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Turkey ambushes Russian SU-24 bomber over Syria

Why Erdogan decided to shoot fish in a barrel using his F14 fighter:  unarmed slow bomber returning from bombing ISIS assignment?
He decided not to apologize. Does he felt that Obama is behind his actions?  On was it a joint operation?

News Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Recommended Links Syria civil war Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Khan Sheikhoun gas attack
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Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Neo-fascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
The Deep State Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatism
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Introduction

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
-- George Orwell

The notion of political skeptics is difficult to define. I think one suitable and pretty wide definition is "people who whom MSM reporting cause strong allergic reaction, and who legitimately suspect MSM to be overly preoccupied with brainwashing and propaganda efforts". Who instinctively do not trust the declared by political establishment intentions and want to "read between lines" and see the second opinion.

This page was created as a personal attempt to understand the event from the "slightly skeptical" position.  So it collects and try to systematize the information that I found relevant to such an understanding.  So far the following observations that can be made about this incident:

Renaissance of nationalism and religious extremism

It is true that Turkey shifted into "full speed" Islamization and a lot of woman now were Hijab in Istanbul. Actually such ladies can be found sitting next to the monument to Ataturk.

This U.S. Army film describes Turkey's history, economy, urban areas, industry, and its role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsUEEPN9gWc 

Erdogan and his government more and more look like members of Grey Wolf organization, a copycat of Ukrainian Svoboda with the same level of ultra-nationalism and neofascism in their brains. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Wolves_(organization)

Looks like in several countries we are returning to 1930th. Talleyrand complain about the restoration of the monarchy “These people have learned nothing and for­gotten nothing” is perfectly applicable to nationalism Renaissance we experience today. Is this an allergic reaction on neoliberalism or may be nationalism is once in a century epidemics that hits mankind to regulate its numbers is unclear.

As Italian  IlGiornale wrote (Petrolio e mani sulla Siria. Il gioco sporco della Turchia, Riccardo Pelliccetti  26/11/2015 )

...that Turkey is playing dirty in Syria is well known. However, there was good company — so many participants and so many different interests collided on the bloody scene of the Middle East. But what side of the country controlled by the Islamic party of Erdogan?

In simple words, Ankara has one main goal — to establish itself as a regional power and the country's leadership of Sunni Islam. During his 20 years of absolute power, Erdogan managed to Islamize the country and now adopted an expansionist policy.

It's no secret that he intends to turn Northern Syria — the territory between Aleppo and Latakia — to the 82nd province of Turkey by play the Turkmens living in the region card. This option was discussed in details in the articles in the Turkish Newspapers Hurriyet and Takvim.

And this is nothing new for the region: Syria considers Lebanon its own province and in the past acted according to her convictions. But here the stakes are much higher, and the stronger grows the conflict, the more opportunities for looting Syria arise.

... ... ...

For four years Turkey is trying to overthrow Assad, for that she funded the terrorists and unleashed a guerrilla war against the regime of Damascus. She opened its airports for foreign militants and allowed them freely to travel to, she bombed the Kurds — enemies of ISIS instead of bombing the Islamic state. And that's not all.

She bought from Caliphate smuggled oil for 15-20 dollars a barrel, and then resold it at double the price. However the Shiite axis and especially Russian intervention  destroyed the Imperial dreams of Erdogan, Assad is still in power. The Turkish President did not hide his motives for the destruction of Russian aircraft: we did so to protect the security and "the rights of our brothers" in Syria. Brothers? Of course there are the Turkmen people, but "brothers" also include terrorist organizations, supported by Ankara, many of which swore allegiance to Islamic State.

 

Cue Bono

Let's ask classic "cue bono" question.

Looks like by staging this ambush Erdogan government got into a trap, from which there is no good exit. With the loss of face or without. Russians no longer trust him (remember that Putin called about backstabbing, and that's mean that there is no way back to previous level of relation for Erdogan ever ) and that will show one way or the other (they already removed free visa regime and stopped selling packaged for Turkish resorts)  and will badly affect Turkish people. Especially as Turkey failed to pay compensation for the plane and killed airmen. For Turkey that also means losing Russian market and the fact that solving Kurd's problem now became more difficult (and, in worst case, partitioning of the country -- solution which the USA might favor). So I wonder what faction of Turkish government was suicidal enough to stage this ambush?  If Russia can prove that Turkey bought ISIS oil (which they supposedly intend to do)  Erdogan can face criminal charges after leaving his position.

For Russia it's even worse. While idea of saving Alawite minority from being exterminated by Islamic fanatics was a sound idea, no good deed remain unpunished and Russia got into  unnecessary and damaging confrontation with Turkey which for the last five years acted as one of the main sponsors, supporter of radical Islam and staging point of civil war in Syria by providing manpower (major transit point for all jihadists going to Syria including its own),  financial aid to ISIS (via oil transit) as well as military aid  (with shooting of the plane being just one incident). And Turkey has huge military superiority in ground forces on this front, which in worst case might come into play.

That also  means that the USA idea of isolating Russia got unexpected continuation with an interesting twist: Russia herself now need to inflict the damage on its economic  by breaking economic ties with Turkey. Which, as a result, can became important ally of Ukraine, the country already hostile after US-sponsored nationalistic coup d'état of February 22, 2014. More over with Ukraine being unreliable gas transit country cancelling South stream via Turkey will have long time negative consequences on Russian  ability to sell gas to southern Europe.

The main beneficially of this ambush is probably President Bashar Asad. The second is the USA, which archived important geopolitical goal with just one strike: Increase oif economic isolation of Russia. At the same price with be high for both Russia and, especially, Turkey. In both cases this is a positive development for the US geopolitical goals.

P.S. BTW commander of  members of local "Turkomen" militia near the body of Russian pilot on the photo published by MSM is Alparslan Çelik, a Turkish citizen and reportedly a Grey Wolves member,  Turkey Grey Wolf  organization members. Grey Wolfs is a neofascist ultra-nationalistic organization somewhat similar to Ukrainian Svoboda, which among other things staged assassination on Pope John Paul II Grey Wolves (organization) - Wikipedia, the free encycloped

Possible role of the USA as a catalyst for the event

Putin's goal in Syria are clear: to prevent Libyan style bloodbath which happens if Assad government fails to joint ISIS and Al Nusra Front forces as well as  (within limitation of air The sad side of this incident is that will damage Russia economically by increasing economic isolation. So the winner of Peace Novel Price and all neocons around him got a good Thanksgiving present. Or from another point of view Putin’s decision to save Alawite community from extermination by Islamic radicals backfired. No good deed is left unpunished in high politics.power capabilities) to strike ISIS infrastructure and manpower, especially foreign fighters from xUSSR region who are fighting within ISIS.

The USA goals in Syria are more complex and partially correlating with the goals of Israel to weaken Syria and Saudi Arbia and Turkey (to establish sunny state out of parts of Syria and Iraq; also a goal of several US neocons like John Bolton).  Essentially the USA allies financed the unleashing of civil war against Assad regime, the war that already killed several thousand of civilians and which has such incidents as Turkey sponsored false flag operation of chemical attack on civilians.  It's classic "device and conquer" approach, in which secular dictator is less favorable figure then religious fanatics. In order to remap Middle East the USA government wants to get rid of President Assad unconditionally while using "enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach and supporting, arming and training  a range of jihadist groups as the most potent force for overthrowing the Assad government. Russian action became a stumbling block on the USA geopolitical plans, no question about it. That's why Obama threatened Putin with consequences.

If you think that in 2014 just in three-six months period the USA successfully cut Ukraine from Russia converting it into an enemy state now it looks like the same plot is in play, but applied to Turkey and adapted to the presence of Russian forces in Syria as the trigger point. I suspect that the USA was instrumental in pushing this ambush forward directly or indirectly as it was too perfectly aligned with the USA geopolitical interests (cue bono)

I would say that after this incident the international situation became really dangerous for Russia. The level of isolation will increase after the incident and now alliance of Turkey, Ukraine and Poland -- kind of new Triple Entente -- (with possible participation of Sweden and Baltic states) against Russia is a strong possibility. Might well be Machiavellian strategy used for isolation and weakening of  Russia similar to used by British Empire which paled turky again russia several times in history. As Andrew Korybko suggested in his article (Guest Post Why Is The US Hanging Turkey Out To Dry  Nov 27, 2015)

This dichotomy is suggestive of a Machiavellian plan whereby the US manipulates both Turkey and Russia into behaving according to what it has already forecast as their most likely responses, knowing full well that these could be guided into supporting grander American strategic interests.

For starters, the US likely intimated to Erdogan that not only does he have the 'legal' right to shoot down any Russian aircraft he chooses, but that the US would actually prefer for him to take this course of action sooner than later. This is reminiscently similar to how the US put Sakkashvili up to bombing Tskhinval and invading South Ossetia – it may not have directly issued an official, on-paper order for this to occur, but it left no ambiguity as to how it wanted its proxy to act in each situation.

Moreover of zealots longing for revenge prevail in Russia the economic damage of braking economic cooperation with Turkey will be done by Russia own initiative. It does not requires twisting arms by the USA like was the case with Europe.

Was EU fast-track a premium for following orders or this is was own Erdogan initiative after which the USA decided to reward him (before letting him him hanging dry) does not matter much. The net result is what Obama, or more correctly neocons in State Department, wanted.

I would say this is a huge victory of the US diplomacy in further isolating Russia. Done with almost no money spend. Now with proper encouragement the conflict can be became really severe. And I think such an encouragement will be provided. it also plausible that Erdogan already sensed that his prestige and even his regime is in stake now and like is appropriate for a nationalist dug the heels.

I am starting to suspect that if Russia got into this Machiavellian trap and start supporting Kurds consequences are unpredictable. For one thing that would mean that the USA can use Russia to achieve its own interests at Russia's huge expense. Killing two birds with one stone. That will mean that the USA can gently push for partitioning of Turkey (which it does even now) using Russia as a tool. Like in unleashing Iraq-Iran war after some point animosity acquire its own dynamic. Look at reaction of Russia public on the shooting. And for Erdogan deposal of Assad is really critical after all those efforts to stage and prop up military uprising against him. He does not want the defeat of anti-Assad forces and will not calmly want their destruction. Turkey has military superiority in this theater and in desperation can move tanks across the border.

As Erdogan is way too nationalistic to the USA neoliberal order (much like Saddam previously was) aggravating this incident to cut economic relations with Russia or provoking another one to push Turkey into direct military confrontation with Russia would be the next step. it can be done with shooting down Turkish plane which bombs position of kurds, or by encouraging tough economic sanctions against Russia by Turkey including confiscating Russia property (military clashed are quite welcome too). Overreaction of Russian public does not help either.

Looks to me like textbook version of modern divide and conquer strategy masterfully using Assad as a bait. If this is true, this is a pretty nasty plot the first stage of which was successfully executed.

Many analysts assume that Turkey would never attempt such action without implicit or explicit approval by the USA.  This is the position for example of  Paul Craig Roberts 

Turkey’s unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbor unless Washington had cleared the attack. Turkey’s government is not very competent, but even the incompetent know better than to put themselves into a position of facing Russia alone.

If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit? Clearly the neoconservatives are disturbed by the French president’s call for unity with Russia against ISIL and easily could have used their connections to Turkey to stage an event that Washington can use to prevent cooperation with Russia.

Washington’s complicity is certainly indicated, but it is not completely out of the question that the well-placed Turks who are purchasing oil from ISIL took revenge against Russia for destroying their oil tanker investments and profitable business. But if the attack has a private or semi-private origin in connections between gangsters and military, would Turkey’s president have defended the shoot-down on such spurious grounds as “national defense”? No one can believe that one Russian jet is a threat to Turkey’s security.

Don’t expect the presstitutes to look into any such questions. The presstitutes, such as the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford, are spinning the story that the loss of the Russian aircraft, and earlier the airliner, proves that Putin’s policy of air strikes against iSIL has backfired as Russians are not safer.

Obama and State Department response to shooing was very interesting indeed. It is quintessential duplicity:

The responses to the shoot-down are also interesting. From what I heard of Obama’s press conference, Obama’s definition of “moderate Syrian rebels” includes all the extremist jihadish groups, such as al Nursa and ISIL, that are the focus of the Russian attacks. Only Assad is an extremist. Obama, following the neocon line, says that Assad has too much blood on his hands to be allowed to remain president of Syria.

And it is clear that such an action actually plays into Obama hand who promised the Russian support of President Assad will have cost Russia. But strongly nationalistic regimes (and Erdogan regime is such a regime) are capable to strike adversary on its own. In any case the USA is the major beneficiary as Turkey actions automatically cut economic cooperation between Russia and Turkey which government of the USA tries to isolate, weaken and if possible to institute a regime change in the country (the previous attempt was in 2012). It might be that some level of cooperation existed only on the level of intelligence agencies not on "surface" government level. Without leaked documents this is just a speculation.  At the same time Peace Price winner accepted Turkish version of events way too quickly. As one guardian commented aptly observed "Alfred Nobel is probably still turning in his grave." (

I strongly believe that proper journalism isn't built on innuendo (Guardian Shawn Walker style). Good article about important  foreign event  should rather be more like a scientific paper in which a host of facts and hypothesis trying to explain them are to be presented and different versions of event from conflicting parties compared. There can be no a priory assumption that one party is guilty and the other is not.  Like was in case of propaganda avalanche synchronously lunched immediately after the tragedy by Western MSM.  Here is one related comment from Guardian (

We don’t have a clear, clear understanding of everything that happened today, okay? I’ve said that and I can keep saying it all day. We’re still trying to determine what happened. It’s easy to rush to judgments and to make proclamations and declarations after an incident like this.

Which is exactly what the US did - by supporting Turkeys side of the story. Don't you wish the journalist would point this out?

 If you don't know the answer to something, you try to find it out, you don't simply make stuff up. Here we see completely different, classic propaganda approach, in which facts does not matter at all. They obey several rules: The Five Rules of Propaganda

They produce what I would like to call "emotional spam" not that different, although much more sophisticated then penis enhancement spam.

The problem with MSM in any society is that a state-endorsed narrative of a questionable, but politically important event is invariably accepted without question. Alternative interpretations of such events are suppressed as “conspiracy theories”. Only by comparing coverage from different states and using alternative media sources, including reader forums of major newspapers such as Guardian (but not Guardian articles themselves ;-) one can approximate what really happened in particular foreign event.

Ray McGovern analysis of Obama administration reaction on shooting down SU24 incident

Below is a reprint of the article The US-Russia Proxy War in Syria

Belatedly, at a sidebar meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Paris climate summit on Monday, President Barack Obama reportedly expressed regret for last week’s killing of a Russian pilot who was shot down by a Turkish air-to-air missile fired by a U.S.-supplied F-16 and the subsequent death of a Russian marine on a search-and-rescue mission, apparently killed by a U.S.-made TOW missile.

But Obama administration officials continued to take the side of Turkey, a NATO “ally” which claims implausibly that it was simply defending its air space and that the Russian pilot of the SU-24 warplane had ignored repeated warnings. According to accounts based on Turkish data, the SU-24 may have strayed over a slice of Turkish territory for 17 seconds. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Facts Back Russia on Turkish Attack.”]

Immediately after the incident on Nov. 24, Obama offered a knee-jerk justification of Turkey’s provocative action which appears to have been a deliberate attack on a Russian warplane to deter continued bombing of Syrian jihadists, including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, has supported various jihadists as his tip of the spear in his goal to overthrow the secular regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In his first public comments about the Turkish attack, Obama gracelessly asserted Turkey’s right to defend its territory and air space although there was never any indication that the SU-24 – even if it had strayed momentarily into Turkish air space – had any hostile intentions against Turkey. Indeed, Turkey and the United States were well aware that the Russian planes were targeting the Islamic State, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other jihadist rebels.

Putin even complained,

“We told our U.S. partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The U.S.-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our U.S. partners.”

Putin also suggested that the Turkish attack was in retaliation for Russia’s bombing of a truck convoy caring Islamic State oil to Turkey. On Monday, on the sidelines of the Paris summit, Putin said Russia has “received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale.”

Turkey’s Erdogan — also in Paris — denied buying oil from terrorists and vowed to resign “if it is proven that we have, in fact, done so.”

Was Obama Angry?

In private, Obama may have been outraged by Erdogan’s reckless actions – as some reports suggest – but, if so, Obama seems publicly more afraid of offending the neocons who dominate Official Washington’s opinion circles and who hold key positions in his own administration, than of provoking a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia.

On Nov. 24, even as Russian emotions were running high – reacting to the killing of one Russian pilot and the death of a second Russian marine killed after his helicopter was shot down apparently by a U.S.-supplied TOW missile fired by Syrian jihadists – Obama chose to act “tough” against Putin, both during a White House press conference with French President Francois Holland and later with pro-Turkish remarks from U.S. officials.

During the press conference after the Turkish shoot-down and the deliberate fire from Turkish-backed Syrian jihadists aiming at two Russian airmen as they parachuted to the ground, Obama chose to make disparaging remarks about the Russian president.

Obama boasted about the 65 nations in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State compared to Putin’s small coalition of Russia and Iran (although Putin’s tiny coalition appears to be much more serious and effective than Obama’s bloated one, which includes countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that have been implicated in supporting jihadist elements, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State).

By delivering these anti-Russian insults at such a delicate time, Obama apparently was trusting that Putin would keep his cool and tamp down public emotions at home, even as Obama lacked the integrity and courage to stand up to neocon criticism from The Washington Post’s editorial page or from some of his hawkish subordinates.

The administration’s neocons who keep demanding an escalation of tensions with Russia include Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. Then, there are the officials most identified with arms procurement, sales and use, such as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford recently volunteered to Congress that U.S. forces “can impose a no-fly zone” for Syria (a dangerous play advocated by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain). Dunford is the same hawk who identified Russia as the “existential threat” to the U.S. and said it would be “reasonable” to send heavy weapons to Ukraine on Russia’s border.

Meanwhile, NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove keeps up his fly-by-the-pants information warfare campaign citing Russian “aggression,” “invasions” and plans to do still more evil things. One is tempted to dismiss him as a buffoon; but he is the NATO commander.

Lack of Control

It does not appear as though Obama has the same degree of control over foreign and defense policy that Putin enjoys in Moscow – or at least one hopes Putin can retain such control since some hard-line Russian nationalists are fuming that Putin has been too accommodating of his Western “partners.”

Perhaps the greatest danger from Obama’s acquiescence to the neocons’ new Cold War with Russia is that the neocon hopes for “regime change in Moscow” will be realized except that Putin will be replaced by some ultra-nationalist who would rather risk nuclear war than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the U.S. establishment is such that the generals, the arms manufacturers and weapons merchants, the Defense Department, and most of Congress have a very strong say in U.S. foreign policy – and Obama seems powerless to change it.

The model of governing in Washington is a far cry from Russia’s guiding principle of edinonachaliye – by which one supreme authority is in clear control of decision-making on defense and foreign policy.

Even when Obama promises, he often fails to deliver. Think back to what Obama told then-President Dmitry Medvedev when they met in Seoul in March 2012, about addressing Russian concerns over European missile defense. In remarks picked up by camera crews, Obama asked for some “space” until after the U.S. election. Obama can be heard saying, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Yet, even after winning reelection, Obama has remained cowed by the influential neocons – even as he has bucked some of their more aggressive demands, such as a massive U.S. bombing campaign against Assad’s military in summer 2013 and bomb-bomb-bombing Iran; instead, in 2014-15, Obama pushed for a negotiated agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

Ideally, Obama should be able to show some flexibility on Syria during his last year in office, but no one should hold their breath. Obama appears to have deep fears about crossing the neocons or Israel regarding what they want for the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Besides the neocons’ close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the neocons are intimately connected to the interests of the Military-Industrial Complex, which provides substantial funding for the major think tanks where many neocons hang their hats and churn out new arguments for more world conflict and thus more military spending.

Unlike Obama, Pope Francis addressed this fact-of-life head-on in his Sept. 24 address to members of the U.S. Congress – many if not most of whom also are lavished with proceeds from the arms trade and then appropriate still more funding for arms production and sales.

“Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering,” Francis asked them face-to-face. “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”

An Old Epithet

From my days as a CIA analyst covering the Soviet Union, I’m reminded of the epithet favored by the Soviet party daily Pravda a few decades ago –“vallstreetskiye krovopitsiy” – or Wall St. bloodsuckers. Propaganda-ish as that term seemed, it turns out that Soviet media were not far off on that subject.

Indeed, the banks and corporations involved in arms manufacture and sales enjoy immense power – arguably, more than a president; unarguably more than Obama. The moneyed interests – including Congress – are calling the shots.

The old adage “money makes the world go round” is also apparent in Washington’s velvet-gloves treatment of the Saudis and is nowhere better illustrated than in the continued suppression of 28 pages of the 2002 Joint Congressional Inquiry on 9/11. Those pages deal with the Saudi role in financing and supporting some of the 9/11 hijackers, but both the Bush and Obama administrations have kept those pages hidden for 13 years.

One reason is that the Saudis are the primary recipients of the U.S. trade in weapons, for which they pay cash. American manufacturers are selling the Saudis arms worth $100 billion under the current five-year agreement. Oddly, acts of terrorism sweeten the pot. Three days after the attacks in Paris, Washington and Riyadh announced a deal for $1.3 billion more.

And yet, neither Obama, nor any of the candidates trying to replace him, nor Congress is willing to jeopardize the arms trade by insisting that Riyadh call an abrupt halt to its support for the jihadists fighting in Syria for fear this might incur the wrath of the deep-pocket Saudis.

Not even Germany – already inundated, so far this year, by a flood of 950,000 refugees, mostly from Syria – is willing to risk Saudi displeasure. Berlin prefers to pay off the Turks with billions of euros to stanch the flow of those seeking refuge in Europe.

And so, an unholy alliance of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states continues to fuel the war in Syria while Obama pretends that his giant coalition is really doing the job of taking on many of those same jihadists. But Obama’s coalition has been woefully incompetent and indeed compromised, bumbling along and letting the Islamic State seize more territory along with Al Qaeda and its affiliates and allies.

Russia’s entry into the war in September changed the equation because – unlike Obama’s grand coalition – Putin’s puny coalition with Iran actually was serious about beating back the jihadists and stabilizing Assad’s regime. Turkey’s shoot-down of the Russian warplane on Nov. 24 was a crude message from Erdogan that success in defeating the jihadists would not be tolerated.

As for the United States and Europe, myopia prevails. None seems concerned that the terrorists whom they support today will come back to bite them tomorrow. American officials, despite their rhetoric and despite 9/11, seem to consider the terrorist threat remote from U.S. shores – and, in any case, dwarfed in importance by the lucrative arm sales.

As for the Vienna talks on Syria, the speed with which they were arranged (with Iran taking part) raised expectations now dampened. Last week, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry bragged about how a meeting of “moderate” rebels is to convene “in the next few weeks” to come up with principles for negotiating with Syrian President Assad’s government. The convener? Saudi Arabia!

Obama knows what has to happen for this terrorist threat to be truly addressed. The Saudis and Turks have to be told, in no uncertain terms, to stop supporting the jihadists. But that would require extraordinary courage and huge political – perhaps even physical – risk. There is no sign that President Obama dares bite that bullet.

Arguments that this was a preplanned provocation

Present of TV crew on the place of the incident and high quality TV coverage suggest that it was a pre-panned provocation. In no way those flight represented a direct and immediate threat to Turkey.  This is a retaliation for bombing friendly to  Turkey and support, financed and trained by Turkey as a countervailing force for Kurds militia.  Anti Assad militia of Turkmen, affiliated with al-Nusra Front, which is considered by the UN to be a terrorist organization and which was specifically targeted in UN resolution about Syria.  This also collaborates by statements of Erdogan about "our brothers" on the other side of the border.

The USA does not like compertitors on the world stage, which by definition should belong to the USA and only USA.  Here is an interesting dialog that shel light on such a policy: The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4-10)

JAY: It's crazy. There's an interview with Lyndon Johnson near the end of his presidency in the Vietnam War, and he's asked, why do you keep continuing this? What is this about? And he actually, apparently, pulls down his fly and brings out his organ--as this is how it's described by one of his biographers--and he says, this is what it's about.

KIRIAKOU: I believe that story.

JAY: At the time, how much do you understand that's what it's about, that it's just a pissing match?

KIRIAKOU: I did understand it, and I grew frustrated with it. I grew frustrated with American policy toward Iraq and decided I've got to do something completely different. And that's when I began looking for new job.

JAY: Within the CIA.

KIRIAKOU: Within the CIA.

JAY: And you go to Greece.

KIRIAKOU: Well, there was a position advertised that called for either a Greek or Arabic speaker. And it turned out that at the time--.

JAY: You know what? I'm sorry. I want to go back to where you said you can believe the Johnson story.

Alright. So you're a professional analyst. You're analyzing what's going on in Iraq, what should be done. I mean, it sounds like you're coming to the conclusion, like, all of this is unnecessary in terms of real U.S. national interest. You're saying this is essentially a pissing match. I mean, and I don't think we should make that too banal. What I mean by that: it isn't just a personality thing. I think ingrained in U.S. foreign policy is this, that we must make everyone believe we are stronger than they are. And it's sort of like a loan shark. I said this in another interview. If you let someone get away with not paying back their interest that week, then everyone else isn't going to pay back. That's the theory. So you've got to break some knees, and if somebody's really defiant, for that, for its own sake, you have to prove you can put that person in their place.

But, as an analyst, you can see this isn't good foreign policy.

KIRIAKOU: No, it was quite bad foreign policy. It was a waste of resources and people were getting killed. But at the same time, it goes beyond the president and the State Department and the Defense Department. You have congressional leaders hammering the president for being weak on Iraq and to bomb more and to fight harder and to make sure that Saddam is humiliated. And so you have this spiral of bad policy that you just can't get out of.

JAY: And how much do you think that for certain sectors of the economy--'cause it's certainly not true for all of the economy, but if you're in fossil fuels or if you're in military production and associated high tech, war's damn good for business.

KIRIAKOU: It is good for business. And when you think about it, though, if we--. Look at it this way. We bought much, much more Libyan oil than we ever bought Iraqi oil. Iraqi oil mostly went to Europe. And when Libya collapsed and their oil industry came to a screeching halt, it had virtually no effect on our own economy. Virtually none. So did we really need to hammer the Iraqis like this over more than a decade to protect the oil? We really didn't need the oil anyway.

JAY: But by fossil fuel I mean as long as there's conflict, the price of oil's high.

KIRIAKOU: Mhm. It stays high.

JAY: We know big oil companies make more money the higher the price of oil.

KIRIAKOU: That's right.

JAY: People selling arms, the more stuff you blow up, the more stuff you've got to buy to replace it, and the more threat of conflict, the more--.

KIRIAKOU: Right. It's good for business.

JAY: How much do you think that drives U.S. foreign policy?

KIRIAKOU: I think that's an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. I really do. You know, we've got not just arms manufacturers, but now we have drone manufacturers, for example, that are having to compete against Israeli drones and Chinese drones and Russian drones. So we need for there to be conflicts so we can sell our drones. It's the same with aircraft. You know, Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers would go under if we couldn't sell F-15s and F-16s and F-whatever they are, 23s, the new ones that are coming out, both for our own military and for foreign militaries. So war is good for business.

JAY: I mean, if you're thinking of the current situation, the more potential conflict there is between the Saudis and the Iranians, that's a gold mine If you're selling arms.

KIRIAKOU: Especially when the Saudis have a bottomless pit of money that they can dip into. The same with the Qataris and the Emiratis. It's very lucrative for us to be in the Gulf.

 

 

Here is one augment form Guardian discussion. :

IndependentScott 26 Nov 2015 10:48

Russia is bombing Turkmen. Turkey is protecting them.

The problem is, these Turkmen are allies of Al Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate which is strong right next to the Turkmen areas. They, alongside the Islamic Front in the area, are fighting Assad troops just a few km away from the largest Russian navel base outside of Russia. Of course, Russia is bombing them. And of course Turkey wants to protect them.

Whether or not that Su-24 actually passed through Turkish airspace for 17 secs or not is completely irrelevant. This was a statement by Turkey to its own people and the Turkmens in the area that they will "help their fellow Turks".

The real awful thing is that a Russian pilot died in the process.

 

Here is one post from Zero Hedge that discusses this hypothesis:

Paveway IV

"...Let's put on our thinking caps shall we?..."

Hmmm... posts like this always seem to go south in a hurry, Poundsand. But - hey - it's fight club. Carry on.

"...The Russian's are flying extremely close to the Turkish border, and the Turks send up some F-16's..."

It's not like they scrambled an F-16 (there was only one) when they saw an unknown blip approaching their border. The Turks have AWACS - they can see the Russian jets taking off, and knew where the Russians were going after their turn west and probably what they were bombing.

The Russians did the exact same thing about twenty or thirty times in the last week and had been concentrating on the same general area. Note that Turkey didn't claim Russia violated thier airspace twenty or thirty times in the last week, and Turkey had no reason to expect the Russian pilots to do anything different this particular time. They never warned Russian pilots '10 times' about approaching Turkish airspace any time in the last week or last month because it would be stuipid and it didn't happen. Russia has been operating 'extremely close' to the Turkish border for weeks without violating Turkish airspace.

The only thing Turkey bitched about four days ago was that Russia was bombing Syrian Turkomen head-choppers (and the assorted Chechen, Uzbek and Uighur head-choppers), not that Russia was violating their airspace or threatening Turkey somehow.

The Turkish F-16 turned to directly intercept the Su-24's course while both aircraft were over fifty miles and ten minutes from the supposed incursion. Turkey had never sent F-16s to intercept Russian jets the dozens of other times they flew that exact same route. Yesterday was different: Turkey planned on having that F-16 there the precise moment the Su-24 came closest to the Turkish border.

"...Don't think for a moment that the Russian's didn't know they were there..."

Russia and Turkey are not at war. There would be absolutely no reason for the Russian pilots to worry about Turkish F-16s flying anywhere around the Turkish border. The Su-24 was lining up for a bombing run, not worried about being shot at by a Turkish, American, French or any other nation's aircraft. They wouldn't have thought it the least bit unusual for Turkey to buzz down and take a look at them from across the border. That's probably happened a hundred times since Russia has been operating there.

"...nor that the Turk's hadn't used their radar to search for the Russians..."

What the hell does that even mean? The Turks don't 'search' for the Russians - they have four AWACS. They see ever damn thing that's going on in Syrian airspace real-time, 24x7. Are you suggesting the Russians were pretending to be oblivious to that?

"...No counter-measures for a single missile?..."

No, because this isn't a movie. There's plenty of ways to employ an air-to-air missile in combat that doesn't make the target's aircraft realize what's happening until it's too late. The Turkish F-16 was well above and - at the point of intersection - somewhat behind the Su-24 about 4 km away. Five to ten seconds flight time until impact. They can launch a air-to-air missile in passive IR-seeking mode without even turning on the F-16 targeting radar. The usual countermeasure for IR-seeking missiles is to drop flares, but you have to know it's an IR-seeking missile and that it is intended for you. The Su-24 probably has countermeasures for active/passive radar-guided missiles and automatic countermeasures for SAMs, but they weren't expecting to get ambushed at close range by an IR air-to-air missile. The Su-24 and it's EW and countermeasures were not set up for close-range dogfighting. They probably weren't even carrying air-to-air missiles. Turkey wouldn't have dared to try that on a Russian fighter designed for such encounters. That kind of ambush would only work on something configured for ground attacks.

"...Looks to me like the Russians knew this one was coming, and let it happen..."

Time to screw on your thinking cap a little tighter. Russia is not going to use its aircraft or pilots for bait, and the pilots of an Su-24 (or any other aircraft) wouldn't obey such a stupid order anyways. You're getting them confused with a 19-year-old head-chopper on scopolamine driving a car bomb. Russia is only guilty of thinking the Turks wouldn't be so fucking stupid as to ambush one of their Su-24s.

"...Now there is a reason to bring in those S400's, to protect their aircraft.  They bring that in and light it up, will be interesting to see what the Turks (cough, cough - US) does then.  Wonder what happens to all those sorties the US says it is doing to stop ISIS..."

Russia has already brought in their S-300 equivalent air defense systems - they're strapped to the deck of the Moscva missile cruiser of the coast of Lattakia. And they have already 'lit it up' - the Turk F-16s are nowhere to be seen. Erdogan ordered them grounded. And unlike Erdogan, Putin has no reason to track or threaten U.S. aircraft in Turkey or Syria. Russia is not at war with the U.S. and does not expect a U.S. aircraft to ambush a Russian aircraft to 'protect Turkish airspace'. That's only something an insane tin-pot dictator like Erdogan would do. Russia isn't worried about surprise attacks from U.S. aircraft and likewise, the U.S. isn't worried about an attack from Russian aircraft - neither side is going to stage an ambush and start WWIII over Turkey.

"...Don't expect much more until additional assets are in place.  For both sides..."

Russia added fighters to protect their aircraft from another feeble Turkish provocation and moved the Moscva in. The U.S. will add nothing - it has everything it needs in place and isn't worried about Russia. Turkey has AWACS and F-16s - there's nothing more they can add but someone with a brain in charge who doesn't live in a palace built on the bodies of dead Turks. Maybe his military will take that psycho out before he gets everybody killed. You can believe nobody in the Turkish AF is stupid enough to be celebrating the successful ambush of a Russian ground attack aircraft. Some Turkish AF general might be gloating, but he just made every one of his pilots a 'potential threat' to Russia.

Casus belle

Traditionally attack on military on one country by another country is equivalent to declation of war (so called casus belle).

Russians may have a strong case in Turkish shootdown TheHill

By Charles J. Dunlap Jr., contributor

220 Comments

The shootdown of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16s raises a number of critical issues under international law that the U.S. needs to carefully navigate. This is especially so since the result of the Turkish action was the apparently illegal killing by Syrian rebels of one of the Russian aircrew, as well as the possibly unlawful death of a Russian marine attempting to rescue the downed aviators.

While President Obama is certainly correct in saying that "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace," exactly how it may do so is more complicated than the president implies. In fact, the Russians may have strong legal arguments that any such right under international law was wrongly asserted in this instance.

When is self-defense triggered?

Article 51 of the U.N. charter permits the use of force in the event of an "armed attack." However, in a 1986 case, the International Court of Justice concluded that a "mere frontier incident" might constitute a breach of the U.N. charter, but did not necessarily trigger the right to use force absent a showing that the attack was of a significant scale and effect. Most nations also accept that states threatened with an imminent attack can respond in self-defense so long as they did not have under the circumstances "any means of halting the attack other than recourse to armed force," as noted by Leo Van den hole in the American University International Law Review.

The problem here is that the Turks are not asserting that any armed attack took place or, for that matter, that any armed attack was even being contemplated by the Russians. Instead, in a letter to the U.N., the Turks only claimed that the Russians had "violated their national airspace to a depth of 1.36 to 1.15 miles in length for 17 seconds." They also say that the Russians were warned "10 times" (something the Russians dispute) and that the Turkish jets fired upon them in accordance with the Turks' "rules of engagement." Of course, national rules of engagement cannot trump the requirements of international law. Moreover, international law also requires any force in self-defense be proportional to the threat addressed.

Thus, the legal question is this: Is a mere 17-second border incursion of such significance and scale as to justify as "proportional" the use of deadly force as the only recourse — particularly where there is no indication that the Russians were going to actually attack anything on Turkish soil?

The U.S., so far, is staying mum about what it may know about the precise location of the planes (which the Russians insist never entered Turkish airspace). What is more is that even if the Russians had penetrated Turkish airspace, that fact alone would not necessarily legally authorize the use of force, absent a showing of hostile intent (which the Turks are not alleging). Additionally, it is quite possible that the Russian aircraft may have penetrated Turkish airspace — if at all — because of a bona fide navigational misunderstanding occasioned by the satellite guidance system the Russians employ. Navigation errors are not an adequate reason to use deadly force.

In short, it appears at this point that the Turkish case justifying the use of deadly force is, at best, weak. Nevertheless, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO stands "in solidarity with Turkey." However, it may have been more prudent to withhold judgment until all the facts are definitively known and a full legal analysis is complete. Why? Article 5 of the NATO treaty governing self-defense tracks almost exactly with the Article 51 of the U.N. charter, so if the facts show illegality under international law, that would undercut the wisdom of NATO standing "in solidarity" with any nation.

The attack on the Russian aviator and marine

Another important international law issue arose after the Russian aircraft was struck by the Turkish missiles. The two aviators ejected, but were attacked as they parachuted from their stricken aircraft — reportedly by elements of the Free Syrian Army. In the effort to rescue the downed aviators, one Russian marine was killed.

It is extraordinarily well-settled that the law of war prohibits making anyone parachuting from a distressed aircraft the object of attack, and that doing so is a war crime. There is no real dispute among experts as to this reading of the law.

Regarding the Russian marine killed on the rescue operation, the law is more complex. Generally, a rescue effort is a military operation subject to lawful attack. If, however, the aircraft was displaying the red cross or a similar internationally recognized medical emblem, and the aim was simply to provide medical care, the attack would likely be unjustified. Furthermore, given that shooting at parachuting aviators is itself a war crime, the effort to rescue them from patently illegal conduct may very well transform the incident into one where international law could find the marine's death an unlawful killing.

What it means for the U.S.

Turkey is not only a highly valued U.S. and NATO ally, but also a key member of the international coalition opposing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That said, adherence to the rule of law is especially important in extremely unstable situations like that in Syria today. It is not the time or place for loose interpretations that can lead to unintended consequences. The U.S. also needs to keep in mind that there are several other volatile aeronautical situations around the globe — overflights in the South China Sea being one — where U.S. interests are served by having legal restraints on the use of force meticulously observed.

If Turkey was wrong on this one, the U.S. should say so, regardless of whatever other disputes we may have with the Russians. A friend should always tell a friend when they made a mistake. It really is that simple.

Dunlap is a retired Air Force major general who is currently executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke Law School.

Russia, Turkey, Syria, jet, Russian jet, airspace, shooting, shootdown, international law, war crime, deadly force, U.N. charter, Article 51, NATO treaty, Article 5, United Nations, U.N., NATO, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, Free Syrian Army

 

 

The real problems is the USA Mideast policy

SallyWa  -> MTavernier 26 Nov 2015 11:07

Russia is fighting a different, conflicting war to everyone else in Syria.

Yeah, it is fighting against another adventure of US/EU/those ME countries to have regime change to their liking in the region and against ISIS-which was created thanks to that adventure.

Russia repeatedly violated Turkish airspace,

Turkey should learn from better countries how to act in this. European ones. They showed proper examples, while Turkey screwed up.

camerashy  -> blogbath 26 Nov 2015 10:58

Listen, as an American I'm telling you, you're wrong and a victim of the billionaire owned propaganda machine they call the news media. You've got your facts all wrong, it's the US who's constantly sticking it to Russia/others because somehow we can't stand anyone opposing us and has independent opinions. From the cooked up US backed coup in Ukraine to provoking China in Asia, and shooting down Russian jets over Syria, look no further than the US/NATO alliance to find your answer.

Erdogan on his own couldn't kill time let alone shooting down Russian jets. Just imagine what would happen if one of our jets had been shot down, they'd have made movies on it already. Also I don't think you really know much about any of these other countries you so freely label! Don't be naive, things aren't always what they seem, you have access to the Internet, well, don't take my word for it, use it and find out from different sources ... here's one:

https://www.facebook.com/BenSwannRealityCheck/videos/882104321854519/


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Old News ;-)

[Oct 12, 2018] Terrorists Want America to Reverse Engineer Russian Machineguns by Michael Peck

Notable quotes:
"... US Special Forces Command wants to copy Russian firearms in the US to give away to proxies around the world ..."
Oct 12, 2018 | russia-insider.com

US Special Forces Command wants to copy Russian firearms in the US to give away to proxies around the world

Wed, Oct 10, 2018 | 500 words 4,029 45 Why would U.S. special forces want to manufacture Russian machine guns?

Just watch any video of a conflict such as Iraq and Syria, and the answer becomes clear. Many of the combatants are using Russian or Soviet weapons, or local copies thereof, from rifles to rocket launchers to heavy machine guns mounted on pickups. Which means that when U.S. special forces provide some of these groups with weapons, they have to scrounge through the global arms market to buy Russian hardware as well as spare parts.

So U.S. Special Forces Command, which oversees America's various commando units, has an idea: instead of buying Russian weapons, why not build their own? That's why USSOCOM is asking U.S. companies to come up with a plan to manufacture Russian and other foreign weapons.

The goal is to "develop an innovative domestic capability to produce fully functioning facsimiles of foreign-made weapons that are equal to or better than what is currently being produced internationally," according to the USSOCOM Small Business Innovation Research proposal .

v76 a day ago ,

"develop an innovative domestic capability to produce fully functioning facsimiles of foreign-made weapons that are equal to or better than what is currently being produced internationally,"

I laughed and stopped reading.

Kjell Hasthi v76 a day ago ,

It is a good story. US needed so many AK-47 for African terrorists group, killing Blacks, they had to build a new factory in Africa to handle demand. There were not that many AK-47 available on the black market

Think about that. Look into a mirror and say slowly
- WE LIBERALS ARE TERRORISTS

Mary Floyd Kjell Hasthi 3 hours ago ,

Actually, that should read: We American politicians and military are terrorists...the worst in the world

[Sep 29, 2018] The Airwaves Are Still Heaving With Spin Two Days After US Airstrikes Against by Sharmine Narwani

Notable quotes:
"... On the ground in Syria, dead civilians - some of them children killed by US bombs - muddied the perfect script. Confused Syrian rebels - many who had called for foreign intervention to help crush the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – demanded to know how these airstrikes were meant to help them. ..."
"... The Syrian armed forces have spent little time on the ISIL threat because their focus has traditionally been on protecting their interests in Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Hama – and the countryside in these areas – as well as towns and cities around the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. That changed when ISIL staged successful attacks on Mosul and created new geopolitical urgency for Assad"s allies – which triggered some major Syrian strikes against ISIL targets. ..."
"... Obama has managed to get the whole world singing from the same hymn sheet in just two months, including, and this is important, the three states - Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey - most instrumental in financing, weaponizing and assisting ISIL and other extremist militias inside Syria. ..."
"... For three years, Washington has overlooked and even encouraged illegal and dangerous behaviors from its regional Sunni allies – all in service of defeating Assad. With all eyes on America and expectations that Obama will fail in his War on Terror just like his predecessors, the US is going to have to pull some impressive tricks from its sleeves. ..."
"... Ideally, these would include the shutting down of key border crossings (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon); punishing financiers of terror and inhibiting the flow of funds and assistance from Washington"s regional allies; cutting off key revenue streams; tightening immigration policies to stem the flow of foreign fighters; disrupting communications networks of targeted terrorist groups; broader intelligence sharing with all regional players; and empowering existing armies and allied militias inside the "chaos zone" to lead and execute ground operations. ..."
"... If there is the slightest deviation from the "guarantees" provided by the US, this trio has plenty of room to maneuver. Iran, for one, has dallied with the Americans in both Iraq and Afghanistan and they know how to cause some pain where it counts. The Russians, for that matter, have many playgrounds in which to thwart US ambitions – most urgently in Ukraine and in Afghanistan, from which the US hopes to withdraw billions of dollars" worth of military equipment by the end of 2014. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from RT . ..."
Sep 26, 2014 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Kerry Arab Saudi

Undoubtedly the attacks were timed to occur on the eve of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, so "Coalition" partners could cluster behind the decision to bomb a sovereign state, uninvited.

The irony, of course, is that they are doing so at the UN – the global political body that pledges to uphold international law, peace and stability, and the sanctity of the nation-state unit.

The goal this week will be to keep the "momentum" on a "narrative" until it sinks in.

On day one, heads of state from Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UK and France were paraded onto the podium to drum in the urgency of American strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and other militant groups inside Syria.

Every American official – past and present - in the White House rolodex was hooked up to a microphone to deliver canned sound bites and drive home those "messages." In between, video-game-quality footage of US strikes hitting their targets was aired on the hour; clips of sleek fighter jets refueling midair and the lone Arab female fighter pilot were dropped calculatingly into social media networks.

The global crew of journalists that descends annually on the UN for this star-studded political event, enthused over US President Barak Obama"s ability to forge a coalition that included five Arab Sunni states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE.

Few mentioned that these partners are a mere fig leaf for Obama, providing his Syria campaign with Arab and Muslim legitimacy where he otherwise would have none. Not that any of these five monarchies enjoy "legitimacy" in their own kingdoms – kings and emirs aren"t elected after all – and two of these Wahhabi states are directly responsible for the growth and proliferation of the Wahhabi-style extremism targeted by US missiles.

Even fewer spent time dissecting the legality of US attacks on Syria or on details of the US "mission" – as in, "what next?"

But with a mission this crippled at the outset, it didn"t take long for an alternative view to peek through the thick media fog.

On the ground in Syria, dead civilians - some of them children killed by US bombs - muddied the perfect script. Confused Syrian rebels - many who had called for foreign intervention to help crush the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – demanded to know how these airstrikes were meant to help them.

Sunni Arabs would be radicalized by these strikes, they warned, as ideologically sympathetic citizens of the Arab coalition states took to their information channels and swore revenge for airstrikes against ISIL and al-Nusra.

The Syrian government, for the most part, remained mute – whether to save face or because they could "smell" the gains coming. Contrary to Washington"s prevailing narrative, privately the story was that the US had informed the Assad government of both the timing and targets of the attacks in advance.

Sources say that the US even provided "guarantees" that no Syrian military or government interests would be targeted. A Reuters exclusive claiming that the US went so far as to provide assurances to Iran, suggests this version is closer to the truth. When US airstrikes against Syria were on the table a year ago, the various parties went through a similar game of footsies. Last September, the Americans backed off – allegedly because of communications from their adversaries that even a single US missile would trigger a warfront against Israel. This time, Washington needed to know that scenario was not going to be activated, and this week they offered the necessary guarantees to ensure it.

Although the Russians and Iranians have publicly lashed out at the illegality of US strikes, they do not seem too worried. Both know – like the Syrian government – that these air attacks could be a net gain for their "Axis."

Firstly, the United States is now doing some useful heavy-lifting for Assad, at no real cost to him. The Syrian armed forces have spent little time on the ISIL threat because their focus has traditionally been on protecting their interests in Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Hama – and the countryside in these areas – as well as towns and cities around the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. That changed when ISIL staged successful attacks on Mosul and created new geopolitical urgency for Assad"s allies – which triggered some major Syrian strikes against ISIL targets.

But to continue along this path, the Syrians would have to divert energy and resources from key battles, and so the American strikes have provided a convenient solution for the time being.

Secondly, the Syrians have spent three years unsuccessfully pushing their narrative that the terrorism threat they face internally is going to become a regional and global problem. The US campaign is a Godsend in this respect – Obama has managed to get the whole world singing from the same hymn sheet in just two months, including, and this is important, the three states - Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey - most instrumental in financing, weaponizing and assisting ISIL and other extremist militias inside Syria.

Syria, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and a host of like-minded emerging powers are pleased about this new laser focus on jihadi terror and for the accompanying resource shift to address the problem.

Thirdly, the US has now been placed in the hot seat and will be expected to match words with action. For three years, Washington has overlooked and even encouraged illegal and dangerous behaviors from its regional Sunni allies – all in service of defeating Assad. With all eyes on America and expectations that Obama will fail in his War on Terror just like his predecessors, the US is going to have to pull some impressive tricks from its sleeves.

Ideally, these would include the shutting down of key border crossings (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon); punishing financiers of terror and inhibiting the flow of funds and assistance from Washington"s regional allies; cutting off key revenue streams; tightening immigration policies to stem the flow of foreign fighters; disrupting communications networks of targeted terrorist groups; broader intelligence sharing with all regional players; and empowering existing armies and allied militias inside the "chaos zone" to lead and execute ground operations.

Thus far, there are signs that some of these things are already happening, with possibly more to come.

Now for the fun part. The Syrians, Iranians and Russians do not fundamentally trust Washington or its intentions. The suspicion is that the US is on another one of its regime-change missions, displaying its usual rogue-state behavior by violating the territorial integrity of a sovereign state under false pretenses, and that it will shortly revert to targeting the Syrian government.

While they can see clear gains from the current level of US intervention – as distasteful as they find it - they are watching carefully as events unfold.

If there is the slightest deviation from the "guarantees" provided by the US, this trio has plenty of room to maneuver. Iran, for one, has dallied with the Americans in both Iraq and Afghanistan and they know how to cause some pain where it counts. The Russians, for that matter, have many playgrounds in which to thwart US ambitions – most urgently in Ukraine and in Afghanistan, from which the US hopes to withdraw billions of dollars" worth of military equipment by the end of 2014.

All understand that Washington has just assumed a risky public posture and that many, many things can go wrong. The Sunni Arab fig leaf can disappear in a nano-second if domestic pressures mount or revenge attacks take place internally. Information could leak about continued assistance to terrorist militias from one or more of its coalition partners – a huge embarrassment for Washington and its wobbly Coalition. ISIL will almost certainly act against coalition partner soft-targets, like carrying out further kidnappings and executions. Continued airstrikes will almost definitely result in a growing civilian casualty count, turning those "hearts and minds" to stone. Syrian rebels could swiftly turn against the US intervention and radicalize further. Massive displacement caused by airstrikes could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.And as in all other past US military War-on-Terror adventures, terrorism could thrive and proliferate in quantum leaps.

As Moscow-based political analyst Vladimir Frolov noted to the Washington Post:

The United States has underestimated the complexity of the situation before, so let's just wait until they run into problems.
The idea that US military engagement could continue for the long-term is unlikely given the myriad things that can go wrong fast. Obama is going to be reluctant to have his last two years in office defined by the hazardous Syrian conflict – after all, he was to be the president who extracted America from unessential wars.

