21 August 2015


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Trey N

Erdogan's party is reported to be slightly losing ground in the latest polls in Turkey. One can only hope that this means the populace is seeing through his false flag campaign against the local Kurdish minority, and will reject his gambit in calling for new elections to increase his hold on power.

The only alternative to frustrating his goals by the electorate would appear to be yet another coup by the Turkish military. The only question then would be: does that really change anything in the big picture? Given the army's own ghastly anti-Kurdish track record, would it really dump the Turk's ISIS proxy and assist the US in its destruction? One can only hope....

FB Ali

Col Lang,

I don't think it would be wise for the US to fight IS directly. While that would certainly defeat their field forces, it would bolster their appeal to the huge numbers of Muslims, especially young Muslims, who are disillusioned with their governments and leaders, and feel that they are under attack by the West. For many of them IS is their champion, which has taken on the West.

There was recently a very perceptive piece on IS by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown university. A quote: "The White House can issue as many statements as it wants claiming to have “made considerable progress in our effort to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, but I suspect the group will still be going strong five or 10 years from now. (I’m less sure about that seat at the U.N., but give it a few more decades; you never know)”.

The article is at: http://tinyurl.com/ozkb9al

The Twisted Genius

Absolutely agree. The Syrian-Turkish border is the life line of IS. The YPG has managed to cut a good section of that life line, but I doubt they can take the rest of the border by themselves. Erdogan's proposed ISIS free buffer zone is a total sham. He just wants to maintain this remaining supply line to his IS allies. If I was in charge, I would do everything in my power to close that border down. Put two carriers off the northern Syrian coast. Establish FARRPs in YPG/Euphrates Volcano controlled areas to support 24/7 rotary wing operations. Guard the FARRPs with Ranger Battalions and others. Put SF teams with the Kurds and the Arabs working with them and push IS out of northern Syria. Actually, let's not push them out, kill them in place and as they run.

This drastic action will probably cause Erdogan to cease cooperation and close Turkish airspace to US aircraft. So be it. It will also rile up some section of Muslin youth to join IS. If they try to cross the Turkish border to join their brethren, kill or capture them there.

The Twisted Genius

Here's an interesting article covering the situation.


Kim Sky

Dear Marcus,

We will miss your comments! Costa Rica is a country that has been flooded with people attempting to escape, a phenomenon that has increased incrementally over the years. Good Luck. The Costa Ricans are good people - intelligent and hold an odd sense of masculinity and dedication to peace.

I apologize for my bravado in assuming that I have some observations about that country that you might not have noticed...

There is a hidden tension between locals and foreigners. The locals seek to hide their poverty, often emerging out of shacks - clean and well dressed. Most all of the good land is owned by foreigners. And, most foreigners have a large hidden, built-in-safe/locked-room to keep their things, to fend off thieves when they leave their house, some for only two hours. Remnants of the 'welfare-state' (an important concept with the creation of the new constitution 1948) are crumbling, privatization, large palm oil and coffee farms have replaced their once self-sustaining agriculture -- but still -- on offer is a more healthy environment then what can be found in much of the rest of the world.

Medicine Man

Can we nominate TTG for President? We can form a third party, maybe call it the Cut-the-shit Party.

William R. Cumming

Thanks P.L. for this insightful post and recommendation! It will not happen that Turkey will sort out its role and future anytime soon.


The Syrian-Turkish border used to be the lifelines of the Kurds in Syria. I know this from experience having spent neruz with them one spring on the Syrian side. Old Assad, I don't know about the younger, was the only friend the Kurds had in the region, even if it was just to irritate the Turks, and I doubt very much that erasing them from Turkey is not part of a quid pro quo for Turkish acquiescence against Isis.

Imo, perhaps the best play for the Kurds was to back Assad - the enemy of my (many) enemies, etc.

Babak Makkinejad

That would require the dismantling of US and EU Cold War against Iran; will not happen.

Babak Makkinejad

More accurately Sunni Muslims residing outside of the Seljuk boundaries.




I am yet another voice crying in the wilderness. pl


fb ali

I would continue to share your opinion except that the Turks are not playing up and the Arab States are either surreptitiously siding with the jihadis or are simply feckless. I think we cannot allow this wave of jihadi movements to eat like cancer at the bowels of the Islamic World. Will there be more jihadis in the future? Certainly, but, these must be put down. pl


No comment, just want to add what a mess.


fb ali,

I would argue it is the least-worst decision after (the current plan of kicking the can down the road and hoping in unicorns.) Perhaps afterwards, Iraq could be partitioned, and the Baathists could run sunni-stan (as long as they keep the liver eaters at bay). Perhaps France would join to take attention away from there economic problems….



I agree totally with your analysis.

The problem today is that the ruling ideology in the West is predatory capitalism. The plutocrats counter revolt was successful. There is not a viable secular opposing ideology protecting the people. The exploiters have a free hand to screw humans from Africa through the Middle East to Ukraine. The only opposition to the new world order is religious. These are hard core survivors who are fighting for their families, their tribes and for the one true God.

