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09 April 2012


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Pirate Laddie

Well, the Germans have pretty much followed a watered-down version of the Teutonic Marches since the fall of the Sovs. Guess it's the Turks turn to pick up "the burden of civilization" (can't really call it "the White Man's Burden" any more, can we?). May be one way out of the problems of the southern tier of the EU as well. A few of the countries on life support may once again fall within the Ottoman's sphere of interest.


I doubt anti Asad’s stance of Turkey is based on humanitarian reason, so what is the vested interest of Turkey in ousting Asad?

dan of steele

perhaps the colonel will humor me with an answer to a silly question. that is, just what is it that makes the destruction of Syria or at least a huge reshuffling of the power brokers there so important to the US?

who gains what? It is obvious by now that this is going to happen, Bashar Assad has been deemed unfit to work with the US even though it is not at all clear who will take his place. the opinion makers all solemnly tell us how the violence will not stop and we simply must do "something".

but why? the usual reasons of democracy and freedom are not even mentioned.

is it just, because we can?


According to Wiki some 75% of Syria is Sunni. It would appear that Assad's actions are rapidly driving them towards Sunni Triumphalism.

Granted that the sweep to power of MB in Europe will give pause to more Westernized portions of Syria, are there other factors which will put a damper on a Sunni revolution in Syria?



Syria is the old human problem of “Why can’t we just get along”.

Within old colonial boundaries, one tribe (Alawi) rules over another tribe (Sunni). After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Europe tried separating up into tribal units (Czech and Slovak Republics) within a European Union. But, being human, once again, the Germanic tribes told the Greeks and the Others to go to hell by pushing austerity on the periphery.

The only peaceful way out is to establish tribal States in Syria and Iraq and breakup the Euro Zone. But, just as powerful is the need for a ruler to keep and expand their realm. Thus, wars are made. In nuclear free regions never ending tribal warfare will continue as throughout human evolution. Mounted warriors, cannons, and drone bombs do not bring peace only more death.

The only chance for Europe and North America to remain at peace is to revert back to social democracy, provide jobs for all and strong borders to keep the endless wars from engulfing their continents.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

Turkey is the only possibility.

You are quite right! IMO, this will certainly be a "bloody disaster". For the Turks as much as for the Syrians. Israel will be laughing all the way to the next coup.

I hope Erdogan, Gul and Davutoglu show some wisdom.


Oops. That should read -- in Egypt.


If Turkey does intercede, I wonder how much of a factor the Kurdish population will be. I spent some time in Syria years ago and understood that the Kurds were more or less welcome there, or at least were treated a lot better than they were by the Turks or the Iraqis under Saddam. Joker in the deck?

mac n.


What are your thoughts on the cross border shooting not being done by Assad loyalists? That seems foolishly provocative. Given the forces aligned against Assad, wouldn't it better serve the interests of Wahhabi Islamist Sunni Saudi Arabia, Sunni Wahhabi Qatar, Sunni Al-Qa'ida, to escalate the conflict in this way? And what is the impact of the escalation on the negotiations this week in Turkey between Qom and the P-5+1?

Mac N

Babak Makkinejad

There will be no intervention.

20% or so Turkish population ia Alawite; they are not going to condone a war against the Alawite state on behalf of Sunni Muslims.

Nor would the Turkish generals approve of a war which is essentially religious in nature.

Lastly, who is going to pay for Turkey's war; not Turkey. EU is broke and US will decline.

This whole thing is stupid beyond belief; a local issue has been turned into a geopolitical one.

And then there are those idiots, Arabs it seems, that think they can turn on an off, like a gas range, the fires of sectarian warfare without they themselves burning in it.


A Sunni Syria is no longer a secure rear area for Iranian controlled Hezbolla. It is also a Sunni presence next to Iraq. The Russians lose a major toe hold in the ME as well. Turkey is also strengthened visa vis Iran.

Paul Deavereaux


Amen, brother.

William R. Cumming

PL! How do you account for the relative passivity of Egypt and Turkey in their foreign policy in MENA?



Turkey is just emerging from the long tradition of Kemalist abstention from foreign involvments. Egypt has too much on its plate to be active at the moment. Unlike Turkey, they have always tried to play sub-rosa roles in the region. Their only overt intervention was in Yemen in the early '60s. It was a disaster. The Yemenis made it impossible for the Egyptians to pacify the country. pl


I follow the Turkish press and public opinion closely, in original Turkish and on a person to person base.

First of all, Sunni-Alawite angle does not register here. Kurds figure in as an afterthought, but nobody can think or plan that far forward yet. Turkey's Kurdish problem is a family affair, and will be solved soon.

So, apart from the ethnic angle, the discussion centers around RealPolitic vs. moral stance. Erdogan at all are not very good at RealPolitic, but when he reduces the problem down , or up, to a simple moral problem he gets traction. At the onset of Iraq War II, same had happened in the Turkish Parliament, in a very close vote resulting in no pass for US forces through Turkish territory to link up with southern thrust. It was an emotional response, "We will not let a Christian Army through our territory to invade a fellow Moslem country." Simply boiled down to that.

Now in Syria, expect a similar emotional response precipitated by a pissed off Erdogan tough guy, because Assad lied to him and caused him to lose face. Erdogan comes from the Brooklyn of Istanbul, a smart and ambitious wise guy, who rose to the top. That's his persona, he talks and acts like that. A political Don Carleone now. He takes care of people in his neighborhood, and when someone crosses him, Assad, he needs to act. Global politics does not matter, but may help.