But the most compelling reason that this Coalition will not pass the first hurdle is that its key members have entirely different ambitions and strategic targets.

Over a decade ago, these US-engineered coalitions were wealthier, less-burdened and shared common goals. Today, many of the coalition members face domestic economic and political uncertainties – and several states are directly responsible for giving rise to ISIL. How can the Coalition fight ISIL and support it, all at once?

What"s missing is a formula, a strategy, a unified worldview that can be equally as determined as the ideological adversary it faces.

Down the road, we will discover that the only coalition able and willing to fight extremism does indeed come from inside the region, but importantly, from within the conflict zone itself: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. For starters, they are utterly vested in the outcome of their efforts – and would lead with political solutions alongside military ones. Those elusive boots-on-the-ground that everyone is seeking? They live it. Pit that group against Obama"s Coalition-of-the-Clueless any day and you know which side would win handily.

The question is, can this Coalition stomach a solution it is working so hard to avoid? Will it partner with vital regional players that were foes only a few months ago? It is doubtful. That would require a worldview shift that Washington is still too irrational to embrace.

Reprinted with permission from RT .

[Sep 15, 2018] "The United States does not seek to fight the Russians" a Pentagon spokesman said. "However, the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend US, coalition or partner forces

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm

All Stooges should read this wsws article and the accompanying comments

Why?

Bcuz I-NS-say so !!!!!

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/12/pers-s12.html

"The Pentagon made clear that US forces are fully prepared to engage Russian troops. "The United States does not seek to fight the Russians" a Pentagon spokesman said. "However, the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend US, coalition or partner forces."

Really?? What psychopaths in the pentagon think this to be the case

Americans need to understand that complete psycho ccksckers like Groeteschele are as real in 2018 as they were in 1964 .

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/429672/Fail-Safe-Movie-Clip-Convicts-And-File-Clerks.html

Mark Chapman September 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Don't you get it?? You have no right at all to be in Syria, forming 'partnerships' with 'rebels' or anyone else!! Get the fuck out!! Your presence is a violation of sovereignty, as you were not invited by the elected government!

[Aug 14, 2018] Why Did 51 American State Department Officials 'Dissent' Against Obama and Call for Bombing Syria?

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , August 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm GMT

@Colin Wright

Yea it was suppose to be Hillary. Under her 51 US State Dept. officials demanded Obama bomb Syria.

Why Did 51 American State Department Officials 'Dissent' Against Obama and Call for Bombing Syria?

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/06/why-did-51-american-state-department-officials-dissent-against-obama-and-call-for-bombing-syria.html

51 U.S. diplomats who still haven't grasped the negative outcomes of the disastrous wars launched since 2002, the solution is to bomb the world into America's image. In an internal dissent cable addressed to Barack Obama, seasoned diplomats have urged airstrikes on the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Chas Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, told me he found the cable "unusual" in two respects. First, it garnered a large number of signatures. Most of those who signed the cable, a State Department official told me, were "rank and file" diplomats, such as a deputy to U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and a secretary in the Near East Bureau. They had a good understanding of the current situation in the region. The second reason this cable is unusual, said Ambassador Freeman, is that the signatories "are arguing for rather than against the use of force." Over the past 40 years, diplomats have used the "dissent channel" to caution against a rush to war. Now these diplomats are asking for an intensification of war.

A former ambassador told me that many of the diplomats have great fealty to Hillary Clinton. Could they have leaked this cable to boost Clinton's narrative that she wanted a more robust attack on Damascus as early as 2012? Is this a campaign advertisement for Clinton, and a preparation for her likely Middle East policy when she takes power in 2017? Clinton certainly advocated tougher military action in Syria. She joined CIA chief David Petraeus to push for a U.S.-backed rebel army in 2012, and she argued for air strikes when there was no appetite for this in the White House.

[Mar 04, 2018] Making sense of the Russian 5th The story of how two Turkish/CIA F16 shotdown the Russian Su-24 over Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Even though this was clearly a US operation using two proxies (a Turkish/CIA Airforce General without Erdogan's knowledge and a Saudi AWACS probably flown by a US crew), Putin did nothing. ..."
"... One of many, many unanswered US provocations to suck Russia in deeper. ..."
"... One possibility is that the event was to send France back in line within NATO as an ally of Turkey now in conflict with Russia instead of France getting cozy with Putin after Bataclan 11 days earlier. There was a great support in France for Putin then and for a common action with him against ISIS. ..."
Mar 04, 2018 | www.unz.com

Kiza

The two F16 were cruising with all active electronics off, on the Turkish side of the border, below the mountain range on the border, thus preventing the Russian ground radar in Syria from noticing them.

But, a Saudi AWACS was constantly observing the Su-24 position from a distance and feeding data into two F16.

When the situation was optimal, F16 jumped up launched A2A missiles and dived down below the mountains and flew back without waiting to see the outcome.

Even though this was clearly a US operation using two proxies (a Turkish/CIA Airforce General without Erdogan's knowledge and a Saudi AWACS probably flown by a US crew), Putin did nothing.

One of many, many unanswered US provocations to suck Russia in deeper.

utu , March 3, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT

@Kiza

One of many, many unanswered US provocations to suck Russia in deeper.

One possibility is that the event was to send France back in line within NATO as an ally of Turkey now in conflict with Russia instead of France getting cozy with Putin after Bataclan 11 days earlier. There was a great support in France for Putin then and for a common action with him against ISIS.

Russia was the greatest PR beneficiary of the Bataclan operation. The shooting down of Su-24 by Turks extinguished the Bataclan effect and the French sobered up.

[Jan 15, 2018] US military not only admits to training Syrian militants, but says they do not care if they choose to fight with terrorist organizations by Paul Antonopoulos

Jan 15, 2018 | thesaker.is

JJ on January 15, 2018 , · at 5:06 am UTC

US military not only admits to training Syrian militants, but says they do not care if they choose to fight with terrorist organizations
January 15, 2018 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos

DAMASCUS, Syria – The United States Central Command (CENTCOM), the United States military branch responsible for North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, has admitted to a journalist that they only train militants and does not care if they join internationally recognized terrorist organizations afterwards.

Sharmine Narwani, an award winning journalist, asked a CENTCOM spokesperson what they thought of US-trained "rebels" allying with Al-Qaeda.

In response to the question, the spokesperson responded with "We don't 'command and control' these forces – we only 'train and enable' them Who they say they're allying with, that's their business."
16h

Sharmine Narwani

[Oct 02, 2017] The Russian Defence Minister has released photos of US Forces stationed on Daesh territory

Oct 02, 2017 | www.voltairenet.org

On 24 September 2017, the Russian Defense Minister broadcast satellite images of US Special forces camping right in the centre of Daesh territory in Deir ez-Zor, a region in Syria.

The Turkish press agency, Anadolu, had already flagged up the existence of these bases on 17 June.

A number of sources confirm that there is a non-aggression agreement between the US Forces and Kurdish forces on the one hand, and Daesh on the other. These photographs challenge the version that the United States and its Kurdish allies are fighting the Islamic State. Only States which have satellites positioned above Syria are able to verify the authenticity of these photos. It follows that this information is meant for them.

JPEG - 69.9 kb

[Jul 03, 2017] Erdogans Silent Backers Who Egged Turkish Leader to Attack Su24

Notable quotes:
"... Was the downing of the Russian Su-24 Erdogan's "oil revenge" for Turkey's losses from the destruction of oil smugglers' truck fleet bombed by the Russian Air Force in Syria? Or maybe it is just the tip of a very big iceberg, F. William Engdahl asks. ..."
"... Still, whatever profits Erdogan is purportedly receiving from oil smuggling it is highly unlikely that the Turkish President would sacrifice Russo-Turkish relations for some fishy business. ..."
"... My masculine intuition tells me that Recep Erdogan would never risk such a dangerous bold and illegal action against Russia on whom Turkey depends for 50% of her natural gas imports and a huge part of her tourism dollar earnings merely because the family ISIS oil business was being bombed away by Russian jets," the researcher underscores." ..."
"... Engdahl expresses his confidence that there were "clearly serious silent backers" encouraging Erdogan to launch an attack on the Russian Su-24 plane. ..."
"... Indeed, despite Ankara's hardly convincing explanation of the treacherous attack, almost all NATO leaders have sided with Turkey, justifying its "act of self-defense." ..."
"... Interestingly enough, US warmongering neocons have repeatedly called for "shooting down" Russian planes. ..."
Nov 30, 2015 | sputniknews.com

Was the downing of the Russian Su-24 Erdogan's "oil revenge" for Turkey's losses from the destruction of oil smugglers' truck fleet bombed by the Russian Air Force in Syria? Or maybe it is just the tip of a very big iceberg, F. William Engdahl asks.

... ... ...

Engdahl calls attention to reports saying that Israel's IDF was spotted messing with ISIL in the Golan Heights region. Engdahl also refers to Israeli media outlets narrating that since June 2014, Israel imported about 75 percent of its oil needs from Iraq. It still remains unclear whether the oil was transported from the Kurdish area of Iraq. Still, some independent sources claim that Iraqi oil is being smuggled by ISIL to Turkey and then redistributed to Israel via Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

Engdahl cites Chris Dalby, an analyst with Oilprice.com, who characterized ISIL as "a largely independent financial machine" due to its numerous oil fields in Iraq and Syria.

Still, whatever profits Erdogan is purportedly receiving from oil smuggling it is highly unlikely that the Turkish President would sacrifice Russo-Turkish relations for some fishy business.

​"My masculine intuition tells me that Recep Erdogan would never risk such a dangerous bold and illegal action against Russia on whom Turkey depends for 50% of her natural gas imports and a huge part of her tourism dollar earnings merely because the family ISIS oil business was being bombed away by Russian jets," the researcher underscores."

Engdahl expresses his confidence that there were "clearly serious silent backers" encouraging Erdogan to launch an attack on the Russian Su-24 plane.

Indeed, despite Ankara's hardly convincing explanation of the treacherous attack, almost all NATO leaders have sided with Turkey, justifying its "act of self-defense."

Interestingly enough, US warmongering neocons have repeatedly called for "shooting down" Russian planes.

[Jul 03, 2017] The demise of the Caliph and the origin of the Islamic State

Notable quotes:
"... In actual fact, Daesh is a tool created by the former US National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte, from armed groups controlled by the British MI6. While the Obama Administration had charged Negroponte with creating a "Sunnistan" to disrupt the silk route linking China to the Mediterranean via Teheran, Baghdad and Damascus, the Trump Administration denies that this entity has the trappings of a State. Operations led against the two main cities - Mosul (Iraq) and Raqqa (Syria) - should have the effect of making the devil retreat into the bottle and reducing the terrorist system to what it was at the time of Al Qaeda. ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.voltairenet.org

The Military Chief of the Iraqi army has announced the forthcoming liberation of Mosul. The media, tightly muzzled by strict military censorship, emphasizes the captured ruins of the Al-Nouri Mosque where the Caliph, Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, had announced his victory. This led Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi to the conclusion that essentially, Daesh was no more.

In actual fact, Daesh is a tool created by the former US National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte, from armed groups controlled by the British MI6. While the Obama Administration had charged Negroponte with creating a "Sunnistan" to disrupt the silk route linking China to the Mediterranean via Teheran, Baghdad and Damascus, the Trump Administration denies that this entity has the trappings of a State. Operations led against the two main cities - Mosul (Iraq) and Raqqa (Syria) - should have the effect of making the devil retreat into the bottle and reducing the terrorist system to what it was at the time of Al Qaeda.

Such unexpected declarations made by Iraqi officials seem to be in response to Washington's concern to off-set the announcement made by Moscow, that Daesh's caliph, Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, was dead, having been killed by the Russian army.

[Jul 03, 2017] An Invisible US Hand Leading to War Turkeys Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

www.counterpunch.org

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let's start with one almost certain assumption - an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey's action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey's vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a "mutual assistance" treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey's defense.

[Jul 03, 2017] Was The U.S. Involved In The Turkish Attack Against The Russian Jet ?

Notable quotes:
"... The cooperation between U.S. and Turkish military and especially the air forces is quite tight. It is hard to believe that there was no communication about what was prepared to happen. ..."
"... It does not make sense to destroy the Syrian state and to just hope that the outcome would be something better than an emboldened IS or AlQaeda ruling in Damascus. That outcome is certainly not in Europe's interest. But a global coalition is not in U.S. or Turkish interests. It would end their common plans and efforts to overthrow the Syrian government and to install a "Sunni" state in Syria and Iraq as a Turkish protectorate. ..."
"... Obama continues his immensely destructive policies in the Middle East with zero regard to the all the bad outcomes these are likely to have for the people there as well as for Europe. One again wonders if all these action follow from sheer incompetence or from some devilish, ingenious strategic planning. ..."
"... Very good article. One minor quibble. While it's true that it is common practice to use the name of the head of state to denote a state's actions, the US is simply not governed by whoever is elected by its people. Since the coup in 1963 no president has really had control of the US's foreign policy. US presidents, after JFK's assassination, have essentially been the song-and-dance men for the military-industrial complex. Obama couldn't turn this ship around if he tried. Of course, he won't try. ..."
"... Erdogan's problem is clear - Russia is going after his family's business ties. Are British business ties involved, too? ..."
Nov 25, 2015 | Moon of Alabama
... ... ...

But there is also a bigger game going on and it is likely that Erdogan has a new contract and Obama's backing for this escalation. James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the U.S. military, was in Ankara when the incident happened. The cooperation between U.S. and Turkish military and especially the air forces is quite tight. It is hard to believe that there was no communication about what was prepared to happen.

After the Islamic State attack in France President Hollande attempted to create a global coalition against IS which would include Russia and Iran as well as the U.S. led anti-ISIS block. But such a coalition, which makes a lot of sense, would have to agree to leave Syria alone and to help Syrian ground forces to effectively fight the Islamic State. It does not make sense to destroy the Syrian state and to just hope that the outcome would be something better than an emboldened IS or AlQaeda ruling in Damascus. That outcome is certainly not in Europe's interest. But a global coalition is not in U.S. or Turkish interests. It would end their common plans and efforts to overthrow the Syrian government and to install a "Sunni" state in Syria and Iraq as a Turkish protectorate.

The Russian jet incident decreased the likelihood of such a coalition. Holland, visiting Washington yesterday, had to pull back with his plan and was again degraded to parrot Obama's "Assad must go" nonsense. Obama feels emboldened and now pushes to widen the conflict in Syria:

The Obama administration is using the current moment of extreme anger and anxiety in Europe to press allies for sharp increases in their contributions to the fight against the Islamic State. Suggestions include more strike aircraft, more intelligence-sharing, more training and equipment for local fighters, and deployment of their own special operations ­forces.
...
While new contributions would be added to anti-Islamic State campaigns across the board, the attention is clearly on Syria, marking a shift in what began as an "Iraq first" focus when Obama authorized airstrikes in the region last fall.
...
Obama, speaking beside Hollande on Tuesday, restated his insistence that Assad is part of the problem, not the solution, and that he must go.

The Obama administration is also preparing to install the Turkish dream of a "safe zone" between Aleppo and the Turkish border north of it.

Among several coalition priorities in Syria, the United States has begun a series of airstrikes in an area known as the "Mar'a line," named for a town north of Aleppo in the northwest. There, a 60-mile stretch to the Euphrates River in the east is the only remaining part of the Syria-Turkey border under Islamic State control.

The administration had delayed beginning operations in the area because U.S. aircraft were needed in operations farther east, and it has been uncertain that local opposition forces­ would be able to hold the territory if it could be cleared with airstrikes.

The increased Russian air defense and the likely increase of its deployed planes will make those "safe zone" plans impossible.

But Obama, in my conclusion, still wants to drag NATO into Syria and wants to assemble enough forces "against ISIS" to be able to overwhelm the Syrian government and its Russian protectors. If that does not work he at least hopes to give Russia the Afghanistan like "quagmire" in Syria he and other U.S. officials promised. The again increasing tensions with U.S. proxy Ukraine only help in that regard.

But there is even more to that plan. Just by chance (not) the NYT op-ed pages launch a trial balloon today for the creation of a Sunni state in east Syria and west Iraq. But that (Islamic) State is already there and the "containment" strategy Obama practices towards it guarantees that it will fester.

Obama continues his immensely destructive policies in the Middle East with zero regard to the all the bad outcomes these are likely to have for the people there as well as for Europe. One again wonders if all these action follow from sheer incompetence or from some devilish, ingenious strategic planning.

Kassandra | Nov 25, 2015 10:52:56 AM | 3

An interesting aspect of the Turkish attack:
The Russians have a technology that they recently demonstrated against the newest US missile cruiser and Israel's US jet fighters. The technology shuts down the communication systems of hostile forces, leaving them blind. He wonders if the Russian aircraft was shot down in order to encourage the Russians to use its unknown technology whenever Russian aircraft are in the vicinity of NATO and Israeli aircraft. He bets that the US has sent every Raven and ELINT specialist to the area in hopes that Russia's use of the technology will allow them to learn enough about the system to duplicate it or learn how to block it.
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/11/24/turkey-has-destroyed-russias-delusion-of-western-cooperation-paul-craig-roberts/
Laker | Nov 25, 2015 10:59:47 AM | 4

Seems to me that whether the Obama-Bolton dream--a Sunni state in eastern Syria that serves as a "safe zone" for the empire's strike force of Salafist mercenaries--is realized depends on the Kurds. And whether Erdogan and the Kurds can work together to feed such a monster.

blowback | Nov 25, 2015 11:18:25 AM | 6

Afghanistan was not a quagmire for the Russians. In 9.5 years, they lost about 15,000 dead. That was what the number of dead the Soviet Union lost in a couple of average days while fighting the Germans on the Eastern Front. It was a drain on resources but the Soviet Union agreed to a negotiated settlement (which the Saudis and Americans promptly ignored) because of the problems with the Soviet economy.

It suited the idiots in Washington to claim that it was the war in Afghanistan that brought down the Soviet Union because it made it look like an American victory rather than a Soviet failure. The side effect of this was to persuade the jihadis that they had defeated the Soviet Union so they could go on to defeat the United States with disastrous consequences for all. As usual, the Americans continue to believe their own propaganda and are probably too stupid the realize that they and the Turkish regime probably just destroyed their last chance to have any real input into the political solution in Syria which will come about at a time that suits Russia and will almost certainly ignore any demands that Assad step down before the transition.

Lone Wolf | Nov 25, 2015 12:13:37 PM | 13

Thanks b for the info-rich summary, the links and the context.

Besides losing Russia's tourist market, Turkey just lost Russia's food imports.

Iran will replace Turkey on food import to Russia - Korotchenko on Russian State TV

harry law | Nov 25, 2015 12:21:23 PM | 16

Very good article. One minor quibble. While it's true that it is common practice to use the name of the head of state to denote a state's actions, the US is simply not governed by whoever is elected by its people. Since the coup in 1963 no president has really had control of the US's foreign policy. US presidents, after JFK's assassination, have essentially been the song-and-dance men for the military-industrial complex. Obama couldn't turn this ship around if he tried. Of course, he won't try.

Bob In Portland | Nov 25, 2015 12:14:31 PM | 14

Paul Craig Roberts said.. "Each step along the way the Russian government has held strong cards that it did not play, trusting instead to diplomacy. Diplomacy has now proven to be a deadend. If Russia does not join the real game and begin to play its strong cards, Russia will be defeated". Yes Russia does hold most of the cards, it was obvious that Turkey was facilitating Islamic state and that Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided the financial angle.
Putin acknowledged this when he accused some members of the G20 of supporting terrorism and that the US knowing all these things,yet the US still train and supply arms to the so called "moderate" terrorists [as rare as unicorns] who promptly sell them to other not so moderate terrorists yet refuse to do anything to stop them.
How the West [with a straight face]as Penelope pointed out @115 yesterday, can ask other countries to confront Islamic State when its ally and fellow NATO member's Head of National Intelligence [MIT] Hakan Fidan and one of Erdogans staunchest allies, wants Islamic state to open a consulate in Turkey, he said.. "ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin's plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries," Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as saying on Sunday.

Fidan further added that in order to deal with the vast number of foreign Jihadists craving to travel to Syria, it is imperative that ISIS must set up a consulate or at least a political office in Istanbul. He underlined that it is Turkey's firm belief to provide medical care for all injured people fleeing Russian ruthless airstrikes regardless of their political or religious affiliation.http://www.awdnews.com/top-news/turkish-intelligence-chief-putin-s-intervention-in-syria-is-against-islam-and-international-law,-isis-is-a-reality-and-we-are-optimistic-about-the-future You just could not make this stuff up. Unbelievable.

psychohistorian | Nov 25, 2015 12:25:04 PM | 17

@14 Bob

I disagree with your assertion that the US MIC steers the ship. I posit that the global plutocrats that own private finance, all those MIC companies and a majority of our politicians steer the ship.

somebody | Nov 25, 2015 12:25:08 PM | 18

dh | Nov 25, 2015 11:50:03 AM | 8

Interesting. It certainly sounds as if Britain was on board with Turkey. I am still not sure about the plan. Did they really think Russia would cease and desist? And why undercutting Turkey with all this Reuters mumbling about the few seconds in Turkey's airspace, and the shot in Syrian airspace?

The only use of this would be destroying the chances of an agreement on Syria - or generally an agreement with Russia.

Erdogan's problem is clear - Russia is going after his family's business ties. Are British business ties involved, too?

MrBenny | Nov 25, 2015 12:33:58 PM | 19

1. The U.S. is saying they warned about the incursion to the Russians.

2. U.S. hung Turkey out to dry by leaking that the jet was hit inside Syrian airspace.

3. Obama talked about closing the borders, not a safe zone, which will not happen.

4. The Russians bombed that area with impunity last night while the Turkish Air Force remained grounded. Pound of flesh extracted. Now this is how it will likely go-in a few days, after investigations and a cool-down period, Erdogan himself will contact Putin and express his condolences and apologize for the miscalculation. Putin will accept this so he can move on to his political goals in Syria. Turkey, however is alone and isolated, and for all intents and purposes, no longer backed by NATO.

dh | Nov 25, 2015 12:36:55 PM | 20

@18 Seems to me Erdogan is using the Syrian Turkmen for a land grab. But he stops short of putting the Turkish army into Syria without NATO backing.

Not sure why Cameron is so keen to get Britain more involved. Pressure from the Friends of Israel most likely.

lysias | Nov 25, 2015 12:37:59 PM | 22

White House press release about Obama's phone call to Erdogan:
The President spoke today by phone with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to discuss Turkey's downing of a Russian aircraft. The President expressed U.S. and NATO support for Turkey's right to defend its sovereignty. The leaders agreed on the importance of deescalating the situation and pursuing arrangements to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. They reiterated their shared commitment to efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.

I read those last sentences as being about Obama scolding Erdogan.

MorningStar | Nov 25, 2015 12:38:57 PM | 23

Too little Too Late?

Moscow to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria

The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.

"S-400 will be deployed on Khmeimim airbase in Syria," Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry meeting.

Of course if the Russians had had the integrity to fulfil the contracts they signed, to deliver the s-300 systems to both Syria and Iran, then the recent history of both those countries might have been a whole lot different.

In truth Russia has no one else but itself to blame for the Syrian quagmire it now finds itself in.

In the future it might be best for the Russians to actually fulfil the contracts they signed. Otherwise why sign them in the first place? Was it just to get some money into the current account?

[Apr 19, 2017] Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell: Russian meddling in US election is the political equivalent of 9/11

Really agitated Hillary supporter and a member of coup d'état against Trump/
Notable quotes:
"... "A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life," Morell said. "To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11." ..."
Dec 12, 2016 | www.businessinsider.com

Evidence that Russia attempted to sway the outcome of the presidential election with a hacking campaign targeting Democrats "is the political equivalent of 9/11," the former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell, said in an interview published Monday.

Morell, an intelligence analyst who served as acting director of the CIA twice between 2011 and 2013, told The Cipher Brief that revelations disclosed in a new CIA report about how Russia meddled in the election to help get Donald Trump elected "is an attack on our very democracy."

"A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life," Morell said. "To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11."

[Apr 19, 2017] Ex-CIA Director's kill Russians in Syria comment reveals neocon influence

Looks like the former CIA Director Michael Morell is kind of "inside CIA" chickenhawk. Never was in field operations
Notable quotes:
"... Morell has proposed the US change tactics in Syria by targeting President Bashar Assad's allies, adding that killing Russians should be done covertly. ..."
"... Morell was suggesting to kill Russian and Iranian people – I'm assuming soldiers, even though he wasn't that specific – as payback for their actions in Syria and Iran's actions in Iraq. Apparently Iran was providing supplies and armaments to the people we were fighting there during our occupation. Is this of strategy or tactics the norm or the oddity for the CIA in planning? ..."
"... What Mike Morell is proposing is quite simply illegal. You just can't wantonly kill people because you don't like their politics. One of the important things that Mike Morell has forgotten or has chosen to ignore is that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, whether we like him or not, is the internationally recognized leader of a sovereign country. And the Russian military has been invited into that country by its sovereign leader. So it's not up to us to decide we don't like that, and so we are going to start killing people because of it. ..."
"... What a fraud. A transparent fraud. John knows him better than I do because John dealt with him. ..."
"... Mike Morell was a golden boy for many years. He was a very young manager and rose quickly through the ranks, and had the most important jobs in the CIA, at least on the analytic side Once he got into the senior intelligence service, he took on a broader role, but that role never involved operations. This is a problem inside the agency. ..."
"... You have somebody who has never served overseas except in the very final years of his career in a very cushy position. But certainly never operationally. He's never recruited a foreign national to spy for the United States; he's never been involved in difficult or dangerous operations, yet he's advocating putting American lives on the line to kill foreign nationals against whom we have no declaration of war. ..."
"... Say he gets the chance to implement this great strategy of his which is apparently murdering a bunch of people and blowing up a bunch of stuff around Assad. How does that bring peace to Syria? ..."
"... The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they've got it. ..."
Aug 13, 2016 | www.rt.com
Op-Edge 'Ex-CIA Director's 'kill Russians in Syria' comment reveals neocon influence' Published time: 13 Aug, 2016 12:53 Edited time: 14:38

I want to scare Assad Mike Morell (Aug 8, 2016) Charlie Rose

Former CIA Director Michael Morell sparked uproar when he said in an interview on Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians should be killed in Syria. Was the provocative statement an effort to promote himself as the new CIA Director under Hillary Clinton?

Morell has proposed the US change tactics in Syria by targeting President Bashar Assad's allies, adding that killing Russians should be done covertly.

"We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria, we need to make the Russians pay a price," Morell told a stunned Charlie Rose, who asked if that means killing Iranians and Russians. Morell answered "Yes," saying the killings should be done "convertly" but done in such way that "Moscow would get the message."

Two former CIA officials turned whistleblowers, Ray McGovern and John Kiriakou, appeared on RT's "Watching the Hawks" program to give their analysis on the disturbing comments, as well as other tantalizing bits of information.

'Kill Russians and Iranians, threaten Assad,' says ex-CIA chief backing #Clintonhttps://t.co/qd21Klts2Npic.twitter.com/Otcuwniwxw

- RT America (@RT_America) August 9, 2016

RT (Tyrel Ventura): Morell was suggesting to kill Russian and Iranian people – I'm assuming soldiers, even though he wasn't that specific – as payback for their actions in Syria and Iran's actions in Iraq. Apparently Iran was providing supplies and armaments to the people we were fighting there during our occupation. Is this of strategy or tactics the norm or the oddity for the CIA in planning?

John Kiriakou: This is the exception. It's not the norm. Even under George W. Bush when the CIA wanted to initiate or institute a policy or program that would result in the killing of foreign nationals, my God, we went to the UN Security Council and asked for a vote. What Mike Morell is proposing is quite simply illegal. You just can't wantonly kill people because you don't like their politics. One of the important things that Mike Morell has forgotten or has chosen to ignore is that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, whether we like him or not, is the internationally recognized leader of a sovereign country. And the Russian military has been invited into that country by its sovereign leader. So it's not up to us to decide we don't like that, and so we are going to start killing people because of it.

Ray McGovern: What a fraud. A transparent fraud. John knows him better than I do because John dealt with him.

JK: I worked closely with Mike Morell for several years in CIA headquarters. Mike Morell was a golden boy for many years. He was a very young manager and rose quickly through the ranks, and had the most important jobs in the CIA, at least on the analytic side Once he got into the senior intelligence service, he took on a broader role, but that role never involved operations. This is a problem inside the agency. It's emblematic of what has happened with what I like to think is a neoconservative takeover of CIA policy. You have somebody who has never served overseas except in the very final years of his career in a very cushy position. But certainly never operationally. He's never recruited a foreign national to spy for the United States; he's never been involved in difficult or dangerous operations, yet he's advocating putting American lives on the line to kill foreign nationals against whom we have no declaration of war.

#WatchingTheHawks SoundCloud Episode 44.2 is here of our best segments! @TabethaWatching@TyrelWatchinghttps://t.co/dxYcjCww42

- RT America (@RT_America) August 13, 2016

RT (Tabetha Wallace): Say he gets the chance to implement this great strategy of his which is apparently murdering a bunch of people and blowing up a bunch of stuff around Assad. How does that bring peace to Syria?

JK: It doesn't, it can't and it won't. This whole idea that he espoused on the Charlie Rose show will not come to pass. If Mike Morell were serious about this, if this were something that Hillary Clinton would seriously consider, it would be kept so secret and so private that even inside the CIA 99 percent of employees wouldn't know anything about it. So for him to just go on TV and dramatically say this is what he would do it's just grandstanding.

This is such an obviously transparent bid by Michael Morell to be the CIA Director under a Hillary Clinton administration... This is a political ploy by him that is not thought through at all - Gareth Porter, investigative journalist, to RT in a separate interview.

RT (Tyrel Ventura): Why do you think Morell is getting on TV and grandstanding like that? What is his motivation for doing this?

RM: He's not the only one. There are others who are candidates to be head of the CIA or other high positions. The whole thing is so vacuous. Charlie Rose has had this guy on 11 times in the last two years. They never question the unspoken premises. I mean, Hello? Why does Bashar al-Assad have to go? Is he a threat to the United States? No. Then why does he have to go? It's very simple. The neocons want him to go. Why do the neocons want him to go? The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they've got it.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Apr 19, 2017] A Lawless Plan to Target Syrias Allies by Ray McGovern

Notable quotes:
"... (Emphasis added) ..."
"... And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that. ..."
"... And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. ..."
"... (Emphasis added) ..."
"... "Now these issues that I'm talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They're talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn't talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it." ..."
"... Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as "aggression" or as an "invasion" or as "terrorism." ..."
Aug 20, 2016 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: Official Washington's disdain for international law – when it's doing the lawbreaking – was underscored by ex-CIA acting director Morell voicing plans for murdering Iranians and maybe Russians in Syria, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says.

On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a "mulligan" for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.

Morell did so despite Rose's efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about "killing" Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

In the earlier interview, Morell said he wanted to "make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. make the Russians pay a price in Syria."

Rose: "We make them pay the price by killing Russians?"

Morell: "Yeah."

Rose: "And killing Iranians?"

Morell: "Yes You don't tell the world about it. But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran."

In the follow-up interview , some of Rose's fretful comments made it clear that there are still some American non-neocons around who were withholding applause for Morell's belligerent suggestion.

Rose apparently has some viewers who oppose all terrorism, including the state-sponsored variety that would involve a few assassinations to send a message, and the notion that U.S. bombing Syria to "scare" Assad is somehow okay (as long as the perpetrator is the sole "indispensable" nation in the world).

Rose helped Morell 'splain that he really did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians. No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored "moderate opposition" in Syria did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his advocacy of the U.S. Air Force bombing Syrian government targets. That would be "an okay thing" in Morell's lexicon.

The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." That would seem to cover Morell's plan.

But Morell seems oblivious to international law and to the vast human suffering already inflicted in Syria over the past five years by government forces, rebels, terrorists and outside nations trying to advance one geopolitical goal or another.

What is needed is a serious commitment to peace talks without unacceptable preconditions, such as outside demands for "regime change." Instead, the focus should be on creating conditions for Syrians to make that choice themselves through elections or power-sharing negotiations.

Morell prefers to think that a few more U.S.-directed murders and some more aerial-inflicted mayhem should do the trick. Perhaps he thinks that's the sort of tough-guy/gal talk that will impress a prospective President Hillary Clinton.

A Slight Imprecision?

Charlie Rose begins the "mulligan" segment with the suggestion that Morell might have slightly misspoken: "Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it Tell me what you meant to say perhaps you did not speak as precisely as you should have or I didn't ask the right questions."

TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

Morell responded, "No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions," and then he presented his killing plan as a route to peace, albeit one in which the United States dictates "regime change" in Syria: "So there's not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution. And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people.

"That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen. So we need to increase our leverage over those three people and countries, in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.

"And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was: Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they're already fighting Russians and Iranians.

"So the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians, is fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that's an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive." (Emphasis added)

Rose: "You weren't suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground."

Morell: "And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that.

"So that's Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don't kill anybody, right, zero collateral. You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists . (Emphasis added)

"You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this.

"Now these issues that I'm talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They're talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn't talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it."

Acts of Illegal War

Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as "aggression" or as an "invasion" or as "terrorism."

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Remember, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in February 2014, when Russia intervened to allow Crimea to hold a referendum on splitting away from the new regime in Kiev and rejoining Russia, the U.S. government insisted that there was no excuse for President Vladimir Putin not respecting the sovereignty of the coup regime even if it had illegally ousted an elected president.

However, regarding Syria, the United States and its various "allies," including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have intervened directly and indirectly in supporting various armed groups, including Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, seeking the violent overthrow of Syria's government.

Without any legal authorization from the United Nations, President Barack Obama has ordered the arming and training of anti-government rebels (including some who have fought under Nusra's command structure ), has carried out airstrikes inside Syria (aimed at Islamic State militants), and has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Syria with Kurdish rebels.

Now, a former senior U.S. intelligence official is publicly urging bombing of Syrian government targets and the killing of Iranians and Russians who are legally inside Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government. In other words, not only does the U.S. government operate with breathtaking hypocrisy in the Syrian crisis, but it functions completely outside international law.

And, Morell says that in attacking Syrian government targets - supposedly without causing any deaths - the United States would employ "the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists," except those rules of engagement explicitly seek to kill targeted individuals. So, what kind of dangerously muddled thinking do we have here?

One can only imagine the reaction if some Russian version of Morell went on Moscow TV and urged the murder of U.S. military trainers operating inside Ukraine – to send a message to Washington. And then, the Russian Morell would advocate Russia bombing Ukrainian government targets in Kiev with the supposed goal of forcing the U.S.-backed government to accept a "regime change" acceptable to Moscow.

A Fawning Audition

Rather than calls for him to be locked up or at least decisively repudiated, the American Morell was allowed to continue his fawning audition for a possible job in a Hillary Clinton administration by extolling her trustworthiness and "humanity."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Morell offered a heartwarming story about how compassionate Clinton was as Secretary of State when he lost out to John Brennan to be the fulltime CIA Director. After he was un-picked for the job, Morell said he was in the White House Situation Room and Clinton, "sat down next to me, put her hand on my shoulder, and she simply said, 'Are you okay?' There is humanity there, and I think the public needs to know."

And, Clinton was a straight-shooter, too, Morell explained: "You know, it's interesting, Charlie, I worked with her for four years. Leon Panetta, David Petraeus worked with her for four years. We trusted her word; we trusted her judgment. You know, [CIA] Director Panetta, [CIA] Director Petraeus, I provided her with some of the most sensitive information that the CIA collects and she never gave us one reason to doubt how she was handling that. You know, she spoke to us forthrightly. I trust her word and I trust her judgment."

Can Morell be unaware that Clinton repeatedly put highly sensitive intelligence on her very vulnerable private email server along with other data that later investigations determined should have been marked SECRET, TOP SECRET, CODEWORD, and/or SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAMS?

FBI Director James Comey, in announcing that he would not recommend prosecuting Clinton for compromising these secrets, called her behavior "extremely careless."

For his part, Charlie Rose offered a lament about how hard it is for Clinton to convey her "humanity" and how deserving she is of trust. He riffed on the Biblical passage about those who can be trusted in small matters (like sitting down next to Morell, putting her hand on his shoulder, and asking him if he is okay) can be trusted on big matters, too.

My Travails With Charlie

Twelve years ago, I was interviewed by Charlie Rose, with the other interviewee (who participated remotely) James Woolsey, former head of the CIA (1993-95), arch-neocon, and self-described "anchor the Presbyterian wing of JINSA " (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

The occasion was the New York premier of Robert Greenwald's full-length film version of his documentary, "Uncovered: the Whole Truth About the Iraq War," in which I had a small part and which described the many falsehoods that had been used by President George W. Bush and his neocon advisers, to justify invading Iraq. Woolsey did not like the film, and Greenwald asked me to take the Rose invitation that had originally been extended to him.

True to form, Charlie Rose knew on which side his bread was buttered, and it wasn't mine. He was his usual solicitous self when dealing with an "important" personage, such as Woolsey. I was going to count the minutes apportioned to me and compare them with those given to Woolsey, but I decided to spare myself the trouble.

The last time I checked the Aug. 20, 2004 video is available for purchase but I refuse to pay for it. Fortunately, a friend taped and uploaded the audio onto YouTube. It might be worth a listen on a slow summer day 12 years after my travails with Charlie.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

[Apr 19, 2017] Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death

Apr 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

TG , April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT \n

300 Words An interesting article. A few random thoughts.
  1. "Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death" – Otto von Bismarck.
  2. In general I agree and wish that the United States military would be more defensive and waste fewer resources attacking irrelevant nations on the other side of the world. But. It is nevertheless true that "defensive" Russia has been invaded and devastated multiple times, and the United States has not. Perhaps creating chaos on the other side of the world is long-term not quite so ineffective as sitting around waiting for an attack?
  3. The American elites are simply corrupt and insane/don't care about the long-term. At every level – companies taking out massive loans to buy back their stock to boost CEO bonuses, loading up college students with massive unplayable debt so that university administrators can get paid like CEOs, drug prices going through the roof, etc.etc. Military costs will never be as efficient as civilian, war is expensive, but the US has gotten to the point where there is no financial accountability, it's all about the right people grabbing as much money as possible.

    To make more money you just add another zero at the end of the price tag. At some point the costs will become so inflated and divorced from reality that we will be unable to afford anything And the right people will take their loot and move to New Zealand and wring their hands at how the lazy Americans were not worthy of their brilliant leadership

[Aug 09, 2016] They knew nothing about the coup in Turkey! - Defend Democracy Press

Notable quotes:
"... German parliamentarians are preparing to ask for sanctions against the USA, Britain and France also. According to those parliamentarians, by implementing the Chaos Strategy in the Middle East, in order to "promote democracy", as they kept saying, Washington, London and Paris are directly responsible for the refugee crisis, the terror attacks and the whole pattern of instability which has now engulfed Turkey as well. ..."
"... Mr. Erdogan, President of one of the most important NATO countries, did not meet any of his Western counterparts, but he is going to Russia to meet President Putin, and his closest advisors are proposing that he should institute an alliance with Russia, like Kemal, and wage war against "the Crusaders". ..."
"... The perspective of a strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow is the definition of a nightmare for US and Israeli planners. They certainly did not start all those wars just to see a bloc of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria being formed in the Middle East, not to mention, potentially, a huge crisis in NATO. ..."
www.defenddemocracy.press

The US Ambassador to Ankara explains why his country knew nothing about what was going to happen in Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-us-planning-support-knowledge-in-coup-attempt-in-turkey-ambassador.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102529&NewsCatID=510

In the meantime Austrian and German politicians compare the coup in Turkey with the Reichstag fire in 1933. But they don't know who set the fire

https://www.rt.com/news/354909-austria-germany-nazi-turkey/

A leftist politician in Germany wants sanctions against Turkey

http://www.thelocal.de/20160802/left-party-politician-calls-for-sanctions-against-turkey

According to our information this is only the first step. German parliamentarians are preparing to ask for sanctions against the USA, Britain and France also. According to those parliamentarians, by implementing the Chaos Strategy in the Middle East, in order to "promote democracy", as they kept saying, Washington, London and Paris are directly responsible for the refugee crisis, the terror attacks and the whole pattern of instability which has now engulfed Turkey as well.

According also to our information, top US and Israeli officials are outraged at what is happening. They now have to cancel all family vacation planning and concentrate on how to handle an unbelievable new situation. Mr. Erdogan, President of one of the most important NATO countries, did not meet any of his Western counterparts, but he is going to Russia to meet President Putin, and his closest advisors are proposing that he should institute an alliance with Russia, like Kemal, and wage war against "the Crusaders".

Radicals around Erdogan call for war "against Crusaders"

The perspective of a strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow is the definition of a nightmare for US and Israeli planners. They certainly did not start all those wars just to see a bloc of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria being formed in the Middle East, not to mention, potentially, a huge crisis in NATO.

We are still not there and nobody knows if we will reach that point. Russia and Turkey, as history proves, have seriously conflicting interests. As for Erdogan himself, he cannot win over the Kurds by military means and neither can the Kurds win what they want by war. All that is certain is that we are heading straight for very serious conflicts.

Fortunately for them, and probably for us also, European politicians do not consider any alteration of their vacation programs. They are continuing their enjoyment of their holidays, waiting for Washington to take its decisions.

D.K.

[Aug 08, 2016] Has al Nusra proven to be a capable fighting force on its own? Or has it proven capable at using the weapons gifted it by its regime-change uncle and with the support of the USAF and

American Special Forces within Nusra? If true that's rich...
Notable quotes:
"... Has al Nusra proven to be a capable fighting force on its own? Or has it proven capable at using the weapons gifted it by its regime-change uncle and with the support of the USAF and American Special Forces? ..."
"... Natalya Nougayrède hits all the familiar high points in this typical hagiography – Putin is in Syria because he wants to show everyone his penis, and avenge the catastrophic defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan while restoring Russia's image as a serious military power. ..."
"... But despite her love-letter to western imperialism, Nougayrède seems quite clear that Assad is not losing ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , August 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Has al Nusra proven to be a capable fighting force on its own? Or has it proven capable at using the weapons gifted it by its regime-change uncle and with the support of the USAF and American Special Forces?

Natalya Nougayrède hits all the familiar high points in this typical hagiography – Putin is in Syria because he wants to show everyone his penis, and avenge the catastrophic defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan while restoring Russia's image as a serious military power. Putin was in the KGB. It has absolutely fuck-all to do with the article, but Putin was in the KGB, just to be sure you know. It was terribly embarrassing for the Soviet Union to be defeated by a ragtag army of Afghan Mujaheddin, but apparently it is not embarrassing at all for America to experience the profound failure of its military policy in Afghanistan . Or perhaps it is embarrassing, since it dares not leave.

But despite her love-letter to western imperialism, Nougayrède seems quite clear that Assad is not losing, although she plainly would be delighted if that were the case. She also points out that Aleppo is the last remaining significant opposition stronghold. If al Nusra is such an awesome fighting force, why are they surrounded in the last significant objective they hold? Why are they not spreading out and taking more territory?

[Jun 18, 2016] 51 US Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria

51 neocons warmongers, who need to be send to Afghanistan for some on site learning. Nuland's birds of feather try to get worm places in Hillary new administration, playing on her war hawk tendencies... Those "diplomats" forgot about the existence of Saudis and other theocracies which are much more brutal and less democratic, viewing woman as domestic animals. These are dark times for American foreign policy. the easy part is to depose Assad. But what might happen after Assad is disposed of? You know, the hard part, what follows?
Notable quotes:
"... These Diplomats should be fired as idiots. Did they not just live through the Iraqi occupation, destruction and disaster? ..."
"... Are you a bit confused as to who these neocon dissenters at State support in the Syrian civil war? ..."
"... This is simply a roll call of neocon diplomats making a case for another non-strategic war that would badly hurt US interests. It does not represent State Department policy. The neocons have been very persistent in securing career appointments at State for decades now. ..."
"... You are pushing the world closer to war. ..."
"... what is intolerable about the position of the 51 "diplomats" in the memo is that it is their (failed) efforts to dislodge Assad by proxy, facilitating and organizing the flow of arms that more often than ended up in the hands of hard-line jihadists, that has led to almost 400,000 deaths (not to mention wounded) and the flight of over a million refugees. ..."
"... Wow, sounds like some housecleaning is needed at State. Whatever happened to jaw-jaw being better than war-war? If they are so keen on military action, they're in the wrong building. I'm sure some of the overworked troops and officers in the armed forces would be happy to let these guys take a few of the chances of getting shot or blown up that they deal with daily. ..."
"... It is troubling that the State Department, long a bulwark of common sense against America's foreign adventurism, has become as hawkish as its former head, Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... The Middle East Institute is financed, primarily, by the petroleum and arms industries. The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy has HRC's close ally, Dennis Ross; who, with Martin Indyk, founded AIPAC in the mid-80's. ..."
"... This group's contention that direct confrontation with Russia could be avoided echoes their 2002 claim that Operation Iraqi Freedom would be a three month cake walk. ..."
"... Since WWII, U.S. foreign policy has been rooted in the projection and use of force (covert and overt) as the primary means to achieve whatever goals the executive office seeks. It placed the world on notice that the U.S. was ready and willing to use violence to back its foreign policy objectives. Just as in Vietnam and before the disastrous decision to escalate the use of ground forces, President Johnson's national security advisors (all holdovers from Kennedy's Presidency) pressed Johnson to use aerial bombardment against N. Vietnam to induce them to seek a negotiated peace that would allow the U.S. to withdraw from the conflict and save face while preserving the policy of projecting force as a means to maintain world order in accordance with U.S. designs. ..."
"... My oldest son is now completing his sixth Afghan/Iraq tour.I don't want him in Syria. Let these 51 diplomats volunteer their sons/daughters for Syria.That'll demonstrate their commitment.I'll bet not one of these 51 "geniuses" has a child on active military duty in Iraq/Afghan. ..."
"... These folks are, it appears, mid-level foreign service officers like I was. They are utterly unqualified to make these judgements as the Department of State is a failed organization culturally and functionally. Like HRC, who is still advocating for forced regime change if she wins, they have learned nothing from the past and again have no answer for what follows Asad being deposed. A majority Sunni regime in Syria will tear Iraq apart and there is no likelihood of it avoiding the trajectory of other "pluralistic" Arab state attempts. The fact that State has no culture of strategic analysis informing operational design and operational planning which, in turn, spawn series of tactical events, comes clear in situations like this. Doing nothing is the best case here. Tragic but still the best case. President Obama has seen this. Asad needs to regain control of Syria's territory, all of it. Feeding the hopes of the Ahmed Chalabi equivalents in Syria is perpetuating the violence. And, there is no room for an independent Kurdistan in the region, nor is it in the United States' interest for there to be one. ..."
"... That's the same class of people who figured that invading in Iraq in 2003 would turn out all right. ..."
"... Exhibit A being Samantha Power, the latest in a long line of militaristic, European-born white Americans (see Albright, Kissinger, Brzezinski) who believe that American firepower can bring order to the world. ..."
"... Sorry hawkish diplomats, but you're living in a fantasyland where the invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not permanently tarnish the image of the USA and wreck its credibility as an honest arbiter. That is the reality all US presidents will have to face in the post-Bush 43 era. ..."
"... Are those 51 U.S. Diplomats responsible for advising the Obama Administration to bomb Libya back in 2011? Apparently they have not learned from their mistakes. Or maybe they should just go work for their true Employer, The Military Industrial Complex. ..."
"... This is reckless and irresponsible. US backed "moderates" are fighting elbow to elbow with the Nusra Front and other radicals groups; that is why the cease-fire is collapsing. ..."
"... If we weaken Assad, Islamists will take over Damascus and if Damascus falls, soon Beirut will follow. These folk at State are neo cons, as usual shooting from the hip. ..."
"... Vietnam, 212,000 dead and countless north and south Vietnamese and citizens. Unjust and unwarranted war on Iraq with 4,491 and counting dead and countess Iraqi citizens. Now, Syria? Are you wanting the draft returned? You asking for boots on the ground? How about you 50 join up. I will willingly pay for taxes just arm you and send you in. Along with every other know it all who wants us 'TO DO MORE'!! Spare me. You have learned NOTHING in your past failures, have you? 1956, Iran. Cause the over throw of a duly elected government for the Shahs which led to 1980 revolution to fear of them acquiring nuclear weapons. Vietnam led to 'WHAT'? Now Iraq. ..."
"... The worse destabilization in that area I can remember. Not even during their many attacks on Israel when Egypt got a clue. Fire Saddam Hussein's soldiers and they become ISIS by 2006, yet one bright senator lied and said Obama caused them when we left which was President Bush's treaty Maliki. They did not want us there. Leave per the Iraqi people, also. When ISIS showed up they ran and left the weaponry we gave them and the money in the banks for them to grab. Now, you want us steeped into Syria. It's been said, hindsight is 20/20, ..."
"... In these so called diplomats cases, it is totally and legally blind. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles has a better perception and one of them is dead. ..."
"... The war hawks, so comfortably away from the battle, are banging those drums of war again. Easy to do when your life and the lives of your fellow military are not at risk. ..."
"... We all know now that the invasion of Iraq by Mr. Bush junior was a) a mistake, and b) a War Crime - there were no threatening WMDs nor did Saddam hold hads with Al Quaeda (he was, actually, their worst enemy - and our security!), so, Iraq was c) total stupidity. It was an aggressive war without any cause - for the USA! ..."
"... This is much more about what Mark Landler thinks than about what those generic diplomats think. The Times's principal hawk, Landler has book and a series of articles pushing his neocon view. I guess we should assume the Times agrees. ..."
"... Having spent substantial time as a private consultant at the US Embassy in Kabul I was shocked by the lack of feelings of midlevel officials there with regard to the dead and injuries of American Troops. The Embassy shared a wall with the ISAF/NATO Main Quarters and every single day the US Flag there was half-mast to acknowledge the dead of our troops on that day in that country. The Embassy never shared this sadness and all midlevel officials there were only concerned about their paycheck, quality of meals served, having a drink, going for a swim, and their frequent trips back to the US; for such people wanting to have a say in when to fight in Syria is a sad state of affair. ..."
"... Perhaps we should figure out one take-down before we move on to the next. After 13 years, we still haven't figured out life in Iraq without Saddam. Any thoughts, neocons, on what might happen after Assad is disposed of? You know, the hard part, what follows? ..."
"... Get Rid of Assad, make relations with Russia worse (they back Assad) and allow ISIS to effectively take over Syria. Sounds like a great plan. I guess our military-industrial complex is getting itchy for a new war. And, of course, doing what these diplomats want will also result in putting boots on the ground. This will be a great legacy for Ms. Clinton (under her watch ISIS came into being), Mr. Kerry (who continued Clinton's failed legacy) and Mr. Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize president; who wasn't). ..."
"... The signers of the dissent letter are militarist neocons (of the Victoria Nuland ilk). More than any other, these people and their CIA collaborators are responsible for the death and destruction in Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis. They can't even give a cogent reason for deposing Assad other than point to the carnage of the civil war they fomented-as if Assad were solely responsible. Assad is acting no differently than the US did during it's own Civil War. ..."
"... The value of the memo can be summed up in one sentence as described in the article itself "what would happen in the event that Mr. Assad was forced from power - a scenario that the draft memo does not address." ..."
"... I wonder about the arrogance of these mid-level State Department foreign service officers. ..."
"... Sure -- a few well-placed cruise missiles will make it all good. Yeah, right. ..."
"... Absolutely amazing. My first question is who released this memo? Having a back channel does not permit anyone to unilaterally decide to release information that could cost lives and ruin negotiations that the releasing person knows nothing about. If you do not like the chain of command, then leave. We cannot continue to be involved in sectarian conflicts that cannot be resolved except by the combatants. Haven't we learned anything from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Vietnam? No neocon insanity. We have lost enough lives and treasure in the ME. ..."
"... Are these the same ingrates who urged Bush to attack Iraq - his legacy - ISIS! ..."
"... As a 26 year Marine Corps combat veteran I have a hard time trying to figure out what is going on here, and a harder time not becoming totally disgusted with our State Department. ..."
"... My suggestion would be that we arm these 51 individuals, given them a week's worth of ammunition and rations, and drop them into Syria, I am sure they can lead the way in showing us how to solve the mess in the ME. ..."
"... It's the fact that these are not "widely known names" which scares me most. However, Western-instituted regime change in that region has proven disastrous in every single country it has been tried. If possible, I would investigate these diplomats' ties to defense contractors. ..."
"... US intervention created the rubble and hell that is now Syria. When Assad had full control of Syria, the human rights of the people of Syria suffered under him but many if not most people led a civilised life. They had water and electricity. Past US interventions created Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. To puy it simply, life expectancy in all these countries dropped by 20 to 30 years after the US intervened, each time with the highest utopian ideals, and increased the power of Sunni supremacists after each act. ..."
"... Let's not forget that Bush's hasty appointment of Paul Bremer as the hapless Governor of Iraq following the defeat of Hussein's military regime led immediately to the disbanding of the entire Iraqi military, an incredibly short-sighted and reckless move that essentially unleashed 400,000 young trained fighters (including a honed officers corps) absent support programs to assimilate back into Iraqi society, only to have them emerge as readily available fodder essential for ISIS's marshalling a strong military force almost overnight. A huge price is now being exacted for this astounding stupidity. ..."
"... This is conveniently laying grounds for Hillary's grand comeback to the theatre of "humanitarian interventionism" in the Middle East. God help us all, as this is a prelude to the WW3. ..."
"... Wow the neo-cons are beating the war drums yet again! They have already created a huge mess throughout the Middle East with wars and revolutions directly attributable to the United States in invading Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretenses, helping overthrow the government in Libya, and arming rebels in Syria and Yemen. ..."
"... Unfortunately if Hillary Clinton wins, she is a neo-con puppet and we will be at war in Syria and/or Iran within a year or two. God help us! ..."
"... First of all, if this was a channel for employees to share "candidly and privately" about policy concerns, why is it on the front page of the NY Times? Additionally, as usual, it seems the war hawks are hawking war without thought for what comes next. We've done this most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, all of which are now failed states and havens for terrorists. Because this seems rather obvious, either we are pathologically incapable of learning from past mistakes, or there are people who have an agenda different from the publicly stated one. ..."
"... The U.S. has a lengthy, very sordid history of leaping into the fray in areas such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central America and Afghanistan, among others - all with catastrophic results, for which we never seemed to have a credible, well- crafted plan, nor have we ever comprehended the millennia of internecine tribal hatred and sectarian warfare. ..."
"... I am more scared of US diplomats and politicians than terrorists! Have they learned nothing from the US efforts to create western style democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria (by supporting separatists att an early stage). The US diplomats proposal would ensure more chaos, death and prolonged wR. 38 % of the population are Alewits. They will be killed, Christians will be killed. ..."
The New York Times

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 16 hours ago

These Diplomats should be fired as idiots. Did they not just live through the Iraqi occupation, destruction and disaster?

