The risks posed by the contradictory US policy in Syria does not only affect the Syrian and Arab nations, but has also spread to threaten Turkey as well. The US continues to deceive the Syrians since the start of the revolution, four years and 11 months ago, and it allowed Bashar Al-Assad, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Lebanon’s Hezbollah to kill over half a million Syrians and displace millions to neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, the US claims that Al-Assad lost his legitimacy and must leave, however, it seems that half a million Syrians is still not enough, in the eyes of the US policy, to end Bashar Al-Assad’s rule and end the suffering of the Syrian people.
There is no doubt that the American political administration and the European, Israeli and Russian governments were surprised by Iran’s sectarian boldness and its massacres, murders and crimes that reach the level of genocide against the Syrian people. They were surprised by the magnitude of these crimes, as well as the hatred and revenge. The surprise lies in the fact that the victims are the Syrian people, who are Arabs and Muslims, i.e. who believe in the same religious and Islamic beliefs that the Iranian leadership claims to believe in; they are from the same nation, i.e. the Muslim nation, so how can the Iranian leadership and its armed Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iraqi, etc. militias commit such massacres against their brethren by religion and fellow members of the Muslim nation?
This Iranian surprise was a tragedy for the entire Muslim nation, and the Arab and Muslim countries are unsure of how to deal with it without making it worse. A direct military intervention in Syria to prevent Iran’s attacks may cause more deaths and pushes the Muslim nation into international wars against each other. Meanwhile, given its international level, Turkey tried to advise the sectarian Iranian leadership to change its sectarian policies in Iraq and Syria, but the Iranian leadership did not let up because it believed its policy of killing and terrorism would save its ally, Bashar Al-Assad from falling, and would solidify its alliances in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon forever.
As for the American political and military administrations, they found themselves facing a situation that should not end too quickly given the fact that it is fulfilling American, Israeli and Western strategic goals that are more than anything that could be achieved by the American troops in the Arab and Muslim worlds. This includes the destruction, killings and massacres that, perhaps in the eyes of the West, surpassed the massacres committed during the Crusades and the Inquisition against the Muslims. For the barbaric killings to be carried out at the hands of sectarian Iranian Muslims, which the Western media insists on labelling as Shias, is better for them than the American or Western armies committing these killings. This is because in their eyes, it is a sectarian war between Shias and Sunnis, i.e. a war amongst Muslims in which the West and foreigners are not involved. This makes it seem that the American role is that of resolving Islamic disputes between Shias and Sunnis, and based on this, the American political and military administrations supported the Shia sect, labelling it as a minority.
This American discovery drove it to prolong the sectarian conflict started by Iran in Iraq and Syria. America paved the way for this in Iran by requesting that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh allow the Houthis to control the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a and threaten the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia from the south, just as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is doing east of the Arabian Peninsula and north of Syria and Iraq. America worked with the Iranian leadership, in cooperation with Bashar Al-Assad and Nouri Al-Maliki, to highlight an armed Sunni organisation committing the massacres and crimes against Shias that the official Arab and Muslim Sunni countries refused to do. This is despite the Iranian sectarian violence between 2003 and 2014. This resulted in the creation of Daesh and militarily equipping it with the weapons left by four military units in Mosul, as well as releasing Jihadist prisoners from Iraqi and Syrian prisons to justify America’s inability to reach a military or political solution for the Iraqi and then Syrian crisis under the pretext of a civil and sectarian war between two Islamic parties. This means that the US, by means of its Secretary of State John Kerry played the part of the war messenger between the Muslims and it did not allow anyone to stop the sectarian wars between the Muslims. Instead, America continues to provide reasons to prolong the wars.
Based on this, we must view the contradictory American policies in the Muslim region as America giving priority to its ideological interests. These interests are promoted by US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry and can be summed up as “Islam is the source of evil in the world”. Many American, European, Israeli and Russian research centres and politicians are working on proving this ideology, and therefore are encouraging the sectarian strife between Muslims. Thy are also working on involving as many Islamic states in these civil wars as possible, hence why they are pushing countries affected by Iran’s sectarian fire to participate in the war.
This is what the American administration has been trying to convince Turkey to do for years; it incites Turkey to participate in the sectarian war and has been relentless in doing so because it has become an American strategic goal. This was started by the US inciting Turkey to get involved in the sectarian conflict in Iraq in 2006, when the Shia sectarian killing of Iraqi Muslims was done on the basis of personal identification. Then the Syrian issue occurred, causing the Turks to feel for their fellow Sunni Syrians, as well as other Arab Sunni Muslims, and all other religions and ethnicities, who were suffering injustice merely because Bashar Al-Assad did not want to step down. However, Turkey did not involve itself in the sectarian war in Syria, which the American’s planning had hoped would cause a dispute between Turkey and Iran, because the Turkish government refused to do so, and instead preferred to provide its support to the Syrian people inside of Turkey and Syria, as well as across the world.
