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Turkey’s internal equilibria and its foreign policy

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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Turkey’s President Erdogan has recently dismissed almost all the Turkish flag officers still in service, thus leaving only a small proportion of them, with a view to later favouring the quick career of subordinate officers with a nationalist or Islamist background and training.

President Erdogan’s regime also actively supports all the Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt after Mohammed Morsi’s fall and Al Sisi’s coup. Moreover, the origins of Erdogan’s AKP Party are certainly obscure, but also clearly shrouded in the networks of the Turkish Brotherhood and in the more or less “moderate” political Islamism – just to use a trivial classification of Western political science.

To some extents the political-military choice made by the Turkish Presidency is still favoured by the long-term effects of the attempted coup against President Erdogan of July 15, 2016, when the Turkish Armed Forces were greatly purged of all officers who had even a slight or hidden “secularist” inclination – just to use  again the trivial classification of political science.

Currently only 42 Turkish flag officers are still in active service, with equal or higher rank,of the 325 ones who served in the Turkish Armed Forces at the time of the military putsch.

 Moreover, authoritative sources maintain that it was precisely the Turkish military that temporarily stopped President Erdogan’s designs in Syria, who had invasion plans that would have been far more aggressive and long-term than the recent Turkish occupation of Northern Syria.

The military dismissed from active service had also opposed President Erdogan’s plan to establish an alliance with the Russian Federation.

45% of the officers no longer in active permanent service were harshly “purged”, while 33% retired either voluntarily or not and 6% simply handed in their resignation. There were also other options, which materialized only for 2% of them (transfer to other State administrations, consultancy contracts, etc.), but only 14% of the total officers active at the time of the 2016 putsch have remained in service.

President Erdogan thinks – not too secretly – that the putsch was organized with the consent, or the silent approval, of the United States and of some EU countries.

However, the Interforce Chief of Staff at the time of the coup, General Hulusi Akar, who also stopped any national military mobilization in the early stages of the coup, is currently President Erdogan’s Defence Minister.

Was it a “self-coup”? It may be possible.

General Hulusi Hakar knew about the military coup, as also disclosed by the then and current Head of the Turkish intelligence Services, Hakan Fidan.

In 2016 the Generals of the Turkish Armed Forces were 325, while they are currently 233.

 149 Generals were “purged” in the week immediately following the attempted coup. Later it became known that many high-ranking  military were either on vacation with their families or in cities other than their workplace or – and this should come as no surprise – they were countering the putschists’ actions.

 According to the official data released by the Turkish government, a total of 8,651 military participated in the attempted coup – approximately 1% of the whole Turkish Armed Forces.

 Too few to take them seriously.

 How one can think of organizing a coup with so few operatives –  and the whole operation was carried out by experienced officers of an Armed Force as good as the Turkish one – remains a mystery.  Or a suspicion.

1,781 of the 8,651 coup operatives were simple conscripts, while 1,214 were cadets from military academies.

 150 Generals were involved – in various ways – in the 2016 coup.

 Some of the “purged” officers were quickly sentenced to long imprisonment, while all of them were accused of having systematic ties and connections with the movement of Gűlen, who currently lives in the United States – a charge that, however, President Erdogan’s regime has never been able to prove in a barely convincing way.

It seems to me rather naïve that the US intelligence Services, which certainly keep Gűlen under control, could authorize such a severe destabilization operation in a country that is still the axis of NATO throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, despite the difficulties faced by the US intelligence Agencies.

Hizmet (Service), i.e. Fethullah Gűlen’s movement, is still very widespread in Turkey.

At the time of the 2016 coup, President Erdogan closed down 800 companies, as well as 1,100 schools of all levels, 850 dormitories and 1,400 volunteer associations, all linked to the “Gűlen movement”.

Immediately after the coup of July 2016, President Erdogan imprisoned as many as 38,000 people linked to the Hizmet movement and expelled over 100,000 civil servants and Stateofficials from the police, judiciary, education and health sectors, who – according to the Turkish police – “were at the service” of the Gűlen movement.