A few years ago, a diplomat who quit was complaining about Syria at a conference I attended. When I asked who would fill the void if Assad was deposed he said, "That is a difficult question to answer." What he really meant to say is, "I don't have a clue."

We have already disrupted Syria by supporting rebels/terrorists. The region cannot tolerate another Iraq.

Dan Stewart, NYC 16 hours ago

Are you a bit confused as to who these neocon dissenters at State support in the Syrian civil war?

Here's a helpful hint:

If they have beards down to their belt buckles and seem to be hollering something about Allah, those are the guys the neocons support.

If they're recently shaved and wearing Western attire, in other words, if they look like anyone you might bump into on a US city street, those are the people the neocons call the enemy.


Retroatavist,
DC 10 hours ago

This is simply a roll call of neocon diplomats making a case for another non-strategic war that would badly hurt US interests. It does not represent State Department policy. The neocons have been very persistent in securing career appointments at State for decades now. It's as if we hadn't forgotten the endless horrible mess they got us and the rest of the world into by breaking Iraq and destroying all its institutions with the insane de-baathification policy. And it all started with a similar steady drumbeat for war throughout the mid and late '90s and up to the 2003 disastrous invasion. Did we not learn anything? Really: Whose interest would an open US war against Assad really serve, and what predictable outcome would be in the US's strategic favor?

Robert Sawyer, New York, New York 14 hours ago

How many among the 51 are members of "Hillary's Legions, " the same geniuses responsible for the unqualified success we achieved in Libya?

Gennady, Rhinebeck 16 hours ago

Stop this irresponsible reporting. You are pushing the world closer to war. Humanitarian support is all we should bring to the Syrian people, regardless of which side they are on.

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC

These Diplomats should be fired as idiots. Did they not just live through the Iraqi occupation, destruction and disaster?

A few years ago, a diplomat who quit was complaining about Syria at a conference I attended. When I asked who would fill the void if Assad was deposed he said, "That is a difficult question to answer." What he really meant to say is, "I don't have a clue."

We have already disrupted Syria by supporting rebels/terrorists. The region cannot tolerate another Iraq.

Alyoshak, Durant, OK

Isn't Congress supposed to declare war, and the President command our armed forces when such declarations occur? But what is intolerable about the position of the 51 "diplomats" in the memo is that it is their (failed) efforts to dislodge Assad by proxy, facilitating and organizing the flow of arms that more often than ended up in the hands of hard-line jihadists, that has led to almost 400,000 deaths (not to mention wounded) and the flight of over a million refugees. But no, these casualties have nothing to do with our attempts at regime change, No!, the blame for them lies squarely upon Assad for not scooting out of town immediately and submissively when the U.S. decided it was time for him to go. So now we're supposed to double-down on a deeply immoral and flawed strategy? How many more Syrians' lives must be ruined to "save" them from Assad?

Everyman, USA 16 hours ago

Wow, sounds like some housecleaning is needed at State. Whatever happened to jaw-jaw being better than war-war? If they are so keen on military action, they're in the wrong building. I'm sure some of the overworked troops and officers in the armed forces would be happy to let these guys take a few of the chances of getting shot or blown up that they deal with daily.

Dan, Alexandria 16 hours ago

It is troubling that the State Department, long a bulwark of common sense against America's foreign adventurism, has become as hawkish as its former head, Hillary Clinton.

I am grateful to President Obama for resisting this foolishness, but make no mistake, no matter who gets into office in January, the kind of farcical, counterproductive, unrealistic "limited engagement" advocated by these so-called diplomats will be our future. Clinton is champing at the bit for it, and Trump is too weak to do anything but go along with it.

Clark M. Shanahan, Oak Park, Illinois 16 hours ago

Sadly, they'll most likely have a more accommodating commander and chief with HRC.

The Middle East Institute is financed, primarily, by the petroleum and arms industries. The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy has HRC's close ally, Dennis Ross; who, with Martin Indyk, founded AIPAC in the mid-80's.

This group's contention that direct confrontation with Russia could be avoided echoes their 2002 claim that Operation Iraqi Freedom would be a three month cake walk.

Paul Cohen, is a trusted commenter Hartford CT 15 hours ago

Since WWII, U.S. foreign policy has been rooted in the projection and use of force (covert and overt) as the primary means to achieve whatever goals the executive office seeks. It placed the world on notice that the U.S. was ready and willing to use violence to back its foreign policy objectives. Just as in Vietnam and before the disastrous decision to escalate the use of ground forces, President Johnson's national security advisors (all holdovers from Kennedy's Presidency) pressed Johnson to use aerial bombardment against N. Vietnam to induce them to seek a negotiated peace that would allow the U.S. to withdraw from the conflict and save face while preserving the policy of projecting force as a means to maintain world order in accordance with U.S. designs.

Nixon carried on this bombing for peace strategy to insane war crime level. This heavy reliance on military force over a diplomatic solution has never worked. It didn't work for our knee-jerk response to 9/11 by immediately resorting to military force without first thinking through the consequences. We are now into our 15th year of aggression against the Muslim World. The time is long past due to question our failed policy and seek an alternative solution.

Bud, McKinney, Texas 16 hours ago

My oldest son is now completing his sixth Afghan/Iraq tour.I don't want him in Syria. Let these 51 diplomats volunteer their sons/daughters for Syria.That'll demonstrate their commitment.I'll bet not one of these 51 "geniuses" has a child on active military duty in Iraq/Afghan.

Abu Charlie, Toronto, Ontario 14 hours ago

These folks are, it appears, mid-level foreign service officers like I was. They are utterly unqualified to make these judgements as the Department of State is a failed organization culturally and functionally. Like HRC, who is still advocating for forced regime change if she wins, they have learned nothing from the past and again have no answer for what follows Asad being deposed. A majority Sunni regime in Syria will tear Iraq apart and there is no likelihood of it avoiding the trajectory of other "pluralistic" Arab state attempts. The fact that State has no culture of strategic analysis informing operational design and operational planning which, in turn, spawn series of tactical events, comes clear in situations like this. Doing nothing is the best case here. Tragic but still the best case. President Obama has seen this. Asad needs to regain control of Syria's territory, all of it. Feeding the hopes of the Ahmed Chalabi equivalents in Syria is perpetuating the violence. And, there is no room for an independent Kurdistan in the region, nor is it in the United States' interest for there to be one.

AR, is a trusted commenter Virginia 15 hours ago

How undiplomatic. I don't care that these people are diplomats and that many of them probably have impeccable academic pedigrees with degrees from the usual suspects such as the Ivy League schools, SAIS, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Kennedy. That's the same class of people who figured that invading in Iraq in 2003 would turn out all right. Obama is correct to ignore these people, who more often than not are possessed by the notion of American Exceptionalism. Exhibit A being Samantha Power, the latest in a long line of militaristic, European-born white Americans (see Albright, Kissinger, Brzezinski) who believe that American firepower can bring order to the world.

Let this be made clear: Any escalation of American involvement in Syria will be interpreted as 1) an attempt to enhance the national security of Israel, 2) a means of benefiting the revenue stream of the American military industrial complex, or 3) both. Only the most naive and foolish people, since the absolutely disastrous events of 2003, would be inclined to believe that American military intervention in Syria is motivated mainly by humanitarian impulses.

Sorry hawkish diplomats, but you're living in a fantasyland where the invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not permanently tarnish the image of the USA and wreck its credibility as an honest arbiter. That is the reality all US presidents will have to face in the post-Bush 43 era.

Robert Roth, NYC 14 hours ago

Everyone closes their eyes and imagines all the bloodshed they will prevent by all the bloodshed they will cause.

Samsara, The West 16 hours ago

Have Iraq and Libya taught these State Department officials NOTHING??

Simon, Tampa 15 hours ago

The neo-cons who love regime change that never works. Let us examine their track record:

Iraq - a mess and infested with ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Libya - now an anarchist state infested with ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Yemen - bombing and murdering thousands of innocents and Al Qaeda.

Syria, the only secular Arab state, destroyed and infested with ISIS and Al Qaeda. The only reason Syria hasn't completely fallen apart is thanks to Assad and his Sunni dominated army, Iran, and the Russians. So of course, these neo-cons want to complete the job at the behest of the money they will be getting from the Saudis and the other Gulf States.

Don't worry you warmongering greedy neocon, Hillary Clinton is one of you and will be president soon enough.

Title Holder, Fl 15 hours ago

Are those 51 U.S. Diplomats responsible for advising the Obama Administration to bomb Libya back in 2011? Apparently they have not learned from their mistakes. Or maybe they should just go work for their true Employer, The Military Industrial Complex.

Andrea, New Jersey 15 hours ago

This is reckless and irresponsible. US backed "moderates" are fighting elbow to elbow with the Nusra Front and other radicals groups; that is why the cease-fire is collapsing. Syrians and Russians can not split hairs on the battlefield.

If we weaken Assad, Islamists will take over Damascus and if Damascus falls, soon Beirut will follow. These folk at State are neo cons, as usual shooting from the hip.

Jett Rink, lafayette, la 15 hours ago

Here's the thing most people don't get about ISIS. They thrive on us being involved in the Middle East. They are willing to kill other Muslims in order to keep us involved. As long as we are there, terrorism will persist, over there and here too. They are playing us like chumps. They use our tendency to knee-jerk reactions against us. They're out smarting us at every juncture.

Of course it's human nature to want to help people in such dire straights. But that's exactly what ISIS wants, and correctly predict, that we'll do. So as long as they out-think us, they'll continue to win.

If you want to help the innocent people caught in the cross-hairs of ISIS, the best thing we could possibly do is pack up and leave. There'll be some more carnage, but eventually the backlash from within will force them to stop the wrecking and killing. Many people will die, but in the end, the tally would be far fewer.

Their goal is to keep us engaged. Ours should be to get out! As long as we stay, they win. And that's how they're able to convince long-wolf's to strike us here, even when here is home to them too.

Joane Johnson, Cleveland, Ohio 15 hours ago

Vietnam, 212,000 dead and countless north and south Vietnamese and citizens. Unjust and unwarranted war on Iraq with 4,491 and counting dead and countess Iraqi citizens. Now, Syria? Are you wanting the draft returned? You asking for boots on the ground? How about you 50 join up. I will willingly pay for taxes just arm you and send you in. Along with every other know it all who wants us 'TO DO MORE'!! Spare me. You have learned NOTHING in your past failures, have you? 1956, Iran. Cause the over throw of a duly elected government for the Shahs which led to 1980 revolution to fear of them acquiring nuclear weapons. Vietnam led to 'WHAT'? Now Iraq.

The worse destabilization in that area I can remember. Not even during their many attacks on Israel when Egypt got a clue. Fire Saddam Hussein's soldiers and they become ISIS by 2006, yet one bright senator lied and said Obama caused them when we left which was President Bush's treaty Maliki. They did not want us there. Leave per the Iraqi people, also. When ISIS showed up they ran and left the weaponry we gave them and the money in the banks for them to grab. Now, you want us steeped into Syria. It's been said, hindsight is 20/20,

In these so called diplomats cases, it is totally and legally blind. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles has a better perception and one of them is dead.

Bev, New York 16 hours ago

Yes the war machine wants more wars. Who will take the place of the evil Assad? We have removed a number of evil dictators in that area of the world and all it has done is sap our resources, killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, made millions hate us, and created vacuums of power which are then filled with Saudi-assisted ISIS - AND profited our war machine (that's the important part!) We need less involvement in the Mideast, not more. Bring them all home and start transitioning from a war economy to an economy that serves the American citizens here.

ME, Toronto 13 hours ago

Thank goodness Obama kept his head and didn't (and hopefully won't) listen to such crazy advice. To call the signers "diplomats" is a real stretch. It seems that somewhere back in time various U.S. "diplomats" decided that they have the right to decide who and what the government should be in various jurisdictions throughout the world. Of course this is motivated by purely humanitarian concerns and love of democracy and not the self-interest of the U.S., as in having a friendly government in place. As despicable as some governments are, the lessons over many years now should be that military strikes are just as (maybe more) likely to produce something bad as anything good. Better to talk and try to influence the development of nations through positive reinforcement (as Obama has done in Iran). Undoubtedly this is a slow and somewhat frustrating process but that is something real "diplomats" should be good at. If this process had been pursued in Syria we would all be better off today and especially the Syrian people.

Mitchell, New York 16 hours ago

I assume these people at State also believe in the Tooth Fairy. The fantasy of "moderate" rebels who will be grateful to us after they depose a tyrant and put in a fair democratic government that takes into account all of our Western ideals and freedoms is so unrealistic that these people at State need to find a job where their last words are, "Can I supersize that for you?" Our involvement in the Middle East displacing despots and replacing them with chaos has been the biggest disaster in foreign policy in many decades. Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and even Syria (remember the line in the sand?). We should join with Russia in destroying ISIS and use our leverage to push Assad to make some level of concessions.

Dan, Sandy, UT 15 hours ago

Here we go again. The war hawks, so comfortably away from the battle, are banging those drums of war again. Easy to do when your life and the lives of your fellow military are not at risk.

Second thought, as stated by a political comedian/satirist, let the Middle East take its own trash out.
I couldn't agree more.

blackmamba, IL 16 hours ago

Since 9/11/01 only 0.75% of Americans have volunteered to put on the military of any American armed force. They have been ground to emotional, mental and physical dust by repeated deployments. Getting rid of Arab dictators has unleashed foreign ethnic sectarian socioeconomic political educational civil wars that cannot be resolved by American military power.

Assad is an Arab civil secular dictator. Just like many of Americas Arab allies and unlike those American Arab allies who are Islamic royal fossil fuel tyrants. But Assad is an Alawite Shia Muslim allied with Russia. The alternatives to Assad are al Qaeda, ISIL and al Nusra. Diplomats need to stick to diplomacy.

Jo Boost, Midlands 16 hours ago

This situation is not that simple.

There is not -as people in Washington who know better have told for years now- one big bad wolf called Assad preying and devouring all poor little peaceful lambs (who, accidentally, have been armed to their teeth by a certain Ms. Clinton and her Saudi friends - even with poison gas which was, then, blamed on the said Assad).
We have here a follow-up civil war to the (also US started) one in Libya.

Let us just look at International Law, as understood since the Nuremberg Trials:

We all know now that the invasion of Iraq by Mr. Bush junior was a) a mistake, and b) a War Crime - there were no threatening WMDs nor did Saddam hold hads with Al Quaeda (he was, actually, their worst enemy - and our security!), so, Iraq was c) total stupidity. It was an aggressive war without any cause - for the USA!
But a great cause for Saudi "Royals" whose cousins had been thrown out of Iraq, which is good enough cause, in Arab customs, for a bloody feud and revenge.
The same applies to Syria, and could one, therefore, still wonder why ISIL was so well equipped for the follow-up (envisaged) invasion?

Libya was a danger for Saudi Autocrates, because a secular Arab country with such a living standard from fair distribution of oil wealth would be a dangerous advertisement for a Mother of All Arab Springs in the desert.

So, we have one side with interest - and one without any - but the latter does the dirty work. Is there more than one tail that wags the US dog?

Bonnie Rothman, NYC 13 hours ago

How brilliant---not! And what do these 50 people expect to happen if and when Assad falls, chaos prevails and ISIS rushes in? Not to mention the immediate nasty confrontation with Putin. This isn't 1941 and big Armies and big bombs are useless, USELESS against ISIS which operates like cancer cells in the human body. And the last time we toppled a tyrant we midwived the ISIS group which is funded by the Saudis which is funded by our own use of oil. Don't you dopes ever read history and see the "whole" problem? Sheesh.

Prof. Jai Prakash Sharma, is a trusted commenter Jaipur, India. 16 hours ago

Given the complexity of the Syrian crisis and the multipower stakes involved in Syria, it would be foolish for the US to direct its unilateral military fury at toppling the Assad regime ignoring its fall out and the military financial cost to the US itself, specially when except for meeting the common challenge and threat of the ISIS no direct national interests are at stake for the US in Syria. The state department's dissenting memo to the President seems an attempt by the vested interests to further complicate President Obama's Middle East policy that's on the right track following the Iran deal.

Dennis Sullivan, NYC 16 hours ago

This is much more about what Mark Landler thinks than about what those generic diplomats think. The Times's principal hawk, Landler has book and a series of articles pushing his neocon view. I guess we should assume the Times agrees.


Rudolf, New York 7 hours ago

Having spent substantial time as a private consultant at the US Embassy in Kabul I was shocked by the lack of feelings of midlevel officials there with regard to the dead and injuries of American Troops. The Embassy shared a wall with the ISAF/NATO Main Quarters and every single day the US Flag there was half-mast to acknowledge the dead of our troops on that day in that country. The Embassy never shared this sadness and all midlevel officials there were only concerned about their paycheck, quality of meals served, having a drink, going for a swim, and their frequent trips back to the US; for such people wanting to have a say in when to fight in Syria is a sad state of affair.

pat knapp, milwaukee 16 hours ago

Perhaps we should figure out one take-down before we move on to the next. After 13 years, we still haven't figured out life in Iraq without Saddam. Any thoughts, neocons, on what might happen after Assad is disposed of? You know, the hard part, what follows?

Mike Edwards, Providence, RI 16 hours ago

In what way do the views of the State Department officials in ISIS differ from those in the US State Department who signed this memo?

Recent terrorist attacks in France and the US have been inspired by ISIS, not Mr. Assad. ISIS is our enemy right now. Let Mr. Assad do what he can to eliminate them.

And haven't we learnt that the removal of a head of State, be it in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya does not lead to an improvement; it actually causes an outright deterioration.

Finally, please let's also do away with this twaddle about "moderate" forces being present in the Middle East, ready to enact our fantasy of what a peaceful Middle East should be like. They don't exist in the Middle East. Ask the Israelis. Those moderates that do exist seem to serve one purpose, which is to hand over the weapons supplied to them by the West to the terrorists.

I wish the signatories would have had the guts to spell it out. The Middle East is home to a number of weal nations, a situation the stronger ones don't wish to correct. The only solution would be for the West to take over the running of those countries and provide for their policing and defense, as once the West leaves, a vacuum is created allowing terrorist groups to proliferate.

I doubt there is any appetite in the West for such a cause.

Donald, Yonkers 16 hours ago

Interesting how these " moderate" Syrian rebels so often fight alongside al Nusra.

The death toll in Syria is as high as it is because the rebels have outside help, Somehow no one in the American mainstream, including the NYT, ever points this out. Incidently, note how the NYT always uses the largest estimates for the death toll-- quite different from what they did in Iraq.

Nick Metrowsky, is a trusted commenter Longmont, Colorado 17 hours ago

Get Rid of Assad, make relations with Russia worse (they back Assad) and allow ISIS to effectively take over Syria. Sounds like a great plan. I guess our military-industrial complex is getting itchy for a new war. And, of course, doing what these diplomats want will also result in putting boots on the ground. This will be a great legacy for Ms. Clinton (under her watch ISIS came into being), Mr. Kerry (who continued Clinton's failed legacy) and Mr. Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize president; who wasn't).

So, guess what? The US starts bombing Syria, Assad will use human shields. ISIS is already using human shields. So, the US will have more innocent blood on their hands. Of course, the US follows through with these diplomats idea, ISIS, and their allies, will increase the risk of terrorism attacks in the US. More mass shootings and bombings.

Of course, in an election year, the political rhetoric will be pushed up a notch between the two wonderful people now running for president. Both who are more than willing to love the diplomat's idea to show they are "strong". Mr. Obama may or may not follow through, but he hand may be forced. Clinton or Trump will go after him, as both would pull the trigger first and ask questions later.

But, rest assured,. if you feel that a terrorist is lurking around each corner now, just wait until the US decides that getting in the middle of the Syrian civil war is some warped good idea.

Diplomacy can be messy, as can politics.

Dan Stewart, NYC 16 hours ago

The signers of the dissent letter are militarist neocons (of the Victoria Nuland ilk). More than any other, these people and their CIA collaborators are responsible for the death and destruction in Syria and the ensuing refugee crisis. They can't even give a cogent reason for deposing Assad other than point to the carnage of the civil war they fomented-as if Assad were solely responsible. Assad is acting no differently than the US did during it's own Civil War.

For five years the US has been promoting Muslim extremists in Syria that move with fluidity between the ranks of ISIL, al Nusra, al Qeada, etc. There are no reliable "moderates" in Syria. The best hope for a stable Syria lies only with Bashar Assad, the secular Western-trained optometrist (and his J.P. Morgan investment banker wife, Asma), who has kept Syria stable and free of terrorists for decades.

To end the killing in Syria, and to defeat ISIL, the US should immediately stop arming and funding the Islamic jihadists trying to overthrow the Assad government and join with Russia to support Assad's military in regaining control over all Syrian territory and borders.

CT View, CT 17 hours ago

The value of the memo can be summed up in one sentence as described in the article itself "what would happen in the event that Mr. Assad was forced from power - a scenario that the draft memo does not address."

Why on earth would we support deposing a secular dictator who has multi-ethnic multi-religious support in favor of a non-secular/ie religious leadership that has no moderates...remember we tried to train vetted moderates, we found about 2 dozen and gave up on the program after half were killed and the rest defected to the radicals WITH THE WEAPONS WE SUPPLIED. Perhaps, since the military is anti-intervention and these diplomats are pro-intervention, the diplomats can take the front line...would that change their opinion?

Gimme Shelter, 123 Happy Street 17 hours ago

I wonder about the arrogance of these mid-level State Department foreign service officers. Do they think the National Security Council hasn't considered all options with respect to the use of air power to affect the political situation in Syria? Do they think the President is unaware of the what is required to stem the humanitarian crisis? How certain are they that their recommendations will lead to their desired outcome? Do they not realize their actions undermine the commander in chief in effectively addressing these issues?

Sure -- a few well-placed cruise missiles will make it all good. Yeah, right.

Wayne, Lake Conroe, Tx 7 hours ago

Absolutely amazing. My first question is who released this memo? Having a back channel does not permit anyone to unilaterally decide to release information that could cost lives and ruin negotiations that the releasing person knows nothing about. If you do not like the chain of command, then leave. We cannot continue to be involved in sectarian conflicts that cannot be resolved except by the combatants. Haven't we learned anything from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Vietnam? No neocon insanity. We have lost enough lives and treasure in the ME.

Chagrined, La Jolla, CA 10 hours ago

Are these the same ingrates who urged Bush to attack Iraq - his legacy - ISIS!

Real Americans don't want any more squandered blood and treasure in wars in the Middle East!

It is sad that our tax dollars pay the salaries for these insidious State Department war mongering fools. How many neocons are among them?

The war in Syria is tragic as was the war in Iraq. Even more tragic would be more squandered American blood and treasure.

Fifteen hundred American Jews joined the IDF terrorists to commit the "Gaza Genocide." Perhaps they will volunteer to go to Syria.??

President Obama has the intellect, sophistication and morals not to repeat the mistakes of the Bush administration. These State Department rank and file are obviously attempting to undermine him just as many members of congress attempted to undermine him by supporting Netanyahu and Israel during the Iran Diplomacy debate. Betraying America has become sport for so many insidious ingrates. America deserves better!

xtian, Tallahassee 11 hours ago

As a 26 year Marine Corps combat veteran I have a hard time trying to figure out what is going on here, and a harder time not becoming totally disgusted with our State Department.

So these 51 mid-level diplomates want to bomb a bit more, and that is going to do what????? And how will that bring peace to that region of the world? Oh, and by the way, the Department of Defense is not in agreement with that course of action. How wonderful.

My suggestion would be that we arm these 51 individuals, given them a week's worth of ammunition and rations, and drop them into Syria, I am sure they can lead the way in showing us how to solve the mess in the ME.

David Henry, Concord 17 hours ago

War is easy to do. Ask "W."

Lives matter! These "diplomats" should be fired.

Yinka Martins, New York, NY 17 hours ago

It's the fact that these are not "widely known names" which scares me most. However, Western-instituted regime change in that region has proven disastrous in every single country it has been tried. If possible, I would investigate these diplomats' ties to defense contractors.

PKJharkhand, Australia 7 hours ago

US intervention created the rubble and hell that is now Syria. When Assad had full control of Syria, the human rights of the people of Syria suffered under him but many if not most people led a civilised life. They had water and electricity. Past US interventions created Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. To puy it simply, life expectancy in all these countries dropped by 20 to 30 years after the US intervened, each time with the highest utopian ideals, and increased the power of Sunni supremacists after each act.

Jai Goodman, SF Bay Area 7 hours ago

These "diplomats" should instead be urging US to pressure Turkey and Saudi to stop supporting terrorists in the region. Both Al Nusra and ISIS. That'll be the right step.

Thank you.

cml, pittsburgh, pa 10 hours ago

How many of these are the same (or same sort) of "wise" men that advised ignoring our weapon's inspectors and invading Iraq? They're living inside an echo chamber. In a world of imperfect choices I would prefer Assad to the Nusra Front or ISIL, as apparently our president does as well.

Lawrence, Washington D.C. 15 hours ago

How many of those 51 diplomats haves served in front line units and seen combat? How many have their children in uniform? They wouldn't allow it.
Each bombing mission costs more than a million dollars, and we live in a nation of Chiraq and Orlando.
We have more pressing needs at home, and you can't fix stupid mixed with superstition, topped with hatred.
These diplomats want to continue to strap suicide vests on the rest of us, while they sip champagne.
Out now, no more of our children wasted for corporate profits.

John, San Francisco 15 hours ago

50 employees? There are approximately 24,000 employees in the state department. That's 0.002833%. Not really a significant voice. Don't listen.


Vanessa Hall, is a trusted commenter Millersburg MO 13 hours ago

Reminds me of those 47 idiots in the House who signed on to the warmonger Tom Cotton's treasonous letter.

John Townsend, Mexico 15 hours ago

Let's not forget that Bush's hasty appointment of Paul Bremer as the hapless Governor of Iraq following the defeat of Hussein's military regime led immediately to the disbanding of the entire Iraqi military, an incredibly short-sighted and reckless move that essentially unleashed 400,000 young trained fighters (including a honed officers corps) absent support programs to assimilate back into Iraqi society, only to have them emerge as readily available fodder essential for ISIS's marshalling a strong military force almost overnight. A huge price is now being exacted for this astounding stupidity.

Hobart, Los Angeles, CA 7 hours ago

This is conveniently laying grounds for Hillary's grand comeback to the theatre of "humanitarian interventionism" in the Middle East. God help us all, as this is a prelude to the WW3.

rice pritchard, nashville, tennessee 12 hours ago

Wow the neo-cons are beating the war drums yet again! They have already created a huge mess throughout the Middle East with wars and revolutions directly attributable to the United States in invading Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretenses, helping overthrow the government in Libya, and arming rebels in Syria and Yemen. Apparently no regime that does not knuckle under to the U.S. war machine is "fair game". This turmoil is sending millions of refugees fleeing their homeland, many trying to swamp Europe, but the arm chair warriors in the diplomatic corps, Congress, Wall Street, and the military contractors still cry for more intervention, more bombing, more blockades, more invasions, etc.! Sheer madness! The more America meddle in the Middle East the worse things become and unrest and fighting spread. Unfortunately if Hillary Clinton wins, she is a neo-con puppet and we will be at war in Syria and/or Iran within a year or two. God help us!

xmas, Delaware 13 hours ago

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST????? When people demand an invasion of a foreign country, can they please add the total cost of the bill to their request? Instead of saying "we need to invade," can they say, "I want your support to spend $1.7 trillion for invading this other country for humanitarian reasons. Oh, by the way, sorry, about all the cuts to domestic spending. We just don't have the money." We spent $1.7 TRILLION on Iraq. $1.7 TRILLION. I can think of several things I would have preferred to spend a fraction of that on. I'm sure you can too.

Robert G. McKee, Lindenhurst, NY 12 hours ago

This is a very interesting development within the walls of the State Department. There seems to be much enthusiasm for escalating war in the Middle East. My only question is does this enthusiasm extend to the deaths and maiming of these same State Department officials' children and grandchildren? Or do they propose that other people's children should die pursuing their high ideals in this endless and fruitless religious civil war in Syria?

Kathy, Flemington, NJ 13 hours ago

First of all, if this was a channel for employees to share "candidly and privately" about policy concerns, why is it on the front page of the NY Times? Additionally, as usual, it seems the war hawks are hawking war without thought for what comes next. We've done this most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, all of which are now failed states and havens for terrorists. Because this seems rather obvious, either we are pathologically incapable of learning from past mistakes, or there are people who have an agenda different from the publicly stated one.

Rebecca Rabinowitz, . 13 hours ago

The U.S. has a lengthy, very sordid history of leaping into the fray in areas such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central America and Afghanistan, among others - all with catastrophic results, for which we never seemed to have a credible, well- crafted plan, nor have we ever comprehended the millennia of internecine tribal hatred and sectarian warfare. We have "been there, done that" countless times, at the cost of our precious military blood and treasure, and incurring the enmity of hundreds of millions of people. I empathize with the frustration of these State Department employees - but apparently, they do not recall our overthrow of the Shah of Iran when it suited our "cause du jour," or our fraudulent "domino theory" in Vietnam, or the hard reality that no one has ever successfully invaded or "governed" Afghanistan, not to mention being able to battle ideology with weapons. The President has already presided over significant mission creep in the Iraq cesspool left by the Cheney-Bush neo-con crowd. His judicious caution is to be lauded when it comes to Syria. Are these mid-level State Department employees advocating a war against Vladimir Putin?

Yngve Frey, Sweden 12 hours ago

I am more scared of US diplomats and politicians than terrorists! Have they learned nothing from the US efforts to create western style democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria (by supporting separatists att an early stage). The US diplomats proposal would ensure more chaos, death and prolonged wR. 38 % of the population are Alewits. They will be killed, Christians will be killed.

The only way will probably be to work with Russia and force other opposition groups to sign a peace agreement. Then we should arrange an intensive training course for US diplomats as well as Syrian leaders: "There is no final truth: we have to learn the art of tolerance and accept to live in a society where people you don't agree with also can live."

[Jan 02, 2016] Turkey faces big losses as Russia sanctions bite

Notable quotes:
"... According to the Westminster-controlled BBC, a Russian pilot "died when his SU-24 aircraft was shot down". If that is a time appreciation, it is a fairly accurate one, but he actually died after his aircraft hit the ground, and that fact was not the cause of his death. He died because he was shot full of holes from the ground while he was hanging helpless in his parachute straps and was not armed. As has been demonstrated to what should be the complete satisfaction of all, this is a war crime, illegal under international law regardless who does it. ..."
"... But the Washington-and-Westminster-controlled western media skates adroitly around that fact, and consistently normalizes his death as just one of those unfortunate things that happens in war. ..."
"... I can promise you that the murder of a western pilot under the same circumstances would not be soft-pedaled in the same manner, and the fact that criminal circumstances were attached to his dying would have been shouted to the skies. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile, January 1, 2016 at 11:58 pm
From the Westminster Controlled BBC:

Turkey faces big losses as Russia sanctions bite

marknesop, January 2, 2016 at 10:19 am
According to the Westminster-controlled BBC, a Russian pilot "died when his SU-24 aircraft was shot down". If that is a time appreciation, it is a fairly accurate one, but he actually died after his aircraft hit the ground, and that fact was not the cause of his death. He died because he was shot full of holes from the ground while he was hanging helpless in his parachute straps and was not armed. As has been demonstrated to what should be the complete satisfaction of all, this is a war crime, illegal under international law regardless who does it.

But the Washington-and-Westminster-controlled western media skates adroitly around that fact, and consistently normalizes his death as just one of those unfortunate things that happens in war.

I can promise you that the murder of a western pilot under the same circumstances would not be soft-pedaled in the same manner, and the fact that criminal circumstances were attached to his dying would have been shouted to the skies.

[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik…Absolutely!……..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 30, 2015] Putin rules out reconciliation with Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin fired off an angry tirade against Turkey on Thursday, ruling out any reconciliation with its leaders and accusing Ankara of shooting down a Russian warplane to impress the United States.

In comments littered with crude language, Putin dismissed the possibility that the downing of the warplane over the Turkey-Syria border last month was an accident, calling it a "hostile act".

"We find it difficult if not impossible to come to an agreement with the current leadership of Turkey," the Kremlin strongman said at his annual news conference.

"On the state level, I don't see any prospects of improving relations with the Turkish leadership," he said of Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ties between Russia and the NATO member have hit rock bottom since the November 24 incident, which led to deaths of two Russian military officers.

Turkey has said the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Moscow insists it never left Syrian territory.

Putin said he did not rule out that Ankara was acting with tacit approval from Washington, possibly so that the United States would look the other way to let Turkey "go onto Iraqi territory and occupy part of it".

"I don't know if there was such a trade-off, maybe there was," Putin said.

"If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place... I don't know, if they did the right thing," he added.

"Did they think we would run away now? Russia is not that kind of country," Putin said, speaking of Moscow's increased military presence in Syria.

"If Turkey flew there all the time before, breaching Syrian airspace, well, let's see how they fly now."

Turkey has voiced concern about Russian air raids in northern Syria because of the Turkmen minority in the area, a Turkic-speaking people who have had an uneasy relationship with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

But Putin declared: "I've never heard anything about these so-called Turkmen.

"I know that there are our Turkmen, living in Turkmenistan," he said, referring to the ex-Soviet Central Asian country.

Putin also accused Turkey's leaders of overseeing a "creeping Islamisation" of the country "which would probably cause (modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal) Ataturk to turn in his grave."

- Not an 'enemy state' -

Putin and Erdogan have been locked in a war of words since the plane downing, and Moscow has even accused Erdogan's family of engaging in oil smuggling operations with Islamic State jihadists.

On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey.

However, he said he does not consider Turkey an enemy state. "They committed an enemy act against our aviation, but to say that we view Turkey as enemy state -- that is not the case."

Russia has imposed a number of sanctions on Turkey but Putin brushed aside questions from journalists about raids against Turkish firms and expulsions of Turkish students from Russian universities.

Putin said that had the downing of the plane been an accident, Turkish leaders should have tried to "pick up the phone and explain themselves".

Erdogan attempted to call Putin on the day of the incident, but the Kremlin ignored his request to speak to the Russian leader.

[Dec 30, 2015] Moscow demands arrest of rebel for 'murder' of Russian warplane pilot

Please note the AFP does not mentions that killing parachuted pilot is a war crime.
Notable quotes:
"... Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology." ..."
"... She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot". ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Moscow on Wednesday called for Ankara to arrest a rebel it claims killed the pilot of the Russian jet downed by Turkey last month on the Syrian border.

"We demand that the Turkish authorities take immediate steps to apprehend Alparslan Celik and his accomplices and bring them to justice for the murder of the Russian pilot," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

In an interview published Sunday in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Celik -- a Turkmen rebel and citizen of Turkey -- said that his "conscience cannot be bothered by a person who threw bombs at Turkmen civilians every day," referring to the slain Russian pilot.

Both pilots aboard the downed Su-24 jet ejected and parachuted to the ground on the Syrian side of the border, one of whom was killed by gun fire from the ground.

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death.

Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a bitter spat over the downing of the Su-24 jet on November 24, with the Kremlin imposing a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.

Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology."

She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot".

Turkish authorities have accused Russia of "ethnic cleansing" in Syria, targeting Turkmen and Sunni population that oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's long-time ally.

Turkey says the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, while Moscow insisted it did not cross over from Syria and accused Ankara of a planned provocation.

[Dec 24, 2015] Is The Russian-Turkish Standoff An Opportunity For The West

Notable quotes:
"... apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. ..."
"... At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that. ..."
Dec 14, 2015 | OilPrice.com

It was, in this latest incident, Turkey, working with the U.S. Government of President Barack Obama, which planned and executed the November 24, 2015, interception of the Russian Air Force Su-24. The event was not a spontaneous occurrence, and, apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. USAF sources subsequently said that the U.S. was taken by surprise when the THK shot down the Sukhoi, but that hardly squares with the historical Turkish practice of coordinating such actions with Washington. Moreover, the Turkish narrative that it "warned" the Russian aircraft several times over a period of five minutes before the THK F-16 shot it down also does not square with reality.

And in this particular ground attack operation, the two Su-24s - including the one which was destroyed - were engaged on missions which did not require them to enter Turkish airspace, even though an acci-dental entry into it was conceivable. Their targets were in the area of northern Syria: pro-Ankara Turkmen militia engaged in supporting the massive cross-border operations of ISIS (asad- Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-'Iraq wash-Sham, or Islamic State) moving oil, fighters, and weapons across the Syria-Turkish border.

Dave Majumdar, Defense Editor at the U.S. blogsite, The National Interest, on December 7, 2015, noted: "The United States and Turkey are working on an agreement that would allow the US Air Force F-15Cs to defend Turkish airspace. However, the precise rules of engagement and procedures have yet to be ironed out." It is possible that Turkey wanted to illustrate to the US that its airspace was, in fact, threatened. But what has been clear is that no credible Russian military threat to Turkey existed.

At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that.

Recently-retired U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn publicly said in Moscow on December 10, 2015, that there was no possibility that the Turkish shootdown was undertaken without the express permission and direction of "the highest authority" in Turkey.

Indeed, Turkey has traditionally played the role of aggressor in terms of airspace violation. Not only did the THK lose an RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft well into Syrian airspace on June 22, 2012, as a result of surface-to-air missile fire, it continues to consistently invade the airspace of fellow NATO member and neighbor Greece in a manner far more hostile than the penetration of Turkish airspace it alleged Russia undertook (for 17 seconds). THK F-16s entered Greek airspace some 2,200 times in 2014 alone. Moreover, Turkey consistently has violated Cypriot air-, sea, and land-space since its 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus.1

So Turkey is hardly the victim. [Indeed, by deliberately starting the "civil war" to remove Pres. Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria, Turkey only incurred a "refugee problem" as a result of its own actions, and has subsequently sought to push those refugees onward into Europe as quickly as possible, seeking political rewards from Europe as the only power capable of stopping the refugee flows.]

In any event, Pres. Erdogan, three years ago said that "a short- term border violation can never be a pre-text for an attack". But that, of course, was when a THK aircraft was shot down by Syria when the THK F-4E deliberately and for some time penetrated Syrian airspace on a mission against Syria.

... .... ....

Turkey, too, will not remain inactive. It will resume its support for anti-Russian terrorism, including support for jihadist movements in the Caucasus. These have included such groups as Kvadrat (Quadrant), a Bos-nia-based Wahhabist unit, which had "laundered" its operations through Turkish-occupied Northern Cy-prus, thence into Turkey and on into the Russian Caucasus.4 But the reactivation of Turkish-backed terror-ism in the Russian Caucasus will be far wider than just Kvadrat: Turkey works extensively, even now, with Chechen and other Caucasus groups inside ISIS and in the jihadi operations in Syria.

Significantly, by early December 2015, President Erdogan assumed that the crisis had passed sufficiently for Turkey to expand its activities in the area. There was no indication that Turkey and ISIS had diminished their extensive and integrated operations in terms of oil transactions, the supply of weapons to ISIS via Turkey, and the use of Turkey as a medical support arena for ISIS wounded. But Turkey went further and deployed Turkish Army troops into northern Iraq near the ISIS-held city of Mosul in early December 2015. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi led calls for Turkish troops to be withdrawn immediately; they had not been withdrawn by the time this report went to press.

... ... ...

The path, however, is open for a great Russian cooperation with the Kurdish forces, as well as with other regional allies which are concerned about Turkey's strategic adventurism. The Kurds, particularly those led by the majority Kurdish force (under the PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, the Kurdish Workers' Par-ty), are now well underway in responding to Ankara. The civil war is underway inside Turkey, and it re-mains literally out-of-bounds to the international media. What is significant is that the Kurds have thus far not agreed to cooperate with Russia, but are awaiting a nod from their principal ally, Israel, before trust-ing Russia.

Thus Israel's position becomes critical in this debate.

Much of the Israeli leadership still hopes that a rapprochement might be achievable with Turkey, but that hope is fading. On the other hand, Israeli planners have to consider whether a broken Turkey - perhaps replaced by a patchwork of states, and with no non-Arab player other than Iran to monitor the region - is worse than a troublesome Turkey. There is also the question of whether unqualified Israeli support for the Kurdish "big push" against Turkey would then jeopardize Israeli strategic relations with Saudi Arabia, which is apparently undecided on whether, or how much, it favors a continuation of the Turkish state.

Without Turkey, according to the Saudi rationale, who would be the counterweight to Iran?

Israel is also not immune to this argument, although for Israel the prospect exists for an eventual reunion with Tehran, after the clerical leadership goes, or modifies.

So Russia is left with three potential regional allies - apart from Syria, Iraq, and Iran - against Ankara: Greece, Egypt, and Jordan. And Cyprus and Armenia to the limited extent that they can assist.

... ... ...

Articles 10 to 18 are the articles which allow for various states, including Russia, to transit military ships through the straits. In short, if Turkey invoked either Article 20 or Article 21, Russia would be legally blocked from moving any naval vessel through the Straits.

Moscow has clearly long gamed out this scenario, which accounts for President Putin's commitment to a measured response to Ankara. Thus it must be a proxy response, for the most part, as well as an economic one. But while it demonstrates the delicacy needed by Moscow, it also demonstrates the reality that Russia cannot continue to be strategically constrained by an increasingly hostile and ambitious Turkey.

So where Turkey is vulnerable is in its economy.

The effects of Russian economic embargoes against Turkey are far more significant than would seem to be the case because the Turkish economy is more vulnerable than it has been portrayed. It is far more leveraged with borrowings than at any time in the recent past. It has a discreet outflow of domestic capital and is heavily reliant on discreet financial injections, probably coming from Qatar, and possible Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia's ability to prop up Turkey is becoming limited.

...while Turkey may not be regarded as an entirely stable partner for the PRC in the region, Beijing would be wary of acting precipitously against it.

...Iran - like Russia - is constrained to act cautiously and indirectly against Turkey. Moreover, Iran cannot risk that its own Kurdish population could join with Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds to form a new Kurdish state.

...And in the short-term, this all has hardened Ankara's position on remaining in control of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus, which it has occupied militarily since 1974.

...There is no doubt that Pres. Erdogan believes that continued brinkmanship will be possible, although he is not perhaps aware that he is losing the information war, or the psychological war.

Amvet on December 15 2015 said:

Thank you Mr. Copley for a well researched, honest, and very interesting article. Any chance of getting this published in any US mainstream
newspaper or magazine ?? .

Jim on December 15 2015 said:

...Nice information actually, most mainstream media doesn't even come close. Thanks. definitely a deliberate and pre-approved escalation of the conflict, pointing fingers back to Washington, D.C.

Chris on December 15 2015 said:

A great article that brings together much of what has been reported and provides a coherent framework for understanding it. This piece should be in a general interest publication such as the NY Times so that more Americans could understand what is really going on in the Middle East.

[Dec 19, 2015] Russia opens black box of jet downed by Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back ..."
"... Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists. ..."
"... Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Mister 2 hours ago 0

[The air force commander said 14 countries had been invited to monitor the (Russian) investigation but only China and Britain had accepted the official offer]

Shameful.

Shelly Winters 1 day ago 5

Not sure what information this "black box" contains, but CVR's and FDR's in most all aircraft (especially commercial jetliners) records only what the flight crew says in the cockpit and what operational parameters the aircraft experienced i.e. throttle settings, aileron positions, pitch, etc. It's questionable if the downed fighter aircraft's actual flight path would be stored internally in any such device, especially a fighter aircraft operating in hostile airspace. This data the Russians claim to have, if it really exists, could be certainly manipulated. The only true data for flight path would be a ground radar tape pulled from two different locations in the area.

James

I said it before, I believe the radar map the Turks showed with the paths was correct. And here are the military, but also their Religious reasons.

"War of the maps: Turkey released a map showing where Russia violated its airspace, and Russia countered"

/finance[dot]yahoo[dot]com/news/war-maps-turkey-released-map-210422386.html

You can see there is a very narrow strip of Turkish territory, about a mile wide, protruding deep into the Syrian territory. I don't know exactly the frequency of the sweep of the Turkish radar, but still, looking at the distances between dots, you can figure out the speed. The time to cross the Turkish strip must have been no longer than 20seconds, my initial estimate was 8, the Turks later said 17, but that's not important. The Russian plane is seen to make a wide circle near the Syrian border, flying much below it's maximum speed, probably looking for terrorist bases and convoys, and which circles crossed that limb. It was flying slow and probably low, and in circles, to get a good look. During the next cycle, I do believe the Turks warned it while flying over Syria, 10 times during 5' not to cross that 1 mile strip again. The Russian Su-24 bomber is seen heading for the strip the second time. Notice the Su-24 is a bomber not a dog-fighter like the F-16 and it's older. And there were two F-16's. The Turkish map shows only one path though. But the Russian maps shows only one too! On the Turkish map though, the F-16 is seen lurking in the air, and at some point accelerated sharply, approaching very close and very fast, probably in full afterburner, which is specifically reserved for attack.

