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NURAY MERT

NURAY MERT >Victory for the liberal warmongers

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Liberal warmongers lost the last U.S. election but have won the day! Finally, they have managed to get someone to strike Syria.That is not to say that President Donald Trump is a man of peace. Besides, his foreign policy vision is full of contradictions; on one hand, he promised no more U.S. military engagement and seemed to be pursuing non-confrontational relations with Russia, but on the other, he opposed the nuclear deal with Iran and sought a closer alliance with the Sunni powers and Israel. Nevertheless, he did not seem eager to engage in military intervention and regime change in Syria until last week, but he has finally been cornered by the interventionist league. 

Even the United Nations declared that it is not clear who was responsible for an apparent chemical weapons attack last week, and there is no clear evidence of what really happened. There is also no effort to conduct an international investigation, but the U.S. and all the Western powers quickly concluded that it was a chemical attack by Syrian regime forces in Idlib. One does not need to be conspiracy-minded to be skeptical about the U.S./Western pretexts for military interventions, especially after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, let alone the various hoaxes during the Cold War.  

Once again, warmongers are shameless and strange bed fellows. The leader of the U.S. liberal warmongers, Hillary Clinton, is one who does not seem to feel any regret and shame about how her interventionist policy ended up in Libya, just as Tony Blair managed to reinvent himself as a Middle East peace envoy after causing a major catastrophe in Iraq. Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen, is now among the moral leaders for the punishment of the Syrian regime. The Gulf emirates, the holders of atrocious human rights records whose hands have also been bloodied in the Syrian civil war, are constant provocateurs for Western intervention against Syria, an Iranian proxy. 

But the most interesting actors in this camp are the radical Islamist groups opposing the Bashar al-Assad regime, which did not hesitate to celebrate the U.S. missile attack. In fact, the hypocrisy of the Syrian Islamist opposition is nothing new; these so-called anti-Zionist/anti-imperialist zealots have been begging for Western intervention against al-Assad from the beginning. It may seem paradoxical for the anti-Semitic Arab regimes and their proxy Sunni Islamists to walk hand in hand with the current super right-wing Israeli government, but they always find a way to whitewash their hypocrisy as political pragmatism. Worse is the fact that they are using the policy of inflaming sectarianism in order to legitimize their hypocrisy. For that reason, they define the core of the conflict as “the war between Islamic Orthodoxy and heresy” which is portrayed as a more important cause than anything else. As for Western powers, we are witnessing a similar hypocrisy in that as they pretend to fight against radical Islamist violence, they do not hesitate to ally themselves with “the philosopher kings and emirs” of radical Islamism if it suits their mundane interests. 

Finally, Turkey’s rulers were the first to welcome the U.S. strike against Syria, even though they were fostering anti-Westernism in the name of challenging the imperialists until just last week. Their hope for a major role in Middle Eastern affairs must have been revived by the recent shift of U.S. policy in Syria. I, personally do not think that Turkey’s role will grow even if U.S. policy shifts in favor of the anti-Iranian Sunni alliance. After all, the Saudis announced the appointment of a Pakistani general, Raheel Sharif, in January, to lead the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance (which was announced in December 2015). 

But despite the enthusiasm of Turkey’s rulers for a military engagement in the Middle East, even Turkey’s best allies are not eager to include the country in any major mission. Recently, in spite of Turkey’s eagerness to participate in a military operation on Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, Turkey has been sidelined by all actors in the regional game with the exception of the futile efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Massoud Barzani.

April/10/2017

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