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30 September 2014


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Have you seen the Mad Max style vehicles that the Kurds are building out of tractos and buses to provide an answer to IS armor?




According to various media, the reason why Turkey is keeping Kurds from entering Syria is not so much to help ISIS, but rather because the Syrian Kurds are aligned with the PKK - i.e. "bad" Kurds.

The fear is that battle-trained Kurdish fighters might later cause problems against Turkey itself. Basically it is the mirror image of the European's djihadi problem.




I don't buy that line, nor the line about the diplomatic hostages. IMO Erdogan is a crypto supporter of IS. pl


The U.S. has hardly helped the Kurds in Kobane. A Kurd spokesperson said there had been only four attacks flown by the U.S. in that vincinity. ISIS artillery is still shooting at Kobane. It should be possible to hit those pieces from the air.

Over the last few days ISIS has given up several good positions east of Damascus and left them for the Syrian army to take which the army did.

Before the ISIS assault on Mosul ISIS had given up positions in north west Syria because it needed those fighters for the big assault.

I therefore expect something similiar as the Mosul assault to happen over the next few weeks. What is the target?



US policy is in total disarray. POTUS is living in some sort of fantasy world. The Ivy League kids are running the show. You are right. IS artillery around Kobane should be easy targets. IMO you are correct IS is preparing for a major operation. You are also correct that they are giving up ground to the SAG so that they can mass their forces somewhere. pl

Charles Dekle

Thanks for the link. They remind me of the ironclad CSS Virginia (aka Merrimac).



It seems the Ivy League kids need to read up on General Jackson's maxims.

"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can then be destroyed by half their number."



IS seems to be familiar with Stonewall's thinking. pl



Those look like floats in the Rose Bowl Parade.


Albayim, I think RTE made a deal with ISIS about the recently released hostages. It is very curious that timing was so perfect. Right about the big UN summit, where Obama needed to get all the troops to muster for the project X. I can only illustrate RTE's position with a rare Turkish expression "Hem herru, hem merru", no one would have heard of it except IZ. Means, having it both ways, or maybe even three ways.

Keep ISIS away, but as friends, pretend outrage and act like you are part of the coalition against ISIS, but wink-wink, we won't really hurt you bros, just a flick on the nose, and keep the Kurds away from being darlings of the Western alliance, and not so well supplied and armed, oh a fourth one, Turkish Army has tanks for the world to see, but no supporting infantry and a fifth one, Turkey, and not Iranians are deal breakers here, oh, a fifth one, we are such humanitarians to help the refugees, we need more money and we only use teargas to prevent line cutters from disturbing the distribution of baklava. And maybe we will interfere now to create a safe zone, since we are no longer worried about our 49 hostages, Mashallah, they have been rescued, but in reality, it is to check any form of Kurdish unity, control and empowerment over the border areas.

The real deal over there is who gets the proceeds from over the border trade, because once any contraband is over the border, it is practically in EU, big bucks, worth risking many lives and huge returns on a dime. And all contracts for the oil pipelines and rebuilding of Syria and Kurdistan, the new nation of.

Hypocrisy at its zenith, sectarian and fundamentalist rug-merchanting, and I hope there is not anyone buying this bill of goods anywhere in the world. I am not, and I hope there are people who are much smarter than me out there to see through this parody. I hope they are not as naïve as first time tourists in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

On a personal note, not a single development project that involves government local or not, or support for any cultural project, tourism, publicity, etc, moves forward without enormous bribes at the highest levels, so much so that smaller projects have no chance of being funded because no one bothers with them since larger projects have so much more bribery potential.

Personal testimony. More real when one is involved personally.

João Carlos

So, IS major operation will be Bagdah, Jordan or SA? what is your opinion sir?


With total air superiority doesn't it seem that we should know where the IS concentration is occurring? And wouldn't such a concentration make wonderful targets? Yet we seem to be tank plinking and hitting empty buildings.

And where is IS getting its refined gasoline?

