. Many Non-Norwegians, for example all Germans and Poles, are aware that Germany and Poland are not on good terms. The current Polish government wants even more money back from Germany in war reparations – yes, for that war which ended 78 years ago.

Meanwhile the Germans continue to use the expression ‘polnische Wirtschaft’, literally ‘Polish economy’, meaning total chaos. And then there are Germans who would like Silesia back, those cities like Breslau and after all, why not Danzig? As for the provincial Polish obsession with recovering their ‘greatness’, a Polish Empire from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, by taking over and perhaps ethnically cleansing the western Ukraine (remember Akcija Visla in 1947; the parents of some of my best friends lived through it), Germans shake their heads in despair. However, there is also another international ‘rift in the lute’, or crack in the violin creating disharmony. It could be fatal. Read on.

London and Washington

Nationalism is always inherently narcissistic because it is all about imagined self-preening superiority. Once upon a time this was an imagined racial superiority, also known as racism. Thus, the British novelist Delderfield wrote a series of novels about the Victorians (1) called ‘God is an Englishman’. ‘Send them gunboats and missionaries’ (in that order), proclaimed the Victorians with their patronising ‘civilising’ mission. Their imperialist poet Kipling spoke of the Maxim gun and the Bible. Same thing. ‘Wogs begin at Calais’, proclaimed the splendid isolationists, right up until the 1950s. I remember a conversation a few years ago with an Indian, who told me that very, very few Indians had accepted Protestantism in India because, as he said, apart from anything else, Protestant English ‘missionaries’ had told Indians that if they wanted to become Protestants (or ‘Christians’, as the Victorians miscalled it), they would first have to agree to wearing trousers. In other words, it was never an issue of faith or the spiritual, but of becoming second-class Englishmen.

A century later the same mentality came to rule over the USA, where it was called ‘White Supremacism’ and the people who accepted it were called WASPs, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. However, that is now all taboo. There is no such thing as racial superiority among modern woke Americans, only of moral superiority. This is in fact even more insulting and condescending nonsense, which means the acceptance of ‘our’ values, i.e. ‘freedom and democracy’. Thus, Victorian London imposed the Puritan Englishman as the model for salvation (‘wash more often and your skin will become as white as ours’), whereas ‘liberal’ Washington says ‘wear jeans and trainers, eat at MacDonalds, drink coca cola and watch Disney, and you too will be saved, even though you are the wrong skin colour’. Same old, same old.

Greatness and Decline

Among the Victorians there were politicians with personalities: Palmerston, Disraeli and Gladstone, the only one adored by Bulgarians. Of course, the first two were obnoxious imperialists – but they did have personalities. Among them we can also include the Kurd-gassing Churchill and the Pinochet-loving Thatcher. They were Victorians in their mentality. Racist to the core. But they did have personalities. It seems now that they were the last of the line.

After Thatcher came a series of nonentities, the believing in his own delusions Blair and then in 2022 the three geniuses: Johnson, whose name is now a synonym for a buffoon; Truss, who gave the world a new word, a ‘Trussism’, e.g. ‘Peru is the capital of Africa’ or ‘Inflation is overcome by printing more money’; and then there is the Indian banker, sunny Sunak, not quite a billionaire, but well on his way:

Say no more.

Such British geniuses should recall that the neocons who run NATO and then think that if they extend their war in the Ukraine and hope to drag it out for a decade or so, that will destroy Russia. Clearly, they live not in the real world, but in a virtual world. The longer it lasts, the greater the damage to the West. This is what they will create: Civil war in the USA. Bankruptcy in the UK. Collapse in Germany. Revolt in France and Southern Europe. Chaos in Eastern Europe. The end of NATO. The trouble is that, as Col. Douglas MacGregor always quotes his Spanish NATO friend as saying: ‘The USA is not another country, it is another planet’. Having been to different parts of the USA four times, visiting from the Old World, I can confirm the words of the Spanish officer.

Continents and Islands

The point is that those who live on Continents are always pragmatists. They have to be. They have to live alongside those who have different religions and therefore different cultures, speak different languages and eat different food. No American-style ‘one size fits all’ here. However, the UK is an island. When you live on an island, you can run away to Dunkirk and go home for cups of tea in Brexitland, as the Germans call it. Britain can be to the USA what New Zealand is to Australia, i. e. a bit of a joke, as Texans say, ‘that iddy-biddy liddle island off the coast of Europe’.

So, before you make the choice, just remember that the USA is also an island. Or more precisely Northern America (the USA and the Frozen North, also called Canada, is an island. (Mexico is neither South, nor Central, America, but it still belongs to Latin America, not Northern America; remember Trump’s promised wall?). And since Northern America is thousands of kilometres away from any Continent, it is not like Britain, thirty kilometres from a Continent, but a very insular island.

And just remember that if you want to be taken over by Washington and become the 51st State, the Americans are really bad losers. Bad losers are those who if they can’t have what they want, throw their toys out of the pram and destroy everything. They would sooner choose self-destruction, as they cannot destroy others. Coming second is not an option for bad losers. And when their toys are nuclear, be careful. The British, say what you will, are not like that. (Probably because they have been coming second for a whole century now, so they have an awful lot of experience).

Bad Losers

I can think of half a dozen examples, but the most ‘actuel’, as the French say, is Meghan Markle. Here we are, the American actress who wanted to become a Princess, so then she could be ‘the Queen of England’. They would not let her, as she came too late and snatched the wrong baby, the ‘Spare’ (Harry) and not the Heir (William). In any case, William sems to have some backbone, whereas the depraved, drug-taking, Afghan-murdering Harry appears to be the classic weak-willed man, who will do anything, including maligning his own family, for the sake of going to bed with an American actress. (Remember his great-great uncle, the Hitler-saluting Edward VIII?) Another case of Hugh Grant and the strong American woman. And Meghan Markle has simply thrown her toys out of her pram, because she could not get her way, using Harry as her ventriloquist’s dummy. The classic American bad loser. It is a bit like homosexuals who are in denial: ‘I hate you and I am jealous of you because you are normal and therefore I am going to destroy you’. And that is what necons, Victoria Nuland a prime example, do.

Now this family argument between Harry and the Family Business in itself is not about the big political questions, but it is symptomatic of the ‘special relationship’ (i.e. London licking the boots of Washington every time Washington has walked on some turd). The fact is that the German House of Windsor is on its way out, Harry, Duke of California, or not. The fact is that there is no war between the Ukraine and Russia. The war is between Washington and Moscow, and quite a few British people are starting to cotton on to this fact. The Ukrainians, like most Western Europeans, including the British, are just naïve pawns in the Great American Game in their struggle to maintain their world domination. And therefore Britain is going to have a choice to make quite soon. Neither the dying and obsolete gerontocracy of the grandchildren of Nazis, known as the EU, nor insular English nationalist Brexit, but Eurasia or the 51st State. Choose wisely. You might get a better deal from those who are 21 miles away than from those who are 3,000 miles away.

Johnson, who was born in New York and Sunak who studied at Stanford, be careful of bad losers. They can get you into big trouble, especially if they decide to throw their nuclear toys out of their pram on top of you. As the Victorian poet Lord Tennyson wrote in 1859:

It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute.

9 January 2023

Note:

1. Just for the sake of historical accuracy, let it be said that the whole 19th century period is miscalled ‘Victorian’. It should have been called Alexandrinian, as Queen Victoria’s real first name was Alexandrina, held in honour of her godfather, Tsar Alexander I.

US on alert as UAE seeks to join Turkish-Syrian reconciliation talks

As the UAE tries to join Russia in mediating between Ankara and Damascus, the US is looking to establish a middle ground between Turkiye and the SDF in hopes of preventing normalization with Syria

January 08 2023

(Photo Credit: Emirates News Agency)

ByNews Desk- 

During a speech in Ankara on 5 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted that a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad may soon take place, “as part of efforts for peace.” He added that a tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkiye, Russia and Syria is scheduled to be held in the near future for the first time since 2011.

