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Russian Gambit

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This text was submitted by Murat Mutlu, SouthFront’s reader from Turkey. SouthFront does not share views of the author to a great extent. For example, SouthFront thinks that there are 3 sides that benefit from the recent developments in northeastern Syria: the United States (the Trump administration), Turkey and the Russian-Syrian bloc. We described this in our recent video analysis “Syrian Kurds’ Protection Deal With Assad, Explained”. The most successful side in this situation, in our point of view, is Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally. Meanwhile, we believe that the point of view provided by Mr. Mutlu is interesting and express gratitude for the provided article.

Russian Gambit

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In renowned motion picture “Godfather” (1974), Vito Corleone explains to his consigliore Tom Hagen after the Meeting of the Dons as “I did not know Barzini was the man behind the scene up to now”. Consigliore Tom Hagen is surprised totally unaware of Barzini’s part in the act.

Myself also deemed that Turkey’s insistence on performing an operation to the East of Euphrates, which could be expressly and easily interpreted as a domestic suicide for Ak Parti government considering the existing economic pressure and other political difficulties even to become more fatal with the for-sure-possible responses to such an operation, was an idea of Ak Party’s own thinking/ideological mechanism. I regarded also that was a result of the heavy pressure exerted by public opinion due to the Syrian refugee population in Turkey as well as, but maybe, the prospected promises of a military victory which might have been deemed, by Mr. Erdoğan and colleagues, to change the domestic political equilibrium to the favor of Ak Parti within Turkey.

Still, when thought the risks to arise, such a choice seemed a very desperate manner. Something was  missing there. It resembled a decision too risky for Turkey to take without any strong inducement. Think about the harsh threats and resistance demonstrated by USA, not known to be fake at that time.

I did not know Russia was the motivator behind the operation up to last few weeks.

The fact is concretely sensed for the first time when Mr. Lavrov started to speak about the possible Turkish operation as a “normal right of self defense” or so, just a couple of days before the start. It was surprising when one knows that Mr. Assad strongly protests such an operation as always but Russia declares in contrary.

Then it was clear suddenly.

And now, unbreakably proven with the current situation.

Russian Gambit

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Stage 1

Russia promoted, encouraged and pushed Turkey towards the operation. The most important step in such a motivation by Russia was that she kept Turkey and Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) contactless despite her official declarations for the need of communication between the two.

The non-existence of communication between Turkey and SAR was crucial, since, otherwise, Turkey could sense and feel that the latter may perform such an operation naturally and she not needs to intervene in the theater physically, but just support SAR instead to enjoy the same fruits. Russia prevented the mutual understanding between two countries and accordingly pushed Turkey to feel as she was the only one to realize Operation Peace Spring.

This act of secret promoting was stage one with wonderful supporting moves of keeping Syria and Turkey unaware of each others’ wills.

Stage 2

Once the operation commenced and progressed, it was the time for midgame moves. Here, you should recall that Mr. Assad declared PYD/PKK as a terrorist organization one week ago with UN and also rejected the demand of the latter to reach an agreement against the Operation Peace Spring just through the first days of the same.

Mr. Assad’s recent aforementioned declaration, together with the rejection towards the demand of PYD/PKK on day two I suppose, were also concealing and brilliant moves probably planned/advised by Russians. The aim for such initial rejection was to make Turkey think definitely that Syria and PYD/PKK by no means can reach to an agreement during the course of the operation. So, with such sureness, Turkey thought that it may perform the operation slowly towards Manbij, Hasaka and Raqqa considering that their time will come without a need for a hurry and worry.

Then as a blitz, came the agreement between Syria and PYD/PKK for the aforementioned cities and around. A shocking and paralyzing midgame originality.

Such a waiting period was also preferred as since it was necessary that Turkey and PYD/PKK, and USA also, to enter in a tangled phase of fighting; so locked that may not free each other despite any contrary-requiring development.

Russian Gambit

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However, one even thinks if such course of events could be a joint plan of Turkey and Russia towards the exhaustion of PYD. Well, not so strong a possibility but not that weak also when considered Mr. Erdoğan’s latest tolerance and smile about Mambij falling into the hands of Mr. Assad. A surprising manner when considered his traditional negative perception towards Syrian President. Can it be like, Turkey scares and Syria captures?

Another point worth to analyze is that the Russian forces entering in Manbij; and Turkey not pushing her chance more towards there does not depend on the physical superiority of Russia against Turkey. That is to say, if Turkey had managed to enter in Manbij before Russians, the latter would not push her chance also since it could result with unbearable consequences for Russia in Syrian theater. This was a dominance arising out of the tactical conjuncture which only could be managed when understood the abstract parameter of winning here; but also requiring the mathematical calculations on such uncertainty. Enter first and you shall stay there. Russian plan was based on that and proved to be effective.

