The brutal slaying of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara sent shockwaves around the world. Condemnations were issued by Washington and European states of the act of terrorism by a gunman who shot Karlov in the back while he was speaking at a photo gallery in the Turkish capital.
The White House condemned what it called a «heinous attack», while the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Morgherini vowed solidarity with Russia in the aftermath of the killing.
One headline read: ‘EU, US Shocked by killing of Russian ambassador in Turkey’.
Given the months of relentless and unwarranted vilification of Russia by the US and EU over the Syrian conflict, the phrase «crocodile tears» comes to mind on hearing their condemnations in regard to the murdered ambassador.
Within hours on the same day of this atrocity, Monday, a second apparent terrorist attack took place in the German capital, Berlin, when a Pakistani asylum plowed a lorry into a crowded Christmas market, killing at least 12 people and injuring nearly 50 others. Taken together, both events ramped up state security measures across Europe. Again, another cruel irony, given the culpability of European states in sowing seeds of violence.
Karlov (62) had been a career diplomat for four decades, taking up his post in Turkey in 2013. He worked deftly behind the scenes to facilitate the recent political dialogue between Russia, Iran and Turkey aimed at finding an evacuation arrangement for civilians and militants out of the battleground Syrian city of Aleppo.
Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Karlov’s assassination was a «provocation» to derail the ongoing sensitive negotiations on finding a political settlement in Syria’s conflict. Those talks went ahead the day after the killing when foreign ministers from the two countries, plus Iran, met in Moscow as planned on Tuesday.
Pointedly, the US and its European allies have been left out of the talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey. Even though the Western states are a party to the nearly six-year war in Syria, having bankrolled and armed various anti-government militant factions.
Putin, in a televised address from the Kremlin, said that investigations into the murder of ambassador Karlov needed to find «who was behind the hand of the gunman».
The shooter, who was quickly killed by Turkish special forces when they stormed the photo gallery, was named as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old off-duty member of the Ankara’s anti-riot police squad. Video footage taken by surviving members of the public attending the fatal event showed the killer declaring support for the people of Aleppo and shouting «Allahu Akbar» («God is Great»)… «This is payback for Aleppo», as Karlov lay dying on the floor.
Turkish authorities later claimed that the shooter was affiliated with the Gulenist movement, which they have already blamed for inciting the failed coup back in July. That move may be a diversion by the Turkish government to conceal what would otherwise be an embarrassing affiliation between its police force personnel and Islamist terrorists in Syria.
Some Russian lawmakers went as far as alleging that the slaying of Karlov may have been orchestrated by the US-led NATO military alliance. The Syrian army’s liberation of Aleppo last week, with the help of Russian, Iranian and Lebanese military allies, has come as a strategic defeat for NATO powers who have been waging a covert war for regime change in Syria.
Over the weekend, reports also emerged of several special forces from NATO members having been captured by Syrian troops in Aleppo. The covert presence of NATO personnel in Aleppo, presumably training and directing jihadist terrorists, would be proof positive of the Western criminal conspiracy prosecuting the war in Syria.
It remains to be seen if the killer cop who shot ambassador Karlov was acting under direction from NATO intelligence.
However, even if he acted alone, it can still be said that the Western governments and their news media have an onerous responsibility for «directing his hand».
Among the condemnations pouring forth from UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, the US, UK, France and Germany were those articulated by American Secretary of State John Kerry and Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN. Only days before the murder of Andrey Karlov, the Western states and senior UN officials were waging an intense media campaign alleging that Russia was committing war crimes during the Syrian offensive to retake Aleppo.
John Kerry denounced what he called was a «massacre» in Aleppo. Samantha Power was almost hysterical at the UN Security Council berating Russia for being «incapable of shame» and bandying reckless, unsubstantiated claims of women and children being executed in Aleppo.
A months-long crescendo of condemnation by Western governments and media reached a climax last week when Aleppo finally was finally recaptured by the Syrian army and its allies. Citing dubious sources linked to terror groups holding east Aleppo under siege, the West has demonized Russia as an oppressor of civilians, committing crimes against humanity.
American, British and French diplomats have grossly distorted historical analogies by comparing Russia and its Syrian ally to the depredations of Nazi Germany and Spain’s fascist Franco.
Recall too that when Russian consular offices in Syria have been targeted by militant rockets, the Western states declined to condemn these gross violations. Recall too how British foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged public protests outside the Russian embassy in London. Recall too when two Russian nurses were murdered in a terror rocket attack on a mobile hospital in Aleppo, Western states kept a muted silence rather than condemn. In countless subtle and not-so subtle ways, Western governments and media have set Russia up as a villain deserving attack.
The climax of condemnation reached unconscionable heights last week when Washington, its Western allies and the UN – all amplified unquestioningly by the Western news media – vilified Russia for allegedly slaughtering civilians in east Aleppo. American ambassador Samantha Power specifically cited unverified reports of children being killed in a basement by Syria and Russian forces.
Belying Western hysteria, a calm evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians in Aleppo was actually underway. There was no evidence of any massacres or crimes against humanity that the West and UN officials were screaming about. Droves of civilians have instead expressed relief and gratitude for having been liberated by Syrian and Russian forces from a reign of terror imposed on them for four years by Western-backed militants.
Virtually everything that Western official sources have been saying about Aleppo, and the Syrian war more generally, is seen to be a grotesque lie.
Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov, of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee, is correct when he said following the death of Andrey Karlov that the West bore responsibility because its hysteria and fabrications about events in Aleppo have fostered a climate of deranged hatred towards Russia.
When the Turkish assassin raised his pointed gun at Karlov, he declared that he was acting in memory of «civilians killed in Aleppo». But who gave him the image of Russia being a legitimate target for «payback»? Who filled his head with (false) images of carnage and horror against civilians in Aleppo?
In answering those questions honestly, the conclusion is that Western governments, diplomats and media directed the gun that murdered ambassador Andrey Karlov.