Since I started posting this (supposedly boring) story, it has grown more legs than a millipede hopped up on counterfeit Novichok! I can’t even keep up any more. For example, yesterday we had this explosive ball-buster of a breaking news with the headline:
Putin And Erdoğan Have Delineated A New “Russian-Turkish” Line Of Demarcation In Idlib
The story is written by reporters Oleg Moskvin and Yury Zainashev, and it’s about the Russian decision not to dive into Idlib after all to clean up that nest of 10,000 terrorists. (Er, I reckon the Syrian army does not get a vote in this big decision??) Anyhow, the first sentence starts off with a bang, tying the Idlib events with Ukrainian religion and thus vindicating my hunch that Autocephaly is more than just a fancy Greek word:
The intrigue surrounding the (planned) offensive against Idlib has been resolved in a (highly) unexpected fashion: There will be no offensive. Russia promised Turkey as much. [yalensis: Recall that a certain section of the Idlib terrorists are clients of Turkey.] For the time being it is unclear what Russia got in return. Some kind of financial deal — maybe the Turkish market will open up to Russian goods? Maybe a spiritual reward — Patriarch Bartholomew [yalensis: Recall that Bart makes his home in Istanbul] will give up his attempts to split the Ukrainian Church away from the Russian Orthodox Church? In short: We trade Idlib for Constantinople?
Recall that Russian President Putin just concluded a big huge summit in Sochi with several world leaders including Erdoğan — one can only imagine the level of horse trading that went on there! It’s not exactly at the level of the Molotov-Ribbentrop “horrid betrayal” of Poland, but the bottom line is that Putin and Erdoğan appear to have partitioned the Syrian province of Idlib. Flies and all, literally. Along with its infestations of terrorist cells, Unhappy Idlib will be partitioned into two spheres of influence (Russia and Turkey), separated by a demilitarized zone. The line is to be drawn “in place”, on the current front lines where Russian and Syrian soldiers stand. This demilitarized zone is scheduled to be put into place on 15 October. The neutral zone will have a width of 15-20 kilometers. Russian and Turkish soldiers will patrol jointly. Experts postulate that the highway from Aleppo to Latakia will serve as the DMZ borderline.
Putin statement: “By October 10, according to the proposition made by Turkey’s President, all heavy weapons and artillery will be removed from this zone, along with tanks, rockets, and mine lauchers held by the oppositionist grouplets. Control of the demilitarized zone will be organized as mobile patrols of the Turkish units and units of the Russian Military Police.”
Putin also announced that he and Erdoğan had concluded some economic agreements, and that Turkey will buy more Russian products. Yay! According to this, Turkey’s top 10 imports from Russia consist of 1) oil, 2) iron and steel, 3) cereals, 4) copper, 5) aluminum, 6) fats and oils, 7) food waste and animal fodder, hopefully not the same thing, 8) organic chemicals, 9) oil seed, and 10) inorganic chemicals.
The VZGLIAD reporters spoke with an expert named Semyon Bagdasarov, who directs the Center of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies. He is also a Duma member (=Parliamentarian). Bagdasarov believes that the Putin-Erdoğan deal most likely includes a secret provision about Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Bartholomew is completely under the control of the Turkish secret services. Hence they have some influence over him.” Well, duh! That is what “control” means, it means “influence”. The Russian hope that is Brother Bart will do as he is told by his Turkish Overlords and stop making up theology as he goes along. We shall have to wait and see how this all pans out.
Meanwhile, on the military front, experts who were interviewed, expressed some concerns about the proposed demilitarized zone. Pointing out that the Al-Nusra type terrorists not under Turkey’s control might have their own opinions about shelling the DMZ. Not to mention some disgruntled elements of the Syrian army, who might get ticked off that they were denied their prize. It is most certainly not in the interests of Damascus to procrastinate with the cleansing of Idlib, especially with such momentum as was gathered up to this point. It does not serve them to leave such a festering nest of violent jihadis, now “frozen” in place, thanks to Brother Putin’s Bismarckian Realpolitik!
On the other hand, the deal between Russia and Turkey is bound to upset the Kurds. And everybody else is happy when Kurds are upset. In fact, right after the deal was cut, Erdoğan paused from his incessant selfies to brag to the press: “We have managed to avert a humanitarian tragedy…. ” And then went on to state that Turkey’s main goal in this ferfuffle, aside from averting a humanitarian tragedy, is to “physically annihilate” the remaining Kurdish “terrorist” units. Translation: Kurds get thrown under the bus. Once again. This time by Russia! But one reckons they had it coming, since they bet on the wrong horse (=Uncle Sam).
In summary, as a final tally, if all goes as planned, on this giant 4-dimensional chess board, then Russia may still avert a Ukrainian Autocephaly. Some disgusting terrorists may live to see another day, but Bartholomew will be silenced. The price for all this horse-trading will be paid in full — by the Kurds!
And with that, Dear Readers, I end this somewhat chaotic series without completing anything that I started. But look for more on this important story, as it develops.