Turkey’s diplomatic mission to Iran on ending Syrian conflict!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Educated people especially in USA know too well that without providing for genuine equality and credible justice, peace cannot be established anywhere.
In recent times, Turkey has taken keen diplomatic interest in West Asia, considerably enhancing its global diplomatic profile. As Russia intensifying air attacks on Syrians with official mandate from President Assad and USA playing hawkish stance, an emerging Islamic leader Turkey seems keen, as part of its contemporary foreign policy in Islamic world, to end the conflict that has already consumed thousands of humans and huge resources. Turkey expects Iran to join it to jointly try to end Syrian crisis.
As the only Islamist nation pursuing Islamic values vigorously and facing the ire of domestic anti-Islamists, Turkey knows too well the danger Arab world and Iran are facing.
For quite some time now, Saudi Arabia willingly plays into sworn western enemies of Islam on the understanding that the enemies of Islam would not attack Saudi kingdom or destroy the wealth of the rulers. Turkey has already undertaken steps to get Saudi Arabia also on board to resolve the deadly conflict in Syria, threatening to spin out to entire region.
US generals continue to push for more troops in Iraq and Syria. Gen. Joseph Votel, the current head of the US Special Operations Command, who has been tapped by President Barack Obama to lead US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees both the ongoing intervention in Iraq and Syria and the continuing American occupation of Afghanistan asked White House to send more troops to Syria. Well over 4,000 US troops are already deployed in Iraq, while scores more have been sent into Syria, in violation of international law. The “additional capability” demanded by the Pentagon brass will almost certainly entail thousands more American soldiers being sent into the two countries.
As president Assad remains foolishly adamant to stay on power endlessly, come what may, and let every Muslim gets killed by occupying foreign and domestic forces, Syria continues to be in flames with global powers trying to attack Syria and killing Syrians as per the hidden agenda of anti-Islamic West.
Turkey is a leading backer of the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran, along with Russia, has strongly backed Assad. “We may have different views but we cannot change our history or our geography,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Tehran on Saturday. “It is extremely important for Turkey and Iran to develop some common perspectives in order to end our region’s fight among brothers, to stop the ethnic and sectarian conflicts.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani echoed the sentiment. “We believe regional issues should only be resolved by the regional countries and nations. Iran and Turkey’s cooperation would be constructive in bringing lasting peace to the region.”
The talks between Iran and Turkey have also focused on bilateral trade. The removal of sanctions on Iran means the two neighbours can easily exceed their previous trade target of $30 billion annually, Davutoglu said.
Since the failure of a first round of peace talks in 2014, the main sticking point in the negotiations has been the fate of Assad. The UN envoy said that the Syrian people, not foreigners, should decide Assad’s fate. But key opposition backer Riyadh called for Assad – whose clan has ruled Syria for more than half a century – to step down at the start of any transition. The new round of indirect negotiations between the Damascus regime and the opposition will be the first since a truce between government forces and rebels began more than a week ago.
Turkey has trailed other European countries eager to tap into Iran’s $400 billion economy after world powers, led by the United States, reached an agreement with Tehran last year that seeks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The meeting, days before the planned resumption of Syrian peace talks in Geneva, also focused on a ceasefire that is largely holding in Turkey’s war-torn neighbour.
Syria peace talks are to resume on March 10, the UN envoy said on Saturday, despite opposition reluctance and its backers Saudi Arabia saying President Bashar al-Assad must step down.
As the only Islamic nation in Europe and facing serious problems from essentially anti-Islamic European Christian nations that deny the former Ottoman Empire to join the EU as a genuine European state, Turkey has the first hand knowledge and experience from enmity-hatred sources of anti-Islamic nations. Further, its decision to help the Palestinians, besieged by Israeli terror blockades, made Israeli regime annoyed and began operating against Turkey.
The entry of Russia into the battleground has opened the door for other powers to intervene in the region. Peace talks in early February were cut short amid intensifying Russian airstrikes in Syria in support of Assad’s forces. A regime advance supported by Russian warplanes inflicted serious setbacks on the rebels and weakened the opposition’s position in negotiations. However, a fragile ceasefire drawn up by Russia and the USA with UN Security Council backing is now in its second week, despite accusations of violations.