Did Erdogan trade the PKK controlled areas such as Kobane to IS in the diplomatic hostage negotiation? Why would IS even waste its time there if it were in fact organizing some master stroke against a large target like Baghdad?

The pieces just aren't adding up.


Albayim, sharing a surreal scene on CNN yesterday, ISIS fighters over a rise on the rippling landscape of low, flat hills along the Syrian border in little groups of two, or three, firing AKs and RPGs.

Beyond the hill, hidden behind the trees and dry riverbeds are supposedly Kurdish fighters positioned around a hamlet. Firing wildly in the same manner, no harm is done by either side. Rising low dust clouds here and there indicate that there are real bullets being fired. And low and behold, all of a sudden red tracer bullets criss-cross the frame of the camera, uncertain whether they are coming from the Kurdish or ISIS side and in the background cheering, as in a football match. Kurdish villagers on the Turkish side, gathered over a rise behind the border fence with binoculars, watching, observing and excitedly commenting over the action. Their cars are parked within the vision of the camera, as in a picnic.

Then a mortar shell whines over their heads towards the Turkish side of the border and thumps, then a loud boom follows, a Turkish tank nearby fires a round towards the hills, roughly in the direction of the contested village of Kobani on the Syrian side, and there is no dust cloud that can be observed of the impact, or the explosion of a fallen shell, signifying a wild shot overhead. As soon as the Kurdish crowd realizes the loud bang came from a Turkish M60 tank in a prepared redoubt, loud cheering breaks out, as if Turkey scored against Germany in a World Cup soccer game. Kurds cheer on scant Syrian-Kurdish fighters trying to hold out against ISIS fighters, Turks making a show of rightful indignation against ISIS mortar shells falling harmlessly out on empty fields and firing back over their heads, and Turkey citizen Kurds, overjoyed now, but not so much that they will pick a stone and cross the border to join their fellow Kurds in their fight, are cheering Turkish Tanks firing over their heads, watching the vaudeville show that is going on over here, with many layers of complexity, but no clarity anytime soon. Maybe others see patterns, strategies, goals and planned policies here, but I am only seeing absurdity and meaninglessness worth of Gogol and Kafka.


Fred, I presume General Jackson has been a well read man, and guess that ancient Chinese military doctrines were translated into English at his time, if not Greek, Roman and particularly German. Even if there is no written record, certainly Hun and Mongol wandering armies knew of this maxim.


Optimax, I designed floats before. And I worked with very sophisticated, talented Kurdish artists and designers. That aberration exists, but it was designed-to elicit a certain response, oh those poor Kurds-not that I disagree, but please know that Kurds are sophisticated and they have an excellent PR machine, whose aims I don't disagree with, but all you see on a photo frame is not what it really is. It looks cool though, but I would hate to try to double park it here in Istanbul. Or valet park it, which is the new rage here.


"Once they finish that they will have a freer hand to move on with whatever it is they intend to do next."

The North border is protected by their Brother in Islam, they are pulling forces from the West and in the South they would be vulnerable to air attacks in open terrain. That leaves the East against forces previously defeated and a large city that could be infiltrated and provide a global Public Relations prize if successfully attacked.

The one thing they can't do is sit around and slowly get picked apart. Plus IS has been offensive minded since their emergence.

Imagine what could happen if the Army on their West went on the offensive at the time they move East?

The Beaver

@ toto

Erdogan is covering for Qatar - the young Emir is getting hit from all sides (from KSA to journos this side of the pond) for helping the creation of IS ( they spent $3B in 2013 alone).

How much has Qatar done so far in striking IS? Nearly nothing BUT they started complaining on the second day of the air strikes.

It was the Syrian Kurds who helped in getting the Yezidis out of harm's way on Mt Sinjar wit the help of their Turkish brethren.

Erdogan is helping Qatar and IS. The ultimate goal : getting rid of Al-Assad.


