Moscow Agreement: “A Black Cat Passed Between Us”, The Convoy Continues its Course... Washington and its Agents Barking!
Turkish newspapers, Takvim and Haberler, and other Turkish sources, quoted a number of statements made by Erdogan to reporters while returning from Russia. In these statements, Erdogan described the Russian-Turkish relationship and what it was exposed to recently, saying: “A black cat passed between us.”
Western media outlets did not like the aforementioned statement, and therefore completely turned a blind eye to it. Some oriental / eastern popular beliefs, including Russian and Turkish, explain a sudden contention between two close friends that a black cat passed between them, where the black cat symbolizes discord and evil. Not a lot of effort is required to figure out which black cat is meant by this.
Essence of the Agreement
Taking a closer look at the maps and articles of the “new” agreement lead to reaching some conclusions, the first and most important of which is that the agreement is not new; rather, it is an additional and detailed protocol within the application of the Sochi Agreement signed on 17 September 2018. The Sochi Agreement had set two basic tasks: opening the M5 and M4 highways and eliminating organizations classified as terrorist by the United Nations and the UN Security Council, mainly al-Nusra, Hurras al-Din (Guardians of Religion), and the Turkistan Islamic Party. In this sense, the additional protocol represents an illustration of the steps that must be implemented within the next stage to reach fulfilling Sochi in its entirety after parts of it have been accomplished during the last year and a half.
The Black Cat
Going back to talking about the black cat, it is useful to recall some of the ideas mentioned in the last issue of “Kassioun” in particular, and the issues that were published during the “black cat passage” phase.
Kassioun’s editorials, as well as other pieces, confirmed that the Sochi Agreement is moving towards full implementation, and that the Astana process will not be affected by the ongoing amplified dispute, but rather will emerge from it more robust and stable. At the same time, western media, and western officials, US officials in particular, and with them, as usual, the British and the French, were competing to provide the best possible wording of Astana obituaries; moreover, they were betting on somewhat of a direct war breaking out between Russia and Turkey.
In this context, we can remember – with some degree of gloating and ridicule – the statements by Kelly Craft, the US permanent representative to the UN, on 28 February during an emergency session of the Security Council after the incident of killing Turkish soldiers: “This latest attack must represent an inevitable end to the Astana format, and this format is a failure and not capable of achieving a lasting ceasefire.”
The above statement, as well as similar statements from the British and French representatives, have rightly become, after the Moscow Agreement, worthy of ridicule. Nevertheless, we must put matters in their context, which is what Kassioun tried to do in the last issue, especially in the article entitled “Washington is Jumping with Joy, then Madness ... Always on the Margins of Astana!”
In the aforementioned article, it was clarified that the mere announcement by Washington of “Astana’s death”, at a time when Russia, Turkey, and Iran insist that the process is still alive despite the problems it is facing, is an expression of US losing hope in causing division among the three. That is, an expression of Washington comprehending that it passed “as a black cat” among the trio and failed to cast a curse on them; declaring complete hostility to an alliance of any kind means the loss of those who oppose this alliance and the means of working against those in it.
Today we can say that the entirety of the tension-creation operations between the Russians and the Turks was a prelude to a comprehensive explosive scenario. Among the main tension-creation operations were those that led to the killing of Turkish soldiers, as well as the killing of the four Russian officers in early February, among others. These operations were drawn in a specific manner, by the black cat, and it is not important here who was the direct implementer of these operations, but rather more important is who provided the appropriate context so that they appear spontaneous and random. The most complete scenario in our assessment was that the amount of tension would rise above an irreversible threshold, which would lead not only to the killing of more Russian and Turkish soldiers and officers on Syrian soil, but also to the transfer of tension to the Turkish interior, leading to a new coup that would allow Washington to bring Turkey back to NATO’s corner, and therefore allows destruction of everything that has been worked on over the last few years to accommodate and end Washington’s terrorism and to enclose and put out its fires.
