The bullets of an assassin shook the world on Monday. Shot from behind by a former Turkish police officer, at an art gallery in Ankara, right across the street from the US embassy, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, a man with a long and distinguished career in the Soviet and Russian Foreign Service, died on the spot.
Those who are behind this assassination, for no one can believe that this man acted alone, are exposed by the slogan he shouted after the murder, “Don’t forget Aleppo.” They are exposed by the words and photos which were quickly splashed across the front pages of the western media and set in an editorial context that implicitly condoned the act. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the BBC made sure those words were in their headlines and the lead paragraphs of their stories, as did the New York Times and the rest. The New York Times posted a photo of the assassin standing with his arm raised in the air, as if an actor in a Hollywood action film, beginning his transformation from terrorist assassin into a martyr “for Aleppo and the people of Syria.” A fanatic acted out his part in life and they will make sure he continues to act it out in death. A member of the Ukraine parliament has already called the assassin a “martyr.”
The western governments issued the required condemnations of the assassination but who can believe their sincerity? For years now the NATO governments have been attacking Russia through illegal economic blockades they call “sanctions,” have physically attacked Russia through Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine, have advanced NATO’s military forces right up to the Russian border, put out endless false stories about Russia’s actions and policies, generated a sewer of anti-Russian propaganda in the media and in NATO government statements, killed Russian officers and pilots trying to counter their proxy terrorists forces in Syria, attacked the Russian consulate in Damascus several times, fabricated stories of crimes, and during the American presidential election and its aftermath have descended into the depths of insanity by accusing Russia of trying to influence that process.
So, their regrets are worth nothing. It is obvious that this assassination was meant to delay a Turkish-Russian rapprochement, but it was also to punish Russia for its assistance to the government of Syria in liberating Aleppo. In light of President Obama’s ridiculous statement that he knew President Putin was behind alleged attempts to fix the US election while refusing to offer any evidence of this absurd claim, we must remember his dangerous promise to strike back at Russia in retaliation and must consider whether this was part of that retaliation, for the assassination took place within a few days of Obama making his “a time and place of our choosing” statement.
President Putin, along with President Erdogan referred to the murder “as a provocation aimed at derailing Russia-Turkey ties and the peace process in Syria.” Putin stressed, “We must know who steered the killer’s course.”
Since the only party conceivably interested in or could benefit from such a provocation is NATO and its allies, Russia is really saying that they are behind this, though caution is their watchword and the investigation has only begun. The Syrian Peoples’ Assembly in Damascus stated Tuesday that, “This cowardly act of terror is a stain on the forehead of the countries supporting terrorism and demands legal accountability at the international level.”
The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, stated that, ““Both Turkey and Russia realize that the attack was aimed at damaging bilateral relations and compromising the achievements that have been made recently. Turkey and Russia should not let the organizers’ of this crime reach their goals. We should find out who is behind this heinous crime. We can succeed if we work together…the masterminds of the Russian ambassador’s murder wanted to harm the Russian-Turkish relations, but Moscow and Ankara should not allow terrorists to achieve this goal.”
The Russian foreign minister, Serge Lavrov, stated similarly, “The main aim of the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey is the desire to undermine the process of normalization of Russian-Turkish relations and to prevent the effective fight of the two countries against terrorism in Syria. We are confident that the main aim of those who plotted this barbaric thing was to undermine the process of normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey in order to prevent effective fight against terrorism in Syria.”
But we can be sure that it will not stop developing relations between Turkey and Russia. If the Turks convince the Russians they had nothing to do with it, that it was connected to the FETO organisation whose leader Fetullah Gulen is in the United States, living under American protection, though he has denied it, or to the terrorist organisations they have been supporting in Syria, and the western intelligence and military services supporting them, then it is likely to push Russia, Turkey and Iran, closer together against a common enemy. And, indeed, this appears to be the case as those three nations went ahead with talks in Moscow on Tuesday to forge a way ahead to a peaceful resolution of the war in Syria.
But the willingness to assassinate an ambassador means that we can expect the US and its allies to develop new actions in Syria against the Syrian government and Russia and their allies, just as they have reverted back to new sanctions against Iran in violation of their agreement with Iran. The Americans are still invading Syria every day, sending in forces, setting up camps flying American flags, acting as an occupation force along with British, French and other forces and so far the Syrians have not dared to touch them. But so long as those bases are allowed to remain, committing their act of aggression against Syria, they will be the source of more violence and chaos.
Would NATO be willing to assassinate an ambassador? We need only remind ourselves of their attempt to assassinate the Chinese ambassador Pan Zhan Lin in Belgrade in the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Five guided missiles were fired at the Chinese embassy from an American aircraft. The one aimed at the ambassador’s room luckily did not explode but 4 other diplomatic staff were killed and 20 injured. Various reasons have been suggested for US bombing of the Chinese embassy but the Chinese ambassador stated later that it was meant to break the will of the Yugoslav government by making it clear to its allies that continuing to support the Yugoslav government was dangerous.
Similarly this assassination was also meant to break the will of Syria by making it clear to its Russian ally that continuing to support Syria in its war against the US proxy force attacking the country is dangerous on every level. It is a threat against President Erdogan as well, since it is clear that his purge of those who tried to overthrow him in July has not succeeded in eliminating those who want to bring him down and stop reconciliation with Russia. It also is an attempt to block President–elect Trump from advancing better relations with Russia, and at the same time can be used, along with the seemingly random terror attack on civilians in Berlin by unknown agents, to support the NATO countries push for more war in Syria, allegedly to root out “terrorists.” These events do not occur in isolation. One has to wonder further whether the assassination was a set up for something else, false flag operations in the Baltic or elsewhere conducted by NATO forces but to be blamed on a Russia intent on revenge for the murder of its ambassador. Nothing is beyond the pale for NATO and their secret services.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”