(...) The Big Picture
On the bilateral front, Moscow and Ankara are now working close together on counter-terrorism. Turkey’s defense minister was invited to Russia for anti-air defense system negotiations. Bilateral trade is booming again, including the creation of a joint investment fund. On the all-important energy front, Turkish Stream, despite the Obama administration’s obsession about its derailment, became the subject of state law in Ankara earlier this month.
Atlanticists are appalled that Moscow, Ankara and Tehran are now fully engaged in designing a post-Battle of Aleppo Syrian future, to the graphic exclusion of the NATO-GCC combo.
It’s under this context that the recent alleged capture of a bunch of NATO-GCC operatives – deployed under the US-led-from-behind “coalition” - by Syrian Special Forces in Aleppo must be interpreted.
Syrian member of Parliament Fares Shehabi, the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Aleppo, published the names of the apprehended coalition officers; most are Saudi; there’s one Qatari; the presence of one Moroccan and one Jordanian is explained by the fact Morocco and Jordan are “unofficial” GCC members.
And then there’s one Turk, one American (David Scott Winer) and one Israeli. So NATO shows up only via two operatives, but the NATO-GCC link is more than established. If this information proceeds – and that’s still a big “if” - these may well be coalition military personnel and field commanders, formerly advising “moderate rebels” and now a formidable bargaining chip in the hands of Damascus.
Both NATO and GCC remain absolutely mum; not even non-denial denials have materialized. That might imply a made in the shade deal for the release of the high-value prisoners, further strengthening Damascus’ grip.
It was President Putin who all but established a de facto Russia-Iran-Turkey axis dealing with facts on the Syrian ground – in parallel to the rhetoric-heavy, zero-solution UN charade going on in Geneva. Moscow diplomatically emphasizes that the work of the axis complement Geneva. In fact, it’s the only reality-based work. And it’s supposed to sign and seal definitive parameters on the ground before Donald Trump enters the White House.
In a nutshell; the five-year (and running) NATO-GCC combo’s multi-billion dollar regime change project in Syria all but miserably failed. Wily Erdogan seems to have learned his realpolitik lesson. On the Atlanticist front nevertheless, that opens myriad avenues to channel geopolitical resentment.
The Big Picture couldn’t be more absolutely unbearable for neocon/neoliberalcon Atlanticists. Ankara slowly but surely is veering the Eurasianist way; bye bye to the EU, and eventually NATO; welcome to the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. the China-driven One Belt, One Road (OBOR); the Russia-driven Eurasia Economic Union (EEU); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the Russia-China strategic partnership; and Turkey as a key hub in Eurasia integration.
For all that to happen, Erdogan has concluded Ankara must be on board the Russia-China-Iran long-term strategy to pacify and rebuild Syria and make it a key hub as well of the New Silk Roads. Between that and an “alliance” of fleeting interests with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the US, it’s certainly a no-brainer.
But make no mistake. There will be blood.