Biden’s Misguided Apology


Mirror Spectator
Editorial 10-11

By Edmond Y. Azadian

Vice President Joe Biden seems to be in a lot of hot water because
of statements he made at Harvard University last week — statements
that had global reverberations and ones that the Washington Post
believes will cost him the 2016 presidential nomination for the
Democratic party.

To begin with, very few analysts, including the ones in the Democratic
camp, believed that Mr. Biden was a serious contender when Hillary
Clinton had already been wearing her cold warrior armor in preparation
for the bid.

For the neocons and the military industrial complex, Mr. Obama’s
“pacifist” foreign policy has outlived its usefulness, and the priority
of the foreign policy agenda is intensifying the cold war. To save
his legacy, his entourage has been forcing him already to conduct
that policy by “leading from behind.”

Since the US is the only remaining superpower, all the world
developments have to be viewed and analyzed within that context.

According to the Washington Post, the vice president has committed
three gaffes recently, the major one being directed against the
US’s strategic ally, Turkey, for which he was forced to apologize to
preserve the collaborative veneer of the 40-nation coalition which
the US has enlisted under the presumed goal of defeating ISIS, the
evil incarnate force which is beheading western hostages, provoking
all world capitals.

Before we delve into the task of sifting fact from fiction, it is
important to refer to the Biden-President Erdogan incident, which
covers and uncovers a host of political realities in the unfolding
events of the Middle East.

Mr. Biden was forced to apologize over the weekend to Turkey and
the United Arab Emirates after suggesting in a speech at Harvard
University’s Kennedy School of Government that these two allies,
along with Saudi Arabia, were the United States’ “biggest problem”
in dealing with the civil war in Syria. “What were they doing?” asked
the vice president. “They were so determined to take down [Syrian
President Bashar] Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia
war….They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of
tons of weapons into anyone who would fight Assad — except that the
people who were being supplied were Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda and the
extremist Jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” Mr. Biden,
added Erdogan, admitted to him that Turkey “let too many [foreign
fighters] through” into neighboring Syria.

Turkey’s president called for an apology and Biden obliged him. But
was an apology warranted and who was speaking the truth? Here is Mike
Whitney, writing in Counterpunch: “Biden apologized for his remarks
on Sunday, but he basically let the cat out of the bag. Actually,
what he said wasn’t new at all, but it did lend credibility to what
many of the critics have been saying since the very beginning, that
Washington’s allies in the region have been arming and funding the
terrorist Frankenstein from the onset without seriously weighing the
risk involved.”

The vice president’s cowardly apology served as public relations damage
control. What in fact happened was that Washington and Ankara agreed
to lie publicly to keep Turkey happy, which had already joined the
US-led coalition against ISIS reluctantly. The irony underlying the
political goals of the coalition is that the west has been using a
collection of medieval monarchies to introduce western-style democracy
in the secular states of Iraq, Libya and Syria, with the long-term
calculation that the self-serving monarchies are disposable any time
they outlive their usefulness.

Counterpunch is also using a quote from “How the West Created the
Islamic State,” by Nafeez Ahmed, who says, “Since 2003, Anglo-American
power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support
for Islamic terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East
and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy
of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by
longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional
oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these,
re-draw the map of the Middle East.”

If one follows the mainstream media, one is at a loss, since only the
face value of events are defined tailor-made for their respective
governments to lull the voters and shape public opinion for their
legislative agenda. Had we believed the excuses justifying foreign
aggressions in Libya, Iraq and now Syria, the bloodbaths resulting
from those wars would have undermined the claims and led the public
to confusion. Independent and investigative journalists — sometimes
with the help of Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s
“treasonous” revelations come to shed more light on the root causes
of political developments.

