Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركيّ المنتخب جو بايدن عزمه العودة الى التفاهم النوويّ مع إيران، وبعد إعلان الرئيس دونالد ترامب قبوله تسليم الرئاسة بعد اجتماع المجمع الانتخابي ونطقه بفوز بايدن، وهو ما بات محسوماً، صار العالم والمنطقة في دائرة البحث عن التداعيات التي ستلي العودة الأميركية للتفاهم النووي، طالما تراجع بايدن عن شروط مسبقة تتصل بالتفاهم على ملفات خلافية أخرى رفضت إيران أي بحث فيها، وصار التطابق الأميركي الإيراني على معادلة، عودة غير مشروطة مقابل التزام إيراني بموجبات التفاهم، وبعدها يكون التفاوض من داخل أطر التفاهم نفسه.

لو لم يكن للتفاهم من تداعيات خطيرة على كل من كيان الاحتلال وحكام الخليج، لما كان هذا الاستنفار الذي جمعهم مع ترامب على قرار الانسحاب من التفاهم وتصعيد الضغوط على إيران، ومعلوم أن العودة للتفاهم ستعني حكماً رفع العديد من العقوبات الرئيسية التي تستهدف الاقتصاد والأموال الإيرانيّة، والقدرة الإيرانيّة على المتاجرة بنفطها وغازها وسائر مصادرها الاقتصاديّة، والمعلوم أيضاً أن إيران ستقوم بمد يد العون بصورة أقوى لقوى المقاومة في المنطقة كلما انفرجت اوضاعها المالية والاقتصادية. وهذا كان إحدى الذرائع التي أوردها ترامب للانسحاب من التفاهم.

الأسئلة تطال ملفات المنطقة الإقليمية، حيث يتمّ تداول تقارير وتحليلات تطمئن جماعات أميركا الى ان العودة للتفاهم لا تعني تغييراً في الاوضاع في لبنان وسورية وسائر ساحات الاشتباك الإقليميّة. وهنا يتم التداول بثقة بأن القوات الأميركية باقية في سورية، وأن مشروع بايدن لتقسيم العراق عائد الى الواجهة، وأن تقسيم سورية سيليه، وأن الضغط على حزب الله في لبنان سيتزايد لصالح تعويض “إسرائيل” خسائرها من العودة للتفاهم بمكاسب من رصيد مكانة حزب الله ومصادر قوته، وبالمثل تتحدّث التقارير ذاتها عن تعويض الخسارة الخليجيّة بعودة التفاهم بحل سياسي للأزمة اليمنية تكون يد السعودية والإمارات هي العليا.

التدقيق في هذه التقارير يكشف بسرعة سطحيتها او انتماءها الى مدرسة حرب نفسيّة هشّة تريد رفع معنويات جماعة أميركا في المنطقة، أو إصابة معنويات جمهور قوى المقاومة، فالتفاهم النووي لم يكن يوماً نووياً، بقدر ما كان محور ومركز ملفات التصادم في المنطقة، ولذلك عندما بلغت الإدارة الاميركية في عهد باراك اوباما وجو بايدن الى طريق مسدود في المواجهة في سورية، ذهبت الى توقيع التفاهم النووي. فالحرب ليست فصولاً منفصلة، بل هي جسد واحد، لأنه في نهاية المطاف كل ملف من ملفات المنطقة يوصل الأمور الى واحد من خيارين التسوية أو الحرب. ومَن يعود للتفاهم النووي وهو الحلقة الأصعب لأنه اختار التسوية بدلاً من أن يختار الحرب، فلن يفعل شيئاً آخر غير الذهاب للتسويات في سائر الملفات، مادام خيار الحرب مغلقاً، ولو كان متاحاً لما كانت العودة للتفاهم.

السعي الأميركي يبدأ مع العودة للتفاهم الى البحث عن مسارات مناسبة لملاقاة خيار العودة للتفاهم في ملفات النزاع. ففي العراق سيكون السؤال هل هناك من يحمي التقسيم الذي كانت فرصه الأفضل عندما أعلنت كردستان العراق انفصالها وتراجعت لأنها تبلغت قراراً أميركياً بعدم القدرة على الذهاب الى حرب، وهذا في عهد ترامب، فكيف في عهد بايدن، وفي سورية سيكون الأسهل الذهاب للوقوف وراء روسيا لترتيب توزيع الأوراق والأدوار مع الأكراد والأتراك تمهيداً للخروج من سورية، وفي لبنان سيكون سهلاً التموضع وراء فرنسا وتسهيل فوزها بفرصة إنجاح المبادرة التي قدمها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، على قاعدة الانفتاح على حزب الله وتحييد الخلاف الأميركي معه عن إعادة تكوين السلطة عبر حكومة تتولى قيادة مرحلة إنقاذية بدعم مالي دولي. أما في اليمن فالكلام واضح عن سعي بايدن لوقف الحرب من موقع اعتبار العدوان السعودي جريمة يجب أن تتوقف.

التراجع في الملف الأصعب يعني التراجع في الأقل صعوبة، ومرحلة جديدة كلياً توشك أن تبدأ في المنطقة.