 In the public sector, Hizmet members – in various ways – range between 1.5% and even 11% of the total civil servants and State employees in each Administration.

 In the judiciary, the “Gulenists” are as many as 30% and even 50% of the police force, while the largest share of Hizmet members – in relation to the total population -is found in Eastern Anatolia and the Aegean area.

 The Gűlen movement was President Erdogan’s greatest support when herose to power in 2002. The Hizmet networks produced evidence – often false – to accuse the members of the Kemalist and secularist tradition – in all the State bodies in which they were active – while the open clash between the Gulenists and President Erdogan’ supporters did not begin until 2013.

Currently, however, the Muslim Brotherhood is the main organizational and ideological support of President Erdogan’s AKP and the Ikhwanis behind the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association, the powerful MUSIAD, as well as behind companies such as Turkish Airlines and many of the big real estate and construction companies.

President Erdogan’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood date back to many years ago, at least to the early 1970s, when the current Turkish President was one of Necmettin Erbakan’s brightest aides.

In 1970 Erbakan, an academic and a politician, founded the Milli Nizam Partisi, the “National Order Party” which was also a member of Milli Gorus, Turkey’s largest Islamic association.

 Both Erbakan’s Party and Milli Gorus were banned in 1971, while in 1973 Erbakan founded the new Milli Selamet Partisi, the “National Salvation Party”, with which Erbakan even became Deputy Prime Minister from 1974 to 1978.

 Arrested after the military coup of 1980, he was forced not to carry out political activity any longer. Said ban ended in 1987.

 Political Islamism, the fight against Turkey’s Westernization and  a “new nationalism” not separating the State from the Islamic religion were the salient features of Erbakan’s doctrine in its various party connotations.

Erkaban was an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, as well as an anti-American and a strong supporter of a New Islamic Union – on the EU model – which would bring together all the Islamic countries of the Middle East.

 Those were Erbakan’s ideas, many of which – although with some differences – seemed to herald President Erdogan’s AKP.

That Party was founded in 2001 as a result of the merger of as many as five Islamist Parties that had not previously had the possibility of organizing themselves overtly and out in the open.

 All the Generals and the other officers who were “purged” by the Turkish Armed Forces by Erdogan’s motu proprio were later defined by the Turkish Secret Service, namely MIT, both as “Gulenists” and as pro-Western and “US friends”.

Currently, after the various “purges”, only 65% of the officer posts in the Turkish Armed Forces are covered.

Recently over 150,000 civil servants have been further sidelined and dismissed, due to their membership of Fethullah Gűlen’s network.

Approximately 30,000 of these civil servants linked to Gülen’sHizmet are still in prison, while there are currently 6,760 military still confined in Turkish jails either on charges of having being involved in the coup or for being members of the Gülen movement.

 5,960 of them are Colonels or lowerranking officers and 142 are Brigadiers-General or higher ranking officers.

 The issue of the 2016 coup and of the Islamist repression of the Turkish society’s traditional ruling classes reminds us of the Ergenekon trials.

Ergenekon is a powerful secret society – as there were many in Turkish history, and still many continue to flourish – organising some of the secular and pro-Western power groups in Turkey.

 Giuseppe Garibaldi had a sound relationship with the Association of Italian Workers in Turkey, a para-Masonic network, while the  Lodges of the Grand Orient of Italy organized much of the flourishing emigration of Italian businessmen and financiers to the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, Italy’s Lodges “covered up” and concealed the “Young Turks” movement in the Ottoman Empire.

Ergenekon is also the fundamental legend of the Turkish literary and symbolic tradition regarding a grey she-wolf called Asena which helped the Turkish tribal clans of the Altai Mountains to reach the luxuriant plain of Ergenekon, where they could thrive and reproduce. 

A further possibility is that the secret society called Ergenekon is named after Colonel Necabettin Ergenekon, an officer who, at the time of its establishment, was the second in command of the whole covert network of the secret association.

