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Turkish soldiers patrol a road near the Turkey-Iraq border in the mainly Kurdish southeastern province of Sirnak (File)

Will US War Party Authorize Turkish-Saudi Military Adventure in Syria?

© AFP 2016/ MUSTAFA OZER
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Turkey and Saudi Arabia's invasion of Syria may ignite a greater war that could lure Russia and NATO into direct confrontation; meanwhile, Washington's powerful war party opposes US Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomatic approach towards the Syrian crisis, fanning the flames of enmity with Russia, Professor Stephen F. Cohen notes.

Turkey's long-range artillery continues to bombard Rojava's Kurdish enclaves in Syria, in order to prevent the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighting along with the Syrian Arab Army from gaining more territory along the Turkish border.

To complicate matters further Turkey, Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf States announced that they are mulling a ground operation in Syria as part of the US-led coalition's campaign in the region.

Ankara and Riyadh want boots on the ground to stop the Russo-Syrian advance in Aleppo; the move can translate into a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.

In an interview on The John Batchelor Show, Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, warned against irresponsible moves in the region.

He referred to former British chief of the defense staff General Sir David Richards and former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who claimed that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is the only credible force that can defeat Daesh on the ground.

While US President Obama pledged to avoid sending boots on the ground to Syria, the SAA remains the only military force to confront Daesh. In this light it is inconsistent to accuse President Putin of sending Russia's Air Force to bolster the Syrian government army, the professor noted.

"On the issue of who should do and can do the fighting [in Syria] I always believed and in fact the retired chief of the British general staff Lord [Richards] said… that there is only one real fighting force — the Syrian Army. Therefore Obama's plan to get rid of Assad which would risk the stability of the Syrian state and thus the Syrian Army, as happened when they got rid of Gaddafi in Libya, was a mistaken policy. And we know from the recording of Seymour Hersh about a month ago in the London Review of Books that when Gen. Dempsey was Chief of Staff he told Obama that it was crazy to try to remove Assad. You need the Syrian Army to do the fighting," Professor Cohen underscored.

The Russian Air Force has been supporting the Syrian Arab Army advance and is doing it so well that the SAA together with Kurdish militia have expelled Daesh and al-Nusra Front from their strongholds in Syria.

Professor Cohen pointed out that in fact by bolstering Bashar al-Assad Putin is pursuing the military strategy with which a lot of people agree.

"The Islamic State [Daesh] will be driven soon out of Aleppo, its secondary capital in Syria, and maybe Raqqa, which is its number one capital. So, this is a military success for Russia, leading Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to begin political negotiations with all the parties involved… that call very soon for a ceasefire, not a ceasefire against the Islamic State, and the political process that eventually in 18 months or two years lead to elections in Damascus," the American academic noted.

The potential détente that could be established between Russia and the United States in the course of the Syrian negotiations comes under fire from Washington's powerful war party that opposes Kerry's diplomatic approach to the Syrian crisis.

It seems that these people, who try to throw a monkey wrench in Kerry's diplomatic efforts would actually prefer Daesh to Vladimir Putin, the professor remarked.

The Saudi-Turkish adventure in Syria may ruin the ongoing peace process and drag global powers in a wider war. The question remains open whether or not Washington war planners approve the initiative, in other words, whether or not the US war party will prevail.

According to the US academic, there is a plan for an actual invasion of Syria by Turkey, a NATO member-state, and US' longstanding ally Saudi Arabia. While Ankara and Riyadh insist that they are going to counter Daesh, they will in fact fight against the Syrian Army, which means to fight against Russia, Professor Cohen warned.

We are facing the end of the world order and the new order is struggling to be born, he noted, adding that what makes matters worse is that there are no rules in the ongoing "cold war."

Commenting on the issue, the British geopolitical analyst Finian Cunningham expressed his hope that Washington will restrain itself from authorizing the Saudi-Turkish advance, which could eventually lead to clashes between Russo-Syrian forces and NATO member-state Turkey.

"Washington has publicly approved or given a kind of consent to this mobilization but if you [look] at recent interviews the Saudi foreign minister emphasized that it's conditional on a full and explicit "go ahead" from Washington. So, would Washington actually give it this consent, I don't know… I think that Washington would restrain itself from allowing the Saudis and the Turks to actually go in to Syria given the consequences," the British analyst told Radio Sputnik referring to the possibility of a wider conflict in the region.

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Tags:
Islamic extremism, Jihadists, Geneva 3 Peace Talks, The Syrian war, NATO, Daesh, Syrian Arab Army, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Stephen Cohen, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, John Kerry, Martin Dempsey, Barack Obama, Turkey, United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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  • cast235
    ALL will be fine IF Turkey wins But when Russia begin, see NATO saying , this is not violation of art 5... TO HIDE!!
    That's why NATO is packing around Russia's west borders.
    HITLER did same trick!!
  • Baybars
    Good article. It Might be in the best interest of NATO, Turkey, Saudi, Occupiers of Palestine and the U.S. to step back for a moment and look at the situations in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Is the current method of trying to own the middle east working for them? No, because Russia has thrown the proverbial monkey-wrench into the gears of their plans.

