Turkey sent to Iraqi Kurdistan – which is part of
the state of Iraq - no less than a 400-strong battalion
supported by 25 M-60A3 tanks. Now the Turkish boots on the
ground at Bashiqa camp, northeast of Mosul, have reportedly
reached a total of around 600.
breakdown: this is not a “training camp”- as Ankara is
spinning. It’s a full-blown, perhaps permanent, military base.
The dodgy deal was struck between the
ultra-corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and
then-Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu in Erbil last
Torrents of Turkish spin swear this is only
about “training” Peshmergas to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
Absolute nonsense. The crucial fact is that
Ankara is terrified of the “4+1” alliance fighting
Islamic State, which unites Iran, Iraqi Shiites and the Syrian
Arab Army (SAA), as well as Hezbollah, with Russia.
In Syria, Ankara is virtually paralyzed, after
the “stab in the back” downing of
the Su-24; the Russian revelations of complicity between
Turkey’s first family and stolen Syrian oil (Bilal Erdogan,
a.k.a. Erdogan ‘Mini Me’, denies everything);
and the Russian Air Force relentless pounding of Turkey’s fifth
column Turkmen. Not to mention the deployment of S-400s and even
a third-generation submarine complete
with Kalibr cruise missiles.
So Ankara now switches the attention to Iraq
with a “counter-alliance”, made up of Turkey; the KRG
(which – illegally – sells oil to Turkey); and Sunnis in
northern Iraq under the supposed leadership of the sprawling
Nuceyfi tribe in Mosul.
This is textbook neo-Ottomanism in action. We
should never forget that for the AKP in power in Ankara,
northern Syria and northern Iraq are nothing but former Ottoman
Empire provinces, an eastward extension of Turkey’s Hatay
province. ‘Sultan’ Erdogan’s (unstated) wet dream is to
annex the whole lot.
Meanwhile, Daesh still controls Mosul. But
Iraqi Sunnis – as well as the Iraqi Army - are slowly setting up
So what Ankara wants with this military base
close to Mosul is to be part of the game, coupled with two “invisible” agendas;
protect their fifth-column Turkmen, wherever they are, and
having more boots on the ground to fight – what else – PKK Kurds
taking refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan.
whole rationale is that Baghdad does not rule northern Iraq
anymore (he’s got a point). But the problem, for Ankara, is that
the real powers in the region may turn out to be Shiites and the
PKK (that’s far-fetched; but that’s Erdogan thinking.)
has extremely close business deals with the KRG’s ‘Mobster-in-Chief’,
Massoud Barzani – as in the oil exporting deal which, illegally,
bypasses Baghdad. Barzani, predictably, has no problems with
Turkish military designs; after all “his” oil is paid for by the
As for the clincher, follow geopolitical ace
Mick Jagger: it’s a gas, gas, gas.
Ankara’s move plays straight into the
ultimate ‘Pipelineistan’ war;
the clash between two competing gas pipelines, Qatar-Saudi
Arabia-Jordan-Syria-Turkey, or Iran-Iraq-Syria, at the heart of
the Syrian tragedy.
Erdogan’s paranoia that Russia may cut off gas
supplies to Turkey after the downing of the Su-24 – something
that Gazprom simply won’t do – has led Ankara, in desperation,
to force Baghdad, mob-style, to “accept” a
Qatar gas pipeline crossing Iraqi, not Syrian territory.
Needless to add this far-fetched scheme is an
absolute no-go for Baghdad, which is part of the “4+1”
alliance. Moreover, expect Iran – and Russia – to go no holds
barred exploiting divisions among the notoriously divisive Kurds
to bomb Erdogan’s elaborate plans.
Erdogan’s bottom line is quite something; he
is aiming for no less than an Iraqi ‘Sunnistan’ –
jointly managed by the ultra-corrupt KRG and assorted Sunnis,
but under Turkish security arrangements. As if Washington and
Tel-Aviv would let him get away with that.
The fact is that at least for the moment,
while his game in Syria may be going down the drain, Erdogan has
decided to change the subject and turbo-charge his strategy for
breaking up Iraq.
And that brings up the question, once again,
of how Daesh was able last year to conquer Mosul – the second
city in Iraq - without a fight. And this after their notorious
convoy of gleaming white Toyotas crossing the desert from Syria
to Iraq managed to evade detection by the most sophisticated
satellite surveillance system in the history of the Universe.
Regarding the mystery, persistent intel
rumblings across the Middle East and among the “4+1”
coalition are bound to turn into a volcano.
According to the rumblings, the official -
Pentagon - narrative that the Iraqi Army supposed to fight
Islamic State in Mosul last year got scared and simply ran away
is a myth.
As we know, the Iraqi Army, trained by the
Pentagon, left behind a wealth of tanks and heavy weapons duly
captured by IS. And IS couldn’t be luckier in collecting this
The new narrative rules that the Pentagon
deliberately “instructed” the Iraqi Army to run away,
as a sort of tactical retreat, leaving behind all that fabulous
So what we have here is the Pentagon fully
protected by plausible deniability.
And Islamic State duly weaponized as a
proxy/regime change army in Syria. A perfect chaos-provoking
tool aligned with the strategic objective of the ‘Empire of
Chaos’ in Syria. Which, by the way, does include, in the absence
of full regime change, the formation of a ‘Sunnistan’
in Syria as well.
Oh, but the Pentagon would never engage in
such practices, would they?