Dear Colonel, I have been pondering the meaning of 224 air strikes in almost two months, or about four per day; while flying 4100 sorties (a third of which are refueling). We have excellent satellites, why fly if not to strike, risking pilots?


I would assume that if the US was actually providing close air support, 224 airstrikes might occur in one or two days focused on a single objective.

- i.e., meaningless. I can come up with three explanations,

1. The Ivy League Kids (ILK) know and do not care that they are actually strengthening ISIS because they think their actions will sell for the upcoming election.
2. The ILK are clueless (with the DC bubble preventing counsel from wiser heads).
3. The ILK are receiving highly flawed strategic advice, possibly from advisers with an agenda of chaos.

I vacillate between 2 and 3.

Supporting 3 is the demonstrated (on the battlefield) flawed advice provided the Ukrainian government.

Supporting 2 is the recent interview with the POTUS highlighted on SST. Is the bubble that complete now (Emperor's new clothes)?

In all cases, it seems highly damaging to US long-term interests and reputation.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_Jackson He was a massively self-educated man. pl


"I hope they are not as naïve as first time tourists in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul."
Thanks for your take on on Turkey. I wonder if you are referring to my comment on a thread a couple of days ago that mentioned my dealing in the Grand Bazaar. I have no illusions based on my experiences over 35 years of going to Turkey and visiting the bazaar. I have found Turkish folks I have met and taught to be cultured and not reflective of Erdogan and his hypocrisy and calculating, but then I am just a naïve American, what the Greeks call an Americanaki, a "little American" who is honest in my dealings, tax declarations and words. I have few illusions regarding the ructions in the region and the various posturings on all parts, but I am still trying to learn more.

Thanks for your thoughts.



The old Iraqi army was thoroughly trained in Maskirovka by the Soviets. they are hiding things in buildings, under highway overpasses and moving around in small groups mixed in with civilian vehicles. pl


bth and all, I believe the US has air supremacy not just superiority. One problem in my uneducated view is that some of the policy makers have no command of the difference between fighting in a jungle, fighting a desert war, fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan and fighting in cities. Thee is also the factor of fighting a war on terror, which is a tactic and fighting an entity that can surrender, a nation-state. This is not rocket-science, and it is not military science. It is policy BS engineered by the "best an the brightest" of the Ivy League's graduate schools plus the University of Chicago's Straussian's. Sorry for this bit of venting.

different clue


I would also vacillate between 2 and 3. 1 is just too crude and grubby for the high-minded, well-intended and sensitive ILKies.


Erdogan gets political support at home from both the Kurds and fundamentalist Muslims in the East.

The war against ISIS has divided these two groups. Erdogan can't have them both. It seems that he decided that Ankara is going to de facto support ISIS.

Up until now Erdo has never met a Jihadhi he does not like. Top ISIS people run freely around Istanbul in plain public view.

This is going to make it very difficult for Washington to get its way in the Levant.

Iran is looking to take it as a protectorate of Tehran while Erdogan appears not to be taking the Americans seriously. Why should he?

It looks like he will be happy to accept ISIS as his Sunni surrogates against a Sh'ia Levant.


Bless you, I take it you are an ex pat American, if we ever got to meet we can write a book together from this part of the smaller pond. I am also trying to learn more, things that come naturally to people who live here, but we have to learn and formulate. Like in driving, now I wear dark sunglasses all the time, and look away visibly when someone tries to dart into my path from a side street, but keep my eyes on them nevertheless, secret service style. Because they are in doubt now whether I saw them or not, they do not take the risk to nose in, but before, when they were sure I saw them, they would drive right on otherwise, knowing that I saw them first and surely would stop. In a nut-shell, this is middle east.

And the 50% which brought RTE to the world stage would be invisible to anyone who visits Turkey. But they have votes, and their behavior fits right into the power grab of RTE for a dictatorship of majority, to be maintained only by doling out goodies undeserved and maintained by the productive minority opposition. Hopefully it will end some day.

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