By creating the coalition, the US policymakers believe that provoking
constant wars in the Middle East and leaving dysfunctional governments
left behind pave the way for Israel’s hegemony in the region. Whereas
Turkey, by joining the coalition, albeit reluctantly, has a completely
different agenda and that is why at at times, their policies are
in conflict. By destabilizing strong governments in lands formerly
ruled by the Ottomans, Turkey aspires to recreate an Ottoman Empire
for modern times, its apostle being Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

A cursory review of conditions set by Turkey in joining the coalition
will reveal its true intentions. A no-fly zone in Syria, a border
buffer and the right to invade Syrian territories are not goals to
uproot ISIS. When Vice President Biden spilled the beans, he was
right. Even after the parliamentary vote in Ankara, Foreign Minister
Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that one should not expect immediate action
by Turkey. Because Ankara is in the process of arming and training ISIS
forces to do its bidding, the first goal is to depopulate the Kurdish
region in Syria, including Kobani, to prevent the creation of an
autonomous Kurdish area, which can cause a lot of headaches for Ankara.

In an interview with the prominent journalist Amberin Zaman in
Al-Monitor, a Kurdish leader, Cemil Bayik, reveals that Turkey
has supplied ISIS with trainloads of armaments in Syria, basically
confirming the inadvertent indiscretion of Mr. Biden.

The fact that ISIS released 46 Turkish hostages unharmed while
beheading on camera other hostages, further proves that the two
supposed adversaries are in bed together.

Another writer for Counterpunch, Dan Glazebrook, outlines the
intentions, of at least Britain, behind the coalition, by writing:
“Air strikes will inflict casualties on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but
they will not be enough to defeat the group and may not even contain
it.” Then he asks: “Why do they not pursue a more effective strategy?

Because the defeat of ISIS is not really their goal. ISIS and its
friends have played right into the hands of British foreign policy for
the last three years, acting as the vanguard in the Anglo-American
proxy war of attrition against the Syrian state.” Just this week,
while ISIS was overrunning the Kurdish region of Kobani, Turkey was
banning Kurds from crossing into Syria to rescue their brethren,
while the coalition was unleashing airstrikes — a charade, if not
a tragic political comedy.

It becomes clear that ISIS represents a necessary evil to each member
of the coalition, to serve a narrow agenda for each.

After NATO broke up Yugoslavia, Turkey extended its political and
economic influence throughout the Balkans. The war in Syria can launch
the second phase of the Turkish leaders’ old dreams. The only problem
is that once Turkey invades Syria, it will definitely face Russia,
Iran and Hezbollah Party. In that scenario, it will be difficult to
anticipate the outcome of the conflict. The cold war is in full swing,
if you also figure in the perspective crisis in Ukraine and tensions
in the Caucasus.

Turkey also used ISIS to teach a lesson to the Armenians, first
by unleashing the murderous gangs to rampage Kessab, that historic
Armenian enclave in Syria, and recently by directing those hordes
to commit the most heinous sacrilege against the church and Martyrs
memorial in Deir Zor. One million and a half martyrs were denied the
right to have their own individual graves. Some remains, recovered
from the desert, had been enshrined in St. Mary’s Church, to symbolize
an entire nation lost in that desert. As a tool in the hands of the
Turkish authorities, ISIS once again violated the Armenian martyrs.

The UN condemnation is inadequate and insufficient response to the
barbarity committed in Deir Zor. On October 3, the United Nations
Human Rights Office expressed concern about the continuing wave of
destruction unleashed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(or Iraq and Syria, sometimes). According to the UN Office of High
Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), ISIS militants destroyed an
important Armenian Church in the Syrian city of Deir Zor as part
of an ongoing campaign of violence and terror which has seen the
group also blow up mosques, shrines and damage churches in Northern
Iraq. “We condemn the destruction of the church and other religious
institutions,” UNHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville told a news briefing
in Geneva.

Without identifying the significance of the martyrs’ memorial and
issuing a generic condemnation, the UN has done a disservice to the
martyrs. It actually has added insult to injury. Would they have
had the same reaction if this similar desecration and violation had
happened to a Jewish shrine?

Mr. Biden’s apology is misguided. It tries to cover up, awkwardly,
a lie, when the truth is so obvious. He does not owe an apology to
Erdogan. He and the UNHCHR owe apologies to the Armenians, to the
1.5 million martyrs, on the eve of the centennial.

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