I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back. At (probably) the same time, the Russian path is seen with a very sharp small quirk. A sort of a mini-loop. I am sure they were trying to avoid incoming missiles. Their plane got hit, and it is seen trying to accelerate, probably to flee, and then the record ends.

HOWEVER ----------------- Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists.

After all, if the Russian plane was trying to get rid of the terrorists at the Turkish border, and no HONEST state wants terrorists at it's border, and the Russians were trying to do the "dirty job" of getting rid of them, Turkey should have been glad the Russians are helping them. But the fact they shot the Russian plane down, proves Turkey is harboring and abetting terrorists, if not recruits and send them itself.

Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them.

So the Turks are not technically lying, but they ARE! The Russians probably did go through that miserable strip, and that's the technical truth. But Turkey is defending terrorists, and claiming it is not, that's the lie!

There are very sharp Religious reasons why they should do that, and still show the correct map. INTERESTING.. Ever heard of Tawriyya? Let me explain it for you in short. The Koran forbids a Muslim to lie, under penalty of the white-hot fires of Hell. But.. We already know if he becomes a Martyr, all his sins including lies will be forgotten.

But.. for a lie, you will be forgotten, if it's technically, a truth. What does that mean? Say, a Muslim has a $100 bill in his pocket. Somebody comes and asks him for a nickel. He will say: I don't have a nickel in my pockets! That's Tawriya, and Allah will have no reason to send him to Hell, because indeed he does not have a nickel in his pockets! That's a technical truth.

Erdogan, if he were asked "Are the terrorists working for you"? He could answer "Not a single terrorist is working for me". Indeed. Not one, but thousands. Allah won't punish him for that.

He could be asked: "Why did you shoot the plane down"? and he could answer "It was flying over our territory". He will not mention the reason was to protect his terrorists and their oil convoys. That's "Kitman". Saying half the truth. Allah won't punish him for that either.

As for lying to the Infidels, Allah won't punish him if he does it out of fear of the Infidels. Yes, but Islam is at perpetual war with the Infidels, until they either convert or disappear from the face of the Earth by any means, so orders Allah. So being at war with ANY infidel, a Muslim can lie to an Infidel all day and all night long! BUT THEY ARE ALWAYS AT WAR WITH ALL INFIDELS, UNTIL THERE ARE NO MORE INFIDELS! SO ORDERS ALLAH! DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THAT MEANS?

BUT THE TOUGHEST OF ALL IS THE "MURUNA" DOCTRINE. That literally explains terrorism. If you get to understand, you will be very surprised, of how you didn't know it.

If you want to find what terrorism is, and why Erdogan himself, said "There is no moderate and extremist Islam. There is only Islam". And he knew what he was talking about, learn more. So find the MURUNA concept or doctrine. You can find a better explanation here:

You can look on Google for this: "Knowing Four Arabic Words May Save Our Civilization from Islamic Takeover"

And save it before it disappears.

Remember, you won't win any battle not knowing your enemy first.

BTW, did you know where the expression "the writing is on the wall" comes from? I's origin is also explained there.

[Dec 19, 2015] Turkey Blasts Breakthrough UN Resolution On Syria It Lacks Perspective. Assad Must Go!

Notable quotes:
"... "Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well." ..."
"... Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin ..."
"... The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line. " Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that. ..."
Dec 19, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Following June elections in which AKP lost its absolute parliamentary majority thanks in part to a stronger than expected showing at the polls by the pro-Kurdish HDP, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan began to lose his mind.

The vote put in jeopardy Erdogan's bid to effectively rewrite the country's constitution on the way to consolidating his power in an executive presidency. That decisively undesirable outcome could not stand and so Erdogan did what any respectable autocrat would do: he nullified the election. First, the President undermined the coalition building process so he could call for new elections. Next, he fanned the flames of civil war and reignited a long-simmering conflict with the PKK. The idea was to scare the electorate into believing that a "strong" AKP government was the only antidote to domestic and international terror. Finally, Erdogan cracked down on the press and anyone else critical of his rule. AKP was also suspected of covertly backing attacks on HDP offices and newspapers. Some (i.e. the PKK) went so far as to suggest that Erdogan secretly worked with Sunni extremists to orchestrate suicide bombings - in other words, there's speculation Erdogan terrorized his own people.

Sure enough, AKP had a better showing at re-do elections last month, but by that point, Erdogan was on the fast track to dictatorial delirium. On November 24, he shot down a Russian fighter jet near the border with Syria in the first such direct military confrontation between Russia and a NATO member in at least six decades. And the madness didn't stop there. After Putin and the Russian MoD laid out their case against Ankara's role in financing Islamic State via Turkey's complicity in the group's lucrative oil trafficking business, Turkey sent hundreds of troops and around two dozen tanks to Bashiqa in Iraq which is right on the crude smuggling route. The deployment infuriated Baghdad and after Turkey refused to pull the troops out, Iraq went to the UN Security Council. Subsequently, Turkish troops were "attacked" by Islamic State.

The Turks claim that Iraq invited them in the past, a contention Baghdad vehemently denies. Thanks to Barzani and the Kurds, Ankara gets to claim that at least someone welcomes the Turkish troop presence (remember, despite Erdogan's hatred of the PKK and the YPG, Turkey is friendly with Erbil, which relies on Turkey to get some 630,000 b/d of what is technically illegal crude to market).

Well, for anyone who thought Turkey might be set to bow to international pressure by moving its troops north and thus back towards the Turkey-Iraq border, think again because on Saturday, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu was out with a series of declarations that seem to suggest Turkey is going full-belligerent-retard as Erdogan scrambles to preserve the "Assad must go" narrative on the way to securing whatever Ankara's interests are in both Iraq and Syria.

First, Davutoglu said that the provision of training to the Peshmerga and Mosul militiamen is "in line with a request from Iraq authorities and as such, the mission in Iraq will continue "until Mosul is freed" from ISIS.

Ok, so two things there. The deployment is not "in line with a request from Iraq." At this point, Turkey's position has moved from comically absurd to maddeningly obstinate. How many times does Baghdad have to say that Turkey isn't invited before NATO forces Turkey to drop the "they told us we could be here" line? Further, the idea that Turkey will stay until Mosul "is liberated" from ISIS, means Erdogan plans to remain in Iraq indefinitely. As we've documented on several occasions, an operation to retake Mosul is for all intents and purposes a pipe dream and if Turkey intends to wait it out, the troops and tanks could be there for years.

Next, Davutoglu claims that the Islamic State attacks on Turkish positions in Bashiqa prove Turkey "is right." "Right" about what, it's not clear, but what's interesting is that the attacks came just as ISIS launched its first major offensive in northern Iraq since July in a move that US officials say was likely designed to disrupt preparations for an assault on Mosul. The point: all of this is rather conveniently timed.

Davutoglu then slammed a UN Security Council resolution agreed in New York on Friday. The meeting of foreign ministers was tipped by John Kerry in Moscow on Tuesday and when discussions ended, diplomats adopted a resolution which purports to draw a road map for ending the war in Syria. As WSJ notes, the resolution "left unresolved divisions among world powers on key issues in the conflict."

Which "key issues", you ask? Well, the only ones that matter - namely, i) the fate of Bashar al-Assad and ii) which groups should be recognized as "terrorists" and which should be awarded the "moderate opposition" badge.

"Both issues were left out of the resolution after an hourslong meeting of foreign ministers in New York on Friday failed to reach a compromise and at one point verged on collapse," WSJ goes on the recount, adding that "Russian and Iranian diplomats said the question of Mr. Assad wasn't discussed on Friday because neither of their countries would accept a deal that calls for Mr. Assad's exit, even at the end of a political transition period."

As we've said on too many occasions to count, Syria is absolutely critical for Tehran when it comes to preserving Iranian influence and ensuring that the so-called "Shiite crescent" doesn't wane. For Russia, this is a chance to supplant the US as Mid-East superpower puppet master and Moscow isn't about to see it slip away by agreeing to a resolution that makes Assad's ouster a foregone conclusion.

For Turkey, the absence of a decision on Assad's future is maddening. The Security Council resolution "lacks realistic perspective," Davutoglu said on Saturday, before adding that the "Syria crisis can only be solved if Bashar al-Assad leaves power."

Consider that, and consider the fact that, as we reported yesterday, Ankara is now establishing a military base in Qatar in order that the two country's might work more closely on tackling "common enemies."

What we're beginning to see here is the formation of three alliances in the Mid-East: 1) Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq; 2) Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar; 3) Britain, France, and Germany. The first alliance is pro-Assad, anti-terror. The second is anti-Assad, pro-Sunni extremist. The third is anti-Assad (although less vehemently so), anti-terror (conspiracy theories aside). Note that we've left the US out. Why? Because Washington is now stuck. The US wants desperately to maintain coordination with Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha, but between stepped up media coverage of Saudi Arabia's role in underwriting extremism (via the promotion of Wahhabism) and hightened scrutiny on Erdogan's role in financing terrorists, the position is becoming increasingly untenable. But aligning solely with the UK, France, and Germany entails adopting a more conciliatory approach to Assad - just ask Berlin which, as we reported on Friday, is now working with Assad's intelligence police and may soon establish a base in Damascus.

With that in mind, we'll close with the following from Obama, which underscores the extent to which the US is now thoroughly confused as to what to do next:

"Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well."

JustObserving

First try the sarin gas supplying war criminal, Erdogan

Turkey supplied the sarin that killed over 1300 Syrians in Ghouta to try to get the Nobel Prize Winner to bomb Assad into oblivion

Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin

The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line." Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/05/06/seymour-hersh-links-turke...

WTFRLY

White House, Media Silent One Year After Murder of US Reporter Who Exposed Western Links to ISIS October 20, 2015

Turkey killed and American reporter to protect the lies. British reporter Jackie Sutton was found dead a year to the day in Istanbul airport...

DeadFred
There aren't that many Turkish troops in Iraq, they can be removed with Iraqi Army and Shiite militia ground troops. The Russian can fly CAP but they shouldn't be involved beyond that. The purpose of Erdogan's insanities is to goad Putin into doing something that will bring NATO against him. He's been wise enough to avoid that so far. The Western economies are a gnats eyelash from collapse so all he needs to so is wait. Maybe selling a few shares of SPY at the right time would help or giving a few billion to some untracable players who call for delivery on their gold futures. I hope he's patient, the end-game is upon us but the fewer nukes that get used the better.
two hoots

Israel, where are you in all of this? Oh, see below:

Forget Qatar/Russia pipelines.

Israel/Turkey/US/NATO connection found here: "That would allow Turkey to reduce its energy dependence on Russia and open up a new market for Israeli and U.S. developers of a new natural gas project off the Israeli coast." (WSJ)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-turkey-poised-to-renew-diplomatic-relations-1450438539

Nat Gas in Israel waters: "Israel has proposed that EU countries invest in a multi-billion euro pipeline to carry its natural gas to the continent, noting that the supply from Israel would reduce Europe's current dependence on natural gas from Russia." (Start Up-Israel)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-pitches-massive-natural-gas-pipeline-plan-to-europe/

It could be a whole new NG game? And what thinks Russia/Qatar in all of this?

[Dec 17, 2015] Putin hails Donald Trump as bright and talented

economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... December 17, 2015 at 11:26 AM
Putin hails Donald Trump as 'bright and talented'
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/12/17/putin-hails-donald-trump-bright-and-talented/CCIktxBPs0ax3bGNMz7yqO/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Vladimir Isachenkov - Associated Press - December 17, 2015

MOSCOW - Russia and the US agree on a general approach to settling the Syrian crisis, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, saying that Moscow stands ready to improve ties with Washington.

Putin also said that Russia will continue its air campaign in Syria until a political process starts, and lashed out at Turkey for trying to ''lick the Americans in some of their private parts'' by downing a Russian warplane. ...

Commenting on relations with Washington, Putin said that Russia supports a US-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution on settling the Syrian crisis, presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Moscow earlier this week.

''In general, we like it,'' Putin said. ''I believe that the Syrian authorities should be OK with it too, although they may not like something in it.''

He added that ''concessions must be made by both sides'' to end the conflict that has killed more than 250,000 and turned millions into refugees since 2011.

He said the Russian approach, ''strangely as it may seem, coincides with the US vision: joint work on a constitution, creation of instruments of control over future early elections, holding the vote and recognizing its results on the basis of that political process.''

''We will help settle this crisis in every possible way,'' Putin said. At the same time, he reaffirmed Russia's stance on the key issue that divided Russia and the West, the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the Syrians themselves must determine who rules them. ...

Already on his way out of the hall, he was asked about US presidential candidate Donald Trump and praised him as a ''very bright and talented man,'' adding that he welcomes the Republican's pledges to establish closer ties with Russia. ...

[Dec 17, 2015] A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

Notable quotes:
"... The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington. ..."
December 16, 2015 | consortiumnews.com

A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

To make the story even more compelling, an opposition leader braves the wrath of the autocrat by seeking to expose these intelligence schemes, including the cover-up of key evidence. The autocrat's government then seeks to prosecute the critic for "treason."

But the problem with this story, as far as the American government and press are concerned, is that the autocratic leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in charge of Turkey, a NATO ally and his hated neighbor is the much demonized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Major U.S. news outlets and political leaders also bought into the sarin deception and simply can't afford to admit that they once again misled the American people on a matter of war.

The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington.

Though a few independent media outlets, including Consortiumnews.com, challenged the rush to judgment and noted the lack of evidence regarding Assad's guilt, those doubts were brushed aside. (In an article on Aug. 30, 2013, I described the administration's "Government Assessment" blaming Assad as a "dodgy dossier," which offered not a single piece of verifiable proof.)

However, as with the "certainty" about Iraq's WMD a decade earlier, Every Important Person shared the Assad-did-it "group think." That meant - as far as Official Washington was concerned - that Assad had crossed President Barack Obama's "red line" against using chemical weapons. A massive U.S. retaliatory bombing strike was considered just days away.

... ... ...

But the "group think" was resistant to all empirical evidence. It was so powerful that even when the Turkish plot was uncovered by legendary investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, his usual publication, The New Yorker, refused to print it. Rebuffed in the United States – the land of freedom of the press – Hersh had to take the story to the London Review of Books to get it out in April 2014. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack?"]

... ... ...

In statements before parliament and to journalists, Erdem cited a derailed indictment that was begun by the General Prosecutor's Office in the southern Turkish city of Adana, with the criminal case number 2013/120.

Erdem said the prosecutor's office, using technical surveillance, discovered that an Al Qaeda jihadist named Hayyam Kasap acquired the sarin.

At the press conference, Erdem said, "Wiretapped phone conversations reveal the process of procuring the gas at specific addresses as well as the process of procuring the rockets that would fire the capsules containing the toxic gas. However, despite such solid evidence there has been no arrest in the case. Thirteen individuals were arrested during the first stage of the investigation but were later released, refuting government claims that it is fighting terrorism."

Erdem said the released operatives were allowed to cross the border into Syria and the criminal investigation was halted.

Another CHP deputy, Ali Şeker, added that the Turkish government misled the public by claiming Russia provided the sarin and that "Assad killed his people with sarin and that requires a U.S. military intervention in Syria."

Erdem's disclosures, which he repeated in a recent interview with RT, the Russian network, prompted the Ankara Prosecutor's Office to open an investigation into Erdem for treason. Erdem defended himself, saying the government's actions regarding the sarin case besmirched Turkey's international reputation. He added that he also has been receiving death threats.

"The paramilitary organization Ottoman Hearths is sharing my address [on Twitter] and plans a raid [on my house]. I am being targeted with death threats because I am patriotically opposed to something that tramples on my country's prestige," Erdem said.

[Dec 16, 2015] Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

Notable quotes:
"... "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89. ..."
"... "And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia. ..."
"... "TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct. ..."
"... "Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. … ..."
"... In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. ..."
"... Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically. ..."
"... unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world. ..."
"... Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless. ..."
"... As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures , in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war. ..."
"... Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear. ..."
"... In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war. ..."
Consortiumnews
Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia's genuine national interests, its "red lines," and the risk that "tough-guy-ism" can lead to nuclear war, as Alastair Crooke explains.

We all know the narrative in which we (the West) are seized. It is the narrative of the Cold War: America versus the "Evil Empire." And, as Professor Ira Chernus has written, since we are "human" and somehow they (the USSR or, now, ISIS) plainly are not, we must be their polar opposite in every way.

"If they are absolute evil, we must be the absolute opposite. It's the old apocalyptic tale: God's people versus Satan's. It ensures that we never have to admit to any meaningful connection with the enemy." It is the basis to America's and Europe's claim to exceptionalism and leadership.

And "buried in the assumption that the enemy is not in any sense human like us, is [an] absolution for whatever hand we may have had in sparking or contributing to evil's rise and spread. How could we have fertilized the soil of absolute evil or bear any responsibility for its successes? It's a basic postulate of wars against evil: God's people must be innocent," (and that the evil cannot be mediated, for how can one mediate with evil).

Westerners may generally think ourselves to be rationalist and (mostly) secular, but Christian modes of conceptualizing the world still permeate contemporary foreign policy.

It is this Cold War narrative of the Reagan era, with its correlates that America simply stared down the Soviet Empire through military and – as importantly – financial "pressures," whilst making no concessions to the enemy.

What is sometimes forgotten, is how the Bush neo-cons gave their "spin" to this narrative for the Middle East by casting Arab national secularists and Ba'athists as the offspring of "Satan": David Wurmser was advocating in 1996, "expediting the chaotic collapse" of secular-Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular. He concurred with King Hussein of Jordan that "the phenomenon of Baathism" was, from the very beginning, "an agent of foreign, namely Soviet policy."

Moreover, apart from being agents of socialism, these states opposed Israel, too. So, on the principle that if these were the enemy, then my enemy's enemy (the kings, Emirs and monarchs of the Middle East) became the Bush neo-cons friends. And they remain such today – however much their interests now diverge from those of the U.S.

The problem, as Professor Steve Cohen, the foremost Russia scholar in the U.S., laments, is that it is this narrative which has precluded America from ever concluding any real ability to find a mutually acceptable modus vivendi with Russia – which it sorely needs, if it is ever seriously to tackle the phenomenon of Wahhabist jihadism (or resolve the Syrian conflict).

What is more, the "Cold War narrative" simply does not reflect history, but rather the narrative effaces history: It looses for us the ability to really understand the demonized "calous tyrant" – be it (Russian) President Vladimir Putin or (Ba'athist) President Bashar al-Assad – because we simply ignore the actual history of how that state came to be what it is, and, our part in it becoming what it is.

Indeed the state, or its leaders, often are not what we think they are – at all. Cohen explains: "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89.

"And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia.

"Many people in politics and in the media don't want to call it this, because if they admit, 'Yes, we are in a Cold War,' they would have to explain what they were doing during the past 20 years. So they instead say, 'No, it is not a Cold War.'

"Here is my next point. This new Cold War has all of the potential to be even more dangerous than the preceding 40-year Cold War, for several reasons. First of all, think about it. The epicentre of the earlier Cold War was in Berlin, not close to Russia. There was a vast buffer zone between Russia and the West in Eastern Europe.

"Today, the epicentre is in Ukraine, literally on Russia's borders. It was the Ukrainian conflict that set this off, and politically Ukraine remains a ticking time bomb. Today's confrontation is not only on Russia's borders, but it's in the heart of Russian-Ukrainian 'Slavic civilization.' This is a civil war as profound in some ways as was America's Civil War."

Cohen continued: "My next point: and still worse – You will remember that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Washington and Moscow developed certain rules-of-mutual conduct. They saw how dangerously close they had come to a nuclear war, so they adopted "No-Nos,' whether they were encoded in treaties or in unofficial understandings. Each side knew where the other's red line was. Both sides tripped over them on occasion but immediately pulled back because there was a mutual understanding that there were red lines.

"TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct.

"Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. …

"My next point is a question: Who is responsible for this new Cold War? I don't ask this question because I want to point a finger at anyone. The position of the current American political media establishment is that this new Cold War is all Putin's fault – all of it, everything. We in America didn't do anything wrong. At every stage, we were virtuous and wise and Putin was aggressive and a bad man. And therefore, what's to rethink? Putin has to do all of the rethinking, not us."

These two narratives, the Cold War narrative, and the neocons' subsequent "spin" on it: i.e. Bill Kristol's formulation (in 2002) that precisely because of its Cold War "victory," America could, and must, become the "benevolent global hegemon," guaranteeing and sustaining the new American-authored global order – an "omelette that cannot be made without breaking eggs" – converge and conflate in Syria, in the persons of President Assad and President Putin.

President Obama is no neocon, but he is constrained by the global hegemon legacy, which he must either sustain, or be labeled as the arch facilitator of America's decline. And the President is also surrounded by R2P ("responsibility-to-protect") proselytizers, such as Samantha Power, who seem to have convinced the President that "the tyrant" Assad's ouster would puncture and collapse the Wahhabist jihadist balloon, allowing "moderate" jihadists such as Ahrar al-Sham to finish off the deflated fragments of the punctured ISIS balloon.

In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. President Obama privately may understand the nature and dangers of the Wahhabist cultural revolution, but seems to adhere to the conviction that everything will change if only President Assad steps down. The Gulf States said the same about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. He has gone (for now), but what changed? ISIS got stronger.

Of course if we think of ISIS as evil, for evil's sake, bent on mindless, whimsical slaughter, "what a foolish task it obviously [would be] to think about the enemy's actual motives. After all, to do so would be to treat them as humans, with human purposes arising out of history. It would smack of sympathy for the devil. Of course," Professor Chernus continues, "this means that, whatever we might think of their actions, we generally ignore a wealth of evidence that the Islamic State's fighters couldn't be more human or have more comprehensible motivations."

Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically.

America lies far away from Syria and the Middle East, and as Professor Stephen Cohen notes, "unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world."

It is a meme of perpetual national insecurity, of perpetual fears about America's standing and of challenges to its standing, Professor Chernus suggests.

But Europe is not "far away"; it lies on Syria's doorstep. It is also neighbor to Russia. And in this connection, it is worth pondering Professor Cohen's last point: Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless.

Cohen again:

"The false idea [has taken root] that the nuclear threat ended with the Soviet Union: In fact, the threat became more diverse and difficult. This is something the political elite forgot. It was another disservice of the Clinton Administration (and to a certain extent the first President Bush in his re-election campaign) saying that the nuclear dangers of the preceding Cold War era no longer existed after 1991. The reality is that the threat grew, whether by inattention or accident, and is now more dangerous than ever."

As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures, in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war.

Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear.

In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war.

Alastair Crooke is a British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. [This article also appeared at the Conflicts Forum's Web site and is republished with permission.]

[Dec 14, 2015] The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis

consortiumnews.com
anne,
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/12/12/blocking-democracy-as-syrias-solution/

December 12, 2015

Blocking Democracy as Syria's Solution By Robert Parry

The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis – a ceasefire followed by elections in which President Assad could compete. The problem is there's no guarantee that Assad would lose and thus the dream might go unfulfilled.
By Robert Parry

The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Sunni "allies," including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don't want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of "regime change."

Some Syrian opposition forces, which were brought together under the auspices of the Saudi monarchy in Riyadh this past week, didn't even want the word "democracy" included in their joint statement. The New York Times reported on Friday, "Islamist delegates objected to using the word 'democracy' in the final statement, so the term 'democratic mechanism' was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting."

Even that was too much for Ahrar al-Sham, one of the principal jihadist groups fighting side-by-side with Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, the two key elements inside the Saudi-created Army of Conquest, which uses sophisticated U.S.-supplied TOW missiles to kill Syrian government troops.

Ahrar al-Sham announced its withdrawal from the Riyadh conference because the meeting didn't "confirm the Muslim identity of our people." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sought to maintain a secular government that protects the rights of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities, but Sunni militants have been fighting to overthrow him since 2011.

Despite Ahrar al-Sham's rejection of the Saudi-organized conference, all the opposition participants, including one from Ahrar al-Sham who apparently wasn't aware of his group's announcement, signed the agreement, the Times reported.

"All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down," wrote Times' correspondent Ben Hubbard.

But the prospects of Assad and his government just agreeing to cede power to the opposition remains highly unlikely. An obvious alternative – favored by Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – is to achieve a ceasefire and then have internationally supervised elections in which the Syrian people could choose their own leaders.

Although President Barack Obama insists Assad is hated by most Syrians – and if that's true, he would presumably lose any fair election – the U.S. position is to bar Assad from the ballot, thus ensuring "regime change" in Syria, a long-held goal of Official Washington's neoconservatives.

In other words, to fulfill the neocons' dream of Syrian "regime change," the Obama administration is continuing the bloody Syrian conflict which has killed a quarter million people, has created an opening for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists, and has driven millions of refugees into and through nearby countries, now destabilizing Europe and feeding xenophobia in the United States.

For his part, Assad called participants in the Saudi conference "terrorists" and rejected the idea of negotiating with them. "They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don't think anyone would accept in any country," Assad told Spanish journalists, as he repeated his position that many of the terrorists were backed by foreign governments and that he would only "deal with the real, patriotic national opposition."

Kinks in the Process

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Friday that he was in contact with senior Saudi officials and noted, "there are some questions and obviously a couple of – in our judgment – kinks to be worked out" though expressing confidence that the problems could be resolved.

A key problem appears to be that the Obama administration has so demonized Assad and so bought into the neocon goal of "regime change" that Obama doesn't feel that he can back down on his "Assad must go!" mantra. Yet, to force Assad out and bar him from running in an election means escalating the war by either further arming the Sunni jihadists or mounting a larger-scale invasion of Syria with the U.S. military confronting Syrian and now Russian forces to establish what is euphemistically called "a safe zone" inside Syria. A related "no-fly zone" would require destroying Syrian air defenses, now supplied by the Russians.

Obama has largely followed the first course of action, allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni "allies" to funnel U.S. weapons to jihadists, including Ahrar al-Sham which fights alongside Al Qaeda's Nusra Front as the two seek to transform Syria into a Islamic fundamentalist state, a goal shared by Al Qaeda's spinoff (and now rival), the Islamic State.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has termed Obama's choice of aiding the jihadists a "willful decision," even in the face of DIA warnings about the likely rise of the Islamic State and other extremists.

In August 2012, DIA described the danger in a classified report, which noted that "The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISI or ISIS and then the Islamic State] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The report also said that "If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria" and that "ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria."

Despite these risks, Obama continued to insist that "Assad must go!" and let his administration whip up a propaganda campaign around claims that Assad's forces launched a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Though many of the U.S. claims about that attack have since been discredited – and later evidence implicated radical jihadists (possibly collaborating with Turkish intelligence) trying to trick the U.S. military into intervening on their side – the Obama administration did not retract or clarify its initial claims.

By demonizing Assad – much like the demonization of Russian President Putin – Obama may feel that he is deploying "soft power" propaganda to put foreign adversaries on the defensive while also solidifying his political support inside hawkish U.S. opinion circles, but false narratives can take on a life of their own and make rational settlements difficult if not impossible....

ilsm -> anne...
The Syria terror consortium was in Riyadh checking in with their bankers. To the Sunni democracy is apostate anathema.
anne -> ilsm...
I understand the frustration and beyond, after all I read about Yemen being bombed with American bombs and target sightings and I cannot imagine the policy incentives driving us.

Nonetheless, the Yemen bombings go on day on day on day.

anne -> ilsm...
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen? Who could possibly ever understand, but our policy makers act as though they do.

[Dec 11, 2015] How Far Can The Syria Conflict Spiral Out Of Control

Notable quotes:
"... By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... • How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically ..."
"... • The fallout effects for countries caught in between ..."
"... • What Russia wants ..."
"... • What Turkey wants ..."
"... • What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves ..."
"... • Why ISIS can't be controlled ..."
"... • How Shi'ite radical groups differ ..."
"... • Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena ..."
"... • Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons ..."
"... Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise… ..."
"... "Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors." ..."
"... ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past. ..."
"... Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance. ..."
"... The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants. ..."
"... Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus. ..."
"... Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.) ..."
"... It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power. ..."
"... Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs. ..."
"... I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud. ..."
"... The interest must be paid… ..."
"... I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage. ..."
"... From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war. ..."
naked capitalism

By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice

...No one can fight a war without oil, according to Robert Bensh, partner and managing director of Pelicourt LLC oil and gas company. But while the politically unhinged are coming out the woodwork, the more important aspects of this story remain elusive to the public. Is the dangerously unspoken theory that ISIS is a bulwark against Iran what's keeping the West from tackling the Islamic State wholeheartedly on its territory?

... ... ...

In an exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, Bensh discusses:

• How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically
• The fallout effects for countries caught in between
• What Russia wants
• What Turkey wants
• What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves
• Why ISIS can't be controlled
• How Shi'ite radical groups differ
• Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena
• Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons

... ... ...

Robert Bensh: Russia and Turkey have a great deal of economic interdependence, and nowhere more than in the energy sector. There has been no talk of cutting Russian gas to Turkey, and I don't see how Russia can afford this right now. Turkey is not only a significant customer for Russia, but it's also a key gas-transit point.

James Stafford: So what does Turkey want?

Robert Bensh: The better question is: "What does Erdogan want?" You know, Putin's probably not too far off in his statement referring to Erdogan's loss of "mind and reason". Erdogan has been going down this path little by little for some time and it's no secret that he has some megalomaniacal tendencies that grow more and more out of control every year. It would seem that he has dreams of a return of the Ottoman Empire-and that ISIS could be a logical ally to that end. Of course, ISIS is not likely looking to be beholden to another Ottoman Empire controlling a greater Sunni-Arab dominion. Many, many Turks fail to share this dream with their leader, and his ambitions will also be his eventual downfall unfortunately.

For the Turkish regime, there is also the idea that ISIS will ostensibly give them more power against the rise of the Kurds, both in southeastern Turkey and in northern Syria. It will even raise the Turks' status in the face of the Saudis whose oil wealth has make them more powerful than the Turks in many ways.

Jim McKay

Yves: I think your "quibble" is… indeed minor.

Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise…

These are realities. Whatever small portion of US electorate reads here, at least a few are being introduced to this. We are heading into another election with… in my view, more deeply entrenched public opinions on this based on lies, then maybe any time I recall my entire life. It's just, the game is bigger now with more potential for longer lasting catastrophe if we don't find a way to right our ship.

I appreciate this article… it's on the right track. Only other thing I'd mention: amidst all this, we've had recent international climate meetings with little progress. Clearly, this is bigger problem for entire planet that nobody will escape. I'm stuck by Bensh's comments on protecting their investments (oil) and how the various players he mentions all make decisions based on… oil. It over rides, it seems…everything else that matters.

The planet needs to get behind renewables, and develop them… fast. It's not so hard to see how doing so would change these other geo-political games forever.

financial matters

I think taking the 'businessman' look at this is not a bad way to look at it. As Adam Hanieh has pointed out

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/isis-syria-iraq-war-al-qaeda-arab-spring/

"Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors."

and also

"ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past.

Despite all the setbacks of the last few years, the potential growth of a genuinely left alternative has not been extinguished and, most importantly, has never been more necessary."

--

William Polk echoes this idea of the importance of a non-military and non-police response.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/falling-into-the-isis-trap/

"–The results of insurgency are described in my book Violent Politics. There I have shown that in a variety of societies over the last two centuries in various parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, guerrillas have nearly always accomplished their objectives despite even the most draconian counterinsurgency tactics."

His point being that dealing with the fundamental socioeconomic imbalances/repression can be more effective.

Eureka Springs

Interesting to me as much for what is not considered by oil businessmen.

A few quick points:

  • No mention of human suffering, not even in cost/opportunity terms.
  • No mention of rule of law.
  • No mention of what happens to the earths climate/ecosystem if all the oil and gas at stake is unleashed.
  • No mention of who many of the business players are, certainly not in detail. No mention of Erdogans family, Tony Hayward, trafficking / selling this stolen oil…
  • Nor mention of Israel being the major end buyer.
  • When mentioning Assad buys oil from IS (U.S Turk Israel Saudi Qatari Qaeda Nusra) no mention of the point Assad is buying his countries own oil at the point of a gun from the thieves who stole it.
  • No mention that this uncertainty/chaos is both deliberate and a constant feature of big oil and MIC's business model.
  • No concern that more tyrants of the head chopping variety are bound to achieve or maintain power.
cassandra

…and

  • No mention of strategic significance of naval base at Tartus
  • No mention of "legal" Saudi arms purchasing and trafficking, and extremist support in Syria, Yemen and about the globe.

Brooklin Bridge

This is a good interview. Along with other posts on the subject, this is bringing a little clarity to why there is no clarity.

participant-observer-observed

Hmmm. No mention of Saudi and others in the dynamic…

for more details, read above with Escobar's Pipelineistan,
here c/o Tom Dispatch.

Jack Heape

Thanks for that link. Escobar always has some good insights. I also suggest Juan Cole. He recently had a good piece on President Erdogan.

camelotkidd

Pepe Escobar has been all over the back story of what he calls pipelineistan– http://counterpunch.org/2015/12/08/syria-ultimate-pipelineistan-war /

"Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance.

The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants.

Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus."

participant-observer-observed

Yes, thanks for that most recent Escobar piece at Counterpunch; the one i linked above is already old but still interesting.

The regime change recipe of DC has already been tried and has failed in Iraq, Libya, etc., no one can fathom any improvements replacing Assad + Isis with Isis alone, aka rag tag coalitions of jihadis! Even Saudis can hardly wish for it.

ChrisFromGeorgia

Based on reported facts on the ground (well, reported by non-US media that is) the SAA is making slow but steady progress in retaking key towns and the highway between Aleppo and Damascus. No doubt Russian air and logistical support has made a difference.

If things keep going this way, Assad will likely regain the upper hand and the Saudi/US sponsored jihadis will be confined to the eastern part of the country. It's looking like Washington will have to make a choice – accept Assad as the legitimate ruler (for now) or continue to provoke the situation with guerrilla tactics. We know from history that there is precedent for long wars against legitimate governments that displease Washington (see Daniel Ortega, Sandanistas.) My guess is they go this route and hope to eventually install a stooge.

Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.)

Steven

It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power.

This 'Arrogance of Power' has characterized US foreign policy making since the end of WWII. The U.N. was sold to the public as an arrangement for collective security so the U.S. would not have to 'make the world safe for democracy' (sic) a third time. It has been in reality nothing more than a tool for the pursuit of (perceived) US interests, promptly discarded when the principles in its charter became inconvenient.

Short of initiating the world's Mutually Assured Destruction, the U.S. is running out of options – in Syria and around the world. It may be too late for the U.S. to get serious about collective security, to tell the world 'this time we really mean it'. Having squandered economic and "too good to waste" military power in a successive string of needless wars, it may no longer be possible to convince especially those who hold the levers of power in Russia and China that we are serious about collective security and willing to accept a multi-polar world.

Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs.

kgw

I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud.

The interest must be paid…

susan the other

This was really to the point, without actually making it. One thing is becoming clear – the oil wars are distilling down to natural advantage. It currently belongs to SA – but the future looks like it prefers to use Levant & east Mediterranean oil because it will be easier to pipe to southern Europe. And maybe cleaner? So everybody and their dog is fighting for access to it.

It explains Netanyahu's trip to Moscow & the French clearly in league with Russia for achieving access to this resource (why else?). And it is partly being driven by decisions to leave current oil reserves in the ground. As Palast said it is a "war for no oil."

Which in turn makes sense of Kerry's admonishing the Senate about the Iran deal – that if they want to continue to be oil brokers (petrodollar brokers) they have to come to terms with Iran because there are plenty of other nations who can step up; and of course we want our EU cousins to get a cut of Levant oil, and etc. And Russia is clearly protecting its oil interests. I wonder how long this feeding frenzy will continue.

Horatio Parker

I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage.

tgs

From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war.

[Dec 07, 2015] Did Erdogan Commit Political Suicide Shahir ShahidSaless

www.huffingtonpost.com
Erdogan, desperate and angry over his losing battle to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, ordered the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet. Erdogan has been actively pursuing the ouster of Assad since 2012, but Russia's recent intervention in Syria, in alliance with Iran and its highly ideologically and politically motivated proxies, has resulted in a serious setback for Erdogan's plans.

Putin's determination to destroy Turkey's proxies at the Syrian borders and to thwart Erdogan's plan to create a no-fly/buffer zone in the area has derailed Erdogan's plans for Syria. Erdogan hoped to use the buffer zone as an operational hub aimed at bringing down President Assad.

Russian attacks on Turkmen-dominated areas in Bayirbucak, where the Russian plane was downed, would also inflict serious collateral damage to Turkey. The Turkish government regards the area in north-west Syria, presently under the control of the Bayirbucak Turkmens, as an important buffer zone preventing the territorial expansion of Syria's Kurdish-minority militias, whom it regards as terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Erdogan's objective in shooting down the plane was to provoke Russia into a harsh response. He hoped the response would bring Russia into conflict with the whole of NATO, which would help reverse Turkey's declining fortunes in the Syrian war.

Erdogan's calculations went terribly wrong. Following the incident, Turkey requested an emergency meeting with NATO members. Contrary to Erdogan's expectations, although, members did not support Russia, neither did they wholeheartedly support Turkey. Many members questioned Turkey's action and, according to Reuters, "expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace." In a clear indication of the suspicion among NATO members regarding Turkey's real intention behind its adventurism, some diplomats told Reuters, "There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents."

Not only didn't Cold War II happen, French President Francois Hollande, who promised "merciless" revenge in the aftermath of Paris attacks, met with Putin and they agreed to form an alliance against Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. The outcome of such an alliance is that the "Assad must go" mantra will be overshadowed by the war against Daesh--something that Erdogan hated to occur. Erdogan's plan to bring the West and Russia into conflict became even more unattainable when France's move was followed by Britain and then Germany.

Turkey also lost significant room to maneuver in the post-shootdown of the Russian fighter jet. Russia, by deploying the powerful S-400 surface-to-air missile system in Hmeymim airbase near Latakia, sent a strong signal to Turkey--a de facto no-fly zone already in effect south of the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russia also sent Turkey and NATO a clear message by arming its fighter jets with air-to-air missiles. On November 30, the Russian Air Force announced that "today, for the first time ‪Su34‬ fighter-bombers departed for combat sorties with air-to-air short- and medium-range missiles.... The usage of such weaponry is necessary for providing security of the aircraft of the Russian" air force, the announcement read. ‬‬‬

Moscow also authorized numerous economic sanctions against Ankara ranging from tourism to agricultural products as well as sanctions on energy and construction projects.

Erdogan took a conciliatory stance after the incident. In a speech in Ankara, he said, "We are strategic partners ... 'Joint projects may be halted, ties could be cut'? Are such approaches fitting for politicians?" Erdogan even requested a meeting with Putin while both leaders were in Paris for the COP21 climate change conference on November 30, but Putin rejected the request.

Russians launched a heavy campaign to damage Erdogan's credibility and reputation. Vladimir Putin and numerous other Russian politicians leveled accusations regarding Turkey's sponsorship and cooperation with ISIS as well as allegations of buying oil smuggled by ISIS.

On November 30, on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris, Putin stated, "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale." He even went further to say, "We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers."

In response, Erdogan said he will resign as the country's president if Russia provides evidence that implicates Turkey in any oil trade with ISIS.

Later, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said, "We have repeatedly publicly stated that oil from the IS-controlled territories is transported abroad, particularly to Turkey. The facts that substantiate these claims will be formally presented in the UN in particular, and to all parties concerned."

Then on December 2, the Russian Defense Ministry held a briefing concerning ISIS funding. During the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, satellite images, and videos, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said, "According to our data, the top political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family - is involved in this criminal business."

Antonov added, "In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president's son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business."

On December 3, without mentioning specifics, Putin declared there was more evidence to come. "We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling," he said. "But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime ... are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

At this point, it is apparent that Putin's ultimate objective is to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him to severely damage Erdogan's name and trustworthiness, both domestically and internationally, or, even better, bring him and his regime down as a perceived power behind the extremists and the anti-Assad forces in Syria. This is in line with Russia's plan for realizing its strategic objectives in Syria.

[Dec 06, 2015] With allies like Turkey, who needs enemies

Notable quotes:
"... Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story. ..."
"... "If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook. ..."
"... The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest. ..."
"... The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4. ..."
www.dailykos.com

Turkey has sent 2,000 troops into Iraq without getting permission from Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has demanded they withdraw, calling it a "hostile act", but Ankara has decided to ignore Baghdad's wishes.

This is only the latest act that undermines the wisdom of having Turkey as a military ally.

Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story.

While the US has long hyped the problem of ISIS oil smuggling, the recent Russian Defense Ministry presentation, showing significant evidence of Turkey being involved in buying ISIS oil and taking it to refineries run by the Turkish government, has changed their tune.
After a previous denial of the allegation against Turkey, the US is now admitting that the oil is ending up smuggled into Turkey, but insists it is "of no significance" because so much of the oil produced in ISIS-controlled parts of Syria is consumed inside Syria.
"The amount of oil being smuggled is extremely low and has decreased over time," claimed US special envoy Amos Hochstein, a stunning admission which suggests the US was well aware of oil smuggling into Turkey even before the Russian evidence.

Just in case we don't want to believe the Russian videos, Moscow has a solution.

"If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook.

The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest.

With the U.S. government knowing about Turkey's government involvement (Russia's photos show ISIS oil smuggling trucks passing through border crossings without stopping), it begs the question of what our objectives actually are?

gjohnsit

Erdogan Moves To Annex Mosul

Should Mosul be cleared of the Islamic State the Turkish heavy weapons will make it possible for Turkey to claim the city unless the Iraqi government will use all its power to fight that claim. Should the city stay in the hands of the Islamic State Turkey will make a deal with it and act as its protector. It will benefit from the oil around Mosul which will be transferred through north Iraq to Turkey and from there sold on the world markets. In short: This is an effort to seize Iraq's northern oil fields.

That is the plan but it is a risky one. Turkey did not ask for permission to invade Iraq and did not inform the Iraqi government.

The Turks claim that they were invited by the Kurds:

Turkey will have a permanent military base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul as the Turkish forces in the region training the Peshmerga forces have been reinforced, Hürriyet reported.

The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4.

There are two problems with this. First: Massoud Barzani is no longer president of the KRG. His mandate ran out and the parliament refused to prolong it. Second: Mosul and its Bashiqa area are not part of the KRG. Barzani making a deal about it is like him making a deal about Paris.

mookins

Al-masdar news-feed-thing had guncam footage of a night attack, by frogfoots with their cannons, on an ISIS truck park. Magnified view at first so you could see they were full-sized like semi's; and no casual agglomeration, these were parked efficiently in a herringbone pattern, at least 400 and I think closer to a thousand. At the film's end the whole thing is just large, neat rectangles of brightness.

So little did ISIS have to fear from an American-coalition airstrike that they had it set up like this. And now these White House statements that it was no big deal.

And Europe sees all this on the news, the ISIS we didn't fight, the flood of refugees that resulted, and sees Russia and Iran being the good guys.

I read where Putin was worried, called Merkel and Hollande to see if they were still on board with 'Minsk 2', the current ceasefire agreement in Ukraine, and they said yes they were. He was worried because Ukraine's President had said he rejected it and the U.S. had said we support that, we reject it too.

We've lost Europe. World getting better fast.

MrWebster, Dec 06 · 04:28:32 PM

Your observations are right on, but only if you assume that thee enemy is IS and Al Queda in Syria. At this point, I don't believe it is. Assad/Russians are perceived as the bigger and more important enemy for the Obama administration and the neocons to focus on. In this case, what Turkey is doing is acceptable-they are enabling opposition forces to Assad/Russians. Heck, when the Russians started bombing, the Al Nusrat Front (Al Queda in Syria) was magically transformed by the administration and the mass media into "rebels", "moderate rebels", "insurgents", "opposition".

native -> MrWebster

I wonder who gets to claim Mosel, after all the dust settles? Abadi seems to have lost all control over his nominal countrymen in the north. But will the Iraqi Kurds side with Turkey, and against their brethren just across the border?

[Dec 06, 2015] US elite strategy toward Russia is replica of UK strategy a century before

Notable quotes:
"... The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience... ..."
"... Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence ..."
russia-insider.com

merchantsofmenace

The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience...

Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence...

https://medium.com/the-eastern-project/greece-s-nazi-problem-continues-5b92ca57dc6d#.kfiaixvdm 1

YoringeTBE -> merchantsofmenace
russia-insider.com

Stratfor Chairman Straight-Talking: US Policy Is Driven by Imperative to Stop Coalition between Germany and Russia

George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of Stratfor, or what is called by many "private/shadow CIA" for its well known connections and close cooperation with the CIA, gave a very interesting speech to the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs on subject Europe: Destined for Conflict? in February of this year.

[Dec 06, 2015] More Planes Than Targets Why the Air War on ISIS Will Fail

www.counterpunch.org
Even if Britain's role is symbolic at this stage, it has joined a very real war against an enemy of great ferocity and experience, not least of air attacks. The highly informed Turkish military analystMetin Gurcan, writing on Al-Monitor website, says that air strikes may have been effective against Isis communications and training facilities, but adds that "it is extraordinary that there is not a single [Isis] control facility that has been hit by allied air strikes".

This is not for lack of trying and shows that talk of destroying Isis command and control centres in Raqqa is wishful thinking, given that 2,934 American air strikes in Syria have failed to do so over the last 14 months.

Air strikes have had an impact on Isis's tactics and casualty rate, above all when they are used in close co-operation with a well-organised ground force like the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Isis may have lost as many as 2,200 fighters at Kobani which is a small and closely packed city. On the other hand, the length of time it took to drive Isis out of it with 700 air strikes demonstrated their fighters' willingness to die.

Many Isis commanders reportedly regard their tactics at Kobani as a mistake which cost the group too many casualties and which it should not repeat. To do so it sacrificed two of its most important military assets which are mobility and surprise. This does not mean that it will not fight to the last bullet for cities like Raqqa and Mosul, but it did not do so for Tikrit and Sinjar where it used snipers, booby traps and IEDs, but did not commit large detachments of troops.

Isis has modified its tactics to take account of the continuing risk of air strikes. It now has a decentralised command structure, with tactical decisions being taken by leaders of small units of eight to 10 men, whose overall mission is determined from the centre – but not how it should be accomplished. This limits the ability of its opponents to monitor its communications.

Its forces assemble swiftly and attack soon afterwards with multiple diversionary operations, as was seen when Mosul was captured in June 2014 and again when they took Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, this May.

They had been fighting their way into Baiji refinery, but this turned out to be a diversion and Isis units pulled back from there as soon as Ramadi fell.

Isis's approach is to use a mixture of conventional, guerrilla and terrorist tactics, none unique in themselves, but they have never been used before in combination. Air strikes mean that it is less able to use captured tanks or big concentrations of vehicles packed with fighters. Instead it uses IEDs, booby traps, snipers and mortar teams in even greater numbers.

Public martyrdom as an expression of religious faith is such a central part of its ideology that it can deploy suicide bombers on foot or in vehicles in great numbers to destroy fortifications and demoralize the enemy. Some 28 suicide bombers were reportedly used in the final stages of the battle for Ramadi. Psychological warfare has always been an important element of Isis's tactical armory. It has sought to terrify opposition forces by showing videos in which captured Iraqi or Syrian soldiers are filmed being ritually decapitated or shot in the head.

Sometimes, the families of Syrian soldiers get a phone call from their son's mobile with a picture of his body with his severed head on his chest. Mass killings of prisoners have taken place after all Isis's victories (the al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front, does the same thing).

Heavy air attack will increase Isis's losses and it will be more difficult to bring in foreign volunteers through Turkey because most of the border is now closed. But Isis rules an area with a population of at least six million and conscripts all young men, who often want to become fighters because there is no other employment. Isis may have a fighting force of 100,000 men, as is strongly suggested by the very long front lines it holds and its ability to make multiple attacks simultaneously. Whatever Britain's role, we will be fighting a formidable military machine.

[Dec 03, 2015] It's a pretty tough situation for Putin

Recently annonced: Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline
marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile, December 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

Just announced:

Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline

Earlier, during his address to the nation, the Evil One questioned the sanity of the Turkish political leadership, stressing that Russia is nor criticising the Turkish nation for the recent downturn in Russo-Turksh relationships.

marknesop, December 3, 2015 at 7:37 am

Washington will be delighted, as it was one of the hoped-for consequences of the major downturn in relations. Hoped for by Washington and Brussels, I mean. Brussels will now ramp up its rhetoric against Nord Stream II, and if the coalition building it have not got all their ducks in a row the EC will be all too ready to put a stop to it. The objective will be leaving Russia no option but to continue transit through Ukraine, because the transit fees are vital to its solvency. The EU can't afford to give it $2 Billion a year for nothing for as far as the eye can see.

kirill, December 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

As I posted elsewhere, Russia needs to make a formal announcement that the transit of gas via Ukraine will stop at the end of 2016 regardless of the state of alternative routes. Brussels can then go and eat shit.

likbez, December 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm

It's a pretty tough situation for Putin. No friends anywhere. Everybody want a peace of Russia economically or otherwise. The situation reminds me a Russian cruiser Varyag at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay with the Japanese squadron of Admiral Uriu.

Fledging political alliance of Turkey and Ukraine is not a very good development. Also while economic sanctions are not that damaging to Russia per se as they are for Turkey, they still increase isolation of Russia. Exactly what the USA wanted from the very beginning.