Turkey is close to Saudi Arabia, which has cut its diplomatic ties with Iran and is concerned about Tehran’s growing clout in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Iran and Turkey are determined to manage the differences to reach stability in the region would both benefit from regional security and stability. The comments from Iran days before the planned resumption of Syrian peace talks in Geneva reflected a will on both sides to reap trade benefits from the easing of international sanctions against Iran in January.
Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia seems to close ranks on Syria and
They are reportedly working for a credible ceasefire and end of war in Syria. Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, which officially comprises 65 members. Turkey is part of the recently-launched Saudi military alliance, and bilateral military cooperation was boosted in December with a deal to set up a strategic cooperation council. Ankara also grants the coalition access to Incirlik airbase. The use of Incirlik by Germany, the UK, Qatar and now Saudi Arabia has a symbolic importance to challenge field control by Russia and Iran.” A Saudi official has confirmed that Riyadh has sent warplanes to Turkey’s southern Incirlik airbase, a move considered as preparation for the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that both Tehran and Ankara support the current Syrian ceasefire effort and the preservation of Syria’s unit. Despite deep differences and backing opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Tehran said they agree on de-escalating the war ahead of peace talks.
In January, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Saudi Arabia, followed toward the end of the month by Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar to boost military ties. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey and Saudi Arabia have always been in favor of a ground operation in the fight against [ISIS] and there should be a comprehensive and outcome-oriented strategy. Cavusoglu says if ISIS is eradicated, the world will not have to accept Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the lesser of two evils. However, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said his country was not considering sending troops.
Devoid of any serious peace intent, the international effort for Syrian ceasefire has not succeeded. The problem is Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies are not keen to end the conflict in Syria. However, more than USA, Russia or Saudi Arabia, it is the arrogance of president of Syria Assad (Shi’a) who is deadly selfish and keeps his own self above the Sunni nation is not interested in ending the domestic war or opt for a dialogue with the opposition spearheading the war, for, he thinks he will have to find new job elsewhere as per a new agreement among world powers. Now it is not about anti-Americanism but Assad wants to stay as president for ever without elections or else let Syria goes to dogs. He obviously has no concern for those Syrians who get killed day and night due to US-Russia proxy war.
Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president in June 2013 based on his promise of reaching a nuclear agreement and improving the relations with the West. He delivered on his promise, and in the process a close working relationship developed between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry. Since the nuclear agreement between Iran and the veto members and Germany (P5+1) was signed in July 2015, the main problem in Iran has been national reconciliation and the government now pursues that goal earnestly. Tehran believes peace in Syria could save its time for domestic issues.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional committee that Iran has withdrawn a “significant number” of its troops from Syria ahead of planned ceasefire. A key ally and backer of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has sent members of the elite force to act as “advisers” to Syrian regime forces and to organize militia units with volunteers from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Tehran also arms and supports Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which has itself dispatched forces to shore up the Syrian regime against local rebel forces. But Kerry, speaking two days before a tentative ceasefire is due to take effect in the long-running civil war, told a congressional committee that Tehran’s direct involvement had been reduced. ” Ayatollah Khamenei pulled a significant number of troops out. Their presence is actually reduced in Syria,” Kerry told US lawmakers, referring to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. “That doesn’t mean that they’re still not engaged and active in the flow of weapons from Syria through Damascus to Lebanon. We’re concerned about that and there’s an ongoing concern.”
Earlier this month, Iran’s air defence commander said his country is prepared to provide the Syrian government with “aerial advisory assistance” a day after Saudi Arabia deployed combat aircraft to Turkey. The reduction of Iranian troops in Syria might be due to Russia’s military intervention in the country since September. Tehran has never released official figures for the number of its troops present in Syria, but since October last year more than 100 Iranians have been killed there, including some senior IRGC commanders, according to estimates.
Even as the ceasefire efforts continue to fail, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Tehran recently to chart measures along with Iranian leadership to make Syria conflict free. Iranian state TV says Turkey’s prime minister has met with Iranian officials to discuss Syria, where the two nations back opposite sides in the five-year civil war. Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu arrived on a two-day visit, the first by a Turkish official since the lifting of sanctions under a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in January. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Davutoglu acknowledged on Saturday that Iran and Turkey differ on Syria, but said cooperation between the two was necessary to end the bloodshed there. Turkey is a US partner and leading backer of the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. Iran, along with Russia, has provided crucial support to his government.
