Imagine Russian intel surveying the geopolitical
A Russian passenger jet is bombed by an
affiliate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. A Russian fighter jet is ambushed
and downed by Turkey; here is a partial yet credible
scenario of how it may have happened.
Ukrainian right-wing goons sabotage the
Crimean electricity supply. A Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor -
an important outpost against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in eastern Syria –
by the US-led Coalition of the Dodgy Opportunists (CDO). The
Ukraine’s debt to Russia as it joins, de facto, Cold War 2.0.
And this is just a shortlist.
This is a logical progression. The NATO-GCC
compound in Syria is devoured by angst. Russia’s entry into the
Syrian war theater – a proxy war, not a civil war – threw all
elaborate, downright criminal regime change plans into disarray.
If the US-led CDO were really committed to
fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, they would be working side by side
with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), not bombing it or trying to
And they would be actively trying to shut down
the key Turkey-Syria crossroads - the Jarablus corridor which is
in fact a 24/7 Jihadi Highway.
NATO’s game in Syria wallows in slippery
ambiguity. Discussions with dissident EU diplomats in Brussels,
not necessarily NATO vassals, reveal a counter-narrative of how
the Pentagon clearly mapped out the Russian strategy; how they
interpreted Russian forces to be relatively isolated; and how
they decided to allow Ankara under Sultan Erdogan to go wild - a
perfect tool offering plausible deniability.
Which brings us back to the downing of the
Su-24. Venturing one step further, Russian expert Alexei Leonkov maintains
that not only did NATO follow the whole operation with an AWACS,
but another AWACS from Saudi Arabia actually guided the Turkish
The F-16s are incapable of launching
air-to-air missiles without guidance from AWACS. Both Russian
and Syrian data – which can be independently verified – place
the American and the Saudi AWACS in the area at the time. And to
top it off, the detailed US-Turkey deal on the F-16s stipulates
permission is mandatory for deploying the jets against a third
All this suggests an extremely serious
possibility; a direct NATO-GCC op against Russia, which may be
further clarified by the Su-24’s recovered black box.
As if this was not enough to raise multiple
eyebrows, it could mean just the first move in an expanding
chessboard. The final target: to keep Russia away from the
But that won’t happen for a number of reasons
– not least the Russian deployment of the ultra-lethal S-400s.
The Turkish Air Force is so scared that everything – even owls
and vultures – is grounded across the border.
Meanwhile, the Humint component is being
boosted; more Western boots on the ground, Germans included,
branded as mere “advisers” – which, if deployed to the
battlefield, may inevitably clash with the SAA. To mold public
opinion, the humanitarian bombing faction of German
neoliberalcons is already spinning the tale that Assad is the
real enemy, not ISISI/SIL/Daesh. Finally, the Germans have made
it clear they won’t work alongside Russia and the SAA, but
responding to Centcom in Florida and the CDO HQ in Kuwait.
The NATO master plan for northern Syria in the
next few weeks and months essentially features US, UK and Turkey
fighter jets, with the French still in the balance (are we de
facto collaborating with the Russians, or is it just posture?)
This is being sold to global public opinion as a “coalition”
effort – with Russia barely mentioned.
The master plan, under the cover of bombing
the fake “Caliphate” lair in Raqqa, would ideally open the way
to a de facto, Erdogan-concocted “safe zone” across the
Jarablus corridor, which in reality is a no-fly zone able to
harbor a gaggle of “moderate rebels”, a.k.a. hardcore
Salafi-jihadis of the al-Nusra kind.
In parallel, expect a torrent of Turkish spin
centered on “protecting” the Turkmen minority in
northern Syria, actually Turkey’s fifth column, heavily
infiltrated by Islamo-fascists of the Grey Wolves kind. It
started with Ankara accusing Moscow of “ethnic cleansing”.
Erdogan will go no holds barred appealing even for R2P (“responsibility
to protect” NATO liberation, Libyan-style.)
And here’s where NATO is totally in sync with
Ankara; after all, a “safe zone” protected by NATO
crammed with “moderate rebels” is the perfect tool to
turbo-charge the breakup of the Syrian state.
NATO’s Syria intervention is of course
UN Security Council resolution 2249 does not
fall under Chapter 7 of the UN charter. Yet once again creative
language – French-style rhetorical artifice - blurs the
non-justification of military might by conveying the impression
the UNSC approves it.
And that’s exactly how David of Arabia Cameron
interpreted it. Obfuscation is inbuilt in the process, with
London pledging to work side by side with Moscow.
Resolution 2249 is yet another case of
international law reduced to rubble. For these – sporadic - UK
and French air strikes, covered by the pretext of hitting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh,
were never authorized by Damascus, and the UNSC was not even
consulted. Russia, on the other hand, has been fully authorized
On top of this, the CDO is no coalition of 60
or 65 countries, as the Obama administration is frantically
spinning. They are actually a gang of seven: Germany, France,
UK, US, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In a nutshell; a
pared-down-to-the-bone NATO-GCC compound.
Who’s actually fighting the fake “Caliphate”
on the ground are the SAA; Hezbollah; Iraqi Shi’ites under
Iranian advisers; and outside of the “4+1” alliance (Russia,
Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah) a coalition of the Kurdish
People's Protection Units (YPG) and smaller Arab and Christian
militias, now united under a political umbrella, the Syrian
Democratic Council, which Ankara predictably abhors.
Ankara provocations won’t stop – including
“creative” ways of denying the passage of “Syrian Express”
Russian ships through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles without
violating the Montreux Convention.
So NATO’s “new” master plan, twisting
and turning, still slouches towards the prime objective:
“liberating”, Libya-style, northern Syria and allow it to
be occupied either by “moderate rebels” or in the worst case
scenario Syrian Kurds, which in theory would be easily
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh would be in this case
“contained” (Obama administration lingo) not in eastern
Syria but actually expelled to the Iraqi western desert, where
they would solidify a Sunnistan. Erdogan also badly wants a
Sunnistan, but his version is even more ambitious, including
This is all happening while a gaggle of Syrian
“moderate” rebels met – of all places - in Wahhabi/Salafi-Jihadi
Central Riyadh to choose a delegation of 42 people to
“select the negotiators” of future Syrian peace talks.
Once again they agreed “Assad must go”
even during the transition process. And that “foreign
forces” must leave Syria. Obviously that excludes the
tsunami of mercenaries paid and weaponized by Riyadh alongside
Doha and Ankara.
Any sound mind would ask how the House of Saud
gets away with it: choosing who is a “moderate” in a
nation they are heavily involved in destabilizing. Simple:
because Riyadh owns a gaggle of US lobbyists and handsomely
rewards PR gurus such as Edelman, the largest privately owned PR
agency on the planet.
And not by accident, the Syrian Democratic
Council was not invited to go to Riyadh.
The die is cast. Whatever Ankara - under the
cover of NATO – may be concocting to prevent the “4+1” from
advancing on the ground in Syria, the writing is on the (lethal)
wall. It may come embedded in cruise missiles delivered by the
Caspian Fleet or delivered by submarines. And it will follow to
the letter what President Putin himself told the Defense
"I order you to act extremely tough. Any
targets that threaten Russian forces or our infrastructure on
the ground should be immediately destroyed."
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical
analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a
frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging
from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent
for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign
correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan,
Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11
he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to
Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics
and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red
Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire
of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book
is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.