 Probably, the secret society we are talking about is one of the many organizations of Turkey’s “Deep-State”, which is one of the great political traditions of the Ottoman Empire, which later merged with NATO’s covert networks in a country, like Turkey, which bordered on the USSR and was close to “hot” war zones such as the Middle East, Iran and the Persian Gulf.

We also need to recall the specific political role played by the military after the 1908 revolution organized by the Turkish Armed Forces and the subsequent self-proclaimed function of the military as “protectors of secular democracy” after the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

In Turkey the “Deep-State” networks were organized to work under the cover of official organizations, such as the Armed Forces – just think about the Feday group born in 1905 –  to ultimately stage mass mobilizations and demonstrative actions – hence to “do politics” without showing themselves in public.

 The secret societies of the Turkish Armed Forces mainly carried out espionage and counter-espionage missions, but also organized rebellions throughout the Ottoman Empire – suffice to recall the Libyan insurgency against the Italians, or the one in the Balkans against Greece and Bulgaria, or in Egypt against Great Britain.

They were all Turkish nationalist operations, without direct ties to the Ottoman Empire, which often did not even know the nature of “Deep-State” actions.

 The “Deep-State” societies were largely dismantled after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, but some espionage and counter-espionage groups remained active, such as the Karakol, Yavuz and Hamza associations and Felah, which incorporates the above mentioned Feday group.

 Ataturk tried to place all these organizations within the Police and the intelligence Services, but he did not fully succeed to do so.

It should be noted that MIT, the current Secret Service, was founded in 1960, after the first legal Turkish military coup.

 In 1971 there was another constitutional coup and in 1980 there was the so-called “post-modern” coup. In 1998, a white coup outlawed the Welfare Party, an Islamist political group founded by Necmettin Erbakan, that was at the origin of President Erdogan’s AKP.

In the midst of the political changes occurred in the post-Cold War period, the EU universal geniuses demanded and obtained the stop of the Turkish Armed Forces’ constitutional operations, thus ensuring the rise to power of the AKP, disguised as a great coalition with other secular political forces.

Furthermore, in 1968 the MIT operated mainly through the pro-Western Turkish Parties to create the conditions for a military coup.

 The political link between MIT and the Parties in the Turkish Parliament was the “Counter-Guerrilla Office”, a body of the intelligence Services having considerable autonomy from the central Command.

 The counter-guerrilla networks were all connected by a NATO Command for “non-orthodox war”, which was easily penetrated by an East-German secret agent. Much of the Western “Gladio” structure was well known to the Warsaw Pact and, sometimes, to the Communist Parties of Western Europe to which NATO belonged.

 This is one of the most rational interpretation of the “Moro affair” and of its effects in Italian political history following the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader.

Nevertheless the Networks – to which probably also Ergenekon belonged – were manifold: Absalon in Denmark; Aginter in Portugal, with many branches also in Italy; the Auxiliary Units in the UK; the Bund Deutscher Jugend and the Technischer Dienst operating in West Germany; the well-known Gladio-Stay Behind in Italy and Central Europe, including Switzerland; the Grupo Antiterorista de Liberacion, operating in Spain; Informationsbyran in Sweden and also Intelligence & Operations in the Netherlands; the Mountain Riders in Greece; Nihtilä Haathti in Finland and the Österreichischer Wander-Sport und Geselligkeitsverein in Austria; Plan Bleu and Rose de Vents (with interconnections also in Italy), as well as Arc en Ciel in France, which had two “Gladio” structures, one in the South and another in the North, whose Head of the Southern network was Mitterrand’s “presidential hunter”; Projekt 26in Switzerland; Rocambole in Norway and finally SDRA-8 and STC/Mob in Belgium.

The official Turkish network of NATO Stay Behind, however, was not Ergenekon but the Tactical Mobilisation Committee, which was at the base of the pogrom against the Greek Orthodox people of September 6-7,1955.

