Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Forecast: Moscow's reaction?

Russia Today's latest poll:

After Turkey shot Russian jet over Syria Moscow will:
  • respond to Ankara with economic sanctions
  • intensify bombing campaign on Syria-Turkey border
  • establish no-fly zone along Syria-Turkey border
  • increase support to Kurdish fighters 

Most correct answer (in my humble opinion): all of the above. And probably something else that nobody has yet anticipated, not me either.

The relation between Russia and NATO has been degrading in the last years, beginning precisely in Syria:
  1. 2011: NATO and allies (Saudia, Zionistan, Qatar) begin proxy military intervention in Syria
  2. June 2011: China and Russia veto anti-Syrian UN Security Council resolution
  3. 2012: China and Russia veto another anti-Syrian UN Security Council resolution
  4. Winter 2013-14: NATO intervenes via proxy in Ukraina: Euromaidan putsch, largely manned by Neo-Nazi death squads
  5. 2013-14: The so-called Islamic State (DAESH) expands to Iraq (Fallujah conquered in January 2014, Mosul conquered in June)
  6. Late Winter 2014: Crimea democratically self-determinates in favor of annexation to Russia
  7. 2014: NATO & allies initiate economic sanctions against Russia, Russia responds with counter-sanctions
  8. 2014-15 Ucraine conflict stagnates, unsolved
  9. Fall 2015: Russia intervenes in Syria in favor of the Damascus regime, putting the Islamists in a very difficult situation. Some Islamic State groups are flown to Ukraine and Yemen by their state allies
  10. November 24: Turkey shoots down a Russian bomber in Syria, local Turcoman militias shoot and kill the pilot, the co-pilot is rescued. NATO blesses Turkey's attack: they claim that Turkey has "the right to defend itself" but Syria does not. 
What can happen now? On one side it is clear that Russia is deeply offended and has canceled all cooperation with NATO members regarding Syria. On the other extreme, all-out war, which would be nuclear war, is almost certainly a no-go zone, no matter what... or almost. Anything in  between can happen however. 

Russia has shown that they can lay back and wait for the best moment to counter-strike, they have also shown that they can respond very quickly and effectively against provocations, be it in Crimea or in South Ossetia.

Turkey clearly cowers under the skirt of NATO but that does not make the Erdogan regime invulnerable, not at all. Erdogan has in his megalomaniac and authoritarian rise offended many people, even inside the, once all-powerful, Turkish Military. Of course the Left, be it Kurdish or Turkish, hates Erdogan, but he also has enemies in the Right. 

Turkey's Achilles' heel is anyhow the very consolidated Kurdish guerrilla (PKK), which, after upholding a unilateral cease-fire for many years, was pushed into war again recently. Erdogan is known to have used the Islamic State as pretext to bomb Kurdish positions and even civilians in both Syrian and Iraqi territory. Violations of sovereign airspace by Turkey are just a matter of course in fact, and they are usually unmistakable acts of war. 

Even if Putin and co. probably hate it, their best chance at retaliation against Turkey is in fact arming the Kurdish rebels, just as Turkey and their allies (NATO or otherwise) have been arming groups in Syria and Iraq. Why do I say that they probably hate it: mostly because the PKK is a leftist revolutionary force and the Putin regime in Russia is a Right-wing bourgeois conservative force. They have almost nothing in common, except one thing: both have the same enemy: Erdogan and his Islamist regime. And the enemy or my enemy is my friend. But it cannot be an easy relation, no matter what, because the enemy of the PKK is Capitalism, while Putin is a guardian of Capitalism, who sympathizes with reactionary forces like Le Pen, the Lega Nord and the UKIP. But life makes strange allies, you know.

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