    It would be nice to have all the influences external to Syria, Iraq and Libya removed but I am being unrealistic in this wish. When I said stepping back from the fight Might be good, I was thinking that any cease-fire arrangement or any calm in the hostilities, even a Russian victory over ISIL will give everyone reason for pause but the forces aligned against Syria and Russia will only use that pause to regroup and come up with a new plan for the removal of Bashar al Assad or even Mr. Putin himself.
  • Baybarsin reply tocast235(Show commentHide comment)
    cast235, I hope you are correct. I do not want to see NATO support Turkey and the idiot Erdogan.
  • rajivalgoo
    I am bewildered at the complacency of the people of Europe. It must be that they are completely insulated from the reality of the situation that their governments are leading them into. Without a doubt, there will be no winners at the end of world war 3. The Earth will turn into another Mars.
    I would hope that should the NATO encourage Turkey and Saudi Arabia and others to invade Syria the Russians should make it a short war by bringing down the full might of its capabilities to finish the job and prepare to deal with whatever NATO decides to follow along with.
  • goaismine
    NATO is trying to corner Russia at the WEST-NATO-FLANK by steping up its
    Military Build Up it seems NATO is indeed preparing for a war against Russia
    this will be the end of the USA and the NATO/EU
    may Russia send its Topol-M missiles right on the US main-land
    the US is trying to focus the war on Europe but Russia should and must act
    against the US Mainland - !!
  • klod.infobeez
    The US would love a war between Russia and Ottomans, and would keep their balls far away from the fire, while screaming like piglets against Russia.

    Turkey is ruled by an out of control psycho, member of Muslim Brotherhood, antisemit, negationist, Kurds hater and so on. Disapearing of it is not a problem and, for sure, if Russia is to go in the mess there will be nothein left of Turkey... just cutting the gas would destroy the economy, and a few dozens of cruise missiles would finish the job.

    But, even if Turkey is no match, Russia would be weakened, too, by the war, and whatever weakens RF is happyness for the US haters. Since an Erdogan-ruled Turkey has a value of near zero, loosing this for a weakening of Russia is good business from their point of view.

    Interesting to see the Saudites playint a weird game. Their cheerleaders "army" is frighten by a few Yemeni and can just do nothing in a real war. And Saudites are ennemies of Muslim Brotherhood, siding with Wahhabites. We saw this opposition very well in Egypt, when the Muslim Brotherhood dictator, Morsi, was kicked out. Seems the they just wanna bait Erdogan in a mess and use RF to eradicte Turkey.

    May be the territories occupied by the Ottoman will come back to their owners : Greece, Armenia, Syria, Kurdistan...
  • goaisminein reply toklod.infobeez(Show commentHide comment)
    klod.infobeez, Erdogan is not a antisemit !
    their is no need to mention Saudi Arabia because it would be
    a case for Iran - Turkey as a NATO-Member is being used by the US for
    a Russian-Nato Confrontation but in Case of such Scenario Russia will
    draw the war back to its Fronts in this case the West-Nato-Flank and will
    invade the Balitic and march towards Berlin - the US will attack Russia by
    ICBM and Russia will send its Topol-M- ( 1,8MT Warheads ) Torwards the US-Main-Land in the first phase of attack and the russia will thake care
    of Turkey outmost ! NATO will be wiped off the map for ever once
    the ICBM and Kalibr Cruismissiles head torwards Berlin ! dont be a fool
    and think Russia will only act on the EU/NATO land forget it
    this time the US-Mainland will be hit !!
  • jas
    It seems that these people, who try to throw a monkey wrench in Kerry's diplomatic efforts would actually prefer Daesh to Vladimir Putin, the professor remarked.
    --
    Israel and Saudi Arabia have specifically confirmed that they prefer ISIL to Iran, so that is the position of NATO's member and allies in the ME and presumably of NATO. They equate Assad to Iran and prefer ISIL over Assad. Here again, the US foreign policy is NOT designed to benefit the US as NATO policy is not designed to benefit NATO countries. Both NATO and the US government are under control of some foreign power or powers.
  • in reply toklod.infobeez(Show commentHide comment)
    klod.infobeez, In all likely hood, if Erdogan starts a hot war with Russia, the military will relieve him of the presidency along with many of his supporters. It is in the Turkish constitution. The EU has been pressuring the Turkish military not to do so and so far they have not, but a war with Russia would be a red line.
  • klod.infobeezin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    Erik Trete, Let's hope that they CAN do it...
  • Ann
    "Will US War Party Authorize Turkish-Saudi Military Adventure in Syria?" -- Why does anyone think it is actually appropriate for the U.S. to authorize ANYTHING in Syria? It's not their country, they're not even in that country legally themselves. It's up to Assad, not obama.
  • Ann in reply toBaybars(Show commentHide comment)
    Baybars, They can try...
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