Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Russian Ambassador Death - Who Is Responsible? A Deeper Look

Russian Ambassador Killed Three Days After Obama Threat – Who Is Responsible?

Three days after Barack Obama issued a veiled threat toward the Russians suggesting some type of “retaliation” for the unproven claims that the Russians somehow influenced or “hacked” American elections, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot dead in Ankara, Turkey as he was giving a talk at an art gallery there.
The gunman was identified as a former Turkish police officer named Mevlut Mert Altintas. CNN reported early on that he was off-duty at the time but Turkish officials have left this detail open-ended so it is unclear whether or not he was truly on duty. According to a CNN report,

The longtime diplomat had begun to speak when Altintas, wearing a dark suit tie, fired shots in rapid succession, according to multiple witness accounts.
The ambassador fell to the floor. The gunman circled his body, visibly agitated as he smashed photos hanging on the wall, said Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, who captured the incident.
“Allahu akbar (God is greatest). Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!” Altintas is heard shouting in video of the incident.
“Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it,” he said.

A Russian investigative team has been dispatched to Turkey to analyze the details of the incident. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated, “The important thing is to understand who is behind this crime,” he said. “We are convinced that the main goal of those who planned this barbaric act [is] to undermine the process of normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey, largely in order to prevent an effective fight against terrorism in Syria. This goal is futile. It will not work.”

Lavrov is perhaps right to point out that the goal of the attack was to harm Russian/Turkish relations. However, the attack may very well have been a message in a most direct fashion coming from the United States. After all, U.S. policymakers, Senators, and even the President himself have repeatedly threatened Russia with “retaliation” over the unproven claims of “hacking.”

Three days after the threats and the Russian Ambassador is assassinated. While this isn’t hard proof of American involvement, the motive clearly exists and the timing is certainly questionable.

Consider the words of Obama himself when, in an interview with NPR, he said:

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing.
“Some of it may be explicit and publicised; some of it may not be.”

The cold-blooded assassination of a Russian ambassador in the heart of Turkey, however, is a very effective “retaliation,” not only for Russia’s role in balancing against the Western media’s influence, effectively undermining the West’s monopoly over global public perception, but also for confounding US geopolitical objectives across the Middle East – particularly in Syria, and particularly in the aftermath of Aleppo’s liberation.

The assassination – a crime and even an act of war by any account – was apparently carried out by a militant drawn from the ranks of terrorist organizations armed, trained, and funded by the United States and its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and even Turkey. 

And despite this fact, should the US be involved in the assassination, it would be difficult to prove. And even if it was proven, it would be difficult to convince the global public that the US would make the jump from very publicly considering benign “cyberattacks” for the past week to assassinating a foreign diplomat.

Beyond simply “sending a message” as US policymakers sought to do – it also undermines alleged progress made between Ankara and Moscow regarding the former’s role in the ongoing proxy war with Syria. The assassination strains any such progress, even threatening to rollback gains painfully made since Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane over Syria in November of 2015.

While evidence is still forthcoming regarding the assassination, the US – through its own insistence on publicly and repeatedly threatening Moscow with retaliation – has made itself one of the primary suspects behind the brutal killing. Considering the US’ role in creating, arming, funding, and directing terrorists across the region for years – the US is responsible indirectly at the very least.

Indeed, if the killer truly has acted on his own, purely out of fanaticism and devotion to jihad, then the United States still bears part of the blame since the U.S. has been one of the greatest forces for encouraging the proliferation of radical jihadism across the world and stoking up hatred against Russia. That the twain should meet eventually is certainly within the realm of possibility. Also within the realm of possibility, however, is that the U.S. leadership is so utterly insane that it might very well risk World War III in order to “send a message” to the Russians to back off and allow it to finish off Syria, a plan it has failed to bring together for nearly five years.

Today’s assassination of Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, is already drawing some ominous comparisons.  
Karlov was gunned down on Monday evening in Turkey’s capital of Ankara as he delivered a speech at an art exhibit. In the video of the attack, the shooter, off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altintaş, 22, could be heard shouting in Arabic, “God is great! Those who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for jihad. God is great!” in addition to (in Turkish) “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”

Soon after, newspapers and individuals on social media began comparing Karlov’s death to the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which is widely regarded as being the catalyst for World War I.

“Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated on June 28, 1914 in Sarjevo. He was killed by Gavrilo Princip, a [member of a] group of six assassins who were working on his assassination.
Ferdinand’s assassination was the trigger to the war, which resulted in Austria-Hungary delivering an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. International alliances on both sides were invoked and within mere weeks, the major world powers were at war.”
The New York Times notes that tensions between Russia and NATO member Turkey are already elevated, and Karlov’s assassination threatens to elevate them even further:

“The assassination instantly vaulted relations between Turkey and Russia to a new level of crisis over the protracted Syria conflict on Turkey’s southern doorstep. It came after days of protests by Turks angry over Russia’s support for Syria’s government in the conflict and the Russian role in the killings and destruction in Aleppo, the northern Syrian city.”

“One analyst with links to the Kremlin told a Russian TV station immediately after the shooting: ‘WW1 started with a shot. The shot of Russian ambassador is declaration of war.’”

Sad to say, but, at some point, we Americans grew numb to how feckless and cowardly our leaders are. Like some national witch, Hillary Clinton cast a spell on us all that fateful day she so callously complained, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Like a poisoned apple to the mind, in fact, to the very soul of our nation, we became dangerously apathetic.
Obama had already ruined the ideas of “hope” and “change,” so, in a sense, Hillary Clinton was just putting the deadly icing on the cake of how low our expectations of our leaders have become. Obviously, everyone has clay feet, so none of us really expects a political messiah in D.C. or in the White House. But there’s something wrong when almost the entire nation becomes so cynical that they expect their leaders to let them down–to leave them in the lurch.
Speaking of outsiders, it sometimes takes a true and literal outsider–a foreigner–to give us the perspective we need–to give us a wake-up call that we’re deaf to in our own language, so to speak.

That outsider is Vladimir Putin, and that wake-up call is what is already being labeled The Russian Benghazi.
A Russian diplomat has been found dead from gunshot wounds at his home.
Petr Polshikov, 56, was discovered with a bullet injury to his head at his flat in Moscow’s Balaklavsky Prospekt, according to local media.
The alleged shooting came just hours after the news broke of the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov.

Because it was so public, and occurred on the same day as two other episodes of Muslim violence, Karlov’s death has overshadowed Polshikov’s death. There is, however, troubling evidence that they are related.

First of all, there is the matter of how closely the deaths occurred in time: mere hours apart.
Second, in Polshikov’s shooting, reported by Ren TV early today, “two empty bullet shells were found in the high-ranking diplomat’s flat.” Further, a gun was also reportedly discovered under the sink in the bathroom. In addition, the diplomat’s wife was reportedly in the flat at the time of the shooting, but is safe.
A professional assassin pulling off a stealthy hit would have certainly “collected his brass,” leaving as few clues as possible. He would also not have left a gun or the victim’s own wife behind as a key witness! By leaving such obvious clues and loose end at the crime scene, this killer (with immaculate timing) very likely INTENDED for the death to get more publicity.
This hit was not meant to go unnoticed as a personal vendetta; it was meant to send a signal as a public warning on day marked by three other acts of Muslim violence.

Instead of hiding behind an offensive YouTube video to explain the violence, Putin is directly addressing the aggression. Instead of trying to talk things out to save international face, Putin is directly warning the attackers that there will be vengeance. Instead of shrugging it off, Putin is telling the world that, at this point, this violence makes a very big difference.

That is how a true leader steps up for his nation. And that is why Putin and Trump seem to mesh on a deep level: they will both fight for their own people.


Caver said...

All indications are that Putin believes this was state sponsored.

It might be a good time for NATO related Ambassadors to find a reason to stay inside the embassy for a few weeks. If Putin really believes this, it won't go unanswered.

Scott said...

Yea. This thing could get crazy and take on a life of its on. The hope is - he will be patient till Trump gets in. I believe its more about trying to poisen the waters between the US and Russia for the future. Unreal