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22 September 2014


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Eric Dönges

I wonder what Erdogan hopes to achieve - does he think he can control ISIS for his own ends ? Or does he think given enough time ISIS will convince the locals that anything else is better and he can swoop in and save the day, recreating the Osman empire ?


I wonder how Turkey is factoring in Russia. Russia already has Sunni Islamist problems, as does Iran, India, China, and Europe, for that matter.


Perhaps this is off-topic, but I will put it up, nonetheless. A friend just sent this from Saudi Arabia: "I'm just back from a work-related farewell party. I overheard one of my Saudi colleagues saying some parts of Riyadh were too dangerous now. I assumed he meant the usual virtual no-go areas you'll find in any big city but he added, '... because of Da'esh. ' That's the Arabic for ISIL.


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Not OT at all, highly significant. PL


I also wonder how Turkey is factoring in membership in the EU. Surely they can't believe they'll be allowed membership with their support of ISIS, not matter how tepid.

FB Ali

This is just one possible scenario:

The Islamic State is established next to Turkey and manages to survive the current attacks on it (which is quite likely). Even so, it will remain under continuing economic and military pressure. At some point its leadership (either Baghdadi or the Baath officers and tribal leaders) asks Turkey for protection.

Turkey establishes a Sunni protectorate in a large chunk of Iraq and Syria inhabited by Sunnis.


Good points but with two fatal flaws to your analysis. While you are quite correct that Erdo has never met a Jihadhi he hasn't liked, it is not about him in an way showing fealty to them.

It is about Erdogan's ambition to be the Caliph in a New Ottoman Empire. From a military standpoint on one side you have ISIS with 3 thousand troops and some stolen military equipment while on the other a country that can field an military of 1 1/2 million with tank divisions an air force and every form of modern weaponry ISIS can only dream of.

Also inside of Turkey Erdogan is very dependent on the support of Turkish Kurds as he has alienated the pro European Kemalists in Western Turkey, and now needs these Kurds as a part of his Eastern power base. From a political standpoint he cannot allow the Syrian Kurds to be decimated by ISIS.

He will have to act.

Peter Brownlee

The Caliphate needs a Caliph -- and who better than a former (semi-)professional footballer?

We have been wondering here (i.e. my household -- NOT Australia, God help us) where Turkey figures in this Iraq/Syria/IS/Kurdish soup -- and the Turks have their hostages back with heads, so I understand, still on shoulders.

Viva Turcopolieres!


Errata: in my previous comment I wrote 3 thousand ISIS fighters, when I should have written 30 thousand. But my point relative to how pathetically weak they are when compared to the Turkish military remains the same.


Pete Deer

Neighbor! There are worse things than civil war. The armed forces would not support him if he tries to move farther from NATO. Neither would much of the population in the cities. Bring it on! pl



Ok, but that is irrelevant. Erdogan's government constrains the TGS from crushing IS. pl


Peter Brownlee

Deus lo volt. (old French) pl



Well then, let's see him act. pl

Peter Brownlee

إن شاء الله



IMHO, they will never be admitted to the EU.


Turkey has no option but to think carefully and clearly about IS.

Unlike the United States, it actually has to live right next door with the consequences of its policy towards IS and Iraq.

It might not like IS, but it realizes that it can't be "defeated" and so perhaps thinks it might be moulded and cajoled into something relatively inoffensive over time.

IMO, the US ought to at least try to understand Turkey's policy, and if warranted follow Turkey's lead. It's the least a good ally would do.


It is clear that Turkey prefers IS over Kurdistan. Given their perceived national interests in preventing an independent Kurdistan, this makes sense.

It is also clear that the USA prefers Kurdistan over IS (and also makes sense, given their national interests).

Has NATO ever had a case where the national interests of two of its members were so starkly opposed?

robt willmann

As is well known by now, the U.S., along with a "coalition" of Arab countries, bombed Syria and shot missiles into it on 22 September (maybe 23 Sept. over there). When viewing this on television, I told my sainted mother that the "participation" by the Arab countries probably consisted of flying their planes along the side of the formation and watching while the U.S. pilots dropped bombs and fired missiles. On either Fox "News" or the MSNBC television channel, it was said that there were "up to 20" airstrikes. Is that all?

