Al-Assad is no dove, but…
There is jubilation in the Turkish government and its devoted army of academics and strategists. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has finally publicly declared that “beyond doubt” chemical weapons were used in Syria by government forces. What does that mean? Since the use of chemical weapons was the “red-line” of the Americans, the time is probably for an operation on Syria by a “coalition of the willing” should the Russians and the Chinese continue blocking a Security Council mandate.
France and Britain have already declared their readiness to take action, while some 30 countries are already discussing how to punish the use of chemical weapons. Needless to say, the Turks put on war uniforms the day Ankara’s absolute ruler decided to cut all contacts with his former brother Basher al-Assad and produced an enemy from him almost two years ago. Since the Americans have joined the bandwagon, with or without U.N. mandate, the “punish evil” theater may open its curtains for an updated premiere…
Well, what the U.S. say or even tell the U.N. Security Council may not necessarily reflect the truth. Those who may disagree must look at what former Secretary of State Colin Powell had told the U.N. council on Iraq weapons of mass destruction. Did the U.S. find any WMD in Iraq after that country was flattened and pushed into a civil war?
Assad might have proved repeatedly what a beast he was and indeed his capability of resorting to the wildest methods just for the sake of remaining afloat. But who bothers anyhow with the question of why Assad would use chemical weapons and trigger being punished by an international coalition? Even the Kurdish extension of a separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang said perhaps chemical bombardment was carried out by the rebels who placed the responsibility on Assad. The Islamist-fundamentalist dominated Syrian opposition has repeatedly proved with its cold-blooded atrocities that it is more mendacious and horrendous than the al-Assad regime. What if the U.N. investigators conclude it was the opposition that was responsible for the heinous bombarding? Would anyone then talk of punishing the opposition and those who are providing all sorts of support – including arms – to those barbaric groups?
Obviously there cannot be a land war. Most probably from the American fleet deployed in the eastern Mediterranean, the American base at Incirlik, Turkey and the sovereign British bases on Cyprus – where for the past few days intense activity has been reported by both Turkish and Greek Cypriot friends – there will be an aerial bombing of selective targets. In any case Russia will not let the Security Council endorse such an operation thus most likely it will be a NATO operation. Anyhow, in the absence of a formal declaration of war by parliament for Turkey to join in there is need for either UN mandate or a NATO decision otherwise Turkish involvement would be a serious constitutional crime.
What will be the day after when Americans and other NATO allies go and leave us in this neighborhood with the bitter realities? Will the Syrian civil war be over with an intervention? Will al-Assad simply pack and go? Or will there be a surge in the civil war which I am afraid will gain the dimensions of a regional war if not a global one.
Al-Assad is no dove. Nor are his opponents. Use of chemical arms cannot be allowed. Yet, what’s our interest in a war? Will war help improve the lost value of the lira? Or would war help the Turkish premier rebuild his tarnished “democratic leader” image? What’s in it for us?