The Iranian-Turkish Scandal Over Azerbaijan Is Just A Gigantic Misunderstanding

12 DECEMBER 2020

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The Iranian-Turkish Scandal Over Azerbaijan Is Just A Gigantic Misunderstanding

President Erdogan’s recitation of a 19th-century Azeri nationalist poem during his attendance at Baku’s Victory Parade as his Azerbaijani counterpart’s guest of honor last week provoked harsh criticism from Iranian officials who regarded it as implying territorial claims on their country’s three northwestern provinces that form part of the historic Azerbaijan region (which also naturally includes the Republic of Azerbaijan), though the entire scandal is just a gigantic misunderstanding since it’s doubtful that the Turkish leader meant to convey any such intentions and simply wasn’t aware at the time of how negatively those words would be interpreted by the Iranian government.

The Aras River Poem

The Iranian-Turkish Strategic Partnership was rocked by a sudden scandal after Tehran strongly protested President Erdogan’s recitation of a 19th-century national Azeri nationalist poem during his attendance at Baku’s Victory Day parade as his Azerbaijani counterpart’s guest of honor last week. The controversial words that the Turkish leader uttered are as follows: “They separated the Aras River and filled it with rocks and rods. I will not be separated from you. They have separated us forcibly.” This poem has previously been used by some to imply territorial claims on Iran’s three northwestern provinces that form part of the historic Azerbaijan region, which was separated by the Aras River from what is nowadays the Republic of Azerbaijan (which forms the other half of that transnational region) as a result of Russian imperial conquests at the time.

Diplomatic Disagreements

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif swiftly responded on Twitter by writing that “Pres. Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland. Didn’t he realize that he was undermining the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan? NO ONE can talk about OUR beloved Azerbaijan.” The Turkish Ambassador to Iran was then summoned to that country’s Foreign Ministry over President Erdogan’s comments, after which the Iranian Ambassador to Turkey was symmetrically summoned to that country’s Foreign Ministry to deny the allegations made against their leader and complain about Tehran tweeting about this misunderstanding instead of utilizing diplomatic channels to resolve it. The resultant scandal has predictably emboldened opponents of their strategic partnership to become more vocal.

The Iranian-Turkish Strategic Partnership

Objectively speaking, however, the entire issue seems to be a gigantic misunderstanding. It’s extremely unlikely that President Erdogan was aware of the negative historical connotation associated with that nationalist Azeri poem, exactly as Foreign Minister Zarif suggested, but at the same time, Tehran felt obligated to publicly oppose anything that can even remotely be misportrayed by those will ill intent as encouraging Azeri separatism in northwestern Iran. Iran and Turkey are closer nowadays than at any time in recent memory as a result of their geostrategic convergence on several issues of common interest across the so-called “Greater Middle East” such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria, and even Libya. It’s therefore unthinkable that President Erdogan would knowingly jeopardize this historic moment just to earn more applause during a parade in Baku.

Azerbaijan’s Regional Integration Proposal

It can’t be known for sure, but President Erdogan might have had his Azerbaijani counterpart’s visionary proposal for a regional integration platform in mind — which he likely would have been briefed about before his trip — when he made the decision to recite that poem during the parade. President Aliyev told reporters after his talks with President Erdogan shortly before the parade started that a new multilateral platform should be created in the region for all the relevant countries to join. The day after, President Erdogan told a Turkish TV channel that “Mr. Putin has a positive view on this idea”, which the Turkish leader also said could include Armenia, Georgia, and Iran as well. If this ambitious platform is successfully created, then the Aras River — among other borders — would naturally transform from a regional barrier into a bridge for regional integration.

Iranian Interests

There’s a pretty good chance that most — if not all — of the relevant countries will decide to join, with the only possible uncertainties between Armenia and Georgia, the first of which might still be sour about its nearly three-decade-long occupation force finally being kicked out of Nagorno-Karabakh while the latter might refuse to join any platform alongside Russia due to their dispute over the status of Abkahzia and South Ossetia (which Tbilisi claims as its own while Moscow recognizes both of them as independent). In any case, Iran has everything to gain by strengthening multilateral strategic relations with Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey, especially those with a security dimension such as thwarting any separatist plots of ultra-nationalist radicals in its northwestern provinces who might be influenced by hostile third parties like the US and “Israel”.

President Erdogan’s Optimistic Mindset

Having established the background context of President Erdogan’s controversial remarks, it therefore can’t be discounted that was simply assuming the future successful implementation of the regional integration proposal that President Aliyev had just publicly unveiled immediately prior to the military parade at which his guest of honor was invited to speak. In the Turkish leader’s mind, the nationalist aspirations embodied by that poem could finally be fulfilled through peaceful means as a result of creating a transnational community of peace and prosperity through closer regional integration between Azerbaijan and Iran alongside the other members such as Turkey, Russia, and possibly even Armenia and Georgia that could also join this initiative. Had he known how negatively Iran would have reacted to his words, however, then he might not have said them in hindsight.

Clarifying The Turkish Leader’s Comments

All that President Erdogan seemingly intended to convey was that the era of regional divisions has ended as a new era of regional integration emerges in its wake following Azerbaijan’s glorious military victory over Armenia. He certainly didn’t mean to imply that the Azerbaijan would set its sights on the historic Iranian region of the same name next, but just that the Aras River which has separated the transnational Azeri people for over one and a half centuries might soon transform from a regional barrier to a gateway for regional integration in the event that President Aliyev’s visionary proposal is successful. Having presumably been briefed about it ahead of time, he probably thought that his recitation of that nationalist Azeri poem would speak to the heartfelt aspirations of this divided people without realizing how negatively the Iranian state would react to it.

Hindsight Is 20/20

It’s for this reason that observers can remain optimistic about the prospects of the Iranian-Turkish Strategic Partnership and the larger regional integration goals that their leaders share since both governments will probably realize just how gigantic of a misunderstanding this entire scandal really is after finally speaking to one another about it behind closed doors. President Erdogan likely only had positive intentions in mind, yet Tehran wanted to make sure that no one with ill intent exploited his words, hence its very harsh public reaction to them. In hindsight, perhaps President Erdogan shouldn’t have recited that nationalist poem, the same as Foreign Minister Zarif should have resorted to traditional diplomatic channels to resolve the misunderstanding instead of going public with it, yet neither state representative meant any harm by what they did.

A Sad Misunderstanding

It’s all simply a sad misunderstanding where one well-intended action unwittingly led to another. After President Erdogan recited the nationalist Azeri poem, the Iranian government felt compelled to publicly respond in order to make its displeasure known and preemptively thwart any potentially forthcoming Balkanization attempts by hostile third parties such as the US and “Israel”. It’s regrettable how everything turned out considering the original intent since this scandal has overshadowed President Aliyev’s visionary regional integration proposal. Moreover, the opponents of the Iranian-Turkish Strategic Partnership in both countries and abroad have become more vocal over the past few days, which could set into motion a self-sustaining cycle of distrust among their friendly people if such views aren’t moderated as soon as possible.

Concluding Thoughts

Looking forward, it’s predicted that this scandal will soon pass and that the Iranian-Turkish Strategic Partnership will emerge even stronger as a result, especially if both countries join Azerbaijan’s proposed regional integration platform alongside Russia and perhaps even Armenia and Georgia as well in the best-case scenario. As it stands, all sides should accept that this scandal is just a gigantic misunderstanding and realize in hindsight what they should have done better. Under no circumstances must they submit to the sudden pressure upon them to weaken their newfound strategic partnership since that would only ultimately end up playing into their geopolitical enemies’ hands. The larger region needs closer integration at this historic moment, not a return to the era of distrust and Balkanization plots, which both leaderships seem to understand very well.

James Jeffrey’s Confessions: Syria is the gift that continues to give to us, we are in control of northeastern Syria. Erdogan retreats under threat (2) اعترافات جيمس جيفري: سورية الهديّة التي تستمرّ بالعطاء لنا نحن المسيطرون فعلياّ على شمال شرق سورية.. وأردوغان يتراجع تحت التهديد (2)

**Please scroll down for the English translation**

نضال حمادة

نستكمل الجزء الثاني والأخير من المقابلة التي أجراها المبعوث الأميركيّ الخاص السابق الى سورية جيفري جيمس مع «المونيتور».

يقول جيفري جيمس يجب الفصل بين أردوغان وتركيا، وستكون أكبر التحديات التي يواجهها بايدن هي الصين وروسيا وكوريا الشمالية وخطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة الإيرانية والمناخ. هؤلاء هم الخمسة الكبار. المرتبة السادسة هي تركيا، حيث إنّ تركيا لها تأثير مباشر على اثنين من المراكز الخمسة الأولى: إيران وروسيا، وهذا له تأثير على الإرهاب رقم ثمانية أو تسعة.

ويضيف: تركيا دولة مهمة للغاية في الناتو يقع رادار الناتو في قلب نظام الصواريخ المضادة للصواريخ الباليستية الذي يواجه إيران في تركيا. لدينا أصول عسكرية هائلة هناك. لا يمكننا فعلاً «القيام» بالشرق الأوسط أو المؤتمرات الحزبيّة أو البحر الأسود من دون تركيا. وتركيا خصم طبيعي لروسيا وإيران.

ويتابع: أردوغان مفكر كبير في أساليب الحكم. حيث يرى ما يجذب يتحرّك، الأمر الآخر بالنسبة لأردوغان هو أنه متعجرف للغاية ولا يمكن التنبّؤ بما يفعله، وببساطة لن يوافق على حلّ يربح فيه الجميع. ولكن عندما يكون في عجلة من أمره – وتفاوضت معه – فهو ممثل عقلانيّ..

لذا، إذا رأى بايدن العالم مثل الكثير منا الآن، منافسة قريبة من الأقران، تصبح تركيا مهمة للغاية. انظروا إلى ما فعله (أردوغان) للتوّ خلال ثمانية أشهر في إدلب وليبيا وناغورني كاراباخ. كانت روسيا أو الحلفاء الروس هم الخاسرون في الثلاثة.

يصف جيفري أردوغان فيقول: أردوغان لن يتراجع حتى تظهر له أسنانك، هذا ما فعلناه عندما تفاوضنا على وقف إطلاق النار في تشرين الأوّل/ أكتوبر 2019، كنا مستعدّين لسحق الاقتصاد التركي.

هذا ما فعله بوتين بعد إسقاط الطائرة الروسيّة لقد أرسل الروس الآن إشارات قوية مرتين إلى الأتراك في إدلب.

يجب أن تكون مستعداً، عندما يذهب أردوغان بعيداً، لقمعه حقاً والتأكد من أنه يفهم ذلك مسبقاً. الموقف التركيّ ليس صحيحاً أبداً بنسبة 100 %. لديهم منطق وحجج معينة من جانبهم. نظراً لدورهم كحليف مهمّ وحصن ضدّ إيران وروسيا، فإنّ الأمر متروك لنا على الأقلّ للاستماع إلى حججهم ومحاولة إيجاد حلول وسط.

حول رغبة ترامب في مغادرة القوات الأميركية المنطقة يقول جيمس جيفري: الرئيس غير مرتاح لوجودنا في سورية. كان منزعجاً جداً مما اعتبره حروباً لا نهاية لها. هذا شيء لا ينبغي أن ينتقد بسببه. أسقطنا الخلافة (داعش) ثم بقينا. ظلّ ترامب يسأل، «لماذا لدينا قوات هناك؟» ولم نعطه الإجابة الصحيحة.

إذا قال أحدهم، «الأمر كله يتعلق بالإيرانيين»، فربما كان سينجح. لكن الأشخاص الذين كانت مهمتهم معرفة سبب وجود القوات هم وزارة الدفاع. وقد أعطوا الإذن (من الكونغرس) لاستخدام القوة العسكريّة، نحن هنا لمحاربة الإرهابيين.»

أعتقد أنّ سبب سحب ترامب للقوات كان لأنه سئم من تقديم كلّ هذه التفسيرات لسبب وجودنا هناك. كان هناك وعد ضمني له: يا رئيس، لا شيء خطأ، نحن نعمل مع الأتراك، ونعمل مع الروس. ومن ثم يحصل على هذه الكوارث.

لم أبلغ الرئيس بذلك. لقد فعل بومبيو ذلك وقدّم له الحجة، وركز على إيران. لكن ترامب كان غير مرتاح لهذه القوى، وكان يثق بأردوغان. سيواصل أردوغان طرح هذه القضايا حول حزب العمال الكردستاني، وسيستجوب الرئيس الناس، ويجب أن يكونوا صادقين ويعترفوا». بالطبع، الأمر أكثر تعقيداً من ذلك. الحروب معقدة، ويضيف: لقد شرحنا الأسباب للرئيس لكنه يستمع أيضاً إلى أردوغان. أردوغان مقنع تماماً بالنسبة له.

في وزارة الخارجية، لم نكشف للرئيس عن عدد القوات في سورية. إنها ليست وظيفتنا. لم نحاول خداعه. لكننا كنا نعطيه أرقاماً أقلّ بكثير من الأرقام الفعليّة، لذلك عند التحدث إلى وسائل الإعلام والكونغرس، كان علينا توخي الحذر الشديد وتجنبها. بالإضافة إلى أنّ الأرقام كانت مضحكة. هل تحصي الحلفاء الذين لا يريدون الكشف عن هويتهم هناك؟ هل تشمل ثكنة التنف؟ هل تحسب أن وحدة برادلي تأتي وتذهب؟

كنا خجولين لأنّ الرئيس أعطى الأمر بالانسحاب ثلاث مرات. كانت الضغوط مستمرة والتهديد بسحب القوات من سورية. شعرنا بالضعف الشديد وربما شربنا القليل من الخوف لأنه كان يعني الكثير بالنسبة لنا. أتفهّم مخاوفه بشأن أفغانستان. لكن المهمة في سورية هي الهدية التي تستمرّ في العطاء. نحن وقوات سورية الديمقراطية ما زلنا القوة المهيمنة في شمال شرق سورية.

كان الأكراد يحاولون دائماً جعلنا نتظاهر بأننا سندافع عنهم ضد الجيش التركي. وحثوا قوة المهام المشتركة، على الرغم من اعتراضاتي، على البدء في إقامة نقاط استيطانيّة على طول الحدود التركيّة.

James Jeffrey’s Confessions: Syria is the gift that continues to give to us, we are in control of northeastern Syria. Erdogan retreats under threat (2)

Nidal Hamada

We complete the second and final part of the interview that former U.S. special envoy to Syria Jeffrey James gave to Al-Monitor.

Jeffrey James says Erdogan and Turkey must  be separated, and Biden’s biggest challenges will be China, Russia, North Korea, Iran’s JCPOA and climate.

“Turkey is a very important NATO country, and NATO’s radar is at the heart of the anti-ballistic missile system that confronts Iran in Turkey.” We have enormous military assets there. We can’t really “do” the Middle East, party conventions or the Black Sea without Turkey. Turkey is a natural opponent of Russia and Iran.

