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Turkey is no longer a US ally

Turkey has made it clear that its interests are linked to those of Russia and Iran, while the US is seen as a common threat that has crossed one big red line, while trampling over many others.

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the United States in one of his most strongly worded statements to-date. After Donald Trump promised Erdogan personally that the US would cease arming Kurdish militants in Syria, Erdogan has stated unambiguously that this is not the case.

Earlier, Erdogan came down hard on apparent US support for the illegal Fethullah Terrorist Organisation as well as stating that the US is making a grave mistake if it proceeds with recognising Jerusalem/Al-Quds as the capital of Israel.

Turkey threatens to cut ties with Israel

Hours ago, he stated the following,

“Trump stated that the arms supplies from the US to the Kurdish Forces would be ceased after the victory against Daesh. However, this process is continuing. In this case, what is the reason for the growing number of military bases [of the US]? We monitor the process and will act in accordance with the situation’s logic… Turkey has no plan regarding the US. But it is obvious the US has a plan in relation to Turkey. In the Syrian north there is a ‘terrorist corridor’… Why are weapons being delivered to the region? Where and against whom will it be used by the US? Against Iran or against Turkey? Or, in case, they are courageous enough, against Russia?”

This statement confirms that as I wrote yesterday evening, Russia’s recent discussions with Kurdish militants have been conducted after and during consultations with Turkey as part of the wider Astana format for Syrian peace.

Moreover, by allowing Russia a “pass”, better defined as a mutual understanding on Moscow’s own attempts to politically pacify the Kurds through cooperation, Turkey has made it clear that Russia is allowed to respectfully intervene in one of its perennial “red lines”, while the US has already crossed and now literally double-crossed this red line, in the form of Donald Trump’s now infamous broken promise to Erdogan.

Turkey now knows that the US is an unreliable partner on many fronts and that a promise from the US President is self-evidently worthless.

Although Turkey is still technically a member of NATO, Erdogan’s statements about the US and its close allies combined with his words of solidarity with both Iran and Russia, confirm that Turkey can no longer reasonably called a US ally. What’s more is that Erdogan’s behaviour at a geo-political level, shows that his interests are not with the United States any longer but are bound for both pragmatic and personal reasons to Turkey’s fellow Eurasian partners.

Furthermore, the fact that Turkey which itself is not welcome in Syria by Damascus, is still telling the US to essentially leave the country or else play by the rules of the Astana Group, shows a level of confidence and indeed righteous anger on Erdogan’s part that has clearly been attained through a Eruasian partnership he believes in.

New Russia-Kurdish agreement is good for Syria and for Turkey

To understand why the proximate timing of Russia’s “agreement” with Syrian Kurds and Erdogan’s harsh statements about the US represent a Rubicon moment in Turkey-US relations, one must understand what Russia has achieved in Syria, in relation to all parties including Ankara and Kurdish militants. This is of course on-top of Turkey’s many other highly serious grievances with the US and its allies in the EU and Tel Aviv.

As I stated in relation to Russia’s recent deal with Syrian Kurds,

“From a military and logistical standpoint, the agreement is meaningless for two reasons. First of all, there is hardly anyone left to fight in Eastern Syria and secondly, because Russia doesn’t require the kind of “security” the Kurdish militas could attempt to provide in the first place.

The agreement therefore is a political one that is cleverly disguised as a military one. Here’s why: 

1. Taking advantage of US “treachery”

When US President Trump promised Turkish President Erdogan that Washington will no longer send arms to Kurdish militias in Syria, many inclining the Turkish Foreign Minister who announced Trump’s promise to the world, had doubts about America’s sincerity. Statements from both US and Kurdish official subsequent to the statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister, have only increased the distrust.

The brief thaw in Turkey-US relations that stemmed from the phone-call, was at best a 48 hour period when quiet scepticism replaced scathing anti-US statements from major Turkish officials, including President Erdogan. That brief re-honeymoon, is now over.

Because Turkey has clearly decided that Donald Trump’s “promise” was at best incomplete and otherwise a total lie, Erdogan has just slammed the USon several fronts from supporting the hated and illegal Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), to exercising arbitrary justice against Turks in US courts, to threatening Turkey over its lawful relations with Iran–and these are just the highlights.