The upcoming meeting aims to enhance communication after Russian-sponsored talks between the Turkish and Syrian defense ministers were held in Moscow on 28 December. The meeting was the highest-level of official meetings between Ankara and Damascus since the start of the Syrian war.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 5 January, Erdogan called on the Syrian government to “take the steps to achieve a tangible solution concerning the case of Syria.”

The US seeks to establish a middle ground between Ankara and the SDF in order to prevent Turkish-Syrian reconciliation

The Syrian-Turkish rapprochement via declared Russian mediation was paralleled by Emirati-Syrian rapprochement – the latest of which was a “brotherly” meeting aimed at strengthening cooperation and restoring historical relations between Assad and Foreign Minister of the UAE Abdallah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, according to SANA.

Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the UAE seeks “to join Russia in sponsoring Syrian-Turkish relations at a high level,” noting that the Emirati foreign minister’s visit to Damascus sought to arrange Turkiye’s participation in the tripartite meeting of Syrian-Turkish-Russian foreign ministers, making it a quadripartite meeting.

The meeting is meant to pave the way for a presidential meeting between Erdogan and Assad in the presence of Putin. Reportedly, the UAE has offered to host this summit, with a possibility of a high-level UAE official being present at the meeting if it will be held in Moscow.

Asharq Al-Awsat added that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu plans to visit Washington on 16-17 January to brief US officials on the developments of Turkish-Syrian normalization, his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad, and the “roadmap” sponsored by Moscow in the context of security, military, political and economic fields – as agreed upon by the defense ministers as well as the intelligence chiefs in Syria, Turkiye and Russia over the past weeks.

As Turkiye has been launching successive operations against Kurdish groups both on the Turkish-Syrian border as well as within Syria itself under ‘Operation Claw Sword,’ a Western official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a high-ranking US official will be visiting Ankara in the coming hours as part of efforts to mediate between Turkiye and the SDF in northeastern Syria.

Ankara has demanded that Moscow and Washington commit to the implementation of the bilateral military agreements signed at the end of 2019. The agreements stipulate the withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to beyond 30 kilometers from the Turkish border, and from the areas of Manbij and Tal Rifaat, in addition to the withdrawal of all heavy weaponry.

The SDF says that it has fulfilled its obligations, and will not withdraw its police force – known as the Asayish – nor dismantle its local councils, despite Turkiye’s insistence on dissolving all Kurdish military and civil institutions in the area.

Meanwhile, Cavusoglu told media on 29 December that Ankara is willing to withdraw from the territory it occupies in northern Syria and hand it over to Damascus in the event that “political stability” is reached – after cooperation in “neutralizing ISIS members, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the YPG.”

The Saudi newspaper’s report stated that US mediation seeks to reach a “compromise” between the Kurdish groups and Ankara without a new Turkish incursion taking place ahead of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-2023. This mediation seems to be an attempt at circumventing the imminent Syrian-Turkish reconciliation.

Another official source disclosed that Ankara was “uncomfortable with the leaks following the meeting of the Syrian, Turkish and Russian defense ministers in Moscow, and that it had agreed to a full withdrawal.” However, the source confirmed that, “it is true that Ankara and Damascus consider the PKK a common threat, and will work against any separatist agenda, because it is an existential threat to both countries,” adding that the two countries will “work to open the Aleppo-Latakia Highway.”

Following the UAE’s visit to Damascus, which came after the US called on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Syria, Asharq Al-Awsat quoted an official as saying that the US has been the only western country to issue a statement against normalization, and is working alongside Paris, Berlin, and London to assume a united stance against normalization with Syria.

Communication is currently underway for a meeting between the representatives of Paris, Berlin, London, and Washington and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pederson in Geneva on 23 January. This meeting will take place before Pedersen’s visit to Damascus to meet with the Syrian foreign minister to “confirm the position against normalization, and support the provision of funding for electricity projects within the timeline of early recovery,” stipulated by a resolution for international aid that will be extended before 10 January.

Asharq Al-Awsat said that the UAE has proposed to contribute to the funding of economic and electrical projects in Syria – within the confines of the Caesar Act.

Simultaneously, Jordan, who was the first to open high-level channels of communication with Damascus, is leading efforts alongside other Arab countries to reach a “united Arab position that defines Arab demands in order to make normalization possible.”

The newspaper quoted another western official as saying that Jordan is calling for coordination to put pressure on Damascus to provide political and geopolitical steps for the coming phase in southern Syria, as Amman confirmed that there has been an increase in the smuggling of Captagon, weapons and ammunition across the Syrian border following the start of the normalization process. Additionally, Amman has said that the Iranian presence in southern Syria near the Jordanian border has not diminished, and that there has been an expansion of ISIS activity in the area, according to the official.

Syria’s Arab League membership was suspended in November of 2011 following the start of the Syrian war, and it has been excluded ever since.

Al Qaeda Terrorists Protesting Turkey’s Rapprochement with Syria

JANUARY 7, 2023

 ARABI SOURI

NATO-sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib took to the streets in angry protests against the latest rapprochement steps by the Turkish madman Erdogan toward Syria.

Euronews, a strong propaganda state-controlled arm of NATO and its financial arm, the European Union, shared a video clip showing a few dozen of all males protesting somewhere in the Al Qaeda stronghold in the Turkish-occupied and controlled Idlib province.

In the accompanying news, the EU propaganda outlet claimed that similar protests took place in a number of towns in the countryside of Idlib.

The video is also available on Rumble, and BitChute,

The protest shared by the EU propaganda arm Euronews showed protests spewing slogans with improper language reminiscent of the 2011 NATO-promoted protests in most remote villages and towns across Syria calling for NATO bombing of Syria to spread freedoms and democracy. These protests also witnessed the killings of dozens of Syrian policemen and civilians by 5th column instigators planted by foreign powers and funded by the US-led coalition which included Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the most retard political regimes in the whole world.

Without naming him, the al Qaeda fighters shown in the above video clip with their sons were expressing their anger toward their main sponsor, the Turkish madman Erdogan, after the recent steps taken by him to mend the ties with Syria and their fear he would drop his role in the regime change in Damascus which he played the central part in ever since he was assigned that task by George W. Bush years before the NATO-sponsored Arab Spring was initiated.

The Turkish madman Erdogan is in desperate need to speed up his rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar Assad before the upcoming elections in Turkey, all his policies during his very long reign in Turkey have brought draconian measures against freedoms in his own country, the jailing of tens of thousands of public workers and journalists under the pretext of supporting an opposition movement to him and the failed coup of 2016, in addition to the countless debacles in foreign interventions earning him zero friends in contrast to the policy of zero troubles with neighboring countries which he fooled his people with to vote for him.

Any meeting and agreement with President Assad would help Erdogan in his bid to be reelected, again, as it would give the Turkish people the impression of solving the refugee crises in their country, the crisis they blame for their deteriorating economy.

The main losers of such rapprochement with Damascus are the al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in northern Syria, the Turkish madman Erdogan considers them, like his NATO colleagues, as moderate opposition; Syria and the normal world consider them as terrorists. The other losers of a Turkish rapprochement with Syria are the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists. Both these terrorist entities share the same goals of creating cantons carving them out of Syria and placing a foothold of NATO and Israel where Syria’s main food basket farmlands and oil fields are.

It’s no surprise that al Qaeda terrorists would express their anger toward any rapprochement between Turkey and Syria, however insincere their main sponsor Erdogan is, they fear they will be abandoned like all cheap cards are in the bigger strategic political game.

Syria’s main condition for any rapprochement with Turkey is exactly that, Turkey must drop its support to Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in their numerous groups and return to the Adana Accords of 1998 which only Turkey under Erdogan has breached every article of it.

It’s also no surprise that the NATO propaganda arms would return to promoting those same terrorists who wreaked havoc across Syria and all the countries that were infested with the Arab Spring, and even the countries that sponsored the Arab Spring and had their terrorists return home and carry out terrorist attacks, mainly in western European countries.

