While the world’s eyes are on the Ukraine and Crimea at the present time, there is another sub-plot to this confrontation between East and West that is developing “under the radar.” There is another area of possible East-West confrontation developing, and it is also related to the Russian Black Sea fleet based at Sevastopol, Crimea. In a post just prior to Russia’s occupation of the Crimea, I wrote that nations will always act militarily to preserve their vital national interests. Based on that fact, I predicted Russia would occupy the Crimea to preserve indefinitely the home sea-port for its Black Sea fleet. It has done so and seized the entire Crimea as well. So far, Obama, the USA and the West have had an extremely flaccid and weak response. This can only embolden Russia and other nations who would like to seize new territory.Given the scope of the Ukrainian situation, the world’s eyes have been diverted from Syria, where Russia has bolstered the Assad regime to keep it in power. Iran has assisted Russia greatly by sending its own agents as well as unleashing its proxy Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon to assist Assad’s forces in resisting the Sunni rebels. These four links will give readers a good grasp of what is now happening in Syria. Turkey’s leader Erdogan has been moving Turkey in an Islamist direction, creating a lot of push back from Turkey’s historically secular Sunni Muslim population. A large corruption scandal has engulfed Turkish politics and Erdogan has been attempting to suppress investigations into alleged corrupt practices. The second link describes how a ban on twitter communications by Erdogan has backfired on him and increased the opposition to his increasingly suppressive regime.

The first link reports that Erdogan may decide to invade Syria, and the third link adds that Turkey has shot down a Syrian warplane that reportedly crossed its border. If Erdogan starts a war with Syria, he may improve his standing at home among Turkey’s voters, but if he does so, he is playing a dangerous game that could spin out of control. Syria is very important to Russia as Syrian coastal ports serve as the only basing facilities for the Russian Black Sea fleet based in the Crimea. Russia has no intention of allowing Assad to fall and risk losing its naval access to Syrian ports.

The last link reports that the Sunni rebels are apparently now losing the war against Assad. If Assad wins this war completely, it will be a huge victory for Russia and Iran (two primary members of Ezekiel 38’s Gog-Magog alliance). However, if Turkey does openly intervene in this war, it may do so based on the assumption that Russia’s forces are pinned down in a Ukrainian crisis and not likely to assist Syria at this time. If he is successful in holding part of Syria’s territory, he will greatly upstage the Saudis who have been the Sunni rebels’ primary supporters to date. Turkey may also decide to invade part of Syria to (A) allow the vast throng of Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home to regions protected by Turkish troops, and (B) reassert Turkish control over a portion of its former Ottoman Empire. After all, if Russia can militarily seize the Crimea to take back part of the former Soviet Union, why can’t Turkey seize part of Syria to start rebuilding the former Ottoman empire? Another reason may be Turkey’s desire to wipe out the Al Qaeda army now operating in Syria and western Iraq. That last goal might have the silent support of NATO and other nations. If Turkey moves its military into Syria, I would not be surprised if Saudi Arabia and Jordan do the same thing in southern Syria to secure a region that the Syrian refugees sheltered in those two nations can return to safely.

If Turkey invades Syria, it could greatly complicate the crisis in the Ukraine. The reason is that, unlike the Ukraine, Turkey is a NATO member and if its forces should somehow tangle with Russian forces inside Syria, NATO is obligated by treaty to come to Turkey’s defense. I doubt Russia is that interested in keeping eastern Syria under Assad’s control. However, Russia has a vital interest in keeping access for its Black Sea fleet at Syrian ports and I expect Russia will send military forces to prop up Assad to preserve that access if necessary.

The world is entering a dangerous new time as Obama’s policy of weakening the USA is creating power vacuums all over the world. Obama’s persistent weakness is also emboldening many nations to take actions they might not take if America had a strong leader. The growing possibility of a return to a Cold War with Russia have served one purpose, however. They have revealed Obama’s plans to downsize the US army, navy and air force to be sheerest folly. I hope enough members of Congress have woke up to this fact.

  1. http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/03/23/opposition-erdogan-may-invade-syria-as-electoral-challenge-looms/
  2. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/turkey-twitter-ban-backfires-users-protest-find-ways-block-article-1.1729934
  3. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/23/us-syria-crisis-airplane-idUSBREA2M09X20140323
  4. http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/03/21/think-tank-syrian-rebels-face-defeat-as-assad-forces-hizbullah-advance/