FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

US-Turkey Invasion Derailed by Syrian Army Triumph at Kuweires  

by

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) achieved its greatest victory in the four year-long war on Tuesday when it recaptured the strategic Kuweires military airbase in North Syria. Hundreds of ISIS terrorists were killed in intense fighting while hundreds more were sent fleeing eastward towards Raqqa. The victory was announced just hours after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in an interview with CNN’s  Christiane Amanpour that Turkey would be willing  to invade Syria as long as Washington agreed to provide air support, create a safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, and remove Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Now that Kuweires has been liberated, Davutoğlu will have to reconsider his offer taking into consideration the fact that  Russian warplanes will now be within striking distance of the border while troops and artillery will be positioned in a way that makes crossing into Syria as difficult as possible. The window for Turkish troops to enter Syria unopposed has closed. Any attempt to invade the country now will result in stiff resistance and heavy casualties.

To fully understand the significance of Kuweires, we need take a look at Amanpour’s interview with Davutoglu and see what was being planned. Here’s an excerpt:

Christiane Amanpour:  Would Turkey, under the right conditions, agree to be a ground force?

PM Ahmet Davutoğlu:   “A ground force is something which we have to talk [about] together.  There’s a need of an integrated strategy including air campaign and ground troops. But Turkey alone cannot take all this burden. If there is a coalition and a very well designed integrated strategy, Turkey is ready to take part in all senses.”

C.A.:  Including on the ground?

Davutoğlu:  Yes, of course….We have to solve the Syrian crisis in a comprehensive manner.

C.A.:  So I understand what you’re saying is that the condition for Turkey to be more involved would be an agreement by a coalition to also go after Assad?

Davutoğlu:   Yes, and against all groups and regimes that are creating this vacuum and this problem. On many days we are assisting the coalition in (the fight) against ISIS, but it is not enough. Now we are suggesting to our allies for many months–and now we are suggesting again–to create a safe haven and to push ISIS far away from our borders.

C.A.: So what do you make of the US, Europe and especially Russia saying Assad must and can stay for a period of time?

Davutoğlu:  …..The question is not how long can Assad stay, the question is when and how Assad will go. …What is the solution. The solution is very clear. It is when millions of Syrian refugees are able to return home, assuming there is peace in Syria, then this is the solution. And if Assad stays in power in Damascus,  I don’t think any refugee will go back. There is a need of a step by step strategy, but what is the endgame? What is the light at the end of the tunnel, that is what is important to the refugees.

C.A.:  Why is the Turkish government making it hard for the US government to arm and train and use Kurdish fighters as their ground troops?

Davutoğlu:   (we are not making it hard for the US government to use the) “Kurds”, but the PYD as a wing of the PKK…

There is another Kurdish group, the Peshmerga. We allowed the Peshmerga to go through Turkey to go to Kobani in order to help Kobani to be free. If the US wants to arm Kurdish fighters on the ground against ISIS, we are ready. But not Kurdish terrorists like PKK. If they want to arm and help Barzani, or Peshmerga and help them go to Syria, we are ready to help. But everybody must understand, that today PKK is attacking our cities, our soldiers and our civilians. We will not tolerate any help to any PKK-related groups inside Syria or Iraq. If that happens, Turkey will take all measures to stop it.” (“For refugees to return, Assad must go, says Turkish PM“, CNN)

Let’s recap: Even though the Russian-led coalition is conducting major military operations in Syria, Turkey is willing to invade provided that Washington meet its demands, demands that have never changed and which (we have said in earlier columns) were part of a secret deal for the use of the Incirlik airbase so the USAF could conduct sorties over Syria.

What are Turkey’s demands:

1 A safe zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border

2 A no-fly zone over areas where Turkish troops are conducting operations

3 A commitment to remove Assad.

For a while it looked like the Obama administration might abandon their alliance with Turkey and join with the PYD (The Kurds) in their effort to create a buffer zone where they could harbor, arm and train Sunni militants to continue hostilities in Syria. In fact, Obama went so far as to air-drop pallet-loads of weapons and ammo to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) militia just 10 days ago. (Note:  The US has already stopped  all weapons shipments to the PYD) Whether Obama did this to force Turkey into playing a more active role in Syria, we don’t know. But what we do know is that a Turkish-US alliance is more formidable than a PYD-US alliance, which is why Washington is planning to sell out the Kurds to join-forces with Turkey.

Another sign that US-Turkish relations have begun to thaw, is the fact that Obama phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on his party’s victory eight days after the election. The delay suggests that they were working out their differences before expressions of support.   Erdogan needed the landslide victory to consolidate his power in Parliament and to persuade the military brass that he has a mandate to carry out his foreign policy.  Obama’s phone call was intended to pave the way for backroom negotiations which would take place during next week’s G-20 meetings in Ankara.  But now that the Russian-led coalition has retaken Kuweires, it is impossible to know how the US and Turkey will proceed. If Putin’s warplanes and artillery are able to seal the border, then Washington will have to scrap its plan for seizing the 60-miles stretch of northern Syria that’s needed to keep vital supplylines to US-backed jihadis open or to provide sanctuary for mercenaries returning from the frontlines.  The changing battlescape will make a safe zone impossible to defend.

The fact is, Kuweires changes everything. ISIS is on the run, the myriad other terrorist organizations are progressively losing ground, Assad is safe in Damascus, the borders will soon be protected, and the US-Turkey plan to invade has effectively been derailed. Barring some extraordinary, unforeseeable catastrophe that could reverse the course of events; it looks like the Russian-led coalition will eventually achieve its objectives and win the war. Washington will have no choice but to return to the bargaining table and make the concessions necessary to end the hostilities.

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail