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28 April 2008

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arbogast

In one of her last, if not her last, articles in Le Monde before she was attacked and maimed in Iraq, Cécile Hennion pointed out that Turkey is Israel's strongest ally in the Middle East.


TURQUIE -IRAK
Des agents israéliens aident l'armée turque dans ses opérations au Kurdistan irakien
Article paru dans l'édition du 29.12.07
LES AGENTS de la firme Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI, travaillant pour la défense israélienne), chargés de mettre en oeuvre des drones (avions sans pilote), participent aux opérations militaires menées par la Turquie dans le nord de l'Irak, rapportent, jeudi 27 décembre, le Turkish Daily News et le quotidien israélien Haaretz.
Depuis la mi-décembre, l'aviation turque a multiplié les raids contre les positions des combattants kurdes du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), tuant entre 150 et 175 d'entre eux, selon l'armée turque. En lutte contre l'autorité centrale d'Ankara depuis 1984, le PKK s'est retranché dans les montagnes du Nord irakien.

La Turquie utilise, selon les quotidiens turc et israélien, des drones de type Heron Machatz-1, fabriqués par IAI. Ces appareils volent à très haute altitude, quelles que soient les conditions météo.

En mai 2005, IAI avait annoncé la signature d'un contrat de 190 millions de dollars avec la Turquie pour l'achat de drones Heron. Un retard de livraison, prévue en octobre 2007, expliquerait la présence de personnels israéliens comme « solution provisoire ». IAI a accepté de louer des appareils, écrit Haaretz, mis en oeuvre par des professionnels israéliens, pendant un an et pour 10 millions de dollars.

La Turquie, plus proche allié de l'Etat juif au sein du monde musulman, est un gros client d'Israël en matière d'armement. Jeudi, un officiel israélien cité par l'agence Associated Press a par ailleurs annoncé la livraison imminente à la Turquie de 10 drones. « La nouvelle de l'implication d'agents israéliens dans l'offensive contre les Kurdes, note cependant Haaretz, risque de ne pas être bien accueillie par le gouvernement de la région autonome du Kurdistan irakien. »

Israël, en aidant son allié turc dans l'attaque d'un territoire contrôlé par un autre allié régional, se retrouve dans une position ambiguë. Les dirigeants kurdes irakiens ont en effet bénéficié d'un soutien israélien, à plusieurs reprises, au cours de leur longue rébellion contre l'autorité de Bagdad. Depuis 2003, plusieurs médias ont fait état d'une coopération récente entre le gouvernement kurde irakien et l'armée israélienne, qui lui fournirait armes et entraînements.

Cécile Hennion

PR

I think they're known as low information voters.

mo

Colonel,

This is a remarkably optimistic post. Olmert implies that he will leave the Golan for peace?

With the coastal aquifers of Israel salting up like the plains of Utah, the pumping of Lake Kinneret suspended by the Water Authority due to algae growth, ground water polluted beyond human consumption, is Israel really going to give up a major source of water? Or is Syria going to accept the land without the water and explain to Iran why its accepting a deal that contributes to Israels survival?

Syria has always been about looking after no1. They will happily sell Hizballah, Iran and anyone else down the river if the deal is sweet enough.

Without the US providing the sweetner though, I dont see why they would give up their only friend in Iran for a symbolic hilltop.

Somebody is either thinking that some spin will do them good on another stage or is trying some mis-direction because they have something else planned. Im not sure whther that somebody is Olmert or Assad or both.

What I am sure about is that one or both of these parties is being highly disingenuous.

As for Turkey, welcome to the wonderful world of Middle Eastern politics; Lets see how long you guys can stick it out in the Now-You-See-It-Now-You-Dont world of the Arab-Israeli crucible.

Montag

This has happened before. In Joshua Prawer's "The World of The Crusaders" he described the impass between the Crusaders seeking to consolidate a defensible state and the Arabs of Damascus seeking to defend theirs. The Golan became a No Man's Land, much like the Demiliatarized Zones after the 1948 War. But the Crusaders were more amenable to reason than the Israelis:

"The result of the impasse was unexpected. As early as 1108, the crusaders and Damascenes agreed on a kind of condominium over the Golan. No frontier was actually established, but both parties agreed to keep the entire area demilitarized, to abstain from erecting fortifications there and to divide its income: one third to Damascus, one third to the crusaders and one third to the peasants who actually tilled the fields. This territory extended south to around the Yarmuk River, or, as far south as Damascus could effectively intervene."

