"Kunuri, Habakkuk, SST; Turkey, and perhaps quite a few other nations, owe a debt of gratitude to the patriot who exposed the planned false-flag operation and stymied a critical gambit in the great game. The well-documented Turkish involvement in Syrian and Crimean conflicts might indicate a certain degree of coordination of the tayyipist activities with the neocons running the US foreign policy. In both places, the "revolutions" appear to have been instigated by the same cast of characters and would have benefited the same groups. Currently they have lost the initiative in both places and may be trying to gain it back. A false-flag operation followed by a Turkish incursion into Syria at this time might have been very convenient for these interests. On the other hand, Russia, Iran, Turkish Nationalists and, in a more convoluted fashion, China, would have been the losers. I think we are still very close to a serious, world-wide conflict. Ishmael Zechariah P.s: Kuniri; I am very glad to see you posting again. Be safe." Ishmael Zacariyah
Failure of the US policy of regime change in Syria is leding once again to the contemplation of "options." One of those that is much discussed is that of a no-fly zone covering all of Syria. Let's be clear as to what would be involved in that option:
- All Syrian ground based air defense would have to be suppressed and kept suppressed.
- All Syrian airfields would have to be wrecked with runways cratered, maintenance facilities destroyed, etc.
- All Syrian Air Force aircraft would have to be destroyed in air to air combat or on the ground.
- Search Air Rescue operations would have to be carried out wherever in Syria we lost aircraft.
- Aviators might be captured. Their possession would be a strong element of leverage in the hands of the Syrian government.
- Some use could be made of unmanned cruise missiles, but they are very expensive and the warheads are usually too small for big targets.
- Some aircraft sorties could be flown by strategic air assets (B-2, B-1 and B-52) flying from CONUS but most would require many, many tactical air sorties either from the fleet or from ground bases in Turkey. Would the Turkish government allow the use of Incirlik and Batman air bases? IMO that is an open question.
- If the no-fly zone did not siufficiently benefit the rebels then the temptation to begin direct sorties against Syrian ground forces would be strong.
"Erdogan was always a loose cannon. Now he has become unmoored. Paranoia is endemic in Turkish politics because so much of it is founded on conspiracy. The expression "paranoid Turk" is a pleonasm. Islamist followers of the self-styled prophet Fetullah Gulen infiltrated the security services and helped Erdogan jail some of the country's top military commanders on dubious allegations of a coup plot. Last August a Turkish court sentenced some 275 alleged members of the "Ergenekon" coup plot, including dozens of military officers, journalists, and secular leaders of civil society. Now Gulen has broken with Erdogan and his security apparatus has uncovered massive documentation of corruption in the Erdogan administration. Erdogan is firing police and security officials as fast as they arrest his cronies. There is a world difference, though, between a prosperous paranoid and an impecunious one. Turkey cannot fund its enormous current borrowing needs without offering interest rates so high that they will pop the construction-and-consumer bubble that masqueraded for a Turkish economic miracle during the past few years." Asia Times
There is something deeply disturbing about the situation in Turkey. I have the feeling that some catastrophic event waits for the moment of its appearance. I would very much like to hear from the Turks who read and comment on this forum as to their views concerning the immediate future in their country. pl
After more than a decade of charmed life, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is facing a series of potentially devastating corruption scandals that could bring his political career to an end. On Dec. 17, Istanbul police conducted a series of raids, arresting the sons of three ministers and a mayor. An Iranian money launderer charged with more than $100 billion in illegal oil-for-gold deals with Iran is accused of paying $63 million in bribes to a number of top ministers in the Erdogan cabinet. Three ministers have already resigned, and Erdogan has responded defiantly to the scandals, changing laws barring prosecutors and police from conducting investigations without clearing them with top ministers, and firing 100 police chiefs.
The scandal is multi-dimensional. The leads that produced the arrests and the government shakeup came from Russian Federal prosecutors who discovered the illegal gold transactions that ran through some Russian banks. They provided the crucial leads to their Turkish counterparts, who conducted a more-than-yearlong secret investigation leading to the Dec. 17 raids. According to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the raids, the Iranian middle-man, Reza Zarrab, was linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and to ex-President Ahmadinejad. As the result of the arrests and crackdown on the smuggling ring, President Rouhani and his chief ally, former President Rafsanjani are strengthened for the time being, thus increasing the prospects of a final deal with the P5+1.