Moves to come

Not everything lasted yet; but since the opening and midgame are won by Russians now, it is only left to perform the endgame carefully and as wise as before.

Since Mambij and Hasaka are now under control of Syria and Russia, Turks will expect the neutralization of PKK threat therein. This will be a key determinant for Turkey to continue its role side by side with Russia.

Another important issue is the Free Syrian Army fighting together with Turkish forces. How shall Turkey cope with such a mass, if it is clear that she acts and/or will act together with Syria and Russia? A hard issue but some options do exist.

But now, thanks to Mr. Trump’s unmatched view of considering the intervention to Middle East by USA is a foolishness, PYD is destroyed (not to mention the role of the unmatched ability of Turkish military force which generated the things to occur in light-speed surprising probably even Russians) and Turkey is much more close to the pact of Eurasia. Take also into account the economic attack on Turkey being planned by nearly all the Western countries, the way to a united and sovereign Syria seems more close.

Well played MR. COMRADE.

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  • RamboDave

    The article has raised some thoughtful and interesting intrigue about Russia’s role.
    However, how could Russia be so sure that President Trump would co-operate so perfectly in their ingenious plan?

    • Harry Smith

      Could you please name more efficient and sure way to get USA troops out of Syria? Remember that get USA out of Syria was one of the electoral promises of Trump. He didn’t build the wall, he didn’t made Chinese invest their in the USA industry, he didn’t dried the swamp, he loses the trade war. So, he needs any of his promises to be fulfilled to have any hope for reelection.

      • RamboDave

        I support what Trump has done. However, Trump has now stirred up a hornets nest with the neocons. They will take their revenge on him. The neocons will make sure that Trump is “primaried” in the Spring.
        Trump has put a dagger in the heart of the Zionists plan to do regime change and/or partition Syria. This was the neocon plan for the last 20 years, going back to Project For A New American Century and Clean Break plan. They will get their revenge.

        • Ceasar Polar

          I think he might have contingency plans in place before playing such a move…

        • George King

          It appears that the neocon vassals in both parties are heading for possible civil war or Marshall law as a reaction to their Howlers of support.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdnwLX5m3G8&feature=youtu.be

    • verner

      northeast syria incursion by turkey was a done deal long before the event became visible on the horizon – it was obvious that turkey never could allow the kurds roaming free in ne syria and likewise it was obvious that syria never would allow them kurds any freedom in the ne and thus the kurds would be squeezed between the two forces and the americans’ toehold in the ne was far too tenuous for any length of time and it was either stay and fight or get out. with the number of available troops the former was not in any way the likely outcome – it was no hard bet to believe that the unhinged states of A would opt to withdraw to Iraq and eventually back to home base.

      so turkey will be back behind its borders with syria, syria will control the ne, and iran will stay in syria as a back up and so will Russia and israel will think hard and long before they do any attacks on syria and iran’s forces there. israel is probably the real loser in the middle east at this time and there is some justice in that since israel was the instigator of the entire war with 100-thousands of dead and maimed and the destroyed lives of millions.

      just one thing to do for the world – terminate israel and its fifth columns around the world.

  • Harry Smith

    Turkey could sense and feel that the latter may perform such an operation naturally and she not needs to intervene in the theater physically, but just support SAR instead to enjoy the same fruits.

    This is oxymoron! SAA could not even think to shell the USA personnel, while Turkey already successfully shelled them by “accident”.

  • Redadmiral

    Unfortunately, the above piece suffers from being poorly translated. However, I get the overall gist of it, which is that poor old Turkey has been shafted by the wiley Ruskies. Who benefits from the way this has played out? The Syrian Government is an immediate beneficiary; insofar as, what once was controlled by the Kurds under the tutelage of Yanki War Machine is No more and will never again be. Trump is also happy to be able to get out from Syria. I believe that since his election he has been hampered time and time again from executing a US withdrawal. Even now the Senate is trying to roll back the tide and that ain’t going to happen either. So, Trump is another winner on all fronts. Then there is Turkey and Erdogon, in a full out conflict with the Kurds it would have been expensive in the number of body-bags which would have been delivered back to the Ak Party’s HO. There are of course other players in this theater of operations, however the only other one that matters is RUSSIA. Russian diplomacy between all of the above made this happen. This is amply proved by the coordination of all involved. Which makes Russia the Biggest Winners, for they have been seen to deliver that which we all thought was next to impossible. The Kurds lost on all fronts and were always the meat in this sandwich. Turdus Concretus Kurdus as might have said in Rome back in the day

  • cechas vodobenikov

    obvious…Russian support for Turkish aggression aimed at US aligned Kurd forces was designed to humiliate the USA and it succeeded. For months Erdogan has threatened the incursion and accurately described the US as 2 faced liars. Prima facie undeniable—this merely exposed the USA as weak. The predicted result, the SDF alliance w the Syrian govt occurred.
    One observes the absence of CIA employee comments below

    • Mike

      You mean toronto tonto, jen holms, dutchnational or klove and light to list a few.

