TEHRAN, Dec. 21 (Press Shia Agency) – Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was a shock on Monday night the news of which went quickly viral on the web and social networks.
The video of Officer Mevlut Mert Altintas who gunned down the ambassador in cold blood and then began shouting out was extraordinarily confusing as the assailant was a special force supposed to protect the diplomat and now he was crying out for long seconds without anyone interrupting him. What people across the world were watching was totally different from any imagination and previous instances of a terrorist attack; it was showing a shocking reality that in world of politics and in the volatile region of Middle East, you cannot easily trust or believe whatever you see or whatever things seem out there. This, however, has always been the case about international politics, but the heinous assassination of a diplomat by a special force security officer was a blatant and brazen reminder of it.
Ankara and Moscow agreed to form an investigative committee to go after perpetrators of the assassination. The inquiries and inspections of the committee might shed more light on the event in future; but for now it is better to review the situation in the Middle East and between the countries involved in Syria to have a better image of it and find out whose interest are served with this act of terror.
In fact, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must be the first person to take lessons from his turned-terrorist officer and reconsider whom to trust. It is no secret anymore that Erdogan has taken wrong stances on Syrian crisis in various cases and that he has been trying to enhance his own power in the country and his country’s in region regardless of the other players and stakeholders. Once siding with Arabs and US and once turning toward Russia and another time impeding peace process are changing policies of him. When his country was about to face a coup a few months ago, it was Iran and Russia who warned him and actually helped him to bring the coup to a failed attempt. Yet he followed his insincere policy again and played a dangerous game on Aleppo.
After the failed coup attempt, Erdogan began cleansing all entities and organizations and detained or fired anyone connected in one way or the other to Gulen movement. Therefore, it can be said that the security and military forces in Turkey, and particularly Special Forces, are all loyal to the ruling government and president which can lead to the conclusion that the government has been behind this assassination.
Another way to interpret it is as one of Turkish officials said on Monday after the murder did, connecting him to Gulen movement. But it would translate into the bittering fact that despite all arrests and expulsions and pressures, Gulen still has loyalists as close to the high-ranking officials as Mevlut Mert Altintas. The two conclusions can be good reminders to Erdogan to still be careful in its domestic politics which he has long tried to make as totalitarian as possible.
Yet Turkey and its president don’t seem to have any interests by killing Russian ambassador to Ankara.
The answer can be all the way around in the United States and its allies who support so-called moderate fighters against legitimate government of Assad.
On Monday August 8, former CIA chief Michael Morell appeared on Charlie Rose’s program where he made controversial remarks. Here is the exact transcript of his words:
Mike Morell: So you don’t want to destroy those things, right. You don’t want to destroy those things. So here’s what I think you want to do. I think you want to covertly, not openly but covertly, but you certainly want them to know, you want to covertly tell the moderate opposition that you’re supporting to go after — this is a big deal — to go after the Russians and the Iranians who are on the ground. They got to pay a price for what they’re doing. Just like we made the Russians pay a price in Afghanistan for what they’re doing. We have to make them pay a price. We have to make them…
Charlie Rose: By supporting the Mujahedin.
Mike Morell: Yes. We have to make them to want to go home. We have to make them want to have a deal, right, so that’s number one.
Charlie Rose: Now, how do we do that?
Mike Morell: We ask the moderate opposition — we give the moderate opposition weapons.
Charlie Rose: What is it they want that they don’t have?
Mike Morell: You know, Dave Petraeus could tell you exactly what they want. You know, I’m not a military guy.
Charlie Rose: In Afghanistan, it was military.
Mike Morell: Right. But I’d give them the things that they need to both go after the Assad government, but also to have the Iranians and the Russians pay a little price. When we were in Iraq, the Iranians were giving weapons to the Shi’a militia who were killing American soldiers, right. The Iranians were making us pay a price. We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price. The other thing we need to do…
Charlie Rose: We make them pay the price by killing Russians?
Mike Morell: Yes.
Charlie Rose: And killing Iranians?
Mike Morell: Yes. Covertly. You don’t tell the world about it, right. You don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say we did this. Here’s the other thing I want to do, I want to go after — I want to go after those things that Assad sees as his personal power base, right. I want to scare Assad. So, I want to — I want to go after his presidential guard. I want to bomb his offices in the middle of the night.
His remarks was so controversial that Charlie Rose decided to have him back on the program about ten days later; “you know, one of the things that you’re taught as a young analyst at CIA is precision of language,” Morell said and later continued. “Right. So one of the wars that’s going on, right, is the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians are fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing — is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What I said is that’s a good — that’s an OK thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is we should encourage — what I wanted to say was that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that…”
With US presidential elections on the spot and a hot topic all around the world, Democrats and Obama administration began claiming that Russia had hacked into both Democratic and Republican parties, but released only Democrat party documents to weaken them and help Trump win the elections in US. Just a couple of months after Morell, Vice President Joe Biden talked to Meet The Press to be asked about what Washington intends to do to respond to alleged hackings by Russia.
Chuck Todd: Alright. Final question. When– I talked with Ambassador, former Russian Ambassador Mike McFaul.
Joe Biden: Yeah.
Chuck Todd: And– we talked about the idea that every once– you, you gotta respond when you, when they’re hacking. You gotta do something. He described it as a high hard one. Maybe just, you know, sort of like in baseball. You throw a high hard one to send a message. Why haven’t we sent a message yet to Putin?
Joe Biden: We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it. And– the message–
Chuck Todd: He’ll know it?
Joe Biden: –he’ll know it. And it will be at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact. Look–
Chuck Todd: Will it be enough, do you think, that it’ll get him to back off? I mean, how concerned are you that the country is actually gonna question the result of this election?
Joe Biden: I am not concerned. The reason I’m not is we’re working very closely with all the departments of elections across the country, number one. Number two, the American people are pretty damn resilient. And number three, the, the capacity to do, to fundamentally alter the election is– is not what people think. And– I tell you what, to the extent that they do, we will be proportional in what we do. And– at the–
Chuck Todd: So a message is gonna be sent. Will the public know it?
Joe Biden: Hope not.
It was in mid-October; only seven weeks before President Obama speaking to NPR on last Friday again turning to retaliation to Russian alleged hackings. The US president said he is waiting for a final report he has ordered into a range of Russian hacking attacks, but promised there would be a response.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing,” he said to the radio host and on the retaliatory measures he asserted that “some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”
The remarks by three American figures are not something one can pass by indifferently. The assassination happened only one day before trilateral meeting between foreign ministers and defense ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey which can be decisive on the fate of current situation in Syria and Aleppo. A closer relation between Turkey and the two other countries can be harmful to the policies the West is pursuing in Syria and Iraq.
So it won’t be any surprise if western forces or their regional allies or even their so-called moderate oppositions have been behind the scenes of this terrorist targeting of late ambassador in Ankara to not only have Russia pay the price of its achievements in Syria, but also have Turkey pay the price of getting closer to Iran and Russia.
Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh has done his MA in North American Studies and his focus has been on US policies towards the Middle East. He is also English Chief Editor of Mehr News Agency.