 The Ergenekon trialsbegan in June 2007 with a raid by the Turkish police while, coincidentally, the Constitutional Court put the AKP on trial on charges of “being the core of anti-secularist activities”.

 The charges against Ergenekon concerned 86 suspects, in the first phase of police activities, and later further 56 ones.

 The trials against the secret society ended in early August 2013.

 In the end, there were 275 defendants, 17 of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment. Only 12 of them were found innocent.

As stated above, the operation against Ergenekon started with the search of Oktay Ildirim’s house, where several grenades were found, and Ildirim was a simple retired sergeant.

 The usual EU universal geniuses positively viewed the trial against the pro-Western secret society, which was a clear sign to the military by the AKP in power.

Clearly the current crisis of the Turkish military world and hence the subsequent replacement of “secularist” officers with Islamist or neo-nationalist military – in line with President Erdogan’s project of New Turkish Ottomanism towards the East – is a strong sign of the persistence of “secret societies” in the Turkish Deep-State and of President Erdogan’s willingness to have an Armed Force completely free of the “coupist” and secularist temptations typical of the Kemalist world which is still deeply rooted in the tradition of the Turkish Armed Forces.

 This will create many problems to NATO and still many more to the EU.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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COVID-19 lockdowns are in lockstep with the ‘Great Reset’

Mathew Maavak

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In October 2019, a pandemic simulation exercise called Event 201 – a collaborative effort between Johns Hopkins  Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – concluded that a hypothetical new coronavirus may end up killing at least 65 million people worldwide within 18 months of an outbreak.

When COVID-19 coincidentally emerged from Wuhan two months later, scientists were rushing to generate similar alarmist forecasts using a variety of questionable scientific models. Researchers from the Imperial College London, for instance, approximated death tolls of 500,000 (UK) and two million (USA) by October this year. To those following the metastasis of the global vaccine mania, the Imperial model was predictably “tidied up” with the help of Microsoft.

While scientific models are admittedly fallible, one would nonetheless be hard-pressed to justify the endless string of contradictions, discrepancies and wilful amnesia in the global pandemic narrative. In fact, one should question whether COVID-19 even deserves the tag of a “pandemic”. According to the United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the updated age-group survival rates for COVID-19 happen to be: Ages 0-19 (99.997%); 20-49 (99.98%); 50-69 (99.5%); and 70+ (94.6%). The mortality rates are only slightly higher than the human toll from seasonal flu and are, in fact, lower than many ailments for the same age cohorts.

If the CDC statistics don’t lie, what kind of “science” have we been subjected to? Was it the science of mass-mediated hysteria? There are other troubling questions yet unanswered. Whatever happened to the theory of bats or pangolins being the source of COVID-19? Who was Patient Zero? Why was there a concerted media agitprop against the prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine that was backed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) no less? And why did Prof Neil Ferguson, who had led Imperial’s contagion modelling, repeatedly breach lockdown measures to meet his paramour – right after his recommendations were used to justify draconian lockdowns worldwide which continue till today?

Most damning yet, why are Western media and scientific establishments dismissive of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine? After all, Moscow’s credibility, both scientific and otherwise, is on the line here. In a real pandemic, nobody would care where an effective remedy comes from. The virus does not care about borders and geopolitics; so why should we politicize the origins of an antidote?

Perhaps what we are really dealing with here is a case of mass “coronapsychosis” as Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko aptly called it. Who benefits from global lockdowns that are destabilizing all facets of our society? The following four “great” undercurrents may provide a clue.

The Great Deflection

As the author had warned for more than a decade, the world is staring at a confluence of risk overloads, socioeconomic meltdowns1 and a Second Great Depression. For the ruling classes, COVID-19 is fortuitously deflecting public attention away from the disastrous consequences of decades of economic mismanagement and wealth fractionation. The consolidation of Big Tech with Big Media2has created an Orwellian world where collective hysteria is shifting loci from bogeymen like Russia to those who disagree with the pandemic narrative.

