Turkish military Invasion of Northern Syria

‘Nuevo Curso’: Is Turkey starting a World War?

» 2018 started with the USA announcing the creation of a “security zone” on the Syrian-Turkish border on the basis of the Kurdish YPG-PKK forces … which precipitated a predictable Turkish military deployment.

In 1984 the PKK opened a cruel war against the Turkish State. Massacres and crimes against humanity on both sides cost the lives of between 25,000 and 30,000 people, many of them, especially during the first ten years, were Kurdish peasants from rural areas and Kurdish politicians from urban areas who did not accept the hegemony of Öcalan’s new power and the establishment of his personality cult. Throughout its history, the PKK relied, at different stages, on neighbors and rivals of Turkey, while simultaneously maintaining camps and military bases in the Syria of the father of the current al Assad and in the Iran of the ayatollahs. The PKK, which was financed for years by channeling heroin trafficking to Europe, became an ally of both China and Qaddafi, the IRA and the Shining Path. In short: the PKK wanted to establish a territory in Turkey at any price and the PKK would pay any price to destabilize the Ottoman giant. Therefore, from the perspective of the Turkish State, the American game today is perceived in a similar way the Spanish state would perceive the situation if, after a civil war in France, the USA decided to “secure the border” [for its Spanish ally] on the French side of the Atlantic Pyrenees [in the French war zone] with a force of 3,000 ETA-militants. 

Less than a week ago there were still those confident that Russia would avoid a Turkish military offensive. But Russia was already making different calculations. On the one hand, its alliance with al Assad began to weaken with peace, as the latter was leaning more and more towards the aggressive and conflicting military power of Iran and its allies on the terrain, the Lebanese Hezbollah. On the other hand, Moscow began to consider expelling the USA from Syria as a feasible goal, if the military capabilities of the Ottoman ally were reinforced.

Once he had obtained Russian support, Erdogan could not only strike a decisive blow at the old enemy, but even obtain relief from the pressure of the Syrian refugees on his economy. The plan now is to create a buffer micro-state with Syrian refugees in the hitherto Kurdish canton.

To that end, although al Assad protested and passively supported the Kurds, giving them free passage through their regions, the Turkish advance did not seek a direct confrontation but instead quickly won the border areas without moving decisively towards Afrin, but, apparently, towards Manbij.

The problem is that, should the Turkish army gain control of Manbij, this would de facto mean the expulsion of the USA as a protagonist on the terrain in Syria, possibly precipitating a military escalation that everyone seems to take for granted.

Erdogan’s imperial gaze goes far beyond a few kilometers south of the Turkish border. During the last months he has developed an intense diplomatic activity that has culminated in an alliance with Sudan and a military base in the Red Sea. Turkey thus anticipated possible Saudi temptations to help the Kurds or to position itself too openly or actively on the side of the USA, once Qatar would show its support for the offensive. By the way, “returning” to the Red Sea more than a century after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, has a symbolic value for the Turkish conservative neo-nationalism of similar importance as the annexation of Crimea has been for the social base of Putin.

The problem is that, as the war on the Syrian border develops, tensions grow between an Egypt dependent on the USA and a Sudan emboldened by its alliance with Turkey. The Red Sea, more than Iraq, is the international extension [zone] of this new episode of the Syrian war. But it would be too naive to think that a conflict situated a few kilometers from the Mediterranean will not also affect Europe. Yesterday, Tsipras warned in Davos about the danger of an “aggressive neighbor” like Turkey, on which the massive arrival of Syrian refugees depends to a large extent, moderating the first German reactions.

The usual hit-men, paid by or in love with Russian propaganda, are lost. They have been praising the criminal regime of al Assad for too long to be able to change the axis as quickly as Putin.

The “libertarians” who have been selling the military camps of the Sendero Turco” (1) for years as an example of anti-authoritarian socialism, feminism, confederalism and many other things, are in difficulty to explain how the monster of yesterday (al Assad) is the protective father of today.

In the coming years we are going to see this kind of phenomenon very often. In the current era all states — and aspirants to statehood — are imperialist, they all behave like hyenas. And in the absence of the overwhelming power of a block boss such as the USSR and the USA during the Cold War, alliances will be volatile and changing, with “betrayals” and realignments taking place.

But let ourselves not be fooled, there is no “lesser evil” [on either side]. Everyone now has their wager on ethnic cleansing, they all continue and will continue to cause horrendous disasters. None will bring peace, prosperity or anything like that. On the contrary, all, and in the forefront of Europe France in the first place, are going to inflame the war according to their own interests, using the crimes of both to cover up their own crimes and advance their own imperialist agendas. Nothing else can be expected.

This war is not a local phenomenon, a border riffraff or a distant battle. It is one more expression of a general tendency towards the inability of capitalism to offer an alternative to collapse, misery, war and robbery. That’s why we should worry. That is why it should encourage us, and remind us how important it is, to confront the attacks of Capital and the state here and now, both materially and ideologically, that result in precarity and in selling us nationalism and incitement to war. «

Nuevo Curso, January 25, 2018

1  Meaning: the US supported PKK-YPG, with for instance its famous Rojava implantation in Syria. (Editor’s note)

Source: ¿Está iniciando Turquía una guerra mundial? –  https://nuevocurso.org/esta-iniciando-turquia-una-guerra-mundial/

Translation: F.C., January 30, 2018

Final revision: H.C., February 7, 2018