Another way of creating illusions.
Since WWI, armies have provided code names for their military operations. Many, however, have been euphemisms to conceal what really stands behind them.
This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a military campaign against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the enclave of Afrin, situated in northern Syria. Codenamed ‘Operation Olive Branch,’ it has failed miserably from the outset to live up to its name.
First, considering that Ankara views the YPG as a bona fide terrorist organization, it is hard to understand how it could give such a blatantly deceptive codename to what amounts to a full-blown military incursion. But then again, deception is part and parcel of any such enterprises.
More importantly, however, by launching an air and land operation against the YPG, Turkey – like the US-led forces – has grievously violated the territorial integrity of a foreign nation. It also crucial to note that the YPG receives direct US military support in its battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), which makes Erdogan’s operation not only a serious risk, but quite far from any olive branch.
It has been reported that dozens of civilians have been killed and around 5,000 displaced since its start.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Perhaps the most misnamed military operation in history came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
‘Operation Enduring Freedom,’ otherwise known as the ‘Global War on Terrorism,’ was launched by then-President George W. Bush against a number of countries, most notably Afghanistan. Far from the promise of securing freedom as implied by its glorious namesake, OEF actually did the very opposite.
Beginning with the invasion of Afghanistan – the notorious ‘graveyard of empires’ – in October 2001, the campaign continued on its freedom tour through Africa and Southeast Asia. In direct contradiction to its aim, the so-called war on terror has injured, killed or displaced millions of people – the great majority of them Muslims -since its inception.