a “stab in the back" Vladimir V Putin, President of Russia
"Et tu, Barak?"
While it is still not too late for Turkish leaders to condemn in the most stringent terms, Turkmen tribesmen firing on the pilot and navigator of the Russian Su-24 aircraft downed by an air-to-air missile attack by a Turkish F-16 as they parachuted to ground, killing the pilot, and then attacking the Russian search and rescue helicopter killing a member of its crew; unfortunately, no such undertaking will be forthcoming.
There will be rather dire consequences associated with the downing of the Russian Su-24 fighter jet and rescue helicopter and the killing of one member of both crews, which will play out over the next few days and weeks and will have enduring ramifications.
It should also be stated that some Chinese writers have expressed the opinion that Turkey would not have taken such a dangerous step without the explicit approval of the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Based upon their understanding of the support Turkey provides to the Turkmen tribesmen. If accurate, it would lend further credence to the axiom that there is no end to the duplicity that war brings about.
Most American presidents, when they have reached their last year in office, arrive at a point in which they are content to leave the most intractable problems on the desk for their successor to deal with. For Obama, Bush left it to him to sort out the bailout of private financial institutions in the too-big-to-fail debacle. Clinton after the failed trident missile attack to kill Bin Laden left the al Qaeda problem to an unaware Bush.
The danger lies in the fact that the weakest time in the American experience is the period between inauguration and the new president acquiring a firm grip on the reigns of executive power.
The downing of the Russian Su-24 exposes the fact that there is no central control or coordination of the airways over that troubled region, and lends further credence to the value of this author's call for both US and Russian forces to be in Syria.
What this incident has also accomplished is to clarify the realities of the Syrian battlefield. The motives and reasoning of everyone active in the Syrian theater of war is now crystal clear.
Putin, echoing Obama's own frustration with the duplicity of the Turkish government and their involvement in facilitating Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State) oil sales and arms deals, made it a certainty that there would be an immediate and appropriate response.
That response came, quickly and with lethal intent, as Russian forces launched a ferocious attack on Turkmen strongholds in Northern Syria within 24 hours of the downing of their plane, and those attacks are on-going.
Ominously, Putin announced that Russia fighter jets will now escort their bombers during air strikes over Syria, and Moscow is sending out its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system, the S-400, to bolster that commitment.
Whereas, any escalation in the fighting in and around Syria should raise some level of alarm, we now stand at the precipice of Turkish and Russian fighter planes in direct combat against one another. And, if so, there is the prospect of Russian pre-emptive strikes on Turkish bases before they can launch any of their combat aircraft.
One should not, as Putin will not, pay much attention to the bellowing of European NATO leaders, who, like a beast woken unexpectedly from a long sleep, lets out a strident roar, but has little strength for a battle of any consequence.
Whether or not the downing of the Russian jet fighter will prompt the warring parties in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq to reassess their war plans will become evident in due course. What the downing of the Russian jet fighter has done is to clarify the who, what, when, where and why of the conflict in Syria and in the larger theater of war in which it exists, and in a way that hitherto seemed bewildering and complex to the point of absurdity.
The Russian jet fighter was attacked by Turkey because the Russians were waging a war against Turkmen tribesmen, who live mainly in the Hatay Province of Turkey and Northern Syria and are under the protection of the Turkish government. The Turkmen have been a staunch ally of the Turkish government in their fight against Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds (PKK). The Turkmen have also been waging a war against the Assad regime in Syria as proxies for Turkey's direct involvement in that conflict.
However, with the downing of the Russian fighter jet, Turkey's involvement in the Syrian conflict is now exposed for all to see, and that exposure will not sit well with the United States, Russia, or European NATO leaders once they are fully awake to the fact that, like Bosnia, wars are not best left to fester.
Syrian Kurds are allied with the United States in their fight against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State). The Kurds, whether Turkish, Iraqi or Syrian, want their own homeland. However, Daesh fighters now rule most of the territory, in Northern Iraq which the Kurds recognize as their ancestral homeland.
Kurdish involvement in the Syrian conflict is therefore twofold, to stop Turkmen from assisting other Sunni Muslims in their fight to oust the Shite Syrian regime of Assad, and most importantly for their own survival and eventual right to self-determination.
It is beyond the scope of this article, but there was a juncture, the late 1990s, when a Kurdish homeland could have been established. Turkey, an absent Clinton administration, and European fear of another Bosian-like war forestalled the international community from taking up the Kurdish cause.
Once the reality of Kurdish involvement is understood, the remaining indigenous warring parties are engaged in an age-old battle between Sunni and Shite Muslims. We will discuss the involvement of the United States and Russia in Part II of this article.
The Sunni vs Shite phenomenon, however, provides only a partial explanation as it relates to Turkey's motivation for its involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Like all national leaders, domestic concerns are, more often than not, the paramount ones with which they must be concerned. And, Turkey's leaders have an array of domestic issues which occupy and constrain them.
On the 6th of March 1924, the Caliph, the supreme leader of the Muslim community and successor to the Prophet Muhammad, was deposed by Turkish nationalists, and the Caliphate was abolished by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. And, Constantinople was renamed Istanbul.
To those sensitive to the state of Islamic culture, such as the Islamic Revivalist writer al-Banna of Egypt, the sacking of the Caliphate was humiliating. al-Banna described it as having inflicted grievous harm to the very soul of the Islamic people, and as an insult to Islamic culture. Four years after the sacking of the Caliphate, al-Banna helped to form the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, whose specific mission was to redress this body blow to the followers of Islam.
It should be remembered that the preamble of the al Qaeda manual states that the fight to re-establish the Caliphate to Constantinople is the responsibility of all Muslims, and therefore those Muslims, whose origins span the globe and who have taken up this cause, believe that they have a stake in Turkish internal affairs.
In fact, it can be stated that there are more Turkish citizens that desire the fulfillment of the stated aims of al Qaeda as expressed in the al Qaeda training manual than any other vision of Turkey's future that has to date been ascertained, and by a degree of magnitude over any other discernible vision of Turkey's future.
For example, from the al Qaeda manual:*
-*- The confrontation that we are calling for with the apostate regimes does not know Socratic debates..., Platonic ideals..., nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine-gun. ***... Islamic governments have never and will never be established through peaceful solutions and cooperative councils. They are established as they [always] have been by pen and gun by word and bullet by tongue and teeth ...
The following passage from the al Qaeda manual is even more revealing.
In my lectures, I put the slide below on the screen after discussing the development of 'Smart Diplomacy' during the Clinton/Albright years. And, the policy that is most responsible for the series of 'Arab Springs' across north Africa and the Middle East, Transformational Diplomacy, which emanated from a Bush/Rice collaboration:
It is the same unbelief that drove Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, Gadhafi, Hafez Assad, Saleh, Fahed - Allah's curse be upon the non-believing leaders - and all the apostate Arab rulers to torture, kill, imprison, and torment Moslems. These young men realized that an Islamic government would never be established except by the bomb and rifle. Islam does not coincide or make a truce with unbelief, but rather confronts it.
Inevitably, after the above sentences from the al Qaeda manual have been on the screen for several minutes, someone makes a statement to the effect that:
In spite of everything we say we are doing in the fight against the campaign of Islamic inspired terror, it seems that we in the West have actually been finessed into doing al Qaeda's bidding for them.
* The al Qaeda manual quoted here was located by the Manchester, England, Metropolitan Police during a search of a suspected al Qaeda member’s home, in 2001. The manual was found in a computer file described as 'the military series' related to the 'Declaration of Jihad.' The manual was translated into English.
The Ultimate Vanishing Act by E LaMont Gregory - Get your copy today! http://sbprabooks.com/EricLaMontGregory http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1628576626/sr=1-1/qid=1448473403/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1448473403&sr=1-1