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Will Ankara Be the New Sarajevo?

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
February 2016

Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Helga Zepp LaRouche is founder of the Schiller Institute and chair of the German political party Civil Rights Movement Solidarity.

A PDF version of this article appears in the February 26, 2016 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

February 19, 2016 —If Turkey reacts to the most recent terror attack in Ankara (in which 28 people died) with a ground invasion of northern Syria—formally to counterattack against the Kurds, but much more to “save” the rebel groups which Turkey supports, ranging from al-Nusra to ISIS—there is the immediate danger that it will bring on a military confrontation between the Turkish military units and the Syrian army supported by Russia. At that point we would, in the blink of an eye, have a military confrontation between NATO member Turkey and Russia. Russia would have to find a way to protect its approximately 20,000 troops in Syria, and the conflict could escalate very rapidly to a nuclear confrontation. That would be a third—this time thermonuclear—world war!

Will Turkey provoke a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia by invading northern Syria—to protect British-Saudi terrorist proxies? Here, the Ansar al-Shariah brigade pledges allegiance to British-Saudi-owned al-Nusra.

Up until now Erdogan has limited himself to shelling Kurdish positions in Syria—a course of action which the UN Security Council has unanimously condemned. But President Obama has made it totally clear that, while the United States would not participate in a ground invasion of Syria, it would decline to prohibit its client states Turkey and Saudi Arabia from doing so. The former head of U.S. military intelligence, the DIA, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has pointed out many times that the White House supports various of the terrorist groups for geopolitical reasons, and it has meanwhile been extensively documented that the “allies” of the United States—among others, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar—are the most important supporters of ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

U.S. Department of Defense/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn: The White House is supporting terrorist organizations. Here, Flynn speaks at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Courtesy of World Economic Forum/Creative Commons
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. How can Merkel have a common action plan to solve the refugee crisis with Erdogan, who supports the terrorist groups that are creating refugees?

In view of this reality, Chancellor Merkel is taking a totally wrong approach in relying primarily on a common action plan with Turkey to solve the refugee crisis, to secure its external borders to prevent refugee departures for Greece and beyond, to provide for the refugees on site, and to “combat the causes of the refugee crisis.” Erdogan’s support for these terrorist groups is one of the main causes of the refugee crisis! Merkel’s additional proposal for establishing a no-fly zone in Syria, where the refugees would supposedly have a safe place to stay, has been thoroughly rejected by the Pentagon—for the obvious reason that such a zone could only be enforced by military means, and thus would bring with it the acute danger of a military encounter with the Russian air force.

If the EU summit with Turkey, set for early March, is to prove meaningful in any way, the cutting off of support for these terrorist groups by Turkey and Saudi Arabia should be the first point on the agenda.

More important, a whole array of fallacies rampant in the EU will have to be corrected.

Europe’s Bankruptcy

Since his military intervention on Sept. 30, 2015, Russian President Putin has taken control of the situation—which, as General Harald Kujat has correctly stressed, has for the first time created the potential for a political settlement. Putin is acting from a position of strength, while the state of affairs in Europe, the United States, and their so-called allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia can aptly be described as bankrupt. The latest EU Summit provides the latest proof of that.

The Russian ambassador in Paris, Alexander Orlov, warned during the Valdai Club’s Feb. 10 Paris conference on the Middle East that the world, especially in the Near East, has never found itself so close to a catastrophe, and that Syria today could become the Serbia of 1914. Jacques Attali has just emphasized in his Feb. 15 blog in the French newspaper L’Express that Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev warned, at the Munich Security Conference, of the possibility of a new world war, and underlined the reality that Russia is still the strongest nuclear power. What Attali obviously left out was his own role in bringing on the crisis in the EU.

In the EU, the so-called Visegrad group of countries—Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary—have already sealed off their borders; Austria has done the same, and Serbia itself, although it did not want to, was forced to close its borders with Macedonia. Thus, the Schengen Treaty (which mandates open borders in Europe)—and with it the basis for the European Monetary Union itself—has been de facto eliminated. All of Merkel’s contortions to allow special treatment for Great Britain—fewer social benefits for the first four years for non-British EU citizens who move to Great Britain, no controls by Brussels over London’s financial center, changes in the EU treaties—will probably not stop the Brexit. By the time of the British referendum on leaving the EU, the EU may not even exist! This EU has neither unity, nor solidarity, and common values are nowhere to be found.

