Turkey’s Aim to Annex Northern Syria and Iraq
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey is a NATO member, a close US ally in its regional war OF terror, battling Kurds in northern Syria and Iraq on the phony pretext of combating ISIS – with imperial aims in mind.
Erdogan long coveted annexing Aleppo and other northern Syrian areas, as well as bordering Iraqi territory – the latter objective to seize and control valued Mosul area oil fields.
Hundreds of its troops, tanks and artillery operate from positions near Mosul – on the phony pretext of combating ISIS and training Iraqi forces, never authorized by Baghdad. Ankara intends sending more heavily armed commandos and other combat troops.
ISIS forces controlled Mosul since June 2014, the largest regional city it holds, a key oil producing area. Ankara’s aim is to seize control, perhaps complicit with ISIS, a first step toward annexation, a scheme Baghdad will challenge.
Russia’s effective anti-terrorist intervention foiled Erdogan’s objective in Syria. Its air power and ground-based S-400 missile defense systems control Syrian airspace – able to counter any threat to its operations with devastating effectiveness.
If tested beyond Erdogan’s downing a Russian Su-24 bomber complicit with Washington, more US airstrikes on Syrian ground forces or other provocations, it will respond as conditions warrant, increasing the danger of expanding regional conflicts to a global one – including possible use of nuclear weapons.
Turkish troops operate illegally in northern Iraq. Baghdad gave Ankara 48 hours to withdraw. Prime Minister Abadi stressed they’re “present without the knowledge and consent of” his government.
The deadline for them to leave expired. They remain in place. Erdogan refuses to withdraw them. Russia called their presence illegal.
So far, Baghdad and Ankara are trying to resolve things diplomatically, short of requesting Security Council action. Abadi asked NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to “use (his) authority to (demand) Turkey withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory.”
Russia raised the issue during a closed-door Security Council session to no avail. Washington blocked responsible action. Moscow’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin angrily expressed disappointment, saying:
“We believe that Turkey has acted recklessly and inexplicably, carrying out additional deployments on the territory of Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government.”
Washington’s so-called security agreement with Baghdad harms what it purports to support. On Wednesday, Iraq’s parliamentary Security and Defense Committee called for reviewing terms agreed on.
Committee member Hamid Mutlaq told RT International their “negative points” harm Iraqi security. “We have demanded to review some of those points, for them to comply with Iraq’s interests and the region as a whole in light of the changed situation,” he said.
“The majority of Iraqi politicians and MPs fear that an international conflict may develop on the territory of Iraq, as a result of which blood of its people will be spilt.” The nation “already (is) suffering” hugely from US-instigated imperial wars.
Mutlaq was blunt telling Sputnik News: “The (Iraqi) government and parliament need to review (the) security agreement with the US, because (it’s) not serious about its implementation.”
If not changed to Baghdad’s satisfaction, “(w)e will demand its cancellation.” In criticizing Turkish troops in northern Iraq, Abadi said “Iraq does not need foreign ground forces, and the Iraqi government is committed not to allow the presence of any ground force on Iraqi land.”
Apparently he was objecting both to the presence of Turkish and US troops – as well as Defense Secretary Carter saying more are coming.
Baghdad’s Security and Defense Committee intends meeting with Abadi on requesting Russia conduct airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, expanding its Syrian operations cross-border – vital to let ground forces of both countries wage effective war on terrorism, polar opposite Washington’s phony campaign.
Obama upped the stakes in challenging Moscow’s effective anti-terrorism campaign. Likely greater regional intervention is coming than already announced.
Iraq’s security and perhaps survival as a nation-state depends on requesting Russia help against ISIS. Its airpower working cooperatively with Syrian ground forces changed the dynamic dramatically, permitting recapture of lost territory.
Iraq’s reliance on Washington is counterproductive – at odds with its interests. Allying with Russia is its only chance to turn things around effectively. The longer it waits, the tougher the struggle.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.