[News] US conspires with Turkey over militarized buffer zone following Syrian ceasefire

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Apr 13 18:36:35 EDT 2012

US conspires with Turkey over militarized buffer 
zone following Syrian ceasefire
By Chris Marsden
13 April 2012

Washington has made clear that the ceasefire 
implemented Thursday is only a staging post in 
its plan for regime change in Syria.

Using the G8 foreign ministers summit as its 
platform, the Obama administration demanded that 
the government of Bashir al-Assad comply with all 
United Nations proposals to end conflict with 
western-backed insurgents. On the very first day 
of the ceasefire, Secretary of State Hillary 
Clinton insisted that Assad was not complying 
with other parts of the six-point plan drawn up 
by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. “The 
Annan plan is not a menu of options, it is a set of obligations,” she declared.

The first official step to be taken is the 
installation of UN monitors on the ground within 
a matter of days, who will focus their attention 
on any alleged breaches of the ceasefire by the 
government while giving the opposition a free 
pass. “The burden of fully and visibly meeting 
all of these obligations continues to rest with the regime,” Clinton said.

But she added bluntly that the US wants regime 
change and nothing less will do. “We remain 
firmly resolved that the regime’s war against its 
own people must end for good and political 
transition must begin,” she said. “Assad will have to go.”

Her sentiments were echoed by France’s President 
Nicolas Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister David 
Cameron, who said that Syria needed a “transition 
at the top” to avoid civil war. British Foreign 
Secretary William Hague had threatened Wednesday 
that “if a ceasefire is not upheld over the 
coming days
 we will want to return to the 
Security Council in a new attempt to obtain a 
resolution on Syria, we will intensify our support for the opposition.”

The White House had earlier told the press that 
President Barack Obama had spoken with German 
Chancellor Angela Merkel and agreed on the need 
for “more resolute” action by the UN Security 
Council given that Merkel “shared the concern 
that the Assad government was not complying with 
the terms of the agreement negotiated by Kofi 
Annan and continued to engage in unacceptable 
brutality against its own people.”

In reality, the Western powers are funding and 
directing the insurgency through the mechanism of 
the Syrian National Council and the work on the 
ground of their regional proxies, most notably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Key to creating the basis for a military 
intervention against Assad is providing a 
regional imprimatur—a false flag that means the 
US and NATO can work behind the scenes. The Arab 
League, Ankara and the Gulf states are the 
instruments through which this is to be done. 
Turkey is host to the SNC leadership made up of 
ex-regime elements, Islamists and CIA assets, and 
its military wing, the Free Syrian Army. Many of 
the attacks on Syrian security personnel and 
other targets have been directly staged from 
there. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funneling in 
funds, weapons and fighters to the SNC.

Attention is now concentrated on setting up a 
buffer zone on the Turkish border. This will 
provide a bridgehead and base of operations for 
the SNC and various covert operatives. More 
importantly, its “protection” will be used to 
legitimize a wider military deployment and aerial 
attacks, as was carried out recently in Libya.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was 
called upon to brief the G-8 on Turkey via video. 
It is unclear whether or not he will have 
broached the issue of a buffer zone. But he did 
not need to. The Turkish media is awash with 
reports that the government is in the process of 
finalizing plans to seize Syrian territory by 
force and create a buffer zone. Zaman reported 
Monday that Turkey was considering whether to 
invoke a 1998 agreement with Syria that would 
sanction an armed intervention. The accord 
included Syria’s pledge not to undermine Turkey’s security.

Clinton had spoken earlier by phone about a 
buffer zone with Davutoglu. A State Department 
official said, “Turkey always said there were two 
triggers for them on further involvement. One was 
an overwhelming number of refugees—and they have 
told us the number is continuing to spike—and 
second is if the conflict bleeds across the 
border. Whether what happens in recent days 
constitutes this, we don’t know yet.”

In a statement also issued Monday, following a 
small exchange of gunfire on the Turkish border, 
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said, “Syrian citizens 
who took refuge in our country from the brutality 
of the current regime in Syria are under Turkey’s 
full protection. We will certainly take necessary 
measures if such incidents reoccur.”

The Turkish government said on Tuesday that it 
expects the UN Security Council to adopt a 
decision that would include taking the necessary 
measures to protect the Syrian people, because 
Assad has failed to live up to his commitments. 
However, the UN route towards military action is 
problematic given the opposition of Russia and 
China. Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister 
Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, but there has so far 
been no sign of Moscow agreeing to UN-sponsored 
action despite supporting Annan’s plan. It still 
insists publicly that the onus is on the opposition to halt violence.

More significantly, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip 
Erdogan gave an interview with the daily Hurriyet 
in which he made an explicit call for NATO 
backing of any Turkish action against Syria. 
“Against the violation of borders, a country has 
rights that belong to norms of the international 
law,” he said. “Moreover, on the basis of article 
5 of the Atlantic Pact, NATO has the 
responsibility to protect Turkish borders.”

Making clear that the US is the major force being 
appealed to, he added, “Up until now, this norm 
has been requested only once: it was requested by 
the United States after the terrorist attacks on 
11 September 2001 against the World Trade Center, 
in New York, and against the Pentagon near Washington.”

The invoking of 9/11 by Turkey must be taken as a 
stark warning by the Syrian people and workers 
throughout the world, given that it provided the 
pretext for devastating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul 
Aziz also held talks on Syria at the Pentagon on 
Wednesday. He met with Defense Secretary Leon 
Panetta and General James Mattis, who as head of 
US Central Command oversees troops in the Middle 
East, according to the Saudi Embassy. He then 
held talks with Obama in the Oval Office, after 
which a White House spokesman said that the two 
“discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues.”

Erdogan is to hold talks with King Abdullah in 
Riyadh today, with Hurriyet reporting that 
Erdogan will tell Abdullah that Arab countries 
must take the lead in coordinated international 
measures against the Syrian government.

US action against Syria is bound up with its 
ongoing efforts to establish unchallenged global 
hegemony. Alongside Syria, the G8 meeting also 
discussed Iran—the indirect target of the 
campaign to depose Assad and install a Sunni 
regime beholden to Washington and allied with 
Turkey and the Gulf States—and North Korea, whose 
planned ballistic missile test was described by 
Clinton as “pursuing a cycle of provocation.”

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