Northeast Syria: Where Neoconservatism Went to Die

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Main photo credit: © REUTERS / MURAD SEZER

What is going on in Northeast Syria? Has Turkey “invaded” this territory? What is the stance of Russia and the US? Who is to blame for the Kurds’ woes? The text below tackles these questions, and more.

Before I start, I highly recommend to read the thread below, where the always reliable Elijah Magnier has outlined the situation very nicely. I will simply use it as the foundation of my explanation of Russia’s position.

First preliminary statement: there is a big difference between overt diplomatic statements and behind the curtain agreements. This doesn’t mean an official tells lies or deceives. It’s just that there are different tiers of international relations. We’ve all heard the term “hybrid war” or “fourth generation warfare” before. What this really means is that the US has weaponised the concept of International Law in its own interests through its military hegemony. That was until the Minsk Agreements were signed. Ever since this moment the balance of power in the world changed, and the US found itself in a situation where its own weapon could detonate in its face – if Russia has “invaded” Ukraine, although no proof has been presented, then by the same logic the US has also/actually “invaded”/invaded Ukraine.

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This is what I told Vice News once when asked to comment on this story.

Unsurprisingly, they did not publish my thought experiment due to its compromising nature.

Second preliminary statement: enough dirt revealing how the US political system works has risen to the surface, and even more so since Trump came to power. It is important to stress that the US has its own internal political struggle between the CIA/”deep state” (which is still the same multi-headed hydra that offed JFK) and more nationalistic forces. Trump is basically given intel reports by the “intelligence community”, and they are of course completely cooked. Trump’s whole first tenure has revolved around a game of whack-a-mole, ousting “deep state” agents as they appear in the upper echelons of power. When it comes to appointees, his hands are tied. And when he makes one step away from the CIA-approved line, “whistleblowers” appear. In any case, the US is forced to curb military/war expenditure because the Federal Reserve house of cards can’t remain standing forever.

Third preliminary statement: I am not “pro” this or that. And I certainly am not boxed-in to any specific “ideology” or “school of thinking”. I call it as I see it, simply. But yes, I have to admit that I don’t adhere to the US/Western mentality of thinking with fists. If that makes me a “________ bot/troll”, then so be it.

I’ve seen many comments saying that this current situation in Syria – as of the week commencing October 7th 2019 – is very complicated to understand. Well ,it both is and it isn’t. It is possible to reduce the different elements of the scenario to the absolute basics, the accuracy of which history can attest to. And it is also possible to analyse each jigsaw piece to the n-th degree.

If we are to be brief: what’s happening right now in the Middle East (and especially in Syria) is the reconfiguration of the global order, the result of which will determine the status quo for the next 50-100 years. Don’t think that all parties involved are not aware of it. Money talks (not literally, obviously), or more precisely – maths talks. EU member states have a situation where, due to mass migration, there are more and more hungry mouths to feed and more and more homes to heat. And with the “anti-Russia” (in reality: anti-German) sanctions in place, the ability of these states to meet the demand is seriously inhibited. This is partially why, for example, the privatised electrical grid in the UK demands that its customers use “smart meters” and “reduce consumption”. The main reason this happens, of course, is because the neoliberal system resembles a parasite (Sykes-Picot elites) draining its host (tax payer) to the very last drop (hence the conscious Brexit sabotage). But I digress…

Russia is no stranger to locking horns with the Turks, although in the past it was in the form of the Russian Empire vs the Ottoman Empire. This is why today’s rapprochement can for the most part be viewed as pragmatic, although it must be said that this relationship is far more sincere than anything the US has. Take for example Trump’s blackmailing of Riyadh for billions of dollars – for “protection”. Al Capone would be proud.

The US’ gateway to the Black Sea goes through Turkey, and thus Washington is terrified of being cut off. And of course, the local straits represent economic importance that cannot be overstated – everyone wants to eat! Another important thing is the proximity of Turkey to the European continent (a few more Jihadists/”migrants”, anyone?).