There are somewhere between 60,000 and 120,000 terrorists of al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates controlling a Syrian population of around 4 million Syrians across the regions under the Turkish occupation in northern Syria including Idlib province, parts of Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasakah provinces, a large number of those terrorists are foreign terrorists brought into Syria from across the world all the way from the Chinese Uighur and their families through Central Asia to western Europe, literally wherever the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism doctrines have influence, the first is the twisted version of Islam followed by the Turkish AKP ruling party with Erdogan as its supreme leader, a number of radical parties empowered across the Arab world, and the latter is the main twisted version of Islam followed by the Saudi and Qatari rulers.


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Erdogan reviving Ataturk-era Turkey, waging wars and claiming hegemony

January 2, 2023

Source: Politico

By Al Mayadeen English 

The AKP barely passes 30% of popular support as Erdogan still amps up preparations to enter Syria and dissolve Kurdish militias, which Turkey views as tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas.

The Turkish presidential election is set to take place on June 23 and is anticipated to be the most polarized this new year, determining the fate of 85 million citizens in the nation of 3 continents: Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Although the election is still six months away, Erdogan’s conservative Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP), which came to power in 2002, may face a difficult challenge.

The country is already dealing with high inflation and a depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar.

The AKP is barely passing 30% of popular support, according to recent polls in Turkey. Despite that, Erdogan is still amping up preparations to enter Syria and dissolve Kurdish militias, which Turkey views as tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas. 

He has also threatened to strike its NATO ally Greece over the regional disputes of Cyprus, alleged “militarization” of Greek islands, and expansion in the Aegean Sea. 

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar accused Greece on Monday of sabotaging bilateral meetings with Turkey, which intend to be for trust-building and cooperation in NATO. 

Greece took advantage of the meetings to present its problems “as Turkey’s issues in its relations with NATO, the US, and EU,” according to Akar, while simultaneously attempting to steer public attention away from domestic scandals. After Greek politicians’ called Turkey a threat, Akar responded by asserting that his country is a reliable ally and poses no threat. 

Erdogan placed Turkey as an irreplaceable mediator between Russia and Ukraine, proven in the most recent Black Sea Grain Deal initiative and by hosting talks between US and Russian security officials. 

Not only so, but he has worked both sides by supplying Kiev with arms and simultaneously safeguarding trade and energy ties with Russia.

History repeats itself

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was sentenced by a court last month to more than two years in prison, which prevented him from practicing politics for the same period, on charges of insulting members of the Supreme Electoral Council in 2019. 

The Istanbul Mayor is among a handful of opposition leaders that polls show could beat Erdogan in a head-to-head race during the presidential race next June. Thousands of Turks gathered in a square in the center of Istanbul last month to protest the political ban against the opposition mayor of the city.

In light of that, the US State Department expressed that it is “deeply troubled and disappointment” at the possibility of excluding one of Erdogan’s biggest rivals from the political scene. 

Germany described the decision as “a heavy blow to democracy,” while France urged Turkey “reverse its slide away from the rule of law, democracy, and respect for fundamental rights.”

Erdogan denied his involvement with the verdict against Imamoglu, as he said: “What is behind the storm sparked by a verdict these past few days? This debate has nothing to do with us – neither with me nor with our nation.”

It is worth recalling that Erdogan was a former Istanbul mayor, who was sentenced to a year in jail for reading an alleged Islamist poem in 1994 and was prohibited from running for office until further notice. 

A new world order?

In his political lifetime, Erdogan went from having no problems with neighboring nations to full-launch attacks on Syria and Greece. But, a ground execution of military operations in Syria could come and bite back as it already triggers US and Russian reactions against it. 

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Erdogan confirmed that it is “important to clear the (Kurdish fighters) from the border to a depth of at least 30 kilometers,” noting it was “a priority”.

Erdogan has been threatening to conduct a new military incursion into northern Syria to move out Kurdish forces, which he blames for the November bomb blast that killed six people in Istanbul. 

The Turkish President also said his country is committed to destroying the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “until its last militant is neutralized” and raised the possibility of conducting a ground operation soon. 

It is worth noting that on November 20, Turkey launched airstrikes that targeted military bases belonging to the PKK and its armed wing, the YPK, in northern Syria and Iraq.

This year, November will mark the 100th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s foundation of Turkey from the remains of the Ottoman Empire. 

It seems like Erdogan is taking advantage of the current multipolar world order between the US and Russia in order to replace both and make Turkey the global hegemonic power as it was back in the days of Ataturk. 

In the midst of all of this, the EU stands on the sidelines, watching the fight as it struggles with inflation and the energy crisis.

Turkey is the EU’s largest trade partner, but after delaying Turkey’s entry into the EU bloc, it has lost influence in Ankara, and Belgium now has to persuade and buy off Turkey in order to keep the nearly 4 million Syrian refugees from crossing into Greece.

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Syrian Media: Turkey Agrees to Fully Withdraw Troops from Syria

January 1, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

Turkey has agreed to a complete pull-out of its troops from Syria after a recent meeting between defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria in Moscow, according to a report published in Syrian media.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper said in a Friday report that Russia had brokered the meeting in Moscow after intelligence authorities of Turkey and Syria held several rounds of discussions to sort out their differences.

It said that Turkish media outlets, especially those who are close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have also published articles and opinion pieces in recent months suggesting that the Turkish government would better put aside differences with Syria in line with political changes and developments that have happened in the region.

The report said that the meeting in Moscow on Wednesday was held after Damascus and Ankara reached consensus on some key issues, including the need to take into account conditions set by Syria in previous rounds of negotiations.

A source told al-Watan that Turkey had agreed in the tripartite meeting in Moscow to fully withdraw its forces from Syria and to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, his Syrian counterpart Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Russia’s defense chief Sergei Shoigu attended the meeting.

The report said that Syria and Turkey had also discussed the implementation of a 2020 agreement to reopen the M4 highway in northwest Syria along the border with Turkey.

The participants also emphasized that the PKK terrorist group has been a pawn in the hands of the United States and the Zionist regime and should be considered as a major threat to both Syria and Turkey.

They also agreed to set up some specialized committees follow up on agreements reached in the meeting and to hold other rounds of talks between Ankara and Damascus in future.

Late on Wednesday, the Syria’s Ministry of Defense described the meeting between defense ministers of Turkey and Syria as positive.

It said the meeting paved the way for pursuing efforts meant to fight terrorism and to review the situation in Syria, especially with regards to the refugees.

Defense ministers attending the meeting also emphasized the need for continued trilateral talks in order to create stability in Syria and in the wider region.

Russian Defense Ministry also issued a statement after the meeting and said that defense ministers of the three countries had discussed the crisis in Syria, the issue of refugees and fight against terrorism.

«إدلب واللاجئون» مختبَراً أوّل للتقارب | دمشق – أنقرة: جارٍ تسليك الطريق

 الجمعة 30 كانون الأول 2022

علاء حلبي

تزامن اللقاء مع الجدل الدائر حالياً في مجلس الأمن حول قضية المساعدات الإنسانية (أ ف ب)

أنبأ تطابق التعليقات الرسمية السورية والتركية على اللقاء الثلاثي الذي انعقد في موسكو على مستوى وزراء الدفاع ورؤساء الاستخبارات، فضلاً عن الأصداء الإيجابية التي حملتْها تلك التعليقات، بأن هذا اللقاء غير المسبوق منذ 11 عاماً، ستتبعه بالفعل خطوات عملية على الأرض، من شأنها أن تَدفع قُدُماً بمسار التقارب بين أنقرة ودمشق. خطواتٌ يُفترض لمسها خلال الفترة القليلة المقبلة في نطاق ملفَّين رئيسَين: أوّلهما إدلب وطريق حلب – اللاذقية، وثانيهما اللاجئون السوريون الذي يُنتظَر أن تتسارع خطوات إعادتهم إلى بلادهم. وفي خضمّ ذلك، تجد القوى الكردية نفسها أمام اختبار جديد، في ظلّ خشيتها من أن يأتي التطبيع السوري – التركي على حساب وجودها وسلطتها، وهو ما دفعها إلى إطلاق حملة استنكار للاجتماع الأخير، على رغم أنها واصلت، على مدار اللقاءات التي انعقدت بينها وبين الحكومة السورية خلال الأشهر الماضية، رفْض أيّ حلول وسطية، متمسّكة بتحالفها مع الأميركيين وتعويلها عليهم

