Observers of Middle East politics have often said allegiances in the region shift as fast as the desert sands. And nothing substantiates that metaphor as much as the relationship between Israel and Turkey that went from warm to ice cold and now to a lukewarm «marriage of convenience». The two erstwhile friends are now working in an uneasy alliance to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad from power.
In many respects, the remaking of the Ankara-Jerusalem alliance should not come as any great shock. After all, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) is at one with the Saudi Arabian and Qatari Wahhabists when it comes to Syria.
The rise of the AKP in Turkey at the expense of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), which espouses the anti-Muslim caliphate doctrine of modern Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk, has witnessed a de facto alliance between Ankara and the radical fundamentalist Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood regimes in Riyadh and Doha.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s problems with the Egyptian Army arose when Morsi began rallying Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood radicals, including Al Qaeda elements, to the Syrian jihadist cause.
Morsi’s common cause with jihadists fighting in Syria crossed a line in the sand for Egyptian military officers who recall the glory days of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s secular and pan-Arab socialist «United Arab Republic» with Syria.
The move of the Egyptian Army against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), patterned after Turkey’s AKP, sent a shiver down the spine of Erdogan. The Turkish Prime Minister is well-aware that a previous Islamist-oriented government in Ankara, the Refah Party, was ousted by Turkey’s secularist military in a constitutional coup d’etat in 1997.
After Erdogan’s crackdown on protests, triggered by his desire to restore an Ottoman-era barracks at a popular Istanbul park, Turkey’s military was carefully eyeing public reaction.
Although Erdogan’s popularity remained strong in Turkey’s hinterlands, the opposition secularists were encouraged by the large crowds of protesters that hit the streets of Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, and other cities. It would not take much for Turkey’s generals to show the Islamist-oriented Erdogan the door, much in the same manner that Egypt’s generals have told Morsi to step down.
Erdogan’s breaking the ice with the Israelis, after relations cooled to sub-freezing temperatures after the Israeli military attack on the Turkish Gaza aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, in which nine passengers, including a Turkish-American citizen, were killed, opened a new chapter in the political saga of the post-«Arab Spring» Middle East. A Turkish delegation was sent to Israel to discuss compensation claims for the victims of the attack on the Mavi Marmara.
Although the Erdogan government insisted the delegation was in Israel only to discuss compensation, observers believed the subject of Turkish-Israeli discussions also included coming up with a common strategy to oust Assad.
It is clear that it was not merely the intervention of President Barack Obama that encouraged Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to begin talking again but the long-standing secretive but substantive alliance between Israel and the Saudis and Qataris that convinced Ankara that it should work with Israel to toppled Assad in Damascus.
Turkey and Israel are closely cooperating in the propaganda campaign against Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned Turkish CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu for suggesting that it was the Syrian rebels who used chemical weapons in Syria in a «false flag» operation designed to lay the blame on Assad’s forces.
The Israelis, of course, are masters in deception campaigns, including the launching of false flag terrorist attacks to advance their agenda. Kilicadroglu who, like Assad, is an Alawite, a member of a Shi’a-linked Islamic minority sect that is considered heretical by the Sunnis of all stripes, including Erdogan; Qatar’s new Muslim Brotherhood Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; and the leadership of the U.S.-armed Free Syrian Army.
Obama, who brokered the renewed talks between Turkey and Israel, is not an idle player in the newly-restored working alliance between Ankara and Jerusalem on Syria. Obama’s former national security adviser and now CIA director, John O. Brennan, who reportedly visited Mecca while CIA station chief in Riyadh and is a sycophantic admirer of the Saudi regime and its Wahhabist trappings, is working behind the scenes to coordinate U.S., Turkish, and Israeli assistance to the Syrian rebels.
The rebels mainly consist of jihadist veterans of guerrilla wars in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, and Yemen and many have the blood of American troops and Libyan, black African, Afghan, Pakistani, and Russian civilians on their hands.
Israel will gladly deal with such Al Qaeda elements in order to crush Lebanese Hezbollah, which has rallied its military forces to defend Assad and Syria’s Shi’a, Alawite, and Christian populations. Only in the shifting sands of the Middle East could a right-wing and militaristic Jewish state find common cause with Wahhabist and Salafist jihadists, backed by America , Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to attack and massacre Syrian Shia’s, Alawites, and Christians in order to send a message to the Shi’a-dominated government of Iran.
Meanwhile, Israel’s actions are applauded by Christian fundamentalists, known as «Christian Zionists,» who champion the American military’s wars of aggression against Muslim peoples while advocating Taliban-like policies affecting American women, public education, church-state separation, and freedom of expression.
The Sunday Times of London reported that an unnamed Israeli official told the paper that the long-term goal of Washington and Jerusalem is the creation of a Sunni bloc in the Middle East composed of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and a Sunni-controlled Islamic state in Syria that would have Israel as a de facto member.
The Shi’a-led government of Iraq would be checked by its autonomous Kurdish north also joining the Sunni bloc since relations between the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq and Turkey are relatively good.
The actions of the Obama administration, which has decided for the first time in American history, to take sides in a religious war between Sunnis and Shi’as, point in the direction of the creation of a new version of the old Cold War-era Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)…
The United States was only an observer of CENTO, its chief Western member was Great Britain. It can be expected that the United States, like Israel, will be observer members of a new Sunni bloc in the Middle East but with more influence than their observer status would suggest.
While CENTO was a meeting place for officials from the secularist/Kemalist government of Turkey, the Shah of Iran’s government, the government of the Kingdom of Iraq, and Anglophile ministers from Pakistan’s government, the new Sunni bloc will consist of Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, Wahhabists, and even Al Qaeda elements all working hand-in-glove with the Americans, Turks, and Israelis to drive the Arab Middle East back to the 13th century.
It is doubtful that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will survive such a bloc. Libya, under more and more control by Salafists, will likely join to spread Salafism throughout North Africa and the Sahel region. More importantly, is the role the Turks will play in advancing radical Sunni Islam into the Caucasus, the Volga basin, the steppes of central Asia, and into western China.
The emerging bloc surrounding the newly-revised Ankara-Jerusalem alliance spells potential disaster for the peoples of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Central and East Asia.
Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation