‘Al-ISIL’ and ‘al-Russia’

‘Al-ISIL’ and ‘al-Russia’

Finally, somebody has told the plain truth as it is. That person was Professor Beril Dedeoğlu, an international relations professor and the EU minister in Turkey’s pre-election government. 

“Russia will be the captain of restructuring Syria, with or without Bashar al-Assad,” Dedeoğlu recently told Al Jazeera. This means the mighty NATO is leaving the organizing role to Russia.  

“The dominant player will be Russia. If only the U.S. had not changed its policies four times, if only it had decided on whom to support and how. Russia has surpassed this indecisiveness with a clear policy. This is quite a risky development,” she added. 

How was it possible for Russia to overtake the U.S., to rule out NATO, and to neutralize Turkey, seizing the business of organizing Syria? Dedeoğlu believes that what opened the sealed doors for Russia was a picklock named the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Using its Arabic name Daesh, she described it as “an assembled organization, not a spontaneous formation.”

The aim of the power that constructed this mechanism, according to her, was “to invite both NATO and Russia to Syria and Iraq. This was achieved through Daesh. Everyone accepted the invitation and is now there with their weapons.”

So will Russia become the commander of the solution table for Syria? On the homestretch of the civil war, was Turkey tripped up by Moscow? Were we disqualified from the power game as a consequence of the plane crisis? 

When Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his hope that nuclear warheads would not be needed to deal with terrorists, was he actually threatening ISIL or was the message for NATO?

When Putin ordered his commanders to “immediately destroy” any threat to Russian forces in Syria, was he showing his own public how hurt he was and how sensitive he has become over the downed plane? Or is this an example of how he has blatantly abused the downing of the plane to establish his military supremacy in Syria? Has he used the incident as a fait accompli?
Other actors are discussing whatever Putin wants them to discuss. A Russian warship made a show as it passed through the Bosphorus with a soldier carrying a missile on his shoulder on the deck; our fishing vessels have had adventures with Russian frigates… 

What is locking the U.S. and the Europeans is the newly invented ISIL is a better creation than a Matryoshka doll. It has become a tool for populism in U.S. politics, an instrument to attract right-wing voters in election campaigns. 

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham recently said that “everything that starts with ‘al’ in the Middle East is bad news.” He was focused on the “al” of al-Qaeda and the “al” of al-Nusra, but because the Russian plot is not prefixed with “al,” he is absolutely not interested. Only if it is called “al-Russia” will it draw attention.

Donald Trump is another one of the contestants who use ISIL as material for domestic consumption. Without Trump or ISIL, nobody would have kept the agenda busy by pledging to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. Meanwhile, since the Paris massacre, the eyes of France, Germany and the U.K. have not been able to see anything other than fighting ISIL terrorism…

Let’s go back to Professor Dedeoğlu. She said superiority in the combat zone has passed to Russia. It seems that Russia’s most distinctive advantage is that its name is not prefixed with “al.” But if one side was called “al-ISIL” and the other was called “al-Russia,” would it still be meaningful to ask which one you would choose if you were forced to do so?