لعدّة ساعات أوّل من أمس، اجتمع وزير الدفاع السوري، العماد علي عباس، ونظيره التركي، خلوصي آكار، إلى جانب وزير الدفاع الروسي، سيرغي شويغو، بحضور رؤساء استخبارات البلدان الثلاثة، في لقاء هو الأوّل من نوعه بين مسؤولين رفيعي المستوى من سوريا وتركيا، منذ اندلاع الحرب السورية قبل أكثر من 11 عاماً. الاجتماع الذي جاء بعد بضعة أشهر من المباحثات الأمنية والوساطة الروسية المتواصلة، بالإضافة إلى جهود إيرانية بدت واضحة خلال قمّة دول «مسار أستانا» التي عُقدت في العاصمة الإيرانية طهران في شهر تموز الماضي، ركّز على مجموعة قضايا أبرزها المخاطر الأمنية ومسألة اللاجئين. وهاتان القضيّتان كانت قد شكّلتا محور لقاءات أمنية سابقة بين دمشق وأنقرة، في ظلّ رغبة العاصمتَين المشتركة في إخراج القوّات الأميركية من سوريا وإنهاء مشروع «الإدارة الذاتية» الكردية من جهة، وطيّ ملفّ اللاجئين السوريين من جهة أخرى، بهدف سحبه من أروقة السياسة، بعد أن تمّ استثماره لسنوات عدّة من قِبَل الدول الغربية.

وخلال الشهرَين الماضيَين، أبدت تركيا رغبتها في استعجال خطوات الانفتاح على سوريا، بهدف قطف مكاسب هذا الانفتاح في الداخل، في وقت ربطت فيه دمشق التطبيع مع أنقرة بمجموعة خطوات يتعيّن على الأخيرة اتّخاذها، أبرزها وقف دعم الفصائل المسلّحة، وإخراج قوّاتها من الشمال السوري، بالإضافة إلى إنهاء تحكّمها بالمياه الواردة عبر نهر الفرات، والذي يؤدي إلى أزمات جفاف متلاحقة أضرّت بشكل كبير بالقطاع الزراعي السوري، ومنعت إيصال مياه الشرب إلى آلاف القرى. وفي وقت لم تَصدر فيه عن دمشق أيّ توضيحات حول فحوى اللقاء ونتائجه، باستثناء البيان المقتضب الذي أصدرته وزارة الدفاع السورية، والذي وصف الاجتماع بـ«الإيجابي»، ذكرت مصادر سورية أن تركيا تَقدّمت بضع خطوات على المسار الذي تريده سوريا، الأمر الذي سهّل عقْد هذا اللقاء، متوقّعةً ارتقاء الاجتماعات إلى المستوى السياسي في وقت لاحق، من دون تحديد وقت دقيق لذلك، في ظلّ الملفّات المعقّدة والمتشابكة التي تحيط بالعلاقات السورية – التركية، والتي ترجئ الحديث عن التسوية النهائية إلى ما بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية التركية.

خلال الشهرَين الماضيَين، أبدت تركيا رغبتها في استعجال خطوات الانفتاح على سوريا


اللافت في موعد عقد هذا اللقاء، أنه يأتي بالتزامن مع الجدل الدائر حالياً في مجلس الأمن حول قضية المساعدات الإنسانية، إذ ترغب أنقرة في ضمان استمرار تدفّق المساعدات خلال الشهور المقبلة لمنع حدوث اضطرابات في الشمال السوري، في وقت تصرّ فيه دمشق وموسكو على أن تفي الدول الغربية بتعهّداتها حول تقديم دعم ملموس لمشاريع التعافي المبكر، وخصوصاً منظومتَي المياه والطاقة الكهربائية، بما من شأنه أن يؤمّن أرضية مناسبة لإعادة اللاجئين. كذلك، يأتي الاجتماع بعد تعثّر الخطّة التركية لشنّ هجوم برّي جديد في الشمال السوري، بفعل رفض كلّ من موسكو وواشنطن إيّاه، ليبقى الحلّ الوحيد بالنسبة إلى أنقرة هو الانفتاح على دمشق وفق الخطّة الروسية، خصوصاً أن الولايات المتحدة لا تملك سوى تجديد طرح مشروعها لربْط المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الحكومة السورية (الإدارة الذاتية والشمال السوري)، الأمر الذي تَعتبره تركيا وصْفة لتجذير «الإدارة الذاتية» بدلاً من إنهائها.
وعلى أيّ حال، ترى مصادر سورية مطّلعة، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن الأصداء الإيجابية الصادرة عن وزارتَي الدفاع السورية والتركية عقب اللقاء، تشي بوجود خطوات على الأرض يُفترض لمسها خلال الفترة القليلة المقبلة، وأُولاها تقديم دفعة حقيقية لحلحلة ملفّ إدلب وفتح طريق اللاذقية – حلب المغلَق من جهة، ومن جهة ثانية، تسريع وتيرة إعادة اللاجئين السوريين، ولا سيما أنه جرى تحديد معابر دائمة لإعادتهم، وافتتاح مراكز مصالحة خاصة بهم في إدلب. ويضع التوافق السوري – التركي، القوى الكردية، أمام اختبار وجودي جديد، في ظلّ إعلان الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، اتّباع آلية جديدة في محاربة تلك القوى، عبر استهداف بنيتها التحتية ومصادر تمويلها، في إشارة إلى قوافل النفط التي يجري تهريبها، ومراكز تكرير النفط البدائية، بالإضافة إلى مقرّاتها العسكرية. وفي الإطار نفسه، أعلن وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود جاويش أوغلو، أن ثمّة مساعيَ حثيثة لإيجاد مخرج سياسي عبر لقاءات سورية – سورية (بين الحكومة والمعارضة)، وفق مسارَين: الأوّل هو «مسار أستانة» بدعم روسي، والثاني هو مسار «اللجنة الدستورية» (المسار الأممي)، المجمَّد حالياً، علماً أن كليهما لا يضمّان أيّ تمثيل لـ«قسد». ويأتي ذلك في وقت تتابع فيه واشنطن، التي تحاول جاهدة إفشال المساعي الروسية للحلّ ومنْع الانفتاح السوري – التركي، التصعيد السياسي والميداني في سوريا، سواء عبر تقديم دفعات من الأسلحة المتطوّرة لـ«قسد»، أو عن طريق إنشاء «جيش رديف من مكوّنات عربية» في منطقتَي التنف في المثلث الحدودي مع العراق والأردن، والرقة على الحدود مع تركيا.

مقالات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

تركيا تسدّ «الثقب الأسود»: نهاية «الائتلاف السوري»

 الخميس 29 كانون الأول 2022

علاء حلبي  

لم يَمت بعد «الائتلاف» كتشكيل سياسي سوري معارض بشكل نهائي (أ ف ب)

بعدما عاش انفراجة مؤقّتة إثْر استئناف تركيا تدفّقاتها المالية لصالحها خلال الشهرَين الماضيَين، يعود «الائتلاف السوري» المُعارض ليعيش أزمة خانقة، تُهدّد بإنهاء وجوده هذه المرّة، في ظلّ تخفيض أنقرة تلك التدفّقات البالغة 250 ألف دولار شهرياً، بشكل حادّ، توازياً مع انطلاق تحقيقات داخلية أظهرت وجود عمليات فساد كبرى في هذا التشكيل. والظاهر، على ضوء ذلك، أن تركيا توصّلت إلى قناعة بأن الائتلاف لم يَعُد أكثر من «ثقب أسود» يستهلك الموارد بلا طائل، وهو ما سيدفعها إلى تعجيل خطواتها الهادفة إلى إعادة هيكلة الفصائل المُوالية لها، وربطها بـ«الحكومة المؤقّتة»، وإعداد خطّة اقتصادية تؤمّن القسم الأكبر من احتياجات هذه الأخيرة المالية بشكل ذاتي

يعيش «الائتلاف السوري» المُعارض، هذه الأيّام، أزمة مالية خانقة أدّت إلى توقّف معظم نشاطاته، في وقت بدأت فيه عملية مساءلة داخلية بين أعضائه والهيئات التابعة له، للبحث في أسباب الوصول إلى هذه المرحلة، والتي وصفتْها مصادر سورية معارضة، تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار»، بأنها «حرجة وقد تؤدّي إلى وأْده». وكانت تلك الأزمة بدأت قبل نحو ستّة أشهر، إثْر قيام تركيا بقطْع مصادر التمويل عن «الائتلاف» على خلفية فتْحه قنوات تَواصل مع جهات خارجية، من بينها الولايات المتحدة التي حاولت فرض سيطرتها عليه، ضمن خطّتها لإعادة التصعيد السياسي في سوريا. ثمّ عاد هذا الشحّ وانحسر نسبياً، مع استئناف أنقرة تمويل حليفها السوري خلال الشهرَين الماضيَين – بعدما حصلت منه على تعهّدات بعدم الانخراط في أيّ مشروع سياسي من دون العودة إليها -، وتحديداً في أعقاب الجولة التي نظّمتها الخارجية الأميركية لأعضاء «الائتلاف» في نيويورك، بالتزامن مع انعقاد الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة في أيلول الفائت.

