Tasnim – An American counter-terrorism analyst said Turkey’s ongoing offensive in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin sends a clear message to Iran, Russia, and Syria that they should make big concessions in exchange for their political-military alliance with Ankara over the Arab country.
“Turkey is simply generating political and military capital in the form of territorial conquest, that it will use to gain concessions and agreements and treaties and partnerships at the Istanbul conference with Russia, Syria, and Iran. Turkey intends to push as far and deep as it can into Syria, so that it can retreat on its own terms and for a price,” Scott Bennett, from San Francisco, told the Tasnim News Agency.
Turkey will demand land from in exchange for its political-military alliance with Russia-Syria-Iran, he added.
Bennett is a US Army Special Operations Officer (11th Psychological Operations Battalion, Civil Affairs-Psychological Operations Command), and a global psychological warfare-counterterrorism analyst, formerly with defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He received a Direct Commission as an Officer, held a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI) security clearance, and worked in the highest levels of international counterterrorism in Washington DC and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. He has developed and managed psychological warfare theories, products, and operations for US Special Operations Command, US Central Command, the State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and other government agencies.
The following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Earlier on Thursday, the Syrian daily al-Watan reported that some 500 Syrian popular forces had entered the Afrin region since Tuesday. The pro-Damascus fighters will defend the Syrian city against Turkey’s military operation. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) confirmed that hundreds of pro-government fighters had been deployed on the frontlines in Afrin to help counter the Turkish offensive. What’s your take on this?
Bennett: What is emerging is the new alliance between the Syrian government forces and the Kurdish forces to stand against Turkey’s invasion into Syria and attempt to confiscate land in an attempted resurrection of the “Ottoman Empire”. The classic saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, is the strategic calculus determine the Kurdish and Syrian government choices in these matters, and ultimately they will push both Turkey and the United States completely out of Syria. As much as the Kurds may enjoy the idea of an independent region, it will not be allowed by any other region bordering it, so automatically it becomes “null and void” and unrealistic. The Kurds not only know this, but they know the United States has no loyalty or intention of honoring the Kurds for their own sake, but rather only using the Kurds for the benefit of the United States. This “political prostitution” has been exercised against Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Kurds have learned not to fall into the same trap.
Tasnim: A pro-Damascus demonstration in Afrin came one day after Ankara’s warning to consider any group coming to the help of the Kurds in the Syrian city as a “legitimate target” for the Turkish military. Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday that any force in Afrin, including the Syrian government, would be targeted by Turkish troops if they assist the YPG. What do you think about Turkey’s warning?
Bennet: Turkey is simply generating political and military capital in the form of territorial conquest, that it will use to gain concessions and agreements and treaties and partnerships at the Istanbul conference with Russia, Syria, and Iran. Turkey intends to push as far and deep as it can into Syria, so that it can retreat on its own terms and for a price. Turkey is isolating and rejecting the United States in exchange for a renewed alliance with Russia and Iran. Syria is simply the “neutral zone” that Turkey will demand land from in exchange for its political-military alliance with Russia-Syria-Iran. As much as Turkey is troubled with its own extreme radical jihadist strain, it has the political ruthlessness to deal with them, and it will use this to pressure Russia-Syria-Iran to allow Turkey a limited territorial expansion. This is the political gamesmanship of our modern theater.
Tasnim: What might the future hold about Afrin? Will Turkey withdraw its forces? What’s your prediction? Some experts say that it is the worst strategic mistake Syria has made all through the process of the conflict? Do you believe so?
Bennet: Afrin will be returned to Syrian control by Turkey with the condition that Turkey does not suffer any attacks or disruptions by the Kurds–anywhere. Syria will agree to police its own territory and the Kurds will agree to be subjugated by the Syrian government and not attack or disrupt Turkey, in order to Turkey to retreat from Afrin and surrender its territorial gains. As part of this Russia will agree to be a stakeholder in the peace between Turkey, the Kurds, and Syria. Of course, what will also occur as a result of this new political agreement is Israel will increasingly launch “false flag attacks”, “drone strikes”, and other military operations to disrupt this peace agreement. Israel may also try and facilitate “false flag attacks in Europe” to try and goad France and Britain into reacting and taking action against Syria. Of course, new chemical attacks may also be planted by Israel and Saudi Arabia and the American CIA and UK MI6 to cause disruption. This should be countermeasured by massive diplomatic-informational-public relations attacks against Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Only by forcibly taking the fight directly inside the political circles of Israel and Saudi Arabia, can their foreign interference be frustrated. The same kind of informational “revelations” should be initiated against US Vice President Mike Pence, and a campaign to expose him as the leading “warmonger” and “threat” against world peace, citing Pence as the author of the “North Korean”, “Iranian”, and “Russian” aggression, in order to force President Donald Trump to abandon the Pence foreign policy and explore options for a new Vice President in the 2020 election.
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