And Here’s The Top 10 Terrorist List
By Pepe Escobar
November 15, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Asia
Times" - They might as well have hauled
David Letterman from retirement to do it.
Episode two of the Vienna charade – sorry, the Syrian
peace talks – this Saturday comes with a show biz package; all
20 players on the table are supposed to come up with a definitive
Syria terrorist list. As in who gets a seat to talk about
prospective Syria unity in the future, and who qualifies for being
This is inbuilt – Chinese box-style – in a truly
surrealist ploy; a purported Syria peace plan that should include a
ceasefire between Damascus and some “opposition groups.” As if ISIS/ISIL/Daesh
goon squads would respect any ceasefire.
So imagine the frenzy at that Viennese table. One
man’s jihadi is another man’s “freedom fighter.” Not to mention that
according to the Beltway ethos, anyone subscribing to “Assad must
go” is a “moderate rebel.”
The usual suspects – US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia,
Qatar – have unsurprisingly pre-empted the move, fiercely defending
their (moderate) Rebels With a Cause. These are the ones that would
respect democratic elections in Syria; respect other religious
groups; would be willing to negotiate with anybody; would respect a
ceasefire, de-weaponize and abide by the political transition; and
would never engage in global jihad. All of the above, of course, if
you take them at face value.
Sultan Erdogan, “moderate rebel” pin-up
Turkish Sultan Erdogan is the undisputed protector
saint of “moderate rebels.” So let’s see how some outfits praised
his recent electoral landslide.
What passes for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) sent
congratulations. Same for Khaled Khoja, chairman of the National
Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
The Army of Conquest, which groups all sorts of
goons, from hardcore jihadis to discreet Salafis, and is heavily
weaponized via Saudi money said, “We are ardently awaiting the day
of Assad’s collapse and the building of brotherhood bridges between
the people of Turkey and Syrians.”
The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood –
totally supported by the ruling AKP, not to mention Qatar –
predictably praised the AKP and “the Turkish people.”
All in all, around 15 opposition outfits hailed
the Sultan. These will definitely not make the Top Ten terrorist
But Vienna, we got a problem. Many, if not the
majority of these outfits, are striking “non-hostility pacts” with
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Daesh will lead the terrorist list. In fact it may
be THE terrorist list itself; Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in
Syria, are regarded as “moderate rebels” by Washington. What gives?
Meanwhile, as reported by Lebanon’s Al
Mayadeen, US military advisors are already training “moderate
rebels” near Salma, in Latakia province, very close to Russia’s air
For his part Muhammad Bazarbashi, the leader of
the Army of Damascus outfit (3,000 fighters north of Aleppo), told
the Anatolian News Agency they are ready to help Ankara fight PKK/PYD
Kurds in Syria. Compare it with the fact PKK/PYD are side-by-side
with the Americans in the fight to liberate Sinjar in Iraq.
So expect NATO member Turkey to forcefully defend
outfits such as these in Vienna – even if they go against American
Bets can be made that Sultan Erdogan, now on a
full-fledged ego trip, won’t admit his “strategy” in Syria is in
tatters. Even the ultimately demented option – the Turkish Army
invading northern Syria – is not out of the cards. Turkish Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu – who buried his own “zero problems with
our neighbors” policy – is now frantically spinning Turkey would
join a hypothetical “coalition ground operation” targeting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh,
with Washington leading from behind.
Despair, or read Shelley
Ankara is planning by itself to send no less than
10,700 soldiers to invade northern Syria 46 kilometers deep in
mid-December to allegedly fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The real target
would not be ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, of course; but PKK/PYD Kurds. And
ultimately, that would pit Turkey directly against the “4+1”
(Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah).
Neglecting all setbacks so far, Erdogan has not
given up on his pet “buffer zone” north of Aleppo. That would be
Erdogan’s “gift” to the EU: “solving” the refugee crisis via 17
security zones, 11 logistics bases and 6 refugee camps. Inside
This is arguably Erdogan’s pièce de résistance
at the G20 summit in Antalya starting this weekend. After unveiling
the cake, he will pass the hat around the Big Table; after all he
needs the cash to buy it. Russia, of course, reserves the right to
smash the cake in the Sultan’s face.
Selected sound minds in the Pentagon – they do
exist — must have been forced to admit that facing the recent
advances of “4+1”, Erdogan’s dream is now a no-go.
Or not. Take this hallucinatory,
straight from the Cheney regime-era spin that the US needs boots
on the ground to “occupy” and even “govern” parts of Syria.
Vienna and Antalya may end up with a certified
terrorist list of One (the fake “Caliphate”) and a check for the
invasion of northern Syria.
The rest of us may find consolation in
Shelley’s long-lost 1811
poem – composed when he was a 18-year-old student at Oxford –
just acquired by the Bodleian Library, where he writes about “cold
advisers of yet colder kings” and political leaders who lend “to
each smooth rogue a courtier’s smile.”
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