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Turkey Beats the War Drums
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More war in wretched Syria. Half the population is now refugees; entire cities lie shattered by bombing; bands of crazed gunmen run rampant; US, French, Israeli and Russian warplanes bomb widely.

Now, adding to the chaos, President Donald Trump has finally given Turkey, NATO’s second military power, the green light to invade parts of northeastern Syria after he apparently ordered a token force of US troops there to withdraw.

This, of course, puts the Turks in a growing confrontation with the region’s Kurds, who have occupied large swaths of the area during Syria’s civil war. The Kurdish militia, known as YPG (confusingly part of the so-called Free Syrian Army), is armed, lavishly financed and directed by the CIA and Pentagon.

Most Kurdish forces are deployed along the line of the former Berlin-Baghdad railway, a major source of warlike tensions before World War I. Interestingly, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was making a state visit to blood enemy Serbia when the Turkish offensive kicked off.

Turkey calls the Kurdish militias ‘terrorists’ and links them to the original Kurdish resistance movement PKK which is on the US and Turkish black list. I covered the brutal conflict in eastern Anatolia (southern Turkey) between the Turkish Army and Kurdish militias known as ‘peshmerga.’ If the US can brand Syrian and Iraqi groups ‘terrorists,’ why can’t the Turks do their own terrorist branding? After all, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are in their backyard.

The US media is fiercely anti-Turkish because Ankara is seen as somewhat pro-Palestinian. Israel is a bitter foe of Turkey’s Erdogan. One rarely reads anything positive about Turkey or its leader. Not very many western readers even know that since the early 1500’s, Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey. So were Iraq, Palestine, today’s Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

Most important, Iraq’s vast oil fields used to belong to the Ottoman Empire until the British Empire grabbed them at the end of World War I. France seized Syria and Lebanon. Both former imperial powers are still mucking around today in the region and have the gall to criticize Turkey’s involvement in neighboring Syria.

The United States has zero historic interest in the region. US troops in Syria appear to have come from the US garrison in Iraq, which, as VP Dick Cheney hoped, would become a central US military base for the entire Mideast. The Washington war party is moaning that Trump has ‘betrayed’ the Kurds.

The Kurds have been used and betrayed since 1918. They always seem to get the short end of the stick. The old Kurdish saying, ‘no friends but the mountains,’ is painfully true. Washington does not want to get involved in a new Kurdish state carved out of Syria or Iraq even though Israel is pushing it hard to further splinter the Mideast. Iraq’s and Syria’s oil deposits are still a powerful lure for imperial-minded powers.


Trump rightly calls the fracas in Syria ‘a stupid war.’ But many pro-war forces play on this tired, confused president who has gotten himself deep into the Syrian morass, a problem of largely American but also Turkish making. Ironically, former president Barack Obama foolishly authorized America’s effort to overthrow Syria’s Assad government under the guise of a phony civil war. This was one of the few Obama policies that Trump chose to follow. The neophyte president was unwilling or unable to prevent the deep state in Washington from encouraging the war.

The region in question is hardly the beating heart of Syria. It looks large on the map but is mostly desert and scrub, dotted by miserable little villages with Arab or Kurdish populations. Turkey, which has over 2 million Syrian refugees, is eager to begin repatriation of this massive burden created by its policy errors and the western powers.

In the middle is the scattered debris of the short-lived ISIS caliphate. Russia, which is selling Turkey its very capable S-400 anti-aircraft system, is watching with delight as old allies Turkey and the US split.

Even Trump knows how important Turkey is to the NATO alliance. A rupture between Washington and Ankara could see the vital US bases at Incirlik and Adana thrown out of Turkey. That’s why Trump needs to tread carefully.

CORRECTION: The original version of this column stated that Sen. Lindsey Graham dodged military service in the Vietnam War by joining the National Guard as a lawyer. This statement was incorrect and we regret the error.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Kurds, Syria, Turkey 
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  1. Margolis as usual untangles the grisly plot behind the Big Powers’ Middle East intrigue.

  2. Alistair says:

    Turkey’s direct involvement in Syria could benefit the entire region; Turkey knows the region well, their direct involvement in the Near East could help to restore the balance of power and hopefully bring some stability and peace to the region.

    Tribal conflicts were always an integral part of the Near Eastern politics; nevertheless, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) had successfully managed to control this region and its tribal conflicts until 1918, when the western powers have taken over, broken the region into many small pieces, adopted the old strategy of “Divide and Rule” to control its population – so fueling the tribal conflicts and using them for their own selfish interests; chiefly to accommodate the Jewish regional ambitions while protecting the flow of cheap Arab Oil to the west.

    Since Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign into the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria in 1798, the west has been always shifting its Middle Eastern alliances in the blink of an eye – for the western powers, the Kurds are a disposable nation who are there to be used and abused, and that has been the fact of their sad history over the last 500 years.

