Putin & Erdoğan have a chat…about what?

They talked by phone. Quoting, “…the main motive of the phone call was extending condolences to the Russian head of state for the recent suicide bombing in Grozny.”

I don’t think so.

If, in your liberal arts education, you have been taught the use of Occam’s Razor, and the pitfall of conspiracy-theory psychosis, you may have the mindset of “It’s nothing, unless proven otherwise”, which derives incorrectly from “innocent until proven guilty.” To take advantage of all that’s available from open sources, you have to put a finer point on your pencil.  The  fallacy of the conspiracy theorist is not that of speculation. It is the “proof” of a “theory” from the unvarying premise that, if something could be true, it is. This premise is usually combined with some scrap of compatible information, such as this phone call.

A conspiracy theorist’s interpretation of the phone conversation is that Putin and Erdoğan are divvying up Syria.  The open source hound’s interpretation is actually closely related; but it is a mere brush stroke, a single tile in a mosaic, that may build in this direction, always finishing as an almost-fact. Speculation is an essential part of the open-source activity.

As the mosaic builds, or fails to, there must be a library of speculations that accrete as well, because  insights don’t really come out of the blue. They build on the edge of consciousness, on the wings of the stage, waiting for the call, “you’re on.” In this case, the mosaic actually has a few more tiles:

The post “Syria: The purpose of Nekrassov’s Piece”, suggests “Assad’s regime, now a homeless waif in the international community, is up for adoption.” It is now arguably visible to Putin that the risk to Assad is no longer from U.S. supported moderate rebels. The Assad regime now faces destruction at the hands of ISIS, which, if not completely indigenous to the area, has put down roots.  Those who think U.S. foreign policy lacks the certain element called intelligence may now enjoy a little schadenfreude at the Russian miscalculation, which, by virtue of their system of governance, belongs to Putin.

Nekrassov suggested Assad has a role in confronting ISIS. Kerry slapped this down hard, saying that Assad had, in fact, been playing “footsie” with ISIS. (Did this result in late night queries to ISKRAN , the Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies,  to find out what “footsie” is, who plays it, and why?)

Since Assad’s position is hopeless, Erdoğan may have been emboldened to make Putin an offer, a partition of Syria. Assad’s defensible portion might include Damascus, the historical Alawite coastal enclave, and such areas as Hezbollah would be willing to shoulder. With a free hand in the north, Turkey could sculpt and control Kurdish ambitions, while filling the political vacuum now occupied by ISIS with Sunni elements of the same sectarian persuasion as the Turkish majority. See “Turkey & the New Ottoman Empire”

No post about this subject would be complete without the usual harangue about southern Iraq. Since the “seat of government” is there, and because the politicians wear western business suits, those adhering to the Westphalian model seem to pin their hopes on a solution that would coalesce around this “center.”

Southern Iraq is bound to Iran by culture and religion dating back to 680 A.D.  The connections are vastly powerful, yet curiously under weighted by U.S. strategists. There is, in the scheme of things, an exceedingly minor theological rift between the religious institutions of Iraq and Iran. With the passing of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who is currently 84, integration of the religious establishments of Qom and Karbalā will become total. Secular fusion will inevitably follow.


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