"Fadi Hakura from the London think-tank Chatham House told CNN that Saturday's events were "a vivid illustration of Turkey's growing isolation in the Middle East." "There's a perception gaining ground in the region that the Turkish government is allied to the Muslim Brotherhood and that its foreign policy is defined by sectarian priorities," Hakura said. "Turkey has tense relations with Israel, the neighboring countries -- Iran, Syria and Iraq -- the majority of the Gulf Arab states and Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Jordan," he said. Hakura said U.S. President Barack Obama also was deeply unhappy with Turkish foreign policy in the region. "Since early August there has been no telephone contact between the U.S. President and Turkish Prime Minister and that's a reflection in part with Turkey's deepening isolation in the Middle East and also frustration in Ankara at Obama's reluctance to get involved in the conflict in Syria," he said." CNN
Erdogan is upset because the cause of his Islamist brothers has been dealt a crippling blow in Egypt. He is truly a "wolf in sheep's clothing," and the cloth is now threadbare enough to see the Middle Ages underneath his business suit.
His policy in Syria has been one of complete alignment with the Islamist rebels. He has alienated the new government in Egypt. He has weakened the Turkish Army for the purpose of strengthening his hold on power. Turkey's long standing friendly relationship with Israel is at an end.
Turkey's cities look modern? Yes, but there are many modern buildings in Saudi Arabia as well. pl
Egypt does not want McCain and Graham? How strange. The new government says it does not want to be interfered with by ajanib (foreigners). How strange. Bill Burns, the EU people, the Qataris, etc. have all been made to look foolish and the United States along with them.
It has been a long time since "the music died." These days it is difficult to hear even a distant echo.
Having tried so nobly to tell Egypt how to behave it would seem only right that the McCain/Graham peace train should roll on to yet more and even browner pastures. A bus trip across Sinai and through the territory of their friends would bring them to Damascus where they could once again work their magic.
A useful extention of their voyage northward would give them a chance to counsel Erdogan and the Ataturk Turks to love one another
And then the road or track will lead east to the Iraq that they did so much to transform.
The Iranians will undoubtedly greet them at the border as peacemakers and they can work out whatever difficulties there may be with President Rouhani and be back home to enjoy the rest of the Summer recess.
"Prosecutors demanded life prison terms for 64 of the defendants, mostly on terrorism charges. Others were charged with possession of firearms or merely membership in Ergenekon.
Mehmet Haberal, a surgeon and founder of a university in Ankara, and Mustafa Balbay, the Ankara representative of pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper, both faced life prison terms but received sentences of 12 years and 34 years, respectively. The two men were elected to Parliament in 2011 while in prison but were not able to take their seats.
Tuncay Ozkan, a prominent journalist who helped organize a series of anti-government protests in 2007, was given a life sentence.
The case has polarized the country between those who see it as an opportunity to unravel a shadowy network of ultranationalists known as the "Deep State" that allegedly acted behind the scenes with impunity, and those who believe it is a government attempt to muzzle Erdogan's secular-minded foes and undermine Turkey's secular legacy.
" Fox News
It goes without saying that the Egyptian Army's ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-run Morsi government is bad news for Turkey's AKP, Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu. While some astute observers have raised the question whether Erdogan's purge of the Turkish military has proceeded far enough to insulate him against a rerun of the Egypt developments in Ankara, I believe there are other elements of the situation that are far more menacing for the continuing rule of the Erdogan-Davutoglu government. If I am correct, the real undoing of Turkey's experiment in "political Islam" will be from self-inflicted wounds rather than from fallout from Egypt's own Muslim Brotherhood folly.