Of course Europeans found the locals or "Poulains" incomprehensible. When the Second Crusade ended in fiasco at Damascus the only real result were mutual recriminations which lasted for a generation. The Israeli "Sabras" are eminently worthy successors to the Poulains in this regard.

Cujo359

I've read that Turkey is the closest thing Israel has in the region, arbogast. Turkey has been hiring Israel to upgrade its aircraft for years. I think that's what that article was saying, but my French hasn't seen much use since elementary school, and I don't have time to use the Google translator.

It's good that Turkey is trying to help resolve this. They may be the only country in the region that has credibility with both sides.

jonst

There are those in Israel who will be less than pleased with this news. And they have 'followers' in the States. If the talks appear to have a chance of success this group in Israel (and their followers)will seek to strangle the baby in the cradle. My money, regretfully, is on them.

jon

Hmm, a Turkic resurgence, looking to consolidate influence and gain friends in formerly Ottoman lands? Sounds doable.

Turkey certainly doesn't need an all out war between Syria and Israel on its southern flank. Not when they're focused on punishing the PKK. Any war would probably send lots of refugees into Turkey as well, with potentially destabilizing effects.

Better that Turkey gain regional respect for trying to settle some of these long standing problems, than have to explain to its people why their air space was invaded again by Israeli jets on bombing missions. Or at least to counterweight that howl.

Doesn't really matter if they can solve the impasse. There's not too much downside to failure, either. If they did succeed, it might get someone a Nobel prize, though. Perhaps tickling the resumption of a Caliphate, even...

Mo

p.s.
The "conditions" the Israelis have set for talking about the Golan is that Syria:
a. Abandons support for Hizballah and Hamas
b.Breaks ties with Iran

They possibly added the demand that Syria also teach pigs to fly but that is unverified

Leila Abu-Saba

Well, for some reason Blogrunner picks up Dove's Eye View for its blog feeds on NY Times country pages, and at the moment my link, credited up front to Colonel Lang, is visible with the headline:

http://www.blogrunner.com/snapshot/t/news/international/countriesandterritories/syria/

However I really tend to doubt that anybody reads those country pages at the NY Times; nor do they follow Blogrunner much. I get almost no hits from either. Nobody else in the selected feeds had linked to the Turkey article yet. Blogrunner seems to track mostly right-wing and neo-conservative viewpoints although they do feature Angry Arab.

Leila Abu-Saba

Woops, I am mistaken about MSM - Blogrunner now shows articles from Fox News and the Jerusalem Post confirming the Turkey story.

Let's give it 24 hours and see if the AP Newswire picks it up.

different clue

This will enhope as many people as it enrages, possibly more. Certainly, the center-left and the Peace Nowists, however beaten down, still exist in Israel, and may try to do what they can to counter the
Likudneocon efforts to sabotage this effort.

If there is a deal, one hopes it involves Israel and
Syria dividing the water resource in a way satisfying
to both. If that means Syria getting all the water arising within or raining down upon the returned lands, then that is what it will mean. At some point Israel will have to learn how to adopt aridity-based lifestyles and confine its water-use to sustainable levels. If Israel can do that, they might develop methods useful to their neighbors who will also face
water limits under pressure of economic and population growth.
If Turkey can offer useful guidance to its immediate neighbors who knows...it might move on to a helpful role in ex-Soviet Turkestan, if only as an example of combining an Islamic Civilization with evolving Democratic political and civil order. In my totally layman's speculative opinion.

(If Middle America is the
same as the MidWest, it is not all rust out here. There is green between the rust and many things of interest. For example, I have seen in my college town
seven species of rodents from the squirrel family: red, gray, fox & flying squirrels, chipmunk, groundhog, and thirteen-lined ground squirrel. They don't have that in New York City. Or Washington DC. Or Los Angeles. So its not all bad here.)

rjj

... less cachet and more rust.

Hmmm. My impression: Middle Americans are doing damage control. They deal personally on a daily basis with the wreckage, pollution, and fallout from

1. economic fads,
2. the entertainment "industry,"
3. our last (pre-9/11) two wars on nouns.


Dave Bowman

I'm currently visiting family in Lebanon right now, and the 'reality on the ground' as I see it bears little resemblance to what is being pushed through the M$M and the State Department. Initially unnerved by State's warning against traveling in Lebanon, I find now that it appears to be either an attempt at hurting Lebanon's already damaged tourist trade, or an insider's warning--because any outbreak here would likely have the hand of Uncle Sam behind it.

Another inconvenient occurrence that the M$M will likely ignore is that Hizballah is ingrained in the society here, and are rightly seen as the bulwark against Israel in the south, while the Lebanese Army is more or less the ARVN. While I don't doubt the Hizb ties to Damascus and Tehran, the puppetmaster theory gives way to Occam's Razor, which says they are a legitimate resistance, and are self-sustaining within Lebanon.

Despite An-Nahar and other provocations and war crimes (Israeli flyovers and leftover Nixon-era cluster bombs--ask your congressman), my sense is that the Lebanese are in no mood to be anybody's pawn...or punching bag, nor play 'bum fight' for the puppetmaster's amusement and profit.

Leila  Abu-Saba

Hey different clue - your town is quite lovely I am sure, but don't make sweeping generalizations about the fauna of New York City. It's a major flyover for birds so they have all kinds of amazing avian creatures. I saw a pheasant once on the church steeple outside my window.

And with all the parks, and the Bronx Zoo grounds which are massive, and the beaches - I am no naturalist so I can't catalogue the species for you but I'll bet they have all kinds of critters you wouldn't imagine. So you won't see 7 species of squirrel on 42d Street. New York City is a great deal more than 42d Street.

Again - not a slam on your town, just saying - don't slam the city for having "no animals" when cities harbor lots of species of trees, flora and fauna.

Leila  Abu-Saba

Los Angeles - canyons with mountain lions and hawks; extensive beaches. D.C. - Rock Creek park. These are not my towns so I don't know but I wonder if you have explored any of these cities fully. L.A. has parks that harbor all manner of wildlife.

Leila  Abu-Saba

Los Angeles Mountains wildlife:

"The most common medium and large-sized mammals in the Conservancy zone are coyotes, mule deer, bobcats, raccoons, and skunks. Just away from the urban edge, other predators, such as grey fox, mountain lion, American badger, long-tailed weasel, and ringtailed cat, occupy various niches. The ecosystem's top predator, the mountain lion, is present everywhere except the fragmented eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains that bisects the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Because they fear humans, however, they are rarely seen. The Santa Susana and San Gabriel Mountains support populations of black bears. The abundance of seed produced by the Mediterranean plant communities supports numerous prey species—such as rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, and other rodent species. Seven species of hawks, eight species of owls, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, northern harriers, American kestrels, and white-tailed kite share in this bounty of prey. The Conservancy zone is also part of the Pacific Flyway. As a result, the resident Southern California bird species often share company with neo-tropical migrants and other unique species, such as Canadian geese."

http://www.lamountains.com/parks_plants.asp#wild

http://urbanneighbors.nypl.org/home.html

The NY City wildlife section includes a page of unexpected neighbors that confirms my pheasant sighting in Brooklyn. Not unheard of. But the city harbors hundreds of species of birds, not just these tourists.

mo

Dave Bowman,
"I find now that it appears to be either an attempt at hurting Lebanon's already damaged tourist trade"

Check out the dates for the last two instalements of the "Travel Warning" (of which the US and Saudi seem able to co-ordinate so well). The previous, in October, the last in April - Say about the same time the majority of people would be booking their Christmas and Summer holidays respectively.

Im guessing they believe the that an economic hit would hit the poorest, and therefore the opposition supporters the hardest and they would in turn demand their leaders relent.

Their plans just get sillier and sillier.

Babak Makkinejad

Turkish involvement will be useful but not decisive. You need US in this for any useful results [stability, generalized peace, etc.] and she is not - to all appearances.

Dave Bowman

Mo, nice point about the timing; personally, I think the shot is at the merchant class. As you know, the stores are empty, inflation is up, and I think it's more likely that they're trying to turn the middle class against the opposition. Silly and stupid, just like their Israeli war was supposed to do the same against Hizb.

What do you make of Geagea's visit to the White House? I've heard he's now 'with' M14, which makes them seem even more like Washington's stalking horse; given all of their recent failures in the region, this does not seem to bode well for M14, no?

Mo

Dave,
It will hit both middle and working class but while prices are going up and work is disappearing I think its the poor that will be hit the hardest. But then again I doubt its a zero sum game. They will aim to hit as many as possible.

Geagea has been part of M14 since the beginning. With Gemayels' influence practically zero (couldn't even win the seat in his own backyard) Geagea is M14s' 'Christian cover'. However, he is as despised by the Christian community as he is by the Muslim one. His level of depravity during the war reached levels no one else came near, which is saying something considering how depraved all the warlords were.

His visit to the White House is, I think, because they see him as the Mohamed Dahlan of the Lebanese. The man they can go to in order to execute ANY plan, no matter how depraved. I think he was invited because the White House realised that the guy they thought they could depend on, Jumblatt, just isn't that dependable. His mental state is severely questionable and can seem, how should I put this without liabling anyone on the good Colonels website, somewhat often influenced by chemical interaction....

Leila Abu-Saba

Mo - thanks for the description of Samir Geagea. There are a few Lebanese who still worship him, and they all seem to have blogs that are taken seriously by the MSM and the neo-conservatives. I was glad to see your accurate account of him.

The patronage of our current US govt. makes me quite ill. How can they parade this guy around?

PS I am writing a novel that deals with the civil war in a village in South Lebanon. There is a character in it much like Geagea. My thesis reader, a Latin American who knows from war criminals, couldn't quite believe some of the things my character said to justify his behavior in my story. Just because actual Lebanese actually say the most outrageous, foul, crude, bigoted stuff doesn't mean you can put it in a novel and Americans will believe it. I have to tweak that section.

Babak Makkinejad

Leila Abu-Saba:

Do not tweak it.

A novel is a similie of a world, it is also a Witness.

Montag

Leila, your problem is not unique to Lebanon. John Sayles covered this point when he was interviewed by historian Eric Foner, about making historical movies:

Foner: "Is the portrayal of White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 'Eight Men Out' accurate, or was it just Comiskey as the players saw him, if you know what I mean? I'm prepared to believe that Comiskey was a totally selfish man--"

Sayles: "Actually, what I tend to do is make these guys a little bit more appealing than they really were so that people will believe them. The stuff that's in the movie, he pulled all that and a lot worse. After 'Matewan,' for instance, I was criticized a little for the two guys who were Baldwin-Felts agents--"

Foner: "I thought you made them much more appealing than they probably deserved to be."

Sayles: "I made that attempt. I mean, these were guys who used to stop Red Cross milk wagons, put kerosene in the milk, and send them off so the kids would drink the kerosene. It was hard not to dehumanize these guys."

So the problem is universal. You really do have to demonstrate the banality of evil or else risk having the bad guys dismissed as implausible cartoon characters that you've created out of whole cloth.

different clue

Leila Abu-Saba,

My comment was narrowly focused on the number of squirrel-family species of rodents in my town as against NYC or LA, not on the wider numbers of animal species in NYC or LA overall. And to be honest, I know so little about LA that I can't really know if LA has fewer squirrel-family
species of rodents than College Townville. But I strongly suspect that NYC has fewer squirrel-family species of rodents than College Townville.

But on the wider issue of
overall species of wildlife in general, you are quite correct. NYC has some of the
highest density-of-species of birds of any place I have
ever been in the USA. (My father grew up in New York and we used to go on visits there. We went to the places he used to go to..Van
Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, Prospect Park, others...as well as Jamaica Bay which was developed long
after he moved away. So I have seen the high numbers of bird species living there. More in any College Townville-sized sample area than in College Townville itself.)

So seeing the birdlife and parks of New York as I have, I wouldn't think of dismissing the multi-species
biological richness of New York City in general. Perhaps I was insufficiently
clear in saying that my comment was limited to the number of squirrel-family species of rodents in particular without intending
thereby to make a general statement about numbers of wildlife species overall?

I offered my squirrel-species subcomment as a semi-humorous way of saying there is a fair amount of unique pleasantness here. If it turns out that New York City has more than seven species of squirrel-family rodents, I'll back right down. But for now, I think College Townville does have more squirrel-types than New York does. But only squirrel-types. I've birdwatched in New York, and College Townville just can't compare, and I wouldn't claim that it could.

syria travel

Syria is a great place and I encourage everybody to visit it.

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