وأفْضت المراجعة الداخلية الجارية حالياً، والتي كان طالب بها بعض الأعضاء لمعرفة سبب تدهوُر الوضع المالي لـ«الائتلاف»، في خطواتها الأولى، إلى الكشف عن العديد من ملفّات الفساد المالي، ومن بينها صرف رواتب ومكافآت غير منطقية لعدد من الأعضاء، بالإضافة إلى صرف فواتير إقامة وتنقّلات سياحية لآخرين تحت ستار «الجولات السياسية»، الأمر الذي أدّى إلى فقدان معظم أموال «صندوق الاحتياط» الخاصّ بتأمين التدفّقات المالية في حالات الطوارئ، وفق ما تَكشفه المصادر نفسها. وتَلفت هذه الأخيرة إلى أن الأزمة المالية الخانقة التي يعانيها «الائتلاف»، أدّت إلى وقْف صرْف رواتب الموظفين، بالإضافة إلى تراكُم إيجارات عدد من العقارات التي يتمّ استعمالها كمكاتب ربط، فضلاً عن عدم التمكّن من دفع تكاليف حجوزات لازمة لعدد من الاجتماعات، من بينها اجتماع دوري لـ«الهيئة العامة». وبالإضافة إلى ملفّات الفساد العديدة التي فاقمت الوضع، تتحدّث المصادر عن وجود توجُّه تركي جادّ لإنهاء «الائتلاف» بشكل تدريجي، بعد التوصّل إلى قناعة مفادها بأن هذا التشكيل «مجرّد ثقب أسود» لا طائل منه، في ظلّ وجود هيئات أخرى أكثر فاعلية، وذات تأثير حقيقي على الأرض، مِن مِثل المجالس المحلّية التي انهمكت تركيا في مأسستها، و«هيئة التفاوض» التي باتت تمثّل الواجهة الرسمية للمعارضة السورية في المحافل الدولية، إلى جانب «الحكومة المؤقّتة» التي باتت تعمل بشكل مستقلّ عن «الائتلاف» على الرغم من أنها وُلدت من رحِمه.

توصّلت تركيا إلى قناعة مفادها بأن «الائتلاف» «مجرّد ثقب أسود» لا طائل منه


وعانى «المجلس الوطني السوري» (أوّل تشكيل للمعارضة السورية عقب اندلاع الحرب في سوريا)، ومِن بَعده «الائتلاف» المُعارض، من حالة انقطاع تامّ عن الشارع، في ظلّ استقرار أعضائهما في فنادق خارج البلاد (معظمهم في تركيا)، الأمر الذي خلق فجوة كبيرة في التواصل بينهما وبين المواطنين الذين يُفترض بهما تمثيلهم. وهكذا، استُثمرت هذه التشكيلات إعلامياً فقط خلال السنوات العشر الماضية، في وقت ظلّت فيه الفصائل الموجودة على الأرض هي العنصر الأقوى في المشهد، وصولاً إلى محاولة تركيا اليوم إعادة ضبْطها، عبر دمْجها في جسم واحد، ووضْعها تحت كنف «الحكومة المؤقّتة» كبديل داخلي لترتيب الأوضاع بعد توسيع مساحة عمل المجالس المحلّية، فيما تتولّى «هيئة التفاوض» تمثيل الواجهة السياسية للمعارضة. وفي هذا الإطار، تَلفت المصادر المعارِضة إلى أن أنقرة لمست رفْض دمشق التعامل مع «الائتلاف» أو الاعتراف به ممثِّلاً عنها، وميلها إلى التعامل مع «هيئة التفاوض» التي تمثّل شرائح أوسع، علماً أن اللقاءات بين وفدَي الحكومة و«الهيئة» كانت توقّفت على خلفية تجميد مسار «اللجنة الدستورية».

وفي ما يتعلّق بمسألة محاولات أميركا جذب «الائتلاف» إلى صفّها، يبدو أن تركيا توصّلت إلى قناعة بأن الولايات المتحدة لن تستمرّ في هذه الخطوات، في ظلّ وجود بدائل أكثر قوّة على الأرض، ما زالت تتحكّم بها أنقرة. ولعلّ ذلك هو ما يفسّر التوجّه الأميركي أخيراً نحو توسيع قنوات التواصل مع المجتمع المحلّي، والسعي لخلْق توازن عربي – كردي في مناطق «الإدارة الذاتية» التي يخضع معظمها للسيطرة الأميركية، بالإضافة إلى منطقة التنف التي أعادت واشنطن هيكلة الفصائل الموجودة فيها. وتُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم المحاولة الأميركية الحثيثة لاستيلاد معارضة جديدة تنشط من داخل الولايات المتحدة، بالاعتماد على عدد من الأميركيين من أصول سورية كواجهة سياسية تُحضّرها واشنطن للمرحلة المقبلة.
بالنتيجة، لم يَمت بعد «الائتلاف» كتشكيل سياسي سوري معارض بشكل نهائي، على الرغم من حالة «الكوما» التي عاشها منذ نشأته. وعلى رغم محاولات بعض أعضائه إعادة تأمين التدفّقات المالية اللازمة لاستمراره، إلّا أن المصادر ترى أن هذه المحاولات لن تؤدّي إلى أيّ نتائج طيّبة. وحتى لو آلت إلى توفير تدفّقات جديدة، فستكون هذه الأخيرة بمثابة «مخدّر» مؤقّت، لن يقي الائتلاف النهاية الحتمية المتمثّلة في حلّه نهائياً، بعد ثبات فشله طيلة السنوات الماضية، وفق تعبير المصادر.

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Reconciliation: Turkey Has Not Made Any Serious Offer to Syria

DECEMBER 23, 2022

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Syria-erdogan.jpg

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Erman Çete

While Damascus is open to negotiations with Ankara, it is wary of being used as a Turkish pre-election political ploy.

On 15 December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his government planned to schedule a tripartite mechanism with Russia to work toward Syrian-Turkish rapprochement.

Initially, he suggested the establishment of meetings between intelligence agencies, and defense and foreign ministries, to be followed by a meeting of the respective leaders. “I offered it to Mr Putin and he has a positive view on it,” the Turkish president was cited as saying.

In the past few months, Erdogan has displayed an increasing interest in meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he characterized as a “murderer” only a few short years ago.

Diplomatic developments

Early signs of rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus are already evident in multiple, ongoing meetings between their respective intelligence agencies.

Somer Sultan, a Turkish journalist residing in Syria, told The Cradle that recently the level of talks between intelligence services has been raised.

According to Sultan, one of the outcomes of these talks is the establishment of the 25th Special Mission Forces Division of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – commonly known as the ‘Tiger Forces’ – on the Turkish-Syrian border in many areas evacuated by the US-backed Kurdish militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

It also appears that – at least for now – Russia and the US have blocked a new Turkish ground offensive in Syria against SDF/YPG Kurdish militias, which Erdogan has been threatening to launch for several months.