“Erdogan is a great thinker in governance.” Where he sees what attracts he moves, the other thing for Erdogan is that he is too arrogant and unpredictable as to what he is doing, and simply won’t agree to a win-win solution. But when he’s in a hurry, (and I negotiated with him), he’s a rational actor.

So, if Biden sees the world like so many of us now, a close-up competition, Turkey becomes very important.   

“Erdogan won’t back down until you show him your teeth, that’s what we did when we negotiated a ceasefire in October 2019, we were ready to crush the Turkish economy,” he said.

The Russians have now sent twice strong signals to the Turks in Idlib.

You must be prepared, when Erdogan goes away, to really suppress him and make sure that he understands it in advance. The Turkish position is never 100% true. They have certain logic and arguments on their part. Given their role as an important ally and bulwark against Iran and Russia, it is up to us at least to listen to their arguments and try to find compromises.

“The president is uncomfortable with our presence in Syria,” said James Jeffrey. He was very disturbed by what he considered endless wars. This is something that should not be criticized for it. We brought down the caliphate (ISIS) and then we stayed. Trump kept asking, “Why do we have troops there?” and we didn’t give him the right answer.

If someone said, “It’s all about the Iranians,” maybe it’s going to work. But the people whose job it was to find out why the troops were present was the Ministry of Defence. They have given permission (from Congress) to use military force, we are here to fight terrorists.”

I think the reason Trump pulled the troops out was because he’s tired of providing all of these explanations of why we’re there. There was an implicit to him: President, nothing is wrong, we are working with the Turks, we are working with the Russians. And then he gets these disasters.

I didn’t report it to the President. But Trump was uncomfortable with these forces, and he trusted Erdogan.

At the State Department, we have not disclosed to the President the number of troops in Syria. It’s not our job. We didn’t try to fool him.

We were shy because the president gave the order to withdraw three times. Pressure was continuing and the threat of withdrawing troops from Syria. We felt very weak and maybe even drunk a little fear because it meant so much to us. I understand his concerns about Afghanistan. But the task in Syria is the gift that continues to give. We and the Syrian Democratic Forces are still the dominant force in northeastern Syria.

The Kurds were always trying to make us pretend that we would defend them against the Turkish army. They urged the Joint Task Force, despite my objections, to start establishing outposts along the Turkish border.

Turkey Making Ties With Israel

ERD3211

12.12.2020 

Author: Vladimir Odintsov

In recent years, one can more and more often find articles in various media about Turkey’s apparent desire to develop and strengthen its diverse ties with Israel. New Eastern Outlook has also repeatedly addressed the issue of assessing the current state of relations between the two countries, dealing with one issue in particular: Turkey and Israel: Enemies or Allies?

Relations between the two countries have developed in waves over the past decades, most notably sparking a crisis in 2010 after the Israelis shot and killed 10 Turkish activists who were trying to reach the shore on the Mavi Marmara in besieged Gaza in support of the Palestinians. Ultimately, in May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own because of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, it is no secret that economic ties have been maintained, and among the construction companies engaged in building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory since the 1990s, there are also Turkish companies, such as the Yılmazlar Construction Group, which renewed its relationship with Israel in 2002.

As for Israel, it sees Turkey as a country with important financial flows for it and as one of the centers of world trade, a key and strategically important place for its domination in the Middle East. This explains Tel Aviv’s moves to agree to secret contacts with Turkey, one of which was the recent communication between the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Service, Hakan Fidan, and Israeli officials as part of Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations. These latest contacts, according to sources, have involved, among other things, restoring ties between Turkey and Israel back to the envoy level.

As The Jerusalem Post notes in this regard, Turkey expects not only to show its friendly attitude towards Israel and the Jews, but also to get dividends in the eyes of Joe Biden’s administration. At the same time, the publication stresses that “this is a model that has been used before… However, it is still unclear whether Israel will pander to Turkey and ignore its support for Hamas.”

The other day there was another offer from Ankara to reconcile with Israel and end the lingering bilateral conflict. Cihat Yaycı, a retired admiral and political science professor who is close to Erdoğan, has published an article in the December issue of Turkeyscope, a monthly magazine of the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, proposing a solution to the maritime economic border between Israel and Turkey. He sees this, in particular, at the expense of reducing the interests of Cyprus, with which Ankara’s relations have recently seriously deteriorated against the background of Turkish expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is true that in the comments to this article, the editor-in-chief of Turkeyscope, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, PhD in Oriental Studies, noted: “In order to raise the level of Israel’s relations with Turkey, in order to achieve a real normalization, it is necessary to restore mutual trust, for which, above all, it is necessary to return the envoys and consuls.”

The essence of the Turkish proposals is to establish a sea economic zone border between Turkey and Israel at the expense of Cyprus and, by redrawing the sea economic zones, to transfer a number of Cypriot blocks to Israel. In announcing these proposals, Ankara is trying to play on the fact that the border zones between Israel and Cyprus are still disputed, despite all the signed agreements. And since economic waters are concerned, where on the Cypriot side there is the Aphrodite gas field with 100 billion cubic meters of gas worth $9 billion, the new demarcation of the sea border is presented by Ankara as a very expensive gift to Tel Aviv, but only on one condition: Israel will only have business with Turkey and absolutely nothing with Cyprus, whose opinion does not interest Erdoğan in the slightest. At the same time, Ankara makes no secret of the fact that it, too, has “claims” to Cyprus, thus suggesting that Israel should conduct an “exchange of interests” by signing an agreement.

Admiral Cihat Yaycı also advises Israel not to build the expensive EastMed gas pipeline to Greece through Cyprus, but to connect to the Turkish pipeline for gas supplies to Europe, which is more practical and cheaper, clearly referring to the “Southern Gas Corridor” from Azerbaijan, which passes through Turkey.

It is worth noting that Turkey had already signed earlier a very similar agreement, only at the expense of Greece, with the Libyan government in Tripoli, which angered not only Athens, but also Brussels, Cairo and Tel Aviv. Moreover, it was the former Turkish admiral Cihat Yaycı, who suggested the idea of this agreement with Libya.

As the Israeli media commented on Yaycı’s proposal, this is the second time in the last four months that Ankara has used the energy sector in an attempt to negotiate a truce with Israel. The clearly targeted rapprochement on Turkey’s part is evidenced not only by the increasing frequency of contacts between representatives of the secret services of the two states, but also by the fact that Erdoğan himself has stopped his openly insulting attacks against Israel in recent months.

Regarding Israel’s proposed sea border agreement with Turkey, Israeli observers have already called it a “Turkish gambit,” in which Erdoğan intends to sacrifice another piece instead of a pawn… That piece being Cyprus, with which Israel has not yet agreed on a sea border.

Ankara’s proposed agreement on the mutually beneficial delimitation of the sea economic zone has so far been received rather negatively in Israeli expert circles. In particular, there is a clear warning that, if agreed on, it could pit Israel not only against Cyprus and Greece, but also against its new peace partner, the United Arab Emirates, whose formal ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, recently signed a defense treaty with Greece. At the same time, it is not ruled out that tensions between the UAE and Erdoğan with his partners in Qatar could also lead to a serious conflict between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

Under these conditions, experts believe that Israel certainly will not accept Ankara’s proposed agreement and betrayal of its ally Cyprus, which, in turn, casts doubt on the “Turkish gambit’s” success. As for Turkey, Tel Aviv insists that it must first change its public attitude towards Israel, stop delegitimizing it in the eyes of the Turkish population, and end its relations with Hamas. In doing so, Israel shows that if Erdoğan follows through, the Jewish state will find ways to restore the formal, mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries that it had in the past.

Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Russian Forces Blow Up a Terrorists’ Command Cave in Idlib Countryside

  ARABI SOURI

Russian forces engineers blow up a cave used by terrorists in Idlib

Russian forces engineers operating in Syria blew up a cave formerly used as a command center by the ‘Izzat Army’, a NATO-sponsored terrorist group, in the province of Idlib.

The cave in the city of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib countryside was used by the ‘Izzat Army’ as their headquarters, ‘Izzat Army’ is one of the thousands of the Free Syrian Army umbrella of terrorist groups.

A video report by the Russian Military TV Zvezda aired footage showing the cave with long corridors that diverge into separate rooms; the total area of ​​the cave is not less than 1,000 square meters. To build it, they used technology, and all the dirty and hard work, as is customary among the radicals, was performed with the help of slave labor.

The video is also available on BitChute.https://www.bitchute.com/video/sURkgbb4kzJ7/

The terrorist group stuffed the cave with massive quantities of weapons, munition, food and medical supplies, and comfort means for sleeping and other things. The idea was by the terrorists to use this cave for a very long period of time avoiding aerial strikes by the Syrian and Russian air forces before they hastily fled the region when the Syrian armed forces with their allies advanced toward them, just like the terrorists in all other areas with their large numbers fleeing the battlefields when faced with the determined owners of the land, the Syrian Arab Army men and their allies.

Russian engineers blow up a cave used by terrorists in Idlib
The cave was so big an army truck could move easily inside it

It took the engineering units of the SAA and the Russian corps more than a month to clear the cave of all explosives planted in it by the terrorists.

The Syrian Arab Army and allies cleaned Khan Sheikhoun from NATO-sponsored terrorists and from the Turkish army personnel in August last year, 2019. The SAA and its allies were advancing further north to clean the rest of Idlib before halting their military operation after the Turkish madman Erdogan begged the Russian President Putin for a ceasefire and pledged to implement the Astana agreements and withdraw his forces (the Turkish army and Al Qaeda terrorists – Nusra Front ‘HTS’ and others) from the province without showing his people they were defeated by the Syrian forces. Erdogan, the hypocrite anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood he is, of course, is yet to fulfill his pledge to this date despite the withdrawal of some of his forces

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كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف

كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف يوم أمس الموجودة على الرابط ادناه، تعد محاضرة فلسفية عميقة يتناول فيها

مفاهيم عقدية ومسائل دينية شائكة بنظرة عميقة وفاحصة، ويتحدث عن أخطار اللبرالية الحديثة (المفاهيم ما بعد الحداثوية) على أصل الإنسان والإنسانية، وعن مفاهيم المجتمع والاسرة في الدين

ومغالطات اطروحات فصل الدين عن الدولة والأخلاق، ويضع كل هذا في اطاره الموسع في نقاش العروبة والإسلام في المعركة السياسية والاستعمارية القائمة على اوطاننا

والمستمرة منذ زهاء القرن من الزمن، مع الاستدلالات الشرعية حسب الأصول.

القى الرئيس الأسد هذه الكلمة في جامع العثمان، فهكذا تكون الخطب الدينية بحق، وكان لافتا شموليتها، ناهيك عن الإجابة على بعض المسائل الفقهية

والفلسفية الشائكة التي كانت الإجابة عليها صعبة رغم كثرة الكُتّاب والخطباء.

عمرو علان

كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف

Erdogan Terrorists Looted and Burned Several Houses in Northern Syria

  ARABI SOURI

Hamza Division - Erdogan Hamzat Muslim Brotherhood terrorists

Terrorists loyal to the Turkish madman Erdogan burned several houses of local Syrians in the village of Bab Al Faraj, in the northern Hasakah countryside.

The anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in their continuous crimes to Israelize the northern regions of Syria under their control looted the houses of the locals in Bab Al Faraj village in Abu Rassin area, southwest of Qamishli in the northern Hasakah countryside.

https://goo.gl/maps/4TXftsZYniwsp1e28

After looting the valuables, furniture, and electronic devices from the houses the terrorists burned it down to hide their crime and prevent the locals from returning to their properties. Erdogan promised the terrorists he’s bringing from other areas in Syria and from other countries to give them the houses of the locals in areas the Turkish army and its proxy Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda armed groups take control of.

Two days ago, Turkey-sponsored terrorists desecrated and looted the Church of Mar Touma in the city of Ras Al Ain in the northern Hasakah countryside in order to expel the Christian communities still living in their city.

Trump Erdogan Putin Land for Terrorists - Israel 3
Trump Erdogan Putin Proposed Land for Terrorists – Israel 3

The Turkish regime of Erdogan is carrying out a demographic change within northern Syrian province where members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood organization are housed with their families and in turn, they operate as a buffer zone between secular Syria and Turkey being radicalized by Erdogan’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood AK Party. Secularism is contagious and the Turkish madman is afraid this would loosen his grip on the Turkish state in the future as if he’s living forever or his neo-Ottoman has a future in the region.

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Syria: The complicated scene

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.

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President Assad Appoints Dr. Faysal Mikdad as Foreign Minister, Dr. Bashar Jaafari as his Deputy

 ARABI SOURI

Legislative Decree General Amnesty Syria - President Assad

President Bashar Assad issued three presidential decrees today naming the country’s new minister of foreign affairs, his deputy, and the new head of the Syrian mission to the United Nations.

The decrees follow the demise of the career diplomat former Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallem.

Presidential Decree No. 322 dated 22 November 2020, President Assad appoints Dr. Faysal Mikdad as Foreign and Expatriates Minister.

Dr. Mikdad was born in Daraa in 1954 and is a graduate in English Literature from Damascus University. He holds a doctorate in English Literature from Charles University in Prague, 1992.

Dr. Mikdad served in the diplomatic body in a number of posts, including the head of the Syrian delegation at the United Nations, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2006,

Presidential Decree 323 dated 22 November 2020, President Assad appoints Dr. Bashar Jaafari as Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister.

Dr. Jaafari was born in Damascus in 1956, he’s a graduate of Damascus University in French Literature, got two doctorates in political science, and in history of Islamic civilization in Asia southeast.

Dr. Jaafari’s served in the Syrian diplomatic body in many posts including Syria’s ambassador to Indonesia, and Council Minister at the Syrian Embassy in Paris. His last post was Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Bashar Jaafari
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, His Excellency, Bashar al Ja’afari. In February 2014, the Obama State Dept restricted his mobility to a 25mi/40km radius in order to censor his successful Town Hall meetings. None of Dr. Ja’afari’s colleagues complained.

Presidential Decree No. 324 dated 22 November 2020, President Assad appoints Mr. Bassam Al-Sabbagh as Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Mr. Bassam Al-Sabbagh was born in Aleppo, he holds a degree in political science and was Syria’s ambassador to Austria and Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Vienna since 2010.

Mr. Al-Sabbagh was also Syria’s Permanent Representative at the OPCW since 2013, a consultant at Syria’s Mission to the United Nations 2001 – 2006, and a diplomat at the Syrian embassy in Washington between 1995 and 2000.

Syria News wishes all esteemed diplomats the best in their new positions and the ability to serve Syria and humanity to the best. For sure, we will be missing Dr. Bashar Jaafari’s firing statements at the United Nations, we do hope he will increase the dose with this new promotion.