When the Erdogan-Davutoglu team first came into power, they had faced economic challenges as well as diplomatic challenges in a volatile region. Initially, the AKP government had pursued a foreign policy based on the idea that they had no regional enemies. From Iran to Syria to Iraq, the Turkish AKP government pursued a policy of bilateral trade and normal diplomatic ties that was a key element of Turkey's economic success. Turkey became a regional exporter of products to all of its neighbors, developed solid economic cooperation with Russia, and built up bilateral trade with Iran that was one of the anchors of Turkey's long run of relative economic growth.
When Erdogan took the lead in demanding the ouster of Syrian President Assad, everything changed. Rather than continuing with the successful foreign and economic policy of non-aggression and non-interference, Turkey jumped out ahead of everyone in pressing for rapid regime change next door in Damascus. It may be fairly said that Erdogan adopted this aggressive posture, throwing his entire foreign policy success out the window, at the behest of Washington and Riyad. Obama, who counts Erdogan among his few close friends among foreign leaders, pressed for the Turkish leader to lead the way to Assad's rapid ouster. There was a strong implication that Washington had his back covered. Big mistake!
And the Arab Spring, and Paris and Chicago
1968. And Lahore 1946. It is the rising of the young against the old order, a
refusal to accept as it is the world being handed down to them. It is a demand
for the acceptance of their ideals, the realization of their hopes and dreams.
As were all these movements fueled by the young.
They seldom succeed. The established order
pulls back a little, then returns − but not entirely unchanged. Things seem to
return to normal, but the world has shifted a bit. The young people who take
part are also changed, some more than others. Some altered for life, the dream
etched into their consciousness so that, even as they live their mundane lives,
their allegiance to it remains undiminished. Perhaps a few of them may sometimes
even be able to nudge it along a bit.
If there is hope for
the human race it is in the young, and their potential to rise up and reject
what is being bequeathed to them and instead demand a world worth living in. Some day
they may even succeed in bringing it into being.
I just got home late tonight from Taksim square after witnessing surreal
scenes. No, no tear gas attacks and police panzers running over people
tonight as the previous two nights. A German pianist driving a grand
piano on a truck right on to the police sequestered Ataturk statute in
the middle of the square and playing nocturns and sonatas from Bach,
Chopin and Beethoven, occasionally replaced by Turkish pianists doing
the same, an American Tourist or Expat getting up to sing Hallelujah,
the great gospel song to the joy of thousands of protesters. I yelled
until my throat was hoarse for them to somehow play "We shall overcome"
but I guess that's for another time.
Even the police right next to protesters by now listening in intently.
Mothers of protesters forming a human chain in front of the riot police
and panzers, as they are called here, water cannon rigs really, deriding
them into shame, shaking fingers.
An opera singer singing an excellent rendition of O sole mio in eery
A barricade of construction debris at the gate of the Park manned by
some of the hot head so called extremists.
A fully functioning field hospital with at least 5 ambulances ready, all
staffed by volunteers, by MDs, medical students and their profs,
perfectly organized and ready.
A human chain at the back of Gezi Park continuiously passing along food
through a human chain much needed supplies, donated by people.
An enourmous number of construction helmets on the heads of protesters,
now very expensive, appereantly supplied by worried mothers and fathers,
at the least not able to prevent their sons and daughters from joining
in the protests and occupation. Gas by now has become a joke, and being
gassed a badge of honor.
An incredible spirit of solidarity, clarity of purpose and resilience
among protesters, from the first dayers to curiousity seekers populating
the area now.
Police hanging out in critical crossroads in platoons looking tired, and
dejected. After all, they overextended themselves firing salvo after
salvo of teargas at their fellow countryman. One can read the shame and
helplessness on their faces.
European and US media everywhere, whom I seek out with my fellow ex pat
US friends and give them the on the ground reports, sometimes
translating comments from protestors, helping them conduct candid
No, I just read the comments above rather hastily now, everyone please
dig in a little deeper before posting here, or going global and linking
to what's happening in Taksim square to world events in general hastily.
This is more local. The young, geeky kids I meet here everyday are
connected to the world, they do not hate the US, as the previous
protesting generation did, they are self confident, and really, are just
themselves. And they do not care about the EU. This is really, really
different than Prague Spring, US anti-war demonstrations, Occupy Wall
Street, Tahrir, Tianemen Square, Orange Revolution and others.