      • verner

        and zionist = evil as the resident tel aviv mouthpiece.

      • cechas vodobenikov

        perhaps. I have observed the same from jensen

  • JustPassingThrough

    “This will be a key determinant for Turkey to continue its role side by side with Russia.”
    The key determinant is the S400 sale, the gaspipeline, the connection to the “new silk road”, etc etc.
    This will keep Turkey in the grand game.
    If Turkey insists on “having it their way.”
    They will be cut out of the loop.

  • Mike

    Interesting how that troll klove and light who always ranted that Putin is a Zionist traitor and is controlled by the NWO cabal agent, hasn’t shown his face since the events in the last week. I guess it showed what a phony that idiot was.

    • Garga

      There were a few beside that account (some of them saying they are ex-military and whatnot) who used to say disintegration of Syria is a done deal and inevitable, because Putin is a Zionist, etc., etc. We are deprived of their wisdom since a few days ago but I’m sure they will quietly return and continue to bash allies of Syria.
      One thing they all have in common is cussing and berating all Americans in general.

      Still, it’s too early for a sigh of relief. It’s rare if everything goes according to the plan and this development is no exception. Turkey agreed to stop the operation for 5 days after meeting with Pence. This thing alone can change Kurdish leaders’ minds, if they feel the threat from Turkey is not as sever as they perceived.

  • Tommy Jensen

    We were leading this excellent strategic smart game of gambit from behind, and America won again.
    We did it.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Like ‘Mission Accomplished ‘ in Iraq and still there and US troops dieing for Israel many years later, as in Afghanistan 20 years later.

      Smart Arses indeed :)

  • Cronos Sin Apellidos

    Nice article, but a really don`t think Syria didn`t know about the plan from the beginning. I think they knew, but didn`t want to do anything until kurds ask them directly for help. And sign an agreement with them. That ocurred pretty fast, and maybe they were waiting by the second for it.

  • Thank you for the article. Teşekkür ederim.

    From the Russian perspective, I believe we can accept a very pragmatic motivation, Russian wants stability in the Middle East, for her own, security purposes; really a win-win objective, for most Middle East countries, and all of the reasonable ones.
    There was talk of the American leadership and ‘5-dimensional chess’; while I had been holding out some faint hope of such a sublime, holistic, minimalist policy implementation, I have to admit, I am yet surprised.
    While I don’t see the situation so much ‘as a seminal Russia plot’, so much as major competent foreign policy … nudges, well orchestrated. But, ultimately, if the Russians are in fact the … ‘enablers’ of the current manoeurves, in the considerable context of the competent, well conceived diplomatic constructs, well-presented, with at least the good semblance of rational and benevolent method, then the entire world owes the maestro a definitive, ‘thank you’.
    Well done.
    I personally think it was closer to the Russians demonstrating, to everyone, that they weren’t going to go away until it was settled (how many years has it taken for other world power brokers to accept this?!), they established the diplomatic infrastructures, knowing that the only durable solution will have to have a negotiated settlement at its backbone, and paid very close attention to the evolution of the international situation, then, more or less identified an appropriate opportunity, and turned it into a win-win-win situation.
    Win – Turkey/Erdogan
    Win – Assad/Syrian refugees and sovereignty
    Win – … believe it or not, Trump (against possibly the most maligned, parasitic organization of all time, the DNC, who almost unbelievably make the Republicans look … okay/reasonable)!?!
    Win – the world!/Russia

    Of course… there are some losers, but all of humanity should be cheering their every loss

  • Mario8282
  • lovethemapples

    Not only Manbij but think of Kobani (just next to Turkey), which was not attacked by Turkey even before the SDF-SAA deal. Which means, only ones fooled here were Kurds, by all US, Turkey and Syria/Russia.
    So I think Turkey and Russia have coordinated everything, and everything is going according to plan. An Interesting thing is how Iran gradually was sidelined in Syria, though they played an important role in the beginning.