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Our read­ers won’t be learn­ing much if we tell them that Trump has just pub­licly con­fort­ed the Turk­ish regime in its planned assault on North­ern Syria.

The news has been pub­lished and com­ment­ed. The Amer­i­can admin­is­tra­tion is wash­ing its hands in advance over the exac­tions and prob­a­ble killings that the Turk­ish army and its  back-up troops may com­mit on a wide swath of the North­ern Syr­i­an border.

Trump’s announce­ment was unequiv­o­cal and it was even fol­lowed by troop move­ments on the ground.

The jus­ti­fi­ca­tion may appear a bit short, but it reveals the man’s “strate­gic analy­sis”… “The Kurds fought with us, but they received mas­sive amounts of mon­ey and mate­r­i­al to do so. They have been fight­ing against Turkey for decades.  I stayed clear of this con­flict for near­ly three years, but now it’s time for us to get out of these ridicu­lous end­less wars, many of which are tribal.”

If Trump has been pro­claim­ing a troop with­draw­al from Syr­ia for a good while already, this time, while arrange­ments and the cob­bling togeth­er of bor­der   sur­veil­lance was under way, he claims that Erdo­gan’s mil­i­tarist projects are none of his busi­ness any­more. “The Euro­peans should have tak­en care of it soon­er, notably as far as man­ag­ing ISIS war pris­on­ers,” he adds.

Even if Repub­li­can elect­ed mem­bers in the States are already con­demn­ing their boss’ posi­tion, in the midst of the rest of the inter­nal  mud­dle, one can well imag­ine that Trump is test­ing the solid­i­ty of his major­i­ty on this top­ic also…

These last few days, Erdoğan was dis­play­ing for all to see, the map of the ter­ri­to­ries he covets.


Unsur­pris­ing­ly, it close­ly resem­bles those that were cov­et­ed  in the region by the for­mer col­o­niz­ers a cen­tu­ry ago, and restates pre­vi­ous wish­es for the future Turk­ish state  based on the impe­ri­al­ist rule over these frag­ment­ed ter­ri­to­ries. Turk­ish nation­al­ists, just like those suf­fer­ing of  Ottoman nos­tal­gia, spread the notion that “those lands belong to us”, as they have done since the onslaught in Jer­ablus, then dur­ing the inva­sion of Afrin.

The demand has per­sist­ed under the “buffer zone” con­cept, Erdoğan’s obses­sion­al pet top­ic since the begin­ning of the war in Syria.

Look­ing at this map, one notices that Erdo­gan makes an excep­tion for Qamis­lo, fac­ing its mir­ror image of Nusay­bin in Turk­ish ter­ri­to­ry (and scene of fight­ing and killings in 2015, heav­i­ly demol­ished because of its Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion). Since the begin­ning of the war in Syr­ia, the Syr­i­an regime has main­tained an admin­is­tra­tive pres­ence in Qamis­lo, the cur­rent nerve cen­ter of Rojava’s admin­is­tra­tion.  Attack­ing this small part of the ter­ri­to­ry after its preser­va­tion through­out open war­fare since 2011 would clear­ly amount to a casus bel­li.  This also gives rise to ques­tions con­cern­ing the back-room dis­cus­sions held in prepa­ra­tion for this Turk­ish invasion.

Erdoğan bawls his inten­tion to “set foun­tains of peace flow­ing”. In answer no doubt to the slo­gan that claims “if you want peace, pre­pare for war” but also the bet­ter to jus­ti­fy his con­stant accu­sa­tions of “ter­ror­ism” against those who were the mil­i­tary vic­tors of ISIS and who  are cur­rent­ly attempt­ing to estab­lish a durable peace under extreme­ly dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, propos­ing a road to a demo­c­ra­t­ic agree­ment between the peo­ples in the region. We all know what “peace” meant when it was announced in Afrin: mur­ders, tor­ture, sack­ings and the reign of Jihadist ter­ror­ism under the Turk­ish army’s back-up mil­i­tary forces.

The inva­sion is immi­nent and tar­get­ed bomb­ings have been occur­ring for a week. What remains to be seen, fol­low­ing the Amer­i­can dec­la­ra­tion: inter­na­tion­al reac­tions, first and fore­most among them, Putin’s pub­lic stance, as he has pro­vid­ed uncon­di­tion­al sup­port to the Syr­i­an regime whose bor­ders would be moved back.


Every­one knows this regime has nei­ther the mil­i­tary nor the polit­i­cal means to act direct­ly in the North. But, for Syr­ia at the moment, the main ques­tion is not that of a vio­la­tion of its bor­ders. Idleb is the abscess, close to the West­ern bor­der and where the Jihadists have gath­ered fol­low­ing suc­ces­sive agree­ments after the recap­ture of Alep and of oth­er pock­ets of resis­tance, agree­ments to which the Turk­ish regime was a par­ty along with Russ­ian and Iran­ian diplomacy.

The Syr­i­an regime would not be averse to see­ing the FDS (Kur­dish and Arab mem­bers of the coali­tion) aban­doned and weak­ened by a Turk­ish mil­i­tary offen­sive –  Turkey, need we be remind­ed pos­sess­ing a high lev­el of weapon­ry as a mem­ber of NATO.

The more one ana­lyzes the scene, the deep­er the mil­i­tary and strate­gic mess appears, know­ing that the Iran­ian ques­tion is also part of the back-drop, just as are the mur­der­ous social and polit­i­cal riots ongo­ing in Bag­dad at the moment.

