by Zafar Bangash (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 6, Shawwal, 1436)
Politics makes for strange bedfellows but the alliance between Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan and the Najdi Bedouins occupying the Arabian Peninsula is even stranger than fiction. Here is a quick checklist of facts.
For all his faults — and there are many (and counting) — Erdogan is democratically elected. He rose through the ranks and honed his political skills, literally, as a street fighter. He was instrumental in establishing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) attracting many members from the mother party, the Fazilat Party (previously Refah Party). The Najdi Bedouins were British agents supported, armed, and financed by them to fight against the Ottoman Turks that were in control of the Arabian Peninsula in the early part of the last century.
The Saudi clan of Najdi Bedouins has run the Arabian Peninsula as a family fiefdom ever since the Turks were defeated and the Ottoman Sultanate was dismembered. From the British, the Najdi Bedouins jumped into the American lap. This unholy alliance was struck in February 1943 under what was referred to as the Lend-Lease Agreement. It was reinforced two years later (February 14, 1945) when US President Franklin Roosevelt met ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud aboard the USS Quincy. The Najdi Bedouin clan chief was officially taken in as an American client. Roosevelt was returning from Yalta after a summit with then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin. The three had agreed to divide the world into their respective spheres of influence as they anticipated — quite correctly — that the Second World War was nearing its end.
It is important to note that the Najdi Bedouins and the founder of their obscurantist religious ideas — Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab — considered all non-Arabs as improper Muslims. The Turks were the target of his special wrath because they were spiritually inclined and had ruled the Arabian Peninsula for so long. Once the Najdi hordes took control of the Hijaz with its two holy masjids in Makkah and al-Madinah in 1925, they went about destroying many historical monuments. Graves were desecrated and even Muslim women were attacked and molested. This was their way of avenging their humiliation at the hands of the Turks in 1812–1819.
So how can Erdogan strike an alliance with hoodlums that erupted from the dark crevices of Najd? Their common hatred of Islamic Iran and its support of the government of Syria have driven the two into an unholy alliance. It started in earnest in May 2011. Then Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal dashed to Ankara to meet Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Faisal died in Los Angeles last month after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for many years. He was relieved of his responsibilities as foreign minister in April. Four years ago, he visited Ankara with a simple but attractive proposal. This related to Libya, not Syria, but would soon be extended to the latter as well. In return for the Najdi Bedouins making substantial investments in Turkey, Erdogan would have to abandon Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. The Turks had signed contracts worth some $10 billion with Qaddafi’s Libya. Think of opportunism!
Once the Turks were on board, Qaddafi’s fate was sealed. There were many Libyans that became willing tools in the US-led Western crusade against the Libyan leader. While Qaddafi was no champion of human rights or freedoms, what has unleashed in Libya since his lynching in October 2011 has destroyed the country and devastated its hapless people. Security Council resolution 1973, pushed by the predatory Western powers and euphemistically called the resolution to create a “no fly zone” allegedly to protect civilians from the regime’s aerial attacks turned into a turkey shoot. Farms, schools, homes and hospitals were bombed, all in an attempt to target Qaddafi. According to the most conservative estimate, at least 80,000 people mostly civilians were killed in Libya. The mayhem continues.
When Qaddafi was finally captured near Sirte, his support base, a terrorist mob publicly lynched him. The terrorists trained and armed by the West are now rampaging not only through Libya but also Syria and Iraq. Western regimes are allegedly fighting against them in Iraq but still supporting and financing them in Syria. Libya lies in ruins and its people live in perpetual fear of being kidnapped or killed. Libya is no longer a unified country but split into fiefdoms run by competing warlords. While the US and its European allies bear a major responsibility for this horrific crime, Turkey and “Saudi” Arabia cannot escape responsibility either.
