Opinion — Most Americans, consumed by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, are still not yet aware of the true origins of Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group also known as ISIS or ISIL) or that Syrian President Bashar Assad never used chemical weapons. Most wouldn’t be able to tell you what country has a president named Recep Tayyip Erdogan, still haven’t realized there is a Saudi war on Yemen, and have never heard of Victoria Nuland, Svoboda, YPG or Right Sector.
There are many Americans, though, who believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has plans to invade Europe.
What does it mean? Here’s what you’re not being told about the geopolitics of World War III.
The question of World War III
In a Feb. 18 report, Robert Parry, an investigative journalist, who has written for The Associated Press and Newsweek, cites a “source close to Putin,” who warns that the threat of a nuclear war breaking out soon between Russia and the United States, NATO, Turkey and Saudi Arabia is alarmingly real.
“A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.”
Less than two weeks after Parry’s article was published, the U.S. and Russia brokered a ceasefire deal in Syria. The two leading world powers set a deadline of midnight Damascus time on Feb. 26 for “the cessation of hostilities” between the Syrian government and opposition forces, but the deal specifically excluded Daesh and al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.
Following the brokering of the U.S.-Russia truce, Assad announced a parliamentary election for Syria on April 13. This, however, should come as little surprise, considering elections are held in the country every four years.
- William Engdahl, a historian and geopolitical analyst for New Eastern Outlook, respectfully disagreed with Parry in his report on the question of World War III. While Engdahl says he has followed Parry’s work since the 1990s and finds it to be of highest professional quality, he refuses to believe there could be a nuclear war over Syria.
“The conflict in Syria is essentially a conflict between two persons–Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, and his neighbor, Bashar Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, General Secretary of the ruling Ba’ath Party and Regional Secretary of the party’s branch in Syria. This is NOT World War III, and I refuse to believe it will become World War III.”
“The problem is that there is a faction in the West drooling at the prospect of engineering a nuclear war with Putin’s Russia and willing to manipulate Erdoğan, Saudi Prince Salman, and anyone and everyone they can deceive to reach that end. They tried and failed in Ukraine.”
But if there is a faction in the West trying to manipulate Turkey and Saudi Arabia into engineering a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia that is powerful enough to successfully orchestrate a coup in Ukraine, wouldn’t this narrative support Parry’s argument?
As expected, the United Nations adopted a new Syrian truce resolution on Feb. 26 and endorsed the U.S.-Russia brokered cessation of hostilities. While speaking to local officials in Ankara during a speech broadcast live across Turkey on Feb. 25, President Erdogan clearly was not happy with the proposed truce and argued that if Daesh and al-Nusra Front are kept out of the ceasefire, “then the PYD-YPG must similarly be excluded from the ceasefire for it is a terrorist group just as they are.”
The YPG, backed by both the U.S. and Russia, controls nearly all of Syria’s border with Turkey. No other group has been as successful fighting Daesh on the ground.
Has Turkey, which on Feb. 24 vowed to continue targeting Kurdish YPG forces inside Syria despite the agreement, allowed the truce to take hold? Yes and no. Turkey was accused of shelling the Kurdish YPG in northern Syria, but insists Daesh was the actual target.
So far, the cessation of hostilities has reduced the number of those being killed in the conflict each day. The U.N., American and Russian leaders who brokered the ceasefire hope the peace talks in Geneva scheduled for March 14 will allow the truce to fully take hold.
“… in the actual ‘real world,’ the Obama administration has been funneling military equipment to rebels seeking to overthrow an internationally recognized government for years. That assistance has included averting U.S. eyes from the fact that many of those rebel groups were collaborating with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and/or the Islamic State.”
Syria’s main opposition group, the Saudi-led High National Committee, said on Feb. 22 that it “agrees to a temporary truce,” but just days later elaborated that “temporary” meant it would respect the ceasefire for “two weeks” to determine the commitment of the Assad regime.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry curiously threatened that if the peace talks failed, the partition of Syria could be part of “Plan B,” arguing that it “may be too late” to keep Syria whole. As of March 10, the Saudi-led Syrian opposition group hadn’t decided whether they plan to attend the peace talks in Geneva or not.
“… [N]ow we have an absurd situation with thousands of nervous Turkish military, standing, armed and peering across the border into Syria. Alongside that stupid spectacle, we have the recent deployment of Saudi Air Force jets now sitting at the Incirlik Air Base–106 miles away from the Russian airbase at Khmeimim, near Latakia, Syria. The Saudi jets sit alongside some 5,000 airmen and the various military jets of the United States Air Force 39th Air Base Wing, and of the Turkish Air Force, along with F-15E jets from the British Royal Air Force that arrived in November, 2015 to join the ‘attack on ISIS.’ It’s worth noting also that Incirlik Air Base today is one of six European NATO airbases holding a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons.”
Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base is one of six European NATO sites holding tactical nuclear weapons. In fact, it is the largest nuclear weapons storage site in Europe.
“The poorly-understood reason for this conflict over Syria and over the entire Middle East is a conflict to control its oil–Syria’s reportedly huge oil reserves in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; Iraq’s huge oil reserves in Kirkuk and elsewhere; Libya’s significant oil reserves and Qatar’s vast gas reserves. They all want the oil–British and US circles, French circles, Saudis, Turks, Syrians, Israelis, Iraqis–all.”
Engdahl admits in his article that there is a faction in the West — I can only assume he means the neoconservatives — “drooling at the prospect of engineering a nuclear war with Russia,” who are already manipulating Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
From the perspective of the so-called “faction in the West,” I see no reason to doubt the potential of a nuclear confrontation to protect the petrodollar as a realistic “worst outcome” of the crisis. In January 2016, emails from Hillary Clinton showed that Libya’s plans for a new currency backed by gold to compete with the euro and dollar were a legitimate motive for bombing the Libyan government.
