[CSM] "... “What's happening in Syria is all part of America's great project to reshape the borders of the Middle East. America and its allies don't care about bringing democracy to the Syrian people. Look at what happened to Iraq!” he fumes. “The imperialist countries are only after oil and mineral resources.”
Nineteen months into Syria's conflict, resentment of Ankara and anti-US sentiment simmer in Antakya, which lies just over the border with Syria. The province is grappling with an ailing trade and tourism sector and an influx of refugees and rebel fighters. Locals blame the Turkish government for dragging them into the conflict by backing the Syrian opposition and aligning Turkey with the opposition's Western allies.
The current administration's "zero problems with neighbors" foreign policy, which stood strong for several years, now rings hollow as Turkey's diplomatic ties with Syria and its ally Iran sour due to Ankara's support for the rebels. And many say that all of these problems can be traced back to the US, who they are convinced got involved with, and perhaps even fomented, the Syrian unrest to loosen up regional powers' grip on oil, enlisting Turkey as a pawn in the process. It had little to do with support for democracy, they believe.
Stirring up the 'beehive'
The beliefs stem in part from a bold Bush administration political proposal that has faded into obscurity in the West, but remains lodged in the minds of many here. Known as the Greater Middle East Initiative, it was formally introduced by then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006 at a conference in Tel Aviv. Her references to "the birth pangs of a New Middle East" and the unveiling there of a new map of the region featuring a "Free Kurdistan" are still remembered with resentment. ....
"The access to oil will be made easier when people in these regions are divided and fighting amongst themselves. Both the US and Israel want to weaken Iran and strengthen their own position in the Middle East. But to do this, first they must weaken Syria and replace the current government with someone who supports them instead of Iran," says Mr. Eryilmaz.....
Gilbert Achcar, a professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, says that the Greater Middle East Initiative has long since been abandoned, and all that remains is the deep skepticism of US motives that it spurred. Those in the Middle East tend to attribute more power to the US than it actually has, he says.
“The US is overwhelmed by the situation in the Middle East and is not in control, let alone plotting something. The GMEI never took root. It just provided a grand name that fueled people's imaginations, and conspiracy theories were invented," he says....
Tasked with alleviating Arab mistrust, the US selected Turkey as a key bridge between the US and the Middle East. .... But today, Turkey's role as a bridge between the West and the Arab world on the Syrian conflict has again raised suspicions. Its alliances with the US and autocratic countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have also come out as strong backers of the Syrian opposition, have provoked accusations that Turkey is more intent on weakening secular Syria and reinstating a Sunni government than in democracy...."
Saturday, October 20, 2012
'Turks see Ankara as merely a pawn in US plans to foment conflict in Syria'
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 5:31 PM