So this whole incident with shooting down Russian Su-24 looks like another victory of the US diplomacy in its efforts to isolate Russia. And it might well be a plot similar to MH17 plot, if you wish. It does not matter if Erdogan acted on his own initiative or with gentle encouragement. The net result is the same.

Also a new Saudi leadership is a pretty impulsive and aggressive folk. And the are definitely adamantly anti-Russian.

[Dec 03, 2015] Who are those moderate rebels in Syria

marknesop.wordpress.com
yalensis, December 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

You are burying the lede, which is Congressman Ed Royce's not-so veiled threat against Russia:

"I think what Vladimir Putin should think on, for a minute, is the fact that Moscow itself IS a target. The attack on the Metro-Liner from Russia over Egypt clearly is another message from ISIS. So, at this point what we would like to see is a recalibration on the part of the Russian military. So that instead of attacking the Free Syrian Army and the more secular Syrian forces, they should begin to attack ISIS. So far we haven't seen that."

Translation from American B.S. into plain talk:
"Putin: Stop attacking our guys, we know they are ISIS but we have to pretend they're not. If you keep attacking them, we'll have them commit ever more terror attacks against the Russian people."

marknesop , December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The USA is perhaps the worst choice on the planet to ask who is a "moderate rebel" and who is ISIS, as witnessed by their sad-sack training plan for moderate rebels which produced 5 or so whom they say are reliable after spending $500 Million. Obviously they trained many more than 5, but they have no idea where those people or their equipment are now. The real hot button in that article is the mention of General Steven Groves and his operation to "oversee the suppression of assessments showing the war on a perilous trajectory." That's what the American intelligence organs do now – blow smoke up people's asses so they can't see reality.

[Dec 03, 2015] Germany Rebukes Its Own Intelligence Agency for Criticizing Saudi Policy

Notable quotes:
"... "The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled " Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long. ..."
"... Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats. ..."
"... Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths. ..."
"... In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy. ..."
"... The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region." ..."
"... In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said. ..."
"... "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region." ..."
The New York Times

The intelligence agency's memo risked playing havoc with Berlin's efforts to show solidarity with France in its military campaign against the Islamic State and to push forward the tentative talks on how to end the Syrian civil war. The Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, is due to vote on Friday on whether to send reconnaissance planes, midair fueling capacity and a frigate to the Middle East to support the French.

The memo was sent to selected German journalists on Wednesday. In it, the foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, offered an unusually frank assessment of recent Saudi policy.

"The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled "Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long.

The memo said that King Salman and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman were trying to build reputations as leaders of the Arab world.

Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats.

Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths.

... ... ...

In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy.

The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region."

In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said.

But it suggested that the recent shift in Saudi leadership has added new factors in the Middle East. "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region."

[Dec 03, 2015] Murder And Mayhem In The Middle East

Notable quotes:
"... Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATOs bombing raid. Further, you wont be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission. ..."
"... Gaddafis killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay. ..."
"... While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare. ..."
"... It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning. ..."
"... Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African states descent into anarchy. ..."
"... All sides in Libyas multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report. ..."
"... Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance , the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said. ..."
"... The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said. ..."
Dec 1, 2015 | Safehaven.com

Why it matters to those living in the West

To understand what's happening in Syria right now, you have to understand the tactics and motivations of the US and NATO -- parties sharing interwoven aims and goals in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region.

While the populations of Europe and the US are fed raw propaganda about the regional aims involved, the reality is far different.

Where the propaganda claims that various bad dictators have to be taken out, or that democracy is the goal, neither have anything at all to do with what's actually happening or has happened in the region.

For starters, we all know that if oil fields were not at stake then the West would care much much less about MENA affairs.

But a lot of outside interests do care. And their aims certainly and largely include controlling the region's critical energy resources. There's a lot of concern over whether Russia or China will instead come to dominate these last, best oil reserves on the planet.

Further, we can dispense with the idea that the US and NATO have any interest at all in human rights in this story. If they did, then they'd at least have to admit that their strategies and tactics have unleashed immeasurable suffering, as well as created the conditions for lots more. But it would be silly to try and argue about or understand regional motivations through the lenses of human rights or civilian freedoms -- as neither applies here.

Divide And Conquer

Instead, the policies in the MENA region are rooted in fracturing the region so that it will be easier to control.

That's a very old tactic; first utilized to a great extent by Britain starting back in the 1700s.

Divide and conquer. There's a reason that's a well-worn catch phrase: it's hundreds of years old.

But to get a handle on the level of depravity involved, I think it useful to examine what happened in Libya in 2011 when NATO took out Muamar Gaddafi and left the country a broken shell -- as was intended.

I cannot really give you a good reason for NATO involving itself in taking out Gaddafi. I only have bad ones.

The official reason was that after the Arab Spring uprising in Libya in early 2011 (with plenty of evidence of Western influences in fanning those flames) things got ugly and protesters were shot. This allowed the UN to declare that it needed to protect civilians, and the ICC to charge Gaddafi with crimes against humanity, declaring that he needed to stand trial.

Here's how it went down:

On 27 June, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, head of state security, for charges concerning crimes against humanity.[268] Libyan officials rejected the ICC, claiming that it had "no legitimacy whatsoever" and highlighting that "all of its activities are directed at African leaders".[269]

That month, Amnesty International published their findings, in which they asserted that many of the accusations of mass human rights abuses made against Gaddafist forces lacked credible evidence, and were instead fabrications of the rebel forces which had been readily adopted by the western media.

Source

After the ICC's indictment, it was a hop, skip and a jump to declaring a NATO-enforced 'no fly zone' over Libya to protect civilians.

From there it was just a straight jump to NATO actively shooting anything related to the Gaddafi government. NATO had thereby chosen sides and was directly supporting the rebellion.

The pattern in play here is always the same: cherry-picked events are used as a pretext to support the side seeking to topple the existing government and thereby leave a sectarian wasteland to flourish in the inevitable power vacuum.

If you are like most people in the West, you know almost nothing of any of this context. It's not well reported. And Libya is rarely in the news even though it's going through increasingly desperate times.

I found a speech given by Gaddafi a few months before he was killed to be especially compelling and revealing. I will reproduce it in its entirety here:

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Source

Gaddafi's great crime seems to be giving away too much oil wealth to his people. Was he a strongman? Yes, but you have to be to rule in that region right now. Was he the worst strong man? No, not by a long shot.

As bad as he was, at least he didn't kill a million Iraqis on trumped up charges of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Nor was he chopping off 50 heads per week and stoning females for adultery as is the case with Saudi Arabia right now.

But again, whether he killed protestors or not, or committed war crimes or not, is irrelevant to the power structure. What mattered was that he had locked out Western interests, and instead used his country's oil wealth to provide free or extremely cheap health care, education and housing to a wide swath of Libyans.

So let's cut to the murder scene. Here's how it went down:

At around 08:30 local time on 20 October, Gaddafi, his army chief Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, his security chief Mansour Dhao, and a group of loyalists attempted to escape in a convoy of 75 vehicles.[7][8] A Royal Air Force reconnaissance aircraft spotted the convoy moving at high speed, after NATO forces intercepted a satellite phone call made by Gaddafi.[9]

NATO aircraft then fired on 11 of the vehicles, destroying one. A U.S. Predator drone operated from a base near Las Vegas[8] fired the first missiles at the convoy, hitting its target about 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of Sirte. Moments later, French Air Force Rafale fighter jets continued the bombing.[10]

The NATO bombing immobilized much of the convoy and killed dozens of loyalist fighters. Following the first strike, some 20 vehicles broke away from the main group and continued moving south. A second NATO airstrike damaged or destroyed 10 of these vehicles. According to the Financial Times, Free Libya units on the ground also struck the convoy.[11]

According to their statement, NATO was not aware at the time of the strike that Gaddafi was in the convoy. NATO stated that in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1973, it does not target individuals but only military assets that pose a threat. NATO later learned, "from open sources and Allied intelligence," that Gaddafi was in the convoy and that the strike likely contributed to his capture.[11]

Source

To believe NATO, it had no idea Gaddafi was in that convoy (honest!), but just managed to have a Predator drone handy as well as a large number of jets armed for ground targets (not anti-aircraft missiles, as a no-fly zone might imply). It merely struck all of these vehicles over and over again in their quest to kill everyone on board because they were "military assets that posed a threat."

Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATO's bombing raid. Further, you won't be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission.

Gaddafi's killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay.

After NATO was finished making a mess of Libya by taking out Gaddafi and leaving a right proper mess of a power vacuum, it simply departed -- leaving the country to fend for itself. Libya descended, of course, into an outright civil war and has remained ever since a hotbed of sectarian violence and increasing ISIS control and presence.

If NATO/US had to follow the Pier I rule of "you break it, you buy it" they would still be in Libya offering money and assistance as the country settles down and begins the long process of rebuilding.

But no such luck. That's absolutely not how they operate. It's disaster capitalism in action. The idea is to break things apart and then make money off of the pieces. It's not to help people.

Otherwise, how do we explain these images?

While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare.

It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning.

I'm not justifying ISIS; only explaining the context that led to its rise.

Speaking of which, let's turn back to Libya:

ISIS is tightening its grip in Libya

Nov 15, 2015

GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African state's descent into anarchy.

All sides in Libya's multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report.

Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, "committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance", the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said.

The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said.

Some were accused of "treason", others of same-sex relations, but none were given due legal process, according to the report, which covered the year through October.

Four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is locked in a conflict between two rival governments - an official one in the east and a self-declared one controlling the capital Tripoli - and the many armed factions that back them.

Source

After that atrocious summary, how bad does life under Gaddafi sound now? Again, he was targeted for execution by Western interests and the resulting mess is of little surprise to anybody with even modest curiosity about how violent overthrows tend to work out in the MENA region.

But where is the UN security council denouncing the war crimes? And where is the ICC leveling crimes against humanity charges? Nowhere. There's no more Western political interest in Libya now that it has been broken apart.

As they say in the military: once is bad luck, twice is a coincidence, but three times is enemy action. This pattern of eliminating "a very bad man" and leaving the country in a complete mess has happened three times of late, with Syria targeted to be the fourth. So enemy action it is.

ISIS and other extreme jihadist groups arose because of brutal conditions that made such harsh interpretations of ancient religious texts make sense by comparison. When you have nothing left to believe in, one's belief system can compensate by becoming rather inflexible.

I know I have greatly simplified a terribly complex dynamic, but -- speaking of beliefs -- I don't believe that terrorists are born, I believe they are raised. When one has nothing left to lose, then anything becomes possible, including strapping on a suicide belt and flicking the switch.

What I am saying is that this is not a battle between Christians and Muslims, nor is it a battle between good and evil, both characterizations that I've read recently in great abundance. That's all nonsense for the masses.

This is about resources and true wealth that is being siphoned from the people who have had the misfortune to be born on top of it, and towards other regions with greater power and reach.

There's nothing different in what I am reading today from what the British redcoats did in India from the late 1700's throughout the 1800's. Their military might assured that the East India Tea Company could continue to extract resources from the locals.

At the time the locals were called heathens, implying they were subhuman and therefore could be safely dispatched. Now they are called terrorists -- same thing. Dehumanize your foe to help rationalize one's behaviors. It's a tried and true practice of war propaganda.


How This Affects You

While we might be tempted to sit in our Western environs, secure in the idea that at least we aren't 'over there' where all the bad things are happening, it would be a mistake to think that this turmoil will not impact you.

I'm not talking about the ultra-remote chance of being a victim of blow-back terrorism either. I am referring to the idea that it would be a mistake to think that any government(s) that think nothing of ruining entire MENA countries will hesitate to throw anybody else under the bus that gets in their way.

Ben Bernanke gave no thought to throwing granny under the bus in order to help the big banks get even bigger. He willingly and knowing transferred over a trillion dollars away from savers and handed it to the big banks.

Similarly, we shouldn't expect enlightened behavior to emerge from the shadows of leadership once things get even dicer on the world stage. In fact, we should expect the opposite.

It would be a mistake to think that powers in charge would not turn their malign intent inwards toward their own populace if/when necessary. Today it's Syria, yesterday it was Libya, but tomorrow it might be us.

The people of France recently got a small taste of the horror that has been visited upon the people of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. And while I have no interest in seeing any more violence anywhere, perhaps the people of France will finally begin to ask what happened and why. I don't mean the fine details of the night of the massacre, but how it came to be considered a 'thing to do' at all by the people who did it. (For those unaware, France has been particularly involved for years in fomenting revolt within Syria)


Conclusion

My intention in stringing these dots together is so that we can have an informed discussion about what's happening in Syria and the Middle East at large. I am not at all interested in trying to understand events through the framing lenses of religion and/or 'terrorism', both of which are tools of distraction in my experience.

Instead, I want to understand the power dynamics at play. And to try to peel back the layers, to understand why the powers that be consider this region so important at this moment in history.

I think they know as well as we do that the shale oil revolution is not a revolution at all but a retirement party for an oil industry that has given us everything we hold economically dear but is on its last legs.

I think that the power structures of the next twenty years are going to be utterly shaped by energy - who has it, who needs it and who's controlling it.

Saudi Arabia is acting increasingly desperate here and I think we know why. They have a saying there: "My father rode a camel, I drove a car, my son flies a jet and his son will ride a camel."

They know as well as anyone that their oil wealth will run out someday; and so, too, will the West's interest in them. With no giant military to protect them, the royalty in Saudi Arabia should have some serious concerns about the future.

Heck, it's even worse than that:

Saudi Wells Running Dry -- of Water -- Spell End of Desert Wheat

Nov 3, 2015

Saudi Arabia became a net exporter of wheat in 1984 from producing almost none in the 1970s. The self-sufficiency program became a victim of its own success, however, as it quickly depleted aquifers that haven't been filled since the last Ice Age.

In an unexpected U-turn, the government said in 2008 it was phasing out the policy, reducing purchases of domestic wheat each year by 12.5 percent and bridging the gap progressively with imports.

The last official local harvest occurred in May, although the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that a small crop of about metric 30,000 tons for traditional specialty bakery products will "prevail" in 2016. At its peak in 1992, Saudi Arabia produced 4.1 million tons of wheat and was one of the world's top 10 wheat exporters.


Source

The Saudis did something very unwise - they pumped an aquifer filled over 10,000 years ago and used it to grow wheat in the desert. Now their wells are running dry and they have no more water.

And yet their population is expanding rapidly even as their oil fields deplete. There's a very bad intersection for Saudi Arabia, and the rulers know it.

It helps to explain their recent actions of lashing out against long-standing regional foes and helps to explain the increasing desperation of their moves to help destabilize (and even bomb) their neighbors.

My point here is that as resources become tight, the ruling powers can be expected to act in increasingly desperate ways. This is a tenet of the Long Emergency of which James Kunstler wrote.

The only response that makes any sense to me, at the individual level, is to reduce your needs and increase your resilience.

This is something we cover in great detail in our new book, Prosper!: How To Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting, so I won't go into all the details here. Instead, my goal is to help cast a clarifying light on recent events and add some necessary detail that can help us more fully appreciate what's happening around the world and why taking prudent preparations today is becoming increasingly urgent.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS Oil Plot Thickens Turkish MP Has Evidence Erdogans Son-In-Law Involved In Illegal Crude Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik ). ..."
"... There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this companys records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak. ..."
"... Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week , namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if theres a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogans BMZ Group. ..."
"... Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogans masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland? ..."
"... Maybe Erdogan will come up with a massive distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not. ..."
Zero Hedge
... ... ...

Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. "I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik).

Berat Albayrak is Erodan's son-in-law and is Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Erdem isn't the only person to mention Albayrak this week. Recall that in his opening remarks at the dramatic Russian MoD presentation on Wednesday Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov said the following:

"No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!"

"There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this company's records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak."

Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week, namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if there's a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogan's BMZ Group.

If you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he doesn't take kindly to this kind of thing and as Erdem goes on to account, he's already been the subject of a smear campaign:

"Today, the Takvim newspaper called me an American puppet, an Israeli agent, a supporter of the [Kurdish] PKK, and the instigator of a coup…all in the same sentence. I am inclined to view this attack on me as an attempt to belittle my significance, to attack my reputation in the eyes in the public, given that my investigation is a real threat to the government. Such a sharply negative reaction suggests that my assumptions are fair, and I am moving in the right direction to find the truth."

The lawmaker says that type of attack has "only convinced [him] further on the need to carry this investigation through to the end."

In the meantime, we can only hope that, for the sake of exposing the truth, "the end" doesn't end up being a Turkish jail cell, or worse for Erdem.

Troll Magnet

Do they make nail guns in Turkey?

Truther

Yep, with top brands for JPM, Goldman, RBS, WF, CITI and Deutche. They even self point at you too.

Baby Bladeface

Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogan's masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland?

o r c k

Maybe Erdogan will come up with a "massive" distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not.

Anonymous User

The shit is hitting the fan for the turks

GhostOfDiogenes

Go figure huh?

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/israel-main-buyer-isis-oil-report/...

[Dec 03, 2015] The history of the Arab conquest of Byzantium is purposefully ignored

economistsview.typepad.com
Syaloch said in reply to anne...,

Yep. I sometimes think that the history of the Arab conquest of East Roman (Byzantine) provinces is purposefully ignored because it doesn't fit into a Western narrative of what Arab Muslim peoples are like.

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements we see today are actually a fairly recent invention -- Wahhabism for example originated in the 18th century. And their rise to dominance is largely due to meddling by Western governments, which backed these groups to prevent Soviet expansion into the Middle East and southern Asia and to undermine nationalist movements that might oppose Western interests.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS oil hub with 3000 parked oil trucks escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition

marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Here's the evidence that the USA rejects. I particularly enjoyed the satellite imagery of the "ISIS oil hub", at which were parked 3,000 oil trucks. Apparently it escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition. Does it seem realistic that a country which was offered a major and legitimate pipeline deal would rather move its oil around in thousands of tanker trucks? If the oil trucking business were benefiting Assad's regime, don't you think ISIS would have blown it sky-high by now? It's in a region they control and apparently in the middle of open ground, completely unguarded.

The battle lines have been drawn in yet another field of conflict – Russia aims to take down Erdogan, and Washington aims to keep him in his position. It remains to be seen just how embarrassing that will become.

marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm
Moscow is not backing away at all from accusations that Erdogan's family is personally involved in receiving and trafficking in ISIS oil. In a phenomenon pointed out by others of late, Yahoo comments are now overwhelmingly supportive of Russia on these issues. Not only that, mainstream news are picking up the accusation rapidly. The USA may reject Russia's evidence, but we knew they would do that anyway – the USA would reject a signed confession by Erdogan if they got it from Russia. I don't know why Moscow even bothers to show evidence to the Americans, it would do far better to approach Europeans – especially Germany and France – with its proof. If it could convince Germany, the USA would look a lot more foolish if it said it was all more Russian propaganda and lies.

The USA will shield Erdogan for so long as it can, because his country is in a tremendous strategic position and is studded with NATO military installations. Washington certainly does not want to be confronted with a leadership transition it cannot micromanage. It might throw Erdogan under the bus, but not until it has identified and groomed a successor.

It is also significant that rather than groveling for mercy, Russia continues to attack the alliance's credibility, and it is scoring hits.

Patient Observer, December 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm
The comment with the most "likes" on a yahoo article on Russian claiming that Turkey is buying ISIS oil (lost the link):
" 542 – likes
First it does not require a high school education to understand in order for ISIS to sell any oil from captured oil fields and or refineries it must have buyers of said oil. Our govt claims to watch everyone and know everything yet with all their tax payer space observations, massive fleet of drones to track ants in the sand they cannot figure out where all the oil goes to fund ISIS?
Our govt is intentionally not stopping this oil from being sold and our leaders aware of this need to be exposed then put on trial then executed. In fact political figures in our country need to be facing firing squads monthly until they tell the truth and serve just our citizens. This in turn makes for a huge employment opportunity both in firing squads and new politicians."
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
The European Union voted to give itself permission to buy oil from "Syrian rebels" to help them overthrow Assad. The only stipulations of who could not benefit from it were "regime-associated" individuals and companies. The agency that must be consulted – the Syrian National Coalition – is based in Turkey and its president is chummy with Erdogan. Come on. Washington is ready to indict and convict Moscow on a hell of a lot less evidence than this on any day you care to name.
et Al, December 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Neuters: Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-idUKL8N13R2KV2015120

…U.S. officials say coalition air strikes have destroyed hundreds of IS oil trucks while the Russian campaign has mainly targeted opponents of the Syrian government who are not from Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

"The irony of the Russians raising this concern is that there's plenty of evidence to indicate that the largest consumer of ISIL oil is actually Bashar al-Assad and his regime, a regime that only remains in place because it is being propped up by the Russians," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The State Department's Toner said U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who were involved in smuggling it across the frontier into Turkey…

…The ministry said the Western route took oil produced at fields near the Syrian city of Raqqa to the settlement of Azaz on the border with Turkey.

From there the columns of tanker trucks pass through the Turkish town of Reyhanli, the ministry said, citing what it said were satellite pictures of hundreds of such trucks moving through the border crossing without obstruction.

"There is no inspection of the vehicles carried out … on the Turkish side," said Rudskoy.

Some of the smuggled cargoes go to the Turkish domestic market, while some is exported via the Turkish Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Dortyol, the ministry said.

Another main route for smuggled oil, according to the ministry, runs from Deir Ez-zour in Syria to the Syrian border crossing at Al-Qamishli. It said the trucks then took the crude for refining at the Turkish city of Batman….

…The defence ministry officials said the information they released on Wednesday was only part of the evidence they have in their possession, and that they would be releasing further intelligence in the next days and weeks.
####

I can't wait for that twitter evidence from the State Department and the Pentagon. It should be devastating.

[Dec 03, 2015] Why did Turkey shoot down the Russian Soukhoï 24

Notable quotes:
"... It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria. ..."
"... Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists. ..."
"... In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November. ..."
www.voltairenet.org

At the end of the Turkish civil war, Turkey threatened to invade Syria with the help of NATO if it continued to offer asylum to the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcallan. President Hafez el-Assad thus asked Öcallan to find another refuge, and was obliged to conclude an oral agreement with Turkey. It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria.

Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists.

In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November.

From the perspective of the Third Syrian War [1], the attack was designed to send a message to Russia in order to scare it into defending only Damascus and Lattakia, leaving the rest of the country in the hands of Turkey and its allies.

Technically, the aerial defence of Turkey, like that of all NATO members, is co-ordinated by the CAOC in Torrejón (Spain). The chief of the Turkish air force, General Abidin Ünal, should therefore have given advance warning of his decision to CAOC commander General Rubén García Servert. We do not know if he did so [2]. In any case, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that he himself had validated the order to destroy the Russian plane.

The Russian chief of staff had provided NATO with the flight plans of their aircraft in advance, so that neither the Alliance nor Turkey could ignore the fact that the plane was Russian, despite Turkish allegations to the contrary. Besides this, a NATO AWACS had taken off beforehand from the Greek base in Aktion (close to Preveza) in order to survey the area [3].

The Russian army bombarded the Sultan Abdülhamid Brigade – from the name of the last Ottoman sultan, infamous for organising the massacre of Oriental Christians. Since the beginning of the war against Syria, the Turkish secret services have never stopped supplying weapons to the Turkmen militias in Northern Syria, and overseeing their operations. The Turkish Press has documented the transfer of at least 2,000 truck-loads of weapons and ammunition - which President Erdoğan has admitted [4] – the majority of which was immediately distributed to Al-Qaïda by the Turkmen militias. In particular, in 2011, these militias dismantled the 80,000 factories in Aleppo, the Syrian economic capital, and sent the machine tools to Turkey [5]. So, contrary to Turkish allegations, the Russian bombing was not intended to target the Turkmen, but effectively to destroy a terrorist group guilty of organised pillage, according to the definition in international conventions [6]. The Russian bombardment had provoked the flight of 1,500 civilians and caused vigourous protests by Turkey [7], which addressed a letter to the Security Council [8].

The Turkish – not Syrian – jihadist, member of the Grey Woves, Alparslan Çelik, is commander of the Turkmen militias in Syria.

The main leader of the Turkmen militias in Syria is Alparslan Çelik, a member of the Grey Wolves, the Turkish neo-fascist party, which is historically linked to the NATO secret services [9]. He claims to have given the order to kill the Russian pilots as they parachuted down [10].

The Russian plane which was shot down only entered Turkish air-space for 17 seconds, and was hit after it was already in Syrian air-space. However, since Turkey considered that it had annexed the 8-kilometre corridor which it was authorised to enter according to the agreement with ex-President Hafez el-Assad, it may have believed that the intrusion lasted longer. In any case, in order to shoot down the Sukhoï 24, the Turkish fighter had to enter Syrian air-space for 40 seconds [11].

The Russians had taken no particular measures to protect their bombers, considering that Turkey is an official participant in the fight against terrorist organisations. And an intrusion lasting only a few seconds has never been considered as a " threat to national security " " particularly since Turkey had been informed of the flight plan, and also that it regularly violates the air-space of other states, such as Cyprus.

Immediately solicited by Turkey, NATO called a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which was unable to issue a resolution, but did its best by asking for a reading of a brief declaration by their General Secretary which called for ... de-escalation -- [12]. Various sources reported profound disagreement within the Council [13].

The official Saudi Press published an audio recording of an appeal by Turkish military air controllers to the Russian plane warning it against an entry into Turkish air-space [14]. Several AKP politicians commented on this recording and denounced the risks taken by the Russian army. However, the Russian military has denied the authenticity of the recording, and has proved that it is a fake. The Turkish government then denied any implication in the publishing of the recording.

President Putin qualified the destruction of the Soukhoï 24 as a " knife in the back ". He publicly questioned the rôle of Ankara in the financing of Daesh, particularly because of the free transit of stolen petrol across Turkey. The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked the 4.5 million Russians who had planned to travel to Turkey to cancel their trip, and has restored entry visas for Turkish nationals. By decree, the Kremlin has forbidden all new contracts between Russian persons or organisations and Turkish persons or organisations, including the employment of personnel, the import/export of merchandise, and tourism [15].

[Dec 03, 2015] Putin says Turkey 'will regret' shooting down of Russian bomber

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey will regret "more than once" about its shooting down of a Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 3.

President Vladimir Putin said Turkey's shooting down of a Russian military jet was a "war crime" and that the Kremlin would punish Ankara with additional sanctions, signaling fallout from the incident would be long-lasting and serious.

Putin, who made the comments during his annual state of the nation speech to his country's political elite on Dec. 3, said Russia would not forget the Nov. 24 incident and that he continued to regard it as a terrible betrayal.

"We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling [with Turkey]," said Putin, after asking for a moment's silence for the two Russian servicemen killed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and for Russian victims of terrorism.

"But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime, the murder of our people, that they are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

Turkey would have cause to regret its actions "more than once," he said, promising Russia's retaliatory actions would be neither hysterical nor dangerous.

In his aggressive remarks unusual in diplomatic tongue, Putin said "it appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment."

Putin said Moscow's anger over the incident was directed "at particular individuals" and not at the Turkish people.

[Dec 03, 2015] Tomgram Andrew Bacevich, An Invitation to Collective Suicide

Notable quotes:
"... Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco (" clash of civilizations ") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. ..."
"... Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what? Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it , "We came, we saw, he died." End of story. In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval. ..."
"... Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists. ..."
"... Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. ..."
"... True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality. ..."
"... Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker. ..."
"... American Interest ..."
"... Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness. ..."
"... With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process." ..."
"... Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths. ..."
"... In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action. ..."
"... At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon. ..."
"... In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far. ..."
"... In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year. ..."
"... Andrew J. Bacevich, a ..."
"... , is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of ..."
"... , among other works. His new book, ..."
"... is due out in April 2016. ..."
"... on Twitter and join us on Facebook . Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's ..."
"... , and Tom Engelhardts latest book, ..."
Dec 03, 2015 | TomDispatch

Let's consider the two parties in Washington. I'm not referring to the Republican and Democratic ones, but our capital's war parties (there being no peace party, of course). They might be labeled the More War Party and the Much (or Much, Much) More War Party. Headed by President Obama, the first is distinctly a minority grouping. In a capital city in which, post-Paris, war seems to be the order of the day, it's the party of relative restraint, as the president has clearly grasped the obvious: for the last 14 years, the more wholeheartedly the U.S. has gone into any situation in the Greater Middle East, militarily speaking, the worse it has turned out.

Having promised to get us out of two wars and being essentially assured of leaving us in at least three (and various other conflicts on the side), he insists that a new invasion or even a large-scale infusion of American troops, aka "boots on the ground," in Syria or Iraq is a no-go for him. The code word he uses for his version of more war -- since less war is simply not an option on that "table" in Washington where all options are evidently kept -- is "intensification." Once upon a time, it might have been called "escalation" or "mission creep." The president has pledged to merely "intensify" the war he's launched, however reluctantly, in Syria and the one he's re-launched in Iraq. This seems to mean more of exactly what he's already ordered into the fray: more air power, more special forces boots more or less on the ground in Syria, more special ops raiders sent into Iraq, and perhaps more military advisers ever nearer to the action in that country as well. This is as close as you're likely to get in present-day America, at least in official circles, to an antiwar position.

In the Much (or Much, Much) More War party, Republicans and Democrats alike are explicitly or implicitly criticizing the president for his "weak" policies and for "leading from behind" against the Islamic State. They propose solutions ranging from instituting "no-fly zones" in northern Syria to truly intensifying U.S. air strikes, to sending in local forces backed and led by American special operators (à la Afghanistan 2001), to sending in far more American troops, to simply putting masses of American boots on the ground and storming the Islamic State's capital, Raqqa. After fourteen years in which so many similar "solutions" have been tried and in the end failed miserably in the Greater Middle East or North Africa, all of it, as if brand new, is once again on that table in Washington.

Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco ("clash of civilizations") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. Given that stark reality, this is a perfect moment to explore what much-more war (call it, in fact, "World War IV") might actually mean and how it might play out in our world -- and TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich is the perfect person to do it. Tom

Beyond ISIS: The Folly of World War IV
By Andrew J. Bacevich

Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what?

Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it, "We came, we saw, he died." End of story.

In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval.

Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists.

The United States bears a profound moral responsibility for having made such a hash of things there. Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. Per the famous Pottery Barn Rule attributed to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, having smashed Iraq to bits a decade ago, we can now hardly deny owning ISIS.

That the United States possesses sufficient military power to make short work of that "caliphate" is also the case. True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality.

In that regard, the glibly bellicose editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, is surely correct in suggesting that a well-armed contingent of 50,000 U.S. troops, supported by ample quantities of air power, would make mincemeat of ISIS in a toe-to-toe contest. Liberation of the various ISIS strongholds like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Palmyra and Raqqa, its "capital," in Syria would undoubtedly follow in short order.

In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, the American mood is strongly trending in favor of this sort of escalation. Just about anyone who is anyone -- the current occupant of the Oval Office partially excepted -- favors intensifying the U.S. military campaign against ISIS. And why not? What could possibly go wrong? As Kristol puts it, "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there."

It's an alluring prospect. In the face of a sustained assault by the greatest military the world has ever seen, ISIS foolishly (and therefore improbably) chooses to make an Alamo-like stand. Whammo! We win. They lose. Mission accomplished.

Of course, that phrase recalls the euphoric early reactions to Operations Desert Storm in 1991, Enduring Freedom in 2001, Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and Odyssey Dawn, the Libyan intervention of 2011. Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker.

Embracing Generational War

Why this repeated disparity between perceived and actual outcomes? Why have apparent battlefield successes led so regularly to more violence and disorder? Before following Kristol's counsel, Americans would do well to reflect on these questions.

Cue Professor Eliot A. Cohen. Shortly after 9/11, Cohen, one of this country's preeminent military thinkers, characterized the conflict on which the United States was then embarking as "World War IV." (In this formulation, the Cold War becomes World War III.) Other than in certain neoconservative quarters, the depiction did not catch on. Yet nearly a decade-and-a-half later, the Johns Hopkins professor and former State Department official is sticking to his guns. In an essay penned for the American Interest following the recent Paris attacks, he returns to his theme. "It was World War IV in 2001," Cohen insists. "It is World War IV today." And to our considerable benefit he spells out at least some of the implications of casting the conflict in such expansive and evocative terms.

Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness.

In the United States today, confusion about what war itself signifies is widespread. Through misuse, misapplication, and above all misremembering, we have distorted the term almost beyond recognition. As one consequence, talk of war comes too easily off the tongues of the unknowing.

Not so with Cohen. When it comes to war, he has no illusions. Addressing that subject, he illuminates it, enabling us to see what war entails. So in advocating World War IV, he performs a great service, even if perhaps not the one he intends.

What will distinguish the war that Cohen deems essential? "Begin with endurance," he writes. "This war will probably go on for the rest of my life, and well into my children's." Although American political leaders seem reluctant "to explain just how high the stakes are," Cohen lays them out in direct, unvarnished language. At issue, he insists, is the American way of life itself, not simply "in the sense of rock concerts and alcohol in restaurants, but the more fundamental rights of freedom of speech and religion, the equality of women, and, most essentially, the freedom from fear and freedom to think."

With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process."

Cohen's candor and specificity, as bracing as they are rare, should command our respect. If World War IV describes what we are in for, then eliminating ISIS might figure as a near-term imperative, but it can hardly define the endgame. Beyond ISIS loom all those continually evolving "kindred movements" to which the United States will have to attend before it can declare the war itself well and truly won.

To send just tens of thousands of U.S. troops to clean up Syria and Iraq, as William Kristol and others propose, offers at best a recipe for winning a single campaign. Winning the larger war would involve far more arduous exertions. This Cohen understands, accepts, and urges others to acknowledge.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. For at least the past 35 years -- that is, since well before 9/11 -- the United States has been "at war" in various quarters of the Islamic world. At no point has it demonstrated the will or the ability to finish the job. Washington's approach has been akin to treating cancer with a little bit of chemo one year and a one-shot course of radiation the next. Such gross malpractice aptly describes U.S. military policy throughout the Greater Middle East across several decades.

While there may be many reasons why the Iraq War of 2003 to 2011 and the still longer Afghanistan War yielded such disappointing results, Washington's timidity in conducting those campaigns deserves pride of place. That most Americans might bridle at the term "timidity" reflects the extent to which they have deluded themselves regarding the reality of war.

In comparison to Vietnam, for example, Washington's approach to waging its two principal post-9/11 campaigns was positively half-hearted. With the nation as a whole adhering to peacetime routines, Washington neither sent enough troops nor stayed anywhere near long enough to finish the job. Yes, we killed many tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, but if winning World War IV requires, as Cohen writes, that we "break the back" of the enemy, then we obviously didn't kill nearly enough.

Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths.

Americans would be foolish to listen to those like William Kristol who, even today, peddle illusions about war being neat and easy. They would do well instead to heed Cohen, who knows that war is hard and ugly.

What Would World War IV Look Like?

Yet when specifying the practical implications of generational war, Cohen is less forthcoming. From his perspective, this fourth iteration of existential armed conflict in a single century is not going well. But apart from greater resolve and bloody-mindedness, what will it take to get things on the right track?

As a thought experiment, let's answer that question by treating it with the urgency that Cohen believes it deserves. After 9/11, certain U.S. officials thundered about "taking the gloves off." In practice, however, with the notable exception of policies permitting torture and imprisonment without due process, the gloves stayed on. Take Cohen's conception of World War IV at face value and that will have to change.

For starters, the country would have to move to something like a war footing, enabling Washington to raise a lot more troops and spend a lot more money over a very long period of time. Although long since banished from the nation's political lexicon, the M-word -- mobilization -- would make a comeback. Prosecuting a generational war, after all, is going to require the commitment of generations.

Furthermore, if winning World War IV means crushing the enemy, as Cohen emphasizes, then ensuring that the enemy, once crushed, cannot recover would be hardly less important. And that requirement would prohibit U.S. forces from simply walking away from a particular fight even -- or especially -- when it might appear won.

At the present moment, defeating the Islamic State ranks as Washington's number one priority. With the Pentagon already claiming a body count of 20,000 ISIS fighters without notable effect, this campaign won't end anytime soon. But even assuming an eventually positive outcome, the task of maintaining order and stability in areas that ISIS now controls will remain. Indeed, that task will persist until the conditions giving rise to entities like ISIS are eliminated. Don't expect French President François Hollande or British Prime Minister David Cameron to sign up for that thankless job. U.S. forces will own it. Packing up and leaving the scene won't be an option.

How long would those forces have to stay? Extrapolating from recent U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, something on the order of a quarter-century seems like a plausible approximation. So should our 45th president opt for a boots-on-the-ground solution to ISIS, as might well be the case, the privilege of welcoming the troops home could belong to the 48th or 49th occupant of the White House.

In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action.

Effective prosecution of World War IV, in other words, would require the Pentagon to plan for each of these contingencies, while mustering the assets needed for implementation. Allies might kick in token assistance -- tokenism is all they have to offer -- but the United States will necessarily carry most of the load.

What Would World War IV Cost?

During World War III (aka the Cold War), the Pentagon maintained a force structure ostensibly adequate to the simultaneous prosecution of two and a half wars. This meant having the wherewithal to defend Europe and the Pacific from communist aggression while still leaving something for the unexpected. World War IV campaigns are unlikely to entail anything on the scale of the Warsaw Pact attacking Western Europe or North Korea invading the South. Still, the range of plausible scenarios will require that U.S. forces be able to take on militant organizations C and D even while guarding against the resurgence of organizations A and B in altogether different geographic locations.

Even though Washington may try whenever possible to avoid large-scale ground combat, relying on air power (including drones) and elite Special Operations forces to do the actual killing, post-conflict pacification promises to be a manpower intensive activity. Certainly, this ranks as one of the most obvious lessons to emerge from World War IV's preliminary phases: when the initial fight ends, the real work begins.

U.S. forces committed to asserting control over Iraq after the invasion of 2003 topped out at roughly 180,000. In Afghanistan, during the Obama presidency, the presence peaked at 110,000. In a historical context, these are not especially large numbers. At the height of the Vietnam War, for example, U.S. troop strength in Southeast Asia exceeded 500,000.

In hindsight, the Army general who, before the invasion of 2003, publicly suggested that pacifying postwar Iraq would require "several hundred thousand troops" had it right. A similar estimate applies to Afghanistan. In other words, those two occupations together could easily have absorbed 600,000 to 800,000 troops on an ongoing basis. Given the Pentagon's standard three-to-one rotation policy, which assumes that for every unit in-country, a second is just back, and a third is preparing to deploy, you're talking about a minimum requirement of between 1.8 and 2.4 million troops to sustain just two medium-sized campaigns -- a figure that wouldn't include some number of additional troops kept in reserve for the unexpected.

In other words, waging World War IV would require at least a five-fold increase in the current size of the U.S. Army -- and not as an emergency measure but a permanent one. Such numbers may appear large, but as Cohen would be the first to point out, they are actually modest when compared to previous world wars. In 1968, in the middle of World War III, the Army had more than 1.5 million active duty soldiers on its rolls -- this at a time when the total American population was less than two-thirds what it is today and when gender discrimination largely excluded women from military service. If it chose to do so, the United States today could easily field an army of two million or more soldiers.

Whether it could also retain the current model of an all-volunteer force is another matter. Recruiters would certainly face considerable challenges, even if Congress enhanced the material inducements for service, which since 9/11 have already included a succession of generous increases in military pay. A loosening of immigration policy, granting a few hundred thousand foreigners citizenship in return for successfully completing a term of enlistment might help. In all likelihood, however, as with all three previous world wars, waging World War IV would oblige the United States to revive the draft, a prospect as likely to be well-received as a flood of brown and black immigrant enlistees. In short, going all out to create the forces needed to win World War IV would confront Americans with uncomfortable choices.

The budgetary implications of expanding U.S. forces while conducting a perpetual round of what the Pentagon calls "overseas contingency operations" would also loom large. Precisely how much money an essentially global conflict projected to extend well into the latter half of the century would require is difficult to gauge. As a starting point, given the increased number of active duty forces, tripling the present Defense Department budget of more than $600 billion might serve as a reasonable guess.

At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon.

Of course, that money would have to come from somewhere. For several years during the last decade, sustaining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed the federal deficit above a trillion dollars. As one consequence, the total national debt now exceeds annual GDP, having tripled since 9/11. How much additional debt the United States can accrue without doing permanent damage to the economy is a question of more than academic interest.

To avoid having World War IV produce an endless string of unacceptably large deficits, ratcheting up military spending would undoubtedly require either substantial tax increases or significant cuts in non-military spending, including big-ticket programs like Medicare and social security -- precisely those, that is, which members of the middle class hold most dear.

In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far.

The Folly of World War IV

In his essay, Cohen writes, "we need to stop the circumlocutions." Of those who would bear the direct burden of his world war, he says, "we must start telling them the truth." He's right, even if he himself is largely silent about what the conduct of World War IV is likely to exact from the average citizen.

As the United States enters a presidential election year, plain talk about the prospects of our ongoing military engagement in the Islamic world should be the order of the day. The pretense that either dropping a few more bombs or invading one or two more countries will yield a conclusive outcome amounts to more than an evasion. It is an outright lie.

As Cohen knows, winning World War IV would require dropping many, many more bombs and invading, and then occupying for years to come, many more countries. After all, it's not just ISIS that Washington will have to deal with, but also its affiliates, offshoots, wannabes, and the successors almost surely waiting in the wings. And don't forget al-Qaeda.

Cohen believes that we have no alternative. Either we get serious about fighting World War IV the way it needs to be fought or darkness will envelop the land. He is undeterred by the evidence that the more deeply we insert our soldiers into the Greater Middle East the more concerted the resistance they face; that the more militants we kill the more we seem to create; that the inevitable, if unintended, killing of innocents only serves to strengthen the hand of the extremists. As he sees it, with everything we believe in riding on the outcome, we have no choice but to press on.

While listening carefully to Cohen's call to arms, Americans should reflect on its implications. Wars change countries and people. Embracing his prescription for World War IV would change the United States in fundamental ways. It would radically expand the scope and reach of the national security state, which, of course, includes agencies beyond the military itself. It would divert vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes. It would make the militarization of the American way of life, a legacy of prior world wars, irreversible. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it would also compromise American freedom in the name of protecting it. The nation that decades from now might celebrate VT Day -- victory over terrorism -- will have become a different place, materially, politically, culturally, and morally.

In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year.

Incrementally, bit by bit, this nameless war has already expanded the scope and reach of the national security apparatus. It is diverting vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes even as it normalizes the continuing militarization of the American way of life. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it is undermining American freedom in the name of protecting it, and doing so right before our eyes.

Cohen rightly decries the rudderless character of the policies that have guided the (mis)conduct of that war thus far. For that critique we owe him a considerable debt. But the real problem is the war itself and the conviction that only through war can America remain America.

For a rich and powerful nation to conclude that it has no choice but to engage in quasi-permanent armed conflict in the far reaches of the planet represents the height of folly. Power confers choice. As citizens, we must resist with all our might arguments that deny the existence of choice. Whether advanced forthrightly by Cohen or fecklessly by the militarily ignorant, such claims will only perpetuate the folly that has already lasted far too long.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, among other works. His new book, America's War for the Greater Middle East (Random House), is due out in April 2016.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Andrew J. Bacevich

[Dec 02, 2015] BOMBSHELL Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

Looks like Obama revenge to Putin for entering Syria...
Notable quotes:
"... The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2s onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers. ..."
"... This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator. ..."
"... Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it cant be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well. ..."
"... The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriots air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system. ..."
"... Of course. A pair of F-16CJs flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target. ..."
"... The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turks self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2s fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team. ..."
russia-insider.com

A Russian military expert and columnist of the journal Arsenal of the Fatherland explains the details of the downing of the bomber and why not all went smoothly in an interview to the news agency Regnum

How did it all happen?

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2's onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers.

That is, to determine how defenseless was our plane?

As it turns out, yes. As we know, the Su-24M2 was returning from its mission, and its flight computer was operating in "navigation" mode in tandem with the GLONASS [Russian GPS system.] It was returning to base and was not preparing for action. The whole time, the E-3s were transferring detailed information about the Su-24M2 to a pair of Turkish F-16CJ's. This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator.

But this information is obviously not enough to precision-strike a small target. Was something else used?

Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it can't be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well.

The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriot's air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system.

Besides which, the E-3s provided guidance as to the location of our plane in the air; they determined its route, speed, and the status of its weapons control systems; and the Patriot's air defense radar together with the MENTOR spy satellite provided telemetry on the SU-24M2's movement relative to the ground surface-that is, it provided a precise prediction as to where our plane would be visible relative to the mountainous terrain.

So it turns out that the Turkish fighters knew with absolutely certainty where to wait in ambush for our plane?

Of course. A pair of F-16CJ's flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target.

Did our pilots have a chance to save their plane?

No. The Su-24M2 crew's probability of escaping destruction was equal to zero…

…Turkey does not have its own capabilities for such a detailed and very precise operation. And don't forget about the second E-3, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The whole scenario was very fast-moving, lasting just seconds.

Did it really happen that smoothly?

The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turk's self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2's fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team.

[Dec 02, 2015] Russia Presents Detailed Evidence Of ISIS-Turkey Oil Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogans pronouncement is that were talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever step down is patently absurd. ..."
"... Whats critical is that the world gets the truth about whos financing and facilitating Raqqas Rockefellers. If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. ..."
"... In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkeys government. He also says Erdogan wouldnt resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogans lovely family oil business. Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to get involved and help Russia expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing. ..."
"... I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what theyre doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed. ..."
"... No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business! ..."
"... National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the little people dont do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then theres no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. ..."
"... The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they dont like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isnt going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events. ..."
"... Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State -- OASIS. It certainly is if youre a terrorist rebel or well-connected oil pimp... ..."
"... The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheneys pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end. ..."
"... Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that Chinas overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward. ..."
"... As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogans Maltese-flagged neutral tankers carrying ISIS crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tankers subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power. ..."
"... A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year. ..."
"... It was Turkeys national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. ..."
"... Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units. ..."
"... Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkeys pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The trucks manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The videos release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the papers journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization. ..."
"... According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. ..."
Zero Hedge
On Monday, Turkey's sultan President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said something funny. In the wake of Vladimir Putin's contention that Russia has additional proof of Turkey's participation in Islamic State's illicit crude trade, Erdogan said he would resign if anyone could prove the accusations.

Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogan's pronouncement is that we're talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever "step down" is patently absurd.

But that's not what's important. What's critical is that the world gets the truth about who's financing and facilitating "Raqqa's Rockefellers." If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. For those who need a review, see the following four pieces:

Unfortunately for Ankara, The Kremlin is on a mission to blow this story wide open now that Turkey has apparently decided it's ok to shoot down Russian fighter jets. On Wednesday, we get the latest from Russia, where the Defense Ministry has just finished a briefing on the Islamic State oil trade. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Turkey may be in trouble.

First, here's the bullet point summary via Reuters:

That's the Cliff's Notes version and the full statement from Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov is below. Let us be the first to tell you, Antonov did not hold back.

In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkey's government. He also says Erdogan wouldn't resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogan's "lovely family oil business." Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to "get involved" and help Russia "expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing."

"Today, we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region," Antonov continues, setting up a lengthy presentation in which the MoD shows photos of oil trucks, videos of airstrikes and maps detailing the trafficking of stolen oil. The clip is presented here with an English voice-over. Enjoy.

... ... ...

Oh, and for good measure, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy says the US is not bombing ISIS oil trucks.

* * *

Full statement from Anatoly Antonov (translated)

At a briefing for the media, "the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the fight against international terrorism. The new data "

International terrorism - is the main threat of our time. This threat is not illusory but real, and many countries, primarily Russia, knows this firsthand. The notorious "Is Islamic state" - the absolute leader of the terrorist international. This is a rearing monster of international terrorism can be countered. And you can win. Over the past two months, Aerospace Russian forces is clearly demonstrated.

We are firmly convinced that victory over LIH need to deliver a powerful and devastating blow to the sources of its funding, as repeatedly mentioned by President Vladimir Putin. Terrorism has no money - is a beast without teeth. Oil revenues are a major source of terrorist activity in Syria. They earn about $ 2 billion. Dollars annually, spending this money on hiring fighters around the world, providing them with weapons, equipment and weapons. That's why so LIH protects thieves oil infrastructure in Syria and Iraq.

The main consumer of stolen from legitimate owners - Syria and Iraq - the oil is Turkey. According to the data entered in this criminal business involved the highest political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family.

We have repeatedly talked about the dangers of flirting with terrorists. It's like that stokes. The fire from one country can spill over to others. This situation we are seeing in the Middle East. Today, we present only part of the facts, confirming that the region has a team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from the neighbors.

This oil in large numbers on an industrial scale, for the living pipelines from thousands of oil tankers entering the territory of Turkey. We are absolutely convinced today present you the hard facts about what the final destination of the stolen oil - Turkey. There is a large number of media representatives, and Our briefing will see more of your colleagues. In this regard, I would like to say the following. We know and appreciate the work of journalists. We know that in the journalistic community, many courageous, fearless people honestly do its job. Today, we have clearly shown you how the illegal trade in oil, the result of which - the financing of terrorism. Provided concrete evidence that, in our opinion, may be the subject of investigative journalism.

We are confident that the truth with your help will, will find its way. We know the price to Erdogan. He has already been caught in a lie again Turkish journalists who opened Turkey delivery of arms and ammunition to militants under the guise of humanitarian convoys. For this imprisoned journalists.

Do not resign Turkish leaders, particularly Mr. Erdogan, and did not recognize, even if their faces will be smeared by oil thieves. I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what they're doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed.

I stress that Erdogan's resignation is not our goal. It is - it is the people of Turkey. Our goal and the goal to which we urge you, ladies and gentlemen, - joint action to block the sources of funding for terrorism. We will continue to provide evidence of robbery by Turkey of its neighbors. Maybe I'll be too straightforward, but the control of these thieves in business can be entrusted only to the most close people.