Meeting of the US, SDF, and PUK

Two days before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Antony Blinken met on 22 December, an interesting meeting was held in Syria.

US General Matthew McFarlane, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader and the son of Jalal Talabani, Bafel Talabani, and SDF leader Mazloum Abdi participated in this meeting. During his visit to North Syria, Bafel Talabani also met with PYD co-leaders Asya Abdullah and Salih Muslim.

It is important to note that Turkiye has recently threatened the PUK-held Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, and accused the PUK of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group viewed as a terrorist organization by both Washington and Ankara.

So far, the US and Russia have managed to deter Turkiye from launching a ground incursion into Syria. However, a new Turkish security concept, “meeting and eliminating threats across borders,” continues in Iraq and Syria whereby PKK targets continue to be identified and eliminated.

Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin quotes a senior Turkish security officer as saying that Ankara has warned the US to stop escorting PKK/YPG elements in Syria. According to this officer, Turkiye has advised the US forces to affix a UN or US flag on their cars to avoid any friendly fire.

What does Turkiye offer?

Relations with Syria, its related refugee conundrum, and generalized economic crisis are among the most heated topics in Turkiye’s domestic politics. Indeed, several Turkish opposition parties have attributed the refugee problem as a direct consequence of Erdogan’s misguided Syrian policy – a popular view in Turkiye today.

Former Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Kamil Erozan, now a deputy of the opposition IYI (Good) Party, revealed to The Cradle that Turkiye has thus far not made any serious offer to the Syrian side.

“What the government says in public is the threat of YPG/PKK,” Erozan said. “But we, IYI Party, think that this is not enough. Idlib is the hotbed of terrorism and AKP (Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party) has not touched upon this topic during the negotiations yet.”

He believes that Erdogan does not have an exit strategy from Syria, and is biding his time on this issue until Turkiye’s next key elections in June 2023.

Erozan says that the IYI Party, as a potential ruling party after the elections, will seek to make direct contact with the Syrian government. “We wrote a letter to our foreign ministry about our intention to visit Syria and waited for a response until December 15. They did not respond and now we will try to contact Bashar al-Assad on our own,” he said.

If the Assad government accepts, Erozan said, then they are open for dialogue with Damascus even before the elections, at any time and in any place.

“When we are in power, we are going to raise the dialogue level in our negotiations,” Erozan claimed. He said that the most important point is to solve the urgent Syrian refugee question, and then the difficult issues about the PKK/YPG and Idlib.

When asked whether his party has a plan to withdraw Turkish troops from Syria, he said this could be negotiable. According to Erozan, the Erdogan government has itself not yet put the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Syria on the table.

However, it is unclear whether the Syrian government would accept IYI’s offer — Somer Sultan thinks that the party’s offer would not satisfy Damascus “because IYI wants the Syrian government to accept an alliance against the PKK/YPG but for other terrorist organizations they want a ‘common approach.’ This is not acceptable for Syria.”

The view from Syria

A Syrian source with close ties to the government told The Cradle that in a closed meeting Assad assured his audience that he will not meet Erdogan prior to Turkiye’s elections.

However, according to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, the Syrian president has also said that the level of dialogue between intelligence agencies will rise in the near future – which has, in fact, recently happened. Assad also said Syrians will continue to keep an eye open regarding the Turkish government’s intentions.

Editor-in-Chief of the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan and a close Assad confidante, Waddah Abdrabbo, wrote an editorial in a similar tone: “No pro bono gift for Erdogan.”

Abdrabbo said that the Syrians are waiting for a concrete step from Ankara. “Syrians want territorial integrity, end terrorism, and lifting sanctions,” he stressed.

Despite Erdogan’s overtures and Assad’s willingness to expand dialogue with Ankara, Syria is cautious about her neighbor’s intentions and does not intend to play a hand in Erdogan’s electoral ambitions.

Rapprochement scenarios

For both Turkiye’s ruling AKP and its opposition, any possible Syrian-Turkish reconciliation process must include a settlement on the Syrian refugee problem. One of the ostensible reasons for all Turkish ground offensives into Syria after 2016 has been the safe repatriation of the Syrian refugees.

However, Erozan is doubtful about Assad’s intentions: “He may not accept all refugees to his country.” When reminded that Syrian refugees in Lebanon had already started to return, he stated that Lebanon is a different case.

IYI’s negotiation plans depend on Damascus’ signals. Last September, the party convened a “Migration Doctrine”conference and announced that through negotiations with the Syrian government and the participation of the EU, refugees will be able to return to Syria. If the plan does not go ahead, then Turkiye would take matters into its own hands and create a safe zone in Syria. It appears, on the surface, to be a carbon copy of Erdogan’s post-2016 policies.

While it is inevitable that high level negotiations will eventually take place between Syria and Turkiye, Damascus’ primary condition will always remain the withdrawal of Turkish troops. If a future Turkish government can view this condition as negotiable, things can rapidly improve on the rapprochement front.

For Syria, reclaiming territory from Turkiye, but also from the US-backed SDF, is of utmost importance. Securing Turkish cooperation against the SDF (and the US) would be a huge achievement for Damascus. However, the Syrian leadership evaluates the US presence in Syria as ephemeral. Therefore, cutting a deal with a powerful neighbor like Turkey is more important than to drive out American forces first.

Second, although the SDF poses a mutual threat for both countries, Syria and Turkiye have starkly different views on Islamist groups. Regaining Idlib, the northern Syrian governorate which remains the last bastion of extremist militants, is not just a question of territorial integrity for Syria – it also illustrates continued Turkish support for armed Islamist militias. Therefore, Ankara severing ties with those takfiri-salafist groups could provide an important basis for high level negotiations.

Whether the AKP or its opposition can provide this outcome is doubtful. Erdogan is not a reliable partner for Damascus for obvious reasons, but the opposition coalition also hosts some dubious figures, such as Erdogan’s former foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, a champion of the catastrophic Syrian war.

For now, both countries choose to maintain their mutual talks at a certain level, and it seems unlikely that the Syrian question will be resolved until after the Turkish elections.

Can western intel agencies spy on Hezbollah via crypto?

Although branded as a safe and secure mode of transaction, cryptocurrency networks are still vulnerable to hacking. In sanctions-hit and economic crisis-ridden Lebanon, this poses an existential threat to all Lebanese.

December 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Kit Klarenberg

Editor’s note: Hezbollah sources queried by The Cradle had no comment on this story, nor did they confirm that cryptocurrencies were a mode of transaction for the movement. It is worth noting that while ‘Anomaly Six’ claims it can and has compromised crypto transactions by Hezbollah members, there is no actual evidence that they have done so.

Beirut’s long-running, slow-burn financial crisis, and a welter of western sanctions, have in recent years compelled Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, to turn to cryptocurrency. The asset allows users to conduct business outside traditional financial structures, theoretically in secret.

In practice, this is not exactly the case, as leaked documents reviewed by The Cradle expose how western intelligence services can track transactions, using an illegal spying technology that puts the privacy and security of every Lebanese citizen at risk.

The sanctions, mainly imposed by the US against Hezbollah and its supporters, are almost too numerous to list. Punitive measures have been directly applied to the movement on a variety of bases, and over the course of this year, these penalties have been repeatedly expanded to include the individuals, organizations and funding sources that constitute its political and economic support networks domestically and internationally, including its accountant.

Bypassing sanctions

Cryptocurrencies provide a means by which Hezbollah can circumvent these measures, by covertly making and receiving payments, and skirting import and export bans. Since its launch, Bitcoin and its peers have been marketed and sold on the high levels of anonymity they grant senders and recipients. While transactions can be monitored at every stage via publicly accessible blockchain records, the individuals and/or organizations at either end are supposed to be incognito.

It is precisely for this reason that cryptocurrency has increasingly come under intense interest to western intelligence services, with CIA chief William Burns openly confirming in May 2021 that the Agency was engaged in “a number of different projects” focused on the asset. The nature of these efforts isn’t certain, but the clandestine sales pitches of shadowy private spying firm Anomaly Six shed potential light on Langley’s capabilities in this regard.