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Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s Chief, and Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood Colleague Died

  ARABI SOURI

Ayman Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden of Al Qaeda

Ayman Al Zawahiri is dead; Al Zawahiri was leading Al Qaeda after Obama said he killed Osama, he was one of the world’s main terrorists, and a colleague of NATO’s second top leader the Turkish madman Erdogan in the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood radical organization.

The news of the death of the chief of the Saudi-CIA created and funded terrorist organization is yet to be confirmed by the terrorists themselves, it was reported by the Pakistani news outlet ‘Arab News‘ and conveyed by the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news.

Al Zawahiri, most likely and if confirmed, would have died of natural causes, especially that Trump said he killed the Pentagon’s Baghdadi and the killing of Al Zawahiri by a military stunt operation wouldn’t add much in the US elections where voters are more concerned about Trump’s virus than some foreign achievements. Furthermore, the regime of Donald Trump and the Taliban, Zawahiri’s allies, are on good terms, just like in the old days of Reagan and the ‘Mujahideen’.

Two of the presumed successors of Zawahiri were killed earlier, one of them Abu Muhsin Masri, aka Abdul Hadi Mustapha, was eliminated by the Afghani security forces last month. The other presumed successor to Al Zawahiri was someone by the name of Abdul Raouf, there’s not much reliable information on the method or date he was killed by or where or when.

We are not sure how much the Turkish madman Erdogan would be touched by the killing of his long time colleague Al Zawahiri in the radical Muslim Brotherhood organization, Erdogan is known for liquidating and jailing his closest friends and colleagues, especially those who helped him throughout his controversial career, therefore, the chances of Erdogan grieving or celebrating the death of Al Zawahiri would be 50/50, Al Zawahiri might have been Erdogan’s supporter in commanding terrorists worldwide, or he might have been Erdogan’s competitor in that regard.

Al Qaeda operations have been much lessened due to the extensive rebranding campaigns of its affiliates and offshoots after its name was over-consumed by NATO and especially by the Pentagon to justify their illegal interventions and their war on Islam worldwide.https://www.syrianews.cc/the-pentagon-threatening-to-revive-isis/embed/#?secret=wssjhnNJ2I

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For Trump’s Middle East allies, Joe Biden is a new nightmare

 Source

David Hearst
17 November 2020 14:19 UTC | Last update: 17 hours 25 mins ago

David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.


The president-elect’s actions in the Middle East will be dictated by events. But the loss of Trump represents a body check for the ambitions and aspirations of Gulf hegemons
Then Vice President Joe Biden during a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2011 (Reuters)

You can detect the shadow of Donald Trump fading from the Middle East in the nervous twitches of his closest allies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accelerating settlements before the inevitable freeze or pause in construction in January when President-Elect Joe Biden takes over. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is releasing just a fraction of the estimated 60,000 political prisoners he has stashed in his jails.

Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

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Sisi’s television anchors are, from one day to the next, given different scripts to read out. Take the sad case of Nashaat al-Deehy. When Biden was a candidate, al-Deehy trashed him: “Joseph Biden will become the oldest US president in the history of the United States of America. On 20 November he will be 78 years old. This will impact his mental situation and he suffers from Alzheimer’s and therefore is not fit to be president of the United States of America.”

But once the US media had called Biden president-elect, al-Deehy became respectful. “We have just learned that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sent a congratulations cable to US President-elect Joe Biden. This man has great respect for Egypt and is known to be wise and he listens well. He does not take decisions frantically. He does not take decisions when he’s angry. All of this was missing in the case of Donald Trump, who was violent and stubborn and arrogant. All of this we’re seeing it.”

Small gestures

The Saudi ambassador in London is in an equal turmoil. One day he hints to the Guardian that jailed women activists could be freed during the G20 summit next week.

“The G20, does it offer an opportunity for clemency? Possibly. That is a judgment for someone other than me,” said Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. “People ask: is it worth the damage it is causing you, whatever they did? That is a fair argument to make and it is a discussion we have back at home within our political system and within our ministry.”

The next day he calls in the BBC to deny what he has just said.

Poor ambassador.

The king himself is by no means immune from wild policy swings. He has started being nice to Turkey.

A week after the earthquake in Izmir, Salman ordered the dispatch of “urgent aid” to the city. Then we learn that the king of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were in talks. The occasion was to present condolences for the death of the Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. But direct contact with a satellite of Riyadh would have been impossible without a green light from the diwan, the Saudi royal court.

Ever since Erdogan refused to let the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul drop, he has become a hate figure in Riyadh. Turkey has been declared – repeatedly –  a regional threat by Saudi social media and Turkish goods subject to a growing boycott. Now it has all changed.

These are small gestures, but telling ones, as Trump leaves office.

CIA bites back

Top of the list of nervous allies is the man who used Trump to fashion his rise to power.

Biden has every incentive to encourage MBS’ many enemies in the Royal family to step forward to prevent the over ambitious prince from becoming King

To become crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had to get rid of, and trash the reputation of his elder cousin Mohammed bin Nayef, who was at the time the CIA’s prime asset in the country and the Gulf region. Before he did this, bin Salman phoned Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and Middle East adviser, to ask permission. It was given, sources with knowledge of the call told Middle East Eye.

Biden knows bin Nayef personally. Bin Nayef’s chief of staff and former interior minister Saad al-Jabri has fled to Toronto. A few days after Khashoggi’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, MBS despatched another crew from the Tiger Squad to kill al-Jabri, according to a lawsuit filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act in the US District of Columbia.

Al-Jabri was lucky. Border agents at Toronto International Airport detected the operation and sent it back home. All this is active evidence. None of this has been dealt with. The CIA’s own assessment that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killing has never been published.

It is not just Biden himself the crown prince has to fear – although the presidential candidate reserved his sharpest words for the killing of Khashoggi – but the return of the CIA to the top table of decision making in the White House.

Overnight MBS goes from having a president in the White House who “saved his ass”, as Trump put it, to a successor who is not remotely interested in doing the same. Biden has every incentive to encourage MBS’s many enemies in the royal family to step forward to prevent the over-ambitious prince from becoming king. There are enough of them, by now.

Get out of jail card

An Oval Office under new management leaves MBS with relatively few options.

He could use Israel as his get-out-of-jail card, by pushing for recognition and normalisation. There is bipartisan support in Congress for the Abraham Accords signed between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel.

How Mohammed bin Salman is quietly enabling an Israeli axis in the Arab world

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Although the incoming Biden administration will put more emphasis on restarting direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, it would not stop another major Arab state like Saudi Arabia from joining the party.

The opposition to Saudi normalisation with Israel would be at home, not abroad. Recognising Israel would be perilous domestically. However much Saud alQahtani’s social media trolls bully Saudi public opinion, it is ferociously pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist.

Never more so than today, Palestine remains the key source of instability in the Middle East, the conflict that defines it, the conflict that endures as a symbol of European colonisation and Arab humiliation.

The custodian of the Two Holy Mosques recognising Israel? Not over many Muslims’ dead bodies.

Each time MBS has had to walk back on his wish to recognise Israel (and he was very near to flying to Washington and playing the role of smiling sponsor at the signing ceremony in the White House, before cancelling at the last minute) he has turned to his father, the king, to say that nothing has changed and reaffirm official state policy.

This is the Arab Peace Initiative published by his predecessor King Abdullah in 2002 and it only allows  recognition of Israel after a negotiated solution has been found based on 1967 borders.

US President Donald Trump waves to supporters on 15 November (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump waves to supporters on 15 November (Reuters)

The loss of Trump’s “крыша” – or protective roof – and the arrival of a hostile president in Biden will mean that MBS will need his father in the post as king even more than he has done in the past. We know from Saudi sources that at one point MBS was toying with the idea of forcing his father’s premature abdication on health grounds and seizing the crown himself.

The loss of Trump’s protective roof and the arrival of a hostile president in Biden will mean that MBS will need his father in the post as king even more than he has done in the past

In his latest round of purges, MBS targeted leading members of Hay’at al-Bayaa (the Allegiance Council) whose role is to approve a royal succession and the appointment of a new crown prince.

The latest arrests to purge the Allegiance Council of his critics would only have made sense if MBS himself was intending to becoming king. But that was in good times, when bin Salman’s star was rising and he could still visit London and Washington without creating flashmobs of human rights protesters.

In bad times, the king remains the tribal chief, who commands the loyalty of the royal family and the kingdom. Regardless of Salman’s actual mental condition, he is still the head of the family and there will be no rebellion against him. The same would not apply to his son if he pushed his father aside and seized the crown. He would be fair game for a palace coup. This is probably the main reason why the father is still king.

Regional alliance

The fate of the regional alliance that a future King Mohammed was attempting to build around himself also hangs in the balance. The real fight going on in the Sunni Arab world is about who would take over as leader and Western proxy.

Biden must end Trump’s alliance with Mohammed bin Salman

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The purpose of the alliance with Israel – in Emirati eyes – is not to increase wealth but power, power to become, with Saudi Arabia under King Mohammed, the regional hegemon.

That ambition still exists.

But the role that an “Arab Nato” alliance was intended to play to combat and curb Iran will now be diminished by Biden’s attempt to restore the nuclear agreement with Tehran. Iran’s rulers stared Trump in the eyes and did not blink first. They outlasted this US president as they have done to Jimmy Carter and every president who followed him.

The nuclear agreement (known as JCPOA) was Barack Obama’s crowning foreign policy achievement – although it was the fruition of years of negotiation involving many countries and past foreign ministers – the so-called P5 plus one, the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, and Turkey and Brazil before them.

However, each side’s moves are sequenced and whatever difficulties that lie on that path, Biden will pivot once more to restoring this nuclear agreement. Even if some sanctions continue, the policy of using them to exert “maximum pressure” will be over.

Detente will inevitably create a new reality in the Gulf region.

It will also create a new reality for members of the opposing alliance, Turkey and Qatar. Biden is no admirer of Erdogan, with whom he has spent many hours talking. He has apologised to Erdogan once for remarks suggesting that Turkey helped facilitate the rise of the Islamic State group. He is not about to do that again soon.

In a meeting with the New York Times’ editorial board filmed in December, Biden described Erdogan as an autocrat. Asked about how comfortable he felt with the US still basing 50 nuclear weapons in Turkey, Biden said his comfort level had “diminished a great deal” and that he would be making it clear to the Turkish leader that the US supports the opposition.

A volatile world

Once in power, Biden may find it more difficult to express this personal hostility. Whether he likes it or not, Turkey is a more confident regional military power than it was in Obama’s time.

Its military has proved itself as a counterweight to Russian military power in Syria and Libya, and it has just achieved a major breakthrough in Nagorno Karabakh, establishing for the first time access by road from the Turkish border to the Caspian Sea.

This is a strategic win for the Turkish state.

If he is going to partially lift sanctions on Iran, Biden will find that he needs Turkey as a regional counterbalance. There are today too many arenas, from Syria and Iraq to Libya, where Turkey has become a player. Biden has to deal with these “facts on the ground” whether he likes it or not.

Similarly, pressure will also now grow on Saudi Arabia to end its siege on Qatar. Their immediate neighbour, the UAE, will always regard Qatar’s pro-Islamist foreign policy as an existential threat. But the same does not apply to Riyadh, and quiet negotiations in Oman and Kuwait have already taken place.

Biden’s actions in the Middle East will be dictated by events. But the loss of Trump represents a body check for the ambitions and aspirations of Gulf hegemons.

It’s a more uncertain, volatile world.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

موسكو تهزم الإنجليز على ضفاف الفولغا وتطيح بالطورانيّة في القوقاز…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

قد لا يخطر لأحد حتى للمتابع الفطن للوهلة الاولى بأن سبب اندلاع حرب القوقاز الاخيرة انما يقف وراءها نزوع بريطانيّ شره قديم للسيطرة على مقدرات أمم القوقاز عاد وتجدّد في معركة السيطرة على قره باغ..!

فالحرب، التي شنها الجيش الأذربيجاني على إقليم ناغورني قره باغ الأرمني السكان، منذ 27/9/2020 وحتى توقيع اتفاقية وقف إطلاق النار، بين روسيا وأرمينيا وأذربيجان، قبل أيام معدودة لم تكن حرباً وليدة الساعة وليست ناتجة عن رد فعل اذربيجاني، على أطلاق نار من طرف قوات إقليم ناغورني قره باغ مثلاً، وإنما هي حرب تشكل استمراراً للحروب التي كانت تشنها بريطانيا في مناطق جنوب القوقاز ووسط آسيا (ما يعرف حالياً بالجمهوريات السوفياتية الإسلامية السابقة) بهدف وقف ما كانت تسميه لندن «التمدد الروسي» في آسيا… تلك السياسة التي لا زالت بريطانيا ومعها الولايات المتحدة ودول حلف شمال الاطلسي تمارسها حتى الآن، ليس تجاه روسيا فحسب وانما تجاه إيران أيضاً، التي تتهمها قوى الاستعمار الاوروبي «بالتمدد وتوسيع نفوذها» في «الشرق الاوسط»…!

للمتابع الفطن نقول إن هذه الحرب لم تقع صدفةً وإنما تم التخطيط لها بعناية فائقة، وبقيادة بريطانية أميركيةٍ، كان بطلها السفير البريطاني السابق في تركيا، ريتشارد مور ، الذي كان سفيراً فيها منذ بداية سنة 2014 وحتى نهاية 2017، وهو الصديق الحميم لأردوغان شخصياً ولمعظم السياسيين والجنرالات الأتراك، خاصة أنه يتكلم اللغة التركية بطلاقة ويدير مدوّنة شخصية باللغة التركية حتى اليوم، على الرغم من أنه كان قد سُمّيَ رئيساً لجهاز المخابرات البريطانية الخارجية أم 16، في شهر تموز 2020، وتسلم منصب قائد هذا الجهاز بتاريخ 2/10/2020 بعد إنهاء الإجراءات المتعلقة بتقلد هذا المنصب.

وهو كان ضابطاً فيه، حتى أثناء عمله كسفير في تركيا.

وهذا يعني أن الأب «الشرعي» لهذه الحرب هي بريطانيا، من تحت المظلة الأميركية، بينما لعب اردوغان وجنرالاته، ونتن ياهو وضباط جيشه ومخابراته، دور الأدوات لا أكثر، بهدف تنفيذ الخطة العسكرية لغزو إقليم ناغورني قره باغ وأجزاء من جنوب أرمينيا.

وقد كانت الأركان الرئيسية للخطة الشاملة تقضي بزعزعة الاستقرار في جنوب القوقاز وجمهوريات آسيا الوسطى، وصولاً الى الحدود الغربية للصين مع جمهورية قرقيزستان.

