Trouble Brewing in Syria: Is US-Led Coalition Preparing for Advance?

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US Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to Turkey indicates that Washington is not inclined to pressure Ankara into halting its anti-Kurdish crackdown nor its military deployments near the rich Iraqi oilfields of Mosul, F. William Engdahl notes.

On January 24 US Vice President Joseph Biden held intensive meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

F. William Engdahl, American-German researcher, historian and strategic risk consultant, believes that the Obama administration manipulates both the ambitious Turkish President Erdogan and the impulsive Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, indulging their militarism and greed.

"The Washington game seems to be to give the Saudi-Turkish duo enough rope to hang themselves in a mad power grab of Syrian and Iraqi oil riches and perhaps, if they are really mad enough, of Iran's oilfields too," the researcher remarks in his article for New Eastern Outlook.

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Anyway, Biden's visit has indicated clearly that Washington still supports the Erdogan regime and is turning a blind eye to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Turkish and Syrian Kurds by Ankara "thinly veiled" as a war against PKK (the Kurdistan Worker's Party) and de facto occupation of Iraqi territories near Mosul by Turkey's military.

Remarkably, Ankara has no scruples about equating the Syrian leadership, Kurdish PKK and YPG (People's Defense Units), fighting terrorists in Syria, to Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) and al-Qaeda's affiliate al-Nusra Front.

According to Turkish PM Davutoglu, there are three threats in Syria: "One is the regime [of Bashar al-Assad], another is Daesh, and the third is the YPG," he said as cited by Hurriyet, Turkey's mainstream liberal media outlet.

"Turkey sees no difference between terrorists groups such as Daesh, PKK, DHKP-C [the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front] or al-Nusra," Davutoglu added.

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As for Turkey's military deployments near the rich oilfields of Mosul, Deniz Zeyrek of Hurriyet reported Monday that during Joe Biden's visit the Turkish side proposed a project to Washington "to calm Iraq's unease."

"According to the project, which found support from the US, NATO and the US anti-ISIL coalition will jointly operate at the training base in Bashiqa [a town in the Mosul District]. Nonetheless, no logistical change will be made at the base other than a sign showing that an international force is deployed there. The Iraqi army will be allowed to have a representative as part of the international coalition," Zeyrek wrote, citing sources with the knowledge of the matter.

It seems that there are little if any contradictions between Ankara's foreign policy in the region and Washington's Middle Eastern agenda.

© REUTERS / Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via ReutersTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Istanbul, Turkey January 23, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Istanbul, Turkey January 23, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace - Sputnik International
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Istanbul, Turkey January 23, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace

"In fact, Biden discussed US military support, unspecified, for a Turkish military move to take the oilfields of Mosul," Engdahl notes.

"Further, the US Vice President apparently said not a word about the continuing illegal smuggling of Iraqi and Syrian oil by ISIS [Daesh] into Turkey where Erdogan's son ships it to world markets, financing the ISIS terror inside Syria Biden claims to oppose," he adds.

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The researcher calls attention to the fact that Biden signaled that the United States and Turkey are ready to seek a military solution in Syria if the diplomatic Geneva talks fail.

"We do know that it would be better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared — we are prepared if that's not possible — to have a military solution to this operation in taking out Daesh," Biden stated.

Interestingly enough, the statement came after US Defense Secretary Ashton's announcement of the Pentagon's new strategy in Syria that envisages more boots on the ground in the region. Furthermore, rumors are still simmering regarding the US increasing military deployments at the Syrian Rmeilan airfield.

Engdahl stresses that at the same time Turkey has gained more influence in the region.

"In March this year, as a result of collusion between the Saudi monarchy of Salman and Erdogan, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was coerced to hand over a vital political post to Erdogan," he notes, explaining that Erdogan will soon lead the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a powerful and influential organization regarded by many as the Muslim 'UN.'

According to the researcher, the ongoing preparations signal "something very big and very dramatic in the coming few months in the Middle East."

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