In their rush to judgement on this issue, the Allies have failed to find a plausible motive.
On July 29th last, The Slog posted a piece on Syria entitled, ‘Why Syria is a potential Sarajevo that could engulf us all’. That prediction appeared to come tragically true yesterday when, allegedly, the Damascus regime shelled an area in Turkey, killing five Turkish citizens.
Unsurprisingly (given their avowed intent to remove the Assad regime in Syria) the Americans and British roundly condemned the action. Hague in particular was up the American backside faster than you could say shock and awe, proclaiming that it represented an “outrageous act. I condemn the violence from the Syrian regime which has led to the deaths of a number of Turkish citizens, including a mother and her children.”
Clearly, the Mekon had already decided this must be Damascus’s handiwork. What he doesn’t seem to have asked himself yet is why on earth the Syrian government would do such a thing. Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is a self-proclaimed ally of Iran, and Iran is an equally self-proclaimed ally of Syria. Besieged as he is by Sunnis, why would Bashar Assad want to alienate the only folks around who’d like to see him win?
It’s also a shame Hague didn’t wait to hear what Damascus had to say, which was this:
“We are looking into the origin of the cross-border shelling. Syria offers its sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and to our friends the Turkish people,” said Information Minister Omran Zoabi.
But the Americans laid it on with a trowel: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “outraged”, and Pentagon spokesman George Little added, “This is yet another example of the depraved behaviour of the Syrian regime, and why it must go.”
Well, the Syrian regime sounded more contrite than depraved to me. Compare and contrast the statement out of Damascus to the bellicosity of our old chum and David Cameron’s good friend, Erdogan the Mad:
“Our armed forces in the border region immediately retaliated against this heinous attack… by shelling targets spotted by radar. Turkey will never leave unanswered such provocations by the Syrian regime targeting our national security, in line with engagement rules and international law.”
Not a very calm or measured response I’d say. And note this carefully: Erdogan immediately sought parliamentary approval for the deployment of Turkish troops beyond its borders. This is the same army whose senior ranks Mr Erdogan only recently jailed because they were ‘plotting against him’.
This smells to me like a put-up job. NATO ally attacked by madman in his death throes, NATO instantly responds with “we stand by our member Turkey, and urge the Syrian regime to end flagrant violations of international law.” Erdogan distracts attention away from his burgeoning economic problems at home, and gets the perfect excuse for a popular war – plus the involvement of those nice respectable people from NATO….as opposed to those nasty warmongers the Anglo-Americans.
What I’d like to see now is some proof: who made the attack, and why, who gave the order, and what the objective was. The Syrians have apologised and the Turks have retaliated. To listen to the Americans, NATO and their bumboy Hague, you’d think it was the other way round.
This is a very dangerous gamble by the Anglo-Saxon West. I have an uneasy feeling that it’s all going to end in tears.