وإن الأركان الأساسية كانت هي التالية:

أولاً: أن يقوم الجيش الأذربيجاني بشنّ هجوم خاطف وسريع (ما يُسمّى بليتس كريغ أي حرب خاطفة باللغة الألمانية أصل هذه التسمية)، لا يستمرّ أكثر من أسبوع، لاجتياح إقليم ناغورني قره باغ وجنوب أرمينيا، وذلك انطلاقاً من حسابات المخطّطين العسكريين الأميركيين والبريطانيين والإسرائيليين والأتراك، الذين كانوا قد أعدوا الجيش الأذري بشكل جيد لمثل هذه المهمة، على صعيد التسليح والاستخبارات، ورفده بآلاف عدة من فلول داعش والنصرة الذين تمّ نقلهم جواً، عبر الأجواء الجورجية إلى أذربيجان، وغير ذلك من وسائل الدعم.

ثانياً: واستكمالاً لهذه الخطة العسكرية، التي بدأ تنفيذها بتاريخ 27/9/2020، يتمّ تفجير حرب ناعمة (ملوّنة)، موازية لهذه الحرب، ولكن في جمهورية قرغيزستان، المحاذية لحدود الصين الشمالية الغربية. وهو ما حصل فعلاً، حيث انفجرت يوم 4/10/2020، أعمال شغب وفوضى على نطاق واسع، احتحاجاً على نتائج انتخابية أجريت هناك، والتي كان للمخابرات المركزية الأميركية دور واسع في إشعالها وتأجيجها، خاصة أن الإدارة الاميركية كانت قد أُجبرت، سنة 2014، على إخلاء قاعدتها الجوية من شمال شرق قرقيزستان، والتي كانت تعتبر قاعدة متقدّمة ورأس جسر هام جداً، في إطار الحشد الاستراتيجي الأميركي ضدّ روسيا والصين.

ولكن هذه الحلقة من حلقات الحرب الناعمة الملوّنة قد فشلت، بتضافر جهود محلية وأخرى دوليّة، نجحت في وأد تلك المؤامرة «بشكل خاطف» وحاسم. وبالتالي وجهت ضربة استراتيجية لمخططات قوى الاستعمار الغربي، القديمة والجديدة، والتي كانت تهدف الى إحداث تغيير استراتيجي في موازين القوى في منطقة وسط آسيا.

ثالثاً: كان من المفترض، وبعد نجاح الجيش الاذربيجاني – حسب الخطة – في حسم الحرب وتحقيق أهدافه العسكرية، أن يعقد في باكو، عاصمة اذربيجان. أواخر شهر 10/2020، مؤتمر مجلس التعاون للدول الناطقة باللغة التركية، الذي تأسس في اسطنبول بتاريخ 16/9/2010، وأن يتم خلال هذا المؤتمر الإعلان عن تأسيس «جيش طوران العظيم».

وهذا يعني، عملياً وعملياتياً، إدخال اذربيجان في الأطر العسكرية التركية وبالتالي تلك الأطر التابعة لحلف شمال الأطلسي، تمهيداً لابتلاع بحر قزوين والتمدد، عبر تركمنستان، الى أوزبكستان وطاجيكستان وقرغيزستان، كما ذكرنا أعلاه. اي تطويق روسيا، عند حدودها الجنوبية، ليس فقط بقوات الاطلسي، وانما بعشرات آلاف العناصر الإرهابية، التي كان من المفترض ان تنقل الحرب الى داخل الأراضي الروسية شمالاً، أي شمال القوقاز، والى داخل الاراضي الصينيه شرقاً عبر قرغيزستان، والى داخل الأراضي الإيرانية في الجنوب الغربي، الى محافظة أذربيجان الغربية بدايةً وما يعنيه ذاك من تهديد للأمن القومي الإيراني، إضافة الى ما كان سيشكله من إخلال خطير بموازين القوى الاستراتيجية، في تلك المنطقة، خاصة اذا ما أخذنا العامل الإسرائيلي بعين الاعتبار وما كان يمكن أن يقوموا به من أدوار ضد الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية.

رابعاً: لكن فطنة وحنكة الرئيس الروسي والتنسيق العميق، بين القيادة الروسية والإيرانية، لإيجاد حل دبلوماسي لتلك الحرب، انطلاقاً من اتفاقية لوقف إطلاق النار الفوري، قد نجحت في افشال الخطط العسكرية والسياسية، ذات الطبيعة الاستراتيجية، التي خططت لها قوى الاستعمار الغربي. وقد كان المنطلق الاساسي، لمهندس هذه النتيجة (وقف الحرب)، هو خلق نوع من التوازنات الميدانية عسكرياً، بما يفرض على الطرفين القبول بوقف إطلاق النار، تمهيداً للبدء في البحث عن وسائل ديبلوماسية وسياسية قادرة على خلق الاستقرار في كل منطقة جنوب القوقاز واواسط آسيا وإخراج المنطقة نهائياً من دائرة تجدد الحروب والنزاعات المسلحة، التي تقضي على كل فرص النمو والازدهار.علماً أن فشل الجيش الاذربيجاني، في اجتياح إقليم ناغورني قره باغ وجنوب أرمينيا، بالسرعة المطلوبة كان عاملاً أساسياً في الوصول الى النتيجة التي نراها أمامنا، والمتمثلة في ما يلي:

أ ـ نجاح روسيا، من دون أن تتدخل عسكرياً او تطلق حتى رصاصةً واحدةً، في وقف القتال، وبالتالي منع توسع نطاق الحرب الى دول مجاورة، جنوباً وشرقاً، او الى جمهوريات روسية جنوبية (جمهوريات منطقة الڤولغا).

ب ـ الأهمية القصوى لهذا النجاح بالنسبة لإيران، حيث إنه قد قضى على إمكانية انتشار العصابات الإرهابية المسلحة على حدودها الشمالية الغربية، وما كان سيرافق ذلك من تسلل إسرائيلي الى أطراف تلك الحدود الإيرانية.

ج ـ إخراج تركيا، كعضو في حلف شمال الاطلسي، وأردوغان كحالم بإمبراطورية طورانية جديدة، من توازنات القوقاز وأواسط آسيا، على الرغم مما تردده وسائل الإعلام المختلفة عن تنسيق تركي روسي يتعلق بمراقبة وقف اطلاق النار.

فمن يراقب وقف إطلاق النار ومنع التسلل التركي / الاطلسي، الى اذربيجان وبقية انحاء آسيا الوسطى، هو لواء القوات الخاصة الروسية، الذي انتشر على خطوط التماس، والقوات التي سيجري تعزيزه بها، اذا ما دعت الضرورة الى ذلك. ستكون هي القوات التي تمسك بالأرض، وهي التي ستشرف على الممرات الآمنة، بعرض 5 كلم، بين إقليم قره باغ (ممر لاشين) وأرمينيا، وبين إقليم نقچوان واذربيجان، عبر جنوب أرمينيا.

وهو ما يعني أيضاً استعادة روسيا زمام المبادرة الاستراتيجية في كل فضائها الجنوبيّ، وإن بشكل يختلف عن الوجود الروسي، في هذه المناطق، إبان الحقبة السوفياتية.

إنه حضور مرن قادر على التكيّف مع كلّ المتغيرات الجيو استرتيجية والحفاظ على مصالح روسيا العليا ومصالح حلفائها، على الصعيد الدولي.

لكن كلّ هذه النجاحات لا تعني انّ التآمر الاستعماري الغربي، خاصة البريطاني الأميركي، قد انتهى الى غير رجعة، وإنما يعني ان الأرضية الاستراتيجية لإنهاء هذه المؤامرات والأطماع قد وضع لها حدّ مبدئياً.

والتطبيق العملياتي لهذه الإجراءات هو الذي سيخبرنا عن قريب عن حقيقة حجم كلّ لاعب إقليمي او دولي هناك.

فضاء القوقاز هو فضاء تمّ حسمه بشكل نهائي لصالح روسيا في الحرب العالمية الثانية. ولن تسمح روسيا لأحد مشاركتها به إلا اللهم الدخول في حلف استراتيجي معها، وهو ما تتقنه إيران باستقلالية قرار قلّ نظيرها، وهو ما لن تقدر عليه تركيا لأنها تلعب دور مخلب الناتو رغم كل الضجيج الذي تثيره حول طموحاتها المتهافتة على سواحل البحار الخمسة من الأسود حتى المتوسط والخليج الفارسي.

فنون قتال لا يتقنها إلا كبار العقول
بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله….

The Karabakh war is over. The crisis is not. What comes next?

Source

The Karabakh war is over.  The crisis is not.  What comes next?

First, I want to begin this analysis by posting the full translation of an article posted yesterday by the Russian webzine Vzgliad.  I materially don’t have the time to make my own translation, so what I will post is just a minimally retouched machine translation, I apologize for this.

original Russian text: https://vz.ru/world/2020/11/12/1070326.html

Five main mysteries of the second Karabakh war

by Evgenii Krutikov

The end of the second Karabakh war gave rise to many riddles and conspiracy theories. Indeed, some of the circumstances of this conflict are extremely mysterious, or at least paradoxical from the point of view of conventional military logic. Apparently, the Armenian leadership itself provoked a political catastrophe.

Let’s list which riddles raise the biggest questions and provoke the appearance of “conspiracy theories” in Armenia (and not only).

1. Why was not a full-fledged mobilization carried out in Armenia, and full-fledged military units were not deployed to the conflict area?

Despite loud Patriotic statements, there was no real mobilization in Armenia. The permanent number of the Armenian army – about 50 thousand people-was increased only by volunteers. While the conditions of the fighting required to increase the number of defenders of Karabakh to 80-100 thousand people at least. At the same time, very soon the lack of specialists (for example, artillery calculations and MLRS) began to affect the front in the Armenian army. There was no one to fill in the losses.

It is inexplicable why Yerevan did not conduct a real mobilization. The Armenian leadership simply avoids talking about this topic. If there was a mobilization plan, no one tried to implement it. As a result, there was no rotation of military personnel on the first line, in some areas people were sitting in the trenches for a month without a shift. 18-20-year-olds were on the front line, and at some point the untrained youth made up up to 80% of the personnel. The Karabakh detachments, made up of professionals and veterans, suffered heavy losses in the first week, which there was no one and nothing to make up for, since there were simply no reinforcements.

Groups of volunteers in Armenia were formed along party lines. The scandal was caused by an attempt to form a separate detachment of the prosperous Armenia party named after the oligarch Gagik Tsarukyan, who is now Pashinyan’s main opponent. The two have been in conflict for more than a decade. Now the Prime Minister openly calls Tsarukyan “the culprit of the fall of Shusha”, since his phantom squad allegedly did not have enough at the front to win. These conflicts could have been avoided simply by having a mobilization plan and a desire to implement it.

The main military forces of Armenia did not move to Karabakh. But in order to relieve the tension created by Azerbaijani UAVs, it was enough to simply relocate early detection locators to Goris. And one army corps would have been enough to cover the southern direction even at the stage when the Azerbaijanis were languidly marking time in front of the first line of defense. Proper supplies were not organized, and after a month of fighting, this led to a shortage of missiles for the MLRS and shells for the barrel artillery. And without artillery support, the infantry can only die heroically.

All this borders on sabotage, although it may be partly explained by local sloppiness and unwillingness to weaken the defense of Armenia proper. The latter is a very controversial position and it looks like the Armenian leadership has simply abandoned Karabakh to its fate.

2. Why did the Northern front behave so strangely?

In the North and North-East of Karabakh, in the area of the Kyrgyz Republic, there was a large fortified area of the Armenian defense, which included very combat-ready units. And they really put up a serious resistance to the advancing Azerbaijani group and in the end actually stopped it (losing, however, several positions and significant villages).

But after that, the elite Yehnikner battalion suddenly retreated, although its commander managed to get the “Hero of Artsakh”. Moreover, since October 3, neither “Ehnikner” nor any military unit at all was removed from the Northern front and was not transferred to help the burning South. At the same time, the Azerbaijanis only once decided to simulate an offensive in the North again, clearly for distracting purposes. There was no need to keep up to 20 thousand people in the North.

The Karabakh Leadership informally explains all this with a lack of resources. But now the” lack of resources ” in Karabakh explains everything.

3. Why did the southern front collapse?

The fact that the main blow is being inflicted by the Azerbaijanis in the South, in the steppe zone, was visible to the naked eye already in the first few days of the war. Nevertheless, resources – human and technical-began to arrive on the southern front when this front was no longer in fact there. The steppe zone was lost, and the front stopped along the edge of the mountains from Krasny Bazar to Martuni. As a result, up to 30 thousand people defending Karabakh have accumulated in this area. They were threatened with complete encirclement and death, which was one of the reasons for signing the ceasefire agreement. At the same time, before the occupation of Jabrayil, the Azerbaijani troops advanced very slowly, disrupting their own pace of attack. This gave the Armenians a small, but still a head start in order to understand the situation and engage in relocation.

After the occupation of Jabrayil, the front began to fall apart, and the advance of the Azerbaijanis sharply accelerated. The moment was lost.

For some reason, the Armenian command has not made a decision about the transfer of additional resources to the southern front? This is another mystery.

4. Why did the Armenian side limit itself to passive defense?

During the entire war, the Armenian side only twice attempted a counterattack against the advanced units of the Azerbaijanis who were running far ahead. Both times this happened opposite Lachin in a narrow gorge, with the extreme vulnerability of the Azerbaijani battalion-tactical group (BTG). Once even successfully. But these operations were simply reduced to a massive attack by the MLRS on enemy clusters. Operations to block the gorge and encircle the enemy in other sections of the southern front were suggested. But not a single Armenian unit moved. An amazing war in which one of the parties did not conduct a single offensive operation on the ground, limited only and exclusively to passive defense.

A successful counteroffensive in the gorge before Lachin would have crushed so many Azerbaijani forces in the cauldron that they would not have thought about attacking Shusha for at least a couple of weeks. And later it was quite possible to destroy the Azerbaijani infantry in the ravine Averatec. But it took a lot of effort.

There is no explanation for why the Armenian side did not even try to counterattack or use other methods to use the operational advantage that it repeatedly had. The lack of resources can only be referred to endlessly in the last stages of warfare, but passive defense has been a constant tactic since the beginning of the war.

5. Why was Shusha handed over?

The most sensitive and incomprehensible question. The first assault on the city by Azerbaijani infantry was extremely unsuccessful. Then the second column of Azerbaijanis was covered by the MLRS strike. With some effort and assistance from Armenia, the Azerbaijani group that broke through to the city could be destroyed. However, suddenly a decision is made to leave the city without a fight and not to attempt to liberate it with the favorable operational and tactical situation remaining for another day.

It is believed that the decision to leave Shusha was made by NKR President Araik Harutyunyan and Secretary of the NKR security Council General Samvel Babayan, a local legend. Now, in protest against the signing of the armistice, he left his post and renounced the title of Hero of Artsakh. The Armenian YouTube channel “Lurer” (“news”) published a recording of Babayan and Harutyunyan’s talks, from which it follows that General Babayan really considered the possibility of recapturing Shusha even after its abandonment,but the further prospect of resistance was very gloomy.

Fragment of a conversation (not translated verbatim): “Let’s calculate the (combat) task. Twenty, thirty volleys of the “Smerch” MLRS blanket Shushi. We kill everyone there. Taking the city back. What’s next? The state of the army and the civilian population does not allow for war. We gave battle, took Shushi, then what? ( … ) we Can’t fight with the NATO army, with mercenaries, fully equipped… I tried to organize an operation with three battalions yesterday. We only have four howitzers. If we are not provided with artillery, how will you ensure the offensive or cut off his (the enemy’s) tails? (…) Today we must finally negotiate with Russia that we are handing over these territories and leaving them. Or they help us. Imagine that we have two Grads for the entire army today, a dozen howitzers, for which we have no shells.”

To sum up, General Babayan believed that resistance was useless at this stage of the fighting. We must refuse to continue the war and either surrender, or ask for ten days for an organized exit of the local population and the 30 thousand soldiers of the southern front who are completely surrounded. As an alternative, it was proposed to urgently ask Russia for direct military assistance in the form of PMCs or volunteers, equipment and ammunition.

But all this does not negate the question of why a small group of Azerbaijani infantrymen without heavy equipment, who broke through to Shusha, was not destroyed before the Armenian army began to panic. The retention of Shusha created a completely different architecture of political agreements for the NKR and Armenia. If this is a political decision, then who actually made it?

* * *

This list of mysteries of the second Karabakh war is far from complete. In addition, the Armenian leadership has accumulated many similar questions about preparing for war. This war was lost before it even started, precisely because of the inaction or strange action of Yerevan.

The proceedings will continue for a long time. The situation in the region has changed so radically in these forty days that all the old approaches to resolving the conflict and its military component have died out of themselves. And the new reality will require new solutions for Armenia. And it is not yet clear who will take these decisions.  


Personally, I do not see any dark conspiracy here.  What I do see is a truly PHENOMENAL level of incompetence from the Sorosite leadership of Armenia.  Simply put, the vast majority of the truly competent Armenian leaders, civilian and military, were either jailed or, at the very least fired en masse.  There is a very simple explanation for this too.

From Pashinian’s (and, from now on, when I say “Pashinian” I mean the usual suspects: MI6, CIA, Soros, etc.) point of view, the “old guard” of Soviet trained leaders had to be removed because they could not be trusted.  But what this imbecile, and his masters, did not realize is that the “Soviet educated” leadership was far more competent than the “woke and transgender friendly democrats” which took power in 2018.

[Sidebar: Did you notice something quite interesting? The “old” and “Soviet trained” military forces in general, and their commanders especially, are systematically much better trained that those forces trained by NATO or “the most powerful military in the history of the galaxy”.  Why is it that the democratic, progressive and advanced forces like, say, the Saudis, the Israelis, the Georgians, the Yemeni or all the other many “good terrorists” always perform miserably in combat?  I will let you ponder this question :-)]

By the way, Pashinian, who is hiding in a bunker or inside the US embassy compound in Erevan, is still at it!  Yesterday he called Macron, who is under pressure from the huge Armenian immigration in France to do something, to ask for his help and Macron promised to help find a solution acceptable to all sides, implying two things:

  1. That the “Russian solution” (in reality Armenian the acceptance by Erevan of the Azeri terms) is not acceptable and that
  2. That France has some kind of magic wand that Macron can wave a few times and forever turn the entire area of operation into a peaceful land of milk and honey were everybody would hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and “feel the love” forever and ever.

As usually, the Brits are much more devious, secretive and smart: the head of MI6 is in Turkey to meet with “senior officials”.  Yeah, right!  By the way, this guy, Richard Moore, is a former UK Ambassador to Turkey.  To get a sense of what this is all about, all you need to do is look into any history book to see that the Brits have always used the Ottomans as canon-fodder against Russia.

As for the US Americans, they are basically paralyzed by the chaos in their own country.  But either one of the dummies running might try something desperate to “show the flag” and prove that he is “tough on Russia”.

So what’s next?

For years now I have been saying the following about the Western political leaders: they are unable to build anything worthwhile, but they are most definitely able to spread chaos, anarchy, violence, insurgencies, etc.  So the first thing you can be sure of is that the AngloZionists will do everything in their power to egg on the Armenians, the Azeris and even the Turks to reject an outcome which the West sees as a triumph for Russia (and for Putin personally!).

Then there is Erdogan, who is furious at the Russian categorical rejection of his demands to be part of the peacekeeping force.  All the Russians have agreed to is to create a special “monitoring post” staffed by Russians and Turks, far away from the Nagorno-Karabakh region where a joint team of observers would “monitor” the situation by looking at computers.  There will be no Turkish soldiers in the peacekeeping area (see Russian military map above).

As a fallback option, the Turks are also demanding they they be allowed to fly their own drones over the area of operations.  In response, the Armenian side has declared that Armenia and Russia have jointly declared a no-fly zone over the entire area.  As far as I know, the Russians have not confirmed that “yet”, but you can be pretty sure that they will immediately shoot down any unauthorized aircraft approaching their positions.

To get a sense of how the Russians are acting, you need to know two things:

First, the Russian liberal media is already complaining that Russia has included “undeclared” weapons systems in its peacekeeping force (MLRS and APCs).  This is hardly surprising considering the very high probability of provocations (by both sides).  Besides, the vague language of the agreement allows Russian to bring in “specialized vehicles” which could mean anything and everything.

Furthermore, I am pretty confident that the Russian 102nd Military Base is a Russian military base in Gyumri will receive reinforcements and will serve as the logistical support hub for the Russian peacekeeping force.

Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov and Vladimir Putin

Second, it is worth looking at the career of the man who will be commanding the Russian peacekeeping force, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov.  You can check his biography here and here.  I will simply summarize this man’s career by saying two words: Donbass, Syria.

He is not some kind of pretend-general whose qualifications are mainly as organizers and politicians.  This guy is a real combat general, the kind who personally comes under fire because he makes sure to regularly be with his men on the frontlines and who has experience dealing with the Axis of Kindness and its “good terrorists” (whether local or special ops).

The West perfectly understands this and is absolutely furious about being “cheated” by Russia again!

First, the Russians stopped the bloody war in Syria, now they stopped the war in Azerbaijan.  For the Empire, this means the total loss of the axis of instability which they lovingly tried to create in the Caucasus and the Middle-East to eventually hit the Russian underbelly.  They failed.  They won’t forgive this.

Second, most Armenians worldwide are absolutely horrified at the outcome of this war, and they have my sincere sympathy.  The problem here is that many of them blame Russia, rather than their own leaders.  Furthermore, there are many truly rabid nationalists amongst the anti-Pashinian forces in Armenia.  Right now, Pashinian is hiding somewhere and he still refuses to resign (backed to the hilt by the West, of course).  But this will change, I can’t imagine anybody staying in power after such a catastrophe.

However, Pashinian gone does not at all mean that pro-Russian, or even Russia-neutral, forces will succeed him.  In fact, as in most chaotic situations, it is the extremists who are most likely to seize power.  And God only knows what they might do next!

In a paradoxical way, the best outcome for Russia would be to have Pashinian stay in power just a little longer, just long enough to create a fait accompli on the ground which no nutcases could meaningfully overturn.

Right now, two things are happening: Armenian refugees are clogging the only roads which will allow them to flee to Armenia.  These poor people will never trust the word of an Azeri or, even less so, a Turk, could say (and who could blame them?!).

This is truly a heart-breaking tragedy which could have been completely avoided had Pashinian and his Sorosites done a few, really basic, things (preparing for war and settling for an imperfect peace agreement for starters).

Armenian-NK forces are also withdrawing, and it’s not like they have much of an option here: escaping with their lives is really all these poor soldiers could hope for (and by no fault of theirs, I would add!).

The next couple of weeks will be crucial and I can only hope that the Russians are fully ready to deal with any contingency, including a complete Armenian turnaround if Pashinian is overthrown very soon.

It is now a race against the clock: on one side, the West wants Russia out at quite literally *ANY* costs in Azeri and Armenian lives while the Russians are scrambling to make the agreement a well-defended reality on the ground.  In the Ukraine they say that “the West is willing to fight Russia down the the very last Ukrainian“.  I hope and pray that this does not happen in the Caucasus.

The Saker

PS: on the really sad and tragic side, I personally can’t imagine any refugees willing to come back, in spite of all the pious promises made by all sides.  Look, let’s be honest here: during the first NK war, which the Armenians won, the Azeris were brutally expelled, there were several instances of mass murder of Azeri civilians by the triumphant Armenian forces.  This time around, the Azeris made all sorts of promises, but if I was an Armenian I would not trust a single word the Turks or Azeris say (heck, these two still deny that there was any genocide of Armenians by the Ottomans!).  Keep in mind that in this short war, about 4000 civilians have died; that is the official figure, the real one is probably even worse!

Maybe in a decade or two, and only if Russia remains the peacekeeper of the Caucases, will some refugees, or their sons and daughters return to their historical homelands.  But right now, the Russian peacekeeping force will probably end up maintaining the peace in a very empty Nagorno-Karabakh.  This is a revolting outcome which, I will repeat this, could have been avoided by Pashinian and his gang of Sorosites.  May that be a lesson to anybody else taking these evil clowns seriously!

Understanding the outcome of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh

THE SAKER • NOVEMBER 11, 2020 • 3,100 WORDS • 

A lot has happened very rapidly in the past two days and I will begin this analysis by a few bullet points summarizing what just happened (not in any particular order, including chronological):

  • The war which has just ended was a real bloodbath and it has seen more casualties (counting both sides) than what the Soviet Union lost in 10 years of warfare in Afghanistan
  • This war is now over, Russian peacekeepers have already been deployed along the line of contact. So far, neither side has dared to resume hostilities (more about that below).
  • There have been two days of celebrations in Baku where President Aliev has declared that the war was a triumph for Azeri forces and that Pashinian got nothing. He is right.
  • The Azeris are now declaring that they want compensation from Armenia.
  • There are now Turkish forces in Azerbaijan and Russian and Turkish forces have created a joint committee to coordinate actions.
  • Erdogan has insisted that he wanted Turkey to send in peacekeepers, but Putin has categorically rejected this demand: like any other state, Azerbaijan has the undisputed right to invite foreign forces on its territory, but these forces will not have the status and rights of a peacekeeping force.
  • Violent riots have broken out in Erevan where violent mobs have stormed government buildings, beaten officials and sacked the Parliament.
  • Seventeen Armenian opposition parties have declared that they want a committee of national salvation and the resignation of Pashinian.
  • Nobody knows where Pashinian is hiding, but he seems to still be somewhere in Armenia.
  • These mobs also destroyed the Soros offices in Erevan and they are now looking for Pashinian “the traitor” to lynch him.
  • Pashinian has complained on Twitter that his offices were sacked, that a computer, his driver license and, I kid you not, a bottle of perfume (poor perfumed baby!) were stolen.
  • The Russian peacekeeping force will be constituted of subunits of the 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade which itself is part of the 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District. It will include about 2000 armed soldiers, APCs and IFVs, specialized vehicles (EW, C3I, etc.), drones and air defense systems.
  • Russians peacekeepers will stay deployed in this area for no less than 5 years.
  • Russia will now control both the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) corridor and the Nakhichevan corridor.

Now let’s look at the position of the parties at the end of this war and compare them.

Armenia: there is no doubt that Armenia is the biggest loser in this war. Pashinian and his gang of russophobic Sorosites has brought a real calamity upon his people. Since he came to power his anti-Russian actions included almost totally eliminating any Armenian participation on the CSTO, he completely ceased any collaboration with Russia (including in the intelligence and security domains), he purged the Armenian military and security forces from all the supposed “pro-Russian” elements, he banned Russian language schools. In contrast, Armenia has an absolutely huge US embassy with about 2000 personnel (as much as the entire Russian peacekeeping force!) and when the Azeris attacked, Pashinin refused to ask Russia for help for a full month. He did ask Trump, Merkel and Macron for help instead. Needless to say, they did exactly nothing once the crisis erupted.

Truth be told, the Armenians had absolutely no other option but to accept the Azeri terms. The Armenians have suffered huge losses while the Azeris have taken Shushi, the key strategic city which controls both the capital of NK Stepanakert and the corridor between NK and Armenia. Had Pashinian not signed, the surrounded Armenians would have been slaughtered by the Azeris (in this war, both sides reported having almost no prisoners. Why? Because almost all were all executed, often after gruesome tortures by both sides). Russian analysts also say that Armenia was simply running out of supplies very fast (a fact also mentioned by Pashinian).

Simply put: Aliev’s plan worked, the blind arrogance of the Armenian leaders, along with their suicidal polices have almost cost Armenia the complete loss of NK and, possibly, even the existence of their own country. With all the best Armenian officers removed (including heroes from the first Karabakh war, which Armenia won), what was left were delusional clowns who promised that Armenia, without any help including without Russian help, could win the war and drive its forces to Baku (yes, they did sound just as delusional as some Ukie leaders).

Turkey: the next big loser in this war is Turkey whose objectives of bringing all Turkic nations under one neo-Ottoman empire have, predictably, crashed. Again. Erdogan is a world class megalomaniac and trouble maker, and he has involved Turkey in wars (or quasi wars) with Syria, Israel, Iraq, Greece, Libya, Iran, Russia and even (to some degree) NATO. And let’s not forget the bloody operations against the Kurds everywhere. He is a bona fide megalomaniac and that makes him very, very dangerous. Russia has intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and now Azerbaijan to deny Turkey its wannabe empire status and each time we saw that Turkey, as a country, simply does not have the resources to try to build an empire, especially since Erdogan simply does not understand that simultaneously opening conflicts on several fronts in a recipe for disaster.

There is also pretty strong likelihood that it was the Turks who shot down the Russian Mi-24 right inside the Armenian air space: their goal was to force Russia to stop seeking a negotiated solution and to impose a continuation of hostilities. Thank God for Aliev’s superb strategic skills which made it possible for him to do something very smart: he took the blame for what he called a tragic mistake and offered all sorts of compensations and excuses. Aliev’s decision to take the blame probably came after he and Putin (who are close friends) had what diplomats call a “frank exchange of views”.

The Turks are making a big deal out of the fact that the Azeris have invited Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. But let’s be honest here: the Azeris and Turks were always close and there was no outcome which could have prevented the Azeris from legally inviting Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. The real issue is what these forces can do. I submit that while we should never discard the toxic potential of any Turkish force anyway, there is little this force will be able to do than to a) monitor the situation and 2) coordinate with the Russians to stay out of each other’s way. But what these forces won’t be able to do is to attack, or even threaten to attack, Armenian and/or Russian forces (see below why).

