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Turkey

Is Turkey Planning A Military Intervention In Syria?

Since soon after the conflict began in 2011, Turkey has always been fiercely opposed to Damascus. Now opposition elements of al-Qaeda across the border may be another reason to act.

Parading in Ankara
Parading in Ankara
Mete Çubukçu

ISTANBULManufacturing consent is a term first used by Walter Lippman in the 1920's in his book: “Public Opinion.” Later expanded on by noted linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, the concept refers to the ability of governments and corporations to coax people into support – or remaining indifferent – to things that they would normally have an interest in opposing.

Such manufactured consent has come to mind in recent weeks watching Turkey's approach to Syria. We see how al-Qaeda-linked organizations have become increasingly prominent as perceived significant threats across the border. This focus on al-Qaeda in both discourse and practice, poses the legitimate question of whether Ankara is paving the way for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) to intervene in Syria, with the threat of al-Qaeda as the stated motivation.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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