The Americans realised this more and more, but the Americans did not grow tired of planning to get Turkey more involved in Syria. Therefore, it decided to fabricate the Daesh problem and accuse Turkey of supporting the organisation in order to embarrass Turkey and get it involved in wars it does not want to be involved in. Turkey did not join the international alliance in its war against Daesh for over a year, but Daesh harassed Turkey and carried out terrorist attacks against it, which raised more suspicions regarding the organisation and who controls it, as it aims to escalate the conflict between Muslims. The Turkish government was wise, as its reactions were limited, thus pushing away violence from its people, but without actually getting involved in any wars that Turkey has no interest in, especially if they are fuelled by hateful sectarian factions. Therefore, we can say that the US failed in making Daesh the reason for Turkey’s participation in the sectarian wars against Muslims.
Finally, as the American plans are relentless in looking for ways to get Turkey involved in the sectarian wars, the US sought to involve the Turkish and Syrian Kurdish parties in terrorist attacks against Turkey. The US bribed the Kurdish parties with Kurdish cantons, or autonomy in Turkey and Syria, just as it did after occupying Iraq in 2003. The Americans also supplied the Democratic Union Party and the People's Protection Units with weapons under the pretext of fighting Daesh. However, if the US really wanted to fight Daesh, it would have eliminated the organisation within weeks, just as it did with the former Iraqi army. It was one of the largest armies in the region, but the US destroyed it because it was serious about destroying it.
America is not currently serious about combatting Daesh, and it is using the organisation to escalate the civil wars between the Muslims under various pretexts. These pretexts include the need for local ground forces to fight Daesh and the need for a Sunni army because the Shia sectarian armies have been unable to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria for over a year. Despite all of this, Turkey continues to refuse to get involved in the wars between Muslims, regardless of the reasons, unless it is in the form of self-defence and the defence of its borders and national security. This is what the Iranians and Kurdish parties that receive their orders from the Qandil Mountains and that America, Russia and Al-Assad are militarily and politically supporting in their attacks on Turkey, need to understand.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s constant insistence on Turkey’s position is a confirmation that Turkey will not back down from its positions and principles with regards to the Syrian issue, and that it will continue to support democracy and diplomacy in Syria, regardless of the sectarian, Russian and terrorist Kurdish parties’ threats. Turkey will not back down from its principles and positions with regards to the Turkish support for the oppressed Syrian nation, and the Turkish government will not stop supporting the goals of the Syrian people in seeking a free and democratic state in Syria.
Erdogan’s expression of his surprise regarding the American position in support of the Democratic Union Party reveals the malicious schemes used by the US as an attempt to involve Turkey in an actual war against the terrorist Kurdish parties in Syria. This is neither in the best interest of the Turks or the Kurds; do the Kurds know this? America’s goal is obvious and its claims of fighting Daesh have become old and tired. America is creating problems for the Kurdish parties in Syria and then involving them in wars, just as it did in Kobani and other areas. It is strange that America labels all Kurdish parties as terrorists but still asks them to fight the terrorist organisation Daesh. This means that America is not concerned by the sectarian labels, regardless of whether they are Shia or Sunni, terrorist or moderate. What the Americans do care about is that the Muslims fight amongst themselves and kill each other. This will save the Americans and Israelis from thinking about wars that are costly to the American treasury, similar to the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 war in Iraq.
The Turkish president announced his military strategy very clearly when he said: “Turkey cannot stand by and watch what is happening close to its borders. People must understand Turkey’s sensitivity in this regard, and those who do not understand Turkey’s position will pay the price dearly. All the measures taken by Turkey are legitimate; Turkey does not back down or surrender in the face of a threat directed at it.”
This Turkish strategy is purely defensive, not sectarian, nationalistic, or ideological, and it must be clear to the Iranians and their Shia sectarian, nationalistic and terrorist Kurdish party supporters. This is because Turkey is aware of the threats the American policies pose to the region, understanding that they are not contradictory because of the Obama administration’s weakness, as some claim, but because the Obama administration is playing the peaceful president, while other politicians in the US State Department and Pentagon are planning to achieve goals to start the clash of civilisations, which the American right-wing policies aimed for since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union over world domination.
Translated from Alkhaleejonline, 18 February 2016.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.