No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!

This, in general, may elsewhere? Well, once again, of course, such cases can not be charging anyone, only the closest people. Votes this fact in the Western media we do not see much, but it sure can not hide the truth. Yes, of course, dirty petrodollars will work. I am sure that there are now discussions about the fact that everything you see here, - falsification. Well. If it did not - let be allowed in those places that we showed journalists.

It is obvious that today the publicity was devoted only part of the information about the monstrous crimes of the Turkish elites who directly finance international terrorism. We believe that any sane journalist should fight this plague of the XXI century. The world experience has repeatedly argued that the objective journalism is able to be an effective and formidable tool in the fight against various financial corruption schemes. We invite colleagues to investigative journalism on the disclosure of financial schemes and supplies oil from the terrorists to the consumers. Especially since the oil produced in the controlled militants territories in transit through Turkish ports shipped to other regions. For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Russia will continue to disclose new evidence on the supply of terrorists oil to foreign countries and to talk about the conduct of aerospace forces of Russia operations in Syria.Let's unite our efforts. We will destroy the sources of financing of terrorism in Syria, as you get involved in the kind of work abroad. "

Latina Lover

Doesn't matter what evidence Putin offers, the USSA Minion Mainstream Media liars will bury, distort or outright lie to defend Turkey. If Putin wanted any media play, he should photoshop the detailed evidence on a picture of Kim Kardasians ass.

The good news is that the Turks will figure it out, along with the rest of the world.

The9thDoctor

The main difference between al-CIAduh and CIsisA is that even the dumbest of the dumb have figured out that ISIL is controlled and equipped by Western Intelligence.

two hoots

John Kerry can explain this....to his own satisfaction.

Gaius Frakkin' ...

I've already seen more evidence for ISIS-Turkey oil trading than Saddam's WMDs... still waiting for that BTW.

farflungstar

NATO cunts supporting terrorists deserve whatever they get.

There was a lull when the Russians made their entrance into Syria, as Thinktank Land had to recalibrate their bullshit and get on message for the sheep. A couple weeks later the AmeriKans are crying crocodile tears over civilians and Russia killing kinder, gentler terrorists rather than ISIS.

LOL AmeriKans concerned over civilian casualties.

Kirk2NCC1701

And yet, we are still suppose to "Support Our Troops"

If they had 'truth in advertising', they'd call it "Support Our Storm-Troopers", to serve the Empire

Wise up, people. We have a MERCENARY ARMY -- by Definition.

MERCENARY =

a. You Volunteered 1,

b. You are getting Paid,

c. You have a Contract (with or w/o a Retirement Package)

d. After said Contract has expired, and if Released from further Duty (at sole discretion of Employer), you may enter a new Contract with a private 'security firm', i.e. "Mercs R US", or retire to pursue other activities (work for Gov.US, or one of its para-Gov units known as NGOs). In some cases, you may be so disillusioned or burned out, that you actually join the private sector. In some rare cases, assuming you haven't killed yourself, you may actually have become an open or closet anti-war activist. Which makes you a Born-Again Citizen, and a genuine Hero. If you are married with children, you are a mutha-facking hero, aka... 'Dad'.

[1] It matters not/naught if you're a well-meaning 'Patriot' (10%), a Economic Desperado (85%) or a Closet Psycho (5%). They'll take you even if you're not a US Citizen. In which case, you can become one after a mere 2 years, and in the Naturalization Process their Look-back Window is literally 2 years. I know this for fact. If you want to challenge me on this, you'll have to put your money where your mouth is, and pony up some serious Cash/BTC

McMolotov

For people of a certain age, "Russia is evil" is their default setting. They literally had that message pounded into their brains for decades, and unless they frequent alternative media sites, it's hard to overcome.

I see it with my parents. I can talk to them about this stuff for a few hours and gradually get them to see glimmers of the truth, but they usually completely revert to their normal thinking by the next time I see them. It doesn't help that they have Fox News on all the time.

rwe2late

UndergroundPost

Su-24 you say?

There is fair certainty that the SU-24 was hit (inside Syria) by radar-guided missiles(s) fired by the Turk jets,

and the missiles were guided and the SU-24 targeted by airborne US AWACS.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

The Chief

Im not sure which is worse, domestic frackers and their rape of the the american consumer and retiree with ridiculous oil and gas prices, junk bond sales to pensioners, etc, or ISIS. ISIS, in my view is no threat at all. These are contractors working for deep state functionaries intent on a long-term rape of the global population...but really, just hoodlums intent on taking a vig from illegal oil sales. Just ask Bush, Cheney, and now the democratic machine. New guys at the trough.

Frackers, however, are scum of the fucking earth. The business doesnt work unless oil prices are high. Fuck that. They pay their bills with a junk bond ponzi.

As for frackers themselves...its a tiny fraction of the workforce. Go be auto mechanics or go back to selling meth, fuckers.

847328_3527

Canada could take 50,000 refugees by end of 2016

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/governor-general-urges-support-fo...

The Canadian Gubmint will need to cut benefits to its citizens for the benefit of newcomers just as Barry wants to cut SS for Senior Americans so he can import thousands more.

"Yes we can!"

kralizec

Must be Vlad is daring the Turk to invoke Artcile 21 of Montreux: Erdogan has a trump card against Putin that would transform the Syrian war

You have to admire their bold manner, they are fearless.

They love warning NATO to back off. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-warns-nato-montenegro-invite-111359017.html

But who doesn't? They are a paper tiger, seems pointless to join them.

They get to build on newly seized territory ala China. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-building-military-bases-islands-claimed-jap...

The annexation of Crimea and Donbas is secure. Oil, gas and currency deals with China, India...nuclear deals with Iran.

And nobody is stopping him. Who can? That Muzzie faggot pretender in Washington? The toothless NATO police? The bed-wetting Euro's submitting to Islam?

Ha!

It is a de facto Russian/Chinese world now. Most still have no clue. The kabuki is so strong, the illusion of states and freedom and wealth...all an illusion.

Pah, who cares? Put on the DWTS, snort some lines and pop the bubbly! All is well!

Life of Illusion

Kralizec, you need to complete the illusion......wheres the oil goes when in Turkey.....

http://www.invest.gov.tr/en-US/infocenter/news/Pages/210714-goldman-sachs-buys-turkish-petkim-aegean-port.aspx

Goldman Sachs buys into Turkish Petkim's Aegean port 21.07.2014

Hurriyet Daily News – Global leader US investment firm Goldman Sachs has become a partner in Turkey's largest integrated port, operated by petrochemicals maker Petkim, in a deal that will boost Petkim's plans to develop the port as the largest in the Aegean region.

Petkim announced that it has reached a preliminary agreement to sell its 30 percent stake in Petkim Limanc?l?k (Petlim) for USD 250 million, after months of talks beginning in February of this year.

Petkim and Petlim are controlled by the Turkish branch of Azeri energy giant SOCAR. Petlim was founded to run the financial operations of Petkim's port in the Alia?a district of the Aegean province of ?zmir.

"For one of the world's biggest investors to become a partner in our port company means approval of the value and finance of our project," SOCAR Turkey President Kenan Yavuz said, speaking after a ceremony to mark the signing of the deal

Urban Redneck

The yahoos at Yahoo!News should really stick to message boards and perhaps one day expand to fringe blogging (if they can ever pull their heads of their asses). Neither the Russians nor the Turks are interested in seeing the Straights closed.

The purpose of the Montreaux Convention is to prevent another Russo-Turkish war by guaranteeing Russia (and other States that border the Black Sea) will have full military and commercial access to the Straights, while foreign powers will have only limited access. In return for providing this guarantee Turkey was allowed to build fortification to support its obligations under the treaty, while maintaining Turkey's natural right to self defense.

Any attempt by Turkey to prevent Russian access to the Straights, is an act of blockade, and invites either a blockade of Turkish ports (and pipelines) on the Mediterranean, if not another Russo Turkish war. Closing the Straights is simply not some trump card, and even the Sultan of Ankara isn't dumb enough to view such an action as a step towards extending his grip on power.

moonshadow

Putin with "checkmate". Erdogan can only flip the board over and walk away muttering to the int'l crowd somethin bout "Putin...cheater". Great article, Antonov's comments priceless, and video worth a smirk a minute

Noplebian

The NATO led escalation and it's push towards WW3, continues unabated……

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

JustObserving

Will Erdogan resign?

How about detailed evidence on the shooting of the Russian jet?
BOMBSHELL: Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

JustObserving

Erdogan and his oil-smuggling son, Bilal, will be welcomed as heroes in Neocon-controlled Washington. Argentina and Paraguay are now for minor criminals only.


Calmyourself

Erdogan you Islamist bastard Ataturk is laughing at you from beyond the grave, GTFO

edit: why the hell has no one dropped cluster munitions on that truck park? US has been there a year and just missed it? Apparently Obama's (Stalin's) purge of the military has been quite successful because none of them have any balls.

RockySpears

Because cluster bombs are illegal. Not that this is exactly what they were designed for, but people cried about the little bomblets that failed to go off and were subsequently "ploughed" up by civilian farmers.

War is bad, but sometimes it is made worse by the intention to do good.

Same as Chemical weapons, for the most part, they kill no one, they just incapacitate. And anyway, why is a 1,000lb of TNT NOT chemical?

Calmyourself

Only against civilians and nobody signed on anyway.

"During Desert Storm US Marines used the weapon extensively, dropping 15,828 of the 27,987 total Rockeyes against armor, artillery, and personnel targets. The remainder were dropped by Air Force (5,346) and Navy (6,813) aircraft.[1]"

Chairman

2003-2006: United States and allies attacked Iraq with 13,000 cluster munitions, containing two million submunitions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. At multiple times, coalition forces used cluster munitions in residential areas, and the country remains among the most contaminated by this day, bomblets posing a threat to both US military personnel in the area, and local civilians.

When these weapons were fired on Baghdad on April 7, 2003 many of the bomblets failed to explode on impact. Afterward, some of them exploded when touched by civilians. USA Today reported that "the Pentagon presented a misleading picture during the war of the extent to which cluster weapons were being used and of the civilian casualties they were causing." On April 26, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US had caused only one civilian casualty.

margincall575

Follow up

Breaking: Did the US and Saudis use AWACS to help target the SU-24?
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/12/01/breaking-did-the-us-and-saudis-u...

zeroboris

I used to read the soviet newspaper Pravda and am reading modern western media. And know what? Pravda was many times more truthful. Many of us, Russians, didn't understand this in soviet times (we had no access to western papers). But now I can tell this without any doubt. Most of modern Russian papers are less truthful too.


ThanksChump

I'd be surprised if the WPost ignores this. They did cover the Iraqi claim that the US is backing ISIS.

Paveway IV

National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the 'little people' don't do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then there's no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. If they notice enough little people start Googling Bilial and illegal oil sales or retweeting damaging articles, then they let the boss know. The U.S. MSM is ordered to send out a few stories quoting each other to spin it one way or another.

The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they don't like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isn't going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events.

You'll notice none of the MSM ISIS oil sales articles will mention U.S. stooge Barzani's involvement, and they for damn sure won't mention Israel as a destination for much of the stolen oil. They'll simply steer the narrative to focus on Turkish oil sales, and somehow blame it on Assad.

krispkritter

Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State --> OASIS. It certainly is if you're a terrorist 'rebel' or well-connected oil pimp...

ThanksChump

Occam's Razor.

The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheney's pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end.

That's the easy obvious part.

Less obvious is the tie to Ukraine. Ukraine should have been "converted" after Assad was driven out, and not before. This has me confused. Was it only a mistake in timing?

Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that China's overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward.

Mike Masr

https://www.rt.com/news/324252-russian-military-news-briefing/

US pal and NATO ally Turkey

  • 12:26 GMT

    2,000 fighters, 250 vehicles and over 120 tons of ammo have been sent in the past weeks from Turkey to terrorists in Syria, fuelling the violence in the country.

  • 12:31 GMT

    Russia cannot comprehend that such a large-scale business as oil smuggling could not have been noticed by the Turkish authorities. Russia concludes that the Turkish leadership is directly involved in the smuggling.

  • 12:35 GMT

    Russia doesn't expect Turkish President Erdogan to resign in the face of the new evidence, even though he had promised to do so. His resignation is not Russia's goal and is a matter for the Turkish people.

SoDamnMad

I' m watching the rebroadcast live right now. Video of all these trucks. Damn good video and stills. Gee, why can't the USSA produce these(oh yeah, the MSM isn't allowed to show the truth. Better to show some college campus protest rather than the truth about whose side is really trying to stop terrorism.) Maybe our reconaissence equipment isn't as good as Russian equipment and our satelittes can't find the Turkish-Syrian border. Never seen so many trucks back to back, even on the Jersey Turnpike or the Long Beach Freeway before a holiday when the economy was good.s a lot of bucks going into Erdogan son's pocket (and Israel's)

fel.temp.reparatio

Erdogan: "So what if the MIT trucks were filled with weapons?"

Yttrium Gold Nitrogen

Statements available in English here:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/news/more.htm?id=12070726@cmsArticle

Duc888

....another interesting point here...

http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/11/26/raqqas-rockefellers...

"The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation.

The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets."

no1wonder

Official media release (and speech translation into English) by Russia's Defense Ministry:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/brief.htm

cn13

This story is finally hitting the MSM in the U.S. after being reported here for the past week. The powers to be must have needed time to get their lies straight. Anyway, check out the comment section on Yahoo regarding this story. It is almost 100% pro-Russian and anti-NATO/U.S.

I have never seen anything like this before.

The U.S. public has lost total confidence in the government. They are finally catching on to the lies and deceit of those in power.

http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-proof-turkey-main-consumer-islamic-state-124337872.html

MadVladtheconquerer

Looks like Putin is simply trying to maintain what little remains of the status quo in Syria:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-russia-fighting-isil-or-occupying-sy...

gregga777

As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogan's Maltese-flagged "neutral" tankers carrying ISIS' crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS' war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tanker's subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power.

I hope that the Russian Federation's Navy seizes all of Erdogan's tankers, bankrupting Erdogan's company. Let them then sit in port for the next several years awaiting disposition in a Russian prize court.

dot_bust

Then there's this rather enlightening bit of information:

ISIS Colonel was Trained By Blackwater and U.S. State Department for 11 Years

A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year.

http://theantimedia.org/isis-colonel-trained-by-blackwater-and-us-state-...

Amun

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-turkey-20151201-stor...

"It was Turkey's national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units.

Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkey's pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The truck's manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The video's release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the paper's journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization.

Turkish assistance has been instrumental in empowering the Army of Conquest, a loose coalition of hard-line Islamist factions including Al Nusra Front, which seized control of Idlib province in March in an offensive backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Economic ties also have been forged between Turkey and rebel factions.

According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. "

[Nov 30, 2015] The Spanish General could give the order to shoot down Russian su-

This is not very probably hypothesis, but if this is true then it was NATO organized provocation...
"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.
Notable quotes:
"... There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo". ..."

"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.

There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo".

Who actually gave the order to shoot down the su-24, still we do not know. But do know that the recent crash of the UAV happened at the command of a Turkish General unknown, what was not slow to inform the military. In October two cases of violation by Russian planes of air space of Turkey Abidin conceded right to make the final decision to the Spaniard".

[Nov 30, 2015] Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The Arrogance, Hubris, Stupidity Of The US Government

Notable quotes:
"... No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter). ..."
"... And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians. ..."
"... Read more here and listen to the full interview... ..."
Zero Hedge

On the heels of the Chinese stock market plunging 5.5%, continued turmoil in the Middle East and the price of gold hitting 5 year lows, former U.S. Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told Eric King of King World News that Putin and the Russians are now dominating in Syria and the Middle East as the West destroys itself.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia's favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, 'Thank you very much. You've done us a huge favor. (Laughter). We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war."…

"So that looks to me like the most likely outcome. The unintended consequence of this are so positive for Russia that it's got Washington quaking and Europe wondering about the idiocy of being in NATO."

Eric King: "What I'm hearing from you Russia is dominating in Syria. The Russians have completely taken over and there's really nothing Washington can do."

Paul Craig Roberts: "No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter).

And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians.

This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe.

This is all because those Europeans were stupid enough to enable our wars. Now the political parties in Europe are under tremendous pressure from these refugees and the populations who object to them, and from the rising dissident parties who are saying, 'Look at what these people who you trusted have done. They've changed your country. It's not Germany anymore - it's Syria.' (Laughter).

This is a disaster. Only the stupid Americans could have produced such a disaster. Does Putin need to do anything? We're doing it all for him. So he doesn't need to do anything. He's not going to attack anybody. What does he need to attack anybody for? The idiot Americans are destroying themselves and their allies. This is an amazing fiasco."

Read more here and listen to the full interview...

Chupacabra-322

"This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe."

So true, it must be repeated.

chubbar

It's so incompetent it is looking deliberate.

KingFiat

King World News always says the price of gold is going to the moon tomorrow when the financial system collapses. After a while you realize no real news comes from there, and ignore them.

Not the same for Paul Craig Roberts, And I am glad to read his insights here, even if originated from KWN.

CaptainDanite

There is no denying that the KWN site is hokey, and that Eric King has a limited repertoire of "stunning" adjectives, and that the frequent employment of bold red and blue fonts can be annoying, etc., etc. However, the simple fact remains that he CONSISTENTLY conducts well-directed and well-edited interviews with some of the most respected voices in the alternative media arena. I routinely look forward to his interviews with Nomi Prins, Eric Sprott, Ronald Stoeferle, and Bill Fleckenstein -- among many, many others. At least KWN is not entirely inundated with ads like ZH is, nor is the mobile version of the site repeatedly susceptible to adware browser hijacks like ZH's mobile version is.

Furthermore, while I frequently find points of disagreement with Paul Craig Roberts, this most recent interview is PCR at his ever-loving best; it strikes to the heart of the matter of the increasingly frightening conflict brewing between the US, NATO, and the Russians. I highly recommend this interview to everyone out there who is starting to get very uncomfortable about the foreign policy incompetence of the Obama administration as it appears to be deliberately steering us into the maw of WWIII.

Lore

PATHOCRACY

"The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors: 1) normal human ignorance and weakness and 2) the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals. The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis. That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

The presence of such 'disease' on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section of this website. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath's influence, the greater harm done. Thus any group of humans can be infected or 'ponerized' by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations. The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called 'pathocracy'.

Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes

"If the many managerial positions are assumed by individuals deprived of sufficient abilities to feel and understand the majority of other people, and who also exhibit deficiencies in technical imagination and practical skills - (faculties indispensable for governing economic and political matters) - this then results in an exceptionally serious crisis in all areas, both within the country in question and with regard to international relations. Within, the situation becomes unbearable even for those citizens who were able to feather their nest into a relatively comfortable modus vivendi. Outside, other societies start to feel the pathological quality of the phenomenon quite distinctly. Such a state of affairs cannot last long. One must then be prepared for ever more rapid changes, and also behave with great circumspection." (2nd. ed., p. 140)

LetThemEatRand

It's long by today's standards, but another great PCR link for those who are interested. Intelligent and thoughtful debate where the two participants actually allow each other to make their points. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/11/25/pcr-debates-the-intelligent-a...

Killdo

this is a pretty good book on how to spot psychos and prevent being screwed over by them:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767915828?keywords=the%20sociopath%20n...

I've read about 10 books on the subject and I find this one very intresting, well written and based on realaity (I think the author is a prof frm harvard).

It really helped me connect the dots while I lived in LA (according to the author one of 3 world'scapitals of psychopathy together with London and NY)

[Nov 30, 2015] Erdogan Says Will Resign If Oil Purchases From ISIS Proven After Putin Says Has More Proof

Notable quotes:
"... "There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq." ..."
Nov 30, 2015 | Zero Hedge
"I've shown photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products," Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Antalya. Putin was of course referencing Islamic State's illicit and highly lucrative oil trade, the ins and outs of which we've documented extensively over the past two weeks:

Turkey's move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 warplane near the Syrian border afforded the Russian President all the motivation and PR cover he needed to expose Ankara's alleged role in the trafficking of illegal crude from Iraq and Syria and in the aftermath of last Tuesday's "incident," Putin lambasted Erdogan. "Oil from Islamic State is being shipped to Turkey," Putin said while in Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah. In case that wasn't clear enough, Putin added this: "Islamic State gets cash by selling oil to Turkey."

To be sure, it's impossible to track the path ISIS oil takes from extraction to market with any degree of precision. That said, it seems that Islamic State takes advantage of the same network of smugglers, traders, and shipping companies that the KRG uses to transport Kurdish crude from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. From there, the oil makes its way to Israel and other markets (depending on which story you believe) and if anyone needs to be thrown off the trail along the way, there's a ship-to-ship transfer trick that can be executed off the coast of Malta. The maneuver allegedly makes the cargoes more difficult to track.

Some believe Erdogan's son Bilal - who owns a marine transport company called BMZ Group - is heavily involved in the trafficking of Kurdish and ISIS crude. Most of the ships BMZ owns are Malta-flagged.

In light of the above, some have speculated that Turkey shot down the Su-24 in retaliation for Russia's bombing campaign that recently has destroyed over 1,000 ISIS oil trucks. Here's what Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoub said on Friday:

"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well."

Al-Zoub isn't alone in his suspicions. In an interview with RT, Iraqi MP and former national security adviser, Mowaffak al Rubaie - who personally led Saddam to the gallows - said ISIS is selling around $100 million of stolen crude each month in Turkey. Here are some excerpts:

"In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell ... $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ...[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price."

"Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market."

"Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it's operation," he added. "Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate."

"There isn't a shadow of a doubt that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations. The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus."

"There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq."

"There is no terrorist organization which can stand alone, without a neighboring country helping it – in this case Turkey."

That's pretty unequivocal. But it gets better.

On Monday, Putin was back at it, saying that Russia has obtained new information that further implicates Turkey in the Islamic State oil trade. "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale," Putin said on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris. "We have traced some located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them."

"We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers," he added, taking it up another notch still.

As for Erdogan, well, he "can't accept" the accusations which he calls "not moral":

Hilariously, the man who just finished starting a civil war just so he could regain a few lost seats in Parliament and who would just as soon throw you in jail as look at you if he thinks you might be a threat to his government, now says he will resign if Putin (or anyone else) can present "proof": "We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we'll consider [it]."

Hold your breath on that.

And so, the Turkey connection has been exposed and in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately for Ankara, Erdogan can't arrest Vladimir Putin like he can award winning journalists and honest police officers who, like Moscow, want to see the flow of money and weapons to Sunni militants in Syria cut off.

The real question is how NATO will react now that Turkey is quickly becoming a liability. Furthermore, you can be sure that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (who are all heavily invested in the Sunni extremist cause in Syria), are getting nervous. No one wants to see this blown wide open as that would mean the Western public getting wise to the fact that it is indeed anti-ISIS coalition governments that are funding and arming not only ISIS, but also al-Nusra and every other rebel group fighting to wrest control of the country from Assad. Worse, if it gets out that the reason the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks until now is due to the fact that Ankara and Washington had an understanding when it comes to the flow of illicit crude to Cehyan, the American public may just insist on indicting "some folks."

Remember, when it comes to criminal conspiracies, the guy who gets caught first usually ends up getting cut loose. It will be interesing to see if Erdogan starts to get the cold shoulder from Ankara's "allies" going forward.

[Nov 29, 2015] Former CIA Deputy Director Gives A Stunning Reason Why Obama Has Not Attacked ISIS Oil Infrastructure

Notable quotes:
"... As the Daily Caller adds, Morell also said the White House was concerned about destroying infrastructure that could be used by the Syrian people. Such profound concern for a people which has been traumatized for the past 5 years courtesy of a US-funded effort to destabilize the nation courtesy of US-armed "rebels" whose only purpose has been the deposition of yet another elected president, and where the emergence of the CIA-created Islamic State has led to the biggest wave of refugees to emerge, and flood Europe, since World War II. ..."
"... Meanwhile, the real reasons behind ISIS massive wealth build up: the illicit oil trade facilitated by, and involving NATO-member state Turkey, whose president and his son collect billions in illegal profits by arranging the charter of Islamic State oil to Israel and other international buyers of ISIS' cheap oil, and which involves such "highly respected" commodity traders as Trafigura and Vitol , continues to this day, and only Putin has done anything to put a dent in it. ..."
"... Depleted Uranium And The Iraq War's Legacy Of Cancer ..."
"... Depleted Uranium Contamination: A Crime against Humanity ..."
"... when 'baby`bush' raided iraq in 2003, he and his filthy scum cronies destroyed [bombed, etc.] every last bit of iraqis antiquities, libraries, religious monuments, museums etel, and... guarded with total authority the Ministry of Energy, oil infrastructure, and Iraq's Central bank with a small army of specialized forces ranging from 12k-18k soldiers. ..."
Zero Hedge

As we pointed out a week ago, even before the downing of the Russian jet by a Turkish F-16, the most important question that nobody had asked about ISIS is where is the funding for the terrorist organization coming from, and more importantly, since everyone tacitly knows where said funding is coming from (as we have revealed in an ongoing series of posts "Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President", "How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence" and "ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers", Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection") few on the US-led Western Alliance have done anything to stop the hundreds of millions in oil sale proceeds from funding the world's best organized terrorist group.

We concluded by asking "how long until someone finally asks the all important question regarding the Islamic State: who is the commodity trader breaching every known law of funding terrorism when buying ISIS crude, almost certainly with the tacit approval by various "western alliance" governments, and why is it that these governments have allowed said middleman to continue funding ISIS for as long as it has?"

To be sure, the only party that actually did something to halt ISIS' oil infrastructure was Russia, whose bombing raids of Islamic State oil routes may not only have contributed to the fatal attack by Turkey of the Russian Su-24 (as the curtailment of ISIS' oil flows led to a big hit in the funds collected by the biggest middleman in the region, Turkey, its president and his son, Bilal not to mention Israel which may have been actively buying ISIS oil over the past year) but prompted questions why the bombing campaign by the US-led alliance had been so woefully incapable of hitting ISIS where it truly hurts: its funding.

This past week, someone finally came up with a "reason" why the Obama administration had been so impotent at denting the Islamic State's well-greased oil machine. In an interview on PBS' Charlie Rose on Tuesday, Rose pointed out that before the terrorist attacks in Paris, the U.S. had not bombed ISIS-controlled oil tankers, to which the former CIA deputy director Michael Morell responded that Barack Obama didn't order the bombing of ISIS's oil transportation infrastructure until recently because he was concerned about environmental damage.

Yes, he really said that:

We didn't go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn't want to do environmental damage, and we didn't want to destroy that infrastructure.

In other words, one can blame such recent outbreaks of deadly terrorist activity as the Paris bombings and the explosion of the Russian passenger airplane over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Obama's hard line stance to not pollute the atmosphere with the toxic aftermath of destroyed ISIS infrastructure.

Brilliant.

As the Daily Caller adds, Morell also said the White House was concerned about destroying infrastructure that could be used by the Syrian people. Such profound concern for a people which has been traumatized for the past 5 years courtesy of a US-funded effort to destabilize the nation courtesy of US-armed "rebels" whose only purpose has been the deposition of yet another elected president, and where the emergence of the CIA-created Islamic State has led to the biggest wave of refugees to emerge, and flood Europe, since World War II.

But back to Obama's alleged decision that not polluting the environment is more important than halting the funding artery that keeps ISIS in business.

Morell continued "Prior to Paris, there seemed to be a judgment that look, we don't want to destroy these oil tankers because that's infrastructure that's going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn't there anymore, and it's going to create environmental damage. And we didn't go after oil wells - actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls because we didn't want to do environmental damage and we didn't want to destroy that infrastructure, right."

Then we started asking questions, others joined in, and everything changed: "So now we're hitting oil in trucks and maybe you get to the point where you say we also have to hit oil wells. So those are the kind of tough decisions you have to make."

Of course, the lunacy gets even more ridiculous when one recalls that none other than one of the democrat frontrunners for president, Bernie Sanders, suggested in all seriousness that the real cause for terrorism is climate change, an allegation subsequently echoed by both UK's Prince Charles and none other than the chief of the UN, Ban Ki-moon himself.

So here is the purported logic: climate change leads to terrorism, but one can't eradicate the primary funding source of the biggest terrorist threat in the world, the Islamic State, because of dangers it may lead to even more environmental damage and climate change.

We are truly speechless at this idiocy.

Meanwhile, the real reasons behind ISIS massive wealth build up: the illicit oil trade facilitated by, and involving NATO-member state Turkey, whose president and his son collect billions in illegal profits by arranging the charter of Islamic State oil to Israel and other international buyers of ISIS' cheap oil, and which involves such "highly respected" commodity traders as Trafigura and Vitol, continues to this day, and only Putin has done anything to put a dent in it.

For those who can't believe any of this (and it took us quite a while to realize this is not some elaborate prank) here is the clip proving the former CIA deputy director actually said it all.

Looney

Morell is the same spook who "edited" Susan Rice's Benghazi SNAFU. Why don't all these assholes like Morell, Greenspan, Bernanke, just shut up, crawl under a rock, and hope they're never found? ;-)

Buckaroo Banzai

The media is in the tank for cunts like this, and most people just don't bother paying attention anyway. If Charlie Rose asked tough questions, his career would have ended before it even began. Instead he makes a wonderful living playing the kindly avuncular shill.

Ignatius

There is no lie these murderous cunts won't tell. I guess depleted uranium is not an environmental concern? Fuck 'em. Fuck all of 'em.

Pladizow

  • ----> Not OK to spill oil
  • ----> OK to spill blood

JustObserving

2400 tons of depleted uranium used in Iraq and 1000 tons in Afghanistan.

Fallujah cancer rates worse than Hiroshima due to use of depleted uranium. Leukemia rates 38 times higher than normal https://vimeo.com/38175279

Depleted Uranium And The Iraq War's Legacy Of Cancer

http://www.mintpressnews.com/depleted-uranium-iraq-wars-legacy-cancer/19...

Depleted Uranium Contamination: A Crime against Humanity

http://www.globalresearch.ca/depleted-uranium-contamination-a-crime-agai...

prmths2

It's not that simple:

"In a follow up study, in which Dr Busby was a co-author, hair, soil and water samples were taken from Fallujah and tested for the presence of heavy metals. The researchers expected to find depleted uranium in the environmental samples. It is well known that the US used depleted uranium weapons in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war; and Iraqis, at least, are well aware of the increases in cancers and infant mortality rates in the city of Basrah, which was heavily bombarded during Desert Storm. However, what the researchers found was not depleted uranium, but man-made, slightly enriched uranium."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/fallujah-iraq-healt...

"Whilst the results seem to qualitatively support the existence of serious mutation-related health effects in Fallujah, owing to the structural problems associated with surveys of this kind, care should be exercised in interpreting the findings quantitatively. "

"Finally, the results reported here do not throw any light upon the identity of the agent(s) causing the increased levels of illness and although we have drawn attention to the use of depleted uranium as one potential relevant exposure, there may be other possibilities and we see the current study as investigating the anecdotal evidence of increases in cancer and infant mortality in Fallujah."

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/7/2828/htm

It is possible that there may be a synergistic effect involving heavy metals in general (i.e., Pb, U, Hg)

http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00128-012-0817-2.pdf

Urban Redneck

It's not necessarily a lie, but it is necessarily a straw man and red herring, which distracts from a conversation of the forgone alternatives to achieve the (supposedly) desired ends. Charlie cocksucker and his mindless followers apparently buy the implicit argument the only tools in the almighty CIA's chest to combat ISIS's operations funding with oil revenues was "bombing Syria's (relatively tiny) oil fields" and creating an environmental catastrophe somehow akin to Saddam in Kuwait...

'Muricans are getting exactly the government the (collectively) deserve.

Lore

I think the psychopaths don't give a shit. Remember the scale of MONEY and CONTROL at stake. If you want to disable an insubordinate regime for standing up to your plans for regional hegemony and energy supply, you punish the host population by taking out key infrastructure. So for starters, place the launch triggers for all the drone strikes and aircraft sorties in the hands of obedient lackies who follow orders without giving a shit, assemble a list of strategic targets, and then announce "Aha! ISIS happens to be standing directly in front of this strategically-important piece of infrastructure" (bridge, refinery, storage tank, whatever), and then press the button. Proxy war is simply the policy of blaming somebody else for your own rotten behaviour. If the Syrian people are displaced, so much the better, because mass migration conveniently handicaps the economies of nations in Europe that might get in the way of continued button-pushing.

It's fucking evil, from start to finish. There was a time when it was a compliment to be called a Company Man, but nowadays it just means you're a pathological liar and a whore and a louse.

NoDebt

So they'll blow up wedding parties and whatever innocent civilians happen to be around their "targets" but they won't dare touch an oil well.

That speaks volumes. Delusional is the wrong word. Makes it sound like it's not their fault or something.

KesselRunin12Parsecs

"We didn't go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn't want to do environmental damage"

So now explain 'SCORCHED EARTH POLICY' after you presumably rescued babies from incubators in 1991 you POS mF'er.

Kirk2NCC1701

Actually, he's telling you everything he can and you need to know or figure out.

Y'all must be 'Mericans, cause you can't read between the lines or read the situation/context. Allow me to translate for you:

1. He's under an NDA, and must keep his Oath of Secrecy.

2. If he gives you a blatantly BS answer, it is YOUR job to figure out that he (a) can't tell you the truth and (b) that it's Code for "Yes we support them to the hilt, and use Middle-men and Cutouts as SOP, but also we deny everything as SOP."

Normalcy Bias

He reminds me of his movie counterpart, the 'Robert Ritter, CIA Deputy Director' character from Clear and Present Danger.

Evil, arrogant, smug, and devoid of any conscience...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKsDjpKr2Mk

me or you

Meanwhile:US and Turkey cease flights over Syria, as Russia deploys 7000 troops to Turkish border with Armenia

Chris88

We didn't go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn't want to do environmental damage, and we didn't want to destroy that infrastructure.

..damage a perfectly good CIA creation.

Junerberno

After the attack by Boko Haram (Al Qaeda) on the shopping mall in Nairobi, the US moved to seize a senior Al Qaeda operative living in a mansion in North Africa. We knew where he was all along, but never went after him, until after the attack. He was "made" by the Saudis and we were appeasing him while he was "doing good" (killing Shia) but when he stepped out of line we punished him. It's certain we asked for permission before arresting him finally, of course.

Pausing, because it must sink in: Al Qaeda. Who attacked us 9-11. Our brownshirts.

So now we suddenly care about ISIL after they "step out of line" in Paris. They were our friends when they were sawing the heads off Shia. But they stepped out of line so we used a stick on their hands.

The US knows where all of ISIL are at all times. ISIL has been permitted to slaughter everyone in its path because they are focused on killing Shia, and Israel supports a holocaust against Shia muslims.

earleflorida

when 'baby`bush' raided iraq in 2003, he and his filthy scum cronies destroyed [bombed, etc.] every last bit of iraqis antiquities, libraries, religious monuments, museums etel, and... guarded with total authority the Ministry of Energy, oil infrastructure, and Iraq's Central bank with a small army of specialized forces ranging from 12k-18k soldiers.

Raymond_K._Hessel

No, isis is not fairly described as comprised of former Baathists. Thats some neocon propaganda.

Its mostly Libyans and Saudis and Yemenis and some Iraqis and Turks, cats herded by the us and israel and saudi.

Isis is a proxy for these states and turkey.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article189385.html
http://ftmdaily.com/what-jerry-thinks/whysyria/

coast

But they can bomb the fuck out of Iraq, Libya, Syria etc. setting those countries back to the stone age, displacing and killing millions, destroying historical buildings, build nuke plants on fault lines, gmo food, flouride poison in our water, spraying shit in the skies etc....but NOOOO!!, we cant bomboil oil infrastructures that are helping arm the terrorists...what a fucking liar piece of shit..

marcusfenix

this is some epic and absurd bullfuckingshit to the highest degree right here.

if they had no plans to hit IS in the one way it would really hurt them, in the only way it would make any difference then it begs the question....

why bother bombing them at all?

these people are not stupid, they know exactly how war works, how to wage it properly and how to defeat an enemy. and yet they try and sell the idiotic idea that they did not go after the most valuable and vulnerable of IS assets out of environmental concerns?

really?

and this is exactly why the "coalition" warned the Syrian air force against carrying out missions in these areas, outright threatened them in fact. to provide air cover and a safe route for IS oil to find it's way into Turkey and Iraq. and it worked, it was smooth sailing and billions all around right up until Moscow stepped in and literally started blowing up the program.

the "save the environment" excuse doesn't play on any level and WFT good does it do the Syria people for this infrastructure to exist so long as IS controls it, they sure as shit are not benefiting from it. in fact it only hurts them more because the longer IS can make billions off the sale of this oil the longer this war will drag on.

the longer the war drags on the more innocent Syrian's die so it would in fact be better for the common people of Syria for this oil pipeline to be destroyed and ISIS starved to death. then afterwords the Syrians can go ahead and start rebuilding the infrastructure. but there won't be an afterwords so long as IS can make that money and fund there whole drug soaked, murderous operation.

and I wonder what the citizens of Paris think about the environmental concerns vs wiping out the islamic states revenue stream?

all this sudden care and concern flowing from DC about civilians, about oil smugglers, civilian infrastructure and mother earth makes me want to vomit.

because it's all just a never ending stream of bullshit and lies.

sometimes, in the darkest corners of my mind, I do sincerely wonder weather nuclear war might just the only thing that will bring this lunacy to an end. not saying i want it to happen or that i want to live through it but it might just be the only way for somebody, somewhere in the world to get a fresh start free of this insane asylum we all live in.

Johnny Horscaulk

http://original.antiwar.com/dan_sanchez/2015/10/05/seize-the-chaos/
https://medium.com/dan-sanchez/clean-break-to-dirty-wars-d5ebc5fda9f9

http://leaksource.info/2015/01/17/the-yinon-plan-greater-israel-syria-ir...

Isis is a name for us/israeli/saudi/Israeli mostly foreign mercenaries there to destroy Syria as a functioning state.

For Israel.

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islam...

And to block the Iran pipeline
http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant-crisis-syria-war-fueled-by-competin...

But for the us deep state, the zog, its really basically about Greater Israel.

http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/zionist2.html

[Nov 29, 2015] Turkish militants kill russian pilot while he is decending

yudenich.ru

watch-v=tiR8E-SwVeI

Terrorism is typically ideologically driven and as such has no nationality. But this case looks like an e4xception: Turkish media machine has already asssigned this crime to certain mythical "Syrian Turkomans".

But in reality this looks like Grey Wolfs not "Turkomans", and their leader is a Turkish neo-fascist Alpaslan Celik - son of the mayor of a small Turkish town. Golden youth so to speak.

http://ntv.livejournal.com/426110.html?mode=reply#add_comment

So, all those dances over the body of pilot are very similar to explosions in Suruç and Ankara.

[Nov 29, 2015] Turkey hands over body of Russian pilot to Russia

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey has initiated the process to hand over the body of a Russian pilot to Moscow after his jet was shot down by Turkey, a day before a United Nations climate conference starts in Paris that could bring a "saddened" Turkish president and his Russian counterpart together.

In a press briefing held at Ankara's airport prior to his departure for a EU-Turkey Summit in Brussels on Nov. 29, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the body of Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov, who died after his plane was downed by Turkish F-16s on Nov. 24 when it reportedly breached Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, had been taken by Turkey and would be sent to Russia on its request.

[Nov 29, 2015] How ISIS is financed

Notable quotes:
"... Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated. ..."
"... The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel. ..."
"... Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity. ..."
"... Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Javier, 11/14/2015 at 11:03 am

OFM,

This article in Spanish from one of the main journals explains how ISIS is financing. Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated.

The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel.

Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity.

http://www.elmundo.es/papel/historias/2015/11/11/56422776268e3efc608b45e5.html

Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan.

I have family in Paris. My niece, her husband and all his family are in Paris. None of them was present in the attacks, but we are all shocked by the magnitude.

Caelan MacIntyre, 11/13/2015 at 8:02 pm

"Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians.

The term was first used in 1989 by a team of American analysts, including William S. Lind,[citation needed] to describe warfare's return to a decentralized form. In terms of generational modern warfare, the fourth generation signifies the nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces , returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times." ~ Wikipedia

Ironically, much of it is and will be the result of the nation states' monopolies on violence enacted.

[Nov 29, 2015] Top U.S. Air Defense Commander Turkey's Shootdown of Russian Jet "Had to Be PRE-PLANNED"

See also Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria
Notable quotes:
"... Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't ..."
"... As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkeys version of events, it does not appear that there was any necessity for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet. ..."
"... From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here. ..."
Zero Hedge
In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls "bear penetrations") than anyone else in the world.

So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet.

Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't threatening Turkey, and that Turkey's shoot down of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned", as the jet wasn't in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

McInerney is right … especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

... ... ...

International law expert Francis Boyle - Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 – said by email:

The Russian bombing of Syria is technically legal because they have the explicit permission of the Syrian government, but of course Putin will ultimately act in accord with his interests, not what is best for the Syrian people.

***

As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkey's version of events, it does not appear that there was any "necessity" for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet.

Washington's Blog asked Boyle whether this is analogous to the "use of force" by someone with a gun who claims he was threatened by someone else. He answered affirmatively, explaining:

Necessity and Proportionality are each separate requirements for the use of force in self-defense.

From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here.

[Nov 28, 2015] Russias Intervention in Syria and What Washington Should Do

Standard neocon drivel... Standard Republican hawk mentality (he is a junior senator from Arkansas). The only interesting detail is that this guy was both in 1977.
Notable quotes:
"... In Syria, Putin professes that he wants to fight ISIS, but this is mere posturing. Even with new Russian strikes on ISIS-controlled areas in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks and the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, Russian forces have trained the large majority of its bombs on coalition-backed opposition fighters. Putin has also explicitly stated that he wants to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which directly contrasts with stated U.S. policy. Turkey, a NATO ally, has suffered repeated violations of its airspace as Russia pursues its offensive against Syrian opposition forces. ..."
"... Putin is very consciously challenging the United States and the U.S.-led international order, and is now waging a proxy war against it. It is well past time for the West to recognize his challenge, rise up to it, and move to win the proxy war ..."
Nov 28, 2015 | Foreign Affairs
he attacks by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Paris have forced a major rethinking of U.S. strategy in the Syrian conflict. A part of that rethinking must be U.S. President Barack Obama's unwise decision to treat Russia as a legitimate partner in negotiations over Syria's future.

At the G-20 meeting in Turkey this week, Russia quickly offered itself as a key partner in the fight against ISIS and the stabilization of Syria, and Obama again expressed his willingness to entertain that notion.

This is a grave mistake. Rather than being a constructive partner, President Vladimir Putin's Russia has been engaged in a proxy war against the United States in Syria, despite Obama's protestations to the contrary. And when an enemy wages war against the United States, it does not get to choose whether it is at war; its only choice is to win or lose. Right now, the United States is losing the proxy war in Syria-and a wider competition for regional influence-against Russia. And it will continue to do so without a dramatic shift in policy to confront Russian aggression.

A PROXY WAR AND THE WIDER STRUGGLE

In Syria, Putin professes that he wants to fight ISIS, but this is mere posturing. Even with new Russian strikes on ISIS-controlled areas in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks and the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, Russian forces have trained the large majority of its bombs on coalition-backed opposition fighters. Putin has also explicitly stated that he wants to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which directly contrasts with stated U.S. policy. Turkey, a NATO ally, has suffered repeated violations of its airspace as Russia pursues its offensive against Syrian opposition forces.

Russia is engaged in a shooting war against the United States' clients to undermine U.S. policy. If that's not a proxy war, what is?

But this proxy war is only the most recent and dramatic front in a wider competition between the United States and Russia. Ukrainians overthrew former President Viktor Yushchenko, who was aligned with Putin, in 2013 and sought to reorient their country toward the West. In short order, Russia invaded Crimea-which it still illegally occupies-and fomented the ongoing civil war in the Donbass. Likewise, Russia illegally occupies the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in Georgia, one of the most pro-Western countries in Eastern Europe. In fact, Russia has continued to seize more Georgian territory in recent months.

Russia also continues a campaign of provocations against NATO allies in northern and Eastern Europe, threatening their air and naval boundaries and putting civil aviation at risk. Meanwhile, Central and Eastern European countries-who suffered under Soviet domination-report that Russian propaganda in traditional and social media has become pervasive.

Russia has become so emboldened that it does not even demur from direct provocations against the United States. Last month, Russian ships and submarines operated near U.S. undersea data cables and Russian bombers buzzed the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, forcing it to scramble for fighters. And last week, it was revealed by Russian media-perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not-that the Russian military is developing an unmanned underwater vehicle capable of carrying nuclear payloads that is invulnerable to interception. A nuclear attack on U.S. port cities is the only reasonable rationale for such a weapon.

... ... ...

Finally, assertive diplomacy must be a part of U.S. policy toward Russia. The Department of State should create a new "country-at-risk" designation that would entitle nations under threat from external destabilization to a basket of U.S. and NATO assistance programs, including the intelligence assistance described above. This basket of assistance could also include programs aimed at helping these nations diversify their industrial bases and their sources of energy to be less dependent on trade with Russia. The overall effect of the new designation would signal increased commitment from the United States, and indicate to Putin that any escalation by Russia would automatically invite greater Western engagement.

The United States should also energize its public diplomacy and information strategies. It could take the lead in funding translation services to make Western media available in Russia. The United States needn't create content. Unlike in Russia, robust debate and diverse viewpoints already exist in U.S. media. The United States simply needs to ensure that this content is disseminated widely in Russia and Eastern Europe to provide a counter-narrative to Russian-controlled media and an example to the Russian people of what free media looks like.

... ... ...

Putin is very consciously challenging the United States and the U.S.-led international order, and is now waging a proxy war against it. It is well past time for the West to recognize his challenge, rise up to it, and move to win the proxy war. Otherwise, Washington may find itself in a genuine war against a nuclear peer

Tom Cotton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Bryant "Tom" Cotton[1] (born May 13, 1977) is an American politician who is the junior United States Senator from Arkansas. A member of the Republican Party, Cotton has been serving in the Senate since January 3, 2015.

[Nov 28, 2015] An Invisible US Hand Leading to War Turkey's Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

www.counterpunch.org

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let's start with one almost certain assumption - an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey's action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey's vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

... ... ...

Russia - knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region - could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

... ... ...


It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Nov 28, 2015] Violence Erupts In Turkey After Prominent Lawyer Is Assassinated On Live TV

Notable quotes:
"... While Erdogan is indeed a nasty piece of work, it does seem like someone IS trying to topple him and destablize Turkey. As a vassal, he doesnt quite know his place and had actually contemplate joining the East as shown by Blue Stream and negotiations to purchase Chinese Red Flag missile system. ..."
"... Quite possilbly being encoraged to shoot down the Russian fighter and led to believe NATO would back him up. Once relationship with Russia is being torn and completely isolated in teh world by having his relationship with ISIS exposed, Turkey is ready for destablisation and eventual carved-up. Its no wonder the western press has only good things to say about the Kurds. ..."
"... Reminds me of Iraq/Kuwait. ..."
"... The only regional power counter to Iran on the ground is Turkey, so now you will see that place put through the wringer as well. Population is around 75 million, so its heavy density, old culture, access to NATO and western security interests and all the other trappings compel Turkey to fill the vacuum to be created in Syria. ..."
"... The arrival of the Russians in Syria seems to have awoken NATO. NATO has started its response to Russia and will penalize it for the support for the Assad government. ..."
"... We know that Turknam commander Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province. He is a member of the Grey Wolves. ..."
"... We know that use of the BGM-71 TOW missiles – which cost $50,000 a piece – is up over 850% in October with the American-made weapons responsible for the destruction of scores of Syrian army tanks. These are being passed through Turkey. ..."
"... They dont share our values Maybe not your values but certainly Washingtons values ..."
"... the bigger question is why is there even a NATO at all? The big bad Soviet Union Warsaw Pact are long gone. Truth is NATO now is the Atlanticists + some puppet regimes in eastern Europe/Turkey. ..."
"... It is obvious the west is trying to stretch Russia via Ukraine and Syria and now Turkey; the further you stretch an any, the more difficult it is to focus on the bigger picture. China better step up to the Russian plate and soon if anyone expects to reign in the NATO terrorists. ..."
"... Seems like everything in the Middle East is going tribal, sectarian, and vigilante. Bad day for established government and power for the people in a general sense ..."
Zero Hedge
Dame Ednas Possum

I read the UK's weekend FT (Financial Times) over lunch. There was no mention whatsoever of the Russian bomber being shot down several days ago.

This paper supposedly prides itself on objective analysis of important events.

Not one single mention of this blatant, premeditated act of war.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot?

No mention of Turkey's active support of Isis.

No mention of the oil sales or the arms supplies.

The mainstream media is complicit in the crimes.

Pathetic, piece of shit shill presstitutes.

trader1

Dame,

Last updated: November 24, 2015 6:44 pm
Turkey shoots down Russian fighter jet on Syrian border
FT reporters

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d2b1abb0-9287-11e5-94e6-c5413829caa5.html

Optimusprime

And I have friends--staunch "progressives"--who think reading FT and The Economist (both Rothschild organs) somehow keeps one realistically abreast of the news.

Killdo

you are right - FT is pathetic - I stopped reading it about 6 months ago after many years. Even their best books of they year section is not that good any more.

I've noticed the Guardian is pretty anti-Russian (but comments are almost like ZH)

fleur de lis

Ergodan is giving us a real time profile of the typical violent psychopath dragging entire nations into a ditch. It is rare that they spin out of control in public so badly. The Matrix must be furious. He wrecked their little scheme and gave the Russians the upper hand.

