Facing today’s complex geopolitical imbroglios in the Middle East, what is the bsolute worst case scenario for Erdogan’s and his electoral interest driven coalition supporters on Washington’s Hill, in Tel Aviv, at the Élysée Palace to name a few of our great democracy champions ?
The answer is : To have the Alawi dictator President Bashar El-Assad become viewed by Arab, Kurdish and certainly also Iranian public as the only one courageous enough to engage his forces in close range street to street defense of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. Whether, El-Assad’s available military resources allow him to efficiently contain ISIS around the besieged city is questionable but he certainly can show his "calculated goodwill" to do so.
An astute observer should deduct that the worst case scenario is probably already becoming reality. What are the elements that can lead to such an assumption ?
Russian planes ?
Real information is something scarce these days, yet watching yesterday’s international news channels, one could observer through what was shown
and said some very interesting developments.
We heard that thanks to the coalition’s numerous bombing raids, entrenched Kurdish fighters were able to repulse ISIS terrorists outside of some the previous day city-quarters. This media broadly stated story was illustrated by picture of powerful explosions in and around the encircled city – explosions apparently resulting from
coalition air-bombardments. Confirming this story, we even saw at length an airplane flying at relatively low altitude over the city in a CNN show.
If CNN’s story wasn’t a photo-montage, the problem here – and it is quite a big one –
is that the shown aircraft was definitely “Made in Russia” and not Made in USA or in France ! In fact the aircraft shown was Sukhoi variable wing geometry attack jet (SU 24M2) with wings spread out in slow flight configuration. This means that the pictures displayed by CNN were that of a plane flying in full daylight over ISIS hostile ground and in a close range air-to ground support mssion, something the coalition, except for the Iraqi AirForce which had a number of aircrafts shot down recently,has so far been unwilling to do because it is much less risky – and conversely much less efficient
against hiding soft targets – to drop bombs from higher altitudes and at night flying aircraft and drones !
Since it seems logical that nobody in the coalition flies Russian and that so far the strategy was focused on avoiding any risks that could lead to the beheading of its captured crews, one can ask who was doing the kindhearted “help the Kurds” work here : The coalition or the Syrian dictator ?
A buffer no-fly zone
Trying to answer this question, one may recall when a few days ago, French President Hollande announced surprisingly that France backs Erdogan’s call for a buffer no-fly zone along Syria’s northern border as a "sine qua non" condition or his active involvement in the fight against ISIS. This announcement, followed today by a Franco-Turkish foreign affairs ministers meeting in Paris, came as a surprise.
However, it is probable that the French initiative resulted through intelligence obtained information on Damascus’ military head office planning to provide help to the besieged Syrian Kurds. The worst case scenario was suddenly surfacing here !
Going well beyond any ethical concern about the rising number of civilian death and refugees resulting from a further preventive war operation – since these casualties can be easily put on El-Assad’s account – the “what if El-Assad succeeds in his Kurds rescue operation ?” new situation must have created panic within coalition ranks. For US politicians of the Bush/Clinton bi-partisan indispensable “war party” activists it means a total rethinking of their forthcoming presidential campaign leitmotiv. For feudal Gulf rulers, beyond restructuring their internal autocratic governance
system, it means either you make friend with Iran or you are finished. For Erdogan it means the end of the road since that future of his neo-Islamist conservative regime cannot be guaranteed without Turkish Kurds ballot support. No need here to analyze seriously Hollande’s, Cameron’s or other European leaders of the follow US politics herd, it is just pathetic and fundamentally undemocratic as the vast m1jority of European citizens are not prepared to have their sons and daughters die for Iraq, Syria or in the same logic for Ukraine.
Thus, under hush and rush conditions, it was decided by some of these prominent western politicians – so far without any transparency and serious democratic debate – to go along Erdogan’s demands and work on organizing preventively a military acked buffer no fly zone over a sovereign state member of the UN.
Bismark and Realpolitik
This may still be wishful thinking from part of over-ambitious minds but they would be
well advised to check first what consequences such new war escalation may have both on the international geopolitics front as well as on the no fly zone enforcement aspect. In this respect let us remind them that in addition to Sukhoys, Syria is also backed by very efficient Russian air-defense systems for which flying at night and high altitude is not a challenge. The best advice one should therefore give is by citing Bismarck : "Preventive War equals committing suicide out of fear of death."
All we can do now is to hope for the prevalence of an intelligent Realpolitik that limits to the maximum risk levels further harming all of the local population, irrespective of ethnicity or beliefs, rather than pursuing impossible dreams for the defense
of specific group interests or individual ambitions. Before rushing into acts supposedly solving worst case problems, let intelligent politician and diplomats listen to logic and pioneer in the direction of win-win “Best Case Scenarios.”