While Turkey feels betrayed by a USA which still arms the Kurds, the Kurds themselves feel betrayed by a US which openly plays fast and loose with an alliance that clearly is one of convenience for the US, rather than one of meaning or purpose.

Because of this, many leftist Kurds have searched their collective memories and remembered a Soviet Union which was generally supportive and a modern Russia that while not supportive of Kurdish ethno-nationalism, has always been restrained (at times surprisingly so) in condemning Kurdish movements whose existences predates the illegal US invasion of Syria.

In summary, the Kurds have learned what all parties in the Middle East have learned: Russia does what it says and the US does not.

2. Russia helping to solve a Turkish problem 

Turkey continues to position its military against Kurdish forces in and around parts of the Idlib and Aleppo Governorates of Syria and Russia has done nothing to stop them. At the same time, Russia has listened to Turkey when Ankara has stated that it is willing to sit with Kurds at the forthcoming peace conference in Sochi, so long as they are not the PKK aligned YPG/PYD.

While the Kurdish forces Russia is speaking to are YPG forces, Russia may well be preparing to “moderate” the Kurds to the satisfaction of both Syria and Turkey who have an nearly identical disdain for the radical group. If Russia can turn elements of the militarily over-rated YPG into a moderate force that can accept a shallow victory instead of a bloodsoaked defeat, this could be a win-win situation for Turkey and Syria, as well as the more sensible elements of the Kurdish insurgency. Russia is willing to host crypto-Takfiri groups at Sochi for the same reason.

Having previously publicly rejected the idea of forming a nation-state after witnessing the crushing of Iraqi Kurds by Iraqi armed forces with the political support of both Iran and Turkey, Syrian Kurds realise that they cannot accomplish radical secessionism alone, while the Trump phone call means that the US could drop Syrian Kurds as easily as Washington dropped Iraqi Kurds, the moment they feel that Kurdish ambitions are not in-line with US ambitions. Furthermore, Kurdish regions of Syria, are generally far beyond the defined lines of Israeli aggression. Therefore, the Zionist allies of the Syrian Kurds are of little practical use, especially in light of Turkey’s rapidly deteriorating relationship with the Israeli regime.

In this sense, Russia’s respectful relationship with Turkey, is a clearer sign to Turkey of Russia’s sincere intentions to balance all sides in regional conflicts, while the US is, in Turkish eyes (which happen to be correct), both dishonest and duplicitous. In this sense, while Turkey will still neutralise some Kurdish militants west of the Euphrates, the Russian agreement with Kurds east of the Euphrates, shows that Russia is using diplomatic tact to help solve a Turkish problem, however much it might temporarily grate Ankara to see a YPG flag beside any partner.

Turkey is neutralising the Kurds on one side, while to the east, Russia is doing the same thing through compromise and accord. The end result is that Syrian Kurds will be less likely to advocate for a radical position, knowing that the may end up with zero support if they insist on such a position. In other words, if the choice is between survival without extremism through Russia or annihilation by facing Turkey without US help, the choice becomes an obvious one, especially if Syrian Kurds are aware of the Iraqi example, which they most certainly are.

3. Pushing the US out of Syria 

One of the Trump administration’s most prominent bogus rationales for illegally maintaining an occupying force in Syria is to “aid the Kurds”. However, the Kurds now know that the US does not have their “interests” at heart as all it took as a phone call from the Turkish President for the US to declare that the Kurds should no longer be armed.

If the US loses the trust of its Kurdish proxies, while Russia gains a trust that was never specially up for grabs, Russia will have in effect, shown that as a partner of Syria and Turkey, it has never made the Kurds a promise it cannot keep, nor has it ever overtly gone against the Kurds, even when its partners have rightly stood up for their own positions which state that Kurdish ethno-nationalism threatens their security.

In this sense. Russia has partly “taken” a US ally by winning their trust through honesty and realism, all the while neutralising a threat to Turkey and Syria, by co-opting moderate elements among Kurds who may be willing to agree that a respectful agreement is better than the combination of working with a deceitful United States on the one side and getting crushed by superior Turkish forces on the other. Syria itself has recently stated that in a post-war environment, it is willing to engage in peaceful discussions with moderate Kurds about their concerns. Russia is paving the way for just such a discussion.

