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US, Turkey Cooperate ‘Carving Up’ Syria, Blocking Damascus from Wheat, Oil Regions
Murad Sezer
Opinion
04:01 12.10.2019
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201910121077030803-us-turkey-cooperate-carving-up-syria-blocking-damascus-from-wheat-oil-regions/

While US President Donald Trump continues spouting claims of bringing troops home from Syria and exchanges threats of sanctions with Turkey, the mainstream narrative is neglecting to acknowledge the two nations’ history of carving up Syria and the dozen US bases actively blocking Damascus from its own resources.

Friday marked the third day of Turkey’s "Operation Peace Spring" along the Syrian border, and despite Washington’s decision to shift some 50 soldiers out of the way, US Special Forces near Aleppo’s Kobani still ended up on the receiving end of the offensive.

Though a Friday evening Pentagon release noted that no Americans were injured by Turkish artillery fire, the Trump administration and the Turkish Foreign Ministry are still trading threats on an economic front.

In response to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s Friday announcement of possible US sanctions to curtail Turkey’s offensive, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a response that explained Washington was well-informed concerning “the target and scope of the operation” and that Ankara is prepared to “respond in full” against any actions from the Trump administration.

These higher-level exchanges, along with French President Emmanuel Macron’s talks with Trump, have dominated corporate media headlines and stories while simultaneously neglecting Turkey’s main objective and the US’ overwhelming presence in the region the Kurds call Rojava.

Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Friday to discuss the reality of US troops in Syria following Trump’s call to pull out and explain how Operation Peace Spring is business as usual in the country for Washington and Ankara.
https://www.spreaker.com/user/radiosputnik/turkey-s-latest-invasion-of-syria-and-th

“The US has constructed more than a dozen US military bases in illegally occupied, sovereign Syrian territory,” Norton told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. He pointed out that despite this fact, none of the articles talking about the Turkish invasion, which received an “American green light,” touch on the subject.

In addition to corporate media outlets neglecting to mention that the oil-rich region of Rojava is “protected” by US troops, coverage of the so-called American pullout does not reveal that Damascus is still unable to get access to “major roads that are being occupied by the US military,” he said.

Not only that, but Norton noted that Rojava is the “bread basket region of the country [and] represents a quarter of Syria’s sovereign territory that is militarily occupied by the United States, and it’s extremely fertile land where there’s a lot of wheat production and [other] food production.” Frankly put, “Syria has not had access to its own oil and wheat thanks to this US military occupation.”

The journalist explained that people should be skeptical of Trump and the US government’s claims of withdrawing troops from Syria, as the orders have only specified that servicemembers be moved from the border to other parts of the region. Even if Trump is genuine in his desire to bring American troops home, Norton said he believes that the US commander-in-chief is probably not even in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey’s intentions, on the other hand, are obvious, in Norton’s opinion.

“It’s the dictionary definition of ethnic cleansing,” Norton argued. “Turkey wants to repopulate these Kurdish-majority areas with some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees.”

He went on to suggest that history is repeating itself, as the Pentagon and other intelligence services assisted Turkey in conducting a very similar “carving up” of Syria’s Afrin, al-Bab and Jarabulus.

“This is a continuation of a policy that Turkey has already carried out with Washington’s approval. Washington doesn’t care about the Kurds, and it certainly doesn’t care about Syria. It’s perfectly happy seeing other allies like Turkey - which is a member of NATO - carve up the country,” he asserted.

Washington’s failure to let Operation Spring Peace occur would open the door for Damascus to possibly reclaim control of its own country.



Russia to Salvage US Mess
Columnists
20:32 14.10.2019
by Finian Cunningham
https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201910141077049052-russia-to-salvage-us-mess/

It’s going to be a precarious balancing act, but only one nation can possibly help bring stability to the chaos unleashed in Syria by US President Donald Trump. That’s Russia.

Reports of a deal brokered over the weekend by Russia between Syrian government forces and Kurdish militia are a prelude to a wider effort by Moscow to achieve full peace in the war-torn country. That constructive role played by Russia is no doubt due to the mutual respect it holds among warring sides.

The deal brokered by Russia will allow the Syrian Arab Army to take over control of northern border areas with Turkey which were formerly under the control of the Kurds. Since Trump threw the Kurds under the bus last week and effectively green-lighted the incursion into Syria by Turkish forces, the Kurds have had to subsequently align with the Syrian government. Russia was crucial to facilitating the new alliance.

With the Kurdish areas returning to the control of the central government in Damascus – after five years of US-backed Kurdish occupation – that arrangement of a fully integrated Syrian territory is not just legally proper. It also could placate Turkey’s long-held demands for security regarding Kurdish militants, whom Ankara accuses of being “terrorists” trying to destabilise Turkey.