It is now past midnight in New York, and those TV stations are making their on-air people stay in the studios for a "live" broadcast, and continue to chatter about this and find guests to join them in so doing.

Regarding the ongoing tragedy in Iraq, here is quite a stark and descriptive cartoon by Khalid Albaih, said to have been born in Romania with family ties to Sudan, and who now supposedly lives in Doha, Qatar--




Ursa Maior

Well THIS might be OT, but I've wondered recently why is there a surge of foreign tourists and new residents here in Hungary. Well we dont have no-go zones or ZUS (zone urbaine sensible) in our big cities.

Probably the side effect of the ongoing and much attacked non-mainstream policies of our goverment.


Disagree with you on this. True Turkey supported IS when it was still ISIS, all of NATO did more or less. But now IS is rogue and its very powerful. Turkey borders both Syria and Iraq, if it allows itself to be the 'lead from behind' army fighting IS it will be on the front line and destabilized like Pakistan is today. Pakistan backed a salafi coalition on its border from the 70's on and now offshoots of that coalition are fighting against the Pakistani state itself. Sooner or later Turkey will be dragged directly into the violence anyway but now its just buying time, hoping IS is weakened by US airstrikes (and its Kurdish competitors taking the brunt of the fighting isn't a negative for the Turkish government either).


Things are slowly moving and the actors are following their plans...
THis is the Middle East, you ally yourself (temporarily) with your enemy if needed, put on the masks (multiple masks most of the time) as required, play games within games, alternate extreme brutality with generosity. And measure time in years and decades, not quarters.
The ultimate objective is spreading Islam to the whole world. The liver eaters and their friends and supporters are completely convinced that they'll achieve this lofty goal. If not with this generation of illuminati, then with the next or the one after that. It's immaterial...TIme belongs to God.
I was hearing this more than 30 years ago already. From a Pakistani preacher who'd gone to Scotland (of all places) to bring the Koran to the Scots and help them tread the one and only path to God. He was completely and utterly convinced that he would eventually succeed.
Those are the people in IS. They have the fire burning inside them. And they are far from stupid.
Their appeal will grow exponentially as the western world pounds them. A lot of the disenfranchised muslim youth will see them as The Answer. The truly culturally and intellectually "westernized" arab youth is a very very small minority. All the others like the western packaging but not the content. If pushed, they will revert to fundamental islam and their own traditions.
As has been outlined by members of this committee previously, there were 2 arab countries who were trying to be modern secular states. Both are now destroyed. Bravo! The US has been doing what Charles de Gaulle said the first time he went to the Middle East: "Et je m'envolais vers le Moyen Orient compliqué avec des idées simples". At least De Gaulle was aware of his limitations. Unfortunately the US is too arrogant for that.
And now IS has called for total war on all unbelievers. Well, let the fun and games begin. The West is not prepared for what's coming. I would even add, it has no idea of what is going to hit them at home.



Israel is claiming they downed a Syrian plane that was going after rebels. Thoughts?


I think Erdogan & Co have dropped the idea of a membership along time ago. The EU haven't exactly been forthcoming and sort of strung Turkey along for years.

Part of the problem is the size of Turkey which would qualify them to the same political influence of Germany. And a very large share of the EU structural funds at the expense of poor EU members.

On top of that you've the hostility between Turkey, Greece & Cyprus. I haven't seen any progress on that particular problem. Plus they are a Muslim nation and we haven't gotten past religion in the EU either. It still plays a role.

The Beaver


From Al-Monitor:


"Interesting reports surfaced on the Takvahaber news website, which is identified as the IS mouthpiece in Turkey. According to one Takvahaber report, which was based on the Twitter account of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS caliph, the decision to release the hostages was personally approved by Baghdadi after Turkey refused to agree to the US demand for “active support of the coalition.”

According to the same report, there was no operation of any kind. Hostages were moved on the night of Sept. 19-20 from Mosul to Raqqa in Syria, which is known as the IS capital and therefore considered more secure. They were then moved from Raqqa to Turkey’s Akcakale crossing about 40 miles away, and handed over to Turkish officials.

Babak Makkinejad

Archbishop Bifi of Bologna stated: "Flag of Islam will not fly over Europe."

Turks are not Christians and because of that have no place in the European Union.

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