We have entered a “new normal” where Pyongyang, North Korea, affords more ambulatory freedom than Melbourne, Australia. While rioting and mass demonstrations by assorted radicals are given a free pass – even encouraged by leaders in the West –Facebook posts questioning lockdowns are deemed subversive. This is a world where Australian Blueshirts beat up women, manhandle a pregnant woman in her own home, and perform wolf pack policing on an elderly lady in a park. Yet, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria remains unfazed by the unflattering moniker of Kim Jong Dan.

The corona-totalitarianism is unsurprisingly most pronounced in the Anglosphere and its dependencies. After all, these nations are staring at socioeconomic bankruptcies of unprecedented proportions vis-à-vis their counterparts. Even their own governments are being systematically undermined from within. The US Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat terrorism, is now providing$10 million in grants to organizations which supposedly combat “far-right extremism and white supremacy”. This will further radicalize leftist malcontents who are razing down US cities and its economies in the name of social justice. There is however a curious rationale behind this inane policy as the following section illustrates.

The Great Wealth Transfer

While the circus continues, the bread is thinning out, except for the Top 0.001%.  Instead of bankruptcy as recent trends indicated, Silicon Valley and affiliated monopolies are notching up record profits along with record social media censorships. US billionaires raked in $434 billion in the first two months of the lockdown alone. The more the lockdowns, the more the wealth accrued to the techno-elite. As tens of millions of individuals and small businesses face bankruptcy by Christmas, the remote work revolution is gifting multibillion dollar jackpots to the likes of Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). Azure (Microsoft) and AWS (Amazon) cloud eco-systems, among others, have expanded by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the face of such runaway wealth fractionation, panoptic contact tracing tools from Big Tech are increasingly employed to pacify restive populations.  And of course, to prevent a second, third or Nth wave of COVID-19 for our collective good!

In the meantime, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Tech and other monopolies are getting lavish central bank bailouts or “stimulus packages” to gobble up struggling smaller enterprises. COVID-19 is a gift that never stops giving to a select few. But how will the techno-oligarchy maintain a degree of social credibility and control in an impoverished and tumultuous world?

The Great Philanthropy

Oligarchic philanthropy will be a dominant feature of this VUCA decade3. According to a recent Guardian report, philanthropic foundations have multiplied exponentially in the past two decades, controlling a war chest worth more than $1.5 trillion. That is sufficient to bankroll a horde of experts, NGOs, industry lobbies, media and fact-checkers worldwide. Large sums can also be distributed rapidly to undermine governments. The laws governing scientific empiricism are no longer static and immutable; they must dance in tandem with the funding.  Those who scream fake news are usually its foremost peddlers. This is yet another “new normal” which had actually predated COVID-19 by decades.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a prime example of how oligarchic philanthropy works. Since 2000, it has donated more than $45 billion to “charitable causes” and a chunk of thisis designed to control the global media narrative. The Guardian, rather tellingly, credits the BMGF for helping eradicate polio despite contrary reports of wanton procedural abuses, child death tolls and poverty exploitations which routinely mar the foundation’s vaccination programs. Bill Gates even interprets vaccine philanthropy in terms of a 20-to-1 return on investments, as he effused to CNBC last year.

As for the BMGF’s alleged polio success, officials now fear that a dangerous new strain could soon “jump continents”. After spending $16 billion over 30 years to eradicate polio, international health bodies – which work closely with BMGF – have “accidentally” reintroduced the disease to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Poverty, hunger and desperation will spawn a tangible degree of public gratitude despite elite philanthropy’s entrenched bias towards elite institutions and causes. By the Guardian’s own admission, “British millionaires gave £1.04bn to the arts, and just £222m to alleviating poverty” in the 10-year period to 2017.  Contrast this with the annual $10 billion earmarked by the philanthropic pool for “ideological persuasion” in the US alone. The rabble is worth their weight only for the potential havoc they can wreak.

