Russia knows well why Turkey shot down one of its warplanes in hot pursuit. Like Saudi Arabia, the emirate minions and Israel, Turkey of course has been losing its most prized pieces inside Syria–an assortment of the most violent jihadi and ultranationalist elements. The process may be systematic and limited for now, but the losses for the Wahhabi terroists are truly mind-boggling. Their scale testifies to the vast infrastructure of terror, murder and theft built up with billions of petrodollars.
Until now, the Syro-Russian-Iranian strategy seems to be to secure government-held areas, seal off the borders with Turkey, Jordan and Israel, now that the border with Lebanon is mostly impassable for the terrorists. Sealed in, all the foreign and foreign-controlled terrorist outfits will be more effectively pulled out by their roots.
Russia knows that Turkey simply wanted to complicate its unenviable task in Syria by introducing new, unexpected risks in the sky. But this has not really complicated Russia’s declared first strategic mission to crush Turkey’s pieces and the rest of the foreign Wahhabi presence in Syria. The difference now is that Russia is more determined than ever.
The second goal, in that order, is to ensure proper negotiations take place between the Syrian government and whatever Syrian opposition exists, leaving out the foreign or foreign-controlled outfits around which the West has been dancing. Hence the maneuvering at the Ryadh “opposition” conference to rehabilitate those same Wahhabi terrorists by any means, and the continued demand for the overthrow of the Syrian government, despite the fact that the terrorists are being erased on the battlefield.
The cooperation of some elements of the so-called Free Syria Army with Russia has already begun to produce good results in the fight to dislodge the Wahhabis. This cooperation has extended to coordination on the ground with the Syrian government army itself. In other words, Russia is already wrenching away pieces that the United States to this day pretends are its “allies” and which Britain insists are the fictitious “70,000 troops” ready to assist it against ISIL.
At any rate, Putin has been keen to raise the ante with Turkey with the painful economic sanctions he has so far slapped, a temporary tit-for-tat to make sure nobody fantasizes about the smell of Russian blood and be tempted to repeat Turkey’s “stab in the back.” But hurt Turkey he absolutely will–one step at a time. For starters, he will do it by enabling the Syrian army and the region’s republican forces to crush the Wahhabi terrorist plague in Syria. Further measures will depend on Turkey’s future actions and policy, which apparently are now going off the rails even inside NATO. The Turkish troop-incursion fiasco in Iraq this week is a clear example of desperation.
Then there is the case of Saudi Arabia. It is presently in dire straights in Yemen. Just this week it lost the eighth “Coalition” ship off the coast to Yemeni forces allied to Ansarullah Party led by the Houthis. It is financially exhausted because of this misadventure and diplomatically so isolated that pressure has mounted fast right up to the United Nations Security Council, as we hear today regarding an upcoming discussion of the Yemen. The United States itself has been privately expressing grave concern about the course of its operations.
In hindsight, Saudi Arabia has been planning for decades with Israel to topple every secular republican government and movement, from Syria to Tunisia, in fulfillment of an original plan dreamed up by Britain and France before World War II. For decades, the Saudi monarchy has been on board with that plan to balkanize the Middle East into religio-ethnic enclaves in order to guarantee the survival of the Zionist race colony and to finish with that “troublesome business” of Palestine.
Clearly, Israel is the centerpiece in this unfolding regional drama.
Continuing to trample this wild dream to dust, one that’s more fit for the wild animals, is thus the most effective response that Russia could undertake. This is the same addle-brained balkanization scheme that Bush and his Neocon gang (re: Israel lobby) revived on the pretext of 9-11. But if the United States persists in it, thinking it can redesign the Middle East in its own image, it will go down the tubes even faster than it presently is.
Nothing is going well for either the US or its retrograde allies.
Anthony F. Shaker, Visiting Scholar, Institute of Islamic Studies