Ahmet Davutoglu said during Tehran visit that it is extremely important for Turkey and Iran to develop some common perspectives. Turkey and Iran, two countries on opposite sides of Syria’s civil war, must develop a “common perspective” in order to end sectarian strife in the region. Iran, along with Russia, has stood by Syrian President Bashar Assad in the five-year war, providing him with military and financial support, while Turkey is his most outspoken critic and has backed opposition forces. “We may have different views but we cannot change our history or our geography,” Davutoglu said, standing alongside Iranian Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri. “It is extremely important for Turkey and Iran to develop some common perspectives in order to end our region’s fight among brothers, to stop the ethnic and sectarian conflicts.” Reports of a “Plan B” in Syria as supported by some powers, which would involve some form of partition are not credible .
The removal of the sanctions means the two neighbors can easily exceed their previous trade target of $30 billion annually and Davutoglu said: “The main obstacle that prevented us from reaching our goal was the sanctions. Being free of those, means we can easily surpass our goal of $30 billion”, adding he hoped to encourage mutual direct investment.
Davutoglu said Turkey and Iran hope to expand their trade to $30 billion – triple the current amount. Trade between the two nations was $9.7 billion in 2015, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey has trailed other European countries eager to tap into Iran’s $400 billion economy after world powers, led by the USA, reached an agreement with Tehran last year that seeks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Turkey mainly sells machinery, vehicles and iron and steel products to Iran. Oil and natural gas make up 90 percent of Iranian exports to Turkey. Davutoglu added Turkey will serve as a key transit for Iranian energy supplies to Europe.
In recent weeks, there has been speculation that Turkey might be preparing for an incursion into Syria. However, Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat who now chairs the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), said this was unrealistic under present conditions. It will only happen if the United States gives its support and participates in such an expeditionary land force. That seems unlikely since the United States doesn’t attach the same priority to pushing back regime forces, which seems to be one of the key motivations behind the alleged Turkish-Saudi alliance. The most likely scenario at present is the Saudi air force participating in the anti-ISIS campaign from Incirlik airbase.
Experts say Russian reaction to Turkish-Saudi coordination on Syria will determine the course of the conflict. A Turkish land operation in Syria – with or without Saudi support – would lack political and military grounds, even if could be justified by international law. “The Turkish public is against it, and the Turkish military isn’t enthusiastic according to a recent report. Russia, Iran and the Assad regime would react very sharply, and there’s no reason to think that the United States would welcome such a development. The scope, end-goal and exit strategy of such an operation are at best unclear at present.
If anyone thinks Russia entered Syria where a dangerous civil war has been going on to remove President Assad from power, already killing thousands of Syrians, with a positive mindset to end the war there, they are obviously mistaken.
After its disastrous failure in Iraq under President Saddam Hussein whom it could not protect from US attack, Russia has for quite some time been seeking the right opportunity to reenter the Mideast where its rival USA dictates its terms, and the “invitation” from President Assad to save his life and regime came in as a shot in Putin’s strong arm to officially enter the region to resume arms sales to the economically prosperous region. Moscow intents to expand its weapon trade in West Asia beyond Syria and Iran
Seeking to expand its military trade in the region, Russia has only attempted the Cold war type proxy war with USA in Mideast. Already America has fueled the Syrian crisis by playing double game both opposing Assad and also indirectly supporting him now to stay as long as he wants as USA is not at all eager to end the war.
Russians have in fact joined the Americans to kill Muslims and strike arms deals with Assad and other leaders of Arab world as well as Israel. As it is known, with Russia joining Assad forces in destabilized Syria, the exit of Assad from Syrian scene does not look quite possible now.
USA seeking to ensure its energy needs without any obstruction or delay wants to decide who should rule each Arab nation blessed with plenty of energy resources. Now USA and Russia control and regulate the course of war in Syria.
Educated people especially in USA know too well that without providing for genuine equality and credible justice, peace cannot be established anywhere. USA and Russia now trying to recreate the Cold War tensions globally by proxy war in third countries should now realize that enough harm has already been done to a shivering humanity and they must now focus on generating good will in the world for peace and stability.
Global powers should strive seriously for total disarmament and save the world from complete and early destruction by increased arms sales.
Efforts by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia to end conflict in Syria are commendable but would yield fruit only if USA and Russia behave with responsibility.
Author believes that humanity has a right to know whole truth.