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ANALYSIS – Despite warnings from Syria, it would appear that there’s going to be an intervention on behalf of the rebels by US air power backed by Turkish troops and other Gulf troops. That would be a mistake as the rebels who were a ragtag bunch before the conflict turned on them at Aleppo are now even less credible. There are only two ‘rebel’ factions who are profiting from the chaos of the Syrian conflict – al Nusra in Idlib and of course DAESH in Raqqa. As for the others they are too divided to form a united front and are odds with the Kurds in the north, where America has begun to use an airstrip. Syria’s hard fought success on the battlefield has come at an appalling cost in lives – dead and destroyed – and any prolonging of this conflict can only result in further suffering. Waves and waves of desperate people with nowhere to go are already stranded on the Turkish border as Syrian forces backed by Hezbollah and Russian airpower close in on Aleppo. There will of course be more fighting – against al Nusra and Daesh – whether this will also include the horrendous spectacle of another Western backed intervention is the question.
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ANALYSIS – After the fall of Libya, the West set its sights on the next project, which we now know as the Syria conflict, a conflict which has destroyed one of the most beautiful and stable countries on earth and created millions of refugees inside and outside a nation where once no one slept on the street. The West has pursued it’s own cold hard interest in this war without taking into account the realities – that the rebels they have backed have failed to hold any ground. The Western allies blame Russia – and so does the UN Secretary General – for prolonging this conflict by which they clearly mean the fall of the regime of Bashar al Assad and the resulting chaos that would have followed the collapse of central authority in SYRIA. RUSSIA is not the bad guy here – along with China it blocked NATO bombing which would have had a disastrous effect on Syria and it’s people. NATO bombing in Libya which backed militias may have succeeded in uprooting the regime of Colonel Gaddafi but that success has resulted in chaos, with waves and waves of desperate people fleeing the violence. Of course, Russia wasn’t the only country with its own interest in this conflict – there was also Iran who backed Hezbollah in defending the Lebanese border town of Zabadani against al Nusra (al Qaeda) and ISIS fighters. Now Russia has entered the conflict directly with the building of a naval base in the picturesque town of LATAKIA which will hold up to a thousand soldiers. Hopefully this move will serve as a warning to the war crazed US and its Western allies that continuing to back the failed Free Syrian Army is an enterprise not worth pursuing. Moscow is hoping this show of force will strengthen Bashar al Assad’s hand around the negotiating table and convince the US to back Damascus in reversing the advance of DAESH. It’s also hoping that this will be an end to any more military adventures from what is still the most powerful country on earth, a country which should have learned from fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq as well as it’s experiences in Libya, Somalia and Pakistan, that there is a limit to what even a superpower can achieve.
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ANALYSIS – Turkey really should have known better – it should have learned about the value of fair weather friends from the experience of Saddam Hussein of Iraq who was backed to the hilt by the West and the Gulf states during his long running and frankly pointless war with Iran. Even when his French supplied aircraft fired Exocet missiles into an American ship killing that nation’s sailors, Washington did not waiver from supporting an ally who it regarded as a key pillar in its Mid East foreign policy. When that war was over Washington turned its back on that ally leaving him with colossal debts, after all this was a butcher who had gassed the Kurds at Halabja. Later it emerged that Washington was arming both sides so ensuring the conflict dragged on for as long as possible. Having being bled on the battle field Baghdad now faced the Arab states who applied the squeeze by calling on their ‘brother’ to make good on all those loans he had racked up, whilst increasing oil production so keeping the oil price low.
We know the rest of the story.
All of which makes you wonder what the democratically elected government of Ankara was thinking when it turned on its until then close ally – Syria under the benign dictatorship of President Assad. Perhaps Washington would make good on that promise it had made on pushing Europe into accepting the Turks who have remained firmly at the gates of Brussels – even whilst newly states have been readily accepted. Well that now looks even further away than before as Turkey is blamed for creating ISIL, the Islamist death cult that Washington is waging war on in Iraq and Syria. It is a conflict that has drawn in Assad as an ally, much to the dismay of Turkey and the Arab states who had spent much treasure and energy recruiting arming and training a rebellion aimed at toppling the regime at Damascus. What they were going to replace it with is not clear – perhaps another version of the weak and incompetent leadership in Libya or perhaps Iraq. But what is now clear is Turkey is out in the cold – following a failed policy to remodel the Mid East along neo Ottoman lines – quite what the old Caliphs would have thought of the satellite that is called Turkey is another matter of course.
Turkey now knows that neither Washington or NATO will or the Gulf states are able to, help them remove Assad, who is backed by Russia and China as well as Iran. And should Ankara wish to pursue its destiny in the East the leaders of Moscow, Beijing and Teheran are unlikely to be impressed by the way that it had turned on its ‘brother’ in Syria. And as the Kurds claim victories on the battlefield, the calls for more American support are likely to increase pressure to install a pro-Western and Israel friendly regime on Turkey’s border called Kurdistan, which in turn will increase pressure within Turkey as the PKK pursue an agenda for a greater Kurdistan.
Syrians could once boast that their’s was a country where no one slept on the street.
So, the appeal by Valerie Amos for more than five billion dollars in aid for the war ravaged nation must come as a bitter irony to everyone – those who have remained loyal to Assad and those who have fought to be free.
According to the UN co-ordinator for relief, half of the population will be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance by the end of the year.
And given the UN’s track record – remember Haiti, or East Timor – that number and the amount needed is only sure to rise.
There’s even been talk that this is another Lebanon civil war, as if that horrendous conflict which spawned the infamous massacre of Palestinians in the camps of Sabra and Shatila, was a litmus test for any freedom struggle.
Lebanon became a proxy war – after Israel invaded the south and decided to stay, a decision that resulted in the creation of Hezbollah, and later Hamas who having seen how the guerilla tactics deployed by the Shia organisation had worked against the Israeli army copied everything including the use of suicide bombers.
Syria is not a proxy war – but all the tactics ‘pioneered’ in Lebanon are there for all to see, including the damage done to a once prosperous civilian population.
A number of nations are responsible for this appalling mess, namely those who have backed a rag-tag army of fiercely divided rebels.
And it is they who should now cough up – and shut up.