Psychopaths are everywhere at the helms of power, destroying entire social structures, looting resources, triggering wars and leaving a trail of bloodshed to keep the NWO in control.

But these things must be done quietly. The target populations must not be alerted that they are being terrorized and robbed. They might catch on and revolt.

That is why NATO is so angry with him -- they don't care about the Russian jet or the murders of the pilot and the marine. It's just that Ergodan made such an absolute mess of it. Maybe it was being planned along those lines anyway but he got out in front and did things his way, thus overplaying his hand and NATO's.

By becoming the biggest loose cannon on Earth he has attracted the negative attention of his handlers. He will be reprimanded in no uncertain terms.

Fractal Parasite

Well, the Erdogan regime has scored so many own goals lately, it's hard not to imagine that he is being purposefully chucked under the bus.

rwe2late

A familiar road travelled often. Erdogan strives to retain power by a crackdown on domestic dissent coupled with expansionist war abroad.

Major US news media champion for Turk-run "safe zone" inside Syria. Turk troops as well as operatives have already invaded Syria.

Turk media has proclaimed: "Aleppo to become the 82nd province of Turkey"

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/09/18775960.php

US about to back escalated Turk invasion/annexation of Northern Syria??

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-turkey-edging-up-to-syrian-border-pretex...

To Hell In A Handbasket

Turkey invented the DEEP STATE. Everything is fucked and our generation will be officially be viewed as fucking USELESS, as it was on our watch that tyranny and plutocracy made a come back. How many good men and women around the world have died standing up to political bullying and the plebs have stood by and did nothing?

Cindy6

While Erdogan is indeed a nasty piece of work, it does seem like someone IS trying to topple him and destablize Turkey. As a vassal, he doesn't quite know his place and had actually contemplate joining the East as shown by Blue Stream and negotiations to purchase Chinese Red Flag missile system.

Quite possilbly being encoraged to shoot down the Russian fighter and led to believe NATO would back him up. Once relationship with Russia is being torn and completely isolated in teh world by having his relationship with ISIS exposed, Turkey is ready for destablisation and eventual carved-up. It's no wonder the western press has only good things to say about the Kurds.

Reminds me of Iraq/Kuwait.

If he has any brain cell left, he should immediately patch up relationship with Russia and China. Else he's toast and Eurasia having another failed state.

Parrotile

Well, it seems that Erdogan may NOT have any functioning brain cells left - russia-turkey-war-of-words-escalates.

So we have:

  1. Shootdown of Russian aircraft in Syrian airspace;
  2. "Pretence" that the aircraft "violated" Turkish airspace for a few seconds (this is the same Turkey that regards 2000 violations of Greek airspace to be perfectly OK;
  3. Support of oil smuggling – let's be honest, oil THEFT, by a known terrorist group (and we know who is a direct beneficiary from this trade – "Keep it in the Family".)

This being an Aussie MSM publication, notice that none of the above points have been mentioned even in passing. Got to keep feeding the masses "Government Approved" information, lest that might have ideas of their own . . . .

Linoleum Blownapart

In my mind, there's a difference between an ongoing feud with tension and jabs, vs. an all-out fist fight to the death.

Events so far have been isolated enough that diplomats can still sit around the table and talk. Personally, I'm not calling WW3 until U.S. and Russia have severed diplomatic relations, which they haven't at all:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/16/g20-barack-obama-and-vladim...

bankonzhongguo

The only regional power counter to Iran on the ground is Turkey, so now you will see that place put through the wringer as well. Population is around 75 million, so its heavy density, old culture, access to NATO and western security interests and all the other trappings compel Turkey to fill the vacuum to be created in Syria.

That's a tall order to fill, but one easily paid for using the same model in Saudi and Egypt over the decades.

Good time to be in the black markets in Turkey witness all the refugees in the pipeline to Berlin and Washington.

Not sure of what kind of Alevi-Sufi capacity Quds has in the east, but given how the Sons of Noah operate in Chechnya who knows what the future holds.

atthelake

www.kingworldnews.com has some good tapes, including Paul Craig Roberts on Russia and Turkey.

SgtShaftoe

Agreed, I just got done listening to the PCR piece about an hour ago. It was very good analysis.

Ms No

People will start disappearing in mass and they will find them 15 years down the road in mass graves. This is a pattern which is constant throughout history any time there is a military dicatorship or tyranny of whatever variety... and yes they will likely be tortured. This is right out of the CIAs South America playbook. Same MO every time with only slight variations.

Moccasin

Things are moving quickly, what's next is what's important. Each criminal act inside a NATO country is used by NATO to its advantage in the escalation of war in Syria. With emphasis on Turkey where its most recent criminal activities appear premeditated. NATO is rushing to war in Syria after the recent criminal act in Paris. The arrival of the Russians in Syria seems to have awoken NATO. NATO has started its response to Russia and will penalize it for the support for the Assad government.

The criminal act in Turkey, the assassination of a "Prominent Kurdish Lawyer" is just another move that will be used to justify more war. The slippery slope of war is getting steep. I will expect Turkish ground troops to arrive in Syria soon to create a 'buffer zone' and that slice of dirt will be the ground where the Turks will put the Kurds backs to the wall again. What's next is what is important. War Pigs!

flapdoodle

I suspect the problem for Turkey invading Syria is that Putin told Erdogan that anything that crosses into Syrian territory near Latakia will have the shit bombed out of it.

The US and NATO is trying desperatly to put in ground troops (hence the Paris false flag to try to get the French (NATO) in, but I still think Turkey (also NATO) is reluctant to do this openly), and they may succeed in getting troops into Eastern Syria, but Putin, with SAA, Quds, and Hezbullah, has the advantage in Western Syria and will make a move there very difficult for NATO. If Western Syria was a crucial part of the Zionazi gameplan, they better come up with something else quick. Putin has reached the high ground first.

The fact that Turkey has grounded their flights into Syria is telling. They don't know what the fuck to do.

Its quite possible that Putin maneuvered the Turks into downing the Su-24. or at least set up the environment propitious to its occurring - unfortunately for Turkey.

Putin really knows his judo and used his opponents own move against him. The S-400 timing was just right, and the downing gave Russians the perfect excuse to smash the hell out of the Turkey/Syria border.

Whatever happened to Turkey's vaunted 5mi exclusion zone at the border??? Its gone, baby, gone...

GreatUncle

Think most people know what Erdogan is about ...

Cynically the US pipes up condemming the killing but support Erdogan. US foreign policy is a fucking shambles ain't that the truth. So once again Turkey shows it should never be allowed to join the EU because it does not support human rights.

2 pillars of the EU are already crumbling, the euro and the schengen agreement, then allowing Turkey into the EU club you just dismantled a 3rd pillar and the EHCR.

So which supporting pillar of the EU crumbles next then ? Or alternatively you might want to consider the Lisbon Treaty a worthless piece of paper.

debtor of last ...

So the gas pipeline from Quatar stops at the Syrian-Turkish border. For now.

Dutch Geert Wilders (our Marine le Pen) called Erdogan a madman, about 3 years back. But he's raciss of course....

green dragon

We know that Turknam commander Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province. He is a member of the Grey Wolves.

We know that use of the BGM-71 TOW missiles – which cost $50,000 a piece – is up over 850% in October with the American-made weapons responsible for the destruction of scores of Syrian army tanks. These are being passed through Turkey.

We know that Turkey has focused their bombing efforts on Kurdish sites.

We know that so called nice Terrorists supported by Turkey seized Kurds from buses travelling from the town of Afrin to the city of Aleppo.

We know that Erdogan's government is planned to place reporters who exposed weapons in Aid shipments from Turkey in jail.

We know much but do nothing!

I-am-not-one-of-them

they won't denounce their own foreign policy, they want that policy to succeed

you seem to think criminals should have a concience or morals

smacker

Westerners should boycott all travel and tourism to Turkey. Too much civil unrest, cold blooded street assassinations, riots, police violence etc. "Turkey has become a terrorist country and is unsafe"

Dark Daze

Why are the Turks in NATO? They don't deserve to be. They don't share our values, our traditions, our religion or our style of government. They are nothing more than evil, back stabbing, slimey bags of Sunni shit, and always have been. And now that Erdogan is becoming a dictator things are only going to get worse. I would not support my government sending one soldier, one plane or one ship to defend those animals. Let the Russians have at them I say.

Omen IV -> Dark Daze

"They don't share our values" Maybe not your values but certainly Washington's values

ross81 -> Dark Daze

the bigger question is why is there even a NATO at all? The "big bad" Soviet Union & Warsaw Pact are long gone. Truth is NATO now is the Atlanticists + some puppet regimes in eastern Europe/Turkey. They want the entire Middle East and wont tolerate a Russian or BRICS influence there at all. Good to see though that the Shiite Bloc are tired of all this fucking chaos & mayhem and are joining the Russian side.

Joe Plane

The Warsaw pact was created after NATO and as a counter act.

Don't know how many people know this but in 1954 the USSR, Belorussia and Ukraine (the latter two being seperate members of the UN) applied for membership in NATO. And were rejected.

Crocodile

It is obvious the west is trying to stretch Russia via Ukraine and Syria and now Turkey; the further you stretch an any, the more difficult it is to focus on the bigger picture. China better step up to the Russian plate and soon if anyone expects to reign in the NATO terrorists.

... ... ...

farflungstar

Kurdistan is being groomed to be israel's latest manufactured ally in the region - they've been stroking the Kurds for quite some time.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article189385.html

I wonder just how willing Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey (nations with significant Kurdish pops.) are going to be to cede territory to what will be an israeli ally - a little? not too much? not at all?

Eventually they may have no choice.

nah

Seems like everything in the Middle East is going tribal, sectarian, and vigilante. Bad day for established government and power for the people in a general sense


[Nov 28, 2015] Remaking the Middle East: How the US Grew Tired and Less Relevant

Notable quotes:
"... In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology , according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times . Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths? ..."
"... comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently. ..."
"... In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion. ..."
"... In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era. ..."
"... The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. ..."
"... The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956. ..."
"... It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold. ..."
November 14, 2015 | original.antiwar.com
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is often perceived as one of the "good ones" – the less hawkish of top American officials, who does not simply promote and defend his country's military adventurism but reaches out to others, beyond polarizing rhetoric.

His unremitting efforts culminated partly in the Iran nuclear framework agreement in April, followed by a final deal, a few months later. Now, he is reportedly hard at work again to find some sort of consensus on a way out of the Syria war, a multi-party conflict that has killed over 300,000 people. His admirers see him as the diplomatic executor of a malleable and friendly US foreign policy agenda under President Obama.

In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology, according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times. Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths?

If one is to fairly examine US foreign policies in the Middle East, for example, comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently.

In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion.

Obama has even gone a step further when he recently decided to keep thousands of US troops in Afghanistan well into 2017, thus breaking US commitment to withdraw next year. 2017 is Obama's last year in office, and the decision is partly motivated by his administration's concern that future turmoil in that country could cost his Democratic Party heavily in the upcoming presidential elections.

In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era.

Nevertheless, much has changed as well, simply because American ambitions to police the world, politics and the excess of $600 billion a year US defense budget are not the only variables that control events in the Middle East and everywhere else. There are other undercurrents that cannot be wished away, and they too can dictate US foreign policy outlooks and behavior.

Indeed, an American decline has been noted for many years, and Middle Eastern nations have been more aware of this decline than others. One could even argue that the W. Bush administration's rush for war in Iraq in 2003 in an attempt at controlling the region's resources, was a belated effort at staving off that unmistakable decay – whether in US ability to regulate rising global contenders or in its overall share of global economy.

The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. That misconception carries on to this day, where military spending is already accounting for about 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, itself nearly a third of the country's overall budget.

However, those who are blaming Obama for failing to leverage US military strength for political currency refuse to accept that Obama's behavior hardly reflects a lack of appetite for war, but a pragmatic response to a situation that has largely spun out of US control.

The so-called "Arab Spring", for example, was a major defining factor in the changes of US fortunes. And it all came at a particularly interesting time.

First, the Iraq war has destroyed whatever little credibility the US had in the region, a sentiment that also reverberated around the world.

Second, it was becoming clear that the US foreign policy in Central and South America – an obstinate continuation of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which laid the groundwork for US domination of that region – has also been challenged by more assertive leaders, armed with democratic initiatives, not military coups.

Third, China's more forceful politics, at least around its immediate regional surroundings, signaled that the US traditional hegemony over most of East and South East Asia are also facing fierce competition.

Not only many Asian and other countries have flocked to China, lured by its constantly growing and seemingly more solid economic performance, if compared to the US, but others are also flocking to Russia, which is filling a political and, as of late, military vacuum left open.

The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956.

The region's historians must fully understand the repercussions of all of these factors, and that simply analyzing the US decline based on the performance of individuals – Condoleezza Rice's hawkishness vs. John Kerry's supposed sane diplomacy – is a trivial approach to understanding current shifts in global powers.

It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold.

For now, the Middle East will continue to pass through this incredibly difficult and violent transition, for which the US is partly responsible.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press).

[Nov 28, 2015] Turkey's Erdogan Expresses Regret Over Russian Plane Downing

He already flip-flopped his reaction on staged by his government ambush several times. This is probably not the last.
www.huffingtonpost.com

Turkey (AP) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the incident and wished it hadn't occurred.

It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday's incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey's airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

"We are truly saddened by this incident," Erdogan said. "We wish it hadn't happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn't occur again."

Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Erdogan said neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to "saddening consequences."

He renewed a call for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.

[Nov 28, 2015] ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal Raqqas Rockefellers, Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection

Notable quotes:
"... "All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well. ..."
"... "First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price. ..."
"... According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only once or twice because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries - where the oil gains a semi-legitimate status - for $30 to $35 a barrel. ..."
"... The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally, added the European oil official. ..."
"... Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel, said the industry official. ..."
Zero Hedge
One person who definitely thinks the Erdogans are trafficking in ISIS oil is Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi who said the following on Friday:

"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well."

And then there's Iraq's former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie who posted the following to his Facebook page on Saturday:

"First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price."

Meanwhile, the US is preparing for an all-out ISIS oil propaganda war. As WSJ reported on Wednesday, "the Treasury [has] accused a Syrian-born businessman, George Haswani, who his a dual Syrian-Russian citizen, of using his firm, HESCO Engineering and Construction Co., for facilitating oil trades between the Assad regime and Islamic State." Why Assad would buy oil from a group that uses the cash at its disposal to wage war against Damascus is an open question especially when one considers that Assad's closest allies (Russia and Iran) are major oil producers. Of course between all the shady middlemen and double dealing, there's really no telling.

Ultimately we'll probably never know the whole story, but what we do know (and again, most of the evidence is either circumstantial, anecdotal, of largely qualitative) seems to suggest that in addition to providing guns and money to the FSA and al-Nusra, Turkey may well be responsible for facilitating Islamic State's $400+ million per year oil enterprise. And as for end customers, consider the following bit from Al-Araby al-Jadeed:

According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only "once or twice" because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries - where the oil "gains a semi-legitimate status" - for $30 to $35 a barrel.

"The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally," added the European oil official.

"Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel," said the industry official.

Finally, you'll note that this is all an effort to answer what we called "the most important question about ISIS that no one is asking" - namely, "who are the middlemen?" As we noted more than a week ago, "we do know who they may be: the same names that were quite prominent in the market in September when Glencore had its first, and certainly not last, near death experience: the Glencores, the Vitols, the Trafiguras, the Nobels, the Mercurias of the world." Consider that, and consider what Reuters says about the trade in illicit KRG oil: "Market sources have said several trading houses including Trafigura and Vitol have dealt with Kurdish oil. Both Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment on their role in oil sales."

Similarly, FT notes that "both Vitol and Trafigura had paid the KRG in advance for the oil, under so-called 'pre-pay' deals, helping Erbil to bridge its budget gaps."

Indeed, when Kurdistan went looking for an advisor to assist in the effort to circumvent Baghdad, the KRG chose "Murtaza Lakhani, who worked for Glencore in Iraq in the 2000s, to assist finding ships."

"He knew exactly who would and who wouldn't deal with us. He opened the doors to us and identified willing shipping companies to work with us," Ashti Hawrami (quoted above) said.

Indeed. And given everything said above about the commingling of illegal KRG crude and illicit ISIS oil shipments, it's probably a foregone conclusion that these same firms are assisting in transport arrangements for Islamic State

Noplebian

Interesting, but not surprising......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

Occident Mortal

Outstanding work. And Raqqafellers will stick.

I pointed to these assholes yesterday...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-27/how-turkey-exports-isis-oil-wor...

quintago

Right after 9/11, the Israelis swept in and starting building links with the Kurds. Google it. They are using the Kurds as a destabilizer and as a source for oil. Ashkelon and Haifa moving oil to europe is their grand dream.

BuddyEffed

If there has been ship to ship transfers I bet someone, and maybe several recon capable countries have spy photos. That could be part of the over the top game here. Let's bargain or we will release photos.

BuddyEffed

This just in : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/erdogan-russian-plane-downing_5659bd...
Erdogan expressing regrets for the downed plane. Also probably regretting ZH analysis.

I'm guessing the photos of the ship to ship transfers won't be released at this time.

jefferson32

Once again Meyssan's analysis proves extremely accurate. In July 2014, he writes:

On June 20, Israel bought the oil that the local Kurdish government had stolen in Kirkuk despite the international opinion voiced by the Iraqi federal government. The transit of the oil had been facilitated by the ISIL which controls the pipeline and Turkey which allowed the goods to be loaded onto a tanker at the port of Ceyhan.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article184669.html

jefferson32

To understand how Turkey can, on one hand, cooperate with the Kurds in northern Irak - and enable their oil commerce - and, on the other hand, be fighting Kurds in Syria (and Turkey itself), it is important to realize these two populations, although both ethnically kurdish, have little in common.

For starters, they don't speak the same language, and killed each other throughout the Cold War.

Nowadays, the Iraki Kurds are pro-West and lead by Barzani (admitedly a Mossad agent put in place by the Americans and British). The Syrian Kurds are aligned with Iran and Russia.

Thierry Meyssan's exposé is much better than mine:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article189385.html

Paveway IV

Half of all Turks live under the poverty line. A quarter of those live underneath the starvation line = eat from dumpsters. Erdogan and his crime family live in a three-quarters of a billion dollar palace.

The Kurds have it worse, from Be Very Worried About Barzani Family Power Struggle

"...Masud Barzani is president and lives in a palace complex in a resort inherited from Saddam Hussein. His nephew, Nechirvan Barzani, is prime minister. His uncle, Hoshyar Zebari, was Iraq's foreign minister and is now finance minister. Masud's eldest son, Masrour Barzani, leads the intelligence service; and his second son Mansour is a general, as is Masud's brother Wajy. Barzani's nephew Sirwan owns the regional cell phone company which, while purchased with public money, remains a private holding. Barzani's sons are frequently in Washington D.C. They have their wives give birth in Sibley Hospital in order to ensure the next generation has American citizenship, and Masrour Barzani acquired an $11 million mansion in McLean, Virginia. Hanging out in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, some of Masoud Barzani's daughters-in-law have, according to Kurdish circles, been known to introduce themselves as "Princesses of Kurdistan" as they visit high-end shops accompanied by their own rather unnecessary (while in the United States) security details..."

Kurds hate Barzani - he's in power because Israel and the U.S. back him. Time to strip the Barzani babies of their U.S. citizenship and bar their entire clan from ever setting foot on U.S. soil for the rest of their lives.

Everything the U.S. touches turns to shit. Every country we have anything to do with is ruled by psychopathic, money-grubbing gangsters. Every country we "freedomize and liberate" ends up knee-deep in the blood of their own citizens while the wars have turned out to be neocon chickenhawks grudge against a leader they don't like.

When Syria and Iraq have been sufficiently destroyed, U.S. and U.K. oil companies will own the oil and gas production destined for the EU or Israel. The U.S. will continue to turn a blind eye to the tin-pot dictators they have empowered and made profanely rich while their 'little people' eat out of garbage cans. If those peons rise up to kick the dictator's asses (Erdogan, Barzani, and whoever is in charge if the Iraqi hell-hole of death), then we will be there with weapons, armor, aircraft and troops to kill those dumpster-diving terrorists.

If we don't like the Saddam Husseins or Bashar al-Assads of the world, WHY THE FUCK DO WE KEEP MAKING MORE OF THEM?


Paveway IV

The Tylers do a good job of showing the trail of breadcrumbs in these oil operations. If you need a PowerPoint deck and streaming video of Israeli brokers negotiating legally-questionable and terrorist-supporting stolen oil purchases and scans of bill-of-sales from ISIS from Erdogan's son, then you're probably on the wrong site.

There are plenty of accounts of Israel buying Kurdish oil directly, or acting as a middleman for EU sales. Any Israeli brokers can legally claim ignorance of the source of the oil, but everyone involved knows exactly where some it comes from and why it's so cheap. The legality of ANY Kurdish oil sales are still in legal limbo - the U.S. courts won't permit its import. The fact that a substantial quantitiy of Kurdish (or Turkish terminal spot sales of 'Kurdish') oil is in fact ISIS oil stolen in Syria and Iraq really isn't a secret to anybody. To show what is (or should be) obvious to a reasonably intelligent person is not the same thing as concrete proof with a documented legal trail. Israel probably regrets the ISIS connection, but ISIS won't be around forever. Israel plans on buying oil from the Kurds for a long, LONG time, so I don't expect them to ask too many questions now.

We're talking a few Israeli brokers and refinery buyers, not ten million Israelis conspiring to buy and sell ISIS oil. If it wasn't Israeli oil dealers, it would be someone else.

Urban Redneck

It's not tenuous, it's politely phrased, but there are actually a lot more people and institutions involved. The physical oil trade is a black art, and all the practitioners know each other, and as many times as a title to cargo may trade hands at sea, ONE party is responsible for legitimizing black market product (after which it can be traded more freely). Unfortunately, the simplest and least bloody solution is unlikely at this point, international sanctions on Turkey and an embargo on all oil from Ceyhan not originating from the Baku pipeline.

Lurk Skywatcher

Why Assad would buy oil from a group that uses the cash at its disposal to wage war against Damascus is an open question especially when one considers that Assad's closest allies (Russia and Iran) are major oil producers.

Only an open question for trolls and dullards. Syria has lost a lot of its oil infrastructure, and it needs oil to operate. The Assad government probably isn't buying directly, but unscrupulous middlemen will try to make a profit no matter what their nationality.

Watch how the MSM will pump the US version, and ignore the Russian version, of who benefits from ISIS oil sales... it fits their agenda like a glove.

Kayman

Perversely Obama was correct in saying ISIS is the JV team. A small cog in a very illegal, immoral but lucrative trade in stolen oil. A lot of dirty money to pass around, deposit in Swiss bank accounts in Potus' name, or members of the family, Congress vendors, etc.

If the U.S. and Nato wanted to- they could strangle the neck of the ISIS chicken by cutting off all oil going through Turkey and all newbie ISIS recuits and arms heading back into Raqqa.

But there is too much dirty money being made by the real players in the game. Can't have a peace settlement with dirty hands in the game. I now wonder if the ISIS internet recruitment videos are being made in Turkey, Israel or Hollywood.

Neochrome

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b8234932-719b-11e5-ad6d-f4ed76f0900a.html#axzz...

According to this it is Syrian REBELS who are dependent on ISIS oil, it would also partially explain why is US unhappy with turn of events. It is safe to say that the line between ISIS and "rebels" is practically non-existent:

"It's a situation that makes you laugh and cry," said one Syrian rebel commander in Aleppo, who buys diesel from Isis areas even as his forces fight the group on the front lines. "But we have no other choice, and we are a poor man's revolution. Is anyone else offering to give us fuel?"

Indeed, diesel and petrol produced in Isis areas are not only consumed in territory the group controls but in areas that are technically at war with it, such as Syria's rebel-held north: the region is dependent on the jihadis' fuel for its survival.

"At any moment, the diesel can be cut. No diesel - Isis knows our life is completely dead," says one oil trader who comes from rebel-held Aleppo each week to buy fuel and spoke to the Financial Times by telephone.

Palladin

According to this article the US destroyed 116 oil trucks, and the Russians destroyed another 500. I don't know how many barrels of oil that is but that has to make a real mess with all that oil leaking all over the place.

Where are all the Envrionmentlists wringing their Dawn covered hands over all of this. Probably no Seagulls were harmed, but still somebody has to clean up the mess.

And it seems to me the MSM should be paying more attention to this "Envrrionmental Disaster" like they love to do whenever an offshore oil rig spills any amount of oil.

Kayman

Palladin

Obama couldn't risk killing "innocent" truck drivers- a direct acknowledgement that everyone but the public knew Turkey was the oil conduit. Now you are offering him the opportunity to stop incinerating the trucks for environmental reasons- you ought to be on Obama's staff.

I-am-not-one-of-them's picture

the US used Russian footage of destroying 116 oil trucks as proof. I doubt they did, it's their mercenaries and their operation

that's why nothing happened in the 2 years they pretended to destroy ISIS and Russia has immediate success, one is genuine and the other is fake

harleyjohn45

This article says 1300 transports have been destroyed. I read an article that ISIS is using smaller trucks as tankers now, instead of 36,000 liters to 9000 liters per load. Soon they will be carrying oil in 5 gallon buckets.

Noplebian

This just about sums up the whole ISIS situation......

http://beforeitsnews.com/global-unrest/2015/11/cowardly-isiss-terrorist-...

Perfecthedge

This is outstanding, investigative journalism. Not the trash that we get from CNN, Fox and the BBC.

I just checked Trafigura.com and whenever I see a corporation talking about "ethics and transparency" (on their home page). I get suspicious. I am sure KPMG or whatever hooker-accounting firm is auditing this firm, is doing a fine job.

On another side note, Paypal thinks I am a terrorist and money-laundering criminal, because I wanted to transfer 20 Euros from my Bank account to my Paypal, to buy swimwear on Ebay.

FUCK THEM. FUCK THEM HARD IN THE ASSHOLE.

Herdee

Americans need to look at the world through different perspectives.Use alternative media and open up your minds:

http://russia-insider.com/en

Teh Finn

Russian media claims the men are "ISIS leaders who it is [thought] participated in massacres in Syria's Homs and Rojava, the Kurdish name for Syrian Kurdistan or Western Kurdistan."

How do you say "Chris Matthews" in Rus?

PoasterToaster

The other unasked question is, "After they trade the oil for money, who the hell is selling them all the weaponry?".

smacker

"[...] the trucks that haul oil north just might have, maybe, a teensy-weensy, tiny, itsy-bitsy chance of carrying weapons back from Turkey."

I think you're right. Recall that convoy Russian jets bombed yesterday which ended up in flames.

Erdogan bellyached about it in a press interview claiming it was "humanitarian aid" (ho-ho). Too bad. Video pix showed the trucks had crates of shells and other weaponry. Some of the shells appeared to have Ukraine/Cyrillic markings on them.

green dragon

Veterens Today makes a case that

[Turkey did this all during the Bush era, having cut a deal with US "manager" Paul Bremmer, a deal VT insiders helped manage for Bremmer and that I was witness to personally.

The game involved playing Baghdad against Erbil and bleeding off oil revenues from the Kirkuk Oil Fields, largest oil reserves in the world, as they moved by pipeline through Kurdistan and into Turkey. There they were offloaded onto American tankers in the Mediterranean where these huge ships, largest in the world, were filled with oil but it was never recorded and the oil never paid for.

Turkey got their cut, certain Turkish naval officers became fabulously wealthy while the Bush cabal poured billions into their Cayman offshore accounts managed by Bain Capital.]

[Nov 28, 2015] John Helmer The Classic Rules for Combatting Turkish Aggression

Even if it was some forces not controlled by Erdogan committed this ambush, his reaction was a typical reaction of ultranationalist, panturkist. All this talk about out turkish brothers is just a smoke screen for territorial and regional ambitions of Erdogan government. He is becoming kind of Saudi Arabia Nop.1 but without oil. and that spell trobles for the edonomy and his regime.
Notable quotes:
"... To me Erdogan and his government more and more look like members of Grey Wolf organization, a copycat of Ukrainian Svoboda with the same level of ultra-nationalism and neofascism in their brains. ..."
"... Has anyone considered the possibility this was not Erdogan's decision – perhaps his son's oil partners in ISIS had the right connections in the Turkish military, or suppose Uncle Sam just directed Erdogan to ratchet it up or watch his career dissolved by that same military, or maybe something worse, for males. ..."
"... It's not like going after Syria was Erdogan's idea – he'd had good relations with Assad for years ..."
naked capitalism
... Igor Sechin, the former deputy to President Vladimir Putin, was a leading advocate of forgetting Russia's historical lessons for dealing with the Turks, and disdaining to learn new ones. Putin was reluctant to learn them until yesterday.

Here they are:

1. Turkey never makes a military move without getting Pentagon approval first. In order for yesterday's shoot-down of the Su-24 to take place as it did, a battery of signals intelligence and other electronic warfare means would have been deployed by a joint US-Turkish command unit, giving the Turkish F-16 pilot confidence he was taking the Russian pilot unprepared. It was not, as the Turkish Government has announced, "an automatic response to our airspace being violated" because the airspace was Syrian, unilaterally claimed by the Turks to be their "exclusion zone". Neither was it, as Putin has announced, a "stab in the back" from the Turks. Nor was it, as Putin added, "despite the agreement we have signed with our American partners to prevent air incidents". What happened was full frontal – it was because of the agreement the Turks have with the US military command. Nor can Putin have been genuinely surprised that "instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident." Had Putin said he suspected that Turkey turned to "its NATO partners" before the "incident", he would have been closer to the truth.

2. Aggression by Turkey and the US can be defeated by a smaller force, but it must be in constant readiness, employing every form of early warning and disguising its force by surprise. Putin has said the Russian Su-24 was struck by a missile fired by a Turkish F-16 when the Russian aircraft was one kilometre inside the Syrian side of the border. That being true, Russian air defence support for the fighter must have been tracking the Turkish aircraft from the second it started its take-off roll. It ought to have tracked its course upward, and monitored its missile-arming electronics and such fire orders as came from elsewhere. The Russian warning and control operators and the Su-24 crew should have detected the hostile fire-radar, and had the option to jam it. If none of these things was done on the Russian side, alerting the Su-24 crew to their peril, the Russian forces weren't ready, and the Su-24 was taken by surprise. The consequences cannot be explained by the commander-in-chief telling a visitor – the King of Jordan pretending to call the Russian president his "brother": "we will never turn a blind eye to such crimes as the one that was committed today." Blind is the word for it – before, not after.

THE RUSSIAN SU-24 FLIGHT PATH – TURKISH, BBC VERSION

SU-24-FLIGHT-PATH-

THE RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY VERSION

RDMmap

Source: http://sputniknews.com/military/20151124/1030695406/mod-su-24-flight-path.html

3. In western Europe, in the Balkans, and in the Middle East the Turks have no durable friend or ally. For Russian strategy not to be ambushed by the Turks, it must have strong allies like Iran, weak ones like Cyprus and Serbia, and vacillating ones like the Bulgarians, and listen to their experience of warfighting with the Turks. It is a waste of breath to try reassuring Ankara that Russia's "plane and our pilots were in no way a threat to the Turkish Republic in any way." That's because the Turks know we know they are threatening, as well as financing the break-up of the Russian Caucasus. It's because they know Russia is committed to blocking Turkish expansion, and to protecting Shiite Iraq and the Kurds from Turkish attack. If these aren't the new strategic commitments, then Russia should hasten to withdraw its forces before it falls into more bloody ambushes. If they are the new commitments, then the consequences are as obvious as they are immediate.

All Russians are now at risk if they travel to Turkey, so President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's exclusion zone should stop all Russian flights and all Russian nationals from entering the country.

Time, too, for the Turks to warm their houses and cook their dinners with someone else's gas.

liberal, November 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

IMHO Turkey didn't consult with the US first. It smells of a stupidity that Ergodan would commit.

I mean, here's the idiot who apparently didn't game out the overthrow of Assad, and the likely impact it would have on the Kurds.

timbers, November 26, 2015 at 10:33 am

Great article. It's implication of how Russia should respond might be:

Russia should concentrate on protecting it's fighters near Turkish border and be prepared to protect and respond to head off Turkish aggression, and not directly escalate militarily but instead stay focused on it's original mission.

Putin's past behavior may suggest he will choose a good course not unlike the above, weather he knows of the lesson Helmer describes, or not. Putin is not rash, realizes that while Russia is powerful and has options it is not the only powerful nation and faces constraints as well (if only the US did, too), considers before he moves. Hopefully this will keep him focused on what he wants to achieve in Syria and not get side tracked with Turkey even if it makes him look "weak" in the media. Read that Putin is looking at sealing the Syrian-Turkish border, which would freeze out the biggest influx of trouble makers in Syria. Am thinking Putin should slowly move to freeze out all Western access to Syrian airspace, perhaps with the much discussed S-400's and another methods.

Positioning more defensive missiles, jet fighter escorts, and using the radar warning Helmer discusses to deter and preemptively defend against Turkey repeating this incident, is the best corse IMO. It appears Russia is doing at least some of these things from what I'm reading.

mike, November 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Fair enough assessment; I would not expect a second Russian plan to be shot down! Your right Putin is not rash!

kl, November 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

The West forgot Turkey. We forgot something it never did, that its main role is ultra-nationalism and ripping off the West.
Apparently, Russians forgot this too. As a Russian passport offers few travel opportunities, Turkey and Egypt are prime destinations. I see Russian women suck up to Turkish and other middle Eastern men regularly. It's sad and shows a complete lack of understanding of the Turkish aggression, including enslaving slaves not that any centuries ago (officially) and the extant burgeoning sex slave trade (unofficially) today.

al apaka, November 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

uhhh regarding Russian passports, that is just plain wrong. go to Asia sometime. or Africa.
the rest of your screed is sad, you've obviously got issues with swarthy folks, me senses projection in your focus on Russian women…lose your wife to a raghead, did you?

digi_owl, November 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Turkey has always been a wild card in NATO. Heck, the reason they are a member at all is that USA needed a standing ground army near the USSR that was not made up of US troops. And turkey had the biggest such after WW2 (and still has the biggest one next to USA within NATO). Their physical location also provided a "second front" deterrent to a land war in Europe.

Then again while a land war was perhaps a risk during Stalin, afterwards it was more about having a buffer between Russia and Germany than anything else. the Soviet leadership was more worried about a offense from USA than planning some kind of grand takeover of Europe.

kj1313, November 26, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Tbh Turkey is the one country where I would have trusted the military to depose the tin pot dictator.

Jon, November 27, 2015 at 8:33 am

Turkey is no longer the solid Nato member and unflinching US ally that it was during the Cold War, or indeed even 15 years ago. The AKP government has new friends in the World and is happy play its cards against the EU and US when it chooses.

Most like this move was part of Turkey's soft-on-ISIS/hard-on-PKK-and-other-Kurds playbook and most unlikely to be cleared with the US – though of course playing the Nato membership card after the event makes sense.

Mustafa, November 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Whenever Russian and Turks are fighting our enemies win. When they come together the history is changing its direction. This the a lesson from the history. There is a saying in Russian " The Russian-Turkish war from 1877 is a war where we have lost 100 million golden rubles and 100.000 lives and won nothing." Turkey have lost the Balkans and Cyprus in this very same war. But Atatürk and Lenin made it differently and the course of the history has changed. The battle in Galipoli where Atatürk defeated the super powers at that time the British and French and opened the door for the success of the Soviet revolution in 1917. Then Lenin gave his hand to Atatürk in 1920 and opened the door for the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. This was the end of British and French dominance in the east. Putin and Erdogan have to learn from the history…

likbez, November 27, 2015 at 11:16 pm

To me Erdogan and his government more and more look like members of Grey Wolf organization, a copycat of Ukrainian Svoboda with the same level of ultra-nationalism and neofascism in their brains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Wolves_(organization)

Looks like in several countries we are returning to 1930th. Talleyrand complain about the restoration of the monarchy "These people have learned nothing and for­gotten nothing" is perfectly applicable to nationalism Renaissance we experience today. It this an allergic reaction on neoliberalism or may be nationalism is once in a century epidemics that hit mankind to regulate its numbers is unclear to me.

The sad side of this incident is that will damage Russia economically by increasing economic isolation. So the winner of Peace Nobel Price and all neocons around him got a good Thanksgiving present. Or, from another point of view, Putin's decision to save Alawite community from extermination by Islamic radicals backfired. No good deed is left unpunished in high politics.

Fiver, November 28, 2015 at 4:47 am

Has anyone considered the possibility this was not Erdogan's decision – perhaps his son's oil partners in ISIS had the right connections in the Turkish military, or suppose Uncle Sam just directed Erdogan to ratchet it up or watch his career dissolved by that same military, or maybe something worse, for males.

It's not like going after Syria was Erdogan's idea – he'd had good relations with Assad for years, but he (and everyone else outside and in) was relentlessly pushed from the 'west' (yes, no capital 'W' earned this century) even as the European portion of it again failed to open for Turkey – the big payoff of Admission to the EU/EZ that is just recently promised yet anew for Turkey, but with events will recede again as the ink dries. So Erdogan cast his lot with Uncle re the 'Arab Regime Change Spring' and like the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, GCC et al, Erdogan took deeply of the sort of Kool Aid that makes bad ideas look good – and so Erdogan got religion in both supporting ISIS by enabling ISIS oil operations and trade in Syria and profiting from it, even while assuring the west it was taking the fight to ISIS.

This is what they call a 'fluid' situation, and I can well imagine other events that place one or more other allied leaders in even worse political jams. The collateral damage this confrontation has already inflicted is stupendous, and being borne by all the wrong people. I'm sure this will give Erdogan plenty of future reasons for him want to flip back to a more pro-Syria, or pro-Russia footing. Or more.

[Nov 28, 2015] Who is buying ISILs oil

Al Jazeera English
On the face of it, it looks like any state-run oil industry. Engineers, managers and traders all help extract, refine and distribute oil, which makes its way across Syria and Iraq, as well as overseas. But this is no state-run company. This is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) lifeline - a business that provides the armed group with more revenue than any other source.

Oil helps to fund its war in Syria and Iraq, as well as to provide electricity to the 10 million people living under ISIL control. But despite the oil trade being targeted by the US-led coalition against ISIL, the business continues to thrive. And many people are increasingly asking why.

Russia has accused Turkey of buying oil from the armed group. Ankara in turn threw this allegation back at Moscow because of Russian support for Bashar al-Assad, who is also accused of buying oil from ISIL.

And to complicate matters, ISIL oil is also being sold to other rebel groups in Syria, most of whom are opposed to ISIL but have no alternative sources of fuel.

So, who are the individuals and groups involved in refining and selling ISIL's oil? And where does that oil end up?

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/11/buying-isil-oil-151127173736852.html

Presenter: Hazem Sika

Guests:

Shwan Zulal - Managing Director of Carduchi Consulting

Carole Nakhle - Director of Crystol Energy

Afshin Shahi - Director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam

[Nov 28, 2015] Jonathan Marshall

Nov 27, 2015 | The Scott Horton Show

Jonathan Marshall, an independent researcher living in San Anselmo, California, discusses the Obama administration's failure to broker a peace deal in Syria due to its neocon-like focus on regime change.

[Nov 28, 2015] Shooting down the Russian jet a symptom of Turkey's central malaise - GÜVEN SAK

Notable quotes:
"... President Recep Tayyip Erdo an has said he would do it again if he could go back, but he also said we might have reacted differently had we known that the unidentified aircraft was Russian. I'm not sure which statement to believe. ..."
"... In Turkish, we sometimes say "I am telling this to my daughter with the hope that my daughter-in-law will get the message." People in this part of the world communicate obliquely. What is Turkey's overriding concern in Syria? It is keeping the PKK/PYD in check, plain and simple. ..."
"... Thanks to the civil war, the PYD has in some ways surpassed Öcalan's dreams. It has become a governing institution of the Syrian Kurds, and the YPG, its armed wing, has become the main instrument of the Western coalition against ISIL. That means Turkey cannot fight it directly. Meanwhile, Turkey's reconciliation process with its own Kurdish population has come to an abrupt halt. Why? Because the civil war in Syria shifted the balance of power in the Kurds' favor. ..."
www.hurriyetdailynews.com

The million dollar question is: Why did Turkey do it? The Russians were violating Turkish airspace on an almost daily basis. Did it feel like it had to make good on its threats for earlier violations? Why now?

Since the start of this war in Syria, Turkey has wanted to be taken seriously. Syria shot down a Turkish plane in 2012, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took Turkish Consulate staff in Mosul hostage for months, and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) is steadily gaining ground with Western backing. Russia's blatant disregard for Ankara's concerns was only the straw that broke the camel's back. The Turkish leadership felt it necessary to show it means business, and shooting down a Russian plane, they thought, might have been a way to show that. But was it the right move? President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he would do it again if he could go back, but he also said we might have reacted differently had we known that the unidentified aircraft was Russian. I'm not sure which statement to believe.

In Turkish, we sometimes say "I am telling this to my daughter with the hope that my daughter-in-law will get the message." People in this part of the world communicate obliquely. What is Turkey's overriding concern in Syria? It is keeping the PKK/PYD in check, plain and simple. Turks are obsessed with this, to the extent that talking about fighting ISIS makes them uncomfortable, not necessarily because they like the group, but because they don't want to overshadow the threat of the PYD. They have not forgotten that the PYD was established by Abdullah Öcalan during his exile as a small Syrian arm of his operations. Thanks to the civil war, the PYD has in some ways surpassed Öcalan's dreams. It has become a governing institution of the Syrian Kurds, and the YPG, its armed wing, has become the main instrument of the Western coalition against ISIL. That means Turkey cannot fight it directly. Meanwhile, Turkey's reconciliation process with its own Kurdish population has come to an abrupt halt. Why? Because the civil war in Syria shifted the balance of power in the Kurds' favor.

Why did Turkey down that Su-24? Because it needed its Western allies to know that it means business, even if it won't hit PYD bases directly. That would not normally be a problem, but the range of responses from Ankara shows that it was not a very calculated step. Rather, it was a product of our tangled feelings toward Kurdish politics, which manifested obliquely in the debris of that plane. Similar to the Mavi Marmara incident, the episode will probably be useful in domestic politics but it will end up disproportionately hurting Turkey's foreign policy.

Ankara must learn to measure its actions based on realities out there on the ground, not its emotional and ideological echo chamber at home. In the case of Syria, this means facing up to our feelings about the Kurds, at home and across the border, once and for all.

[Nov 28, 2015] Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

Notable quotes:
"... It's no secret by now that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are funding Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq ..."
"... Frida Ghitis says the Syrian conflict "pitted moderates against extremists, and then extremists against ultra-extremists." http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/opinions/ghitis-russia-jet-shot-down/index.html So I suppose the United States is now on the side of the "extremists." We certainly would never approve of backing the "ultra-extremists," the way our allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia do. ..."
"... Not Turkmen commander-Turkish ..."
"... So Putin may have to put some of his other goals in the region on the back burner in order to actually wage war on ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups. ..."
"... Putin is right in saying that Turkey, a NATO member, is backing ISIS, not only financially but militarily. For Turkey their main interest is in Syrian Kurds not getting organized, armed, and in control of their own territory. When Turkey says they are fighting ISIS, they are dropping most of the bombs on Syrian Kurds. And they have never respected Iraq borders when attacking Iraqi Kurds. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia is also supporting ISIS, not only because they also defend an extremist Sunni Islam as Wahabbist Saudi Arabia, but also because it is part of their proxy wars against Shia Iran, and Syria is one of the Shia States with Sunni majority. Saudi Arabia is probably the biggest supporter of Islamic terrorism. ..."
"... Holland stupidly wants to march on ISIS, but nobody else wants to put troops on the ground. The only ones with troops on the ground fighting ISIS are Syrian army and Kurds. The latter ones are unacceptable to Turkey, so the former ones might become our new ally. ..."
"... Alawites, the core of the Syrian army, are paying a very high price for the war. About a third of their manpower has died in the 5 year war. They only keep fighting because they know they face extermination if they lose the war, whether from Syrian Sunnies or from ISIS. ..."
"... who want higher oil prices might have had their wish granted today after the downing of the russian SU-24 inside syria from a turkish F-16 (you will hear loads of shit in CnnAbcFoxNbcNewYotkTimes…please feel free to complete the alphabet soup here …they are all the SAME! that it was in turkish air space but THAT IS A LIE!!!!) ..."
"... It is your right to believe that Erdogan/Turkey -and they alone- are "brave" enough to shoot down a Russian aircraft while flying OUTSIDE their territory; It is your right to believe that Maidan/Kiev protests and the ousting of Yanukovich happened/grew genuinely from the Ukrainian people; It is your right to believe that the pro-russian rebels shut down the MH17 in Ukraine; It is your right to believe that our army and air force cannot destroy a bunch of white-basketball-shoe-wearing-mid-eval -lunatics after a year of bombing campaign and that we cannot disrupt their tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of barrels of oil per day production/selling which brings them millions of dollars per day in hard currency (…yet somehow russians did it in a month); It is your right to believe that russians are threatening Europe even though we are expanding NATO right at their borders; It is your right to believe that a bunch of illiterate, ugly, smelly morons with rusted AK-47 can defeat France and Belgium; It is your right to believe that: "…they hate us for our freedoms…" and "…our troops are fighting over there to keep us safe over here…" and other "lovely" narratives as such. It is your right! ..."
"... Are you absolutely sure of that? The Russians are saying that's not true, that the plane never entered Turkish air space. Russia's side is presented in this video: https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/ ..."
"... If a person is indeed on a truth-finding mission, is it not incumbent upon that person to listen to what all sides have to say, and then make up one's mind based on the evidence which is presented? ..."
"... RT, for instance, has a short clip of an interview with retired U.S. Airforce general Thomas McInery where he asserts that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned." ..."
"... If what General McInery says is correct - that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned" - then there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity. ..."
"... Well as far as I am concerned, President Obama circling the wagons around Turkey hardly qualifies him as being one the brightest lights on the Christmas tree. Obama is attempting to defend the indefensible. Why do you believe that is? ..."
"... It is clear that this was an hostile deliberate act by Turkey against Russia regardless of where that plane was at the moment. Where the plane was is only relevant to see if it was legal or illegal, but the deliberate hostile act remains either case. ..."
"... Turkey doesn't like the way Russia is helping the Syrian government, but they just proved to NATO that they are unreliable and more a liability than a trustworthy ally. This is how wars start, by unjustified escalation. ..."
"... If one watches the RT video I linked above, Erdogan can be heard saying exactly that same thing back in 2012 after Syria shot down a Turkish jet because of an air space violation. Here's what Erdogan said then: ..."
"... But whether the US might have given the green light for such an act, and the potential reasons for such a thing. Well, now that's interesting, despite Ron's insistence that it's absolutely untenable position. I say, very tenable for a country that has invaded and overthrown dozens of governments in just my short lifetime. ..."
"... personally think Ves' comment below about Turkey's desperation about losing their proxies is probably closer to the mark though. I've seen over the past couple decades Turkey has seen itself as a regional player linking the middle east and Europe and global economic hub. ..."
"... Hey Petro, yeah, just on the face of it I didn't see your comment as being that outlandish. the united states has a very very very long history of making moves that seem quite "beyond the pale" ..."
"... To say, if he did, that the US directly said, "shoot a plane down ASAP" is probably unlikely. But Turkey, a member of NATO, might be a little hesitant to take such an action unless it felt that the United States had its back. Now Turkey has been a bit "rogue" in recent years – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/turkey-denies-agreement-open-air-bases-us-isis . I mean the final answer is really above my pay grade, but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation and I'm beginning to agree with wimbi – can we go back to how much drag there would be on a bomber if it lost its tail section? ..."
"... That Turks are so desperate to stop their proxies in Syria being annihilated within next few months? Shooting down Russian plane is what desperate party does in order to change war dynamics on the ground. ..."
"... Unlike US, Russia is very active attacking oil trucks that smuggle ISIS oil to Turkey. Those trucks belong to a shipping company BMZ that belongs to the son of Erdogan. Russia is causing a personal economic loss to the Erdogan family. ..."
"... The international coalition against Syria and Russia is beginning to crack on the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS. Turkey doesn't want that to happen. This explains the shooting of the plane and the rushed going of Turkey to NATO to ask for support. It is intended to dynamite any possibility of understanding between US-lead coalition in Syria and Russia against ISIS. Obama has his hands tied, as he needs to use his base in Turkey. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Glenn Stehle, 11/24/2015 at 5:34 pm

Opening up natural gas supplies to Turkey and Europe which are not controlled by Russia and its allies? This requires a pipeline across Syria but Assad nixed the deal.

No wonder Saudi Prince…told President Vladmir Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be "completely" in Saudi Arabia's hands and will "not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports", according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

THE GUARDIAN, "Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern"

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

Jimmy, 11/24/2015 at 7:55 pm

Something tells me Putin is gonna turn up the dial on Turkeys little Kurdish problem. Putin has a lot of levers to choose from in dealing with Turkey. Whilst Russia does need Turkey perhaps more than Turkey needs Russia they certainly don't need Erdogan.

Watcher, 11/24/2015 at 5:18 pm

btw given these short time periods quoted, you also have to add the seconds req'd for all these alleged warnings.

ZH commenters are saying Turkish PM's son is the primary recipient of ISIS oil flowing thru Turkey. That was motivation, allegedly. Shrug.

I can say one thing for sure, no way in hell there were 10 warnings of this jet in the time frame available.

Jimmy, 11/24/2015 at 8:00 pm

Russia seems to be getting in the way of the Turkish Presidents family business of smuggling ISIS oil. FOX missed it.

http://olympia.gr/2015/11/24/erdogans-son-bilal-erdogan-smuggles-illegal-isiss-oil-russianplane-syria/

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 7:18 am

It's no secret by now that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are funding Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq:

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad's regime that includes al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria….