    Ironically, Turkey’s direct interference in Syria could benefit the entire region, Turkey is the true regional power who knows well the tribal dynamics of the Near East – beside, Turkey’s bitter relationship with Israel may put a lid on Israel’s regional ambition — bring the long overdue justice to Palestinians people who are the primary victims of the western interference in the Near East — Turkey may put the clock back to where it was in the late 1880, when the Ottoman Empire ruled Arabs, Jews and Christians in the Near East with an iron fist.

  3. What has been happening with Turkey’s own large Kurdish population?

    • Replies: @El Dato
  4. For those confused by these events, here is an overview from my blog:

    Jan 24, 2018 – The Secret Plan to Partition of Syria

    This blog has detailed Israel’s Yinon plan to dominate the Middle East, which has been underway the past two decades. One objective is the destruction of Syria into another failed state, allowing Israel to reclaim more Biblical land. This effort was backed by the wealthy Saudis and Gulf States who dislike Syria’s Shiite alliance with Iran. The US/Israeli/Saudi Axis of Evil shipped billions of dollars in weapons from Eastern Europe to Syria, recruited tens of thousands of Jihadists throughout the Muslim world, paid and trained them to “liberate” Syria, and labeled them Syrian Democratic Forces. Some of these groups went rogue, set up local criminal mini-states, refused to advance, so were labeled “ISIS” enemies.

    However, the Syrian Army proved tough so this “civil war” did not go well. It was thought that a huge American bombing campaign to destroy the Syrian government and its army could do the trick, but the American public and Congress were not ready for another war. The “Weapons of Mass Destruction” threat was spun, but Syria quickly defused it by agreeing to allow American contractors to destroy its chemical stockpiles, thus eliminating a major worry for Israel. Yet even after this, the “gassed his own people” ruse was tried twice! This mostly failed, then frustrated Jihadists began fighting among themselves and abusing civilians causing more complications.

    The solution was to promise Turkey part of the prize. The 1922 French colonial map is pictured above, and provides a rough idea of this secret agreement. Turkey would reclaim its old Aleppo province while Israel reclaimed the two southern provinces, both to be called “security zones” that would be eventually absorbed. To speed this process and limit bloodshed, Assad and his Alawite officer army would be allowed to withdraw to their coastal homeland province as the result of a Geneva “peace” conference that American Neocons are demanding.

    Syria was carved out of Turkey’s old Ottoman empire by the French in 1918. The British and French had seized vast oil fields from the defeated Ottoman Empire after World War I. The French quickly built a pipeline to pump oil from fields in Eastern Syria to ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey has always demanded a return of these oil fields.

    To assist with this partition plan, Turkey opened its borders to supplies for the Jihadists and organized its own militias to reclaim northern Syria. Turkish military units moved across the border and set up advance bases “to thwart terrorists” and Turkey began publishing its new map with borders expanded into Syria and Iraq over two years ago. All this oil wealth would allow Turkey to reemerge as the major military power in the Middle East.

    All was going well until the Russians showed up. Syria had formally requested UN member assistance to repel foreign aggression, and Russia and Iran responded as required by the UN Charter. This was a big surprise and resulted in a rapid reversal on the battlefield. The Russians infuriated Turkey by bombing “rebel” oil tankers that were openly hauling stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil to Turkey, and a Turkish General ordered the shoot down of a Russian fighter.

    Turkey and much of Europe rely on oil and natural gas pipelines that flow through Turkey. The Russians let Turkey know their Syrian conquest would not be allowed, and any further provocations would result in the destruction of these pipelines just outside Turkey’s borders. Turkey told the Axis of Evil that it would do no more so long as the Russians remained in Syria. The Axis of Evil promised to protect Turkey and ordered it to resume pushing forces southward. Turkey refused because the partition plan had become a bloody mess that caused over three million refugees to flood Turkey and it was not worth risking nuclear war. This displeased the Axis of Evil, which implemented another contingency plan; a military coup in Turkey! However, the Russians learned of the plan and tipped off the Turkish President.

    As a result, another plan was devised. Israel would expand its covert Druze militias in Southern Syria and provide occasional air support. American troops would illegally move into Eastern Syria to contain the advancing Syrian army and build up a Kurdish Army to continue the fight. In return, the Axis of Evil would support Kurdish dreams of a large nation that included most of northern Syria. This infuriated the Turks, so they recently cut a deal with the Russians. They will now crush the Kurds, and this attack started this week.