So in short, Erdogan is slighted, and Assad is killing the civilians. Fellow Moslems right on the border. He has now absolute control over the Turkish Army, much emasculated recently over the coup indictments. The Army needs an accolade, and Erdogan needs to show he can act for moral imperatives. This mix is pointing very strongly to a Turkish show of muscle. Contrary to the common belief, it will play very well on the Arab street, Turkish public opinion, and will hasten the fall of Assad. If the Syrian Army gets a sense that they will not be left withering in the wind, will not fight Turks, will change sides in large numbers with their weapons and march on Damascus.

Since no one can predict the end of Syrian crises, someone needs to stir the pot. For those interested, the situation Turkey found herself in during the Cyprus crises in 1974 were similar. Somebody said "Damn the world situation, and lets go in and save the Turkish minority in Cyprus from being annihilated and deal with it later." Was it wise? Still debated, but won an Election for Ecevit, "Conqueror of Cyprus"...Just as capture of Ocalan did in 1999.

So please, as I do, nobody expect level headed world class politicking from this bunch, but expect moves that grab huge masses by the gut and fall in line regardless of consequences. And they may be the right moves by chance.


Mr. Babak Makkinejad,

Turkish Army is secular, maybe the most secular institution left in Turkey.

Factually, it is very capable and motivated as it has always been. If real war comes down to the motivation and dedication of the simple grunt on the field, Turkish Army is it.

Turkish Army has a very long military tradition and genetic memory, which counts even today. In Afghanistan, Turkish soldiers in Kabul are the only ones of all NATO nations who can walk around without body armor and weapons in the streets.

And Turkish Army can engage in even a sustained and long war without looking for handouts. The nation will support no matter how incongreous the war is. Korean War veterans here are still revered even by those who have no idea what communism or NATO is.


Albayim, the Army is itching for a show of force.

Just today, I drove from Izmir to Ayvalik, through Cigli Air Base, I have seen 2 huge military convoys going south and maybe 20 tank carrying trucks also going south, to Izmir empty... Huge Navy dockyards in Karsiyaka were abuzz with unusual activity, and here in Ayvalik Coast Guard is active, more so than in their usual duty of intercepting human trafficking to Lesbos.

SOmething's a foot.


Sir, FB ALi,

Please do not assume that Erdogan, Gul, and Davutoglu are thinking three moves ahead in this chess game. I expect them to act emotionally, for the moment, and for the hearts and minds of their followers-and come up with the correct outcomes just with fool's luck.

The way AK Party came into power in Turkey was so unpredictable, as the result of idiocyncracies in election law that they themselves still can not believe it, so they themselves attribute it to the will of God.

And interestingly, at all junctures, interests of Israel and Turkey coincide. Not to mention personalities and ways of being.


mac n.

Well, this incursion was expected. Erdogan calls it a "Border violation" Look out for more, because Turks are mad and they want to do something about it. It does not matter who has done it, like the comedian Judy Tanuto used to say, " It could happen!". It was bound to happen.

The liberal press, and old leftists are up in arms against Turkey being used by Imperialist powers in a fight Turkey should stay out of, but the old guy on the street says Syrians are our relatives and we should not watch as a perfumed prince kills them inpudently. Really, it is coming to a point beyond ethnicity, RealPolitic, or ME domination.

Doug Tunnell

Some rough math based on some rough population estimates : if we assume the Alawi population of Syria (2.1 million) were to oppose any Turkish occupation and they were joined in resistance by Syria's Christians ( 2.2 million) as well as Syria's Kurds (2 million) approximately 30 % of the country could coalesce to some degree against Ankara. Given Turkey's own Alawi community (450,000) to say nothing of its substantial (and restive) Kurdish population (13-18 million) a Turkish intervention in Syria sure doesn't look like "a cakewalk."


Doug Tunnell

I never said it would be easy. That does not mean they will not do it. pl


kunuri effendim

Please keep us informed to the extent you can. pl

Morocco Bama

I'm sure Germany wouldn't mind loaning Turkey the money and weapons for a campaign against Assad. They are now the preeminent lender of last resort in Europe and the number three weapons' manufacturer in the world. Maybe Grass can write a poem about it.

Babak Makkinejad

You live in dream world if you think Turkey can fight and maintain occupation of Syria for more than 2 decades based on her own resources.

In every economic turmoil - except this last one - that Turkey has experienced - she was rescued by EU funds.

Wars cost money.

In Korean War, Turkish soldiers were muttering "din, din, .." while attacking.

Are you certain that Turkish Generals will have no qualms about engaging in a religious war?

Babak Makkinejad

Your statement: "...Turkey's Kurdish problem is a family affair, and will be solved soon." is patently absurd.

It has not been a family affair and it has not been solved since before the establishment of the Republic.

This statement makes me doubt your other assertions; specially the one about the Turkish Army itching to invade Syria.

Turks will not be playing chess here, or even backgammon.

A more foolish policy for Turkey is inconcievable.

In the UN Human Development index, Turkey is ranked 92.

[Iran is 88].

Kuwait is 63, Saudi Arabia is 56, Bahrain is 42, Qatar 37, Israel is 17, US is 4.

Syria is 119.

I think it foolish for a country such as Turkey to go to war and - in effect - advance the political interests of states richer than her.

In the event of a Turkish attack on Syria, I think the President and the Prime Minister of Turkey should be impeached and swiftly removed from office.

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