Turkey’s Stab in the Back

War is the great clarifier, and in the case of the battle against Islamist insurgents, including ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, the downing of the Russian war plane by the Turkish military has demonstrated this principle quite dramatically.

The US and its NATO allies, including Turkey, claim to be fighting ISIS, otherwise known as the “Islamic State,” but the Turks’ main fire has been directed at the Kurds and the Syrian regime itself. Turkey has been the main conduit for aid to the Islamic State, and the Turkish intelligence agency has long collaborated with Islamists in the region. The US, for its part, has attacked ISIS positions, and yet Washington’s insistence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must go has undermined their ostensible goal of destroying the Islamic State: most of the Americans’ resources have gone into buttressing the “moderate” Islamist opposition. These “moderates” include, incredibly enough, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda, who have forged an alliance with US-backed rebels in a joint effort to overthrow Assad.

On the other hand, the Russians have been unequivocal about their war aims: the elimination of the jihadists from Syrian territory. This has meant supporting the only viable alternative to jihadist rule: the Assad regime. Working in conjunction with government forces, Russian war planes have devastated jihadist positions and aided the Ba’athist regime in its effort to regain territory.

This incident has revealed what the real sides are in the Syrian civil war: who is fighting whom, and for what. The Russian plane crashed into Syrian territory and one of the pilots was shot from the skies as he parachuted: this barbaric act was captured on video by the rebels, who are being reported as affiliated with the Turkmen “10th Brigade.” This is just for public consumption, however: in reality, the area is controlled by an alliance of rebel forces dominated by the al-Nusra Front, which is the official Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda. The jihadists took control of the area in March of this year, and it has been the focal point of recent fighting between al-Qaeda and Syrian government forces backed by the Russian air offensive.

Vice is reporting:

“Russia sent helicopters to search for the downed pilots. Syrian fighters later fired at a helicopter forcing it to make an emergency landing in a nearby government-held area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian insurgent group, recipient of US Tow missiles, said its fighters hit the helicopter with an anti-tank missile.”

So here we have it: US-backed jihadists, including al-Qaeda, are using weapons supplied by Washington to fight the Russians and the Syrian government. A cozy arrangement, indeed.

As I’ve written here as long ago as the summer of 2012, Washington has effectively entered an alliance with al-Qaeda. And as I pointed out here more recently, our “war on terrorism” has turned into a war on Russia, a proxy war in Syria in which Washington is actively aiding its former enemies – the very same people who brought down the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Turkey is a member of NATO, and in any conflict with Russia we are pledged to come to their aid. The danger highlighted by this incident can hardly be overemphasized. As I  put it last month:

“With the addition of Russia to the Middle East equation, the stakes have been raised a hundred-fold. How long before this “proxy war” turns into a direct confrontation between two nuclear-armed powers? Will I witness another version of the Cuban missile crisis in my lifetime?”

Putin’s accusation that this is “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists” is absolutely correct – but he isn’t just talking about Turkey, whose Islamist regime has been canoodling with the terrorists since the start of the Syria civil war. Washington and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar – who have been directly aiding ISIS as well as the “moderate” head-choppers – is indirectly responsible for the downing the Russian plane – including a barbaric attack on the rescue helicopter, which was downed by a US-provided TOW missile launcher.

Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn’t a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world.

As Europe cowers before a terrorist assault, and the War Party justifies universal surveillance of the American people by citing the threat from domestic attacks by ISIS, we are allied with these barbarians in Syria. And the foreign policy wonks in Washington are taking this opportunity to demonize Russia: according to them, Putin and not ISIS is the real threat to the West. As Dan Drezner, one of the Washington Post’s resident Russia-haters, writes:

“If Putin has a modus operandi, it’s to foment tensions in a new region when the situation is worsening in an ongoing area of conflict. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Putin tries to coerce or intimidate the Baltic states soon, as a way of signaling to NATO that it has leverage elsewhere.”

This would be funny if it wasn’t such a widely shared talking point. For the past year or so the Russia-haters have been confidently predicting that Putin would be marching through the streets of Kiev and gobbling up the Baltics in a single swallow. A Russian invasion, according to the Ukrainians and their US cheerleaders, has been “imminent” for the past nine months or so! According to their scenario, by this time Putin should be crossing the English Channel and laying siege to London., Naturally, nothing of the sort has happened, nor will it happen: it’s the Americans who want a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis, not Putin.

And now they have it.

Are you ready for World War III?


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I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].