And just last month, Iran decided to no longer accept U.S. dollars for oil and will instead begin demanding euros for payment.
“The Syria conflict in this light must be seen for what it is: it’s essentially a conflict between two persons, Assad and Erdoğan, over control of oil and the vast sums of money from oil. It is not the beginning of World War III as that Pope in Rome said in Jose Marti Airport in Cuba last year.”
However, the Syria conflict cannot be simplified as a conflict between just two people, i.e., Erdogan and Assad.
Without an unexpected U.S. and U.K. civilian resistance in September 2013, likely resulting from the rapid growth of independent news media revealing U.S. support for Syrian rebel groups aligned with al-Qaida, President Barack Obama’s original plan to bomb the Syrian government would likely have already caused Iran and Russia to declare war on the U.S. in defense of their ally. The so-called “good guys” could’ve been supporting a regime made up of Syrian rebels, whom we’d call Daesh today. Was this a manifestation of the massive global political awakening Zbigniew Brzezinski warned of?
“They tried and failed in Ukraine,” Engdahl wrote.
Yes, they did. But isn’t the faction still trying?
Crimea is in the middle of the Black Sea, which sits between the Ukraine and Turkey. Erdogan is going to continue shelling the YPG in Syria. This conflict is far from over.
Is Obama aligned with this so-called “faction in the West” that seems to desire a nuclear confrontation with Russia? If the U.S. government has truly changed course and is now actively resisting neoconservative foreign policy agenda, shouldn’t we expect the unexpected?
What sort of power could scare Obama (that is, if you don’t think he wants to start World War III), into following the neocons’ advice for war in Libya, Syria and Ukraine?
Robert Parry explains:
“I’m told Obama also has discouraged Turkey and Saudi Arabia from taking matters into their own hands. After all, a full-scale invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia in support of Al Qaeda and other Sunni rebels would pit the invading force against not only the Syrian army but its Iranian and Hezbollah (Shiite) allies – and most dangerously Russia, which lacks the manpower inside Syria to match up with the Turkish army but could deploy tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save the lives of Russian soldiers.”
Is this faction in the West manipulating the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., the U.K., France, Ukraine, ISIS, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Israel, China, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Germany, and the Kurds into engineering a nuclear war?
Perhaps more importantly, could the European and American public be manipulated into supporting it?
Turkey, Russia, Ukraine & NATO militarize the Black Sea
In December, the U.S. Navy announced it would send a guided missile destroyer, the USS Ross, to the Black Sea “to promote peace and stability in the region” with NATO as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The U.S. Army described Operation Atlantic Resolve as a “demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and to enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine.”
Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily reported on Dec. 6 that “ten countries in addition to Russia and Turkey currently have warships in the area,” and three NATO warships dropped anchor off Istanbul’s coast the same day.
Daily Sabah, another Turkish daily, reported on Jan. 31:
“Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that Russia, which breaks all international laws, can be stopped with broader cooperation and a strategy. He said Ankara and Kiev will participate in security and military cooperation in the Black Sea.”
In an interview featured in the article, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin explained that “what is going on in Ukraine and Syria is a challenge and threat by Russia to global security,” and that “Donbass is not just about Donbass, not just about Ukraine. It is about global security. Syria is also about global security.”
Following an agreement by NATO in February to bring a more “enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance,” according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenbeg, Russia made a major announcement.
Newsweek reported on Feb. 11:
“The Russian Ministry of Defence issued a detailed breakdown of the types of combat Russia had been practising—anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine warfare and combat against amphibious landing groups.
Russia’s military finished the round of exercises on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap drill of Russia’s southern troops, stationed between the Black and Caspian seas earlier this week.
Although being about 10 times the size of larger drills held by Russia in previous months, the exercise was given much attention, with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu briefing Putin about the drill in a televised meeting on Thursday.”
NATO’s enhanced military presence in the region was described by Stoltenbeg as rotational and in the form of military exercises, with the intended purpose of acting as “a clear signal” to Russia in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat told AFP that presence may include up to 6,000 troops.
When Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Kiev on Feb. 15, a military partnership was struck by defense technology officials from Turkey and Ukraine, pledging to boost “strategic” defense industry cooperation, in addition to bolstering production of “advanced technology” weapons systems.
A senior Turkish official said both countries would cooperate primarily in turbojet aircraft engines, radars, military communications technologies and navigation systems.
On Feb. 23 the U.S. government’s Radio Free Report reported that Russia plans to spend $2.4 billion on its Black Sea Fleet by 2020, including surface ships, submarines, integrated air-defense and amphibious-landing capacities.
This increased Russian presence in the region has NATO members worried. Judy Dempsey, editor-in-chief of Carnegie Europe’s newsletter Strategic Europe, said in February that Romania is “acutely aware of the situation” and already working with NATO to create a rapid-deployment force in the Black Sea.
In other words, NATO worries of a Turkish-Russian incident in the Black Sea that could potentially trigger a third world war.
“These trends have allowed Russia to essentially make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for NATO to get into the Black Sea to defend NATO allies and partners without substantial losses of ships, planes, and men,” an analyst told Radio Free Europe in February.
“In retrospect it is quite remarkable that there haven’t been accidents given so many different aircraft in the skies over Syria and, now, in parts of the Black Sea.”
The Black Sea sits south of Ukraine, west of Russia, and north of Turkey. Crimea is located in the most southern peninsula of Ukraine, right in the middle of the Black Sea.
To reach Greece, though, one must sail through Istanbul.
(Part II of “World War III: To Be, Or Not To Be, That Is The Question,” will focus on the Susurluk Scandal, Operation Gladio, Counter-Guerrilla, Grey Wolves to explore the Turkish Deep State.)