Islamic State

How far can Erdogan push Putin, and who will help him?

I wrote this article for Russia Insider, whose audience is more familiar with the true situation in Syria, and disbelieving of the western propaganda which is enabling the illegitimate and dangerous attack on Syria. In Russian a 'provocation' is what we would call a false flag, and in this case applies to Turkey's shooting down of the Russian bomber. While this has been portrayed in the West as 'Turkey's right to defend its borders', the bomber was never over Turkish territory, as testified to by the co-pilot after he was rescued from the murderous 'rebels' who shot the other one as he parachuted to the ground. The Turkish government carried out this act of war against Russia in a desperate attempt to slow down Russia's bombing campaign against all the rebel groups Turkey has been supporting in Syria, including Islamic State. Whether Turkey had the assistance or aquiescence of NATO in this operation is a matter of speculation, but we can see from President Putin's statements and actions just how serious a provocation this was. That this has been followed by the vote in Britain and Germany to send military forces to 'fight ISIS' in Syria is a grave escalation of the conflict, as this is directly contrary to the actions Russia and Syria and Iran have been taking. But our media are struck dumb. Is it possible they don't know what is happening? My article below: Yet again Turkey has set up a 'provocation', in pursuit of the regime's geostrategic goals. As details emerged following its shooting down of a Russian fighter jet over Syria, any doubt that this was an act of provocation and aggression rapidly disappeared. Not that there was ever much doubt on this side of the divide because Russian planes had been operating in the area for weeks and had no reason to stray over the border. The Russian 'denials' of an incursion were soon confirmed unambiguously, when the plane's navigator was rescued and described Turkey's unprovoked attack, in an interview which was even aired by Australia's State broadcaster, the ABC. True to form however, the Murdoch press ignored this testimony, and published full page graphics showing only the plane's route as claimed by Turkey. In Newscorp's Herald Sun - famous for prosecuting Putin with mystery claims over MH17 - the accompanying text titled 'Downing Vlad's Top Guns' offered no alternative beyond 'Russia claims F-16s opened fire inside Syrian airspace'. (This was in line with US sources who backed up Turkey's fabricated story but admitted the Russian jet was in Syrian airspace when it was hit). What we have to note here, is that the only debate that existed in most Western media was on whether Turkey was justified in shooting down the Russian plane for so briefly entering Turkish airspace. The co-pilot's damning testimony was never mentioned again, so the idea that Turkey might have shot down Russia's plane intentionally, as an act of war, was never discussed. This was despite the accepted narrative that Russia was bombing 'moderate rebels' in Syria who were ethnic Turks and who Turkey had vowed to 'protect'. (Davotoglu says this is Turkey's duty) For us 'dissidents', who never doubted 'Russia's story', it still took several days before the extent of this 'provocation' became clear. With previous 'false flag' attacks, like the so-called chemical weapons attack in Ghouta two years ago, the motivation of the responsible parties was quite obvious, and itself one of the indicators that this was such a 'provocation'. In this case however it was not so clear what might be gained by Turkey in doing something which looked more like an act of anger and retribution over Russia's destruction of Erdogan's mercenary regime-change armies. And we all saw those 'regime changers', proudly holding up the parachute handles of the Russian pilot they had just murdered, described as 'Syrian Turkmen' in the caption or commentary. Such was the confidence of the organisers of this act that Western media would present it in a way favourable to the Turkish narrative, that the self-confessed assassins of the pilot made no attempt to conceal their identities in the photos and video 'posted on social media'. When a wider picture revealed that CNN Turk and Fox news apparently had foreknowledge of the event and were on the spot to photograph it, this was not a problem either. We can barely imagine how it would feel for the pilot's close relatives to see and hear his killers celebrating their loved-one's death, and knowing that Western audiences were likely sympathising with these supposed victims of 'Vlad's top guns'. We must try to remember now that this is where the story ended for the 'victims' of the Western media machine; they never got to hear what followed like we did, as Russian agencies, media and independent commentators began to investigate the crime. And they are now most unlikely to believe the true story about the planning of this attack and apparent complicity of their own governments. History shows that even the most glaring inconsistencies over this attack will escape their attention now the simplistic NATO-friendly narrative has been established, and reinforced with pacifying rhetoric from Western leaders. It may make us cringe to listen to statements from Erdogan and Davotoglu that beggar belief, about Turkey's desire for peace, and necessity to defend its people from Russian aggression, even in Syria. It may make us squirm to realise that these criminals have credibility, not just with a Western audience but with the Europeans, who only days later have rewarded them with money and renewed prospects for cooperation. Perhaps cringing and squirming aren't enough - we need to get angry; as Russian leaders have realised, they can no longer deal with such 'back-stabbers' in polite diplomatic terms. The only way forward now is to ruthlessly expose their double dealing, as Vladimir Putin has just done at the forum in Paris, and as the Russian air-force has done with its 'indiscriminate' bombing campaign in Syria. While this may not persuade Western audiences who still believe armed insurgents can be 'moderate', the message has surely been received loud and clear by their sponsors even though they behave otherwise. Given recent progress on the ground in Syria, this NATO sponsored provocation hasn't been a great success, if it was intended to foil a cooperative campaign to strangle supplies to Da'esh and other terrorist groups, like the ones called 'Syrian Turkmen'. But one fears that this provocation was actually aimed at the Western public, to whom it is invisible. They are already being fed follow-up stories about Russia 'carelessly killing civilians' by NGOs and media who may actually believe them. (like previous claims made against the Syrian government however, the 'civilians' in these nicely timed stories will nearly all be fighters, or executed prisoners). Within such a framework of disinformation and distortion, Russia's increasingly severe statements and actions are completely misunderstood or not understood at all by the Western public. While we may be powerless to enlighten them now, we will at least be better placed to address the consequences if we realise this.