Turkey-Syria Showdown: Pressure Building for More Middle East War
Tensions are stoked. Syria and Iran are longstanding targets. Washington wants independent governments in both countries replaced by subservient pro-Western ones it controls. That’s how imperialism works. Wars are waged for it. Body counts don’t matter. Nor do rule of law principles.
Syria’s been ravaged for months. Western recruited deaths squads keep murdering civilian men, women and children. Instead of condemning the latest Aleppo massacre, the Security Council blamed Syria for a stray mortar accidentally killing five Turkish civilians in Akcakale.
On October 4, Russia managed to soften a harsher statement Washington wanted passed but not as much as it wished. It was brief, saying the following:
“SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON SHELLING OF TURKISH TOWN BY SYRIAN FORCES
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala):
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the shelling by the Syrian armed forces of the Turkish town of Akcakale, which resulted in the deaths of five civilians, all of whom were women and children, as well as a number of injuries.
The members of the Security Council expressed their sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Turkey.
The members of the Security Council underscored that this incident highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbours and on regional peace and stability.
The members of the Council demanded that such violations of international law stop immediately and are not repeated. The members of the Security Council called on the Syrian Government to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours.
The members of the Security Council called for restraint.”
No shelling, mortar attack, or violation of international law occurred. A single mortar accidentally landed in Turkish territory. Most often these incidents harm no one. This time was an exception. Washington, its imperial allies, and complicit UN officials took full advantage.
Count Turkey among them. It’s America’s lead regional belligerent. Based on accidental killings, its parliament passed a motion “authoriz(ing) the government for a year to send Turkish troops to foreign countries.”
It falsely claimed “Syrian armed forces have been conducting assaults as part of military operations into Turkish land despite our several warnings and diplomatic overtures since Sept. 20, 2012.”
It lied saying Turkey’s national security is threatened. No such threat exists. Ankara bears full responsibility for serving Washington’s interests. Doing so makes full-scale war more likely despite strong public opposition.
After parliamentary authorization, thousands protested angrily but peacefully in Istanbul and Ankara. They oppose Erdogan’s ruling AK Party belligerence.
They carried banners and chanted slogans. One read “Savasa Hayir (no to war).” One protester spoke for others, saying:
“We are going through an ugly provocation of war. The Turkish and Syrian people are not enemies, but the ruling AK Party government is trying to drag our country into a war with Syria in compliance with US interests.”
In Ankara, police incited violence. Injuries occurred. Dozens of arrests followed.
In New York, Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari said:
“The Syrian government is not seeking any escalation (of the conflict) with any of its neighbors, including Turkey. We reiterate our call to the Turkish government to help us in controlling the border, preventing armed groups from infiltrating through these borders.”
He also said Damascus gave Security Council members a letter. It expressed “deep condolences” to families affected “and to the friendly and brotherly people of Turkey.”
He urged Ankara and its neighbors to “act wisely, rationally and responsibly.” He stopped short of condemning Turkey’s involvement in Washington’s proxy war.
At the same time, he said Syria wants Turkish people to know their government’s pro-opposition support is “wrong and (has) been wrong since the beginning of the crisis.”
Syria isn’t seeking “escalation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey,” he stressed. Damascus wants “good neighborly relations with Turkey” and other regional countries.
Erdogan and top Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials are pro-Western stooges. Their belligerence destroyed good Ankara/Damascus relations.
Erdogan’s spoiling for a fight. Will he or won’t he wage war? At an October 4 press conference, he said “(w)e have no intention of stating a war with Syria.” At the same time, he added: “No country should dare test our determination on that.”
A previous article said Washington scripts his lines. He dutifully salutes, obeys, and reads them. His complicity with the devil harms his own nation and people. He’s unfit to serve.
He risks embroiling the entire region in catastrophic war. Hopefully internal opposition can stop him. Doing so requires more than street protests or parliamentary speech-making.
On October 4, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined, “Foreign Ministry: We Are Looking Forward to Security Council Clear Condemnation of Aleppo Terrorist Bombings,” saying:
Identical letters sent the Security Council president and Ban Ki-moon said terrorists murdered Syrians heading to work and students en route to classes.
The al-Qaeda connected Jabhat al-Nusra group claimed responsibility. They and other death squads had plenty of Western help for this, other massacres, and bombings.
The letters said Security Council members must condemn this cold-blooded murder. Instead they ignored what should have been prioritized.
They were told:
“It is paradoxical that the countries which are known as supporters of terrorists in Syria, especially Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, through harboring and training them or providing financial, military and logistic support to their gangs take pride in doing so in flagrant violation of their legal obligations in regard to the international conventions of which these countries are part, or the resolutions adopted by the Security Council under the 7th Chapter on combating international terrorism.”
