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ISIS, Turkey, and the Propaganda of Intervention | New Eastern Outlook
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2014-10-12 20:26:46 UTC
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*http://journal-neo.org/2014/10/10/isis-turkey-and-the-propaganda-of-intervention/
<http://journal-neo.org/2014/10/10/isis-turkey-and-the-propaganda-of-intervention/>*

*New Eastern Outlook 10.10.2014*

*ISIS, Turkey, and the Propaganda of Intervention*

*Somehow lost amid the din of cries for intervention is the simple fact
that it is US policy and the actions of the aforementioned Erdogan along
with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates,
and Israel that created ISIS, nurtured it in its infancy, promoted its
development, and unleashed it on Iraq and Syria. Those who posture as if
there is simply no solution to the situation other than more American bombs
would do well to actually investigate the causes of this cancer in the
region, rather than proclaiming their commitment to eradicating the
symptoms. *

*Eric Draitser*

Today’s headlines are filled with reports of the imminent fall of the
Syrian city of Kobani to forces of the Islamic State (ISIS). There are
terrifying descriptions of an imminent massacre and the looming threat to
Turkey as Islamic State forces move ever closer to the Turkish-Syrian
border. Turkish President Erdogan waxes poetic about how he “warned the
West” about the threat IS would pose and the dangers of inaction. It seems
that everyone, including security experts and pundits, agree that the
situation is critical and that US bombardment alone is powerless to protect
the town or halt IS.

And yet, somehow lost amid the din of cries for intervention is the simple
fact that it is US policy and the actions of the aforementioned Erdogan
along with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab
Emirates, and Israel that created ISIS, nurtured it in its infancy,
promoted its development, and unleashed it on Iraq and Syria. And now, for
those same leaders, along with a chorus of interventionist voices in the
media establishment, to sound the alarm is not only cynical and utterly
disingenuous, it is a shining example of the arrogance of empire.

*Kobani and the Story Not Being Told *

As fighters of the Islamic State (IS) continue their charge towards the
mostly Kurdish town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border, deep cracks in
the edifice of the US-led coalition against IS have begun to emerge.
Diplomatic infighting has shattered the illusion of a cohesive and unified
coalition cobbled together by Washington. Not only have a number of
countries been apprehensive about getting deeply involved in yet another
unwinnable war in the Middle East led by the US, some ostensible allies
have used the crisis as an opportunity to achieve political objectives.
Perhaps the world leader in cynical opportunism this week is Turkish
President Erdogan who has thus far refused to involve his forces in the war
on Syria unless that war has as its ultimate aim the toppling of Syrian
President Assad.

On October 7th, the NY Times ran a story with the headline *Turkish
Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the US*
<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/world/middleeast/isis-syria-coalition-strikes.html?_r=0>
which quoted a senior Obama administration official saying, “There’s
growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to prevent a massacre less
than a mile from its border
After all the fulminating about Syria’s
humanitarian catastrophe, they’re inventing reasons not to act to avoid
another catastrophe
This isn’t how a NATO ally acts.” While the obvious
implication is that Erdogan could cost the US the chance at a successful
anti-terror operation, there is a subtle subtext that has gone almost
entirely unnoticed; Turkey sees in ISIS an opportunity, not a threat.

And this is precisely the point. IS is in fact a creation of NATO
intelligence agencies (including Turkey), and it is achieving by force and
propaganda what Washington, London, Riyadh, Doha, Tel Aviv, and Ankara
never could – the expansion of the war in Syria.

Since at least late 2011, US intelligence has been working diligently along
the Turkish-Syrian border to funnel arms and fighters into Syria in hopes
of bringing down the Assad regime. As the NY Times
<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>
reported in June 2012:

*C.I.A.* *officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping
allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will
receive arms to fight the Syrian government
 The weapons, including
automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank
weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a
shadowy network of intermediaries including* *Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood
and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar
 The Obama administration
has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also
acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.*

It should be emphasized and repeated from the mountaintops that Erdogan’s
government, according even to senior Obama administration officials, has
been intimately involved in hosting, arming, financing, and providing safe
haven to precisely the same terrorists who today are regarded as the
greatest threat in the region. The notion that “Syria’s neighbors” are
providing arms is a not so thinly veiled reference to the key role of
Turkish intelligence in coordinating the attempted regime change inside
Syria. And so, when Erdogan demands a No Fly Zone in Syrian airspace as a
precondition for Turkish boots on the ground, he does so knowing that Syria
would rightly interpret a Turkish invasion as, well, a Turkish invasion.