Translation

Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding

Nasser Qandil

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After President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to return to nuclear understanding with Iran, and after President Donald Trump announced his acceptance of the presidency after the meeting of the electoral college and pronounced Biden’s victory, which is now resolved, the world and the region are in the search for the implications that will follow the U.S. return to nuclear understanding, as long as Biden retracts preconditions related to understanding on other controversial files that Iran has refused any discussion on, and the U.S.-Iran conformity on an equation, an unconditional return in exchange for an Iranian commitment under the understanding, and then from within the frameworks itself.

If the understanding did not have serious repercussions on both the entity of the occupation and the rulers of the Gulf, it would not be the alert that brought them together with Trump on the decision to withdraw from the understanding and escalate the pressure on Iran, and it is known that the return to the understanding will mean a provision to lift many of the major sanctions targeting the Iranian economy and funds, and the ability of Iran to trade its oil, gas and other economic sources, and it is also known that Iran will help the resistance forces in the region whenever their financial and economic situation is resolved. This was one of Trump’s pretexts for withdrawing from the understanding.

The questions are reaching the regional files, where reports and analysis are circulated to reassure American groups that a return to understanding does not mean a change in the situation in Lebanon, Syria and other regional arenas of engagement. And here is the trade with confidence that the U.S. forces remain in Syria, and that biden’s project to divide Iraq returns to the front, and that the division of Syria will follow him, and that the pressure on Hezbollah in Lebanon will increase in favor of compensating “Israel” its losses from returning to the understanding with gains from the balance of hezbollah’s status and sources of strength, and similar reports talk about compensating the Gulf loss by returning the understanding of a political solution to the Yemeni crisis is the hands of Saudi Arabia and theUae.

The nuclear understanding was not a nuclear day, as far as the center and center of the collision files in the region, so when the U.S. administration under Barack Obama and Joe Biden reached a dead end in the confrontation in Syria, it went to sign the nuclear understanding. War is not separate chapters, it is one body, because ultimately each of the region’s files brings things to one of two options of settlement or war. Those who return to the nuclear understanding, which is the most difficult link, have chosen to settle rather than choose war, will do nothing other than go to compromises in other files, as long as the option of war is closed, and if it were available, it would not be a return tounderstanding.

The U.S. quest begins with a return to understanding to find suitable paths to meet the option of returning to understanding in conflict files. In Iraq, the question will be whether there is anyone protecting the division, which was the best chance when Iraqi Kurdistan declared its secession and retreated because it was informed of a U.S. decision not to be able to go to war, and this is under Trump, how in the era of Biden, and in Syria it would be easier to go behind Russia to arrange the distribution of papers and roles With the Kurds and Turks preparing to get out of Syria, and in Lebanon it will be easy to position behind France and facilitate its victory by the chance to succeed the initiative presented by President Emmanuel Macron, on the basis of opening up to Hezbollah and neutralizing the U.S. dispute with him about re-establishing power through a government that leads a rescue phase with international financial support. In Yemen, there is a clear talk of Biden seeking to stop the war from the position of considering Saudi aggression as a crime that muststop.

The retreat in the harder file means retreating at the least difficult, and a whole new phase is about to begin in the region.

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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The Syrian Russian Turksih Idlib Stand-Of – Erdogan’s Last Stand?

February 06, 2020

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Even though the Syrian Army, with the aid of its international friends and allies, especially Russia, has been able to score many victories and liberate most of Syria’s major cities from the control of terrorist groups, the fight is far from over.

Before the situation in the American-controlled North-East is addressed, the Western regions, including Idlib and its surrounds must be put back fully under the legitimate government control.

As a matter of fact, politically speaking, the situation now is perhaps more complex to deal with than nine years ago when the “War on Syria” took form. Almost exactly nine years ago, the enemies of Syria combined efforts to launch a joint attack. United only by their hatred for Syria, they had diverse agendas, but they combined efforts in order to capitalize on each other’s strengths. The Wahhabi version of Islamists, headed by Saudi Arabia, joined hands with the Muslim Brotherhood version headed by Turkey and financed by Qatar, and they all joined hands with NATO, Israel and Lebanese ultra-right militia among other vendetta groups, for the single purpose of deposing President Assad and replacing the legitimate secular Syrian Government with one that is sectarian and pliable to the will of the Western roadmap.

They failed.

They failed in achieving their combined objectives and some of the armies they created, such as Jaysh Al-Islam, headed by former Syrian Army officer Zahran Alloush, ceased to exist. Alloush was killed in a Syrian Army attack in December 2015, but the casualties also included conspirators who were sidelined and lost their careers; the most prominent of which is Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, who was perhaps the single biggest architect of the attack on Syria.

