Turkey?s Role in Syria
Anyone who has followed the evolution of the imperialist aggression against Syria has undoubtedly noted the insidious role that Turkey has played. From a diplomatic perspective, Ankara has led the charge in demonizing the Assad regime, saying that it ?stands against the will of the Syrian people? and is ?killing its own people.? However, the reality is that Turkey, along with its collaborators in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon and elsewhere, have done more to fan the flames of violence and instability than the Assad regime ever could.
First and foremost, one must examine the overt sponsorship and hosting of international terrorists on Turkish soil. As Reuters and other news outlets reported last week, Turkey has been operating a terrorist base in Adana, in the vicinity of US-NATO?s base at Incirlik. It is from this base (and others, to be sure) that many of the terrorists have been funneled into Syria. Moreover, these terrorists are not strictly Syrians trying to destabilize their own country. In fact, the majority of those operating from the Turkish base are from Libya, Chechnya, Qatar, and elsewhere. Essentially then, it is clear that, at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, under the command and control of the Turkish military and intelligence apparatus, the destabilization of Syria has been led. So, it would be fair to say that Turkey has been at the forefront of the attack on its neighbor, acting as a willing partner of NATO, complicit in countless horrendous war crimes perpetrated against the people of Syria.
Hosting and operating terror networks is not the only way in which Ankara has played an instrumental role in exacerbating the conflict. In an article entitled ?War at Any Cost: Another Manufactured Pretext for War with Syria?, I analyzed the way in which the Erdogan government attempted to use the downing of one of its jets as a legitimization of war against its neighbor. In the ensuing weeks, and after careful investigation, it has become clear that, at the very least, the Turkish jet had violated Syrian airspace and that the military acted within the confines of international law in their response. It was the rhetoric of Erdogan, Davotoglu and others that was more instructive however. In the aftermath of this event, Erdogan threatened military action against Syria, claiming that the military might pose a threat. Of course, this should be taken to mean that Turkey would have taken upon itself the right to interpret the military of a sovereign state acting within its own borders as a threat, a clear violation of the principles of international relations and law. Essentially, the entire episode with the downing of the jet demonstrated the fact that Erdogan and Co. were willing to allow themselves to be used as NATO?s dagger against Assad.
One integral element of the destabilization campaign has been the use of foreign ?diplomatic? entities, primarily the so-called Syrian National Council to act as the ostensible voice of the opposition, while in fact being the mouthpiece of US-NATO. The SNC, led by foundation-funded Western proxies such as Bassma Kodmani, advocates regime change in Syria and supports the loose collection of terror groups and death squads operating under the moniker of the ?Free Syrian Army? (FSA). The Council has been hosted by Turkey, receiving financial and diplomatic support from Ankara. This dubious entity has failed to unite the opposition, its one US-NATO delegated task, and has instead become a lightning rod for criticism from much of the international community. It has become clear in recent months that the SNC is, in fact, composed of a number of factions including the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been implicated in weapons smuggling along the Syria-Turkey border in tandem with the CIA. In addition, the SNC and their Turkish hosts have attempted to foment chaos in Syria using discontented Kurdish elements, many of whom view the SNC and the dismantling of the Syrian state as a prelude to Kurdish independence. Essentially, the Syrian National Council (and, to a lesser degree, the Free Syrian Army) could not exist were it not for overt support, both financial and diplomatic, of the Turkish government.
What the Turkish government has called ?support for the Syrian people? has, in fact, become support for international terror networks. It is now public knowledge that Al Qaeda is operating on Turkish soil near the Syrian border, using Turkey as a safe haven and command center from which to launch incursions into Syria. As Tony Cartalucci points out however, this trend is nothing new. Cartalucci points to the famous New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh entitled ?The Redirection?, in which Hersh states:
"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia?s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."
Here we see the complicity of the United States and its proxies in the region in organizing and unleashing Al Qaeda as a weapon against its enemies. Turkey has merely allowed itself to be made into a staging ground for this type of destabilization, precisely what the Assad regime has argued since the beginning of the conflict. Aside from Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror networks have been mobilized in Turkey in order to smash the Syrian state. The attempt was to topple the Assad regime and put, in its place, a government more amenable to US designs for a new Arab World, one that would be subservient to Western imperialism for another half century. What has taken place however, has been quite the opposite. Instead of destroying Syria and the regime in Damascus, it is the terrorists and their handlers in Ankara, Riyadh, and Washington who have had to backpedal as Damascus has executed a successful counter-terrorism strategy and maintained control of the country.