    We have some 4000 American troops scattered around Eastern Syria for no sane reason, surrounded by a million Syrian/Turk/Russian/Iranian/Iraqi soldiers who don’t want them there. The American allied Turks disobeyed Neocon orders and began invading Syria to crush the American backed Kurds who are invading Syria. This is like one of those old British colonial movies where good soldiers are left to die at desolate outposts. America’s NATO allies do not support this illegal plan for conquest, and it may result in a “Suez Crisis” explained in the first blog post of this year. American troops may be forced to retreat from Syria and even Iraq, whose Shiite government feels threatened by the Kurds and is allied with Iran and now Turkey.

    • Replies: @gT
  5. Ironically, former president Barack Obama foolishly authorized America’s effort to overthrow Syria’s Assad government under the guise of a phony civil war.
    Impressive Stuff Margolis.
    In one sentence, you manage to completely minimize the Deep State AND Israel’s creation of and support for ISIS. Supposedly, it was a fundamentalist terror group BUT all they seemed to do was attack ASSAD and leave Israel and the Great Satan, America, alone.
    YOU ARE A CIA STOOGE Margolis. I hope selling your soul for some silver was worth it you dried up lying hack.
    I guess Trump should ‘tread carefully’ or what? You’ll give him a bad ‘review’. Go lick your master’s boots you liar. I hear Jacob rothschild likes to fondle the occasional adult, maybe you’ll get lucky.

  6. Miro23 says:

    Even Trump knows how important Turkey is to the NATO alliance. A rupture between Washington and Ankara could see the vital US bases at Incirlik and Adana thrown out of Turkey. That’s why Trump needs to tread carefully.

    Vital for what? Much better to let the US clear out of the region.

    As a point of interest, the US Deep State sponsored Gulenist coup (against democratically elected NATO ally Erdogan) was centered on Incirlik airbase , with the Gulenists flying sorties against Turkish government targets while the US military at the base studiously looked the other way.

  7. The Kurds sometimes appear to be world leading fantacists.
    It appears that they may have actually believed that they would be allowed to carve out a defacto statelete from bits of Nth Syria. Turkey would naturally ignore the YPG using this little state as a means of pushing their terrorist activities against Turkey.
    But, of course, the Kurds have a right to confidence, what with having a gold plated guarantee from it’s US allies (LOL).
    Had the Kurds used their time & position wisely they would have been in serious negotiations with the Legitimate government of Syria & their Russian allies, to create a Kurdish area, under the rule of Syrian law, but with a certain amount of local Kurdish autonomy.
    However, now, instead, they have a Turkish wrecking ball swooshing their way.

    • Agree: Rabbitnexus
  8. gT says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    The US depends on air power, once Turkey got its s-400’s the US ceased to be a concern so Turkey could move on North Eastern Syria. The US had to withdraw its troops because Turkey isn’t scared of engaging US forces on land near Turkey’s border, knowing also that it would then get lots of support because everyone non Western or Saudi Arabian wants to see US forces being attacked to see if the US now has any substance, besides nuclear, behind them.

    However Turkey is crazy, they might be able to steal some parts of North East Syria, and not all the oil rich parts at that. But to steal some parts of Iraq? Thats madness. Iraq won’t willingly give up part of its territory and Iran is right next door. Turkey might finds it hands full with a united Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and all of this so close to Russian.

    Most of the 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are ISIS supporters, Turkey should return them to Syria so that the Syrian Arab Army can deal with them.

  9. barr says:

    Israelis, Europeans take to streets to protest Turkish assault on Kurds
    Several hundred demonstrate in Jerusalem; tens of thousands hold protests in Paris and elsewhere, accusing Erdogan of terrorism

    Times of Israel and AFP

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. Mulegino1 says:

    The Kurdish leadership brought this disaster down upon itself by its meretriciousness and insatiable lust for land belonging to others. In this respect, it is quite similar to the Zionist land thieves, but lacking the latter’s international extortion and blackmail capacity does not enjoy a thousandth of their influence in the councils of government or in the mainstream media.

  11. ANON[117] • Disclaimer says:

    the best way to help Israel is to help the rebellion in Syria that has now lasted for more than a year” (i.e. from 2011). How? By mounting the case that the use of force is a sina qua non to make Bashar Assad fold, so as to endanger his life and that of his family”. And Clinton concludes: “wrecking Assad would not only be a huge advantage for the security of the State of Israel, but would also go a long way to reducing Israel’s justifiable fear that it will lose its nuclear monopoly”

    Wikileaks Clinton emails.

  12. barr says:

    Are these same Kurds gassed by Churchill in the Iraqi mountains?

  13. Anonymous[133] • Disclaimer says:

    Some unrest a few days back in Liège, Belgium when Kurds protested and pro-government/far right Turks also came out. About a hundred of the former, thirty to forty of the latter. One person hospitalised.

  14. anonymous1963 [AKA "anon19"] says:

    Time to end the NATO alliance.

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