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The Specter of a World War - By Matt Ward -
Are Saudi Arabia and Turkey planning to invade Syria?
This is the single most important question of today. It is much more important than the machinations of the upcoming presidential elections in America, more important than the turmoil embracing the European Union as a result of mass migration, more important even than the impending worldwide economic collapse.
Right now, whether Saudi Arabia and Turkey are planning a joint invasion of Syria is the single most important question of our time.
The reason for this is that if Saudi Arabia and Turkey do decide to invade Syria, Vladimir Putin has let it be known that he would use tactical nuclear weapons against Turkey to stop them. Vladimir Putin does not make this kind of threat idly.
A steadily building antagonism between Russian and Turkey in Syria has existed for a number of months. It is not an exaggeration to say that a proxy war between Turkey and Russia is already well underway.
Almost two weeks ago the Syrian military air base of Minagh, some six kilometers from the Turkish border was seized by Kurdish forces heavily backed by Russian air power. There they attempted to dig in, until Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched a two-hour artillery bombardment of the base from within Turkey. This Turkish bombardment was an indirect attack on Russian forces and is an example of the deadly tit-for-tat being played out between these two powers.
Vladimir Putin is waiting for the right opportunity to settle accounts with Turkey for the shooting down of a Russian fighter plane on November 24th. The question is whether Putin will feel the need to react and strike back now or wait until later. In this context the Turkish artillery bombardment was a highly calculated risk from the Turkish president.
Russian-Turkish relations are extremely volatile, they rest on a knife edge.
Then comes news that has rocked the Middle East to its core. Turkey and Saudi Arabia seem to be massing huge numbers of troops on their respective borders to Syria. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both dismissed any talk of an invasion with the explanation of it being merely an internal military exercise. If this is so, it would be the largest military exercise in the history of the Middle East.
At the same time the Saudi's are warning that Bashir al-Assad will "be removed by force," if necessary. Turkey is also suddenly claiming that it may be necessary for them to establish a "safe zone" in northern Syria, strictly for "humanitarian reasons." All the while their troops are building up on their respective borders in huge numbers.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both invested significant amounts of money backing Sunni groups in the Syrian civil war. These same groups now stand on the edge of total defeat. Despite this fact, Saudi Arabia remains just as resolute that Assad will be removed from power.
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Jubeir, even went so far as to say that if necessary Saudi forces will cooperate in a ground invasion to "hold ground...that one cannot...from the air."
If this comes to pass, and Saudi Arabia do invade Syria alongside Turkey, with a view to proactively removing Assad from power in Damascus, then Saudi Arabia and Turkey will be fighting directly against elements of the Syrian army who would still defend Assad. These elements of the Syrian army would be backed and bolstered by Hezbollah, who are backed by Iran, who are in turn backed by Russia.
Effectively the Syrian civil war could morph from an internal conflict between transnational actors into an international hot war between nation states. Iran and Russia would be on one side and Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the other.
The huge danger at this point is that any outright clash between Turkey and Russia would allow Turkey to invoke the NATO charter, demanding allied protection against Russian "aggression," thereby sucking America, Britain, France and all NATO members directly into a confrontation with Russia.
This, by definition, would be another world war. At the very least it would be the most dangerous point of international diplomacy since the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s.
Tensions between Russia and the West are already heightened. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week claimed that Russia and the West are in the grips of "...a new cold war." Outspoken Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has gone even further claiming that a third world war is actually already underway, "...I call this struggle a third world war by other means."
Syria stands on the brink. Nation states are greedily snatching up land for themselves and the competing interests that are driving them are increasingly drawing nations into open, outright conflict. As this is read today, the air forces of twelve separate nations are in combat over the skies of this one single country.
The world is sleep walking into a new world war. While people are watching the outcomes of presidential debates, primaries and caucuses, chaos in Europe and just trying to cope with the day to day issues of everyday life, anarchy is breaking loose in Syria, anarchy that may engulf the entire region, or beyond.
The Syrian landscape is moving and shifting rapidly. Syria may provide the spark for a lager conflagration that is yet to come, one that has the potential to drag all nations down into the abyss.
With so many end times Bible prophecies seemingly on the brink of fulfillment, the events that are occurring now on a daily basis can only lead us to conclude that the end of this age approaches rapidly.
Time is short. Keep looking up.