The notion that Turkey, the country perhaps most directly responsible for
the rise of ISIS, is somehow failing NATO and the Kurds by not taking
action is a complete inversion of reality. It is the equivalent of publicly
reprimanding an arsonist for not actively helping fight the fire he
started. If the so called “international community” were serious about
demanding action from Ankara, perhaps it could start by asking the
following questions:

1. What is the relationship between Turkish intelligence, its secret
base/training center at Adana, and the terror groups now subsumed into the
group known as ISIS or the Islamic State? Does the Turkish government deny
the countless media reports, including those by mainstream news outlets
such as Reuters
<http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-syria-crisis-centre-idUSBRE86Q0JM20120727>,
alleging direct coordination of the terror elements inside Syria dating
back to 2012?
2. To what extent is Turkey using the rise of ISIS as leverage over both
its “Kurdish problem” and its perceived regional rival in Iran?
3. Why does Turkey reserve the right to use military force against the
Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) which it regards as “terrorists,” while
refusing to use military force to protect Kurds against actual terrorists?
(Note: this is not to imply that Turkish military force inside Syria is
acceptable)
4. Does Turkey truly believe that it can effect regime change in Syria
through ISIS proxies and still contain the threat to itself and its
citizens?

Naturally, such questions are unlikely to be asked, but positing them is
critical if we are to cut through the propaganda now emanating both from
Ankara and Washington. Each interested party responsible for the
destabilization of Syria (US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, et al) is busy trying
to scapegoat the other in vain attempts to distance themselves from this
crisis of their own making.

*Kobani and Interventionist Propaganda *

Recent days have seen a flood of stories describing the imminent massacre
about to unleashed in Kobani by ISIS. Much of what has been written has
noted the obvious hypocrisy of intervention – that it is never applied
equally, but only when politically expedient for the intervening country.
In particular, focus has been placed on US intervention on behalf of Iraqi
Kurds, and the conspicuous refusal to intervene on behalf of Kurds in Syria.

Naturally, such a comparison begs the question as to the morality, not to
mention political and military practicality, of such interventions. The
implication is that “If it was good enough for Iraq, why shouldn’t it be
good enough for Syria?” Never mind the fact that the US war in Iraq is one
of the great crimes against humanity in recent decades, a nakedly
imperialist war fought not for the Kurds, but for profit and geopolitical
and strategic aims. Never mind the fact that Obama’s recent strikes inside
Iraq had little to do with the Yazidi minority, and much to do with
effecting regime change against Maliki and reasserting US influence in a
country that had been moving rapidly into Iran’s sphere of influence.

The Guardian
<http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/07/us-kurds-iraq-isis-massacre-syria-kobani>
published a particularly well-written op-ed which made just such a
parallel. The author poses the following question: “Why did the United
States rush to protect Kurds in Iraq – when Isis fighters started advancing
toward Irbil and embarking on a genocidal rampage against the
Kurdish-speaking religious minority Yazidis – but do little to save Syrian
Kurds in Kobani from the same threat?” There is a deception, or at the very
least a clearly dishonest equivalence made between the two, implicit in
this question. Namely, that intervention in either case is actually
intended to achieve the publicly stated objective. It is not. Quite the
contrary, such humanitarian concern is merely the pretext by which
US-NATO-GCC is able to carry out its military option for effecting regime
change in a country that has steadfastly resisted it for three and a half
years.

The piece in the Guardian, like nearly every pro-intervention article
written about Syria and ISIS betrays either an ignorance of, or more
likely, tacit approval of, military aggression against Syria. Those who
have been following the Syria conflict since 2011 know perfectly well that
what we are witnessing is not a new development, but rather a realignment
of propaganda strategy, a reframing of the issue from “down with the brutal
dictator” to “down with ISIS.” This is the new false narrative with which
the world is being presented. Either you must support military incursion
into Syria without any coordination with the legally recognized government
in Damascus, or you support ISIS and the slaughter of Syrian Kurds. This is
a clever use of propaganda, not an honest examination of the material
reality on the ground.

The responsibility for what happens in Kobani must be laid at the feet of
the real perpetrators: ISIS and its patrons and sponsors in Ankara, Riyadh,
Doha, and Washington. Those who posture as if there is simply no solution
to the situation other than more American bombs would do well to actually
investigate the causes of this cancer in the region, rather than
proclaiming their commitment to eradicating the symptoms. Perhaps their
investigation could start with a few *real *questions for Turkey and the
United States?

*Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York
City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT,
exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
<http://journal-neo.org/>*.
<http://journal-neo.org/2014/10/10/isis-turkey-and-the-propaganda-of-intervention/>
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