Berlin's Priorities

BERLIN/ANKARA/RIYADH | | saudi-arabientuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA/RIYADH (Own report) - The German Chancellor is raising strong accusations against Turkey. One should "be able to expect from a NATO member country" that it "will set the right priorities" and ultimately give precedence to the struggle against IS, Angela Merkel said yesterday (Wednesday), in reference to the catastrophic situation in the North Syrian border town of Kobani. Ankara is refusing any form of assistance to the Syrian-Kurdish combatants, trying to fend off the terrorist troops of the "Islamic State" (IS) storming the city. Observers are suspecting that an IS conquest of Kobani may even be to the Turkish government's geostrategic advantage. Merkel's accusations of Ankara are surprising - not solely, because Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been systematically spying on Turkey. Therefore, Berlin had known of how Turkey has been supporting IS, without objecting. Likewise, Berlin had not intervened against the strategic measures being taken in Lebanon and Syria by the USA and Saudi Arabia, even though these also benefited the IS or other Salafist militias, that are today supporting the IS. Experts are warning that in the short-term, the strengthening of IS can no longer be halted. In the Turkish regions bordering on Syria, there could even be a similar development to the Afghan-Pakistan border.

No Help for Kobani

Chancellor Angela Merkel is raising strong accusations against Turkey. It is wrong for the Turkish government not to provide assistance to the Syrian-Kurdish defenders in the northern Syrian city of Kobani, said Merkel at a meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Parliament, yesterday (Wednesday). The Chancellor is quoted to have said "actually, one should be able to expect from a NATO member country that it will set the right priorities and that the struggle against the IS terrorism would have priority for Ankara."[1] In fact, Turkey, which had never hesitated to carry out military interventions against the Kurdish PKK, even beyond its borders, is keeping itself completely out of the battle currently being waged just across the border in Kobani. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared, "Turkey is just as much against the ISIS (IS) terrorist organization, as it is against the PKK terrorist organization."[2] The Syrian Kurdish PYD defending Kobani, is a PKK affiliate. However, Ankara's refusal to concede to Western pressure and contribute to Kobani's defense against the terrorist troops of the "Islamic State" is primarily because of Turkey's geostrategic plans to eventually take control of parts of northern Syria. ( reported.[3])

Precise Knowledge

Merkel's accusations raised against Turkey are surprising, because the German government must have been very well informed about Ankara's support for Salafist militias and probably even for the IS in Syria. This is not only because, already back in 2013, the German domestic political intelligence agencies (the federal and the regional "Offices of the Protection of the Constitution") had become aware of German Salafists, joining IS - in the meantime, at least 400 individuals, who usually had traveled to Syria by way of Turkey. It is unknown, why they could not have been prevented from going. Observers have begun to ask whether it could be because it had seemed more opportune to let the reprehensible Salafists here at home, go off to join the fight against the Assad government, considered here at home just as reprehensible - at least, until the IS began threatening western interests, thereby itself becoming a declared enemy. In addition, since it had recently been exposed that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had been engaged in comprehensive espionage in Turkey, it is incomprehensible that the BND had known nothing of IS' systematic recruitment of fighters in Turkey, or Turkey's importing IS-extracted oil or even that IS militiamen were being medically taken care of in Turkish hospitals.[4] Had Germany, at the time, set its priorities, where Merkel is now wishing Turkish priorities to be set - namely on the struggle against the IS - this terrorist militia's reinforcement could have possibly been prevented.

"Very High-Risk"

IS' success hinges on the long-term promotion of Salafist organizations throughout the Middle East and Western Asia, permitted by the West for geostrategic reasons, and carried out in plain sight of German government agencies. This was done in the context of seeking to weaken Iran. The policy had called for attacking - or having others attack - each of Teheran's Middle East allies, to isolate Iran. These allies include, for example, Hezbollah in Lebanon, which stands not only under political pressure. The USA and Saudi Arabia have been financing Lebanese Salafist groups, who are the worst enemies of the Shiite Hezbollah. An official in Beirut had admitted to US journalist Seymour Hersh back in 2007 that even al Qaeda type organizations were allowed "to have a presence here."[5] In a conversation with Hersh, a former member of the US intelligence community complained, "in this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. It's a very high-risk venture." On the other hand, since 2012, at the latest, north Lebanese Salafists - who had been reinforced with western and Saudi aid - began supporting insurgents in the Syrian civil war. Up to 900 of them are said to have joined IS. It is unlikely that Berlin had not known of this buildup of the Lebanese Salafists by its US partner and its Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, particularly given the fact that the German Bundeswehr has been operating in Lebanon since 2006 - hardly without its accompanying intelligence-gathering component. In any case, articles on this development began being published back in March 2007. At the time, the common priorities being set by the West were aimed at weakening Iran.

The Bandar Plan

Equally unimaginable is that Berlin was unaware of the "Bandar Plan," with which particularly the USA in cooperation with Saudi Arabia had sought to hasten Bashar al Assad's overthrow. The plan is named after the head - from 2012 to 2014 - of the Saudi secret services, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The "Institute for National Security Studies," in Tel Aviv, breaks the plan down into three components: Saudi Arabia should set up new insurgent militias in Syria; infiltrate additional agents and fighters to direct the already existing Syrian groups cooperating with al Qaeda - meaning particularly the Al Nusra Front and the IS; and third, find other means for directing those jihadist groups that cannot be infiltrated. The "Institute for National Security Studies" arrives at the conclusion that, in the implementation of the "Bandar Plan," the IS was also receiving financing, training and religious support from Saudi Arabia - possibly not officially from the Saudi state, but from "private financiers."[6] The Bandar Plan was discontinued after the IS began to get out of hand and turn its sights on western interests. Had Berlin not given top priority to its close cooperation with Saudi Arabia - including a massive arms buildup - and to tolerating the Bandar Plan, Merkel's recent accusations of Turkey could have seemed more credible.

An Illusion

Specialists are warning that the IS, which is in control of several border crossings into Turkey, could establish itself on Turkish territory, very much like the Salafist militias from Afghanistan had done in Pakistan. It is "an illusion, to believe the Islamic State's terrorism will halt at the Turkish border," warns Rainer Hermann, a Middle East expert. "Pakistan also believed that, when it was supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan." The terrorists, for example, could "recruit fighters from among the Syrian refugees" and "carry the religious conflict ... inside Turkey" - similar to the Afghan mujahidin.[7] This would lead to a further proliferation of the current war, provoked by the West's destruction of entire states in the Middle East.[8]

Other reports and background information on war on IS can be found here: Liberated by the West, From Kurdistan to Alawitestan, The End of an Epoch (I) and A Desperate Defensive Battle.

[1] Merkel wirft der Türkei Untätigkeit vor. 08.10.2014.
[2] Erdogan erwartet Sieg des IS in Kobane. 07.10.2014.
[3] See A Desperate Defensive Battle.
[4] See Öl ins Feuer.
[5] Seymour M. Hersh: The Redirection. The New Yorker 05.03.2007.
[6] Udi Dekel, Orit Perlov: The Saudi Arabia and Kuwait "Outposts Project": Al-Qaeda and Its Affiliates. The Institute for National Security Studies, INSS Insight No. 517, 16.02.2014.
[7] Rainer Hermann: Gefährliches Spiel. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08.10.2014.
[8] See Liberated by the West.