The West was once a bright shining light on the hill. Ukraine, Syria and Greece prove that the lights are going out across the world.


Tidewater to jr786,

So you were there on the Syrian side of the border on a March 21 for the celebrations of Nevruz? Isn't that a dangerous and explosive time in Turkey and in Kurdish areas? In 1992, for example, some fifty seven people died in Anatolia. Trouble seems to attend that celebration, if that is what it is. They seem to call it "bloody Nevruz." Do you see it that way?

The Beaver

Read that Erdogan is calling for another legislative elections for November 1st 2015.

FB Ali

I agree that these jihadi movements are a cancer eating away at the Muslim world.

However, using ground troops against IS would amount to cutting off some branches of a poisonous tree. To deal with it effectively, the roots must first be attacked. These are the Wahhabi doctrine and the vast amounts of money that are being used by the Saudi royals and their Gulf partner Emirs to buy, convert and then inflame ordinary Muslims, thus enabling them to play their dirty games.

Unless the roots are cut, lopping off a few branches will achieve nothing - more will grow at some other place.

So long as the US continues to support and play along with these scoundrels, fighting IS would be a pointless endeavour. The LA Times is reporting today that the US has doubled the number of its advisers supporting the Saudi genocide in Yemen ( http://tinyurl.com/nnrlbw8 ) .

Ultimately, the problem lies in the feckless policies pursued by Washington. As you said, SST remains "yet another voice crying in the wilderness". A shame!


Let's say we sent in 4 army divisions and 1 marine division with all of the armor, artillery and air support that any division commander could ever hope for. Six months later you have killed lots of people, one hopes mainly IS fighters. Captured real estate occupied by IS. Made sure that most of the leaders were dead or in chains. Then what? This is the hurdle I can never get past. Will CENTCOM become the de facto government of western Iraq and eastern Syria? Maybe we could get the CIA to send along some more of those well trained chaps from Jordan.

Meanwhile the Saudis are funding 1,000s of Salafist madrasas to crank out more true believers to go do battle with the modern crusaders. And once again we have a bunch of dead or crippled soldiers and marines who have accomplished... What?

Paul Escobar

FB Ali,

It seems to me that IS's "appeal" is that they can boast MOMENTUM. They hold and expand territory - in an area that offers potential for incursions into even more rival territories. Also important is that they can give off the image that they are administering an actual state - which makes them look more legitimate & potent.

If American ground troops were to enter the fight, IS could boast none of that. They would be reduced to a "back against the wall" group - like AQ, and to a lesser extent the Taliban.

And that is another interesting aspect of such a strategy. AQ and Taliban do not seem very content with IS's hubris & ability to siphon off both members & potential recruits. They might quietly welcome IS's demise - as they did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's demise when he was defying them left & right.

I think Mr. Lang's policy would reduce the number of recruits IS has, and leave a significant portion of the rest to join the "devil we know" in the Taliban & AQ...further eroding IS's man-power.



The US brought the economy of countries such Iraq (during Saddam) and Iran (and to some extend, Russia) to its knee by choking the routes of money transactions (among other things, of course). Why can't it be dong to ISIS? I mean how can ISIS sell the oil? Who is buying it and how is the money exchanged?



IS has no respect for such things as sanctions and it is selling its oil to black marketers who also have no respect for sanctions. Actually, are there sanctions against IS other than by air strike? To run the caliphal economy requires a lot less money than to run the economy of a major state like Iraq or Russia. Scale counts! pl


Paul Escobar

Islamic zealot revivalist movements have occurred over the centuries in a kind of sine curve. They wax and wane in various parts of the Islamic World. The religion has universalist pretensions imbedded in its scripture and traditions. Some groups of Muslims interpret these as a call to armed struggle (jihad). What has resulted throughout history is a wave of jihadi war against competing idea systems and the rule of those idea systems. In the great majority of such revivalist movements the decline of the movement was brought on by actual defeat in warfare and discouragement of the potential recruit population. FB Ali says that Wahhabism is the root of jihadism. I must disagree. Revivalist jihadism is inherent in Islam, especially in Sunni Islam and cannot be eradicated it can only be defeated when it appears. pl



See my reply to Paul Escobar on this subject. It is not possible to eradicate the inclination to jihadism that arises in Sunni Islam from time to time. The only thing you do about it is defeat its current manifestations and then leave. pl

Babak Makkinejad

There is no loyalty to the state or the idea of the specific state outside of the Seljuk lands - excepting Morocco.

There are only 2 Muslims states in this world; Iran and Turkey.

Erdogan is willing to use the Muslim zealots to oppose Iranian power.

One wing of the Seljuk Civilization is thus pricking fight with the other.

In the mean time, the rest of Muslim world wallows in middle stages of barbarism; lacking any credible role models or patterns of imitation among Muslim states.

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