There is enough money floating around to reduce our cities into bedlams of anarchy as seen in the United States today.  (It will only get worse after the Nov 3 US presidential elections).The crumbs left over can be delegated to threadbare charities. One only needs to reflect on soup kitchens in the post-1929 Weimar Republic. The most popular ones were organized by the Nazi party and funded by wealthy patrons. The march towards a new order has a familiar historical meme. The new Brownshirts are those who terrorise citizens for not wearing masks, for not being locked down in their pens, and for simply supporting a political candidate of choice. Even children who do not follow the oligarchic narrative are not spared!

The Great Reset

A great pruning will inevitably occur in the mega-billionaire club as whatever remains of the global corona-economy is systematically cannibalized. The club will get smaller but wealthier and will attempt to sway our collective destiny. Control over education, healthcare, means of communications and basic social provisions is being increasingly ceded by governments to the global elite. Governments colluding in the “new normal” will sooner or later face the ire of distressed masses. Politicians and assorted “social justice warriors” will be scapegoated once they have outlived their usefulness.

In this cauldron, the century-old technocratic dream of replacing politicians, electoral processes and businesses with societies run by scientists and technical experts4may emerge – thanks to advances in panoptic technologies. It will be an age for the “rational science of production” and “scientific collectivism”. The latter is eerily redolent of the Soviet sharaska (prison labs) system.

The production and supply of goods will be coordinated by a central directorate5, led not by elected representatives (whose roles, where they exist, will be nominal anyway) but by technocrat factotums. Perhaps this is what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Great Reset. In reality though, this idea smacks of a global Gosplan minus the Doctor Sausages for the innumerable many.

(Some emerging economies like Malaysia and India casually refer to technocracy as an infusion of greater technical expertise into bureaucracy. This is a misinterpretation of technocracy’s longstanding means and goals).

One intractable problem remains: will the emerging global oligarchy tolerate the existence of various deep states worldwide? Initially, both groupings may cooperate to their mutual benefit but their respective raisons d’être are too contradictory to be reconciled  One thrives on an “open society” run by obedient hirelings who will administer a global Ministry of Truth while the other depends on secrecy and a degree of national sovereignty to justify its existence. Surveillance technologies ushered in by the ongoing “coronapsychosis” may end up being the deciding factor in this struggle. 

After all, if social media posts by the President of the United States and the White House can be blatantly censored today, think of the repercussions for billions of people worldwide tomorrow? 

Author’s note: An abridged version of this article was published by RT on Oct 14

References

1. Maavak, M. (2012), Class Warfare, Anarchy and the Future Society: Is the Middle Class forging a Gramscian Counter-Hegemonic Bloc Worldwide? Journal of Futures Studies, December 2012, 17(2): 15-36.

2. Maavak, M. (2019). Bubble to Panopticon: Dark Undercurrents of the Big Data Torrent.Kybernetes, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 1046-1060. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-06-2019-0403

3. Maavak, M (2021). Maavak, M. (2021). Horizon 2020-2030: Will Emerging Risks Unravel our Global Systems? Accepted for publication.Salus Journal, Issue 1 2021.

4. Elsner, Jr., Henry (1967). The Technocrats: Prophets of Automation. Syracuse University.

5. Stabile, D.R. (1986). Veblen and the Political Economy of the Engineer: the radical thinker and engineering leaders came to technocratic ideas at the same time.American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol, 45, No. 1, 1986, pp. 43-44.

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Should Turkey and Azerbaijan Be Worried About Killed Syrian Mercenaries?

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Just a few weeks ago many analysts and observers were sceptical about reports of Turkey’s transferring units of its Syrian National Army (SNA) proxies to Nagorno Karabakh, even more so because Turkish officials denied any such claims. However, as evidence of massive casualties among the Syrian mercenaries continues to mount, there is little space left for doubt: SNA fighters have become cannon fodder in the Turkish operation in support of Azerbaijan.