Al-Nusra and Taliban
When dealing with the black cat’s actions, it is extremely naive to deal lightly with the statements of the US Envoy James Jeffrey about al-Nusra, in which he hinted at the possibility of declassifying it as a terrorist organization. The same applies to al-Jolani’s response to Jeffrey’s statements in the interview with him by the International Crisis Group. In this context, reference can be made to an article published in Kassioun’s issue no. 954 entitled “The Comedic Play Starring the Trio: Jeffrey, Malley, and Jolani.”
Jeffrey repeated his own hints, and by members of his own team during their participation in a panel discussion in a conference in Istanbul on the day of the meeting with Putin and Erdogan. One of them explicitly answered a question about the meaning of Jeffrey’s remarks, saying: “We cannot accept that al-Nusra remains an excuse for the Russians.”
In order for our interpretations that Washington is seeking a feverish endeavor to protect al-Nusra and through it to protect Hurras al-Din and the Turkistan Islamic Party and their likes, not to be only based on the insinuating statements of Jeffrey and his team, and Robert Malley’s interview with al-Jolani, we can add to them what was stated in the text of the agreement signed in Qatar on 29 February Between the US and the Taliban. As a whole, the agreement shows that Washington’s definition of terrorism is not only a matter of selectivity and interest, but also insolent. In order not to falsely claim something regarding the US, we can cite their own words: “Guarantee to prevent the use of Afghan soil by any international terrorist groups or individuals against the security of the United States and its allies.”
Very blatantly and clearly, what is important is not using Afghanistan by terrorism against the US and its allies only. The matter includes two unspoken phrases: 1- “Terrorism itself is not a problem,” and 2- “The problem is when it is used against us, but if it is used against our enemies, there is no problem with that, we encourage that.”
In light of this and other evidence, it becomes foolish to avoid the clear conclusion: The US has been and continues to be supportive of terrorism in general, from “freedom fighters” to ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and its derivatives.
“A Safe Zone”
On the day of the meeting between Putin and Erdogan, it became clear that “Astana did not die” and neither did Sochi. It became necessary for the west to conceal its disappointment by pushing for a way out of the humiliating predicament. At this point, the Netherlands offered, through its Minister of Foreign Affairs, to bring back an obsolete term: “safe zone.” Thereafter, a collective applause party began, in which the small hands of some Syrian hardliners participated, hoping matters will get heated up again and attention will be diverted from the extent of the loss suffered by the black cat that suffered from its own curse. Not to mention the US using the veto power, this time against the ceasefire.
Among the cheerleaders there were those who were greatly affected by the deliriousness, so much they started talking about a no-fly zone as an explanation for the safe zone proposal. Even more, the president of the “opposition” Coalition saw that “Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime understand only the language of force as a principle of negotiations,” adding that “the United States of America is able to speak to them in that same language.”
As for Mr. Nasr al-Hariri, the head of the negotiations commission whose term has expired, he launched a series of tweets that contribute to the same “cat’s” rhetoric: “The Assad regime is criminal and there is no disagreement about that, but holding the regime responsible for the escalation currently taking place in Syria is not enough; Russia bears the bulk of the responsibility. It is the one that is managing the battle, and without it the regime can do nothing; Russia is the one that targeted the Turkish forces, whether directly or indirectly.”
It is not at all coincidental that statements by the “fierce opposition” similar to Mr. al-Hariri converged in content, and even matched, perhaps for the thousandth time, with statements by hardliners on the other side who considered themselves to be supporters of Astana but believed that Turkey had no place within it! This like someone saying that they are a supporter of water which is composed of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom, but they object to the presence of an oxygen atom within his formula!
Crux of the Matter
The Astana track, and Sochi implicitly, as well as the Constitutional Committee, all meet in being the practical ground on which a full and comprehensive implementation of UNSC resolution 2254. This resolution means many things, the most important of which is the Syrian people regaining their right to self-determination, and consequently means putting out the Syrian fire and depriving those who use it to warm up their cold, aging bones, whether the big corrupt forces or the hardlines in the Syrian scene, with their various affiliations, or at the international level, where the retreating superpower that wants to stop history and prevent it from moving forward out of fear that its huge wheel will break its thinning bones.