CONCLUSION: 

While Russia is not a Kurdish “ally”, Russia’s rhetorical neutrality in the face of Turkey’s rhetoric on the Kurds and its realism when it comes to handling Kurds may have pacified the extremist elements within Syrian Kurdish groups, set up a road map for satisfying Turkey and Syria’s security fears, and all the while taking advantage of the US exposing its own disloyalty to its most loyal proxies.

Furthermore, as the primary obstacle to a settlement in Syria is now Israeli aggression in south west Syria, it behoves all powers, to consolidate a peace effort in northern Syria, so as to free the Syrian Arab Army to bolster defences near the illegally occupied Golan Heights.

In short, Russia has turned a dirty game into a a compromise in the making, one which doesn’t make grandiose promises, but keeps the promises that are made”.

The Kurdish issue is a red line for Turkey and this would be as true for the opposition CHP as it is for Erdogan. The fact that Turkey has not criticised Russia for its discussions with Kurds, but criticises the US for its relationship with its Kurdish proxies as well as for a host of other very crucial issues, demonstrates where Turkey’s worries lie and where its partners lie.

If Russia can talk with Kurds and remain a partner but the US is publicly ridiculed for arming those Kurds and then lying about it to the Turkish President, the writing is on the wall in respect of an even further Turkish geo-political pivot away from the west.

Turkey has tacitly acknowledged, through Erdogan’s recent remarks, that he sees his country as facing similar threats as those faced by Iran and Russia. It is clear which side of the divide Erdogan places Turkey, beyond any reasonable doubt.

 

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Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Ruble continues to tank under the spectre of looming American sanctions imposed on the basis of circumstantial evidence and insinuation.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS News Agency reported on Sunday, 12 August that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the US Department of State’s accusation against Russia regarding the attack on Sergey and Yuliya Skripal in Salisbury, England earlier this year.

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The State Department made the decision to impose new and very painful sanctions against Russia based on this premise.

This new round of sanctions is hitting the Russian economy very hard. The Ruble slid against the dollar from about 63 rubles on Thursday to more than 67.6 rubles as of 1:30pm UTC (Greenwich Summer Time) on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Lavrov had this to say:

“I think that all who know even a little bit about the so-called Skripal case, understand the absurdity of the statement in the official document of the US. Department of State that the US has established it was Russia behind the Salisbury incident.”

TASS went on to outline the circumstances:

On Wednesday, the US Department of State said in a statement that Washington was imposing new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury. The first round of sanctions will take effect on August 22, while a second round may be introduced in 90 days in case Russia fails to meet certain conditions, the State Department said. Moscow has on numerous occasions rejected all the allegations about its involvement in the Salisbury incident.

The current round of sanctions goes into effect on 22 August, and is directed as follows, according to Bloomberg.com:

The initial round of these sanctions will limit exports to Russia of U.S. goods and technology considered sensitive on national security grounds, including electronics, lasers and some specialized oil and gas production technologies, according to a State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity Thursday. The official said the action could block hundreds of millions of dollars in exports. Waivers will be allowed for space-flight activities and U.S. foreign assistance.

Under the 1991 law — invoked previously only against North Korea and Syria — a second, far more extensive round of sanctions would follow later unless Russia meets conditions including providing assurances it will no longer use chemical or biological weapons and will allow on-site inspections to verify it has stopped doing so, the official said.

Russia Thursday repeated its denials that it has the weapons or used them and held out little hope for compromise.

The added sanctions could include a downgrading in diplomatic relations, blanket bans on the import of Russian oil and exports of “all other goods and technology” aside from agricultural products, as well as limits on loans from U.S. banks. The U.S. also would have to suspend aviation agreements and oppose any multilateral development bank assistance.

The additional sanctions also could be averted if Trump declared that waiving them would be in the U.S. national interest, a politically risky move in light of criticism that he’s been too soft on Russia on issues including interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The action by the US State Department is being viewed as an internal political counterattack against US President Donald Trump in response to his overtures to President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit in July of this year. In that summit, the two leaders had very frank discussions that looked incredibly positive for the prospect of a true thawing out of the troubled relations between the two great world powers.

However, the event appears to have drawn out the elements within the American power establishment which presently comprises most of Congress and almost all of the news media. Even some conservative media outlets joined briefly in condemning Mr. Trump for “selling out” to Vladimir Putin by saying he had no reason to believe Russia would interfere with the American elections.

