Turkey Joins the War, But on Which Side
Today, Turkey announced it was beginning an air campaign against the terrorist group known as ISIS. Here is the news announcement from the Los Angeles Times:
“Turkey has long been a reluctant partner in the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State militants. Since the U.S. first launched airstrikes in Iraq nearly a year ago, leaders in Ankara had refused to join in, and until this week, had barred coalition warplanes from even using Turkish air bases to mount attacks in neighboring Syria.
Then came Turkey’s announcement Friday that it had unleashed a string of high-profile aerial strikes against the extremist group, the vanguard of what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said would be a series of operations that ‘will continue decisively in the future.’”
There is one problem with this story, it is dated July 24, 2015. Let’s get this straight, on July 24, 2014, Turkey announced a string of high profile attacks on ISIS, attacks that actually began on August 29, 2015. This is the lead quote form an Associated Press story published in the August 29, 2015 San Francisco Chronicle:
“ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish fighter jets have carried out their first airstrikes as part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Syria, Turkey announced on Saturday.”
Where does one begin, perhaps with the media itself and the utter lack of curiosity or even shame? The mainstream media has been reporting Turkish air strikes on not only Syria and Iraq, all under the highest level protest from the duly elected governments of those nations, for 35 days, but that Turkey has also been bombing itself as well.
Attacks began, we are told, with Turkish bombing assaults on the PKK inside the Kurdish Region of Iraq, attacks that destroyed a number of villages with no military targets of any kind. The attacks, within a day, migrated into Syria where Turkey provided close air support for ISIS jihadists in the regions of Hasaka and Kobani, attacks on US backed Syrian Kurdish YPG military groups.
The YPG is in no way involved in political or even “terrorist,” a term Erdogan pulls out quickly for any political opposition,” activities nor have they been accused of such.
Then why was Erdogan bombing them? This is the group that retook Kobani in weeks of hard fighting, hard fighting assisted by American close air support and drops of weapons. The Pentagon, in a “lightly classified White Paper has identified the YPG as America’s best partner inside Syria since the capture of the 54 fighters trained by the US at secret bases in Turkey.
In order to understand Turkey more clearly, we again go to the mainstream news, this time a McClatchy DC story by Mitchell Prothero dated August 24, 2015:
“GAZIANTEP, TURKEY The kidnapping of a group of U.S.-trained moderate Syrians moments after they entered Syria last month to confront the Islamic State was orchestrated by Turkish intelligence, multiple rebel sources have told McClatchy.
The rebels say that the tipoff to al Qaida’s Nusra Front enabled Nusra to snatch many of the 54 graduates of the $500 million program on July 29 as soon as they entered Syria, dealing a humiliating blow to the Obama administration’s plans for confronting the Islamic State.
Rebels familiar with the events said they believe the arrival plans were leaked because Turkish officials were worried that while the group’s intended target was the Islamic State, the U.S.-trained Syrians would form a vanguard for attacking Islamist fighters that Turkey is close to, including Nusra and another major Islamist force, Ahrar al Sham.”
Let’s get this straight, al Nusra is al Qaeda, the group the US cites as being responsible for 9/11. America is at war with this group but it not only supports, according to McClatchy, al Qaeda but literally trashed the vaunted American “moderate rebel” training program, arranging the kidnapping of the US backed fighters, and in doing so aligned itself with a terror group that continually targets the United States.
All the while, Turkey continued to aid ISIS and al Qaeda by bombing their enemies including the American backed YPG, who according to the Pentagon, is America’s last hope against ISIS. Even the mainstream news, if someone actually pays attention, can supply startling revelations like this one from the Guardian, August 26, 2015:
“The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the US military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said on Wednesday.”
Does this help explain why the US would align itself with an ally that is clearly on the other side? But then again, the US has been long allied with Israel and Saudi Arabia, Turkey is only joining the queue.
It is naïve of the United States to believe that by simply putting their heads in the sand, others have failed to notice the humiliation. Last week, a series of Middle East leaders including the heads of state of the UAE and Jordan, flew to Moscow. Drawn by a display of advanced Russian weapons, it became more than clear that Russia was asserting its interest on behalf of not only Syria and Iran but Iraq as well. Russia has been supplying military equipment to Iraq, beginning a year ago with SU 25 ground support aircraft, which have been highly effective against ISIS targets.
Both Iran and Russia are deeply involved in gas pipeline deals with Turkey and are unlikely to fully assert strategic national interests that would place them at extreme odds with Erdogan’s recklessness.
However, Erdogan in openly moving against Damascus may well be testing both Russia and Iran as to how far they will be pushed.
There is something we all must face. This war, the destruction of Palmyra, the nearly 4 million Syria refugees, the 100,000 dead, this war would not be going on if it weren’t considered both “contained” and “profitable.”
Early in the last century, a United States Marine named Smedley Butler stated that “war is a racket.”
If we look at Syria alone, antiquities, banks looted, entire factories, all trucked across the “tight as a tick” Turkish border. Billions in stolen goods, thousands of trafficked human beings, sold into slavery, all through Turkey, all with the full knowledge and complicity of President Erdogan and the wealthy cabal around him.
Beyond that, billions in oil, openly sold as stolen from Syria, totally identifiable by analysis, offloaded in Europe’s refineries, France, Italy, Austria and Greece.
To understand Turkey’s role in this war, all that is needed is to accept that Turkey is run by an organized crime cabal. Turkey is far from the only nation that functions thus. Next you accept that the mainstream media, perhaps not all but a significant proportion, are part of this as well.
I have only here exposed what they have exposed, perhaps inadvertently. Yes, reporting any truth is certainly, at best, inadvertent.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.