Russia: Russia is the only true winner of this war. I know, there is a powerful Armenian lobby in the USA, in Europe and in Russia, and they are trying to present their defeat as a defeat for Russia. Frankly, I understand their bitterness and I feel sorry for them, but they are absolutely wrong. Here is why:

First, Russia has now established herself as the sole power in the Caucasus which can bring about peace. 2000 US personnel in Erevan did absolutely nothing for years to really help Armenia, all they did is force suicidal russophobic policies on Armenia, that’s about it. The same amount of Russian soldiers literally brought peace overnight. Here I have to explain a little something about the units which was sent Azerbaijan: 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (15IMRB).

The 15IMRB is not a peacekeeping force in the western meaning of the world. This is an elite combat force which specializes in peacekeeping and peacemaking (“coercion to peace” in Russian terminology) missions. It’s personnel is 100% composed of professionals, most of whom have extensive combat experience: they participated in the coercion to peace operation against Georgia in 08.08.08 and in Syria. These are top of the line, well trained, superbly equipped forces who, on top of their own capabilities, can fully count on the support of the Russian forces in Armenia and from the full support of the entire Russian military. Those who say that this force is a lightly armed token force simply do not understand these issues.

The entire theatre of operations of this war is very much inside the (conceptual) under 1000 kilometers from the Russian border which the Russian military wants to be capable of domination escalation should a war break out. To repeat, the Russian military is not organized the way the US military is: the Russian military doctrine is purely defensive, this is not propaganda, and it relies for this defense on its ability to very rapidly deploy high readiness mechanized forces anywhere inside Russia and within about 1000km from the Russian border and the ability to destroy any force entering this zone. Russia also relies on advanced weapons systems capable of unleashing a lot of firepower in defense of its deployed task forces forces. In other words, while the 15IMRB is only a brigade sized expeditionary force, it is trained to hunker down and hold a position until the reinforcements (personnel and/or firepower) are deployed from Russia. You can think of this as something similar to the Russian task force in Syria, only much closer to Russia and, therefore, much easier to support if needed.

Coming back to the shooting down of a Russian Mi-24, this action will not go unnoticed or forgotten, of that you can be sure. The fact that Putin (and the Russian military) don’t act like the US would and immediately initiate reprisals does not mean that the Russians don’t care, have forgotten or are afraid. There is a Jewish proverb which says “a good life is the best revenge”. I would paraphrase this by saying that Putin’s motto could be “an advantageous outcome is the best retaliation”: this is what we saw in Syria and this is what will happen in Azerbaijan.

Another sweet spot for Russia is that she can now (truthfully) declare that color revolutions inevitably result in territorial losses (the Ukraine, Georgie and now Armenia) and political chaos (everywhere).

Next, please look at the following map (in Russian, but that is no problem):

Please look at the two thick blue lines: they are showing corridors between Azerbaijan and the Azeri province of Nakhichevan and the corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. These two corridors are absolutely vital for both of these countries and they will now be under the control of FSB Border Guards (Russian border guards are light, mobile and elite units comparable in terms of training and capabilities to their colleagues from the Airborne Forces. Again, don’t assume that they are anything like the US or EU border or customs officials). They are very tough elite units which are trained to fight a much superior force until reinforcements come in.

What that means in strategic terms is that Russia now has an iron grip on what is a vital strategic artery for both Azerbaijan and Armenia. None of the parties are willing to comment very much on this, no need to humiliate anybody, but those in the know realize what a fantastic pressure capability Putin has just added to Russia in the Caucasus. You can think of these two corridors as a lifeline for both states as long as you also realize that these corridors are also strategic daggers in Russian hands pointed at the vital organs of both states.

The usual Putin-hating choir which has been singing the “Putin lost control of the near abroad” mantra should now be both ashamed of their lack of understanding, and livid at what “Putin” did to their hopes, but that kind of magical thinking won’t change reality on the ground: far from losing anything, Putin secured an immense strategic Russia victory at the cost of 2 dead soldiers, one wounded and one helicopter.

From now on, Russia will have permanent military forces in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has been effectively neutered. The Russian Caucasus is mostly peaceful and prosperous, both the Black Sea and the Caspian are de facto “Russian lakes” and the Russian “underbelly” is now much stronger than it ever was before.

Let’s when any western power achieves a similar result 

Conclusion:

This war is now only frozen and, like in Syria, there will be provocations, false flags, setbacks and murdered innocents. But, like in Syria, Putin will always prefer a quiet strategy with minimal losses over one with a lot of threats, grandstanding and instant retaliations. There is also what I call the “Putin use of force rules”: never use force where expected, always use force when least expected and always use force in a way your enemies do not plan for. Still, let’s not see all this in rosy colors, there will be setbacks for sure, Erdogan is angry and he still wants to play a role. Putin, in a typical Russian manner will give him exactly that “a role”, but that role will be minimal and mostly for internal Turkish PR consumption. Erdogan, far from being a new Mehmed The Conqueror and “The Great Eagle”, will go down in history as Erdogan The Loser and the “Defeated Chicken”. Megalomania might be a prerequisite for an empire builder, but that alone is clearly not enough.

🙂

What comes next?

Pashinian will be overthrown, that is pretty sure. What matters most for Armenia is who will replace him. Alas, there are anti-Pashinian nationalists out there who are just as russophobic as the Pashinian gang. Furthermore, considering the hysterics taking place in Armenia, there is a real possibility that a new government might annul the ceasefire and demand a “fight to the end”. This could be a major problem, including for the Russian forces in Armenia and the peacekeepers, but it is also likely that by the time the Armenian people really understand that 1) they have been lied to and 2) they have suffered a crushing defeat these calls will eventually be drowned out by more sane voices (including those of the currently jailed pre-2018 leaders).

There is also a huge Armenian immigration in Russia which will hear all the reporting and analyses produced in Russia and will be fully aware of the reality out there. These immigrants represent a huge ressource for Armenia as they are going to be the one who will push for a strong collaboration with Russia which, frankly, Armenia now needs more than anything else. Right now, judging by what pro-Armenian Russian analysts are saying, the Armenians and their supporters are absolutely horrified by this outcome and they are promising that the Turks have now penetrated deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence. To them sane voices reply that this so-called “move” into the Russia sphere of influence will be mostly PR and that it is far better for some Turkish forces to move inside the Russian sphere of influence than for some Russian force to be deployed inside the Turkish sphere of influence. In other words, when these Armenia supporters say that Erdogan has moved deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence, they are also thereby admitting that this is a Russian, not Turkish, sphere of influence. They just don’t realize what they are saying, that’s all.

Frankly, the Armenian diasporas in Russia, the EU and the USA are superbly organized, they have a lot of money, and they currently control the narrative in the EU and the USA (in Russia they tried and miserably failed). Add to this the fact the Aliev was the one who started that war and that he is deeply enmeshed with Erdogan’s Turkey and you will see why the magnitude of the Armenian defeat is systematically underplayed in the western media. That’s fine, let a few months go by and the reality of the situation will eventually convince those currently in denial.

Right now, this is exactly the process which is (violently) taking place in Erevan. But sooner or later, looting mobs will be replaced by some kind of government of national unity and if that government wants to put an end to the horrendous losses and wants to rebuild what is left standing, they will have to call the Kremlin and offer Russia some kind of deal. Needless to day, the immense US embassy, and the hundred of Soros-sponsored “NGOs” will oppose that with all their might. But with the USA itself fighting for survival, the EU in total disarray and the Turks failing at everything they try, that is simply not a viable option.

Russians used to joke that it takes 2 Jews to cheat 1 Armenian, meaning that Armenians are possibly even smarter than Jews (who, in all fairness, are not that smart at all, that is mostly self-serving and self-worshiping propaganda). I tend to share this admiration of the Armenian people: Armenians are an ancient, truly noble and beautiful nation and culture, who deserve to live in peace and security and who have suffered many horrors in their history. They deserve so much more than this CIA/MI6 stooge Pashinian! Right now, the Armenian nation is definitely at a low moment in its history, comparable to the “democratic” 90s in Russia or the current “liberal” horror taking place in the USA. But, as Dostoevsky liked to say, “one should never judge a nation by how low it can sink, but by how high it can soar”.

The best thing for Armenia, objectively, would be to become part of Russia (which Armenia was in its recent past). But that is not going to happen: first, Armenian nationalism is as blind and as obtuse as ever and, furthermore, Russia would never accept Armenia into the Russian Federation, and why would she? Armenia has exactly nothing to offer Russia, except a difficult to protect territory with potentially dangerous neighbors. No, Russia never lost Armenia – it was Armenia which lost Russia. Now the most the Kremlin will offer to Armenia is 1) protection against all neighbors and 2) economic help.

As for the rest, let’s see if the next Armenian government re-joins the CSTO not only in words (as was the case for the past couple of years), but in actions (like resume intel exchanges, military collaboration, joint security operations, etc.). That would be a great first step for Armenia.

Update on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Update on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The Saker

With everybody is focused on the US election drama, there are important developments in the war over the NK.  I will summarize them here:

  • While both the original Russian and then subsequent US ceasefires failed minutes after they were proclaimed, there are signs that both the Armenians and the Azeris are getting exhausted and want to talk.
  • So far, the Azeris were mostly prevailing, but at great costs.  Also, their drones were used with great effectiveness, but now most of them have eventually been shot down.  Also, the winter is coming fast, making any kind of warfare close to impossible, especially in the mountains.
  • It appears that today the Azeris shot down a Russian Mi-24 by mistake, but right over the border in Armenian airspace.  Putin will not retaliate since he knows that this is a mistake and since he does not let such minor, if tragic, incidents affect him.  But Aliev also knows that now things are getting really dangerous so he already apologized, offered compensation, promised a criminal investigation which will punish all those who are responsible.  Aliev “gets” Russia and he also “gets” Putin.  Smart man!
  • The Armenians probably have realized two things: a) the US cannot help them b) their public image in Russia is pretty bad.  On this page: https://vz.ru/vote/result/1820/, Vzgliad, a popular and moderately patriotic website asked this question in a survey: “Which of the parties to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is morally right in your eyes?“.  The result?  Armenia 33.06 and Azerbaijan 48.12.  The arrogant and openly hostile attitude of the Armenians since 2018 has hurt them tremendously and they might be coming back to their senses.  If Pashinian is removed, he did lose this war, after all, that would help a lot.
  • There are now signs that Russia and Turkey will decide the outcome of this war.  Considering how the two countries cooperated in Syria, this will be both very difficult to achieve, but all that matters is the end result.
  • There are also rumors that Russia will send peacekeepers into Nagorno-Karabach.  If confirmed, they will be heavily armed peacekeepers with full support from the Russian armed forces in Armenia and even Russia.
  • Pashinian has already made public a declaration in which he says that he has agreed to the terms offered by Russia and Azerbaijan and that the war is “over”

We will see if this ceasefire will hold any more than the previous ones did, but this is a good sign.

The Azeris know that if they continue the war, it will get harder and harder for them.

The Armenians, who are the real losers in this war, now want to stop it ASAP.  They know that they have no chance of “victory” and that the best thing they can do now is to agree to new terms.

As for Russia, it was quite funny for me to see the so-called “Russia specialists” declaring how Russia had “lost control of the near abroad” when, in reality, the only party which actually benefited from this war was Russia!  Why?  Because this war has proven (or, if this ceasefire does not hold, will prove) that Russia is the sole kingmaker of the Caucasus.  Not Turkey, most definitely a dying USA, not Iran (though it is very powerful, I would give Iran the #2 rank) – but Russia and only Russia.  Furthermore, this war served an important purpose: to show the Armenians that their future depends on their relationship with Russia.  The cost of this “lesson” was huge, but this is hardly Russia’s fault.  As for Erdogan, his lesson is that while he can dream about a new, big, Ottoman Empire, that’s ain’t gonna happen as long as Russia exists (that is something NO Russia leader can allow to happen).

So what’s next (assuming this ceasefire holds)?

Nagorno-Karabach will return under Azeri rule, at least formally, de jure.  It will have an special status, obviously, and to reassure the population, Russian peacekeepers will be deployed in and around NK.  De facto, NK will remain a semi-independent province.  Confidence building measures will slowly be implemented, beginning with an exchange of dead bodies and prisoners.  Then the heavy weapons will be moved baack, and some weapons systems will be closely monitored (including Azeri drones).  The road linking NK to Armenia (which now is under Azeri fire control) will get some kind of special “civilians only” status, insuring that both sides refrain from using it for any bellicose purposes.  This is pretty standard stuff and it should work here too.

Besides, that is the only possible solution to this war anyway.

God willing, peace will return to the suffering people of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

And, God willing, the Armenians will learn their lesson and never forget it again: Russia is their only real friend.

The Saker

More on the topic

International Reaction to Turkey’s Aggressive Foreign Policy Approach

05.11.2020 Author: Valery Kulikov

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According to numerous observers, the “aggressive approach” the Turkish leader R. Erdogan implies in Turkey’s foreign policy every day evokes more and more hostility and opposition across the world.

It is through the fault of Ankara that many of the faded conflicts have flared up with renewed vigor lately. Thus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is striving for shelf hydrocarbons, causing a wave of indignation not only from Greece, but also from the European Union. And although the clash of interests here has not yet reached outright bloodshed, nevertheless, Turkey is no longer shy about ramming opponents with their ships and vessels. This, in turn, causes an increase in the degree of tensions both within the EU and between NATO member states, the outcome of which so far few can predict. The drift towards divisions is on in spite of Washington’s calls to all NATO member states urging them to “keep Turkey in the West.”

After the terrorist attack on October 16 in the Paris suburbs of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, when an 18-year-old Islamist, motivated by religious enmity, killed a school history and geography teacher, a new diplomatic scandal erupted between Turkey and France, which significantly increased tensions between these countries in Libya, where they support opposing sides of the conflict.

Numerous media voices are increasingly citing factual evidence of Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict, and not only in the form of supplying weapons there in violation of the imposed international embargo, but also sending numerous mercenaries from the war zone in Syria.

Recently, the growing criticism of Turkey on sending mercenaries not only to Syria and Libya, but also to the Karabakh conflict zone, has been confirmed by the intelligence services of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. As a result, today no one, including Turkey itself, can claim that in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it acts as an impartial or neutral party, since it views this conflict as an opportunity to expand its influence in another neighboring region, the Southern Caucasus.

The summit of the EU states, which ended in late October, condemned the aggressive rhetoric and actions of Turkey aimed at the EU states, and the head of the European Council Charles Michel indicated that the EU leaders would discuss further actions with regard to Turkey at the planned summit in December. “We have expressed our determination to make Ankara respect us. Turkey has not yet chosen a positive path in relations with the EU. We condemn the recent unilateral actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, provocations and aggressive rhetoric against the EU countries, which is absolutely unacceptable,” Charles Michel said on October 29 following the EU summit held in the video conference format.

NATO also declares its “bewilderment” by Turkey’s actions, openly hinting to Erdogan about “unpleasant moments” and readiness to take a tougher position with regard to Ankara.

