Yesterday’s entire horrific episode was caught on camera for the world to see. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back at an art gallery as he stood at a podium to speak. As I watched the news unfold, I immediately considered the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife back in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist. That singular incident launched the world into what would be known as World War I. Is that what’s coming?
If you somehow missed what transpired in Ankara yesterday, here is the report synopsis. As reported by CNN, “A police officer assassinated Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday, officials said. The gunman shouted “Do not forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire.
The shooting of Ambassador Andrey Karlov was captured on video. Russia’s foreign ministry described it as a “terror attack.” Russia has been instrumental in helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in its push to retake the eastern sector of Aleppo, which had been held by rebels for nearly four years. Here’s what we know right now:
• Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assassination a “provocation,” vowing to step up security at diplomatic missions. “This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the normalization of Russia-Turkish relations as well as at undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in promoting settling the crisis in Syria,” Putin said in televised remarks. “The only response we should offer to this murder is stepping up our fight against terror, and the criminals will feel the heat.”
• Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the killing won’t dampen the two countries’ efforts to build a stronger relationship. “We know that this is a provocation on destroying the relationship between Turkey and Russia during this normalization process. … All the expectation of what they want to achieve with this attack will be in vain and never happen,” Erdogan said in televised remarks Monday.
• Police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas was the gunman, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a press conference. The attacker was born in 1994 in the town of Soke in Turkey’s Aydin province, he said. CNN initially reported the officer was was off-duty at the time of the shooting, but Turkish government statements left his duty status Monday unclear.
• In a video circulating on social media that shows the shooting, the gunman is heard shouting, “Allahu akbar (God is greatest). Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!” “Get back! Get back!” the man can be heard shouting in Turkish as he waves a gun. “Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it,” he said.
The shooting occurred a day before diplomats from Turkey, Iran and Russia are scheduled to meet in Moscow to discuss the situation in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.
I don’t want to belabor the point of the shooting, although there will need to be some explaining how this police officer was able to be in position to gun down the ambassador so easily.
The real analysis has to be about what now?
There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the assassin was a Sunni Islamist sympathizer with the Sunni rebels in Aleppo. The words uttered by the assassin leave no doubt as to his intentions, and allegiance.
The issue will be in the response of Russia in Syria against the Islamist opposition. We already know the brutality occurring in Aleppo is genocidal — my assessment is that it is about to increase.
Vladimir Putin cannot appear weak at this time — remember he had two fighter jets shot down by Turkey. The alliance of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Syria is an interesting one indeed — strange bedfellows.
Turkey’s President Erdogan is a Sunni Islamist supporter who is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and has been supportive of the Sunni Islamist terrorists in the Middle East. However, for Erdogan, eliminating any Kurdish threat is more vital to his survival, hence his alliance with Russia and Iran, allowing Syria’s Bashar Assad to remain in power.
But, Erdogan’s people will have a dear price to pay, as the ISIS Islamists he helped create are now the rabid dogs that have turned against him as well…resulting in the recent horrific terrorist attacks levied against the former secular Muslim state desired by Kemal Ataturk.
We can expect Russia and Iran to go full metal jacket, aided by the Quds Force and Hezbollah, to crush the Syrian rebel resistance, supposedly supported by Barack Obama. With Iranian forces, and Hezbollah, operating in Syria (who are Shiite), expect the new rallying cry of ISIS to unite Sunnis.
The one thing that Vladimir Putin didn’t want to become embroiled in — an Islamic sectarian conflagration — he now is. His objectives in Syria were defined: prop up Bashar Assad and keep him in power, maintaining a Mediterranean Sea port of entry.
Now, with the assassination of his ambassador, Putin’s hand has been forced, and he may have to send a message. With that being the case, Donald Trump’s incoming administration finds itself dealt a very precarious hand as well. Russia may become involved in — well, they already are — the committing of atrocities against civilians. This is almost becoming a repeat of Afghanistan for the Russians, who now find it hard to extricate themselves from this morass.
And just as in Afghanistan, does the United States find itself supplying weapons and support to “mujahideen” fighters to aid in defeating a Russian-Iranian alliance? If so, it would be easily castigated as America supporting Islamic terrorist groups.
In the end, that was what happened in Afghanistan. It happened in Libya. And it could potentially happen in Syria if Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, the two most prominent Sunni Islamist forces, join together.
Doggone, if Barack Obama had heeded the advice of his generals and just left a residual force in Iraq, the Middle East situation would have been stabilized, as no vacuum would have been created.
The Trump administration may have to make the assessment of what happens with a Russian and Iranian backed Assad? Actually, it doesn’t stop just there, the point of contention will be an Iranian hegemony that has been aided by Obama’s financial support to the terrorist regime. This is what is called a fait accompli.
America once stood in a position to shape the Middle East to promote and support allies such as Israel, the Kurds, Egypt, Jordan, and thwart the Iranian aggression. The focus could have been on denial of Islamic terror group reconstitution and sanctuary — that opportunity may just now be lost.
Vladimir Putin may use force in order to establish his will in the Middle East. And America has been placed in the horns of a dilemma…support Russia and Iran or support Islamic terrorist groups?
Sure, sit it out and let them bloody each other is always a course of action, but leading from behind and rendering America irrelevant is not a good foreign policy option. We will have to develop a plan to undermine Iranian expansion. It will be very difficult for Putin to conduct sustained operations with such lengthy lines of logistical support and communication. And we can never lose sight that Recip Tayyip Erdogan is a slick suit Islamist.
Oh yeah, and we still have an Islamic terror infiltration issue into the West, as evidenced by the recent, and repeated, use of a truck to run over innocent citizens in Germany…this time.
Yes, Michelle Obama, we don’t need this type of “hope” brought to us by your husband, Barack Obama. Just ask yourself ma’am, based on your husband’s insidious and foolish decisions, how many lives have been lost? You can add the nine killed and fifty wounded in Germany to that list of the recipient of the Nobel Peace Participation trophy. Obama, your husband, created a vacuum, and it’s being filled all right. And so we hope the Trump administration will rectify and correct all of his mistakes.