The Stratfor think tank, also known as the “Shadow CIA” announced its opinion regarding the Mosul operation and the future of Mosul. The analysis, signed by Reva Goujon in October 2016, asserts that for centuries Turkey and Iraq have been laying claim to Mosul and both nations are in disagreement over it. In the essay, Goujon claims that Turkish Army is after the old-time Ottoman goal, and that it is carrying out operations in Syria to attain this goal.
While the article suggests these kinds of groundless accusations towards Turkey and Turks, it never mentions the fact that Britain invaded Mosul in 1918, defying the peace treaties, and that’s how the region’s energy sources, including Iranian oil, were exploited by Britain, and how dozens of Iraqi coups, revolutions, rebellions and assassinations bore the mark of the British deep state’s handiwork. Instead, the claim of the US’s and the EU’s desire to prevent terror and bring order to the region is narrated. Whereas, merely Iraq’s history of the last 20 years is enough to reveal the fact that the forces deployed to the region with the promise of fighting against terrorism has led to the deaths of millions of people, their exile from their homelands, and the wholesale destruction of cities.
The aforementioned analysis not only provides purely one-sided information, it is also full of historical, political and geographical errors. Revealing these errors will become a big part of generating a solution to establish a permanent peace in Mosul and the entire region.
Turkey’s goal is not annexation, it is to win the hearts’ of the people
Stratfor’s essay never touches on Mosul’s history with Turks and the Ottomans. It describes Mosul as a controversial region between Iran and Turkey. In fact, Mosul was an Ottoman territory for 400 years. During this time, Iran never made any demands concerning the city. Besides it is impossible for it to make any geographical claims. There is a mountain range which is very hard to pass, even impassable, between Mosul and Iran. Mosul is located 1,000 km from Persian Gulf and 400 km from Baghdad. On the other hand, its distance to Turkish border is 110 km. The mountain range which is claimed to be an obstacle between Mosul and Turkey is located in the East. The mountain range forms the natural border that separates the Mosul region from Iran. There is not a single mountain on the route from Northern or Northeastern Mosul to the Turkish border. This ease of transportation is the reason why this region has been a center for trade and culture for a thousand years in the first place. Besides, the Tigris River originates in Turkey and travels through Mosul. Thanks to this, river transportation has eased the transportation of goods and people. The Mosul Dam, which is much discussed nowadays, was built on this river.
In every period of history, the people of Mosul considered themselves as Muslims, rather than Turkish, Kurdish or Arabic. Their commitment was to the Muslims’ spiritual leader, the Caliph. When the mission of flag bearer of Islam passed to the Turks, Mosul became a Seljuk city. During the Crusades, while the Seljuks were defending the region, they chose Mosul as their headquarters. It was an Ottoman territory from the year 1535 until the time it was invaded by Britain, in other words Mosul has been a part of Turkish history for a thousand years. In her article, Stratfor analyst Goujan asserts that Turkey desires Mosul due to its rich oil fields. However, it is only some Western powers who is interested in Mosul for its oil, in other words, for profit. For Turkey, Mosul is an heirloom from their ancestors, a place where their Muslim brothers live. Turkey has ties of affection for the people of Mosul whom it will always protect and stand by.
Mosul is a City Where Turks, Kurds and Arabs Live Together
Goujan’s claim that Mosul is an Arabic city is not based on historical facts. After the First World War, the borders drawn under the leadership of period’s Britain put barbed wires between the people who have been living together brotherly until then. Today’s Iraqi borders, which were drawn in 1921 in the Cairo Meeting by 40 British among which there were spies, politicians, soldiers and businessman are comprised of three Ottoman provinces: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul. Among these provinces, Baghdad and Basra are Arabic regions. These are central and southern regions of today’s Iraq. Mosul province on the other hand, includes the entire northern territory. The people living there mostly consist of Turks and Kurds. The target of the current operation, the city of Mosul, is the center of this province. According to three important international documents, the League of Nations report, the Ankara Agreement and the Iranian Independence Text, this region is a “minority region”. The fact that such an emphasis is given even though Mosul is not an Arabic city in terms of demography is the reflection of the plan of dividing the Middle East as dozens of small partitions consisting of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis, Shiites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Nusayris and so on. Whereas, the Middle East doesn’t need new borders, but instead it needs strong unions based on love and brotherhood.
