Regional catastrophe

Regional catastrophe

The tall, bold, bald and ever angry man was boasting on the screen how, under his administration, his country had earned international praise for being a country of magnificent principles and high ideals rather than of being one that pursues its own interests. With his imam look, glaring eyes and bass voice, he was explaining how under his leadership, Turkey had become the voice of the voiceless, the hope of the hopeless and a loyal ally of the desolate…

“It won’t be enough,” he roared at the plans of American President Hussein Barrack Obama to order a “surgical” aerial punishment of Syria’s “cruel dictator,” Basher al-Assad. The punishment must be one strong enough to serve as deterrent for those who might intend to use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) on their own populations… According to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since the United Nations Security Council was maimed and rendered ineffective by Russia and China, a coalition of the willing will have the legitimacy to punish the Syria regime.

The Turkish Parliament, of course, has the right to proclaim war against the country after the absolute ruler deemed it appropriate. The government has the sufficient majority in Parliament. Last year, Parliament authorized the government “to strike back” should Syria violated Turkish sovereignty in any way. That authorization is still valid, though its scope should be enhanced if the high, bold and bald man wanted to have a wide-scale punitive offensive on Syria. Such a move by Turkey will be a unilateral undertaking and indeed a war.

Irrespective of whether the Turkish premier likes it or not, for international legitimacy, however, one must obtain a U.N. mandate. Since that appears to be impossible because of Russia and China, should al-Assad be allowed to get away with the crimes his regime has committed? First of all, the U.N. investigators have not yet issued their report. Since their mandate did not include identifying who used the deadly agents but whether they were used, perhaps we will never learn who indeed fired those WMDs. No one can say for sure that the al-Assad regime did not use those weapons, but cannot sit back and comfortably claim that the opposition forces did not use them either. Indeed, in order to pull Turkey, U.S. and the rest of the West into the Syria quicksand, perhaps the opposition resorted to such a heinous plot.

But how did it happen that a government which until yesterday was boasting of its “precious isolation” and accusing the rest of the international community of pursuing their interests, not their ideals like Turkey, is now talking of being admired by the international community? Has Turkey woken up to the White House statement that Obama would of course take the decision that would serve best the American interests or the vote at the British House of Commons that told the pro-war government to hush up and sit down.

Either way, even the terrorists up on the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq issued a stern warning this weekend. Irrespective of whether the U.S. and its coalition of the willing alone or the U.S. and the Russians together attack Syria, the civil war will transform itself into a regional war encompassing Iraq, Arabs and of course Turkey – if it doesn’t become a global one in the process…

Yes, the terrorist chieftains are up in the mountains, but they are not cut off from reality as much as some other people in Ankara, and see in all the bitterness the probable catastrophe looming at the other end of the Syria intervention tunnel.