Something Islamic This Way Comes
When’s the last time you were bothered by the sound of a car driving past your house? Or a train passing behind your neighborhood? Or a bird chirping at your window?
As we age, we learn to ignore certain things.
TV goes from being the most fascinating thing in the room to being a source of white noise to help us sleep.
Our mothers go from being the most wonderful thing in our little lives to being a source of endless nagging–until we surpass adolescence and apologize to that wonderful lady for all her unreturned love.
And war in the Middle East goes from being a source of shock and worry when are kids to being as predictable and numbing as the sound of traffic for a New Yorker.
“Peace in the Middle East!”
Now that is a classic joke!
Probably just a bunch of coincidences…
To be more concrete, my job is to search the news for compelling stories and yet here’s what happened to me today: Literally hours before I decided to write this post, I had seen a headline here, a tweet there, a Facebook post there about “Turkey invading Syria”–and yet it rolled over me like white noise rolls over a sleeping baby.
Syria, Turkey, Russia, the UN, ISIS–when you follow “this mess” long enough, it all kind of blurs together. “Turkey invades Syria?” Well, yes, and what’s new? If it’s so important, why hasn’t the mainstream press covered it? (Oops…!)
But then the scope of it all hit me.
According to RT News, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that “the Turkish Army entered Syria to end the rule of President Bashar Assad–”
Stop right there! That’s basically giving away the game!
Forget about “peacemaking,” or “stabilizing” Syria, or any of that. Turkey has finally admitted that it’s entire interest in cooperating with America and ISIS against Syria, was to topple an inconvenient competitor regime.
“–whom he accused of terrorism and causing the deaths of thousands.”
But of course. When in doubt, cast accusations about.
In his own words, delivered at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul, “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan was quoted by Hurriyet daily.
Erdogan said that Turkey has no territorial claims in Syria, but instead wants to hand over power to the Syrian population, adding that Ankara is seeking to restore “justice.” As always, fudge words like “justice” and “the people” are being used to justify the most violent and unjust actions against people you can imagine.
“Why did we enter?” Erdogan goes on to ask. “We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice,” he said.
Sadly, this is all too reminiscent of how the Bush and Obama administrations have justified their “entrance” into Iraq and Afghanistan, and now, along with Syria. It’s not about the oil! No, never! Scout’s honor! It’s reeeeally about “spreading democracy”–i.e., justice for “the people.”
As for who ADMINISTERS that justice, well, leave that to the occupying forces.
As a UN nation leader, Erdogan seems to have learned well the how-to of invasive “nation-building” from neocons and neoliberals like the Bushes and Clintons.
Undaunted by reality, Erdogan went on to say that “in his estimation” almost 1 million people have died in the conflict in Syria, although no monitoring group has provided any similar figures. The latest UN estimate stands at 400,000 people killed in the five-year civil war.
Erdogan said that Turkey could not “endure” the unending killing of civilians—then why is Erdogan so willing to cooperate with Obama to sponsor al-Nusra and other ISIS splinter groups to kill Syrians?
Turkish troops entered Syria on August 24, launching operation Euphrates Shield. Turkey deployed ground troops and air power to northern parts of its neighboring country, with the stated goal of retaking areas held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
However, many observers have said that Ankara aims to suppress Kurdish forces in Syria and prevent them from connecting three de facto autonomous Kurdish areas into one enclave south of the Turkish border.
Ironically, almost as if he were speaking for Trump, Erdogan also accused the UN of inability to influence the situation in Syria and said that the organization is ineffective in its current state.
“The world is bigger than five,” he said, referring to the number of permanent members on the UN Security Council, as reported by Hurriyet. Yes, and if the USA withdrew from the UN, Erdogan would still find fault with “four”. By my lights, the world is only big enough for “one”–for Ottoman rule after centuries of defeat.
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