Members of the Syrian opposition say Turkey has promised them to establish a buffer zone on the Turkish-Syrian border.
On Monday, Syrian opposition groups gathered in Istanbul, ahead of the second so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting which will be held in Turkey on April 1.
Turkey shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria. It has allowed thousands of Syrian gunmen to take shelter and regroup on its soil.
Damascus has been grappling with year-long unrest that has claimed thousands of lives-- including those of its security forces. The opposition blames the deaths on the government, however; Damascus holds foreign-backed armed gangs responsible.
Press TV has interviewed Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian from Washington, to further discuss the issue. Below is a rough transcription of the interview.
Some analysts believe that a buffer zone would be a declaration of war on the part of the Turkish government as it would require the militarization of the border area. Do you agree with that assessment?
I think that is right and that maybe even understanding the danger. This is an act of incalculable folly on the part of [Turkish] Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu.
I have been looking at reports from the Associated Press, from Reuters, the Washington Post, all suggesting that there has been a meeting between Obama and Erdogan on the occasion of that conference on Controlling Nuclear Materials in South Korea and that some kind of a deal has been struck in this direction. We should be very clear.
The so-called buffer zone is a euphemism for an act of war that means occupying a strip of Syrian territory. The idea being that the NATO-backed death squads along with their fellow travelers, the various deserters and fanatics and other people, mercenaries that they have accumulated would then use that buffer zone for further actions against Syria.
But if you do that, of course you have simply moved the line and at that point, it would become a fighting front and if the Syrians shoot back, they would be shooting against the Turkish forces. So it is a big step towards war maybe not automatically but one or two steps further down the road, you can see a war.
I recall a conversation I had last November in Beirut with General [Michel] Aoun of Lebanon, a very experienced military man. He pointed out that Turkey is the last country in the world that should be looking for foreign adventures like this.
They have one split which is between the political parties which are Islamic and the generals which are secular. But they have also got a 25 percent of their population who are Kurds. Now if it looks like Syria is going to break up and be attacked by NATO, the Kurds will rise in rebellion and that rebellion will spread into Turkey and Turkey would be most targeted by that rebellion.
Some critics have drawn parallels between the autonomy of Iraq's Kurdistan region after the US occupation and what is now happening in Syria, as most rebels are from a Kurdish background. Would you also say that this may be step-two in Western plans for propping up a pro-US Kurdish state in the region?
If you have got a de facto Kurdish entity in northern Iraq, a de facto Kurdish entity in northern Syria, then there is going to be a gravitational pole on the Kurds in Turkey to join that, to say nothing of Iran and you can see through this what the goal of the imperialist is.
The adventurism and the lunacy of the imperialist has reached a new height. The rebellion in Syria has essentially been defeated. The Syrian army is now in the process of mopping up these NATO-backed death squads and the fellow travelers. That has happened in Homs; it has happened in Idlib; it has happened Daraa; it has happened also along that Iraq to Syria border.
But now in some bid to snatch something from the jaws of defeat, Obama and Hillary Clinton seem to be shooting the works but they are doing it at Turkish expense. This is the key thing. This is known as buck passing. This is essentially playing Turkey against Syria and possibly other countries with the goal of destroying all of them.
This is the kind of thing that Zbigniew Brzezinski is noted for. Do not have the US attack Syria or some other countries maybe Iran but get Turkey to do it and then you can arbitrate the entire thing. You can destroy all of the parties involved which is ultimately the goal of imperialism.
All this is being done in preparation of the 'Friends of Syria' meeting to be held soon. What can we expect to see coming out of it other than just pledges and promises of support for Syrian armed groups?
The last ‘Friends of Syria’ conference we had was in Tunis and that was a debacle. Right as everybody said, with friends like that, Syria does not need enemies. It is an ‘Enemies of Syria’ conference.
The previous one failed because the goal was really to get up a hysteria in favor of an armed intervention against Syria that failed. Now this time the pressure will be even greater. What you can look for is a bidding war of inflationary body counts among the forces of the Syrian national council, the coordination, the observatory, the free Syrian army.
All of them are going to be pumping up their estimates of how many people have gotten killed to try to create a world hysteria that would then push the Turks into the step. It is a national suicide for Turkey if they do it. Ataturk would have known that.
The Kurd-Turkish leadership scorns Ataturk. If they had followed his wisdom, they would not be in this situation and they need to pull back.