As is known, Turkey, as a member of NATO, with the support of the EU, US, UK etc, acted as the driving axle of the partition of Syria. This led to the belligerents raising the stakes – shooting down a Sukhoi. The aim was to probe Russia’s reaction in the new post-Minsk reality. At the time of the shootdown the Minsk Agreements were already in effect. For more info about that, see my past work. This, coupled with Putinonomics (or rather anti-Perestroikanomics), meant that Russia could permit itself to respond asymmetrically (economically). I.e., the belligerents had wanted the madman Zhirinovsky’s suggestion to be implemented, and thus Russia’s ties with Turkey would be almost broken beyond repair.

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Understanding in advance where all this was heading (a relative change to Turkish foreign policy, orientated instead on Eurasian integration), the belligerents attempted a military coup in Ankara. Owing to Iran & Co’s intel help, the coup was thwarted, and most importantly, Moscow’s S-400 power play had no real obstacles in front of it. The Turkish territory was not going to be dragged behind the “hybrid” curtain, and no Turk equivalent of a IMF slave like Tsipras was going to come to power.

Russia needs the S-400 in Turkey to: further deflate NATO by forcing the neocons to put “sanctions” (which actually help Eurasia) on Ankara; ensure that straits and seas remain open to Russia and Eurasia as a whole; further deflate the US’ hegemonic project known as the EU, which is a parasite that drains the wealth of member countries in order to remain alive – Turkey was on the hit list, as a “candidate for membership”; ensure that a key geopolitical pivot point remains stable, and not chaotisised/Libyafied; create a regional triangle of allies (also known as “axis of resistance”) with its center in Damascus; etc.

Russia has not had to stress out over the Ukrainian problem since Minsk II was signed in the beginning of 2015. Putin successfully managed to contain the US’ angle of attack (designed to provoke a Russian military operation in Ukraine and drag Putin into the Hague) and launch a deceive counter manoeuvre. But the war in Donbass still acts as an abscess on the Russian nation’s body, and the sooner it is properly resolved, the better.  

In order to save face and convince the world that their signatures are worth at least the paper they are re appended to, Trump and, even more so, the EU are obliged to really push Kiev towards implementing the Minsk Agreements. But there is a big problem: the Banderist element will not accept it whatsoever. Thus, the US & Co have to find a way to contain (dupe) the radicals whilst surrendering in front of Russia.

If Donbass is given “special status”, it will not explain why Russia is handing out passports to the DPR/LPR. Moscow’s preferred solution is for the whole of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to join Russia lawfully. This can happened via a referendum, Crimea style. If the residents in Avdeevka, for example, are able to concretely see the benefits of acquiring Russian citizenship, then the rest of the UAF-occupied districts, which predominately speak Russian and will not accept the new language law adopted by the Rada, will follow.

Should all of this happen, the next stage of the problem begins – what to do with the rest of Ukraine, which risks having its own civil war. This will not be Russia’s problem. And I doubt Trump will want to invest much in solving it. The EU either. It will be a case of the US and Russia agreeing to use it as a buffer zone, which of course is not a definitive solution either, but it gives enough time for the EU-sceptic citizens to overthrow the oligarchical system.

There are talks ongoing now between all involved parties about what to do with Ukraine. It has become a bargaining chip. Trump is willing to give the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to Russia, but not for nothing. Maybe at the price of giving the US some room to manoeuvre in the Middle East (or Turkey specifically)? 

Idlib is not such a pressing issue for Moscow. It was successfully contained and there are no US troops there. Turkey uses it as a bargaining chip in order to get the best deal from both Eurasia and the US. Yes, the full liberation of Syria is mandatory. But not at just any cost. Moscow’s main priority in Syria is dissolving the US & Co’s occupation of the Northeast. The only way Russia can tackle this problem is through Ankara. A deal was made: Ankara must nibble at this occupied region while Russia keeps its support for the Kurds to a diplomatic minimal and makes loud statements about “respecting territorial integrity” (i.e., the Kurds should side with the Syrian Army or be devoured by ultra-liberal “democracy”).

