Turkey is upstream on a couple of the Middle East’s most important rivers. This gives Turkey leverage. From Alexandra Marvar at thenation.com:
In times of conflict, war, and climate change, hydropower is state power.
The Ilisu Dam in Turkey is set to inundate Hasankeyf, a 12,000-year-old Kurdish heritage site with untold archaeological value. (Alexandra Marvar)
Since the early 2000s, a massive hydropower project in southeastern Turkey has been mired in controversy, moving forward in fits and starts. But as of this past July, construction is finally complete. As the dam and its reservoir become fully operational, the line between hydropower and state power will be washed away. This fall, the violence that followed a sudden, destabilizing withdrawal of US troops from nearby northern Syria captured the world’s attention as it cleared the path for Turkey’s military to dominate the Kurdish opposition.
Meanwhile, the water slowly rising behind the 442-foot-high, more-than-a-mile-wide wall of the Ilisu Dam across the Tigris River is a less overt sign of that same determination.
The US had no legal or moral basis for being in Syria in the first place, and now it has no legal or moral basis for taking Syria’s oil. US foreign policy is for the most characterized by actions that have no legal or moral basis. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:
Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria
What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.
The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.
The 150-strong committee breaks down as 50 members of the Syrian opposition, 50 representing the government in Damascus and 50 representatives of civil society. Each group named 15 experts for the meetings in Geneva, held behind closed doors.
This development is a direct consequence of the laborious Astana process – articulated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Essential initial input came from former UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Now UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen is working as a sort of mediator.
The committee started its deliberations in Geneva in early 2019.
Crucially, there are no senior members of the administration in Damascus nor from the opposition – apart from Ahmed Farouk Arnus, who is a low-ranking diplomat with the Syrian Foreign Ministry.
Posted in Crime, Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Horseshit, Morality, Politics
Tagged Russia, Syria, Turkey, US seizure Syrian oil
The real reason the US military was in Syria was to get rid of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. That’s not going to happen. Will anybody in power recognize this golden opportunity to leave Syria? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Trump cancels the pullout from Syria then flip-flops, threatens war with Turkey and gives money to terrorists
The long nightmare in Syria might finally be coming to an end, but not thanks to the United States and the administration of President Donald Trump. Trump’s boastthat “this was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else” was as empty as all the other rhetoric coming out of the White House over the past two and a half years. Nevertheless, it now appears that the U.S. military just might finally be bidding farewell to an exercise that began under President Barack Obama as a prime bit of liberal interventionism, with American forces illegally entering into a conflict that the White House barely understood and subsequently meddling and prolonging the fighting.
The fundamental reason why the U.S. was so ineffective was that the Obama Administration’s principal objective from the beginning was to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, yet another attempt at “humanitarian” regime change similar to that which produced such a wonderful result in Libya. Al-Assad was never in serious danger as he had significant popular support, including from the country’s Christian minority, and American piecemeal attempts to negotiate some kind of exit strategy were doomed as they eschewed any dealing with the legitimate government that was in place. The Syrian civil war supported and even enabled by Washington caused more than 500,000 deaths, created some 9 million internal and external refugees, and destroyed the Syrian economy and infrastructure while also almost starting a war between the U.S. and Turkey.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Politics
Tagged Erdogan, Israel, President Trump, Putin, Russia, Syria, Turkey
An explanation of how Russian diplomacy outmatched US military might, from Scott Ritter at theamericanconservative.com:
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Getty Images); Russian President Vladimir Putin (Office of Russian President); Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Getty Images)
The ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accomplishes very little outside of putting window dressing on a foregone conclusion. Simply put, the Turks will be able to achieve their objectives of clearing a safe zone of Kurdish forces south of the Turkish border, albeit under a U.S. sanctioned agreement. In return, the U.S. agrees not to impose economic sanctions on Turkey.
So basically it doesn’t change anything that’s already been set into motion by the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. But it does signal the end of the American experiment in Syrian regime change, with the United States supplanted by Russia as the shot caller in Middle Eastern affairs.
This is the most comprehensive on-the-ground account of the Syrian situation we’ve seen. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:
By a vote of 354-60 last week the U.S. House of Representative proved that Imperial Washington is addicted to war, and that the level of ignorance, bellicosity and mendacity among the people’s representative has reach appalling heights.
Having never voted for Washington’s pointless, illegal and destructive fomenting of Syria’s calamitous civil war in the first place, as the constitution requires, the bipartisan congressional mob actually had the gall to vote to keep US forces in the middle of a centuries old Kurd/Turk conflict that has zero implications – and we mean as in none, nichts and nada – for the security and safety of the American homeland.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Erdogan, Kurds, President Trump, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Vladimir Putin
Well, if they’re going to impeach Trump on a nothing of a case, he might as well thoroughly piss them off. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
From the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Davos) announced reluctantly that impeachment proceedings would begin against President Trump I knew this was about his shift in Middle East policy.
It happened on Terrible Tuesday where both Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were handed smackdowns by their respective Deep States over their plans to unwind multiple decades of aggressive foreign policy on the one hand and subjugation to the growing European Union on the other.
Now that Trump has fully embraced ending some of the US’s involvement in Syria the knives have come out in full. There have been nothing but howls of pain from every corner of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism on both sides of the domestic political aisle, about how Trump is unfit for office because he abandoned the heroic Kurds to genocide by the Turks after fighting for freedom against the brutal Bashar al-Assad.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics
Tagged Israel, President Trump, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syrian withdrawal, Turkey, Vladimir Putin
There’s no clean way to get out of a tar pit, the objective is just to get out. The US jumped into the Syrian tar pit and won’t get out cleanly, but it will be better off having escaped it. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
What a mess. The imperial cooks in Washington have turned poor Syria into a poison pit of warring factions, with disastrous results for all.
Henry Kissinger once quipped that it is more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy. A good example is how Washington used the Kurds in Syria to fight ISIS and then ditched them to face the wrath of the mighty Turkish military alone.
A great hue and cry has gone up from the US corporate media and Congress that the Kurds are being betrayed. The evangelical far right and Israel’s supporters are leading this charge. Israel has secretly been arming and aiding Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria since 1975 as a dandy way of splintering the fragile Arab Mideast.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Media, Medicine, Politics, War
Tagged Kurds, President Trump, Syria, Syrian War, Syrian withdrawal, Turkey