Turkey spineless to start new war
Saudi Arabia and Qatar after the failed pan-Arab campaign against Syria seem to have found the country ready to get into a fight – Turkey. Erdogan urged his people to prepare for war because the parliament gave him a permission to do so. For Russia, this is the worst case scenario.
Saudi Wahhabi monarchies have become independent players in the Middle East. They have both the necessary influence and money. Their co-religionists in Turkey (incidentally, all leaders of the country came from the “Brotherhood”), too, strive for global leadership. Interestingly, the ill-fated Syrian shell landed on the Turkish soil on October 3, the day after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi voiced his determination not to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria. The call of the Emir of Qatar for punitive action under the auspices of the Arab League made at the UN General Assembly found no supporters, and then the Turkish card was played. On October 4, the Turkish Parliament gave the green light for military operations outside its borders. On Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his people to be ready for war with its neighbor. “You have to be ready at any time to go to war, if necessary. If you are not ready for this, you are not a state, if you are not ready for this, you are not a nation,” said Erdogan.
However, such emotional appeals are a product for domestic consumption. In fact, Erdogan will not dare to launch a full-scale war against Syria, though he has a comparable army. First, Syria has a strongest ally in the religion – Shiite Iran. President Ahmadinejad vowed that an attack on Syria will automatically signify an attack on Iran, with all the consequences. It is unlikely that Ahmadinejad will allow the regime of Bashar Assad to fall – in this case, the Islamic Republic would lose its path to the Middle East and will be surrounded by enemies.
Second, for obvious reasons, albeit not openly, Syria is supported by Iraq where power is in the hands of the prime minister, Shiite Nouri al-Maliki. Iraq supplies to Syria oil despite the U.S. sanctions, and its airfields, according to the Americans, serve as transit bases for Iranian aircraft that bring arms to Assad. In Iraqi Kurdistan thousands of Syrian Kurds from Peshmerga unit (“going to die”) are undergoing military training. This is a formidable force, ready to cross the border at any moment, cross the sparsely populated southern Sunni Syria and come to the defense of Syrian Kurds who support pro-Assad position and fight against the so-called rebels, but in fact, mercenaries Wahhabis. The Turkish authorities clearly see the threat, and recently have been making strikes at such camps, despite warnings from Baghdad.
This implies the third and most serious problem for Erdogan – the Kurdish one. If he starts a war, he will not be able to keep Turkish Kurdistan in the hands. There is already a large-scale war with the Kurds. This is indicated by the news about the losses in the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party last month – 500. According to Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Turkish Center for Economic and Policy Studies (EDAM), the majority of the Turkish population believes that the government’s policy towards Syria is one of a hawk, and many people think that what is happening in Syria is the business of the Syrians and the international community should not interfere.
Fourth, the chances of support of such a war by the West are very slim. The United States has expressed “outrage” over shelling on the Turkish territory. Yet, President Obama has distanced himself from direct intervention. Similar statements of solidarity with Turkey were made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but the topic of Syria and conflict on the border with Turkey was not included in the agenda of a meeting of NATO defense ministers on October 9-10. The United States and Europe simply have no money for a conflict that is likely to be a lengthy one. In addition, the fact that the West has lately seen enough (i.e., murder of the American ambassador in Benghazi) does not impress western politicians.
Fifth, what about Turkey’s desire to join the EU? They would have to say good bye to it, because a country cannot become a member if it is in a war with its neighbors.
Sixth, Putin will not let Erdogan get reckless. The victory of the Wahhabis in Syria would free up the gangsters who would rush to the Caucasus and other Muslim regions of Russia. This was indicated by head of the center of the Volga regional and ethno-religious Studies of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Rais Sulemanov. According to him, a great number of radical Islamists from different regions, including Tatarstan, are fighting against Assad today. One group of Tatar Wahhabis returned to Almetyevsk, and then hastily moved to Mari El. According to him, “Tatar Wahhabis may join the underground Wahhabi in the Volga region who badly need people with terrorist skills. We shall see what the outcome of President Putin’s visit to Turkey on October 15 would be.
Finally, there were signs that the Turks and the so-called “Syrian National Council” (SNA) are seeking to negotiate. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu suggested “replacing” President Assad with Syria’s Vice President Farouk al-Sharra, who in his opinion is a “reasonable man.” The same nomination was made by the SNA. Their leader Abdulbaset Sid said on Monday that he would not object to the participation of members of the ruling party “Baath” in the political future of the country provided that they have not participated in the killings during the revolt.
But the Syrian authorities feel that they can sustain their line, as long as they can save the president from direct physical elimination. “We are no longer living in the Ottoman Empire,” said Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi. He encouraged the Turkish government to stop pushing personalities acceptable to the Turkish people. The position of the legitimate government is simple: Assad will remain in office until his seven-year term expires in 2014. Then an election will be scheduled where the Syrians will choose a new president.