Mosul is Within the Boundaries of the Turkish National Pact
Another faulty claim in the essay is the supposition that the people living in Mosul consider Turks as so-called invaders and don’t want their support. On the contrary, the people of Mosul have always turned to Turkey and expected their support in their time of need. The people of Mosul have a bond with Turkey from the heart. Indeed, they stayed loyal to the Ottoman Empire even during the Arabic rebellions of WWI. They fought devotedly against British invaders and rebellious Arabic troops on the Ottoman front lines in the Ottoman Army. The reason of Turkey’s desire to acquire Mosul in the Lausanne meetings was not the oil. The reason is the fact that Mosul was still an Ottoman territory in the Armistice of Mudros which ended the First World War and the fact that it was acknowledged as Turkish soil in the Turkish National Pact declared by Ottoman Chamber of Deputies. The War of Independence was fought for the territories included in the Turkish National Pact. In the Turkish War of Independence, Turkish people didn’t fight for oil, but they fought bravely for their true brothers’ peace on the very soil they deemed as their homeland.
Kurdish people in the Mosul region are also friends of Turks
There is absolutely no conflict between the Kurdish people living in the region and Turkish state as Sratfor claims. The Kurdish people living in the Northern Iraq are also friends of the Turks. They always took shelter in Turkey when they ran away from Saddam’s oppression. The investors and traders traveling from Turkey to the region always visited their Turkish or Kurdish relatives. There has been an economic cooperation between Turks and Kurds ongoing for centuries in the region. For this reason, the Kurdish people of Mosul too consider themselves close to Turkey and Turkish people.
Throughout the history, the reason why Mosul prospered and became a center of power is its connection with Anatolia
Stratfor’s effort to present Turkish contractors’ investments in Mosul as “economic invasion” is not sincere by any means. One of the main factors of Mosul’s prosperity is its commercial ties with Anatolia. Just as how the economic interactions of companies belonging to a country thousands of kilometers away is natural, conducting business in a region which shares a border with Turkey is the natural right of Turkish companies. Easy transportation allows Turkish companies to be competitive. It is obvious that the Turkish companies have the lowest cost for tenders. The beneficiary is the government of Northern-Iraq, in other words, the local population, who can get work done for low cost. Besides, the other regions of Iraq are also built by Turkish construction companies. Turkish contractors fulfilled hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of contracts in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Kuwait, Qatar and in many more countries.
Turkey is a Country Which Follows the Developments on its Borders Closely, It is not an Invader
Writer Goujon argues that Turkey wants to invade Mosul. In fact, Turkey just closely follows the developments for its own security and the peace of the local population. Those who exploit, bomb, invade, murder, destroy, divide, claim ownership on the oil fields of the region have always been the British Deep State. People of Mosul faced devastation during the period of the British mandate government. During the Treaty of Lausanne, Britain razed the Mosul region to the ground. Tens of thousands of Muslims living in Mosul lost their lives under the bombs the British Royal Air Force dropped.
Stratfor never mentions these historical facts in its analysis. The article tries to give the impression that the imperialistic interests of the young Turkish government and Britain were in conflict in Lausanne. But in fact, on one side there was the Britain which divided and invaded the Ottoman territory, while on the other there was Turkey, a country which fought a heavy war for independence for four years to defend its homeland.
The period’s Britain not only swallowed Mosul, but also the entire Middle East. The region’s Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Sunni, Shiite, Nusayri, Yazidi, Christian, Jewish and Muslim populations were victimized by Britain, their land was pillaged and their assets were seized.