Anomaly Six embeds software development kits, or SDKs, in hundreds of popular smartphone and Internet-of-Things (IoT) apps, then carves through layers of “anonymized” data these apps generate in order to uncover sensitive information about any user it chooses anywhere on Earth. The company brags about its ability to simultaneously monitor roughly three billion smartphone devices – equivalent to a fifth of the world’s population – in real-time.

‘Hezbollah Crypto Wallet’

One leaked Anomaly Six pitch deck offers several working studies of how services “can be used in multiple use cases to support cyber intelligence and operational use end states.” Chief among these examples is the company tracking the movements of “devices connected to Hezbollah Crypto Wallet IPs.”

The document declares one of many areas in which Anomaly Six “stands alone” in the private spying sphere is its ability to “cross reference our data to match IoT devices to IP addresses they have been associated with.” IP is “one of 37 fields in which A6 captures data for a much more refined and holistic data approach.”

Having been provided with a list of IP addresses “associated with a Hezbollah cryptocurrency wallet” by an unstated source, Anomaly Six identified 1,573 IoT devices associated with the wallet:

“Further analysis was done with this data to determine the devices that were most active as well as those devices that were connected to more than one Hezbollah IP of interest.”

“The majority of the device data here is in and around Beirut with some travel within Lebanon proper as well as one device that transits to Istanbul,” the document continues.

Anomaly Six’s alleged tracking of a ‘Hezbollah member’ between Lebanon and Turkey.

“They have all been connected to various Hezbollah associates IPs. The device that travels to Istanbul transits through the secondary airport but spent multiple days at the Conrad Istanbul Bosporus Hotel.”

By drilling down on “a few” separate IoT devices associated with “multiple nefarious” IPs, Anomaly Six was able to determine the owners’ identities, due to the “patterns of life” discernible from their “travel patterns”, including “bed down locations” – in other words, where these people sleep.

This data trove could, the company suggested, “be used to support intelligence and operations for multiple government strategic, operational, and tactical end states.”

Crypto as a life-line for Lebanon

Washington aggressively enforces its assorted sanctions regimes globally, and is prepared to harshly penalize anyone helping its targets circumvent restrictions. For example, Colombian businessman Alex Saab is currently being tried in a US court for selling food to the heavily sanctioned Venezuelan government, having been effectively kidnapped from Cape Verde in October 2020.

As the US government has proscribed both Hezbollah’s political and military wings as terrorist groups, it is likely the White House would seek to crack down even more harshly on an individual or organization transacting with the movement via cryptocurrency. Which is deeply disturbing, as this could feasibly extend to every resident of Lebanon, given Hezbollah forms part of the government, and enjoys significant popular support in elections.

Beirut’s long-running financial crisis has seen inflation push the cost of basic goods to extraordinary heights, while the value of the pound to the US dollar has dropped to 45,000 from a once-stable 1,500 three years ago. In turn, a number of Lebanese citizens have become cryptocurrency miners, using the proceeds to purchase otherwise unaffordable or ill-accessible necessities, and goods and services from one another. Its use is so widespread among the general public, western media has spoken of a financial “revolution” having taken place.

‘Terroristic transactions’

Hezbollah is a major provider of social programs in Lebanon, including funding the creation and maintenance of schools and hospitals, developing medicines, and delivering agricultural services. Given the country’s economic woes, it is unsurprising the movement would likewise turn to cryptocurrency, in order to ensure the uninterrupted provision of these vital services to the country’s poorest, in particular the Shia community.

There is no evidence to suggest that the cryptocurrency used by Hezbollah is put to terrorist purposes, even under the west’s extremely fluid, and ever-shifting definition of the term. Yet, the US remains obsessed with the specter of Bitcoin et al being used to finance insurrectionary operations globally.

This raises the disturbing prospect of any individual or organization in receipt of cryptocurrency funds from Hezbollah, or vice versa, being branded a sanctions buster and/or terrorist sponsor or collaborator, if they are caught up in Anomaly Six’s global surveillance dragnet, with drastic repercussions.

In the leaked sales pitch, the company is keen to stress it is “not explicitly saying” the devices it linked to “terrorist financiers,” but they had nonetheless “all been connected to various Hezbollah associates IPs” – implying the two are one and the same.

False intelligence?

Furthermore, there are reasons to believe that, despite Anomaly Six’s boasts of peerless precision, its technology could falsely incriminate innocent people. A separate leaked sales pitch from the company details how, based on smartphone data, it was able to identify an individual who reportedly made multiple trips to North Korea, right down to where they worked, their home address, marital status, names and photos of their children, and the schools and universities they attend.

When contacted by a media outlet, the individual, an academic, strenuously refuted the suggestion they’d ever traveled to Pyongyang. If their denials are sincere, then another individual’s movements were erroneously linked to them.

For all we know, the Anomaly Six leaks could also be a targeted psychological operation to deter widespread usage of crypto, which threatens to curtail the west’s ability to monitor global financial transactions.

Sinisterly, the company states in other leaked files that its technology is perfect for both “counterintelligence” and “source development” purposes. The academic – and their family – could thus have been targeted by western intelligence agencies for surveillance, recruitment, harassment or worse, on a completely false prospectus.

With Beirut confirmed to be in Anomaly Six’s crosshairs, the same risk now applies to all Lebanese citizens.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Erdogan Jails His Main Rival in the 2023 Election

 

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a tough re-election vote in six months.  His rival, the Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, is very popular and far ahead in the polls.

Erdogan went back in time to find an obscure statement made by Imamoglu in 2019 which Erdogan used to order the Turkish courts to try Imamoglu on the charge of ‘insulting electoral officials’.

On December 14, Imamoglu was sentenced to 2 years, 7 months, and 15 days of prison, and was banned from politics.

Following his sentence, Imamoglu told his supporters, “Because this case is not a case against me. Because this case is not a party case. This case is a country case. This case is a justice case. This case is an equality case. Because we see this case as the case of leaving a strong and democratic Turkey to our children. Believe me, 2023 will be very beautiful.”

The US reaction to Erdogan’s move to rig the election

On December 15, Ned Price, US State Department Spokesperson said, “The United States is deeply troubled and disappointed by a Turkish court’s verdict against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, sentencing him to two years and seven months in prison and banning him from political activity.  His conviction is inconsistent with respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.  We remain gravely concerned by the continued judicial harassment of civil society, media, and political and business leaders in Turkey, including through prolonged pretrial detention, overly broad claims of support for terrorism, and criminal insult cases.

We urge the government to cease prosecutions under criminal “insult” laws, and to respect the rights and freedoms of all Turkish citizens, including by ensuring an open environment for public debate.”

The Erdogan-Biden relationship has been weak despite Turkey being an ally, a fellow NATO member, and hosting a US airbase in Incirlik.  Turkey and the US are on opposite sides in northeast Syria, and Turkey is expected to increase their attacks on the US military’s partner there, the Kurdish SDF.

Erdogan’s policies have failed

Erdogan’s polling is so low for many reasons.  From 2011 he supported the US-NATO war on Syria for regime change. The Obama plan failed, and Turkey suffered from the effects of the support for the failed US-sponsored project.

His ruling AKP party aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood united Turkey with Qatar but broke its relationship with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. He began an Islamist transformation from a secular democracy.

International terrorists were hosted by Erdogan as they transited through airports and set up headquarters in camps on the Syrian border.

In response to the terrorists battling the Syrian government, Syrian refugees who aligned themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood flooded Turkey in the millions as they sought protection under Erdogan and his Muslim Brotherhood-aligned party, AKP.  After 12 years of 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, Turkish citizens have grown to hate and resent the refugees for racial, and economic reasons.

Turkey lost its biggest export market in 2012. Turkish exports to Syria represented 50% of all global Turkish exports, but in 2012 the Syrian government banned imports from Turkey because they participated in the US-NATO attack for regime change.

This huge loss to the Turkish economy began a downturn that saw the currency devalued and hyperinflation. Turkish citizens are suffering the loss of a prosperous lifestyle robbed of them by Erdogan’s failed foreign policy.