“Worse still is the fact that some permanent member countries which waged wars in the world under the pretext of combating terrorism are providing political and logistic cover for terrorism in Syria and the countries which support it publicly, materially or through preventing the Security Council from condemning the terrorist acts in Syria and holdingthose behind them accountable and bringing them to justice.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed regret for the Security Council’s failure to condemn Aleppo’s massacre. He added:
“I cannot help but remember the sorrowful event that for several months when our western colleagues in the UNSC have rejected to condemn the terrorist acts in Syria.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Security Council members ignore numerous terrorist attacks in Syria. Assad gets blamed for doing his job. Leaders of all countries would act the same way. They’re obligated to protect their people.
Anti-Iranian hostility is the other side of America’s regional agenda. Tensions build for conflict. On October 5, Press TV headlined “West playing deaf to Iran nuclear stance: Iran MP,” saying:
Parliamentary Presiding Board spokesman Abdolreza Mesri said:
“The Islamic Republic has repeatedly, clearly and openly announced its stances on the nuclear issue but (Washington and its allies) are playing deaf.”
They wrongly accuse Tehran of having nuclear weapons ambitions. As a result, lawless sanctions were opposed. Saber rattling continues, and other belligerent threats are made. Iran’s always been open to dialogue but gets spurned.
On October 4, The New York Times headlined “Iran Offers Plan, Dismissed by US, on Nuclear Crisis,” saying:
A “nine-step plan” was proposed. Cooperation cuts two ways. Significant concessions are essential on both sides. Justifiably, Iran wants sanctions ended. Interfering with its oil sales must stop.
US officials dismissed Tehran’s proposal. They called it unworkable. It came during the General Assembly’s meeting last month. It replicates what Iran offered European officials in July.
It calls for incrementally ending sanctions. In return, Iran will stop enriching uranium at one of two sites. Once all sanctions are lifted and normalized relations reestablished, Fordo site enrichment will be suspended.
Washington claims Iran’s not serious. Its offer wants headlines. Guarantees don’t back it. An unnamed Obama official said:
“The way they have structured it, you can move the fuel around, and it stays inside the country. They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors.”
Obstructionism is longstanding US policy. So is planned regime change. All independent countries are targeted. Iran tops the list. Deal-making foils or delays plans made years ago. Why deal when subvert, destabilize, and do whatever else it takes to replace unwanted governments with subservient ones.
On October 3, Hillary Clinton said Washington won’t relax sanctions. She blamed Iran for lawless US measures and other anti-Iranian practices.
On October 2, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran won’t relinquish its lawful nuclear rights. “If somebody thinks that he can bring the Iranian nation to the negotiating table and to (resuming) relations through ill temper and pressure, he is definitely wrong,” he stressed.
“If they have such expectation, they should change their method and correct their behavior.”
Asked if Iran was retreating on its nuclear rights, he added:
“What do you mean by Iran, Ahmadinejad or the Iranian nation? Neither the nation nor Ahmadinejad is of the type that retreats.”
On October 3, Iran’s UN mission deplored “baseless” allegations made by Canadian Foreign Minister John Russell Baird. He called Tehran “the most significant threat to global peace and security…”
“Canada,” he said, “urges Iran to comply with its international nuclear obligations and to cease sensitive enrichment activities.”
Baird and other top Harper government officials like Turkey’s are pro-Washington stooges like Turkey’s Erdogan. They get marching orders, salute and obey.
Iran’s UN mission denounced Baird’s duplicitous “double-standard” policies, saying:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran like other members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is entitled to the inalienable right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and Iran is resolved to safeguard this inalienable rights.”
He added that nuclear armed and dangerous Israel is “the sole source of insecurity and instability in the Middle East and beyond it.”
Russia supports Iran. On October 2, Tehran’s Moscow ambassador Seyed Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said:
“Russians have never said or held the belief that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.”
“For that reason, Russia is emphasizing transparency on Iran’s nuclear activities through legal means while it is strongly against the imposition of sanctions outside the UN resolutions, political pressures or threatening Iran with military action.”
“Russians have realized that our insistence in the nuclear issue is not aimed at nuclear weapons but it is due to our opposition to the language of force.”
Iran fully complies with NPT provisions, he stressed. Ulterior motives are behind applying lawless sanctions, exerting other pressures, and pursuing belligerent policies.
US and Israeli policy makers exhibit visceral anti-Iranian hostility. War looks like more than an option. It may already be policy. Chuck Freilich formerly served as Israel’s deputy national security adviser. He’s now Belfer Center Harvard Kennedy School senior fellow.
