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30 April 2015

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 Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

I would say that tayyip erdogan is a semi-crypto Islamist and thief;there is nothing Turkish about him. His administration has been trying to remove the words "Turkish" and "Turkish Republic" from public buildings, etc. His bunch of kleptocrats have been propped up with Saudi money-it has bought a lot of useful idiots, bootlickers and lackeys. We will see what transpires in the Yemen and Syria. Like you, my money is on the Yemenis.

Ishmael Zechariah

Fred

Col.,

"The professional bits of the US Government are fearful that if the present Syrian government goes down, chaos will ensue that will end in an Islamist government."

Can they convince the amateurs?

Jack

Sir

Do you think Assad survives?

turcopolier

Jack

No idea. I hope so. I fear the aftermath of his fall. pl

FB Ali

The depth of stupidity of the "younger generations in The Family [who] have been much exposed to Western military schooling" is manifested by the 'brilliant' Defence Minister planning his Yemen campaign on the basis that Pakistan would supply SA with a corps (!) to carry out a ground invasion - without consulting the Pakistanis!

These Saudi princes and princelings have grown up to believe that money can buy anything, and their wealth permits them to order other countries around, as they do their subjects.

It must be said that this belief has been reinforced by the disgraceful behaviour of many national politicians, and not only of Muslim countries. The Bushes, Blairs, even the formidable Thatcher, to name only a few at the top, have all fed into this belief. It isn't entirely baseless even now - after all, the US was prepared to jump when they snapped their fingers, and aid them against the Houthis, who were the enemies of the US's doughty foe, AQAP, besides participating in the perpetration of a shameful human tragedy in the making. It remains to be seen whether the US will be able to avoid joining their drive to destroy Assad and hand over Syria to the US's enemy, the Islamists.

b

Sudeiri Arabia has no tourism?

No "western" one but there is the Haji which brings millions of foreigners and billions of dollars per year into SA.

The "success" of Jabhat al Nusra in the north of Syria is very much the success of over 600 TOWs fired in volleys by those forces against Syrian government positions. Some of those TOW launchers have been seen with night vision equipment. In the south there are also lots of MILANs used by the terrorists.

Those weapons could not have reached those "rebels" without U.S. support.

The U.S. in the form of CIA and JSOC is leading the "operations rooms" in Turkey and Jordan which coordinate the "rebels". Those people in the U.S. government who fear that Assad could go down should contact their colleagues in those op-rooms and tell them to cease and desist.

To blame the Saudis, Jordan and Turkey is cheep. The U.S. is knee deep inside the bloody mess.

Amir

You are entirely in agreement with the Syrian government, and Iraqi, Iranian and Russian analysis of the situation: "Contras on the Levant" seems to be the name of the game.

Fred

b,

"Those weapons could not have reached those "rebels" without U.S. support."

You mean there's no open market for weapons in the Middle East and the US really controls all branches of the Turkish government? Who knew! as to being "knee deep" in regards to the policy to overthrow Assad is has been commented on here at length. As to your continued allegations that JSOC etc. is providing the operational planning for al-Nursa and the rest of the assorted opposition to the Syrian government do you have some actual evidence?

turcopolier

fred

In re "b," his deep seated hostility to all things American remains a puzzle. It is so pervasive that I can only attribute it to some personally hurtful experience or a childish belief that the all powerful and omniscient government is simply an instrument of Sauron's power. The idea that the different parts of the US Government have different opinions seems beyond his ability to cope. 600+ TOWS? Where does that come from? pl

BabelFish

"600+ TOWS? Where does that come from? pl"

Mordor.

The Beaver

Brig. Ali,

FYI:
Getting even or playing along :
http://tribune.com.pk/story/878644/new-hajj-application-asks-are-you-shia/

[quote]Confirming that the conditions had been forward by Saudi Arabia, government officials responsible for making Hajj arrangements said, “Saudi Arabia will not entertain any Hajj application from aspirants that fail to specify whether the applicant is a Shia or a Sunni.”[EOQ]

And they are supposed to be the defenders of THE RELIGION

Matthew

Col: Off topic. PBS has been running some fascinating programs on Vietnam. For people like me who came of age during the Reagan Administration, we know very little about the Vietnam War, especially since the subject matter is usually covered by Oliver Stone.

Have you written any memoirs of your time in Vietnam? I was really moved by the generosity of the Americans in Vietnam who sneaked their Vietnamese friends into the US Embassy in Saigon or risked their own lives to help Vietnamese escape.

mbrenner

I live a couple of miles from the lunatic asylum that is the Texas state government and down I-35 from the crackpots in Bastrop. The truth is even worse than these stories indicate insofar as the sentiments expressed are widespread and growing here in Tejas and across the Bible Belt. The president seemingly doesn't know or care what is going on. He could easily pull the rug out from under Abbott (who is not crazy) by firmly declaring that his actions are an insult to the armed forces of the United States and damaging to the performance of their functions critical to the national security; that he will order all unit commanders of the exercise to ignore the presence of the National Guard; that he will conduct no further exercises by the armed forces in the state of Texas until he receives assurance from the Governor that Abbott personally will cancel his order and ensure a non-hostile environment for the United States Army; and that Obama immediately is appointing a select panel of military and civilians to draft a plan for relocation of all military facilities now sited in Texas as expeditiously as maintenance of the nation's military capacities permits.

