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A spate of atrocities over the past week suggests that the Erdogan regime in Turkey is desperately trying to goad Washington into a wider Syrian war.
Who’s giving the orders here?


(By Finian Cunningham,  SputnikNews) ~ The evidence points to Washington losing control over its regional underlings. That in turn makes the situation all the more volatile and dangerous.

In this fissile situation of rogue regimes going even more rogue, the prospect of an all-out regional and even global war is sharply increased.

It is common to think of the US and its global system of allies and clients as a top-down order. Washington is the executive and the rest are mere minions and vassals, to do as Uncle Sam beckons.


While that is largely correct, the rapidly changing world has seen a precipitous decline in American power, in line with its flagging economy. The US may still be a ferocious military behemoth, but its political leverage is not what it used to be.

This decline in US “soft power” has opened up space for its client regimes to become more uppity.

Syria is perhaps a good window to illustrate the trend. Under the headline:

“Turkey and Saudi Arabia consider Syria intervention”, the London Financial Times reports that: “The US is seeking to rein in its allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia from military action in Syria if a ceasefire planned for today [Friday] in the bloody civil war fails.”

The FT adds: “Despite mounting regional frustration over Washington’s allegedly passive stance on the five-year-old conflict, the Obama administration and other western powers are worried that direct military interventions could lead to an escalation of the conflict and a dangerous clash with Russia.”

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military forces to intervene in Syria, one thing cannot be in doubt. Russia has drawn a red line on the American regime-change project in the Middle East. Washington’s lawlessness stops at Syria, a long-time ally of Moscow.

Secondly, the military firepower that Russia has unleashed has demonstrated to Washington that it cannot afford to tangle with the bear. There’s a good chance the American eagle would end up like a taxidermist’s specimen. Stuffed.

That’s why US Secretary of State John Kerry has been shuttling to arrange a “political process” in Geneva.


What Washington could not achieve by covert military means utilizing myriad terrorist mercenaries – dubbed “moderate rebels” in the Western media – it is trying to achieve by political wrangling. In short, regime change. All in complete violation of Syrian sovereignty and respect for the democratic rights of the Syrian people, not to mention several UN resolutions.

The quandary for Washington is that Syria, Russia and Iran are having none of this diplomatic duplicity. But neither can Washington contemplate the military option, either covertly with its terrorist proxies, or overtly in the form of boots on the ground owing to Russia’s awesome firepower.

This dilemma has led to American passivity, or less charitably impotence, towards the Syrian question. Washington’s regime-change scheming has been check-mated by Russia.

Now, that’s where the reckless vassal regimes are snarling through their muzzles. Turkey’s Erdogan is seeing his Ottoman fantasies being deflated like a flaccid balloon, while the closely related Wahhabi head-choppers in Saudi Arabia are petrified by the rise of Iran and the emergence of Syria and Hezbollah as the true heirs of Arab leadership.

Saudi flag found in a base of terrorists on the outskirts of Aleppo

Saudi flag found in a base of terrorists on the outskirts of Aleppo

NATO member Turkey and partner Saudi Arabia have invested billions of dollars and immense political capital in the criminal regime-change plot against Syria. The Americans may have been the executive force in this imperialist carve up of the Middle East, but Erdogan and the House of Saud were its attack dogs.

Out of their own paranoid sense of self-preservation and twisted Islamist ideologies, Ankara and Riyadh cannot conceive of yielding from the regime-change project.

Washington could perhaps get away with cutting its losses by fudging some kind of apparent face-saving “compromise” with Russia over Syria. Even though Russia and Syria will have emerged vindicated and victorious. But anything short of regime change is an unacceptable defeat for Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

This is why both these American clients are pushing so hard to provoke a wider war in Syria to embroil Washington. It is a measure of how deranged these two clients are that they seem prepared to ignite a global war between the US and Russia in order to satisfy their lust.

Washington may have publicly endorsed the recent Saudi announcement of a regional military “intervention” – more accurately, “invasion” – of Syria. But the signs are that the US is squirming to restrain the Saudis and the Turks from actually sending in troops, as the FT report above indicates.

The thing is that the Saudis and other Persian Gulf Arab regimes do not have the military mettle to dare a Syrian action. They are already getting whipped in Yemen. Say no more.

Hence, the Saudis and the Turks while they are bragging about forming an invasion force, at the same time they are careful to qualify this by saying that no action will be taken “without US leadership”. In other words, these two paper tigers need Uncle Sam to prop them up.

Turkish President Erdogan in Saudi Arabia

Don’t be mistaken, the US is no moral arbiter. And if it got the chance, as it has before, it wouldn’t hesitate to embark on a genocidal war. However, as noted, Washington knows better than its impetuous, irrational client regimes that Syria – backed by Russian military prowess – is beyond its capability.

This is where the restive clients – emboldened by Washington’s historic decline as a super power and frustrated by its passivity on the Syrian question – are tempted to go even more rogue.

The bombing in Ankara this week which left 28 dead has the hallmarks of a false flag terror attack carried out by the Erdogan regime in order to escalate its shelling of Kurdish militants in Syria.

The same can be said for the strikes on hospitals and schools in northern Syria also this week, which reportedly killed dozens of people. Western media carried prominent claims by Turkey that the atrocities were the result of the Syrian army or Russian air operations. Both Damascus and Moscow categorically denied any involvement.


Again, it seems plausible that the atrocities in northern Syria around the strategic border town of Azaz were carried out by Turkish artillery, which has been shelling the very same area all week. Of course, the docile Western media did not consider that likely possibility.

Thus, Turkey and Saudi Arabia both appear to be goading the US into another disastrous Middle East war, either by contriving a pretext or pushing the momentum of belligerence.

What we have then is the classic situation of “tail wagging the dog”. That is, the normally more dominant Washington party is being manipulated by its subordinates.

Despite the grave risks, what seems clear though is that Syria, Russia and Iran must not let up on their determination to face down the regime-change gang. Washington may eventually restrain its clients. But that’s only because Russia has gone toe to toe and shown that it won’t back down.




Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. His columns appear on RT, Sputnik, American Herald Tribune, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

Originally published on SputnikNews
By Finian Cunningham
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