It is, however, Turkey’s — or more precisely Erdogan’s — policy vis-a-vis Syria that is of major concern. At about the time the Saudis went to Ankara with offers of money, Erdogan’s then foreign minister and currently Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu went to Damascus to meet President Bashar al-Asad. The foreign-inspired conspiracy was already underway in Syria. The Turkish foreign minister had a long discussion with al-Asad. Upon his return, Davutoglu said al-Asad had promised to initiate political reforms and accommodate the opposition. The Turks wanted this to happen right away. The moment they snapped their fingers, they wanted al-Asad to jump, perhaps forgetting that Syria is an independent country and that al-Asad is not their client.
Erdogan thought that because he had cultivated close personal relations with al-Asad, calling him his brother and their wives also being very close to each other, the Syrian leader would immediately adhere to whatever the Turkish ruler demanded. Erdogan had visited Damascus on January 17, 2011 and was personally and warmly received by al-Asad at Damascus airport.
Erdogan waited until August 2011 for al-Asad to comply with his demands and when this did not happen, the Turkish prime minister declared a policy to topple the Syrian government. This immediately brought him even closer to the Najdi Bedouins who had already unleashed the takfiri terrorists in Syria. At least 30% of takfiris rampaging in Syria and Iraq are Saudis. The other major group of mercenaries is made up of Chechens who have honed their military skills in the Chechen war but their minds were then polluted by Wahhabi obscurantism leading to internal fights and the dissipation of their struggle. Unsuccessful in their own country, the Chechens are now using their murderous skills in Syria slitting people’s throats and burning them alive. They have found their soul mates among the obscurantist Saudis.
Weapons from Libya have also flooded into Syria. Other shipments came from Ukraine courtesy of the CIA but paid for by the Saudi regime. The CIA has also set up a training camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. This explains why the Syrian “uprising” started in Der‘a, a non-descript town about 10km from the Jordanian border rather than a major city like Damascus, Aleppo, or Latakia. Try as they may to topple him and despite ups and downs, the Syrian government of Bashar al-Asad remains in power.
The question that must be asked is: what inducements were used to entice Erdogan to abandon al-Asad and join the anti-Asad conspiracy? Clearly, cash alone cannot explain Erdogan’s complete somersault although it is a factor. Massaging his ego, the Turkish prime minister — and now president — was made to think that he is the strongman of the region. His word would be law. By overthrowing al-Asad’s government and installing a puppet regime of his choosing in Damascus, Turkey under Erdogan would once again become the sole regional power. He had already started having visions of grandeur after winning successive elections since 2002. He has even built a presidential palace with more than 1,100 bedrooms at a price of nearly $1 billion. He has openly admitted that the palace should reflect Turkey’s greatness (he actually meant his own greatness!).
The Najdi Bedouins have already started receiving blowback from their Wahhabi organ-eaters in Syria. They are gradually sneaking back into the Kingdom despite hundreds of miles of fence erected along their border with Iraq. The ostensible aim of the fence is to keep these elements out but it may be too late.
As far as Erdogan is concerned, the Turkish people delivered a tight slap on his face in last June’s parliamentary elections. The AKP lost its massive majority in parliament and has been reduced to a minority. Further, al-Asad remains in power and other Turkish leaders are demanding a change in the country’s Syria policy. Similarly, the Kurds are flexing their muscles. Al-Asad is repaying Erdogan by making it as uncomfortable for Turkey as possible: Syria has granted a large measure of autonomy to its Kurds. This cannot but affect Kurdish thinking in Turkey as well.
Erdogan has only himself to blame. His joining the conspiracy against al-Asad by aligning with the Najid Bedouins will come to haunt him. He seems to have lost it completely. When he first came to power, he was very critical of his predecessors for ignoring regional countries and chasing membership in the European Union. While he also toyed with the idea of EU membership, at the same time he announced a “zero-problem” policy with neighbours (this was crafted by Davutoglu when he was foreign minister). Today Turkey faces the sorry spectacle of having massive problems with virtually all its neighbours.
His only friends appear to be “Saudi” Arabia and Zionist Israel. What company has Erdogan fallen into? It is said a person is known by the company he keeps. Erdogan is in truly bad company and the other adage says that birds of a feather flock together.