Generational Dynamics: Modern Generational Theory Generational
 Modern Generational Theory


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 18-Oct-2019
18-Oct-19 World View -- Generational analysis of Turkey-Syria war and ceasefire agreement

Web Log - October, 2019

18-Oct-19 World View -- Generational analysis of Turkey-Syria war and ceasefire agreement

Will there be a war between Turkey and Russia?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Turkey and the United States agree to a ceasefire in Syria

Thursday's negotiations in Ankara.  The Turks are on the left, and the Americans are on the right, led respectively by Tayyip Recep Erdogan and Mike Pence. (AP)
Thursday's negotiations in Ankara. The Turks are on the left, and the Americans are on the right, led respectively by Tayyip Recep Erdogan and Mike Pence. (AP)

In a surprise announcement by Turkey and the United States on Thursday, Turkey agreed to a temporary ceasefire in its invasion of Syria, and to end its invasion completely if the ceasefire holds for five days.

According to reports, Turkey's president Tayyip Recep Erdogan was visibly angered by being forced to accept this ceasefire, in the face of harsh economic sanctions and threats of even more sanctions by the Trump administration.

However, the agreement specifies that Turkey will get some of what it wants, as well. The US will cooperate with Turkey to set up the buffer zone that Turkey has been demanding for five years, a strip of land in northern Syria, 32 km deep and 150 or 300 km long.

The US also agrees to destroy the heavy weapons that it provided to the Kurds to fight ISIS, and to transport the military Kurdish YPG out of the buffer zone.

Turkey is hosting 3.6 million refugees who fled across the border into Turkey to escape the violence. Erdogan has demanded to relocate 2 million of those refugees back into Syria in the buffer zone, but it's unclear that they will ever be able to accomplish this.

The rest of this article analyzes Turkey's invasion of Syria from the point of view of a Generational Dynamics analysis, and conclude with some forecasts of scenarios about what will happen next.

Turkey's long preparations for invasion of Syria

For almost two years, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been massing troops and forces on the border with Syria, in preparation for an invasion to establish a "safe zone" or "buffer zone," a strip of land 32 km (22 miles) wide in northern Syria, along the border with Turkey.

The Kurds in northeast Syria have made it clear that they want to create a Kurdish state named "Rojava" along the border. Erdogan has made it clear for years, that Turkey will not tolerate having 60,000 armed Kurds permanently located on the border with Turkey, after Turkey has been fighting an internal war with Kurd separatists and terrorists for three decades.

Turkey claims that hundreds of Turkish citizens living near the border have been killed in frequent terror attacks by the Turkistan Workers' Party (PKK) and al-Qaeda terrorists crossing the border from Syria. Erdogan has been furious for years that America and Europe haven't supported his efforts to end these terror attacks.

A major objective of Erdogan is to push the 60,000 armed Kurds and al-Qaeda terrorists back below the buffer zone.

Erdogan has also been furious for years that Europe won't provide support for any of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees that Turkey has been coasting. These 3.6 million refugees include 300,000 Kurds. The Europeans for five years have been telling Erdogan to wait, because all these 3.6 million refugees will soon return to Syria. Ironically, Erdogan's plan for the buffer zone is to provide a region for the refugees to return to.

So Erdogan has plenty of reasons to feel a growing fury, which is why he's been massing troops on the Syria border, in preparation for an invasion to create a buffer zone. Erdogan has held back because there has been an American "tripwire" force of about 26 soldiers in observation posts in Syria along Turkey's border.

On Sunday, October 6, Donald Trump spoke on the telephone with Erdogan. Apparently Erdogan told Trump that the invasion was occurring whether the "tripwire" was in place or not. Trump announced that the 26 soldiers in the tripwire would be withdrawn.