While Mr. Trump tried to politically backpedal this remark, the die had been cast and now much of this establishment has invested their time and energy into branding Mr. Trump a traitor to the USA. In a similar vein, as reported by Jim Jatras in his piece here, US Senator Rand Paul also made overtures that were warmly received by Russian senators, and now he too, has been marked as a traitor.

In that light, plus even British media acknowledgement that there is no hard evidence whatsoever that ties the Russian Federation to the poisoning of the Skripals or the second couple in Amesbury more recently, it is clear that all deductions have been made on spurious reasoning and no hard facts.

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War is coming – to the United States and to the world

The all-but-inevitable Second American Civil War is likely to be fought away from US soil if the globalists have their way.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Jim Jatras’ piece, reposted in The Duran framed the political mess that Donald Trump – and the United States –  is in, extremely accurately:

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First US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and appears to make some progress towards his stated goal of putting ties between Washington and Moscow on a positive course. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Trump is a called a traitor. The “sanctions bill from hell” is introduced in the Senate. Trump is forced on the defensive.

Next Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky visits Moscow, where he meets with Putin and gives him a letter from Trump proposing moderate steps towards rapprochement. Paul also talks with Russian Senators and invites them to come to Washington to continue the dialogue. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Paul is called a traitor. The State Department “finds” the Russians guilty of the using illegal chemical weapons (CW) in the United Kingdom and imposes sanctions. Trump is forced even more on the defensive.

It is debatable how much of the US government Trump actually controls. This is the crux of the problem.

One President and one US Senator standing alone against all the Democrats and almost all Republicans in both Houses of Congress. Standing alone against a media culture dominated in the West by interests along the lines of cultural Marxism and anti-Christianity at any and all costs.

The truly fearsome power of the globalists appears to have the upper hand.

President Trump and President Putin are both dedicated and brilliant men. They have been trying to make a difference despite the enormous power being brought to bear against them. Rand Paul, for his part is also contributing to this.

The effort to marginalize President Trump has met with great success, though not total. The Russiagate investigation may be coming to its end; certainly a lot of information has revealed that the matter of election interference was never a Republican, much less Trump-related, phenomenon.

But the matter continues not to die.

The changes in prosperity and economic growth in the United States are astounding, especially in light of former President Obama’s insistence that it could never happen.

But the midterm elections approach, and there is not a clearly resounding wave to get more people who are on the Trump Train so to speak to continue to make and widen the impact of domestic change, as well as geopolitical change.

The inevitable outcome appears to be only one thing: War.

This war will be the Second American Civil War. 

While it must be said that the attribution of fault made is utterly incorrect, the New Yorker piece linked above does correctly list five conditions that set the table for such a conflict:

[Keith] Mines [with the US State Department] cited five conditions that support his prediction [of a new American civil war]:

  • entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution
  • increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows
  • weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary
  • a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership
  • the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes

It is not hard to see how these conditions have come to be so in the US.

The only problem is that it is very unlikely to be fought in the United States. It is likely to end up in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, perhaps parts of the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia.

We might well be faced with the prospect of a “government in exile” as Mr. Trump and those supporting his viewpoints are forced to flee the US.

The ideological viewpoints about Russia are not very important to many American people, but the home front will pit two sides that are both destined to lose.

One side is the ideological Left – like those people we consider “loony California liberals”, whose belief in open borders and the rejection of any sort of Christianity-based or traditional family values will cause their side to eventually implode.

For this reason, this opposition group will also suffer from a great deal of internal weakness.

This would normally lead to a bloody and protracted conflict. However, the greater danger with this lies in the pervasive power of the Western Media. It is extremely likely that the media will work to deflect attention from the true nature of the war and incite American forces to strike at Russia in some sort of direct, or by-proxy military action.

The picture the American people will be presented with is that Russia is trying to take over the world, when in reality Russia is simply trying to hold her own territory and her own ways.

Is there a way to stop this?

Yes. There is a way to stop it. The election of President Trump bought the US and the world a bit of time because Mr. Trump is so dynamic that it is difficult to truly stop him. The hallmark of his presidency is success in just about every aspect he has paid attention to.

But what he needs is congressional support.