Today Turkey has strained its relations with many countries. In addition to the deepening conflict with the United States (after the acquisition and testing of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system), France, Greece and the EU as a whole, the list of Turkey’s “opponents” includes Israel (due to the conflict over the Palestinian problem), Syria (where Erdogan introduced Turkish troops), Iran (with which Ankara has intensified contradictions because of Erdogan’s actions in Syria), Saudi Arabia (relations with which have especially worsened because of the “Khashoggi case”). Even with the United Arab Emirates Erdogan’s conflict has become so widespread that this struggle unfolds from Morocco to Syria, most fiercely manifesting itself in the field of “soft power”, with mutual accusations of seeking to destabilize the Arab world. The Arab monarchies are particularly concerned about Ankara’s policy in the Persian Gulf, where Turkish troops are now stationed in Qatar, another Turkish base is located in Somalia, and Erdogan himself actively supports and finances the Muslim Brotherhood religious and political movement (banned in Russia – ed.) , to which the monarchies of the Gulf are more than wary.

As a result, as noted not only by the Western, but other regional media, Erdogan risks isolating his country from both the West and Arabs with Persians. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that he has no desire to be a bridge between Europe and the Arab world. Instead, he decided to reshape Turkey in line with its imperial past and make it a competitor to the two regions,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash is being cited.

In response to the aggressiveness of Erdogan’s policy, France has already called off its ambassador from Turkey “for consultations”. The Canadian government, after the Bombardier Recreational Products company “unexpectedly” learned that its engines were being installed on the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 (“Flag Bearer”) operational tactical attack drones (these has been actively used in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh), took the decision to stop supplying them, as well as other weapons to Turkey. Canada stressed that “the use of attack drones by Turkey often goes beyond the framework of agreements within the NATO format.”

For its part, Turkey has no choice but to launch its own production of engines for Turkish drones, or to intensify military-technical cooperation with Ukraine in this regard, which was indirectly confirmed in the speeches of representatives of the industrial and business circles of Turkey, in particular, Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Against the backdrop of these events, the fall of the Turkish lira became uncontrollable, and Ankara no longer has the resources to keep the situation under control. Since the beginning of the year, the lira has fallen by 39% against the US dollar, which has become the worst indicator dynamics among all currencies in Eurasia, despite the fact that the dollar this year is clearly not up to par. The savings of the Turkish state itself continue to fall: according to the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Turkey has spent about $130 billion from its reserves over the past year and a half. At the same time, the reserves do not cease to decline, and if in the summer their volume reached $90 billion, now they have dropped below $80 billion. The situation is complicated by the need to fight the current economic crisis. In addition, unemployment in the country approached 14%, and among young people it reached 25%.

According to the forecasts of the former IMF Managing Director Desmond Lachman, in the event of a liquidity crisis in the world, Turkey will become one of the first countries to declare a default. Under these conditions, in order to mitigate the consequences of the recession, the state again has to borrow a lot from foreign creditors, but because of Erdogan’s aggressive policy, reliable friends (except, perhaps, Ukraine, whose situation is even worse), to whom you can turn for loans, today are getting more and more scarce…

Valery Kulikov, a political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

ما هي تغييرات السياسة الأميركيّة في حال خسارة دونالد ترامب

باريس – نضال حمادة

تظهر النتائج شبه النهائية للانتخابات الرئاسية في أميركا تقدّم المرشح الديمقراطي جو بايدن على الرئيس المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب، وإنْ كان بفارق ضئيل يجعل ترامب يحاول عرقلة هذه النتيجة عبر الاعتراض وتقديم الشكاوى، دون أن يكون لذلك تأثير مباشر على عملية الانتقال في الحكم التي سوف تحصل بعد شهرين من الآن في حال ثبتت النتائج الحالية بفوز بايدن.

الآن ومع اقتراب موعد ذهاب ترامب كما تشير صناديق الاقتراع، ما الذي سوف يتغيّر في السياسة الأميركية في العالم وفي الشرق الأوسط بخاصة؟

لا شك في أنّ أوّل المتغيّرات سوف يكون في السعودية على صعيد صراع أطراف آل سعود على السلطة ودعم ترامب المباشر لمحمد بن سلمان الذي مكّنه من السيطرة على مقاليد الحكم في السعودية وزجّ كلّ أطراف آل سعود الأقوياء من أبناء عمومته في السجون، ودعمه لإبن سلمان في حرب اليمن التي ربما لن تغيّر إدارة بايدن الموقف منها بقدر ما سوف تسحب الدعم الكبير داخلياً لإبن سلمان في وجه أبناء عمومته الذين يتحيّنون الفرص للثأر منه.

تركيا سوف تتأثر بسبب كره جو بايدن الشخصي لأردوغان، وهو لم يتورّع (أيّ بايدن) عن التصريح مرتين أنّ أميركا يجب أن تعمل على إسقاط أردوغان من حكم تركيا، وهذا ما سوف يزيد اعتماد أردوغان على روسيا وقد يخلق أجواء إيجابية أكثر في سورية.

روسيا سوف تفتقد ترامب الذي حفلت ولايته بتعاون بينه وبين بوتين في أكثر من مكان، منها سورية التي قرّر ترامب مغادرتها لكن ضغوط الجمهوريّين عليه وأموال العرب التي دفعت له جعلته يتراجع عن قراره هذا ثلاث مرات.

إيران التي وعد بايدن بإعادة العمل بالاتفاق النووي معها، وقد تكون غلطة ترامب القاتلة إلغاء هذا الاتفاق من دون إعطاء أيّ بديل عنه للعالم ولإيران، التي ترى أنّ بايدن بعكس ترامب لن ينسحب من سورية ولا من أفغانستان ولا من العراق، وبالتالي فإنّ أجواء التوتر مع أميركا في ظلّ حكمه سوف تستمرّ، كما أنّ كلام بايدن عن ضرورة إسقاط أردوغان لا يصبّ في مصلحة إيران التي ترى أنّ أميركا سوف تعود من باب إسقاط أردوغان إلى سياسة إسقاط الأنظمة في المنطقة.

في سياسات الحصار التي عمل عليها ترامب لا شيء يوحي أنّ بايدن سوف يوقف العمل بها أو بجزء منها من دون مقابل، هو طوال حملته الانتخابية لم ينتقد قوانين الحصار التي فرضها ترامب على إيران وسورية وغيرها من البلدان، وبالتالي لن يكون التخلي عن هذه السياسات من دون مقابل.

على صعيد دول الغرب تترقب كلّ من ألمانيا وفرنسا بفارغ الصبر ذهاب ترامب الذي عمل على تفكيك أوروبا ودعم بوريس جونسون في خروج بريطانيا من الاتحاد الأوروبي، وكانت علاقات ترامب مع ماكرون وميركل سيئة على الصعيد الشخصي بعكس علاقته الشخصيّة مع بوتين مثلاً.

الصين تنظر بارتياح لخروج ترامب من البيت الأبيض وهو الذي دخل معها في حرب تجارية من دون هوادة، واتهمها بتصنيع ونشر فيروس كورونا، وكانت علاقته بها عبارة عن حفلات من الكره وتوجيه الشتائم.

أخيراً الخاسر الأكبر على الصعيد الشخصي سوف يكون بنيامين نتنياهو صنو محمد بن سلمان الذي سوف يفقد ترامب الداعم الكبير لكلّ اليمين المتطرف الأميركي و»الإسرائيلي» رغم أنّ بايدن أعلن مرة أنه صهيوني لكن علاقته بنتنياهو كانت سيئة إبان وجوده في الحكم مع باراك أوباما ولا شيء يوحي بتحسّنها لحدّ الآن…

Erdogan Terrorists Bombed the Outskirts of Ain Issa with Artillery

November 2, 2020 Arabi Souri

Erdogan terrorists bomb Ain Issa northern Raqqa Countryside, north Syria

Terrorists loyal to the Turkish madman Erdogan indiscriminately bombed with artillery the city of Ain Issa, in the northern Raqqa Countryside, north of Syria.

The bombing of the Ain Issa vicinity with several artillery shells caused material damage in the area.

Less than 10 days ago the Erdogan terrorists bombed with artillery the towns of Khalidiya and Hoshan in Ain Issa while the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist militia raided at the same time a number of villages in the eastern countryside of the Raqqa province.

This war crime is part of the continuous policy of the Turkish madman in his attempt to Israelize large parts of northern Syrian territories to be inhabited by terrorists from the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood loyal to him after emptying the region from its original residents.

Displacing indigenous people and replacing them with other groups of people is a war crime, Erdogan wants to create a demographic change in the northern regions of Syria, he managed to persuade President Putin of Russia to enter during their talks in Sochi, he claimed first he just wants to protect his country’s national security from terror groups, he was referring to the Kurdish separatist militias while the term ‘terror groups’ applies more on his own armed mercenaries he’s bringing from other regions in northern Syria under his forces control and from other countries along with their families, the likes of ISIS and Nusra Front, the offshoots of Al Qaeda which is also led by Ayman Zawahri, a Muslim Brotherhood.

Murad Gazdiev, RT’s correspondent, caught Erdogan telling his supporters that all the Turkish soldiers who were killed fighting in Syria died to make “those lands a part of the homeland [Turkey]”; this statement alone contradicts all Erdogan’s signed commitments with Russia and Iran, and with the United Nations.

Trump Erdogan Putin Land for Terrorists - Israel 3

Somebody needs to remind the Turkish madman Erdogan that he will not live forever, his political and military stunts will live even shorter than him as the patience of the Syrian leadership is wearing thin, as well Mr. Putin’s patience in regard to Erdogan’s betrayal and his opportunist acts that contradicts the commitments he only committed himself to.

Spriter, a veteran on Twitter shared a picture showing Erdogan forces stealing old olive trees from Afrin in the northwest of Syria:

This is another continuous looting by Erdogan depriving the Syrian farmers of their livelihood income, Erdogan and his terrorists have been doing so from the early days of the so-called Arab Spring, the NATO plot to destroy Arab countries surrounding Israel to coerce them into ‘peace’ deals with the anti-Jewish Zionist state.

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CHICKEN KIEV MEETS COLD TURKEY: BLACK SEA AXIS EMERGES?

South Front

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

Kiev’s Unrequited Love

On the face of it, an alliance between Turkey and Ukraine seems like a rather odd creation, yet one that may surprisingly durable simply because neither country has anywhere else to turn. What practically dooms them to a partnership if not an outright alliance is their unenviable geographic and geopolitical position of occupying the strange “no man’s land” between Russia, NATO, and the Middle East. It is, of course, largely a predicament of their own making. Ukraine, with considerable Western backing and encouragement but nevertheless mostly through efforts of a faction of its own oligarchy, opted out of the Russia-centered network of loose alliances, trade partnerships, and other forms of cooperation that were mutually beneficial to the two in the previous two decades. But that defection was not rewarded by the West in a way the likes of Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Avakov, Parubiy, and other architects of the Maidan coup expected. Merely being stridently anti-Russian did not prove enough to warrant a shower of US and European cash, only onerous IMF loans which moreover come with conditions Kiev elites are in no hurry to abide by. EU foreign policy chief Josef Borrel lecturing Kiev that the European Union is not an “ATM machine” delivered that point loud and clear: Kiev is supposed to privatize whatever crown jewels its economy still has (at this point, mainly agricultural land), fight corruption of its own elites and facilitate the corruption of Western elites. Joseph Robinette Biden Junior is hardly the only Western politician with a talentless son in need of a lucrative sinecure. There are entire Western companies eager to participate in the thinly disguised plunder that the privatization of Ukraine’s economy will inevitably turn into. A Kiev court’s recent decision to declare the country’s anti-corruption institutions that were painstakingly stood up with considerable aid and tutelage from Western governments, down to screening appropriately-minded individuals for the job, looks as if it were calculated to send a middle-finger gesture to Borrel in terms even dense EU bureaucratic hacks will comprehend. Pro-EU newspapers like Kiev Post were quick to label this a “death of democracy”, presumably with the intent of interesting EU and NATO in sponsoring yet another Maidan since last one seems not to be delivering the goods. The expected shower of Western weaponry has not materialized, probably because NATO is afraid to give Ukraine so much aid that it will risk a full-blown war with Russia.

Ankara’s Burning Hate

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

Erdogan’s Turkey, by contrast, is in process of de-facto opting out of NATO, though neither Turkey nor the alliance itself want to take the final step of severing ties completely. NATO membership is still beneficial to Turkey. While the procurement of Russian S-400 air defense systems angered NATO and US in particular, resulting in the expulsion of Turkey from the F-35 program and the cancellation of F-35 sale to the country, evidently Ankara hopes that by nominally remaining in the alliance it limits NATO and EU sanctions that would no doubt be far harsher if it were totally out of the alliance. The hope that Turkey, possibly post-Erdogan, will yet see the error of its ways and return to the fold, prevents NATO from adopting harsher stances that would definitely push Ankara away. Yet the drifting apart is unmistakable, and the animosity between Turkey’s leaders and their Western European counterparts is so intense as to beggar belief. While Germany’s Merkel is careful to tip-toe around the issue due to fear of another wave of refugees as well as unrest among the large Turkish diaspora in Germany, France’s Macron seems to have taken a personal affront to Erdogan’s suggestion he might need a mental evaluation and will press the issue of EU sanctions against Turkey at future Union summits.

But from Turkey’s perspective, getting a cold shoulder from the EU is par for the course. Its own migration to the geopolitical gray zone of Eurasia was motivated by EU’s failure to admit Turkey as a member after decades of leading it by the nose and promising neighborhood in some nebulously distant future right after Hell froze over. Like Ukraine, Turkey was not seeking EU membership because of some mythical “shared values”. It, too, saw EU as an ATM machine that would shower Turkey, one of the poorest countries on the continent, with development assistance and moreover allow Turks to freely travel and work throughout the Union. Needless to say, neither of these prospects appealed to pretty much any European country, no matter how close or distant it was geographically. So after decades of leading Turkey by the nose, EU politely put an end to the charade citing problems with Turkey’s democracy. Thus snubbed, Erdogan opted to chart an independent course and appears to be finding a similarly snubbed oligarch clique in Kiev looking for ways the two countries could extract mutual benefit from their isolated status.

