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15 September 2014


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William R. Cumming

ALL: What is the ranking of STATES likely to be end game players on any Caliphate among Egypt, Iran, Turkey?

Babak Makkinejad

That is a theoretical as well as practical impossibility.

Abu Sinan

The anti Shi'a beliefs of ISIS and other takfiriyeen cannot and shouldnt be underestimated. To the ultra-Salafi, the Shi'a are their biggest enemies. There cannot and will not be any common ground between them or a state where they could co exist. For ISIL or a related movement to take over the entire Middle East would mean extinction or ethnic cleansing of its Shi'a communities in places like Yemen, Saudi, Bahrain and the like.

I also wonder, in a country like Turkey with such a long history of Sufi Islam, will the Turks bow to the idea that many in the ultra-Salafi camp have, that much of Sufi practice is "Bid'ah" (Innovation) and some of it even "shirk" (associating others with God)? These ultra-Salafi/ISIL types will and have destroyed Sufi shrines and mosques and will kill Sufis who adhere to these beliefs and practices.

The beaver


Does he know something that we don't know:

"The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will likely take a decade, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told an international summit in Paris on Monday devoted to dealing with the threat of the extremist organization."


And held forth on Twitter about it.

Babak Makkinejad

ISIS has something called a "Rear" - which FSA lacks.

In fact, if reports are to be believed, ISIS has 2 "Rears" - one within ISIS-controlled territory and one in Turkey.

It controls a civilian population estimated to be 6 million souls; whose productive capacity it can harness to its war effort.

Furthermore, in Iraq at least, evidently many if not most of the Sunni Arab population wishes ISIS well in reclaiming their "patrimony" of being rulers of Iraq.

Therefore, my guess would be 10 years is rather optimistic; may be 40 years; specially since no land army would be fighting ISIS anytime soon.

Babak Makkinejad

The Naqshbandi Sufi order in Iraq is against the Shia-dominated government of Iraq and has fought against it.

Sufis are not dead-dog liberals; nor are they some sort of analogues of the Dalai Lama.

Lastly, their chief proposal is "tasahol" - taking-it-easy in matters of religious dogma - but they have never put forward a theory of governance during the last 1000 years.

In practice, they have followed Jesus and conformed to the Caesar.

The only exception being Ayatollah Khomeini - who did not belong to a Sufi order but was a mystic.

no one

Babak and Origin,

As one who spent 50% of his youth living with relatives who survived the 1915 Armenian (Hermani) genocide (by Turks), I have a less than rosy view of the Turkish zeitgeist.

IF Turkey drops out of NATO in favor of the caliphate, then Armenia (a bit player I know)and possibly Georgia will go running to Russia and the Russian sphere in the region begins to look a lot like it did in the Soviet era.

Back to the future.

Babak Makkinejad

You won't get any arguments out of me.

Almost all of the Armenian population of Iran (excepting those in Jolfa) are descendants of the survivors of the Armenian massacres.

In the light of the current events, in my opinion, it is clear that US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Australia, and other such nominally Christian countries do not care one whit about Christians in the Middle East.

ISIS was murdering and beheading Christians in Syria without nary a peep coming out of US or EU or Canada or Australia.

I suppose those people were the "acceptable price" for the goal of wounding-Iran-by-destroying-Syria.

So, if I were Armenian or Georgian I would definitely try to cozy up to Russia - and then distantly to Iran.

The beaver


US considering ground troops

"US ground forces could be deployed against Islamic State (IS) militants if the current US-led strategy fails, top US General Martin Dempsey has said."

If this is the case, will Syria be a target also since IS is there.

no one

Babak, Actually, Armenia already has pretty close ties to Russia. I think Russia has an Army brigade of some kind based in Armenia. I am thinking it would be ironic if Georgia (after US anti-Russian activities there a few years ago),having been recently denied NATO membership, was compelled to come back to Russia due to Turkey overtly joining the caliphate. Maybe Russia gains firm control of the entire Caucasus this way.

The US is thinking, talking and walking this situation like a bunch of vindictive women.



You need to read the transcript of General Dempsey's remarks:

""To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific Isil [Islamic State] targets, I will recommend that to the president,"



A reference to William R. Polk's piece earlier published on SST might be informative as we confront the question I first posed in this piece:Should Br'er Bear be takin a tear in the bri'rpatch wit Br'er Rabbit?

"Driven by its own imperatives, “America will either seek revenge and the conflict will intensify or it will launch a limited war. In the case of the latter, its grudge will not be satisfied and it will not succeed in curbing this escalating expansion. America might have caused the downfall of the state of Afghanistan, which it had already planned for, or [the Taliban state] might have collapsed without the momentous events of September…[In any case America] will begin to confront the transformation of [its Afghan campaign]… into tens of thousands of groups…which will turn their strikes against it.”

As the campaign spread and as it seeks to retaliate, “America will not find a state on which it can take its revenge, because the remaining [states} are its clients. Thus, it will become clear to it that the regimes which support it cannot protect it from attacks and cannot preserve its strategic interests and the interests of its adopted daughter, Israel, in the region. It has no choice but to fall into the second trap [that is occupying] the region and set[ing] up military bases…[This will put it at] war with the population in the region. It is obvious at this very moment that it stirs up movements that increase the jihadi expansion and create legions among the youth who contemplate and plan for resistance…"



No one,

Things might be a little vexed for Russia insofar as regaining influence in Azerbaijan, since there is still the tension between them and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. NATO has been making cooing noises in Azerbaijan's direction, and Turkey is stirring the pot as well. Some of the Gulenist educational institutions were shut down at the instigation of Turkey, but which way that will play out in the end is still to be determined. Israelis may also be spending a few chips in Azerbaijan as well.

