Turkey and Russia have joined forces to fight against ISIS. Russian military spokesmen have said that the Turkish Air Force has carried out joint air strikes with the Russian Air Force against ISIS targets. This is a welcome development. ISIS is ghastly. It is roundly condemned by all right thinking Muslims.
A few weeks ago the Russian propaganda machine was accusing Ankara of backing Daesh. The Kremlin said that Turkey was purchasing oil from ISIS and assisting ISIS. This was a blatant lie. Why would the Turkish Government fund an organisation that kept setting off bombs aimed at Turkish civilians? It failed the reality test. All of a sudden these ludicrous claims are no longer made. The Turkish Government was demonised as being full of religious maniacs. Suddenly Moscow says that Ankara is reasonable. Why would the Turkish State back ISIS one week and bomb it the next? It does not make sense. Moscow puts out the daftest falsehoods. Many intelligent Russian people fall for these flagrant lies. Many useful idiots in Western countries think they are clever and audacious for believing in claims made by a government that is notorious for telling provable lies and has killed – literally killed – its own free media.
Note that Turkey is a NATO country. Moscow often says that NATO is aggressive. If this is so then why does Russia co-operate with Turkey on this mission?
Moscow says there are no moderate rebels. They are all terrorists. One can only overthrow a violently oppressive government by the use of force. Some use of force is ethical such as killing soldiers in combat. SOme use of force is unethical such as willfully killing civilians or the use of torture. It is extremely well documented that the Syrian military and ISIS have both used torture on a gross scale and deliberately killed civilians by the tens of thousand. Moscow rightly highlights the countless crimes committed by ISIS. Moscow then denies the many, many atrocities committed by the tyrant Assad. By denying these crimes, providing intelligence, providing diplomatic cover, funding the Ba’athists and arming the Ba’athists the Russian Government is partly responsible for all these crimes.
Let us not forget what started this conflict. Decades of oppression by the Assad dynasty caused fury among the downtrodden Syrian populace. There was an insane level of adulation for the leader. The cult of personality extended to people swearing fealty to Bashir Al Assad before every football match. Not to Syria but to him personally. The Syrian Constitution stated that only a person over 35 could become president. The constitution was violated to allow the 34 year old to become president.
The Syrian regime severely mistreated its people for decades. The United Nations says that there is a right to rebel when one is oppressed. Putin supports Lenin. Was Lenin a terrorists for overthrowing the democratic government in Russia? He certainly was. How about those democrats who overthrow the absolutism of the Tsar? Were the terrorists? Putin would probably say yes. He likes unenlightened dictatorship and detests free societies.
There was no free media in Syria and is none now. There was no right to protest. Because the government was so arrantly oppressive people rose up. ISIS is monstrous. Some people support it because they subscribed to its ideology. Others back it because they reason that the Ba’athists are even worse. Moreover, because of the numerous massacres of Sunni civilians carried out by Ba’athists some reason that Da’esh is the only thing standing between them and Assad’s pogromists.
People lived in poverty and had no civil rights. They hoped for something better. Their pleas for peaceful reform were organised. The Ba’athists used unfair trials, unlimited espionage, detention with trial, torture and unlawful killing to control the people. Unarmed, peaceful protesters were shot dead in their hundreds. This happened time and again. That is what caused the insurrection. The Ba’athist blatantly oppressive policies were fulsomely supported by Moscow. Putin backed the Ba’athists to the hilt. Because Assad had arms and money from Russia he was less inclined to reform. This put his enemies back up. They were less likely to parley. Assad has always negotiated in bad faith. He constantly promised reform. The Turkish Government had a very cordial relationship with him in 2011. When the demonstrations broke out the Turkish people were increasingly dismayed to see their Syrian neighbours murdered by the Ba’athists merely for asking for human rights. Assad vowed reform. Ankara pressed him to make genuine reform and not pretend to make reform. As he repeatedly broke promises to do this Ankara became infuriated. He did the same about ceasefires.
As Daesh is being bombed by Turkey and Russia Daesh will be largely defeated. Terrorist organisations can seldom be comprehensively defeated. It will not be smashed in a decisive battle. It will be very slowly strangled. It may continue in some form for decades. It might be mainly crushed now but there could be a recrudescence of Daesh activity in several years time.