Russia and Iran have in recent days both warned Turkey to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. With the Russian-backed Syrian army on the border facing Turk forces, it is a fair bet that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will think twice about escalating the incursion. Having had the Kurdish autonomous area dismantled and under control of Damascus again, the Turkish leader should feel assured to back off from further military action. Again, we may reasonably surmise that Russian President Vladimir Putin has quietly, but firmly, told Erdogan to calm down. Perhaps Putin is the only person whom the bullish Erdogan will heed at this point.

One thing is apparent though. The US and its European allies are a more than ever exposed as a hopeless bunch of losers whose criminal meddling and mischief in Syria, and more widely across the Middle East, leave them without a shred of credibility to resolve conflict.

“This is a monumental failure on behalf of the United States”, commented Aaron Stein of the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute think-tank, as quoted by Reuters.

Stein added that “it would be the Syrian government or Russia, not American sanctions, that could stop the Turkish operation… The only thing that will stop them is if the [Syrian] regime or the Russians move in significant numbers to where they stop”.

Washington and its European allies have created the entire bloody mess in Syria with their criminal, covert war for regime change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the war on that country erupted in March 2011 – with as many as 600,000 dead. The Americans and other NATO powers have secretly weaponised jihadist terror gangs for their regime-change plot – an intrigue which failed because of Russia’s military intervention from the end of 2015 in order to defend the Syrian nation.
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019
© REUTERS / Rodi Said
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019

The US and its NATO cronies also used Kurdish militants as proxies to break up Syria’s territorial unity. Officially, Western governments and media claim that the Kurds fought a war against jihadist terrorism. That may be partly true in the murky world of running anti-government insurgents. But, primarily, the Kurds were used by Washington to annex Syrian territory, especially the oil-rich and water-abundant northeastern regions. In doing that, however, the Americans antagonised Turkey by mobilising the Kurds and affording them a de facto state within the Syrian state.

Trump’s sell-out of the Kurds last week by withdrawing American special forces in the region aligned with them has unleashed the mayhem and violence seen over several days. Trying to claw back some credibility, the Trump administration is now moving to heap tough economic sanctions on Ankara to “wreck the Turkish economy”.

European states have also clamoured with condemnation of Turkey for its military operations against the Kurds, which have resulted in many civilian deaths and tens of thousands of terror-stricken refugees fleeing from the violence.

Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway and others have announced suspension of arms exports to Turkey.

This is an incredible debacle. NATO members are bickering with and sanctioning fellow NATO member Turkey. There are even reports of Turkish artillery shelling positions near American special forces to cut them off from their former Kurdish ally.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Erdogan has basically told Washington and the Europeans to shove their sermonising and hypocrisy. Erdogan knows that the Americans and Europeans have blood on their hands from sponsoring Syria’s covert war, just as he does too.

Washington has no moral authority whatsoever to unravel the mess it has engendered in Syria.

Russia can salvage the disastrous situation because it has earned respect from all sides due to its principled and powerful military deployment in Syria. Moscow will want to avoid delving in too deeply whereby it ends up in a war with Turkey on Syria’s border. Somehow, however, Russia has the right balance between respect, diplomatic intelligence and power to salvage the morass made by America and its NATO cronies.

If peace can be settled between Syria and Turkey and Syria’s territorial integrity restored, then Russia stands to emerge with newfound status in the Middle East as an honest broker and neighbour – unlike the scoundrels barking in Washington and European capitals.



'Equation of Power Changed': Top Iranian Official Says Middle East Is 'Safer Place' Without US
21:57 14.10.2019
by Tim Korso
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910141077049465-equation-of-power-changed-top-iranian-official-says-middle-east-is-safer-place-without-us/

Following the start of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, the US announced that it would pull out some of its troops from the area, with President Donald Trump criticising the efforts of previous administrations that dragged Washington into wars in the Middle East.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has stated that the Middle East would be "a safer place without the US", stating that Washington should withdraw its troops from the region entirely and not just from Syria. He argued that even US officials have acknowledged that getting involved in the region's wars was a mistake, apparently referring to US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of past US administrations' Middle East policies.

Commenting on the recent statement by the POTUS, Shamkhani alleged that his administration has realised that "the equation of power and politics in the Middle East has changed" and that the US can no longer claim the leading position in the region.

"Washington has now two options: either to pretend to be a superpower by incurring huge expenses, or to adopt a realistic policy, accept the realities and save itself from the costs of the exposed plot", he said.

'Iran is Defeating Its Enemies' - IRGC Commander

Major General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has stated that judging by the current state of affairs, the Islamic Republic is "moving forward" and "defeating" its enemies. He added that Iran's "will" can't be changed by outside forces and therefore the victorious "trend" will continue.

Salami's statements come months after Iran's domestically made Khordad-3 air defence system downed an American RQ-4 drone that violated Iranian airspace and failed to respond to multiple warnings. Tehran later stated that it also had a manned P-8 Poseidon spy plane in its crosshairs, but opted to spare it.

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