The more I read the headlines the more I hope our nukes are no longer at Incerlik air base in Turkey. U.S. policy in Syria has morphed into this zombie strategy of advancing the “Assad Must Go” no matter what.
No matter how many times the pro-Assad coalition shoots our goals in the head, the more our tactics shift so that we can keep coming.
It’s embarrassing, really. When things become an unmitigated failure on the ground, we normally just ‘declare victory and leave.’ But, in the case of Syria, where the groundwork for this invasion began fifteen years ago, we simply won’t let it go.
Syria was to be the crowning achievement of the Brzezinski/Wolfowitz Doctrine of sowing chaos in Central Asia and isolating Iran from Russia and both of them from China.
An atomized or compliant Syria would be the wedge which would put a docile Turkey on Russia’s southern border.
It would create a staging ground for further destabilization of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iraq, pushing Iran’s influence in the region back behind its borders.
At the same time we would cut Iran off from the world via economic sanctions against not only it but anyone who dared to business with it.
From there the entire continent could be kept in the dark ages, fighting internecine tribal wars for another two generations while gunboat dollar diplomacy would perpetuate the conflict by selling arms and drugs to all sides.
It was a nice plan if you are a would-be world emperor. There’s only one problem.
The Power of No
Putin said no. Iran said no. And there was no way to stop them from saying no strongly enough to use their logistical advantages against us. This exposed our duplicity of ‘fighting ISIS.’
We were behind all of this but it was the proxies who were going to be blamed for it.
And that’s where Turkey comes in. President Erdogan was perfectly willing to go along with the plan until it became obvious that we couldn’t seal the deal in Syria.
When Russian air support and Iranian/Hezbollah ground support turned the war around it exposed his complicity in ISIS’s oil trading to finance ‘the caliphate.’
Erdogan saw the writing on the wall. He was to be the patsy.
He began backing off on the U.S.’s plans. He cut deals with Putin over Turkstream, nuclear power and missile defense systems. He stopped the free flow of terrorists between Idlib and Aleppo, around the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.
Without Erdogan doing this, Aleppo would never have been liberated. The war would be a quagmire.
Once this path was set in stone, the Saudis tried to blame Qatar last summer after Trump read everyone in the Arab world (and Israel too) the riot act on funding terrorism.
The biggest miscalculation in the Syrian war was the failed attempt to remove Erdogan. We were behind that. Putin saved Erdogan’s life. And for that the foundation of the current situation was laid.
Turkey’s military intrusion into northern Syria last year was met with zero howls of protest from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. The only ones to complain were Syria, which they must for legal reasons.
But, Turkey’s actions, despite some two-faced rhetoric from Erdogan, has been solidly in its own interests which dovetail with Russia’s goals to secure the territorial integrity of Syria. And for the military brass in charge of our operations there to not see or expect this is incredibly short-sighted, and now, frankly, incompetent.
Defense Secretary James Mattis continues to not get it when it comes to Turkey and the Syrian Kurds. Mattis still wants to use the ISIS hobgoblin to sell a blatant abrogation of Syria’s sovereignty and U.S. colonization of Kurdish-controlled territory to pressure Iran.
He urged Turkey to exercise restraint, stating that it has already disrupted the peaceful return of refugees and could be seen as an opportunity for Al-Qaeda and IS.
“This could be exploited by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, obviously, that we’re not staying focused on them right now. And obviously it risks exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that most of Syria is going through,” Mattis said
At the same time Secretary of State Rex Tillerson looks completely out of the loop in Syria, backing off on the plan to build a 30,000 strong ISIS 2.0 “Border Security Force” in the region east of the Euphrates River where Kurdish SDF forces have had to stand by and watch Mattis’ military escort ISIS fighters out of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor to fight the Assad government in the future.
With friends like these why would Erdogan show any restraint whatsoever?
The Wrath of Erdo-Khan
The biggest tell that this is now a full-blown proxy war is the Russians pulling all military assets out of there before Turkey’s move.
In fact, after he’s done in Afrin, Erdogan will have his military move east and begin sweeping the entire region of U.S./SDF forces along the Turkish/Syrian border.
And that sets up a potentially ugly outcome for the U.S. Its NATO ally is already attacking our proxy army while our leadership can only issue weak verbal protests.
Why? Because to do more would be to admit that there are more than 2000 troops in Syria. It would have to admit we are building more than a dozen bases around the country. We’re in violation of international law, but the U.S. public doesn’t know the extent.
Notice also that President Trump isn’t saying squat about Turkey. All the minions of the Deep State are – Pence is in Israel, Tillerson still keeps to the “Assad Must Go” script and Mattis is actively handling diplomatic duties.
What happens when the Turkish army moves against Manbij or crosses the Euphrates?
Remember, the Syrian Arab Army still controls two major towns in the hart of SDF-controlled territory. The U.S. dare not attack them in response to Turkey advancing east.
Moreover, I see no hew and cry from the usual suspects at the U.N. over this. The U.K. came out in support of Turkey.
At some point everyone acts in their own best interest. And for Erdogan, acting as Russia’s proxy army against the U.S.’s proxy army is the height of survival instinct.
Russia’s Proxy War
Meanwhile, Russia is letting everyone know that the drone strike on the airbase in Latakia was a one-off event. Another recent RT report has S-400 missile defense systems being delivered to both the air base that was attacked as well as the naval station at Tartus where the Russian navy is parked.
Don’t be surprised if S-400’s make their way to Damascus in the near future. It would be a provocation to Israel for sure, but at some point they have to know that continued aggression against the Assad government will end.
And while Russia can’t and shouldn’t directly intervene over Israel’s bombing campaign, giving Syria the tools it needs to defend itself it can do.
These S-400’s are a clear statement by the Russians that they will not tolerate further harassment for political purposes. They will be staying in Syria. The drone strike was meant as a warning to Putin. It was also an ill-conceived plot to weaken his political support at home during the election season.
Putin knows the U.S. Deep State will not stop trying to wriggle out of the trap set for them in Syria. He knows how far they are willing to go to win. No plot is too desperate and if is sparks another war on Syrian soil, so be it.
But, all it will do is erode what bargaining position we have left in Syria. The choice now is orderly retreat or a rout at the hands of our NATO ally, who will not stop until the Kurdish threat to Turkey’s integrity is over.
And with it the ignominious end of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s dream of a subjugated Asia.