In 2003, when George W. Bush and Anthony Blair decided to unilaterally defy the world and invade Iraq for the clear purpose of regime change, the Islamic Republic of Iran could have cheered. Iran could have embraced the fact that after suffering a decade long war defending against Saddam’s military onslaught, that now the most powerful military in history was going to destroy Saddam and all he stood for.
But Iran did not celebrate the US/UK attack on Saddam’s hated regime, nor did Iran celebrate the US attack on the hated Taliban regime in 2001 on the eastern side of Iran’s borders. The reason for this is clear: Iran’s leadership understood the difference between standing up for one’s principles and cheering on a far worse enemy of Iran than even Saddam or the Taliban.
Likewise, the time has come for all members of the greater Islamic Resistance to ask themselves difficult questions about their position vis-a-vis both the United States and Turkey. In many ways, for the core of the Islamic Resistance (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, post-Saddam Iraq) and their supporters in the Orthodox Christian world beyond (Greece, Serbia, Cyprus, Russia, Armenia etc), things have reached a decisive moment of truth when it comes to pragmatically accepting the asymmetrical but unambiguous political about-face of Erdogan’s Turkey. The other option is to become the useful idiots of both the regime in Washington and the regime in Tel Aviv – two blood-soaked regimes that are historically and presently unpopular (to put it mildly) throughout the Axis of Resistance and the pro-Resistance Orthodox Christian world beyond.
Those who support the partnership between Russia and Turkey do not do so at the expense of erasing the recent memory of Erodogan’s zeal for illegal regime change in Syria, nor do supporters of the Russo-Turkish partnership condone the horrors that in the very recent past Turkey rained on Syria.
Let us remember that Iran, Syria and the Sunni leadership of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, stood by Iran when Saddam invaded in the 1980s. This was at a time when Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, West Germany, France, Britain and the United States were Saddam’s best friends.
The Erdogan today however, is not the Saddam of 1981, he is the Saddam of 1991, a man who has rapidly gone from a western darling to a pariah among the west. Just as in the 1990s, when the western powers worked with anti-Saddam forces in Iraq to destabilise the country, so too is the United States currently aiding Kurdish groups who threaten Turkish security, while also aiding the Fethullah (Gulen) Terrorist Organisation (FETO), whose leader lives a life of comfort in the United States.
By 2003, many of Saddam’s bitter enemies bitterly opposed the US war on Iraq. This did not make them into Saddam’s friends over night. What it did do, was reveal the fact that at least in 2003, countries like Syria who participated in the 1990 war on Iraq (when Saddam’s aggression against Iran was still proverbially smouldering in the air), wanted nothing to do with the US war of aggression against an Iraq that threatened no one except in historical memory.
Today, Erdogan is not compromised the way Saddam was after 1990, but he has been almost totally neutralised as a credible threat to the Resistance axis. Today, Erdogan is a partner of Russia and also of the largest country in the Islamic Resistance: The Islamic Republic of Iran. This doesn’t mean that all three countries who collectively form the Astana group for peace in Syria see eye to eye on everything, but it does mean that as Iran’s President Rouhani and Russia’s President Putin said just this morning, that all three partners remain committed to their cooperative format which stretches far beyond the conflict in Syria, and it includes agreements on energy, trade, scientific exchange and collective security cooperation.
It is as natural for Syrian patriots to resent Erdogan today as it was for Iranian patriots to resent Saddam in the 1990s. But today, Iran has far more US troops on its border thanks to the 2003 invasion of Iraq than it did in the 1990s when it had zero. At a time when the US and “Israel” are intent on destroying Iran and all of the Islamic Resistance, the dangers of US troops on either side of Iran’s borders speak for themselves.
While Saddam in the 1990s was beaten by wars and crippling sanctions, Turkey has luckily been ‘neutralised’ through the win-win diplomatic efforts of Russia as well as the Iranian attitude which has embraced a win-win posture for the same reason. While many ordinary Turks still post offensive memes about Syria online, so too would an average pro-Saddam rally in Iraq in the 1990s be filled with anti-Iranian slogans. This is par for the course in such matters and online memes do not make official foreign policy. If they did, the US would have already nuked North Korea, while busily working to replace the Juche idea of Kim Il-sung with ‘intensive gender studies’.
If Erdogan did not have the support of Russia, he might have already been overthrown by forces working for the United States. When they tried to do just that in the summer of 2016, it was Russia who tipped Erdogan off with potentially life saving intelligence that allowed him to secure the stability of his state. If Russia in 2018 was like the compromised USSR of 1990 or even the Russia of 2003, Erdogan might be gone, and he would not have been replaced by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah nor by a Greek Orthodox Patriarch.
Does saving Erdogan’s state and acting as Erdogan’s contemporary partner make Vladimir Putin an enemy of The Resistance? Does this make Vladimir Putin an enemy of the Orthodox world? Of course it does not, the very suggestion is absurd and offensive, but these are the very accusations various “alt-media” propagandists like to throw at people who support both Russia’s official and clearly implied stance vis-a-vis Turkey.
In reality, Putin clearly knows that if Russia were to allow the US to extract vengeance upon an eastward looking Erdogan – an Erdogan who has traded the EU for One Belt – One Road and possibly also the Eurasian Economic Union in the near future, that Turkey would become embroiled in a multi-faction civil war that would include Gulenists, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, ultra-nationalists, “Israel” backed Kurdish terrorists and others. The war would also almost certainly spill over into many of Turkey’s neighbours, most prominently into Europe where thousands of Takfiris would run to their self-defined promised land of jihad. Those who are cheering for Erdogan’s demise are cheering for everything mentioned above – they are cheering for Turkey, much of the Levant and much of Europe becoming what Iraq became after 2003: a place of hell for Sunnis Iraqis, Shi’a Iraqis and the largely exterminated or permanently displaced population of Christian Iraqis. A US backed coup would not look anything like 20th century Turkish coups which were highly professionalised, genuinely internal and intent on returning to civilian control as soon as an ‘undesirable’ leader was removed by the Army. Even the most casual glance at the attempted coup of 2016 should be able to demonstrate that both Turkey and the region have changed from the days of relatively peaceful Turkish coups.
So the next time one feels that it is patriotic or noble to cheer for the demise of the Turkish President, just remember that revenge is a lot like chemical weapons, it can be blown in the wind back onto the party which launched the first strike.