The first batch of bodies of those Syrians who perished in Nagorno Karabakh counted over 50 people, according to messages and videos that went viral on opposition WhatsApp and Telegram channels. Among the dead who were delivered to Syria over Hiwar Kilis border crossing and were given a hasted burial were men from Aleppo, Idlib, Homs and other regions of Syria. Many of their relatives, like families of Muhammad Shaalan from Atareb and Kinan Ferzat from Maarat al-Nuuman, were shocked to learn about their death.

Just like the majority of the Syrians who travelled to Nagorno Karabakh,  Muhammad and Firzat were primarily motivated by lucrative rewards of up to 2,000 dollars promised by Turkey. “I came here to make money and have a better life back in Syria where the living conditions are miserable. I consider this a job, nothing else,” a member of Liwa Sultan Murad, one of the first SNA factions to deploy its fighters to the contested region, told Guardian.

The reason behind heavy casualties of the Syrian mercenaries is that they are thrown into action where the clashes are the most violent, including Jabrayil, Terter, Fizulin and Talysh. This move allows Azerbaijan to keep its military, who mainly provide air support including operating Turkey-made Bayraktar TB2 UAVs and coordinate artillery and missile strikes of the Armenian positions, out of direct contact with the enemy.

The estimates of the numbers of the Syrian mercenaries present in Nagorno Karabakh are wildly different. While initial reports put their number at 500 men, it is currently believed that the actual number may be in thousands. This data indicates that at least 10 percent of the fighters were killed during the very first days of the escalation – a serious alarm for the mercenaries as well as their Turkish backers.

These developments must ring a bell for Azerbaijan as well. The longer the conflict protracts, the higher the risk of casualties among the Azeri servicemen becomes, who have already suffered losses in Armenian retaliation strikes. Baku has managed to avoid discontent among the military as well as the civilian populace – not least thanks to the Syrian mercenaries crushed as cannon fodder – but this can not continue for long.

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Emerging Multipolarity and its consequences

Abdul Rasool Syed

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“Make America great again” a slogan that formed the nucleus of trump’s electoral campaign vividly suggests that America is no more a great country. It is, in fact, an implicit admission that U.S is gradually losing its clout in international politics and hence, its image as a sole superpower of the world has virtually tarnished. Let me rephrase this connotation; it means that the era of unipolar world is over and the world has now transitioned to a multipolarirty.

Currently, new power centers are emerging in transnational political landscape. China, Russia, India and Turkey are excessively engaged to carve a niche for them in evolving international order. Most importantly, with China and Russia’s mushrooming proximity, balance of power is now shifting from west to east. Former United States (US) Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at her state visit to New Zealand was one of the first to observe “a shifting balance of power to a more multi-polar world as opposed to the Cold War model of a bipolar world”. This conspicuous change in multi-national political setup was also realized by Ban ki Moon, the then secretary- General of United Nations who stated at Stanford University in 2013 that we have begun to “move increasingly and irreversibly to a multi-polar world”. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also declared at the Russia-China Conference 2016 that “international relations have entered into a conceptually new historical stage that consists in the emergence of a multi-polar world order and reflects the strengthening of new centers of economic development and power”.

These manifestations of political spin doctors have since then revealed a general acceptance of the idea of multi-polar world as a concept that is inescapable political reality in the contemporary international dynamics.   However, when it comes to the transitions and inevitability of power structures, there is a little agreement among the international states.

A much stronger resistance to forego unipolarity remains embedded in the Trump administration vision to “make America great again”. Political pundits such  as Robert Kaplan continue to question, whether there is an overlap of unipolar and multi-polar world realities; where US continues to retain the supremacy in military realm of affairs and is anticipated to remain so for a considerable future time, whereby China leads in the economic realm. Additionally nations in the former Third World are acquiring status as rising powers, notably India who have over the years with smart diplomacy have acquired global outreach to shape international agenda.

Chronologically, After World War II, the U.S. became the undisputed and unchallenged global superpower. It was the only country, equipped with nuclear warheads and was one of the few countries involved in the war that came away from it relatively unscathed at home. The U.S. underwent a meager loss of approximately 400,000 soldiers and a fractional amount of civilians in the war. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, incurred a gigantic loss of around 11 million soldiers and some 7 million to 10 million civilians. While Soviet and European cities were undergoing the process of rehabilitation, American cities flourished. It seemed clear to all that the future belonged to the United States.

