The Turkish military fired mortar shells into Syria for the fourth day in a row on Saturday after a number of projectiles slammed into the southern border province of Hatay.
On October 5, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was not far from war with Syria due to the cross-border attacks.
On October 4, the Turkish parliament authorized cross-border military action against Syria “when deemed right.”
Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey — along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar — of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Joe Iosbaker, political analyst from Chicago, to further discuss the issue.
The video offers the opinions of two additional guests: Moufid Jaber, ME Center for Studies & Research, from Beirut; and Scott Richard, former American intelligence linguist, from Orlando. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview with Iosbaker.
Press TV: I want to compare two different incidents because back in May of 2010 we know that the Turkish aid trip going to Gaza was attacked, and the killing of nine nationals by the Israelis. Of course, Ankara has complained verbally but never really did anything.
Now, five nationals have been killed with the situation from Syria that the military is saying that it’s not their responsibility, that they were not responsible for. Why do we see such a different reaction in dealing with these two incidents?
Iosbaker: I think that’s a very good juxtapositioning. It’s been said that Turkey is responding to the shelling of the border town, but I think in truth Turkey is responding to orders from its puppet master — the United States government.
What Turkey is doing has to be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and I think pretty clearly that the people of Turkey agree with that, that this is a move towards war not in the interests of the Turkish people, certainly not in the interest of peace but at the bidding of the United States government.
Press TV: Is it that Erdogan does not understand the parameters that he is dealing with? Why would he, according to many analysts, listen to Washington even perhaps at the risk that this could actually cause the end of his government and likely cause a lot of problems inside of Turkey itself?
Iosbaker: I think that the statement was made earlier that Turkey is growing desperate, but I think in fact it’s the United States that is desperate.
Ever since the military loss that the United States has suffered in Iraq and now it’s becoming clearer that the United States is suffering a military defeat as well in Afghanistan, all of the great minds in both parties in Washington have been puzzling how to turn around and advance the US empire’s plan for Asia and the Middle East.
Last year when the Arab Spring emerged, they saw that as an opening, and they have been, as we say in the Midwest, making hay while the sun shines.
I think that Turkey is basically a puppet and they are acting at the bidding of the puppet master.
They’re not the only ones, of course. The Saudis, the Qatar government are also directly intervening in Syria’s internal affairs.
It’s been referred to as a civil war. I’m in the United Anti-War Coalition. We don’t see it as a civil war. We see it as an intervention by Western-backed Middle Eastern states, by NATO and first and foremost by our own government.
Press TV: Why do you think they continue to use the term especially by mainstream media about civil war, what you just brought up?
Iosbaker: That’s part of the strategy, the color revolution strategy that the United States has been using — I mean, it’s always used it, but they’ve been using it more and more over the last 20 years.
What the Bush administration did in 2001 and 2003 was an anomaly, a direct invasion of hundreds of thousands of troops and an occupation.
Their preferred method is to occupy through local opposition, to fund them, which is what they’re trying to do in Iran as well. This is their preferred method.
The anti-war movement here is becoming more and more clear about the nature of this strategy. We have to oppose it and see this not as a civil war, not as a fight between different groups within Syria, but as a war fomented entirely from outside of Syria’s borders.
Press TV: You’re nodding your head in agreement. Is this all about the financial collapse of the West and trying to prevent that? Is this what this whole situation is that’s taking place in Syria?
Iosbaker: Yes. I do agree with that. The United States and its allies, the wealthy nations of the G8 and NATO – this Spring in Chicago, for the first time in 40 years, the G8 and NATO planned a summit together. For us, we organized a protest of 15,000 people against their summit.
In the end, the G8 was withdrawn from Chicago but the message to us was clear. The economic crisis, the economic interests of the wealthy nations are directly linked with their military strategy. They are trying to make up through military means for their failures in the economic realm.
Press TV: If that is the case, that he is just following order, do you think that we’re likely to see more and more protests by the Turkish people themselves, putting more pressure on Ankara?
Iosbaker: I think that that’s inevitable especially if the escalation increases.
I think that Turkey and NATO, they’re trying to present that world public opinion is against the government of Syria, and similarly the United States tries to portray that the government of Iran has world public opinion against it.
I was in New York two weeks ago for a dinner meeting where President Ahmadinejad spoke, and a number of the American peace activists who were there remarked that, in fact, Iran is not isolated on the world’s stage.
Iran just hosted last month the conference on the Non-Aligned Movement with 120-some nations, far more nations that recognized the state of Israel and have diplomatic relations with the state of Israel, I would add, and representing a simple majority of the world’s population.
The United States is desperate and Turkey’s government, I understand the distinction that Mr. Jabber has made, but Turkey’s government is being prodded forward. “Vassal states”, that’s a fine term for the monarchies on the [Persian] Gulf, but Turkey’s monarchy is a puppet in this war.
Just a few years ago, they had warm ties with Syria. There’s no explanation other than outside interests. Every time a great nation compels a poor nation to act in the interests of the great nation – the United States, an imperialist country – the people in Turkey are going to resent it in the same way that they’ve already expressed. I believe that the crisis will grow.