Erdogan and his close relatives have prospered as war profiteers; making money off of stolen oil, factories, and wheat, and transporting them to Turkey for resale.  Erdogan and his son sold stolen Syrian oil to the EU for $17 per barrel and sold stolen Syrian wheat to France for its croissants and Italy for its pasta.

Erdogan is low in the polls and is afraid of losing the election

Erdogan finished with the constitutional three-term limit in 2015, so he changed the constitution to allow himself more time to reign.

Cemil Cicek is a former parliamentary speaker from Erdogan’s ruling AKP, who also has served as deputy prime minister and justice minister, and is now a member of the Turkish Presidency’s High Advisory Board.

“If you decide on a one-sentence defamation claim after such a long time, and at such a critical threshold, neither the legality nor the accuracy of your decision will be convincing,” said Cicek of the Imamoglu sentence, and added “I don’t believe that it is credible either. This both harms the judiciary and a lofty concept such as justice. It will do a lot of damage to the country as well.”

Bulent Arinc, former parliamentary speaker and one of the founding members of the AKP also slammed the court’s decision on Imamoglu. “The court’s verdict is a shame and a despair for the Turkish judiciary,” Arinc said.

The Mayor of Istanbul

Ekrem Imamoglu is a Turkish businessman, building contractor, and center-left politician. First elected as Mayor of Istanbul with 4.1 million votes and won with a margin of 13,000 votes against his AKP opponent in the March 2019 mayoral election as the joint Nation Alliance candidate, but served only from April 17, 2019, until May 6, 2019, when the election was annulled on orders of Erdogan. Imamoglu was then reelected in a renewed election on June 23, 2019, by an even larger margin of 800,000 votes.

Condemning the decision in 2019, Imamoglu said “Those who canceled the election are fools.”

The opposition to Erdogan

Turkey’s six opposition parties including the CHP have formed the Nation Alliance to unite their strength against the ruling bloc AKP (Justice and Development Party) and its supporter MHP (Nationalist Movement Party). The opposition candidate for president will be determined by the leaders of six opposition parties, who are: CHP Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu, IYI Party Chairman Akşener, Future Party Chairman Davutoğlu, Democrat Party Chairman Uysal, DEVA Party Chairman Babacan, and IMM President Ekrem Imamoglu.

The opposition parties are united in their goal to defeat Erdogan

200 thousand Turkish citizens gathered in Sarachane in support of Imamoglu and protested his prison sentence. The setting of the rally was the site of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan’s government.

The leaders of the six opposition parties gave speeches to the crowd and stressed justice and the ultimate victory awaiting the nation.

IBB President Ekrem Imamoglu spoke to the crowd, “I will tell you: The people who run this country are sick, very sick. These are people who are allergic to the will of the nation.”

Referring to Erdogan and his nepotism and cronyism, “You manage some interest groups, elected associations, close family foundations, and some dark circles. They have established an order of waste in Istanbul and they want it to last forever. This was an order that enriched the wealth of a handful of people and hurt the people of Istanbul,” said Imamoglu.

“If 16 million Istanbulites are not equal in your eyes; If you do not see our 85 million citizens of the Republic of Turkey,” he said and added, “You showed your day to those who want to set a barrier to your will three and a half years ago and twice. You will show it again; I have no doubt. Never lose your hope.”

CHP Chairman Kilicdaroglu said “In Turkey today, no one feels safe. The rule of law is not the rule of the superiors. No one speaks to the one who has an uncle. But when a teenager tweets, there is a knock on his door early in the morning and he is taken into custody. We will finish this scene. Don’t worry. You will never, ever experience these sights again.”

Kilicdaroglu added, “This is not a 100m run. It’s a marathon, and we’ve come to the end of the marathon. After six months you will see a new Turkey. You will see a beautiful Turkey. You will see an embracing Turkey. You will see a fertile Turkey.”

IYI Party Chairman Aksener said forcefully, “Democracy is ours. The ballot box is ours.”

DEVA Party Babacan said, referring to the long reign of Erdogan, “The 3-term rule, these three terms expired in 2015.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 85 million is bigger than one. Turkey is bigger than one.”

Uysal, Chairman of the Democratic Party said, “May 6, 2019, is the date of a major break for Turkish democracy. It is the date when the main pillar of our democracy collapsed.”

The Chairman of the Future Party, Davutoğlu said “Yesterday, the judiciary became politicized. But our issue is above politics. We are here as six general presidents. We are in different political parties. But we all say ‘Honor’ with the same loud voice. We call it ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’. We call it the ‘democratic state of law’.

I say on behalf of 85 million democracy lovers: We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we will not be afraid. We did not bow to you, we do not bow, we will not bow. We will protect everyone’s rights, law, and justice, regardless of their political views.”


Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

As US looting of Syrian oil continues, Damascus turns to protect crops

13 Dec 2022 22:05

Source: The Cradle

By Al Mayadeen English 

It is no news that the US frequently loots tankers of Syrian oil.

US looting Syrian oil

The Cradle reported on Tuesday, citing official Syrian sources, that the US smuggled a new shipment of Syrian oil from the Al-Hasakah Governorate on December 12.

According to the report, the convoy included 37 tanks carried by US military trucks and headed toward Iraq this morning via the illegal Al-Mahmudiyah border crossing in the far northeastern countryside of Syria.

Just a week ago, the US had looted 66 tankers of Syrian oil from the Jazira region and smuggled them into their occupation bases in Iraq. 

The report states that the lootings are in part fueled by an interruption of oil trafficking operations caused by Turkey’s offensive on the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which are mainly situated in oil-rich regions – in the north.

They may have increased since Turkey began its offensive, but as already known, the lootings have been ongoing for years.

A week ago, reports indicated that Turkish airstrikes targeting the SDF’s main sources of income included two US-occupied oil fields.

According to an investigation by The Cradle, convoys pass weekly back and forth through illegal crossings. These convoys are often found to be guarded by US warplanes or helicopters.

Shepherds in the area reportedly confirmed these claims as they witness the looting and smuggling of oil to Al-Harir military site in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR); a region that is likewise reputed for being a recruitment hub for western spy agencies.

The investigation further reveals that the oil is used to support the activities of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), as reported by The Cradle.

The sprees also serve the US in maintaining a strong foothold in the region between Baghdad and Damascus, according to columnist Firas Al-Shoufi who conducted the investigation.

On another note, the Lebanese news outlet Al-Ahed News revealed earlier today that the Syrian government is working to protect vast wheat fields in the Al-Jazira region from being plundered or damaged by US troops.

According to the report, the US occupation has been offering adulterated grains to farmers claiming they are of better quality.

But farmers were quick to realize that the seeds had severely damaged their soil as they were found to contain a “high percentage of infection with nematodes.”

The Syrian government sought to respond to this situation by launching a program that sells wheat and barley seeds at affordable prices. 

In a tweet on December 12, the USAID agency blamed the climate for the damage, in an attempt to downplay the US occupation role in damaging Syria’s soil.

What is the US doing in Syria?

Besides being an occupation that backs armed groups for its own operations and agenda in the region, the US occupation forces continue to steal Syrian oil by smuggling it from their bases in Syria to their bases in Iraq.

Convoys of tens of vehicles, including tankers loaded with stolen oil from oil fields occupied by US forces in Syria, are frequently seen crossing toward northern Iraq, in addition to trucks loaded with military equipment.

The US interference in the crisis-stricken Middle Eastern country continues to be exposed, from occupation to military agenda and the theft of oil.

Plundering Syria’s oil resources & depriving Syrians of resources

It is noteworthy that Syrian state media has accused over and over again the US and the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) armed groups of occupying areas in the vicinity of oil-rich fields, smuggling resources to Iraq, and then siphoning them out.

The United States has been for years supporting SDF militias against Damascus, and the US-backed forces are currently occupying parts of the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, and Raqqa, where the largest Syrian oil and gas fields are located.

The actions carried out by the United States constitute state piracy with the aim of plundering Syria’s oil resources and depriving the Syrians of their own resources amid a harsh economic situation caused largely by the occupiers, the Americans themselves.

Read more: Syria: sanctions and oil looting cause fuel shortages, 4-day work week

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