But it didn’t take long for the luster of unrivaled power to tarnish. The U.S. military machine relaxed as quickly as it had mobilized, and wartime unity gave way to peacetime political debates over government spending and entitlement programs. Within five years, a bipolar world emerged: The Soviets attained an atomic bomb, and the U.S. was caught flat-footed in a war on the Korean Peninsula that ended in a stalemate. Soon thereafter, the U.S. was withdrawing from Vietnam and rioting at home. In 1971, then-President Richard Nixon predicted a world that he said would soon emerge in which the U.S. was “no longer in the position of complete pre-eminence.” Within 26 years of the end of World War II, Nixon’s prediction saw the light of the day and the U.S. had to resign to its fate.

Theoretically, multipolarity refers to a distribution of power in which more than two states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, financial and economic influence.

If we look at the contemporary world, we find that with the rise of like China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil, global power will spread across a wider range of countries, hence, a new world order with multipolar outlook is likely to emerge .

Realistically speaking, several revisionist powers are and will shaking up their regions. For instance, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 – annexing Crimea, over which it has fought several wars throughout history (mainly with Turkey). In turn, Turkey is asserting its sovereignty over the eastern Mediterranean to the frustration of countries like Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and Israel. Meanwhile, India has upped its aggression in its border dispute with Pakistan as Modi began a process to revoke the autonomous status of the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

Notably, after the age of city-states and nation-states, we are now entering the age of continental politics. The most powerful countries of the 21st century (the U.S., China, Russia India, Indonesia, and Brazil) are the size of continents. They have broad economic bases and their digital economies potentially have hundreds of millions of users. Internationally, their scale requires them to seek broad spheres of influence in order to protect their security.

Here the question arises what will be the impact of growing multipolarity in the world? First of all, revisionist powers will increasingly ignite tensions. The growing assertiveness of countries like Russia, Turkey and India is the new normal. As they grow more powerful, these countries will seek to revise arrangements in order to reflect the new realities of power. Because these (continental) states seek broad spheres of influence, many places are at risk of destabilization.

Second, one of the biggest risks is the growing paranoia of the hegemon (the U.S.). The current trade war has shown how destabilizing the policy of the (financial) hegemon becomes as it feels threatened by the rise of a rival. Historically, this has been the most important source of violent conflicts. Indeed, the biggest source of uncertainty in the coming years is how the U.S. will react to the rise of China.

Third, the world order will become more ambiguous. Two developments deserve our attention. First, the growing use of shadow power will make conflict more unpredictable. With digital tools, states (and non-state actors) are manipulating each other in subtle ways. For example, Russian hackers  posed as Iranians to hit dozens of countries and Americans blamed Russia for tampering with American elections. Second, alliances will also become more ambiguous. With ever changing dynamics of world economy, new alliances, motivated by the concept of triangulation (to keep balance in relation with the US and China, the trade warriors) will form and such alliances, as predicted by spin doctors; will be less stable than the blocs, formed in 20th century.

To sum it up, before we reach a multipolar world order, we will see a period of growing uncertainty based on the rise of revisionist powers, the paranoia of the U.S. and growing ambiguity of conflict and cooperation. Moreover, the political pundits are divided in opinion that whether multi-polarity is unstable than unipolarity or bipolarity. Kenneth Waltz strongly was in favor of “bipolar order as stable”. On the other side, Karl Deutsch and David Singer saw multi-polarity as guaranteeing a greater degree of stability in an article published in 1964, “Multipolar Systems and International Stability”. Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow in “Goodbye Hegemony” (2014), question the belief whether a global system without a hegemon would be unstable and more war prone. However, whatever the system the world is likely to witness in the days to come, let’s hope that this should be in the best interest of humanity and it should make the lives of the inhabitants of this planet peaceful and prosperous.

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