Turkey's uncontrolled invasion into Syria

After Trump's announcement the invasion began. There were 15,000 soldiers in the Turkish troops, but apparently most of them are Syrian Arabs in the Syrian National Army (SNA). In the past there have been two previous Turkish incursions into Syria, and in both cases it was SNA fighters that did most of the fighting, with Turkey providing support.

This week, there were immediately reports of the Turkish forces massacring Kurds on the ground. There was a video of an SNA Arab torturing and killing a Kurd, and bragging about it.

There were reports that Turkish/SNA forces are going farther south than was needed for the buffer zone. There were reports that Turkish airstrikes were forcing thousands of Kurdish families to flee their homes to the south. However, these reports come from media are overwhelmingly hostile to Turkey, and so it's possible that these reports are huge exaggerations. At any rate, it's impossible to verify them at the present time.

In the last 15 years, I've read about and written about hundreds of incursions, military actions, invasions, and so forth, all around the world. In some cases, the incursion is carefully controlled and organized. These are typical of non-crisis wars.

Other incursions are highly emotional, organic, uncontrolled and disorganized, and that seems to be the case with Turkey's invasion of Syria. These are typical of actions taken at the beginning of a generational crisis war.

Turkey's invasion of Syria shows all the signs of being organic and uncontrolled, not fully under the control of Turkey's armed forces command. In particular, the Arabs in the SNA appear to be responsible for the massacres, and are taking actions that are not controlled by the Turkish command.

So does this mean that Turkey and the Kurds are headed for a full-scaled generational crisis war? Absolutely not.

We have a recent example that illustrates what's most likely to happen.

The best recent analogy would be Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon to attack Hezbollah. Israel panicked when two Israeli soldiers were abducted near Lebanon's border, and conducted a highly emotional, organic and uncontrolled invasion of Lebanon. The war was a disaster for all involved. After a few months, the war had run its course, with nothing accomplished except to destroy a lot of Lebanon's infrastructure in airstrikes, and displace a lot of Lebanese from their homes.

The invasion of Lebanon fizzled because Lebanon was in a generatinal Awakening era. Syria is also in a generational Awakening era, so Turkey's new invasion is almost certain to fizzle unless, as we'll describe later, Russia's armed forces confront Turkey.

So, as I've been writing for the last few days in the Generational Dynamics forum, it's more likely than not that Turkey's Syria incursion will end in a few weeks. Erdogan made a statement a few days ago that the incursion will stop when it has created a buffer zone 400 km wide and 35 km deep, and that statement is credible, though it may have been superceded by Thursday's ceasefire announcement.

Dozens of warring parties and ethnic groups in Syria

Turkey's invasion of Syria appears to be a lot more uncontrolled than analysts had expected, suggesting that there's more going on than a simple action to create a buffer zone, to protect Turkey from PKK and al-Qaeda "terrorists." In fact, Turkey's last generational crisis war was the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish independence following World War I, and so Turkey is very deep into a generational crisis war. And so it's not surprising that parts of the invasion have become disorganized and uncontrolled, at least for a while.

Bashar al-Assad is a Shia/Alawite, and Syria's last generational crisis war was a religious/ethnic civil war between the Shia Alawites versus the Sunnis, including the ethnic Turkmens, climaxing in February, 1982. So there's a great deal of animus between the Alawites and the Turks. However, survivors of that Syrian civil war are still alive, and they have no desire for another bloody uncontrolled crisis war, so they will make sure that it stays controlled, despite al-Assad's genocidal tactics. So Syria is in a generational Awakening era, like Lebanon during Israel's 2006 invasion, so it's likely that Turkey's invasion of Syria will fizzle over a furious period of two or three months.

A new Syrian civil war began in 2011, but it's an Awakening era war, so it's well-controlled. It should have fizzled within a few months in 2011. But it was propelled by the sociopathic monster Bashar al-Assad, who personally pursued the war by targeting political enemies, innocent women and children in markets, schools and hospitals, using barrel bombs, chlorine gas and Sarin gas.