And Albayim, this goes beyond head scarves as symbol of a particular
world view, or beyond everone being soldiers of Ataturk as is chanted
here sometimes. This may be the world's first apolitical political
revolution. Singing the nationalistic songs were at best tepid,
head-scarved girls walk together and jabber with girls in t shirts and
jeans, there are no party flags. As best as I can see, this is the most
credible proof that I have ever seen that Ataturk's reforms had set root
irreversibly no matter what. SO RTP government complains that Turkey's
image around the world has been damaged. His own maybe, but when the
world wakes up to the fact that Turkey is not an Islamic Democracy, but
just a normal Democracy that happens to be Muslim in majority, with an
antithetical, modern but virile, productive, global and areligious
minority, then that image will change for the better.
And about the 50% that elected Erdogan...They are watching. I think now
judging from the pitiful performance of the Turkish media (non)covering
the events, whether they have been lied to also. At least their young
are watching and tweeting Taksim square and their cool-looking
rebellious, well educated, worldly peers. And maybe wondering behind
their externally imposed blinders and headscarves.
In the next post I will try to link some sources for all those
interested in actually seeing and reading level headed commentary on
what's going on, but really, its not difficult to find out with a simple
search, there must be a hundred media correspondents and TV, photo
crews on the square right now.
Like I said earlier, it would be premature to start to put all that's
happening here in geopolitical terms yet. But what can be said without
doubt is that the Genie is out of the bottle and it can't be bad.
And no, the Army will not interfere, they are not needed, and no, he
will not dare to crush the uprising by force. And yes, he is out of the
Syria game effectively now.
And again, apologies for the hasty exposition.- Kunuri
"After a night of violence, traffic returned to Istanbul's Taksim Square early Wednesday, with taxis, trucks and pedestrians returning to the streets. A heavy police presence stood off to the side, near a new barricade erected before dawn to prevent riot police from firing tear gas into the square's still occupied Gezi Park.
Hundreds of protesters remained in the park, clearing up after a night of trying to fend off tear gas, followed by an early morning storm that blew down tents and soaked bedding and blankets. At the park's entrance on Taksim Square, a massive barricade of wrecked cars and construction material stood as rudimentary protection from the police.
Throughout Tuesday, riot police firing water cannon and tear gas clashed repeatedly with pockets of protesters throwing stones and setting off fireworks in pitched battles. The unrest didn't simmer down until just before dawn.
Erdogan has insisted the protests and occupations, which he says are hurting Turkey's image and economy, must end immediately." USAtoday
I think that Erdogan has greatly over-estimated the strength of his own position and is in big trouble. Richard Engle and various knowledgeable people tried over the last few days to explain Turkey to a public that wants to think that all Middle Eastern countries are the same and that revolution against an elected government is necessarily a bad thing. It was clear from the responses of the 24/7 news crowd that this message was completely beyond the level of their education.
Erdogan has been elected several times, but he was elected because the many rural villages full of peasants all over Anatolia will always vote for him. Many of the people in those villages never accepted Ataturk's westernization of Turkey and his attempt to createe a secular society in which European mores would prevail.
Erdogan for all his smooth talk and business suits is intent in re-creating an Islamist Turkey. the westernized element in the country knows exactly what Erdogan is aboiut. If you don't think he is like that, look at his wife. She represents what he really wants.
A great upheaval is coming in Turkey. Erdogan intends to continue to decimate the Turkish military officer corps and make the armed forces into advocates of Islamism. He intends to suppress women's rights, and to convert the Turkish Constitution into an instrument of Islamization.
This is the man that Obama and Kerry want for an ally? pl
The government had sought parliamentary approval to send soldiers to foreign countries in a memorandum which said that "aggressive action" by Syria's armed forces against Turkish territory posed a serious threat to national security." JP
Whoa! Is the Syrian Army really this stupid? NATO is a defensive alliance in which an attack on one country is an attack on all. The NATO political headquarters in Brussels made it clear in respnse to Turkey's request for a council meeting that the alliance will back Turkey in any such confrontation. Washington has also made its support of that resolve clear.