It is very unlikely that the upcoming 2018 midterm elections offer a chance to create a truly pro-Trump agenda majority in Congress. But it can raise the number of dissenting voices to a number greater than one (Rand Paul). A strong vocal bloc of senators and representatives that speak with one voice about this issue could be enough to break through the wall of censorship of the American media. It could give voice to millions of Americans who also believe that this fight is coming, and who want to stop it.

Avoidance of this war will certainly not happen if establishment candidates or worse – liberal Democrats – win the midterm. With such a situation, the President will be marginalized greatly, and the rhetoric against Russia as a scapegoat will only increase.

The outcome is mercilessly logical.

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Saudi Crackdown On Canada Could Backfire

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not apologizing for his country’s call that the Saudis release human rights activists.

The Duran

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Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via Oilprice.com.


Like many spats these days, the Saudi Arabia/Canada one started with a tweet. Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called for the release of Samar Badawi, a women’s rights activist who is the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife is a Canadian citizen.

The arrests had taken place in OPEC’s largest producer and leading exporter Saudi Arabia, which has amassed its wealth from oil and now looks to attract foreign investors as it seeks to diversify its economy away from too much reliance of crude oil sales.

Canada’s foreign ministry’s global affairs office urged “the Saudi authorities to immediately release” civil society and women’s rights activists.

Saudi Arabia—often criticized for its far from perfect human rights and women’s rights record—didn’t take the Canadian urge lightly. Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, stopped direct Saudi flights to Canada, stopped buying Canadian wheat, ordered Saudi students and patients to leave Canada, froze all new trade and investment transactions, and ordered its wealth funds to sell their Canadian stock and bond holdings in a sweeping move that surprised with its harshness many analysts, Canada itself, and reportedly, even the U.S.

The Saudi reaction shows, on the one hand, the sensitivity of the Kingdom to criticism for its human rights record. On the other hand, it sent a message to Canada and to everyone else that Saudi Arabia won’t stand any country meddling in its domestic affairs, or as its foreign ministry put it “an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.”

The Saudi reaction is also evidence of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s harsher international diplomacy compared to the previous, ‘softer’ diplomacy, analysts say. Saudi Arabia is also emboldened by its very good relations with the current U.S. Administration, and picking a fight with Canada wouldn’t have happened if “Trump wasn’t at the White House,” Haizam Amirah-Fernández, an analyst at Madrid-based think tank Elcano Royal Institute, told Bloomberg.

The United States hadn’t been warned in advance of the Saudi reaction to Canada and is now trying to persuade Riyadh not to escalate the row further, a senior official involved in talks to mediate the dispute told Bloomberg.

The row, however, will not affect crude oil exports from the Kingdom, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said, adding that Riyadh’s policy has always been to keep politics and energy exports separate.

Canada imports around 75,000-80,000 bpd of Saudi oil, and these barrels can easily be replaced, CBC quoted analyst Judith Dwarkin as saying earlier this week. The chief economist of RS Energy Group referred to this amount as “a drop in the bucket” at less than a tenth of Canadian crude imports compared with imports from the United States, which amount to about 66 percent of the total. The United States could easily replace Saudi crude thanks to its growing production, Dwarkin said.

Still, the strong Saudi message to Canada (and to the world) is not entirely reassuring for the investor climate in Saudi Arabia, which is looking to attract funds for its economic overhaul and mega infrastructure projects worth hundreds of billions of dollars each.

“The Saudi leadership wants to drive home a message that it’s fine to invest in Saudi Arabia and bring your money to Saudi Arabia, but that there are red lines that should not be crossed,” Riccardo Fabiani, a geopolitical analyst at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg, but warned that such strategy could backfire.

Analysts are currently not sure how the feud will unfold, but Aurel Braun, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Toronto, told Canada’s Global News that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to back down and reverse all its retaliatory measures without getting something back from Canada.Related: The Unforeseen Consequences Of China’s Insatiable Oil Demand

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not apologizing for his country’s call that the Saudis release human rights activists.

“We have respect for their importance in the world and recognize that they have made progress on a number of important issues, but we will, at the same time, continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights, at home and abroad, wherever we see the need,” Trudeau told a news conference this week.

The economic impact of the Saudi retaliation on Canada is unlikely to be large, but the fact that Saudi Arabia is whipping the oil wealth stick to punish economically what it sees as “blatant” interference with its affairs is sending a message to other countries, and a not-so-positive message to foreign investors.

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