Even so, it's been clear from the beginning that the Syrian people themselves did not want to fight. By 2015, al-Assad himself announced publicly that he was going to lose the war, and he begged for help, which he received from Russia, in return for establishing two Russian military bases, Tartus naval base and Hmeimim airbase).

So today, here's a (partial) list of all the groups fighting in Syria:

Most of these are small groups formed on an ad-hoc basis for a specific purpose.

The Kurds themselves are not a monolithic group, as described by a member of the Generational Dynamics forum, an American soldier who fought in Iraq and Syria:

"John, When people talk about the Kurds, they are mistaken. The “Kurds” are not a monolithic group. That is a general title that has many “diverse” groups and that term is used by the lazy media. I dealt with the “Kurds.” There are radical communists “Kurds” that will snuff out the Islamic/Wahhabi “Kurds” in a heartbeat. Many are armed families that are organized into “battalions” that would be a glorified light infantry company/platoon in a western army. A tiny few hate the Turks and love killing them. Many live in Turkey and have no problems with the Turks. Like the Afghans, they will align with the big “man” for self-preservation of the tribe/ethnic group. The Turks will make nice with the “Kurds” for now; it is the least bloody way forward, since the “Kurds” make a sizeable minority in Turkey proper."

So this makes the point that there are dozens of Arab, Kurdish, Alawite and Turkish groups fighting in Syria. Each group has its own agenda, its own hatreds, its own objectives, its own allegiances, and its own set of tricks to use on Americans to get their support.

This chaos should be kept in mind by those politicians who claim that the US should send troops into Syria to defend our "allies," the Kurds. Which of those dozens of groups would the American troops be aligned with?

The rise of Russia's influence in Syria

If you look at all the list of groups fighting in Syria, you'll see that almost all of them are small ethnic or ad-hoc groups with various agendas. But not all.

In that list, there are six national armies actively fighting: Syria, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon-Hezbollah, United States.

Of these six, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon-Hezbollah have armies in generational Awakening eras, with little will to fight an expanding war.

Two of them, Turkey and Russia, are in generational Crisis eras. These two countries are historic enemies, and have fought many generational crisis wars with each other. One of those was the Crimean War of the 1850s, which was disastrous for both sides, but feelings from the Crimean war have been revived in recent years because of Russia's illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, and expulsion of the Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group from Crimea. And there's also tension over the Bosphorus, which is controlled by Turkey, but is heavily used by Russia (and other nations) as the passage between the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. And of course, tensions were extremely high after Turkey "accidentally" shot down a Russian warplane in November, 2015.

Turkey and Russia know how strong their mutual xenophobia has become, and they're both aware that a small conflict could lead to a major war, which neither side wants. So Turkey and Russia have been making Herculean efforts, through the "Astana process," to stay out of each other's way, to prevent an action that could lead to a major war. This is typical of countries in a generational Crisis era, who know that a miscalculation could lead to a major generational crisis war, but instead force themselves to compromise rather than go to war. Eventually, however, compromise becomes impossible, and small incidents escalate into full-scale war.

Since 2011, Russia has been fully engaged in supporting al-Assad's genocide and ethnic cleansing of his Arab Sunni political enemies, including Turkic groups such as Turkmens. But Turkey has let Russia and al-Assad have their way, even including chlorine and Sarin gas, and has not interfered, having agreed to the farcical "de-escalation zones" in the "Astana process," because they realize that not letting the Russians get their way would mean full-scale war.

Al-Assad and Russia have used the de-escalation zone agreement to conduct full-scale genocidal war on all the people in every de-escalation zone except one. In Aleppo, Ghouta and Daraa, where Bashar al-Assad has used barrel bombs on hospitals, schools, marketplaces and residential neighborhoods, along with chlorine gas and Sarin gas, forcing people to flee to Idlib.