On October 4, he headlined his Foreign Policy article “Inside Bibi’s Bunker,” saying:
He’s stacking his cabinet with likeminded hardliners. He wants support for attacking Iran. He’s a notorious warmonger. Sensible Israelis are fed up with him for good reason.
A previous article said he represents state terrorism, occupation harshness, racist hate, neoliberal rapaciousness, and potential catastrophic regional war able to go global if waged.
He deplores peace. He’s all take and no give. He calls diplomacy a four-letter word. He turns a blind eye to equity and justice. He’s contemptuous of human and civil rights. He maliciously calls Iran’s peaceful nuclear program an existential threat.
He’s silent on Israel’s stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He won’t say it’s state policy to use them if threatened.
He’s unfit to serve. He’s a menacing danger to humanity. He finds new ways of proving it on top of longstanding ones.
“Israelis remain divided over what to do about Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon,” said Freilich. He knows full well none exists but won’t say so. Instead he said:
“Many believe that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat…and that Israel must do everything within its power to prevent such an outcome.”
“Others believe that the threat is ‘merely’ dire, though probably not existential, that Israel should do everything within reason to prevent it – but not necessarily everything possible – and that Israel could, in extremis, live with a nuclear Iran.”
Lying for a living pays well. Freilich and others profit from proliferating stuff they know is false. They say it anyway. Their careers depend on it.
In America and other Western societies, truth-telling gets little public play. It’s excluded from major media discourse. Effectively it’s orphaned on its own. That’s how the propaganda model works.
In Israel, said Freilich, Netanyahu needs majority cabinet support for all national security decisions. He can’t attack Iran on his own.
Freilich omitted saying he can’t go it alone without Washington’s approval and help. Israel never did it before. It won’t now.
He explained that internal high level decisions occur in four forums:
(1) The cabinet plenum comprised of all government ministers.
(2) The Ministerial Committee on Defense (MCoD) for more expedited more discreet decision-making.
(3) Informal sub-cabinet committees like the “Forum of Nine.” It’s a ministerial body involved with high-level security issues.
(4) Informal consultations convened by Netanyahu. The defense minister and other senior officials are involved.
Positions adopted by the Forum of Nine and informal consultations have no legal standing. They’re not binding. The cabinet and MCoD go any way they wish. At the same time, consensus achieved by the Forum and ministerial consultations often sway cabinet plenum and/or MCoD decision-making.
Most sensitive is potential war on Iran. MCoD members will likely make the call, not others. Majority consensus is needed. Adding Avi Dichter as minister for homeland defense tips the balance further for war.
Freilich admits that most Israelis oppose war. At the same time, they’ve been brainwashed to believe an Iranian existential threat exists. They hear it repeated ad nauseam. So do Americans and Europeans.
Lies repeated often enough get people to believe them. Media scoundrels are willing partners. Managed news substitutes for the real thing. Falsified stories are headlined and broadcast. Viewers and readers think they’re true. They’re fake.
Most Israelis are as bamboozled as Americans. Getting people to believe white is black is as easy as repetition.
Netanyahu may already have majority cabinet support. If not, he’ll get enough warmongers aboard to assure it. Concern about an Iranian nuclear threat is falsified. At issue is removing a regional rival.
Getting Washington to go along and do most heavy lifting is essential. Freilich thinks final decision-making time will come only after careful planning, deliberations, and consensus from high-level officials mattering most.
Will Israel and Washington attack? Events seem headed that way unless derailed. It’s true as well for Syria. That’s how imperialism works.
A Final Comment
On October 5, Reza Kahlili headlined his wnd.com article “October Surprise? Obama Secret Iran Deal Cut.”
Kahlili served earlier in the CIA Directorate of Operations. He spied for the Agency. He targeted Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“Iran could announce a temporary halt to uranium enrichment before next month’s US election in a move to save Barack Obama’s presidency, a source affiliated with high Iranian officials said today.”
For security reasons, he remained anonymous. A three-person Obama administration delegation held secret negotiations with an Ayatollah Ali Khamenei representative.
In return for removing some central bank and oil industry sanctions, he was asked to halt nuclear enrichment before November 6 elections, even if doing so was temporary.
Qatar hosted the meeting. The Al Thani monarchy was intermediary for both governments. Former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati attended. Further collaboration was promised post-election if Obama wins.
Back channel negotiations began last January. Resolution wasn’t achieved. Longstanding hostility doesn’t change easily. Whether Obama means what he says is doubtful.
He broke every major campaign promise made. He’s a serial liar. He can’t be taken at face value. The proof of his pudding is what he’ll do and whether anything positive stays firm. He has to prove what otherwise has no credibility.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected].
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.