The tides began to turn in favour of Syria after the Syrian Army scored its huge victory in the Battle of Qusayr in mid-2013. This was a decisive battle that basically disabled the terrorists from linking the Damascus province with their northern supply lines. Without this victory, in retrospect, it would be arguable if Syria would have been able to earn much support from Russia; if any at all. Syria had to show a fighting spirit, resolve, determination and respect for her to reach such an echelon. After all, Russia does not only by tradition honour and respect those who stand up with dignity against all odds, but on the geopolitical scene, and after decades of being sidelined by the Western bloc, any Russian global move had to be fully and thoroughly assessed before any venture was to be undertaken.

It was crucial for Russia therefore, and for President Putin in particular, to ensure that the presence of Russian troops in Syria had very high chances of success.

The fragmentation of Syria’s enemies began to take form before Russian action in the skies and on the soil of Syria. The Saudi’s first and biggest disappointment was when the USA refused to level Damascus to the ground after Prince Bandar orchestrated the alleged Ghouta chemical attack in September 2013. That was Bandar’s last draw after the loss of Al-Qusayr and his attempts to blackmail Putin by threatening him to unleash Islamists in Chechnya.

From that point in time onwards, the Saudi role in the “War on Syria” dwindled and came to an end with the demise of Alloush. But as the tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia emerged in 2017, Qatar remained “represented” via its ally Turkey.

Erdogan was initially determined to victoriously pray at the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus early in the piece. But he is still determined to get a bite of the cherry, a consolation prize, despite all the setbacks that his former camp has endured.

After Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 in November 2015, the relationship between Turkey and Russia reached its nadir. But the pragmatist Erdogan soon apologized to Putin and eventually reached an agreement about how to deal with the deadlock situation in Idlib.

But Erdogan is not coming clean about his commitment to what became to be known as the Sochi Agreement. https://thedefensepost.com/2019/10/22/russia-turkey-syria-mou/.

Erdogan defiantly continues to wear the hat of a fully-fledged NATO member, a close friend and ally of Russia, the leader of the nation that is desirous to enter the EU, an Islamist who wants to rebuild the Ottoman Empire, and a nationalist who is willing and able to deal with Kurdish issue. What he does not see is that whilst those antics gain him popularity amongst sympathetic Muslim supporters, on the international scene, he is increasingly making a mockery out of himself.

His clear-to-see contradictions seem mind-boggling, but to the pragmatic Erdogan who is trying as hard as he can to be Sultan, his mind is fixated on Islamism and nationalism, and he is performing as if he has found himself a Fatwa that permits him to dance to the tunes of the devil to reach his ultimate objectives.

Among other things, to Putin, Erdogan portrays himself as Russia’s friend who is reconsidering his alliance with the US and even wants to buy Russian S-400 defence missile systems. To America, he remains as a NATO member and an American ally who wants to buy America’s latest state-of the-art F-35 fighter jets. On one hand, he makes verbal attacks against Israel, but continues to opt to have strong diplomatic ties with that state. He pledges support for the Palestinian cause but offers no evidence to put his words into action.

If Erdogan truly deserves any recognition and respect at all, it would have to be for his ability to meander his way through and survive amongst all the contradictions that he has deliberately and systemically implanted along his path.

He could be running out of options; at least in Syria, but this doesn’t stop him from making yet more contradictory statements within a few days of each other. By the end of January 2020 he threatened to take a new offensive in Syria over the Russian-backed Syrian Army offensive in Idlib. https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001311078189883-erdogan-threatens-new-offensive-in-syria—report/ A few days later, he made a U-turn and declared that he will not allow the situation in Idlib to sour his relationship with Russia. https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202002041078225599-turkey-will-not-escalate-tensions-with-russia-over-syrias-idlib—erdogan/?fbclid=IwAR1X6tQuRrWsX5iQ3kJCJaxFoR11cnfJpj–VlYhuUu9ZXLK6OQal0kiHaw But in between the two statements which are only four days apart, the Syrian Army has shelled Turkish positions and purportedly killed six Turkish soldiers and injured about a dozen. Whilst such an unprecedented incident should have sent Erdogan firing up as one would expect, according to Palestinian veteran journalist, Abdul Bari Atwan, this wasn’t to happen this time.

In a translation-worthy article, Russia and Syria have decided to take action in Idlib and they are no longer waiting for Erdogan to abide by his promises and agreements.

Atwan’s article’s title translates as: “What does the Syrian shelling of Turkish troops in Sarakob and the killing of six Turkish soldiers signify? And, what is the Russian message to Erdogan? And, did the Russians and the Turks tear up the Sochi Agreement? And, who will emerge as a winner in the bone-crushing battle in Idlib?”

According to Atwan’s analysis, the Syrian shelling of Turkish positions signaled the end of the line of joint Russian-Syrian patience with Erdogan’s lack of commitment to the Sochi Agreement. Atwan argues that opinion polls within Turkey indicate that Erdogan does not have the support of escalating in Syria and neither that of sending troops to Libya for that matter.

Did Atwan see the end of the line of Erdogan’s lies and contradictions this time? I personally hope he did. I must admit that in my previous analysis I have predicted several times that Erdogan had made his final and detrimental mistake . Somehow he always manages to slither out of the hole he was in and keep going.

Has he made his final and lethal mistake or is he going to relent and let Syria be?
Time will tell.

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