The remaining de-escalation zone is Idlib, in northwest Syria, on Turkey's border. Al-Assad would like to go in an exterminate all three million Arab Sunnis living in Idlib, including women and children, all of whom are "terrorists" according to al-Assad, and Russia would like to help him, but everyone knows that would be opposed militarily by Turkey, and could lead to a Russia-Turkey war. So there's a continuing tense standoff in Idlib.

Returning now to northeast Syria, we have the Kurds, who want to form their own secessionist state of Rojava on the border with Turkey. Thanks to their US-backed fight against ISIS, the Kurds now have control of a large part of Syria, including the planned state of Rojava, and gaining control of that land was a major part of their motivation to fight ISIS.

Now the Kurds have Rojava almost in their grasp, but the thought of Rojava with tens of thousands of armed Kurds on Turkey's border makes the Turks' blood run cold, as terrorist attacks in Turkey would certainly be launched from Rojava. So Turkey has invaded Syria in order to set up a buffer zone, and destroy the Rojava dream once and for all.

Will there be a war between Turkey and Russia?

The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) has been threatening for a year to make an agreement Bashar al-Assad for the protection of the Kurds from Turkey. The SDF has formalized the deal in the last few days, and the Syrian Army has been moving north to protect the Kurds.

In response, Russian special forces have been moving into northeast Syria, taking over some of the responsibilities that the US military previously had, to keep SDF and Turkish forces separated as much as possible.

Many of the hysterical news reports on the situation have been blaming Trump for ceding American influence to Russia in the Mideast.

So let me be clear about this, as I repeat what I've said in one way or another for 15 years.

Russia is not America's enemy. Russia is the enemy of Georgia and Ukraine, but not America, and not Western Europe. Our enemy is China, not Russia. The Russian people love us, the Chinese people not so much (except for the Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong).

As I've written many times, in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be our enemies, and our allies will be India, Russia and Iran.

So despite the hysteria in the mainstream media, I'm not the least bit concerned that Russia is gaining influence in the Mideast. Russia and Iran will be our allies in WW III, and China will be our enemy.

The more immediate question is whether there will soon be a war between Turkey and Russia, the two generational Crisis era countries with a long, bitter history of bloody wars. As I said earlier, Turkey and Russia have been taking steps, usually through the "Astana process," to stay out of each other's way, to prevent an action that could lead to a major war. Russia's actions to keep Syria's army separated from Turkey's forces and the SDF are another action of that type.

But how effective will Russia's efforts be? Recall the earlier analogy -- Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006. That war fizzled, as I said, but not overnight. The war went on for over two months. During that time, the Israelis were highly emotional and uncontrolled, and they made one disastrous mistake after another, while the Hezbollah fighters were much cooler, setting off rockets into Israeli territory, and then going home to their wives.

The Turks have been massing on the Syria border for months, and they made an emotional, uncontrolled invasion into Syria. I would be very, very surprised if that uncontrolled invasion suddenly ended, thanks to an agreement between Turkey and the United States. I would expect the ceasefire to fall apart within a few days, and for fighting to resume. However, a ceasefire could succeed within a couple of months.

So the real question is: What are the Russians going to do? Will they sit back and let the incursions by Turkish and Arab SNA forces continue? If so, then the war will fizzle within a couple of months.

Or will the Russians respond with military force directed at Turkey? That's the major risk, because that's how major wars start.

What happens next in Syria does not depend on what the US does. It depends on what Russia does. If Russia remains controlled, then the war will play itself out within 2-3 months. If Russia becomes more aggressive or uncontrolled, then a larger war will result.


Related Article:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Oct-2019) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2019
Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2019
Web Log - November, 2019
Web Log - October, 2019
Web Log - September, 2019
Web Log - August, 2019
Web Log - July, 2019
Web Log - June, 2019
Web Log - May, 2019
Web Log - April, 2019
Web Log - March, 2019
Web Log - February, 2019
Web Log - January, 2019
Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2019 by John J. Xenakis.