Warnings are proliferating of an immediate financial collapse, which the market mechanisms can no longer control; neither central banks nor governments, it is said, would be able to intervene, and all the instruments which have been relied on since 2008 to prop up the system, have been used up in the meantime, or have proven themselves to be the equivalent of boomerangs.

It should be clear to any head of state or responsible person in the face of this complex and rapidly developing situation, that a “business as usual” attitude, a simple muddling through, can only lead to a huge collapse. Everything—the lives and the future of all of us—will depend upon whether at least some of these responsible people have the moral strength and intellectual integrity to realize that there is no solution within the current geometry, but that we need a new paradigm.

Expand the Silk Road!

The way out is at hand. We have to give up the suicidal confrontation with Russia and China which is being dictated by Washington and London. Without Russia, there can be no solution for Syria, for terrorism or for the refugee crisis, and without collaboration with China there is no way to overcome the economic and financial crisis in the trans-Atlantic sector.

Since 2013, with the program for the New Silk Road, China has put a new concept of mutually advantageous economic cooperation—the so-called “win-win perspective”—on the agenda, an economic model which is not oriented to the monetarist criteria of maximizing the profits of the speculators, but to the development of the real economy. The Silk Road economic model most aptly fills the enormous vacuum left by the neo-liberal system which the IMF and World Bank represent, a vacuum namely on the question of real industrial and economic development, and its prerequisites in infrastructure. It’s therefore no wonder that more than 60 countries are participating in projects of the New Silk Road, and are using the new banks established to provide credit for these projects—such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank of the BRICS countries, the New Silk Road Development Fund, and several more.

PressTV News Videos
New Silk Road: The first Chinese container train arrives in Tehran, Feb. 15, 2016, after a fourteen-day journey from Yiwu in Zhejiang province—a journey of 6,500 miles.

The Indian blog “Indian Punchlines” on Feb. 18 underscored the stark contrast between the conflict in Syria, and the arrival of the first Chinese train along the New Silk Road route from Yiwu in China to Teheran. This train arrived in Iran two days after the meeting of the Syrian Support Group in Munich after a 14 day trip of more than 10,000 kilometers through the steppes of Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, with a cargo of 32 containers. From the standpoint of history, this arrival will prove itself a more important development than the Syria developments.

The only opportunity for solving all the problems of Europe—the war danger, the refugee crisis, the threat of a meltdown of the trans-Atlantic financial system, Europe’s identity crisis—lies in collaboration with China, Russia, India, and other counties in the expansion of the New Silk Road to the entire Near and Middle East, and Africa. Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran, among others, laid the basis for this.

Mrs. Merkel has only one chance for bringing Europe’s policy toward the refugee question, which she correctly launched, to a positive conclusion: She must campaign for real economic development of Southwest Asia and Africa, instead of relying on crooked deals with Turkey. That however demands a break with the axioms of the neoliberal economic model and a return to a policy which the late German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle would approve. Germany has the potential and historic mission to overcome the acute danger of war through cooperating with China, Russia, and India to extend the New Silk Road into the region from which the refugees are fleeing war and hunger. Whether Mrs. Merkel decides to take up this mission, or chooses to be a pawn on the Anglo-American imperial chessboard, will be the measure of her chancellorship—and more important, will likely determine the future of mankind.

The solution is simple: The casino economy must be ended by re-establishing the Glass-Steagall law; an international debt conference must write off the toxic paper of the banks; and a new credit system must finance investments in the projects of the New Silk Road. For that we don’t need any bloated overblown supranational bureaucracy in Brussels, but an alliance of sovereign nation states, bonded together by a common mission for the development of regions of the world which urgently need our help. Only if Europe returns to its humanist tradition, will we be able to survive.

This article was translated from German.