Quid pro Quos

There are plenty of those to be had, as limited as Ukraine’s and Turkey’s resources are, compared to such patrons as EU, NATO, US. Faced with isolation and even a potential ban on arms exports, Turkey has a strong incentive to exploit the resources of the Ukrainian defense industry and engage in some export substitution in case vital supplies are no longer available from the West. Canada’s and Austria’s ban on exports of optronics and engines needed for the Bayraktar TB2 combat drones means Ukraine’s ability to provide substitutes would be most welcome. Ukraine, for its part, would not be against deploying a huge attack drone fleet of its own in the hopes of replicating Azerbaijan’s successful offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh on the Donbass, though there Ukraine’s drones would probably run afoul of Novorossiya’s air defenses in the same way Turkish drones were brought to heel over Idlib. Turkey’s Altay main battle tank is likewise little more than an assembly of components imported from other countries, particularly Germany. Since Germany has already placed a ban on export of powerpacks and transmissions for the Altay, Turkey has been casting about for replacements, looking as far as China. Whether Ukraine’s developments in this realm can be adopted to rescue the Altay project remain to be seen. However, the Oplot powerpacks and transmissions can probably be adapted to Altay use, resulting in Turkey realizing its goal of a home-grown MBT. Ultimately, the greater the contribution of Ukrainian defense industry to Turkey’s military modernization, the more freedom of action it would bestow on Turkey and make it less dependent on other foreign sources of military hardware who can exert influence over Turkey simply by withholding future technical support. If the United States were to follow up on the F-35 expulsion with a ban on servicing Turkish F-16s which form the mainstay of its airpower, the result would be crippling of the country’s air combat capabilities that drones cannot compensate for and which would be sorely missed in any confrontation with another comparable power like Greece. Turkey’s efforts to develop an indigenous fighter aircraft would benefit from Ukraine’s technological contributions and its own interest in indigenous aircraft designs. For Ukraine, the relationship would be an opportunity to acquire NATO-compatible weaponry with the caveat that it would have to pay in full for every last drone, either with cash or in kind. Turkey’s economic situation is not so strong as to allow largesse in the form of free military aid to anyone.

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

Match Made in Hell

Mitigating against the long-term development of what Zelensky referred to as “strategic partnership” with Turkey is the erratic behavior of Erdogan who seeks to dominate any and all partners and tries to see how far he can push before the partners push back. This practice has led to the confrontations in Syria, Libya, and eastern Mediterranean. Ukraine, in contrast to Russia, France, and even Greece, is hardly in a position to push back. The most dangerous aspect of Turkish politics, from Ukraine’s perspective, is the ideology of Pan-Turkism that just might transform Ukraine’s Tatar community into a proxy force for Turkey right inside Ukraine, adding yet another fissure to the already fractured political picture. On the plus side, Erdogan does not appear interested in “combating corruption” in Ukraine, though that does not preclude the possibility Turkey’s military collaboration with Ukraine might not cost Ukraine dearly, though not to the same extent as EU-promoted privatization efforts.

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الصراع بين موسكو وأنقرة يشتدّ.. ماذا بقي من تفاهمات؟

المصدر: الميادين

31 تشرين اول 23:07

بوتين لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا ونفذ صبره من ممارسات تركيا

تبدو العلاقة الروسية التركية وكأنها تتجه إلى التوتر في ظل صراع يشتد حول الأزمات المختلف عليها، بما في ذلك الأزمتان السورية والليبية. فهل ستطغى الخلافات على التفاهمات، وتتعمق الفجوة بين الجانبين؟

لروسيا وتركيا مصلحة في إقامة علاقة جيدة بينهما، وفي تجنب صدامٍ مباشر. لكنّ المصالح تتقاطع، فكلٌ يسعى إلى مزيد من النفوذ إقليمياً، وللدولتين موطئ قدم في سوريا وليبيا، أبرز بؤر التوتر، حيث الخلاف بينهما حول الأزمتين منذ سنوات.

في الأولى، يبدو الخلاف في تصاعد، حيث أن موسكو تضرب “فيلق الشام” المدعوم من أنقرة، فترسل بذلك رسالة مفادها أن الروس مستاؤون من تحركات تركيا إقليمياً. كأنما تريد روسيا بذلك أن تقول: “إن نقل المسلحين إلى القوقاز خط أحمر”. وفي ذلك أيضاً، تكثيف للضغوط على تركيا، لتقوم بسحب ثلاث نقاط مراقبة في جوار إدلب.

تركيا من جهتها، تعرب عن سخطها العميق، من تلك الغارة الروسية في إدلب، ورئيسها رجب طيب إردوغان يتهم موسكو في خطاب له، “بعدم الرغبة في السعي لتحقيق السلام في سوريا”.

الرئيس التركي من جهته لا يُبدي استعداداً لانسحاب قواته من إدلب وشمال سوريا، إلا بعد حلّ نهائي للأزمة. وثمّة شرط آخر هو طلب الشعب السوري ذلك، على حد تعبيره. فهل يتجه البلدان إلى وضع متأزم بينهما، كذاك الذي شهداه بعد إسقاط الأتراك مقاتلة روسية، أو ربما حتى أكثر تأزماً؟

قد يكون لنفاد صبر بوتين واندفاع إردوغان، ما يدفع في هذا الاتجاه. وللرئيس التركي ورقةٌ أخرى، هي النفوذ في ليبيا التي تمثل وجهاً آخر للصراع.

وفي سياق توتر العلاقات الروسية التركية، يأتي تراجع رئيس حكومة الوفاق الوطني الليبية فايز السراج عن استقالته من رئاسة الحكومة، ما قد يعيد الأزمة الليبية إلى الوراء، ويهدد بنسف جهود إيجاد حل سياسي.

كذلك، تتسع الفجوة بين الروس والأتراك، رغم حاجة الواحد منهما إلى الآخر، فكلاهما يبحث عن مكاسب تعزز مصالحه، وكلاهما يخشى على نفسه من تقزيم نفوذه.

محلي للميادين: صبر بوتين نفذ من ممارسات تركيا في سوريا

وعن توتر العلاقة الروسية التركية، رأى الخبير في الشؤون التركية حسني محلي في حديث للميادين، أن الرئيس الروسي لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا. ولفت إلى أن هناك قلق روسي جدي من الدور التركي المحتمل في القوقاز.

وفيما أشار إلى أن صبر بوتين نفد من ممارسات تركيا، إلا أن محلي أعرب عن اعتقاده بأن إردوغان لن يتراجع في سوريا، على الرغم من التفاهمات التي عقدها مع بوتين.

كذلك تساءل محلي: “ماذا فعلت موسكو أمام سيطرة أذربيجان على مساحات مهمة في ناغورنو كاراباخ بدعم تركي؟”. 

واعتبر أنه لا يمكن لتركيا أن تتخلى عن الولايات المتحدة خصوصاً في ظل الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تمر بها.

كما أشار محلي إلى أن واشنطن وبرلين ساهمتا في نجاح التفاهمات الليبية-الليبية.

أوغلو للميادين: القوقاز جبهة صراع بين موسكو وأنقرة

بدوره، رأى الكاتب والباحث في الشؤون السياسية التركية فراس أوغلو، في حديث للميادين أن هناك فرق واضح في القدرات العسكرية والاستراتيجية بين روسيا وتركيا.

وقال أوغلو، إن القوقاز هي جبهة صراع واضحة بين روسيا وتركيا لاعتبارات عديدة. واعتبر أنه بإمكان تركيا المناورة بين الجانبين الأميركي والروسي “وتبقى فائزة”، على حدّ تعبيره.

كما تناول أوغلو ما يجري بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، ورأى أن الجو الاستراتيجي الآن يناسب أذربيجان لاستعادة أراضيها.

كما رأى أن أرمينيا تتحول إلى نقطة متقدمة لفرنسا وأميركا، “وهذا الأمر ترفضه روسيا وتركيا”، وفق أوغلو.

Russia and Turkey, Has Putin Lost Patience?

October 31, 2020 Arabi Souri

Putin and Erdogan: Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Ukraine, Crimea

Putin and Assad have lost patience with Erdogan and the Turkish position in Syria that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

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

The American campaigns and harassment targeting Russia through Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and the war in Nagorno-Karabakh continue, which has a negative impact on Moscow’s internal security and its national economy. In this context, Vladimir Putin found himself compelled to be more firm and decisive in his dialogue with “friend and ally” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was evident in the contents of the phone call between them last Tuesday evening, as Putin expressed “his grave concern about the continued increasing involvement of terrorists” from the Middle East in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, “according to the Kremlin statement.

And the ‘Middle East’ here is a comprehensive term that Putin may have intended without specifically talking about Syria, after the information that began to talk about the transfer of Syrian and non-Syrian mercenaries from Libya and other places to Azerbaijan, which Tehran also expressed its concern about, with the talk of some Turkish national officials circles said that the Azeris should be incited inside Iran, on the pretext that they are of Turkish origin.

Putin’s warnings related to Syria’s developments acquire additional importance, given their timeliness, which came after a series of Turkish positions that bothered Moscow recently, as the information talked about pressure from President Erdogan on Fayez al-Sarraj and the armed factions that support him, to reject the US-German initiatives to stop the fighting and reach final reconciliation, which will mean the removal of the Turkish forces, experts and Syrian mercenaries loyal to Ankara from Libya.

This information also talked about Turkish pressure on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev not to accept any truce brokered by Russia, America, or Iran, unless Armenia and these countries agree to Turkey’s participation in the future course of the Karabakh crisis, as is the case in Syria and Libya.

Media circles in Moscow view Putin’s style as indicating “important indicators that prove his impatience, after he was finally convinced that Erdogan will not abide by any of his promises and pledges to him in Sochi on September 17, 2018, and in the Moscow agreement on March 5 about Idlib, “the latter has over the past period confronted all Russian pressure, strengthened his military presence in Idlib, prevented the Syrian army from approaching it, and increased his massive military aid to all armed factions in the region.

He also exploited his military presence, supported by tens of thousands of Syrian and foreign militants in Idlib and the western Euphrates in general, and he succeeded in convincing Putin to allow him to enter the east of the Euphrates as well. In more than one speech, Erdogan stressed that he would not withdraw from Idlib, and from northern Syria in general, except after the final solution to the Syrian crisis, on condition that the Syrian people ask him to do so.

In his speech to members of the parliamentary bloc of his party (Wednesday), Erdogan did not forget to condemn the Russian raids that targeted the training center of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham), saying, “Russia’s attack on a training center for the Syrian National Army in the Idlib region is a clear indication that it does not want lasting peace and stability in Syria.”

According to the preliminary data, the next few days suggest exciting developments in Russian-Turkish relations, which seem to have entered a new path after the air operation that targeted a training center for the militants of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham) loyal to Erdogan near the borders with Turkey, which adopts this faction and all the factions in the region. Turkey has mobilized additional forces with all heavy weapons to meet all possibilities, while Russian pressure continues to withdraw three Turkish observation points besieged by the Syrian army in the vicinity of Idlib “as soon as possible.”

180 Faylaq Al-Sham Terrorists Killed and Injured by a Russian Airstrike in Idlib

https://www.syrianews.cc/180-faylaq-al-sham-terrorists-killed-and-injured-by-a-russian-airstrike-in-idlib/embed/#?secret=3y0nAKnx57

It seems clear that Erdogan rejects such pressure after he was subjected to violent criticism from some armed factions, who accused him of “betrayal and abandoning their cause” after the withdrawal from Morek, which led to the fighting between the pro-Turkish factions.

He will also not accept such a situation, which some will consider the beginning of his defeat in Syria, with continued Russian pressure on him to resolve the Idlib issue and ensure the future of Russian-Turkish relations with all its important elements, which began with Erdogan’s apology from Putin on 27 June 2016 regarding the shooting down of the Russian plane on November 24, 2015, two months after the entry of Russian forces into Syria.

Some military circles do not hide the possibility of a new heated confrontation between the two parties in Syria after it has become clear that Putin will not rest anymore with Erdogan’s policies in the Caucasus, which are much more dangerous for Russia, which borders the Islamic autonomous republics and which borders Azerbaijan. And Putin said in his recent phone call about this region, “Turkey is transferring militants from the Middle East to it,” they may include Chechens and Uighurs, and they are many in Syria.

Here, the bet begins on President Putin’s practical possible position in the event that Erdogan continues in his current position rejecting his demands in Libya and Syria, and most importantly in the Caucasus, with the approaching date of the American elections with all the surprises awaiting the Turkish president, who will then think about a new formula in his regional and international moves, to help him in facing Russian and European pressures, after his crisis with President Macron, supported by European countries, especially Germany, which does not hide its annoyance over Erdogan’s efforts to obstruct its initiative with Washington and the United Nations in Libya, which may require the latter to return to the American embrace, to confront all these harassments, which he seems indifferent to because he believes that he has more bargaining chips in his challenges with everyone, especially Russia, the historical and traditional enemy of the Ottoman and the Republic Turkey, a day after speaking to Putin, he affirmed his country’s determination to move forward with steady steps according to its own vision and agenda, regardless of what the other parties say and do.

This explains the pro-Erdogan media attack on Russia and Iran together, accusing them of supporting the Armenians against Turkey and Azerbaijan, which is what Erdogan talks about from time to time, in a traditional attempt to provoke the Turkish nationalism, Ottoman and religious feelings of the Turkish people.

He also seeks to mobilize the solidarity of all Islamists in the world with him, after he took a violent stand against the French President Macron regarding his hostility to Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Erdogan achieved such solidarity in the early years of the “Arab Spring”, as he declared himself the defender of Muslims against “Shiite” Iran and “infidel” Russia, and the Christian West, which was with him at that time and is now a sworn enemy of him.

Erdogan and Macron, Wait for more Escalation and Surprises

https://www.syrianews.cc/erdogan-and-macron-wait-for-more-escalation-and-surprises/embed/#?secret=joFH9NK4LM

European circles do not hide now their concern about Erdogan’s approach, and they see it as incitement to all Islamists, especially the extremists who live in Europe, which affects all Islamists in the world, including Russia, which has about 25 million Muslims of Turkish origin. They enjoy Ankara’s attention, covertly and overtly, as is the case with Erdogan’s support for the Muslim minority in the Crimean peninsula that was retaken by Russia, his repeated rejection of this, and his efforts to develop strategic military relations with Ukraine.

There is no doubt that this position disturbs Moscow, which has become clear that it is preparing for a new phase in its relations with Ankara, in the event that it continues its tactics that have become embarrassing to Putin in his relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has also lost his patience with the Turkish position that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

Circles close to the Kremlin expect that Putin will wait for the appropriate opportunity to do an “important practical something” against all Turkish moves, interests, and calculations in Syria, as it is the arena of Russian-Turkish convergence since 2016, which President Erdogan has exploited so that this square will be a starting point for all his political, historical, strategical, and ideological projects, which had it not been for President Putin and the green light granted by him, he would not have been lucky in achieving any of his goals.

The bet remains on the red light that Putin may illuminate at any moment for Erdogan after his last yellow light (80 members of the Levant Legion were killed). And it has become clear that it will repeat itself more than once during the coming period, before Putin’s patience is completely exhausted, and he is convinced that Erdogan is in a position that does not help him with more maneuvers to obstruct the final solution to the Syrian crisis, a possibility that many are betting on as the Turkish president continues to challenge all of them, as long as he believes that he is stronger than everyone else, otherwise, he would not have ruled Turkey for 18 years, despite all his enemies abroad, as he got rid of all his enemies at home, after he succeeded in changing the political system (after the failed coup attempt in July 2016), he controlled all state facilities and apparatus and became the absolute ruler of the country, and his media says that the world fears him!

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