There has been peace between Turkey and Iran for 400 years
An Iran-Turkey conflict is an imaginary claim. The Iran-Ottoman border, and later the Iran-Turkey border, have not changed for the last 400 years. The people of Iran and Turkey have never waged war against each other for the last four centuries. In fact, 20% of Iran’s population consists of Azerbaijani Turks. Stratfor’s claim of an Iranian-Turkish conflict is a far cry from historical facts. Today, Moscow, Tehran, Ankara, Riyadh and even Damascus are on the verge of an alliance. These peoples are not each other’s enemies and Iran has never laid any claims on Mosul.
Neither the Ottoman Empire nor Turkey has witnessed denominational strife
In no period has Turkey ever taken a side in denominational conflicts. The Turkish State is a friend to both Iran and Saudi Arabia. Our President, Mr. Erdoğan has stated innumerable times, “Our religion is not Shiite or Sunni Islam, it is Islam.”
The People of Turkey consider Syrian people as brothers
In the essay, Stratfor attempts to define the Turkish State’s Syria and Mosul policies as an “invasion”. The fact is 600,000 have lost their lives in Syria until today. Not one among them was killed by a Turkish bullet. These people have millions of relatives in Turkey. Turkey is now a home to three million Syrians. At a time when the majority of the European countries are erecting walls against refugees, the people of Turkey spent billions of dollars for their Syrian guests and, they continue to do so.
Goujon criticizes Turkey for acting hastily in Syria without waiting for the international community. Today, the international society fails to achieve a consensus over peace. Every day, hundreds of innocent Arabs, Turks and Kurds are losing their lives. And the coalition forces have been continuing to bombard Syria for the last five years. Turkey is intervening in Syria by necessity in order to bring peace. Moreover, Turkey shares a 600-kilometer-long border with Syria. Beyond these borders lie terrorist groups that pose a genuine threat for Turkey. Turkey’s Syria operation only aims to secure its borders and Turkey is advocating for preserving the territorial integrity of Syria.
Having failed to bring peace to Syria, the international community launched an operation in Mosul as well, which jeopardizes an already fragile peace in Iraq. It is this mentality that pursues an invasion policy in the region. Turkey is merely striving towards preventing further, bigger massacres. Mosul is only 100 km away from Turkey. In the last 30 years, the Turkish Army had hundreds of opportunities to enter Mosul, and in none of those times mounted an imperialist campaign. Turkey has no such intention at the moment, either.
It was foreign interventions that introduced denominational conflicts in the Middle East.
The article’s claim, “If the countries of the region become more powerful in Mosul, a bigger war is inevitable. On the other hand, as the foreigners act with the mere intention of bringing peace to the region, there will not be any denominational wars,” is a delusion. During the Iraq invasion by coalition forces, 1.5 million people lost their lives. Iraq was dragged into denominational conflicts under the military rule of coalition forces. These powers brought the countries they entered into greater spirals of violence, leaving in their wake ruined lands ravaged by civil wars.
Both Stratfor and Goujon are doubtlessly well-aware of the facts we mentioned above. However, the idea that “Mosul will become a matter of conflict between Turkey and the Shiite Iraqi government, thus it will lead to a denominational war” is imbued in the public mind by certain circles. It is likely that this argument will be used to support and justify the need for the continuous presence of the coalition forces in Mosul. Moreover, it will likely be suggested that Mosul becomes an autonomous region under international supervision. The existence of such an autonomous and weak entity at the heart of the Middle East will clearly lead to more conflicts and wars. And the way to thwart this plan is through the alliance among the peoples of the region. Russia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even Israel should meet on minimum common ground and tenaciously advocate peace against those who seek war. The peoples of the region are the ones who will establish peace and safety in the region, not those who come from tens of thousands of kilometers away.
Adnan Oktar’s piece in News Rescue (USA):