World View: Latest Syria Peace Plan Officially Fails

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hand with Syria President Bashar Assad in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Assad has traveled to Moscow in his first known trip abroad since the war broke out in Syria in 2011 to meet his …
Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Latest Syria peace plan officially fails
  • Shifting alliances across the Mideast

Latest Syria peace plan officially fails

Walking through the rubble in Syria (AP)
Walking through the rubble in Syria (AP)

There never was even the slightest chance that this latest peace plan for Syria would succeed, as I wrote when it was first announced. ( “12-Feb-16 World View — US and Russia agree to a farcical ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria”)

In fact, as usual, the farcical peace plan did more harm than good, because it provided motivation for the violence to increase.

Russian and Syrian warplanes have increased their pounding of so-called “terrorists” – by which they mean all Sunni civilians, whom they apparently think of as cockroaches to be exterminated – using barrel bombs to flatten entire Sunni villages and using missiles on schools and hospitals.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, denied that Russia had bombed hospitals and schools this week, despite numerous reports from all sorts of independent sources, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF), Nato, the US State Dept., and various reporters. According to Peskov, all of these sources are lying in unison to harm Russia. Peskov told the BBC that the only reports he believes are the ones that come from the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria.

Now that is a real laugh. Al-Assad is the alleged war criminal, committing genocide on Sunnis by means of missiles, Sarin gas, barrel bombs laced with chlorine gas, and any other mass weapon he can get his hands on. So Peskov does not trust the independent sources. He trusts only the alleged war criminal. This is the kind of crap we always get from Russian officials, though I suppose it is only right that the only person they trust is a war criminal, since the Russians are war criminals themselves.

Then there are the Turks. They have chosen this period following the peace agreement to begin shelling Kurdish YPG militia positions in Syria north of Aleppo.

They do have an excuse. There was a huge terrorist attack in Ankara on Wednesday. No one claimed credit for a while, and the two possible perpetrators were thought to be the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Both ISIS and the PKK are considered to be terrorist groups by Turkey, the US, and much of the West.

Then on Friday, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a Kurdish terror group linked to the PKK, took credit for the Ankara bombing. The Turks claim that the YPG militias in northern Syria are linked to the PKK that carries out terrorist attack in Turkey, so the Turks are not about to stop shelling YPG positions any time soon.

We also heard this week from some of the Sunni Arab nations. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar all said this week that they are ready to send their ground troops into Syria to fight ISIS. By the way, that’s the reason that everyone gives: they’re fighting ISIS.

It is very hard to grasp the sheer size of the catastrophe that has unfolded in Syria since 2011, when Sunnis started peacefully demonstrating and Bashar al-Assad started exterminating them like cockroaches.

The Syrian civil war has cost an estimated 500,000 lives and made some 11 million people refugees. Millions have ended up in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and almost a million have fled to Europe. For instance, more than 1 million people are considered to be under siege throughout Syria in a war that pits numerous groups against one another.

And al-Assad and Russians keep making it worse: more and more deaths, more and more refugees, more and more misery. They’re acting like they’re going to achieve victory in Syria, but they don’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of doing so.

Even if they capture more ground, this is a generational Awakening era in Syria, and they will never get the Syrian opposition to surrender. Nor will they get ISIS to surrender. What they will do is increasingly isolate and panic Turkey, which will ally with the Saudis and other Arab states to end up in a full-scale Mideast war, as Generational Dynamics has been predicting for over a decade. Washington Post and CBS News and US State Dept. and Jerusalem Post

Shifting alliances across the Mideast

A web site reader wrote this comment yesterday:

Mr. Xenakis, for quite some time you have been predicting a split between the U.S. and Turkey which will result in the two countries becoming enemies. Since Turkey and the U.S. are both members of NATO, I could never understand how this could realistically happen until now. The wedge that will irrevocably separate Turkey and the U.S. will be the issue of U.S. support for the Kurds in Syria/YPG/PKK.

Here is a quote from [analyst] Charles Lister [appearing in The Telegraph]: ‘It is quite extraordinary that Obama administration policy seems to be favoring a Kurdish militia group that is incontrovertibly linked to the terrorism-designated PKK over and above a fellow Nato ally, Turkey.’

You say that you could never understand how this change could realistically happen until now, and I have to say that the same is true for me. The bizarre thing about this generational methodology that I use is that it produces analyses and forecasts that often seem not to make sense until they come true, and they always come true, and that’s always astonishing. (If you’d like to read more about how generational reasoning works, read this: “9-Nov-15 World View — Political crisis in Iran grows over nuclear agreement”).

The quote from Lister is right. Indeed, one can go further. The Obama administration is fighting on two conflicting sides in Syria. The administration is cooperating more and more with al-Assad and Russians, who are allied with the YPG Kurdish militia in Syria. The administration is conducting airstrikes in support of the YPG in eastern Syria, where they are fighting ISIS, and the administration is passively supporting the YPG in Aleppo, where they’re a clear enemy of a Nato ally, Turkey.

If this shows nothing else, it shows how President Obama, who is always driven to do the opposite of what President Bush would do, has run into one disaster after another in foreign policy.

However, Dear Reader, perhaps you think I’m being unfair. I came across a piece by Patrick Cockburn in the Independent in which he explains that Obama’s policy is not only coherent, but it’s been right all along.

The argument is that Turkey has been allowing people to pass through Turkey into Syria, where they can join ISIS. The Obama administration a year ago decided that if Turkey wasn’t going to close the border on its side, then he would support the YPG in closing the border from the Syrian.

So much stuff today makes me laugh out loud. So Obama’s whole policy in Syria is to close the border with Turkey??? Obama has been unable to close the border with Mexico. Greece can’t close the border with Turkey. But Obama’s found a way to close the border between Syria and Turkey? Where do these people come up with this stuff?

The fact is that the Turks are under attack from PKK Kurds within Turkey, and they believe that they’re under attack from YPG Kurds in northern Syria.

President Obama believes that he can push Turkey as hard as he wants, and Turkey will still be America’s ally. But Turkey has other allies, notably the Saudis and other Sunni Arabs. As the web site reader quoted above suggests, when Turkey is forced to choose who its allies are, America won’t be one of them. Telegraph (London) and Washington Post and Independent (London)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Russia, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Human Rights Watch, HRW, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, YPG, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Doctors without Borders, Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, TAK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Charles Lister, Nato, Patrick Cockburn
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.