Azerbaijan as a haven for jihadis would certainly make Armenia, Russia, and Iran quite unhappy, as well as other Central Asian states, potentially even the Chinese, as there's the potential for Pan-Turkic sentiments to have bad consequences in Western China.


I have from the very beginning of this war against Syria been perplexed about Turkey's actions. This is one possibility that never occurred to me: Turkey is trying to build a new caliphate in the ME that would include most of the sunni Arab world?

Very interesting possibility to be sure. Though it is barely imaginable that the Arabs would willingly accept being ruled by the Turks yet again. If Erdogan is thinking this way he must be mad. However, it would explain what looked like a completely irrational policy when he used his country to support the Islamists against Syria.


If Turkey is using a jihad to regain influence in the Arab world there is one interesting precedent. The Seljuk Turks directly and through their satrapies expanded their influence through the levant and Egypt by defeating the Kingdom of Jerusalem. They mobilized armies of Arab fighters to conduct jihad against the Christian invaders. This resulted in the center of Muslim culture being transferred from Baghdad to Egypt and effectively reduced the Arab world to a series of satraps of Turkic rulers until fully being incorporated into the Ottoman empire a century later.

I wonder if visions of Saladin dance in Erdogan's imagination.



There is some evidence of Erdogan's dreaming. He has been encouraging Islamization of Turkish education which will create the prerequisites of believers. The Turkish government seems to be allowing, if not encouraging jihadist recruitment within Turkey. The Syrian and ISIS rebels seem to be able to use Turkey as a rear staging area. Turkey is not participating in attacks against IS. Now, Erdogan is welcoming Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activists into Turkey. http://news.yahoo.com/exiled-muslim-brotherhood-leaders-welcome-turkey-erdogan-075938478.html

It seems plausible that the IS is some sort of an arm of an enhanced Muslim Brotherhood with a global view. Picture a Turkey with satrapies in Iraq, Syrian, and perhaps parts of Lebanon operating operations promoting the "purification" of Wahhabi piety in corrupt KSA. Geographically, it works. That is the stated purpose of IS and the question is whether IS is to some extent a proxy for an emerging Islamist Turkey. The signs are there. Not being a Turk or having good connections in Turkey, I cannot evaluate whether the information available in the media actually add up to the possible conclusion.

Perhaps others within the Committee may have some more solid information on the issue. Never underestimate vainglory!


The whole concept that there is a permanent violent schism between Shia an Sunni branches of Islam is false. One has only to point out to the collaboration of Iraqi Sunni and Shia during Saddam's war against Iran. I personally can testify that at the time, in Iranian schools, it was hammered into is that we are fighting Saddam and not Iraqis per se nor Sunnis, as Ayatollah Khomeini had stressed on multiple occasions (Jangeh ma ba Saddam va Saddamian hast).

After my immigration however, I heard and read for the first time about the concept and sentence "Sunni Shia conflict" in case of the Iranian Sacred Defense against Saddam... and this from European / American non-Muslims, who appeared to be more of experts in the field than the believers themselves.

I also would like to remind that Saddam was a secular nationalist and had even Christians in his cabinet, even in important positions such as Foreign Affairs by Tariq Aziz.

There is no doubt in my mind that the -existing differences - are exacerbated by US government ON PURPOSE and with same tactics that French used in Lebanon and British in the Indian Sub-Continent, to manage their imperial ambitions with more ease.

To state otherwise is to believe in absolute goodness of US Government, it's naïveté or utter incompetence. So Belgian and French governments are more astute in Cong, Burundi and Rwanda, to exploit existing -though generally with low levels of violence- differences by arming and favoring different fractions in turn.

It is hard to agree with that statement, remembering predecessors of Obama e.g. interference in Indian tribal disagreements during the conquest of the West, ie of different factions of inhabitants of West-Africa in capturing and trading of slaves in the 18th and 19th century, Teddy Roosevelt's behavior in Panama, Philippines and China (regardless of whether the use of strategy was based on religious or non-religious divisions and whether USG directly or indirectly through "contractors" / privateers).

A counter-argument that the above reasoning is based on Middle-Eastern conspiracy mindedness is a denial of historical facts.


Origin, thank you for your excellent and clear headed exposition of a pratical way forward!

Norbert M Salamon

RT has an interesting discussion on IS vs. US withth 2 US professors and an x DoD scholar {Washington's Jihad]



Dalai Lama (or, at least his "past incarnations" were not exactly pacists) and adherents of Tibetan Buddhism, both Tibetans and their Mongol cousins, were quite warlike peoples well into 20th century. More examples of popular ignorance of non-western history.

Piotr, Poland

Absolutely right. And one of the Tibetan subnations, Kham-pa:


are well known in the region as brave warriors



After USSR broke up, there were talks of Turkey trying to gain influence with the Turkic nations of Central Asia. I never learned how "serious" their efforts were.

Could the current efforts be a variant on this, with Sunni Islam as the "hook" for influence in another resource rich region nearby instead of Turkic kinship? It still sounds too vaguely fantastical to me to believe too seriously, though.


The Yinon Plan, from 1982:
This was repeated by the PNAC founders, including Robert Kagan, husband of Vicky Nuland. Dick Cheney also signed up. The war to take out Israel's enemies has cost America at least six trillion dollars, its integrity, and its economic future.

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