Should addi­tion­al steps be tak­en, notably by Erdoğan, the foun­tains of peace will be foun­tains of blood, even cre­at­ing new sources that will mix with Mid­dle-East­ern oil. 

So what should we do? Denounce, demonstrate?

Infor­ma­tion for inter­na­tion­al audi­ences must stress what Trump him­self includes in his press release: if Erdo­gan’s project comes to fruition, he will be the de fac­to man­ag­er of the mul­ti­tude of ISIS fight­ers tak­en prisoner…

Not only are the ones — main­ly Kur­dish fight­ers — who shed their blood to mil­i­tar­i­ly destroy the Islam­ic State in Syr­ia betrayed and aban­doned, not only, despite their demands, has no real aid been pro­vid­ed for them to man­age the for­mer killers and the camps where they are gath­ered with their sup­port­ers and their fam­i­lies, but they will become, once again, Erdo­gan’s “des­ig­nat­ed ter­ror­ists” present on the North­ern Syr­ia ter­ri­to­ry. But let’s not expect any moral­i­ty in inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics, between inter­na­tion­al and local imperialisms.

What should urgent­ly hold every­one’s atten­tion is Erdo­gan’s pos­si­ble war boun­ty, and the source it will pro­vide him for  inter­na­tion­al black­mail: the remains of ISIS…And we know that he has no moral qualms in this regard, as in a not-so-dis­tant past he main­tained com­plic­i­ties with rad­i­cal Jihadists in Syr­ia who, along with Bachar,  trans­formed attempts at polit­i­cal eman­ci­pa­tion into a civ­il war.

Drum­ming this fun­da­men­tal dan­ger in mes­sages every­where, with­out pro­vid­ing fur­ther argu­ments to every breed of iden­ti­tar­i­an for whom a Mid­dle East­ern refugee is a nat­ur­al born ter­ror­ist, may impress pub­lic opin­ion and stop a greater advance in the polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary projects the Turk­ish regime is pur­su­ing with the active  sup­port of the entire Turk­ish nation­al­ist wing.  Even as they do their best to look else­where, Euro­pean politi­cians can­not avoid being worried.

No to an advance of Turk­ish forces in North­ern Syr­ia, no to a Turk­ish peace through blood, as was the case with the “Olive Branch” against Afrin. There is not a sin­gle peo­ple in Europe who has any­thing to gain in this  end of Ottoman empire nos­tal­gia, the source of all the region’s nation­alisms and wars against the peo­ples for the past century.

Oh… Almost for­got… I hear through the voice of the “French right wing’s hair­dress­er” that France has just drawn Turkey’s atten­tion to “the human­i­tar­i­an con­se­quences” that might flow from a “uni­lat­er­al” action. Our Gen­er­al from Brit­tany can do bet­ter, no?

Added on October 8 2019

Fol­low­ing the uproar with­in his own Repub­li­can Par­ty, the Pen­tagon’s lack of enthu­si­asm and the “con­cerns” expressed by inter­na­tion­al lead­ers, Trump has “re-ori­ent­ed” his pub­lic dis­course, min­i­miz­ing the num­ber of Amer­i­can troops being moved out of the bor­der area, and express­ing a warn­ing to Turkey against an attacks being decid­ed unilaterally.

He has thus cre­at­ed total con­fu­sion that did not fool the Turk­ish regime who imme­di­ate­ly fol­lowed up with this state­ment: “Prepa­ra­tions were final­ized” and there was a will to move ahead in the com­ing days.

It is hard to tell if Erdoğan is still in a threat­en­ing stance in order to get a free light or if he will take the risk of open war­fare on the ground while putting all oth­er lead­ers at the foot of the wall. Every­one knows that, giv­en the var­i­ous inter­ests over Syr­ia, they could make do with the Turk­ish regime doing the dirty work on the ground. Bachar could then set­tle the “Idlib abscess” by the same token…

Thus, the anti-war mobi­liza­tion remains essen­tial, along with the polit­i­cal require­ment that gov­ern­ments not be con­tent with “warn­ings”, but move on to open con­dem­na­tion of any such inter­ven­tion, clear­ly assur­ing Roja­va of sup­port and, as a min­i­mum, demand­ing a no-fly zone over the area, as request­ed by the FDS.   For once, NATO could be the venue for each mem­ber to demand a freeze on mil­i­tary action by one of its mem­bers. Repub­li­can sen­a­tors are work­ing on this option. A less than rev­o­lu­tion­ary stop­gap, no doubt, but one that could save so many lives…

Wednesday October 9 2019

So Erdoğan has cho­sen to back world lead­ers against the wall and began his attack against North­ern Syr­ia today with bomb­ings by artillery and fight­er planes. “Turk­ish war planes have begun hit­ting civil­ian areas, there is much pan­ic in the pop­u­la­tion” report­ed local wit­ness­es. At 15h00,  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  con­firmed the launch­ing of the mil­i­tary offen­sive.  Even if “dis­ap­proval” is the rule in inter­na­tion­al chan­cel­leries, and even in Repub­li­can ranks in the Amer­i­can Con­gress, no deci­sions have yet been tak­en to put a stop to the offen­sive, such as the impo­si­tion of a no-fly zone, for instance. Every­one is call­ing on every­one else to call a meet­ing of the UN’s Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil… Erdoğan is prob­a­bly count­ing on the fait accom­pli  of an extreme­ly mur­der­ous light­ning strike in order to make Euro­pean gov­ern­ments part­ly respon­si­ble because of their iner­tia.  He could thus let Jihadist groups under his con­trol, take over the zones beyond the fron­tier, just as he did for Afrin.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…