Trump, who wants to pull US troops out of Syria and to flush the neocon era down the toilet, also agrees to this, since his interests in the region do not require such a large occupation force, especially if it causes tension with big players who the US can’t afford to push around – like Iran. 

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Had the Kurds remained loyal to Damascus and the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian war would already be over, and Turkey wouldn’t be citing the Adana agreement and bombing the YPG/PYD/SDF. Instead, the Kurds copied Ukraine and slit their own throat.

Of course, the Syrian government “condemns” Turkey’s incursion, and, as was mentioned, Moscow offers reminders about “territorial integrity”, but it’s all part of the “hybrid” game. The situation in Syria left the framework of international law long ago, so returning back inside will take time. These statements are designed to ensure that the outline of the framework remains visible and are impervious to the CIA’s information warfare (e.g. the notion of “R2P”).

As I wrote not long ago, Russia gives “pieces” of S-400 to Ankara in exchange for “pieces” of Idlib. The problem is that no more “pieces” of Idlib can be given without chipping away at the Northeast. So Turkey now does this, paving the way for deeper cooperation with Moscow and more shallow cooperation with “western partners”. The fact is that the output of the S-400 “fourth generation warfare” algorithm stipulates that Russia wins in a whole number of hypothetical outcomes.

Israel was told by Moscow that the Syrian Army’s S-300 trigger finger has been very itchy as of late. After all, this is why S-300 came to Syria in the first place – so Moscow could regulate Israel’s activity in case Tel Aviv decided to violate the existing agreement (continue to bomb “Iranian facilities”, but it won’t change anything – in fact, it will only make you weaker). 

Saudi Arabia, which funds the Kurds’ occupation of the Northeast, was sent a multipolar message via the Aramco incident. Iran’s allies had foreknowledge of these plans, and even supplied intel. Riyadh pretends that the IPO wasn’t affected, but this is laughable.

“Coincidentally”, the first flickers of a “regime change” operation in Iraq became visible. However, Russia has seen enough of this technology to know how to combat it. And Putin-Jinping certainly knows how to root out corruption (Privyet, Khodorkovsky!) and put the economy in order. 

EU member states are desperate to cancel the anti-Russia sanctions. They are also implementing their own mechanisms for trade with Iran. Turkey has abandoned SWIFT. The role of the dollar is diminishing before the eyes. The role of the Yuan increases and increases.

The US’ has overextended in the Middle East, and now Trump is obliged to reel it in, consolidating what the US already has, but abandoning any projects that don’t immediately bring in dollars. Afghanistan and Iraq – where Iran is a major string-puller – are two particular wallet-emptiers that drain the US’ budget. 

And yes, I know that the US army fulfils the whims of Israel. But I am going to propose something (and surely be lambasted for it): Israel is going to experience leadership changes, and the region will benefit from it. Think of that what you will.

So yes, a lot of bargaining is going on. The war ended the moment Russian jets landed in 2015. Everything after that was just negotiations over severance packages for the losers. Once the sanctions against Russia are lifted, the recognition of a Russian Crimea will follow. 

The Rojava Kurds and Ukraine can sob together, consoling each other as victims of the “civilised” American snake. But the US didn’t betray them. They betrayed themselves. The US only did what the US has always done – just business, nothing personal. 

History will always remember how Putin’s Russia uprooted the US from Northeast Syria without firing a single bullet (a proverbial expression, but a Russian soldier factually hasn’t attacked a US soldier). Asymmetry is a neanderthal’s biggest weakness. 

Lastly, here is a simple method of deciphering complicated geopolitical situations:

Who is Bernard Henri-Levy supporting?

After answering this, just follow the money trail.

Ollie Richardson

Writer for Find me on Twitter: @O_Rich_

Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.


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