Further attacks on Turkish territory or citizens would provide a legal basis for intervention by NATO members in the Syrian civil war.
"If the fighting continues to spread, important U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, could be destabilized; both are indirectly backing Sunni fighters. The fragile political order in Iraq, bought with thousands of American lives, could collapse. Al-Qaeda could acquire new recruits and sanctuaries across the region.
The best means of preventing this, as State Department Middle East experts have been pointing out for months, is to accelerate the downfall of the Syrian regime. There are several ways of doing that, short of direct military intervention: materiel aid to the rebels is one. Now that its refusal to take that step has led to the very consequences it warned of, the administration would be wise to reconsider.
" Washpost editorial
The Washington Poat and New York Times fed us this kind of jingoistic nonsense before we invaded Iraq. The claim was made that Iraq =
Nazi Germany. Today Kurdistan - Tomorrow the Sudetenland! What rot! and they are doing the same thing again. In those days Judy Miller and Michael Gordon led the charge in NY but the Washington Post was not far behind. Today ,the neocon Post editorial page apparently cannot wait for the day when American infantry will bleed and die in Syria. The unholy trio of McCain, Graham and "Deputy Dog" Lieberman seem eager supporters of that aspiration.
The Post admits that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are material supporters of the Sunni jihadi insurgents in Syria. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim in their populations. The Post nevertheless thinks that Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be de-stabilized if fighting continues. Well. if that is so, let Saudi Arabia and Turkey stop supporting the insurgency.
Sunni Turkey has announced that it will give permanent sanctuary to al-Hashemi, the condemned Sunni VP of Iraq. What a surprise! Not! I did not think for a moment that the pious Sunni Turk, Erdogan, would deliver a kinsman of the prophet (Al Hashimi) to die on a scaffold in Baghdad at the hands of the Shia.
If there are any people left in the State Department who have a clue about the Middle East they should all hold up their hands! Oh! There's one over there! pl
"At a news conference here, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that with the situation in Syria growing more dire — as the battle for Aleppo continues to rage — it was time to create a nerve center for information sharing and planning. They said a unified task force with intelligence, military and political leaders from both countries would be formed immediately to track Syria’s present and plan for its future." NY Times
There are a number of odd things in the BHO Administration's conduct of its unconcealed war against the Syrian government:
- The US and Turkish government are creating a coordination center in which to work with the Syrian rebels for the overthrow of Syria's government. There is no UN resolution or other sanction in international law for this effort to depose a sovereign government that is a member of the United Nations. What is the legal basis for this action within American law? Is it a presidential finding under the National Defense Act? If it is, then we should consider the fact that such a "finding" authorizes a covert action without benefit of congressional agreement. Has the president of the United States now assumed the right and power to issue a personal decree that a foreign government should be overthrown? If that is the case, then any government, anywhere, would be a possible future target for any future US Administration.
- Why is the State Department leading in the conduct of this war? Does this strange situation reflect a dvision of opinion withing the Executive Branch? Do Panetta, the JCS and the CIA agree with what is being done or is HC leading the way because she and her allies among the neo-Wilsonians and neocons are the "pro" faction in such an argument?
- What is BHO's actual position in this matter? Is he so pre-occupied with the election in November that he is no longer really in charge?
- What is the US intelligence community telling the WH about the composition and nature of the Syrian rebel groups? On FNS today McCain told the world that AQ is increasingly present in Syria. He must have gotten that from the IC. What else is the IC saying about the rebels? Personally, i preferred Ed Harris as John McCain. The Democrats should ask Clapper, Petraeus and Flynn the hard questions in open hearings.
- What is the IC (particularly DIA) telling the WH about the actual course of the civil war in Syria? Has the message soaked in that the rebels are on the verge of defeat? If they lose in Aleppo, then their "sanctuaries" along the Turkish border will become vulnerable. Is that why there is now talk of a "no fly zone" over those parts of Syria. Will that be followed by a "no drive" zone? Such zones would require direct combat operations on the part of US and Turkish forces. Which US law would authorize that? pl