I can assure you that Abbott would fold inside of 48 hours. This crop of drugstore cowboys (all hat and no cattle) are just the standard bullies who have grown arrogant in the absence of any opposition. The real head cases of course could secede by hiring a "coyote' to lead them across the Rio Grande into Mexico

turcopolier

mbrenner

"... to ignore the presence of the National Guard;" As I told GCP it is not the National Guard that is involved. It is the Texas State Guard. pl

turcopolier

matthew

"we know very little about the Vietnam War" That's all right. I know very little about the 2nd Punic War. pl

Matthew

Col: That's funny.

mbrenner

Sorry - wrong post meant for other thread. here is the intended post.

The similarities between King Salman's more "muscular" policies at home and abroad and those that successive American presidents have followed is a compliment to Washington's soft power. Leading by example. The intervention in Yemen has a deja vu quality to it: obscure purposes, disconnected ends-means relationship, persistence in the face of failure, illogical and inconsistent public statements, and a general odor of incompetence. Now we see that these same traits manifest themselves in dubious political maneuverings at home. Perhaps it is these affinities that have prompted Mr. Obama to align himself fully with King Salman. The instinct to "throw an arm over his shoulder" is a touching expression of solidarity between fraternal leaders who, once having hit rock bottom, start to dig.


So now we have three rogue powers roiling the Middle East amidst four failed states and a couple of violent transnational jihadist groups. Thank goodness, the Iranian leadership shows sober deliberation. Meanwhile, back in Washington the only "debate" is between those who back the current policies and those who want even more drastic action.



toto

So Foreign Policy has a double interview on Syria.

Notice the ever-so-slightly sardonic title.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/01/is-bashar-al-assad-finished-for-real-this-time-again-syria/

b

All TOW get sold with a serial number and with a commitment by the original buyer to not give those weapons away without the consensus of the United States. 600+ TOW are not just an "open market" issue. These ain't AK-47s.

As for the op rooms - lots of that in any news search available to you going back to 2012 and 2013

Just one example:
http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/syrian-rebels-get-arms-and-advice-through-secret-command-centre-in-amman#full
/quote/
according to opposition figures, the command centre – known as “the operations room” – is a well-run operation staffed by high-ranking military officials from 14 countries, including the US, European nations and Arabian Gulf states, the latter providing the bulk of materiel and financial support to rebel factions.

The command centre gets advance notice from the FSA of upcoming military assaults against forces loyal to Bashar Al Assad, Syria’s president, and only hands over weapons if officials at the centre approve of the attacks.
/endquote/

For the south read Phil Sands at The National
http://www.thenational.ae/authors/phil-sands

For the north various sources
Here one of the first reports, mid 2012, of the operation room in Incirlik, a U.S. air abase in Turkey

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-syria-crisis-centre-idUSBRE86Q0JM20120727

b

My "deep seated hostility to all things American" is in your phantasy. I criticize the heavily militarized U.S. foreign policy which kills, kills and kills many people around the word for spurious "U.S.interests". MANY AMERICANS DO THE SAME. Are they also hostile?

As for the TOW number. An open source are the people counting the observed TOW videos/pictures over the years at Militaryphotos.net. One of the relevant threads is here:

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?195615-Protests-in-Syria-Discussion-Thread/

See the later pages for the newest numbers. "466 hits, 60 misses/malfunctions,..." was a recently published count. That count misses TOW launches solely by JAN as these are usually not published each on Youtube but in mass together with other JAN propaganda.

different clue

In the past The Twisted Genius has expressed the hope that skilled hackers could get into the digital side of KSA's money records and erase or freeze all of KSA's money. That way KSA could continue to exist but do no harm outside its borders.

I know nothing of hacking, but I don't see how hacking KSA's present money could stop KSA from raising future money as long as KSA has oil to sell. The only way to stop KSA's future money is to stop their oil sales. And the only way to do that over time would be to take the whole world off the oil standard for energy. If oil were reserved for chemicals, plastics, etc., then neither KSA nor anyone else could sell the amounts of oil they sell now. But as it is, KSA can say about oil what Jay Lenno said about Doritos . . . Burn all you want. We'll pump more.

bth

There have been a number of articles in the last few weeks about the impact of the loss of trucking routes in the ME. Specifically the loss of Syrian/Jordanian border crossings and the difficulty of moving anything through or around IS territories. The result has been that Turkish trucks are required to move via sea and Egypt or via Iran to the Gulf markets. Also Lebanese farmers are having difficulty cost effectively moving harvests to the Gulf. Syrian textile manufacturers have the same problem in a desperate lunge for hard currency. Jordan also is under economic pressure as it must trade through unfriendly territories over land. Throw onto this mess the sea embargo around Yemen plus possible Iranian shipping trouble and one could see the ME expressing a huge sigh of financial exhaustion.

Laguerre

b is a German, a liberal German, as far as I know. He was in the military, commander of a tank, no doubt through conscription.

If "his deep seated hostility to all things American remains a puzzle", it is because slowly over many years that is what is happening. As a brit, when I was young, to love American life was an adventure, I did it. Now everyone in Europe does America. The avant-garde in Europe are turning against America. No doubt it will take twenty years before it becomes general.

b is just an early sign.

By the way, I much appreciate your knowledge of Yemen. Difficult to find such rare good sense.

mbrenner

I have met Aaron David Miller - he knows next to nothing about Syria, Moreover, he - like his fellow neo-cons - has been wrong about everything in the region since he was old enough to start pontificating.

The same issue features Mike Nagata who, according to Foreign Policy, foresaw the rise of ISIL. If indeed, he had such prescience, it would have been nice if he had told someone - like someone who might pass it on the President who a year later was still uttering nonsense about "junior varsity."

There is an old Political Science axiom that even the Colonel might accept: "A prerequisite for a well functioning democracy is that trash production is matched by shoveling capacity." Nowadays, there is a quantum increase in the former and a paucity of the latter

FB Ali

Nicely put, Michael.

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