The decision by the two leading allies of the West to back a group in which al-Nusra plays a leading role has alarmed Western governments and is at odds with the US, which is firmly opposed to arming and funding jihadist extremists in Syria's long-running civil war.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-crisis-turkey-and-saudi-arabia-shock-western-countries-by-supporting-anti-assad-jihadists-10242747.html

Frida Ghitis says the Syrian conflict "pitted moderates against extremists, and then extremists against ultra-extremists." http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/opinions/ghitis-russia-jet-shot-down/index.html

So I suppose the United States is now on the side of the "extremists." We certainly would never approve of backing the "ultra-extremists," the way our allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia do.

twocats,11/25/2015 at 9:28 pm

I thought Russia and US both agreed to start bombing oil shipments. Of course, the US didn't WANT to do that as it weakens their proxy allies. It's an a great game of thrones episode that's for sure.

Opritov Alexandr, 11/25/2015 at 9:25 am

"A Turkmen commander said they shot the pilots."
--–
Not Turkmen commander-Turkish : http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/2491068.html#comments

twocats,11/25/2015 at 9:23 pm

I'm calling "completely irrelevant due to the fact that it's irrelevant". Is Turkey at war with Russia? Are they in a direct conflict in any way really? Does ISIS have bombers? So there's absolutely positively no way they could have "mistaken" the bomber for something else. And unless they are ready to declare war directly with Russia, the attack is on the verge of insanity.

I know sovereignty is important and all, and they could certainly buzz and even fire "shots across the bow" pretty easily. If we are disputing between 19 and 10 seconds of air space violations, we are idiots. Geeky idiots, but idiots nonethe less.

Fernando Leanme, 11/26/2015 at 5:06 am

The Turks were defending Turkmen on the Syrian side. Erdogan said so. The Russians may sit down with turkey and concede a portion of Latakia to Turkey. The excuse will be the fact that it's populated by Turkmen. If Turkey agrees and redraws the border it will be huge win for Russia. It will give them the precedent to justify taking over the Crimea and the Donbas.

Glenn Stehle says: 11/25/2015 at 6:49 am

Germany apparently has come to a similar conclusion.

German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said:

This incident shows for the first time that we are to dealing with an actor who is unpredictable according to statements from various parts of the region – that is not Russia, that is Turkey.

https://www.rt.com/news/323240-russia-turkey-warplane-downed/

NATO, however, has closed ranks with Turkey. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance backs Ankara:

We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally.

https://www.rt.com/news/323240-russia-turkey-warplane-downed/

Obama joined NATO in closing ranks with Turkey:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/plane-shootdown-could-lead-to-nato-conflict-with-russia/

and

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/hollande-and-obama-address-isis-threat/

The MSM talking heads are also swinging into action to defend Turkey, arguing that even if the Russian jet was not shot down over Turkey (something an anonymous Pentagon official told Reuters is the case, since video evidence makes further denials by Anakra and Washington unplausible) then Russia still had it coming. Nick Burns, former National Security Council Director for Russian Affairs, charged:

There's an important principle at stake here… Every nation has a right to protect its own borders. And President Obama sided with the Turks today in saying that they have that right. It was a gross violation of international law for the Russians to even fly close to that border…

The Russians may have thought that the Turks weren't serious but they found out today they were.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/analysis-of-russian-plane-shootdown/

This incident should shed light on the fact that neither the great powers (like the US, France or Russia) nor the regional players (like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Iran) are participating in this conflict to fight a common enemy, ISIS. They are there for other reasons.

Russia, however, is in a tough spot. Pepe Escobar, for instance, noted in Asia Times that Russia has eight times the Islamic extremists living on its soil as does France:

Bajolet tells us that at least 500 French jihadis from "Syraq" might present a threat; compare it with 4,000 in respect to Russia (and that explains Putin's determination to go after all shades of jihadism).
http://www.sott.net/article/306819-Pepe-Escobar-Paris-terror-attacks-who-profits

So Putin may have to put some of his other goals in the region on the back burner in order to actually wage war on ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 7:37 am

Glenn,

It is a very complex issue as every player has different interests. Putin is right in saying that Turkey, a NATO member, is backing ISIS, not only financially but militarily. For Turkey their main interest is in Syrian Kurds not getting organized, armed, and in control of their own territory. When Turkey says they are fighting ISIS, they are dropping most of the bombs on Syrian Kurds. And they have never respected Iraq borders when attacking Iraqi Kurds.

Saudi Arabia is also supporting ISIS, not only because they also defend an extremist Sunni Islam as Wahabbist Saudi Arabia, but also because it is part of their proxy wars against Shia Iran, and Syria is one of the Shia States with Sunni majority. Saudi Arabia is probably the biggest supporter of Islamic terrorism.

The Alawites of Syria (including the al-Assad family) are also happy that ISIS is in Syria. Without them they have no chance of keeping power, but in a three sides war with one of them being unacceptable to Occident, they are no longer looking so bad.

Syrian opposition is the big loser here. They are bombed by Turkey and Russia (different targets) and attacked on land by Alawites and ISIS as each one wants to expand first at their expense.

This is why refugees are coming out in droves now as the war is getting much worse.

Turkey feels pretty safe. NATO has no choice but to close ranks, and the European Union is paying big money to Turkey to keep a lid on the refugee problem, as Spain does with Morocco.

Holland stupidly wants to march on ISIS, but nobody else wants to put troops on the ground. The only ones with troops on the ground fighting ISIS are Syrian army and Kurds. The latter ones are unacceptable to Turkey, so the former ones might become our new ally.

Alawites, the core of the Syrian army, are paying a very high price for the war. About a third of their manpower has died in the 5 year war. They only keep fighting because they know they face extermination if they lose the war, whether from Syrian Sunnies or from ISIS.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 8:40 am

Javier,
You got all ingredients right but all your conclusions are not correct.

Paulo, 11/26/2015 at 10:33 am

I wonder what Obama will say about the right of a country to shoot down an aircraft for airspace violation….when one of theirs gets shot down over the Spratleys by China?

Petro, 11/24/2015 at 4:04 pm

A bit off topic Ron, but maybe not by much:

-Shallow Sand et al.

who want higher oil prices might have had their wish granted today after the downing of the russian SU-24 inside syria from a turkish F-16 (you will hear loads of shit in CnnAbcFoxNbcNewYotkTimes…please feel free to complete the alphabet soup here …they are all the SAME! that it was in turkish air space but THAT IS A LIE!!!!)

Let us ALL hope and pray that Putin does not take this at face value (Act of WAR!….which indeed is….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC)….for if He does, oil prices are going to be the last thing we have to worry about, dear Shallow Sand!!!!

Be well,

Petro

P.S.: sorry for the off topic comment Ron and thank you for the post!

Ron Patterson , 11/24/2015 at 5:17 pm

(Act of WAR!….which indeed is….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC)…

Petro, that that the shooting down of this Russian plane was probably ordered by the President, or the Pentagon, is the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this blog. Any goddamn fool with half a brain would know better than that.

Sorry for the strong language but when someone posts something so utterly stupid just to take a swipe at our President, or government, really pisses me off.

That being said, I agree that Turkey shooting down that Russian plane was a very stupid and dangerous thing for Turkey to do. But to say such action was ordered by the US is beyond belief.

Petro, 11/24/2015 at 10:45 pm

Dear Ron,

First, I would like to apologize for being caught in your "cross-hairs" as the result of my unorthodox comment. It will not happen again!

Second, I genuinely respect the tremendous amount of time and information with which you so generously enable all of us frequenting this great forum each and every week! As I have mentioned on numerous comments of mine here, I feel lucky and empowered every time I read one of your well written "mind-teasers".
I truly do!
-For those reasons (and a couple of others) I will not engage on answering:
"…is the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this blog. Any goddamn fool with half a brain would know better than that…."
and
"…when someone posts something so utterly stupid…".

I would sincerely hope however, that in this forum we refrain from using word concoctions such as : "goddamn fool", "utterly stupid", "most ignorant thing I have ever read" aimed at the PERSONAL level – even when scientifically and logically (with regard to this blog) they are "deserved"

– i.e. when Peter writes "If 2015 is the peak Oil year, then it is the $45 per barrel peak.

This should give people pause for thought. How on earth can we really be at peak oil, with prices this low. We cannot."

-or RDG writes "Peak Oil is irrelevant because the world's methane potential is underestimated…"

-or Arceus writes"I suspect if the Saudis could double their production to 20 million boepd they could almost double their market share. The only downside would be oil would likely be selling at 20 dollars per barrel."

-to which you (to my delight-I might add) replied:

"That's the funniest thing I have read in weeks."

It is your right to believe that Erdogan/Turkey -and they alone- are "brave" enough to shoot down a Russian aircraft while flying OUTSIDE their territory;
It is your right to believe that Maidan/Kiev protests and the ousting of Yanukovich happened/grew genuinely from the Ukrainian people;
It is your right to believe that the pro-russian rebels shut down the MH17 in Ukraine;
It is your right to believe that our army and air force cannot destroy a bunch of white-basketball-shoe-wearing-mid-eval -lunatics after a year of bombing campaign and that we cannot disrupt their tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of barrels of oil per day production/selling which brings them millions of dollars per day in hard currency (…yet somehow russians did it in a month);
It is your right to believe that russians are threatening Europe even though we are expanding NATO right at their borders;
It is your right to believe that a bunch of illiterate, ugly, smelly morons with rusted AK-47 can defeat France and Belgium;
It is your right to believe that: "…they hate us for our freedoms…" and "…our troops are fighting over there to keep us safe over here…" and other "lovely" narratives as such.
It is your right!

What I am trying to suggest however, is that there is quite a bit of very logical and credible evidence that points to other versions of the "truth".
…and NO!
I do not follow idiots akin to Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh…, nor do I wear a tin foil hat.
You say: "…our President, or government…"
I say that the LAST president to be considered truly OURS was JFK.
How did we go from Jefferson/Adams/Payne/…..JFK to ReaganBushClintonBushWO and worse- seriously considering idiots like TrumpHillarious – is beyond me and only Heavens know (I guess A.Bartlet applies even with regard to "worse" and "worse-er" and "worse-rer-rer" people).
What is really done in our name and with our money dear Ron, shall give a "heart attack" to us all …very soon.

In any case, I tried to follow up with Shallow since he was worried about oil prices and I have replied to him (and others) about that on several previous comments.

Again, I apologize for my unorthodox comment and for any unintentional insult.

Be well,

Petro

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 6:59 am

Petro, I stand by my comment. The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds. If you think someone in Washington said "shoot the goddamn thing down" then you are a fool.

There was not time to notify anyone except Turkish officials on the ground. Turkey does not take orders from Washington.

Nothing else going on in France, Belgium or anywhere else had anything to do with what I wrote or what I was replying to. You simply saw an opportunity to blame the US government for something they very obviously had nothing to do with. I would have agreed with everything you wrote in that one post had you not took the opportunity to blame it on Washington. If you are going to post on this blog then you have the obligation to use a little common sense.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 8:39 am

Ron Patterson said:

The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds.

Are you absolutely sure of that? The Russians are saying that's not true, that the plane never entered Turkish air space. Russia's side is presented in this video: https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/

If a person is indeed on a truth-finding mission, is it not incumbent upon that person to listen to what all sides have to say, and then make up one's mind based on the evidence which is presented?

RT, for instance, has a short clip of an interview with retired U.S. Airforce general Thomas McInery where he asserts that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned."

One could probably do no better than to heed the advice which Thomas Jefferson gave his nephew in a letter dated August 10, 1787:

[S]hake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear….

Caelan MacIntyre, 11/25/2015 at 8:52 am

The Fog of War

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 8:59 am

Hey, that was not my point. My point was that the shoot down was not ordered by the US Government in Washington.

Shooting down that Russian warplane was an extremely stupid thing for Turkey to do. But what is even more stupid is to say that the shoot down was ordered by Washington.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 11:37 am

Ron,

I was referring to your argument:

The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds. If you think someone in Washington said "shoot the goddamn thing down" then you are a fool.

If what General McInery says is correct - that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned" - then there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity.

I have a feeling like these cat-and-mouse games between pilots probably go on continuously during conflict situations. However, I have no experience in these matters, and oddly enough, the only fighter pilot I've ever known in my entire life was transgendered:

I also worked for "T" vets inclusion in GLBVA during those years and VA support of "T" vets (which finally happened recently) – I'm a retired USAF Major and Command Pilot. During the '90s I was a rather prolific writer; although, quite a bit of it is probably lost to transgender antiquity. I've been lecturing on gender, gender roles, and the "T" topic at Trinity University for the past 16 years.

http://research.cristanwilliams.com/2012/03/09/tere-fredrickson-interview/

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 12:08 pm

there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity.

Goddammit, will the stupid shit never stop. It is just down in the dirt stupid to suggest that the President would want such a thing. It could lead to the break-up of NATO. Also, the very idea that Turkey would cot-tow to Washington's wishes is also stupid.

To shoot this plane down was the stupidest thing Turkey could possibly do. But a lot stupider things have been done by Middle East Islamic rulers causing things to get a lot worse. But to suggest that our President is just as stupid is beyond the pale. Can you guys just not use a little common sense?

To suggest that Washington was behind this smacks of a conspiracy theory. I think all conspiracy theorists have a screw loose.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 4:06 pm

Ron,

Well as far as I am concerned, President Obama circling the wagons around Turkey hardly qualifies him as being one the brightest lights on the Christmas tree. Obama is attempting to defend the indefensible. Why do you believe that is?

And you don't believe that reinforces the appearance of impropriety, of him being complicit in Turkey's shooting down the plane? Talk about bad optics!

Mark Ames minces no words:

Russia will just have to play and replay the shooting down of its jet, and the Syrian rebels gloating over the dead pilots, to see Putin's already sky-high popularity ratings push even higher….

Point being: this is working out wonderfully for Putin.

In fact, if there's any conspiracy I can make sense of with what's gone on over the past year and a half, it's that anti-Russia neocons and their pals have been doing everything possible to increase Putin's popularity and power at home, in order to build him up as an even more plausible villain over here. Or maybe they're straight-up Putin moles. But that of course gives everyone, especially these idiots, too much credit.

https://pando.com/2015/11/24/turkey-shoots-down-russian-plane-wars-have-funny-way-taking-life-their-own/eba0108e463df65f823e3f435b3eead1d41c6e25/

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 5:05 pm

Glenn, the idea that Obama ordered the shooting down the Russian plane is pure ignorance, stupidity gone to seed. I will not lower myself by arguing such an utterly stupid scenario.

One more point. This is not a conspiracy theory website. We do not discuss conspiracy theories here.

Bye now.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:08 am

What if this conversation happened:

Turkey, "A lot of recent missions by Russia has put them very close to our borders if not outright in our airspace. What do you want us to do."

White House, "You have the right to defend the sovereignty of your airspace by any means you deem necessary. We feel that Russia is being very reckless in their choice of targets and are endangering stability in the area."

NATO, "You do realize that if Turkey provokes Russia it could draw us directly into the conflict."

White House, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

I mean, if you can't see some version of the above dialogue happening then all I can say to you that you'll understand is, "God Bless America, the greatest country that ever existed."

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 9:09 am

Glenn,

Does it really matter? There is international consensus that planes are not shot down for briefly entering foreign airspace without permit when the nations are not belligerent. Airspace is not clearly delimited up in the air and pilots are often too busy to check.

It is clear that this was an hostile deliberate act by Turkey against Russia regardless of where that plane was at the moment. Where the plane was is only relevant to see if it was legal or illegal, but the deliberate hostile act remains either case.

To me it looks like the Russian plane was flying in circles and was passing over a small tip (~2 km wide) of Turkish territory each time. This was used as an excuse to shoot down the plane in what cannot be claimed as a self-defense act, but clearly a hostile warning.

Turkey doesn't like the way Russia is helping the Syrian government, but they just proved to NATO that they are unreliable and more a liability than a trustworthy ally. This is how wars start, by unjustified escalation.

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 9:26 am

This time I agree 100% with Javier's assessment of the situation.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 11:02 am

Javier said:

There is international consensus that planes are not shot down for briefly entering foreign airspace without permit when the nations are not belligerent. Airspace is not clearly delimited up in the air and pilots are often too busy to check.

If one watches the RT video I linked above, Erdogan can be heard saying exactly that same thing back in 2012 after Syria shot down a Turkish jet because of an air space violation. Here's what Erdogan said then:

A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack.

https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/

Now, however, the Ministry of Truth in Washington, Anakra and Brussels is saying just the opposite.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 11:06 am

Blowback. Sinking fast due to their own narrative.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 11:56 am

Hahahaaa, that's a good one.

Politicians, or the art of defending one thing and the opposite without any blush.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:02 am

fuck an A glen, you're back to the minutiae of that!! stop derailing these conversations about whether or not the plane was in airspace of turkey. I mean really does it matter?! 1km, 40 km, I don't know, irrelevant.

But whether the US might have given the green light for such an act, and the potential reasons for such a thing. Well, now that's interesting, despite Ron's insistence that it's absolutely untenable position. I say, very tenable for a country that has invaded and overthrown dozens of governments in just my short lifetime.

I personally think Ves' comment below about Turkey's desperation about losing their proxies is probably closer to the mark though. I've seen over the past couple decades Turkey has seen itself as a regional player linking the middle east and Europe and global economic hub.

Or it could just be the pilot took the wrong pills getting into the cockpit.

Petreo, 11/25/2015 at 11:04 pm

"If you are going to post on this blog then you have the obligation to use a little common sense."

Dear Ron,
I clearly was!
Not just a little, but a lot of common sense.
In my comment to Shallow I wrote: "…sorry for the off topic comment Ron…"
In my second comment to you I wrote: "…First, I would like to apologize for being caught in your "cross-hairs" as the result of my unorthodox comment.
It will not happen again!…"

I did that, for I did not want to remind you of our first exchange on this site -in which you got a taste of how good I am at "shooting back" (just as Erdogan shall taste how good Putin is at shooting back …very soon!)
-Yet, you continued with your hysterical, inflammatory bursting!
I am not certain what pricked your "bubble" -holiday shopping not going well, perhaps – my condolences!
In any event, you GROSSLY misunderstood and misrepresented what I wrote.
Nowhere did I write that: " …ourPresident ordered: shoot the goddamn thing down…" – as you so eloquently put it.
Let me repeat to you what I wrote (short term amnesia – especially when one is enraged – is a bitch!):
"….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC…".

-What I was trying to convey (obviously fruitlessly!) was that even though Erdogan/Turks pulled the trigger (or maybe you prefer: "pushed the button") and shot the SU24 down, our un-Kosherly dumb (at the very best!) policies for the last 15 years (and maybe longer!) in the region (and wider), have GREATLY empowered "Erdogan" types.
Key word is "at the very best" here, for there is unmistakable and unambiguous evidence to suggest the other extreme of that spectrum (hint: intent)!

-Whether you consider a senior senator (i.e.McCain) posing with known international criminal be-headers, or viceSercretaryOfState (i.e.V.Nuland) hand picking puppets for the head of KievGovrmt after orchestrating, directing and financing a CLASSIC "coup d'etat" to overthrow the previous govmt there, part of ourGovrmt, or NOT – is your business.
However, that does not give you the moral and social (let alone the common sense one!) right to engage in hysterical, inflammatory and wildly accusational burstings against somebody – even on your blog site!
If that is your idea of patriotism, you surely missed it!

-Yes!
It was theTurks who shot down theRussian aircraft – not us!
But to put it in a historical context, SIMPLER for you to understand:
it was NOT Great Britain, France and US (among others) that in 1933 made Adolf Hitler Reich Chancellor;
it was the Germans – whether they be German elites, or German plebes!

Behavior(s) and decisions by political and economical/financial leaders in those Countries however, GREATLY facilitated Hitler's ascend to power!
In December 1938, less than 10 months before starting the carnage that killed 100 million people worldwide , Hitler was Time Magazine's "Man of the Year".

I would strongly suggest to you sources other than NYT and Fox for your world news updates – you would be enlightened!
If you do not want me to comment here and this is personal, be a man and say so without wild explosions of nastiness!
We are all adults here (one can only hope!) and can take it.
And stop throwing the "conspiracy" label around, as well!
Makes you sound very foolish and brainwashed.

-Have a good Thanksgiving tomorrow and maybe/hopefully by Friday feel more relaxed…

Be well,

Petro

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:50 am

Hey Petro, yeah, just on the face of it I didn't see your comment as being that outlandish. the united states has a very very very long history of making moves that seem quite "beyond the pale"

http://www.amazon.com/KILLING-HOPE-William-Blum/dp/B007K517VE

in this specific case, ron's point that this move seems really really stupid does ring true for me. but i think we need to wait a little longer and see how it plays out to know for sure.

Ron Patterson, 11/26/2015 at 8:00 am

Back in 2010 I was living in Pensacola, FL. Right after the Deep Water Horizon disaster everyone was pointing the finger, blaming somebody. And there was a lot of blame to go around but I met several folks here that blamed Obama. Yes, they said, Obama planned and ordered the whole disaster. Just why he would order such a thing no one seemed to know. A few came up with a reason, but no one had the same reason as the other nut cases.

I see the same thing in almost every other disaster throughout the world, "Obama planned and ordered the whole disaster". So whenever I see someone blaming Obama, or Washington, for this or that disaster, it really pisses me off.

And like the other nut cases that blamed Obama for the Macondo disaster, they cannot come up with a reason that Obama would do such a thing, but he is the US president and they hate everything that comes out of Washington so he must have been somehow responsible.

Some people never ever miss a chance to blame Obama, or Washington, for some evil act especially when it cannot be proven otherwise.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 11:45 am

Yep I'll definitely give you the anti-Washington, and vehement anti-Obama thing (gotta be a lot of rascism wrapped up in that). But I'm assuming you are aware of the fairly well known shenanigans of the United States in terms of intervening and influencing countries in order to make terrible terrible things happen:

1) training Saddam to help overthrow Qasim which led to, well Saddam
2) overhthrowing Mossadeg to install Shah which led to Iranian Revolution
3) giving Saddam chemical weapons to kill 100s thousands of Iranians
4) training Al-Qaeda to fight Russia in Afghanistan, and latter trained again to fight in Kosovo
5) Backed wahabi tribe of Saud and backed their play for power in Arabian penninsula which led to of course Saudi Arabia, despised totalitarian regime which regularly beheads and then crucifies people.

i mean i could go on for hours. so the idea that United States hinted to Turkey that it wouldn't be upset if it 1) defended its border, 2) defended Turkmen majority cities on Syrian side (thanks Fernando), these are not such crazy notions. (see article from oriental review – http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/25/whys-the-us-hanging-turkey-out-to-dry/)

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:00 pm

and just for giggles here is a more direct corollary

http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/09/wikileaks-april-glaspie-and-saddam-hussein/

Petro's post was a little long and poorly written so i didn't read it all and he may have been overstating it.

To say, if he did, that the US directly said, "shoot a plane down ASAP" is probably unlikely. But Turkey, a member of NATO, might be a little hesitant to take such an action unless it felt that the United States had its back. Now Turkey has been a bit "rogue" in recent years – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/turkey-denies-agreement-open-air-bases-us-isis. I mean the final answer is really above my pay grade, but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation and I'm beginning to agree with wimbi – can we go back to how much drag there would be on a bomber if it lost its tail section?

Ron Patterson, 11/26/2015 at 12:05 pm

but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation

I am beginning to see there is a lot of bullshit in this equation and it is getting deeper and deeper. As I said, it is very easy to throw out bullshit when it cannot be proven otherwise. You can seem like a master of knowledge when all you really are is a master of bullshit.

Reply

AlexS, 11/25/2015 at 7:37 am

Russian jet hit inside Syria after incursion into Turkey: U.S. official

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/25/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-impact-idUSKBN0TE04M20151125

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said that assessment was based on detection of the heat signature of the jet.
---------------

Russia to move S-400 air defense system to Syria - defense minister

http://tass.ru/en/defense/839109

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. Russia will move its air defense system S-400 Triumf to the Hmeimim air base in Syria, accommodating its air and space group, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
The Russian General Staff has warned that Russia will be destroying all potentially dangerous targets over Syria and moved towards the Syrian shores its guided missile cruiser The Moskva armed with the Fort system (the sea-launched equivalent of S-300).
-----------------–
Second pilot of downed Su-24 jet safe, brought to Russian base - Russian defense minister

http://tass.ru/en/defense/839080

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. The second pilot of the Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey has been rescued by the Russian and Syrian forces and is safe and sound, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
"The operation ended successfully. The pilot has been taken to our base. Safe and sound," Shoigu said.
He said the rescue operation lasted for 12 hours.
-------------------–

Turkey's Erdogan says does not want escalation after Russian jet downed

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/25/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-erdogan-idUSKBN0TE0QT20151125

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey did not want any escalation after it shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, saying it had simply acted to defend its own security and the "rights of our brothers" in Syria.
But while neither side has shown any interest in a military escalation, Russia has made clear it will exact economic revenge through trade and tourism. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that important joint projects could be canceled and Turkish firms could lose Russian market share.
Increased tensions could have significant economic and political repercussions which are in neither Moscow nor Ankara's interests, analysts warned. But both Putin and Erdogan are strong-willed leaders ill-disposed to being challenged.

"If Erdogan becomes involved a cycle of violence, FDI (foreign direct investment), tourism, and relations with the EU and U.S. will all be in jeopardy," risk analysis firm Eurasia Group said in a note.
"Our bet is that the episode will not escalate … National interest will probably prevail over emotion, but given the players, that's not a sure bet."
Turkey imports almost all of its energy from Russia, including 60 percent of its gas and 35 percent of its oil. Russia's state Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) is due to build Turkey's first nuclear power station, a $20 billion project, while plans are on the table for a gas pipeline from Russia known as TurkStream.
Turkish building and beverage companies also have significant interests in Russia.
Shares in Enka Insaat, which has construction projects in Russia and two power plants in Turkey using Russian gas, fell for a second day on Wednesday. Brewer Anadolu Efes, which has six breweries in Russia and controls around 14 percent of the market, also saw its shares fall on Tuesday.
Russians are second only to Germans in terms of the numbers visiting Turkey, bringing in an estimated $4 billion a year in tourism revenues. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday advised them not to visit and one of Russia's largest tour operators to the country said it would temporarily suspend sales of trips.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 8:52 am

Interesting, Alex,

Turkish might have built themselves a no-fly zone at their Syrian border. Russians have Syrian permit to fly their space, while Turkish have not. After what has happened any Turkish plane over Syrian space can be considered a dangerous target by the Russians and shot down.

I don't understand Turkish actions. If it was a military decision from some commander, they should have tried to apologize, and not run to NATO for cover. If it was a presidential decision, I fail to see what good can come from it for Turkey.

Anyway, I hope those Russian tourists going to Egypt or Turkey can find some solace in Spain [grin].

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 11:18 am

Javier: " I don't understand Turkish actions."

It is very obvious what they want. They want NATO boots on the ground. Do you want to go? Do you know any of Germans that want to go? Greeks, Italians? There are no takers in Europe. Even Obama is not biting.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 12:13 pm

I've never been in favor of bombing other countries, much less of sending troops.

NATO is a defensive pact in theory. I could understand NATO troops in Turkey if invaded by Russia, but not NATO troops in Syria because Turkey shoots down Russian planes. And I don't believe Turkey is trying to trigger a Russian aggression. Too much to lose.

Your words still don't make sense to me.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 12:23 pm

What part does not make sense?

That Turks are so desperate to stop their proxies in Syria being annihilated within next few months? Shooting down Russian plane is what desperate party does in order to change war dynamics on the ground.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 5:10 am

Found a much better explanation than yours over at Euan Mearn's blog in a Syrian drought article in the comments.

Unlike US, Russia is very active attacking oil trucks that smuggle ISIS oil to Turkey. Those trucks belong to a shipping company BMZ that belongs to the son of Erdogan. Russia is causing a personal economic loss to the Erdogan family.

The international coalition against Syria and Russia is beginning to crack on the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS. Turkey doesn't want that to happen.

This explains the shooting of the plane and the rushed going of Turkey to NATO to ask for support. It is intended to dynamite any possibility of understanding between US-lead coalition in Syria and Russia against ISIS. Obama has his hands tied, as he needs to use his base in Turkey.

Putin is probably too smart to respond. He'll find another way. Perhaps supporting Kurds.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 8:22 am

Javier,
Drought? So we have all armadas of the world, including Lichenstain's one plane, circling Middle East for the last 30 years because of – drought??!!!
No wonder you believe that one of the stated EU goals is for everybody to hold hands and sing Kumbaya at Eurovison contest. Javier, it's always having been delusions of power, control and mucho dinero that caused the conflict- not drought.

Glenn Stehle, 11/26/2015 at 10:27 am

https://twitter.com/ijattala/status/669389283225026560?refsrc=email&s=11

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 10:54 am

Glenn,
that is exactly what explained to Javier. Cutting the oil line for the finance of the Turkish proxies. Once the money line is cut even the proxies don't fight for free.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 11:33 am

Ves

Did I say anything about drought being related to the conflict?
I just pointed where I got the information.

You seem to like to engage in straw man arguments. Please continue, don't let yourself be bothered by reality.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 1:48 pm

Javier said: "Found a much better explanation than yours over at Euan Mearn's blog in a Syrian drought article "

I am sorry but I don't know who is Euarn Mearn's and what Syrian drought article has to do with all this. Leave a link or something.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 2:06 pm

Ves,

Euan Mearns is a frequent visitor and commenter in this blog. He was also a frequent contributor of The Oil Drumm. He has a very good blog on Energy and also some Climate. If you just google his name you get there. The link to the article is this:
http://euanmearns.com/drought-climate-war-terrorism-and-syria/
The information I posted was in one of the comments.
The article actually argues against the climate change-Syrian war-ISIS connection that has appeared in some media.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Javier. Okey with that little bit of info from you I know what to expect when I click on that link. I will read it.

You have to understand that I limit my reading to only few limited sources just not to corrupt my mind. You see there are expert internet oil "analysts" who claim that US is oil exporter so there are very dangerous stuff out there in cyber space.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 9:33 pm

Javier,
I agree with article but I am floored that he actually spent all that energy debunking that nonsense that drought caused all this. Who armed all these people, who financed illegal oil operations, where thousands oil tankers are from, why after 4 years of civil war refugees just suddenly start flowing to Europe this summer, so someone let them purposely go, who is blackmailing Europe?

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 2:59 am

the most ignorant, craziest, stupidest, outrageously reasonably explained plausible fitting into global and regional goals possible thing that's ever been said on this blog:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-25/guest-post-why-us-hanging-turkey-out-dry

[Nov 28, 2015] Experts Turkey might be tried for financing ISIL, arms trafficking

www.todayszaman.com
Russia's pledge to take the issue of Turkey's alleged financing of terrorist factions within Syria -- such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- to the United Nations after Turkey recently shot down its jet, has stirred speculation that Turkey could be tried in international courts.

Tensions between Turkey and Russia have been running amok over the past few days, as on Tuesday NATO's second largest army the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) downed a Russian Su-24 jet near the Syrian border, after repeatedly warning it over airspace violations.

Moscow blames Turkey and has set about bolstering its military presence in the region, dispatching several S-400 air defense systems to bolster its Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province. The Kremlin is also determined to punish its one-time friend with economic sanctions such as refusing to buy poultry from Turkey and ordering Russian tourists not to visit the country.

However, the biggest damage Turkey may incur in the fallout of the fallen jet may come after the statements made by Russian leaders, which claim that they will take the issue of ISIL's financial avenues to the UN Security Council -- and that may cause Turkey a much-unneeded headache.

President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the jet a stab in the back administered by "the accomplices of terrorists," referring to Turkey and ISIL.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Putin, when he said on Wednesday that the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted the oil infrastructure used by ISIL.

More importantly, Lavrov alleged that Turkey benefited from the oil trade and said Russia will ask the UN Security Council to examine information on how terrorists are financed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defied those claims on Thursday saying, "Those who claim we [AK Party] have brought petrol from Daesh [the Arabic term for ISIL], are required to prove their claims, otherwise I will call them [Russian leaders] slanderers."

This is not the first time Turkey has been accused of intermediating ISIL's oil. In July a senior Western official claimed that information gathered at the compound of Abu Sayyaf, ISIL's officer responsible for oil smuggling operations, pointed to high-level contacts between Turkish officials and high-ranking ISIL members, according to a report by the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

Turkey, which only started to take an active part in the international coalition against ISIL, reluctantly, and after two years, has also been accused of turning a blind eye to the crossing of militants into Syria to join ISIL, if not openly facilitating militants' border crossings to join ISIL in Syria.

While giving voice to veiled criticisms of Turkey's dubious dealings with ISIL, Western officials had refrained, until very recently, from directly critiquing Turkish authorities. Russia's recent disclosures indicate that Turkey may be the target of international scrutiny.

Law professor gives al-Bashir example, says trial of Turkey ruler may be possible in future

Günal Kurşun, a professor of criminal law and the president of the Association for Human Rights Agenda, maintained that the current administration could only be tried in international tribunals if and when a new administration comes along and wants to clear the name of the country.

Kurşun gave the example of Omar al-Bashir, the internationally ostracized leader of Sudan, who is currently being tried on 10 counts of crime, including five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide according to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The law professor added that even though the legal aspects of Turkey's rulers such as Erdoğan being tried in the ICC may not be certain, the political ramifications will be far reaching, even as far as to confine the rulers within Turkey by way of entry restrictions to other countries.

He explained to Today's Zaman that there are three parties that can bring up a court case in the ICC against an individual.

To begin with, the prosecutor of the ICC can initiate an investigation, as can a state party to the Rome statute and also the UN Security Council (UNSC) may refer investigations to the ICC, acting to address a threat to international peace and security.

There are four instances where individuals can be tried at the ICC. Those are on charges of genocide, aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Kurşun said it is possible for the UNSC to ascertain Turkey as aiding ISIL, which is held as an international terrorist organization, but added that without the cooperation of the member state, not much could be done in terms of the investigation.

Erdoğan's tacit acknowledgment of weapons filled trucks en-route Syria

Also, the question of whether President Erdoğan should be tried at the (ICC) as an individual stemming from allegations that he had knowledge of, if not actively facilitated, the transfer of weapons-filled trucks to radical groups in Syria, claimed by many to be ISIL.

The issue of Turkey's transportation of arms to Syria came to the fore early in 2014, when an anonymous tip led to the search of a number of trucks on the suspicion of weapons smuggling. It was later discovered that the vehicles where actually en route to Syria and belonged to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The first stop-and-search took place in Hatay province on Jan. 1, 2014. Another anonymous tip led to three more trucks being intercepted in Turkey's southern Adana province on Jan. 19, 2014.

Erdoğan who was prime minister at the time, said in a TV program immediately after the search of the trucks became public that they were carrying aid supplies to Turkmens in Syria. On the program, Erdoğan appeared to be particularly angry with the prosecutor for having demanded the search of the trucks to be recorded on video and described the search as "treason."

However, Syrian-Turkmen Assembly Vice Chairman Hussein al-Abdullah said in January 2014 no trucks carrying aid had arrived from Turkey.

Then, this Tuesday, Erdoğan seemingly validated claims that the Turkish government was sending weapon-filled trucks to radical groups in Syria by sarcastically asking, "So what if MİT trucks were filled with weapons?"

Speaking to a room full of teachers on Tuesday gathered for Teachers' Day, Erdoğan said, "You know of the treason regarding MİT trucks, don't you? So what if there were weapons in them? I believe that our people will not forgive those who sabotaged this support."

In May, Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) said in an election rally in the run up to the June 7 general election; "They [the AK Party and Erdoğan] have committed many crimes. They have committed grave sins domestically and internationally, and now there is the possibility that they may be tried at the ICC."

Former ECtHR judge says US-Nicaragua case sets precedent

Rıza Türmen, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and one of Turkey's leading expert in international law, told Today's Zaman that a powerful country like the United States was in the past tried and found guilty by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of aiding and abetting militants in the Central American country of Nicaragua, and that Turkey is no exception.

In 1984, the hitherto relatively unknown country of Nicaragua took the US to the ICJ on the ground that it was responsible for illegal military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua between 1981 and 1984.

In April 1981, US terminated aid to Nicaragua and in September 1981, according to Nicaragua, the United States "decided to plan and undertake activities directed against Nicaragua."

The armed opposition to the new Nicaraguan government was mainly conducted by the Fuerza Democratica Nicaragüense (FDN) and Alianza Revolucionaria Democratica (ARDE). Initial US support to these groups fighting against the Nicaraguan government (called "contras") was covert.

"Turkey does not have the right to intervene in the affairs of another state. However, if the trucks of weapons may be true, as the President [Erdoğan] said, then Turkey will have intervened in the internal affairs of another country," Türmen said.

He added that the UN Security Council is able to initiate the investigations at the ICC, which tries individuals who are charged with committing crime against humanity rather than countries, such as the example with Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

The former judge did note however that Turkey does not recognize the ICC and that it was very unlikely for Erdoğan to be tried there, but added that even being uttered in the same breath as such allegations would be enough to tarnish the reputation of any leader in the international forum.

Professor: Erdoğan hoped to lead bloc of countries from Tunisia to Syria

According to Baskın Oran, a professor at Ankara University's Faculty of Political Sciences, Erdoğan hoped, after the Arab Spring revolts began in 2011, to lead a bloc of countries, ranging from Tunisia to Syria, all headed by Islamist Muslim Brotherhood governments.

Oran wrote in a June article that when Erdoğan saw "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was blocking this dream; [he] gave orders that arms were to be sent to opposition forces in Syria with the intent of helping to topple Assad."

Oran stated that in sending those weapons, the Erdoğan government clearly violated the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution 2,625 made on Oct. 24, 1970.

Resolution 2,625 clearly reads that "no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State."

Hariri Tribunal set up UN Security Council serves as reminder

In 2005 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1,595, to establish a commission to assist Lebanese authorities in their investigation of the assassination of former Prime Minister Refik Hariri in Beirut, which took place on Feb. 14, 2005.

Under the resolution, the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was formed and investigated the assassination for four years, but was later superseded by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), also referred to as the Hariri Tribunal, in March 2009.

The United Nations investigation initially implicated high-level Lebanese and Syrian security officers in Hariri's killing, according to the online news portal gulfnews.com. Arrest warrants were issued by the tribunal, demanding the arrests of four Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists.

[Nov 28, 2015] The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4-10)

therealnews.com
JAY: It's crazy. There's an interview with Lyndon Johnson near the end of his presidency in the Vietnam War, and he's asked, why do you keep continuing this? What is this about? And he actually, apparently, pulls down his fly and brings out his organ--as this is how it's described by one of his biographers--and he says, this is what it's about.

KIRIAKOU: I believe that story.

JAY: At the time, how much do you understand that's what it's about, that it's just a pissing match?

KIRIAKOU: I did understand it, and I grew frustrated with it. I grew frustrated with American policy toward Iraq and decided I've got to do something completely different. And that's when I began looking for new job.

JAY: Within the CIA

KIRIAKOU: Within the CIA

JAY: And you go to Greece.

KIRIAKOU: Well, there was a position advertised that called for either a Greek or Arabic speaker. And it turned out that at the time--.

JAY: You know what? I'm sorry. I want to go back to where you said you can believe the Johnson story.

Alright. So you're a professional analyst. You're analyzing what's going on in Iraq, what should be done. I mean, it sounds like you're coming to the conclusion, like, all of this is unnecessary in terms of real U.S. national interest. You're saying this is essentially a pissing match. I mean, and I don't think we should make that too banal. What I mean by that: it isn't just a personality thing. I think ingrained in U.S. foreign policy is this, that we must make everyone believe we are stronger than they are. And it's sort of like a loan shark. I said this in another interview. If you let someone get away with not paying back their interest that week, then everyone else isn't going to pay back. That's the theory. So you've got to break some knees, and if somebody's really defiant, for that, for its own sake, you have to prove you can put that person in their place.

But, as an analyst, you can see this isn't good foreign policy.

KIRIAKOU: No, it was quite bad foreign policy. It was a waste of resources and people were getting killed. But at the same time, it goes beyond the president and the State Department and the Defense Department. You have congressional leaders hammering the president for being weak on Iraq and to bomb more and to fight harder and to make sure that Saddam is humiliated. And so you have this spiral of bad policy that you just can't get out of.

JAY: And how much do you think that for certain sectors of the economy--'cause it's certainly not true for all of the economy, but if you're in fossil fuels or if you're in military production and associated high tech, war's damn good for business.

KIRIAKOU: It is good for business. And when you think about it, though, if we--. Look at it this way. We bought much, much more Libyan oil than we ever bought Iraqi oil. Iraqi oil mostly went to Europe. And when Libya collapsed and their oil industry came to a screeching halt, it had virtually no effect on our own economy. Virtually none. So did we really need to hammer the Iraqis like this over more than a decade to protect the oil? We really didn't need the oil anyway.

JAY: But by fossil fuel I mean as long as there's conflict, the price of oil's high.

KIRIAKOU: Mhm. It stays high.

JAY: We know big oil companies make more money the higher the price of oil.

KIRIAKOU: That's right.

JAY: People selling arms, the more stuff you blow up, the more stuff you've got to buy to replace it, and the more threat of conflict, the more--.

KIRIAKOU: Right. It's good for business.

JAY: How much do you think that drives U.S. foreign policy?

KIRIAKOU: I think that's an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. I really do. You know, we've got not just arms manufacturers, but now we have drone manufacturers, for example, that are having to compete against Israeli drones and Chinese drones and Russian drones. So we need for there to be conflicts so we can sell our drones. It's the same with aircraft. You know, Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers would go under if we couldn't sell F-15s and F-16s and F-whatever they are, 23s, the new ones that are coming out, both for our own military and for foreign militaries. So war is good for business.

JAY: I mean, if you're thinking of the current situation, the more potential conflict there is between the Saudis and the Iranians, that's a gold mine If you're selling arms.

KIRIAKOU: Especially when the Saudis have a bottomless pit of money that they can dip into. The same with the Qataris and the Emiratis. It's very lucrative for us to be in the Gulf.

JAY: Now, let's go back. As you're leaving, you go back to Arlington. You're back on the Iraq file. You're starting to see how crazy all this stuff is. Are you starting to question now? KIRIAKOU: Yeah, now I'm starting to get frustrated. This policy is broken, it's not working, and there's no hope of changing it. So I decided to do something completely different. JAY: Okay. KIRIAKOU: And that was operations. JAY: So--oh. Now you're going to leave analysis go to operations. Now, this to me sounds a little contradictory. You're starting to see the pattern of some of the underlining rot of the policy, but now you're going to go over to operations, where some of the dark stuff gets done. KIRIAKOU: Yeah, but some of the dark stuff was meant to save and to protect American lives, and that's really what I wanted to focus on. I ended up going to Greece and spending two years in Greece. And my job in Greece was to try to disrupt terrorist attacks committed by a group that was called Revolutionary Organization 17 November. 17 November had murdered the CIA station chief in Athens in 1975. They murdered two defense attaches. They had shot and severely wounded several embassy officers. And they murdered an American Air Force technical sergeant who was just--the poor guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And they had murdered almost two dozen Greek nationals as well, important people--cabinet ministers, the heads of the central bank, university professors, prominent business leaders. And I thought, this is something I could sink my teeth into. JAY: But when you decide to join ops, you don't know that's where you're going. KIRIAKOU: Oh, yeah. JAY: You do? KIRIAKOU: Oh, yeah. JAY: Oh, you know it's Greece. KIRIAKOU: I applied specifically for that job. JAY: And what's the training? KIRIAKOU: It was all of the traditional operational training at--. JAY: Tradecraft they call it. Is that right? KIRIAKOU: Tradecraft, right,-- JAY: Yeah. KIRIAKOU: --at a facility they call "the Farm", which is located south of here. JAY: And how long is the training? KIRIAKOU: Well, because I was midcareer, I didn't have to go through what they called CIA 101. So I went straight into the shooting and the car crashing and the explosives training. And that lasted four and a half months.

[Nov 27, 2015] Russia continues to block Turkish goods amid lingering jet crisis

www.todayszaman.com
Trucks carrying Turkish products on international routes have been facing numerous obstacles encouraged by Russia over the four days since Turkey shot down a Russian jet, and many drivers are waiting in long lines to enter Russia at border crossings in Ukraine and Georgia.

"Earlier, Russian custom officials used to take samples from each truck and let them cross the border but now they have halted all entrances saying that they need to check the whole load even though no inspection has been underway since Tuesday," said Fatih Şener, the executive president of the İstanbul-based International Transporters' Association (UND).

Turkish and international media reported after the outbreak of the crisis that Russia immediately launched economic retaliatory steps on its southern border after Turkey's military shot down a Russian fighter near the country's Syrian border. Official statements from Russia revealed that joint economic projects had been placed under risk while many Turkey-bound tourism ventures were cancelled. Amid such restrictions, product transporters have been complaining of the new barriers they have been facing for the past three days. On Friday, Turkish lira hit 2.9345 versus the US dollar, its lowest since Oct. 29.

"I need to underline that barriers are being imposed not only on Turkish trucks but also on Bulgarians and others that carry Turkish products to Russia," Şener added.

Explaining that most of the trucks were loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, Şener said exported machinery products that had been on their way to Russia, were also hampered.

But the Kremlin has said it will not impose official sanctions on Turkish products, a statement that Şener said the UND was pinning all its hopes on, adding that he hopes the barriers will not be here to stay in the long-term.

Tension threatens $1 bln worth in produce exports


Of the $2.3 billion in fresh fruit and vegetable exports of Turkey in 2014, Russia-bound sales made up 40 percent of the total, or roughly $1 billion. Turkey mostly exports tomatoes, citrus fruits, grapes, pomegranates and cherries to its northern neighbor.

"I don't want to predict disaster but the situation is very gloomy," Hasan Yılmaz, the head of Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Exporter Unions told the Cihan news agency.

Cihan also reported on Friday that exporters of produce in the southern province of Antalya, who conducted sales worth around $350 million to Russia in 2014, resorted to releasing their goods on the domestic market.

Necati Zengin, a representative at the Antalya-based Kalyoncu Group, a giant exporter company that used to send around a hundred truckloads of produce to Russia via its seven to eight freighters before the crisis, reportedly said all his trucks are now waiting idle at Russian borders. "It is hard to calculate the losses given that a truck is loaded with some $45,000 worth of goods a day," Zengin said.

[Nov 27, 2015] James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the US military, was in Ankara when the incident occurred

marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, November 25, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Great post up at Moon of Alabama on the possibility of American involvement in this caper – James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the U.S. military, was in Ankara when the incident occurred. Although it appeared yesterday to have been Erdogan acting on his own, who knows? If he was persuaded into it, you can chalk up another country that will be an avowed enemy of the USA before a year is out, because it is the Turks who will pay for it in lost revenue and economic reprisals. I agree with a lot of B's conclusions as well.

yalensis, November 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

Of course Americans were involved – duh!

Americans played on Erdogan's Islamist streak and flattered the regional ambitions of this "sick man of Europe".
Under Erdie's incompetent rule, Turkey has become just another two-bit goon to put into play against Russia.
Americans sub-contracted out to Erdogan, to control other Turk-based "goon franchises" such as Djemiliev's fake "Crimean Tatars", Chechen "Caliphate" types such as Osmaev, some Azerbaijani types, and obviously the "Turkmen" sub-brigades of ISIS.
Erdogan is the designated "Team Leader" for all of these dubious elements.
Erdogan himself reports back to the "big guy", shown here pardoning a Turkey owned by a certain Dr. Jihad. Coincidence? I think not!

kirill, November 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for the link and great post! Outside of science and other non-politicized parts of academia, all these academics are regime bootlicks. One such "academic" is Nina Khruscheva. They all spew intellectually insulting drivel.

ucgsblog, November 26, 2015 at 1:35 am

Beautiful article Mark! I completely agree with it. Of note:

1. The Turkmen on the Syrian side of the border, who enjoy Erdogan's protection and intervention, machine-gunned the Russian fighter's pilot and navigator while they were hanging in their parachutes, falling from the sky. Is that a war crime? You bet it is.
2. This knee-jerk defense of a lying shitbag like Erdogan is why Russians are grim and filled with resolve.
3. Lavrov likely does have a point, and the Turks were probably lying in ambush for a Russian plane.
4. [The] official response from Washington was that Turkey has a right to defend its territory and its air space, and President Obama blamed the incident on "an ongoing problem with Russian operations near the Turkish border."

These are the reasons why Russia is going to overreact. Add to this that the EU, at the behest of Obama, the only political national leader who didn't offer condolences to Russia after ISIS bombed a Russian civilian plane, imposed sanctions on Russia over an accidental shooting, that Erdogan's been excessively aggressive, and that Russia is just sick and tired of being treated without any respect by the same elites that back Erdogan, it's no surprise that Erdogan will be hit hard from all directions. The economic damages from the tourism market alone is going to be at least $9 billion. Turkish Stream is probably going to be cancelled, as will generous loans. I'm surprised that there's no official break off in relations just yet, but I think that's also coming. And if Erdogan goes into Syria, well, then it gets interesting.

[Nov 27, 2015] Syrian Turkmen commander who killed Russian pilot turns out to be Turkish ultranationalist

RT News
A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.

Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.

READ MORE: Russian Su-24 pilots shot dead while parachuting over Syria - Turkmen militia

Celik came under spotlight after he announced that as the two Russian pilots descended by parachute after the Su-24 jet was downed by Turkish military, both were shot dead by Turkmen forces on Tuesday.

A graphic video posted earlier on social media purported to show a Russian pilot lying on the ground surrounded by a group of armed militants.