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27 October 2015


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Bill Herschel

Ponderer, yes. Confused, no. Amen.


Hello CP,

Your series of photos are phenomenal in laying out the post 9/11 history.

Do you think that knot you alluded to at the end should be named Campaign Finance? Is the US Congress a policy enabler, or a neutralized party (where policy is set in think tanks/bureaucracy ?

Babak Makkinejad


You might find this worth reading:



Same old, same old. Here's a more accurate reading:


Great overview CP! The pictorial timeline is brilliant!

Here are some interesting article about Turkey I read recently...

Old Demons in New Faces? The 'Deep State' Meets Erdoğan's 'New Turkey' http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karabekir-akkoyunlu/old-demons-in-new-faces-t_1_b_8383086.html

Alastair Crooke… Russia Forecloses Erdogan’s Gambit To ‘Re-Ottomanise’ Northern Syria & Iraq http://valdaiclub.com/news/russia-forecloses-erdogan-s-gambit-to-re-ottomanise-northern-syria-iraq/
So what is the point of all this? Firstly, whilst the Gulf Wahhabisation of northern Syria is broadly recognised, the Turkisation of northern Syria and its neo-Ottoman connotations have received scant attention. This represents a real lacunae since the connection between the Turkish no-fly demands (and their geographic spread) – couched solely in terms of humanitarian needs – set against the legacy of Ataturk’s expansionist vision of Turkey as the motherland of all Turkic-speaking races, has never been adequately squared.

The Twisted Genius

confused ponderer,

That's some brilliant analysis and writing. The pictures and prose work well together to explain the terrible affliction of client paralysis. I hope this gets a wide reading.

Babak Makkinejad

20 pictures are posted of which 7 (more than 30%) are flags with the profession of Muslim Faith on them.

I maintain again that this is a religious war.


Trump weighs in -



a religious war for whom?

6 of the 7 professions of Muslim Faith are in that mix simply because they happen to grace the flags of the 6 Wahhabi-esque Jihadi movements that emerged as actors in Iraq, Libya, Syria and (to a lesser extent) Yemen in the wake of US intervention - as unexpected and undesired consequences, no doubt - and I included them simply to illustrate who the US is opposing, or not, at a given time in that period, and which groups US allies are supporting.

The Caucasus Emirate as Russia's Islamist enemy is an outlier, but has lost fighters which have joined the fighting in Syria.

These groups fight for their own ends - which have a lot to do with religion - but are at times instrumentalised, and allow themselves to be, by powers like Turkey, the various Gulfies and - if Petraeus had his way - by the US.

Another purpose was to illustrate the point that between the various flavours of Wahhabi-esque Jihadism there is a similarity in style, the bottom row underlines that starkly.

Pirates flew the Jolly Roger, Jihadis use the professions of Muslim Faith, even if their conduct perhaps profanes it. Whether or not that is the case I am in no position to judge, and the consent-group character of Islam makes the point moot anyway.

Anyway, methinks that whether the Al Qaeda style or the ISIS style is en vogue largely depedes on the fashion of the given day, which is in turn driven by the respective success of the movemement.

ISIS has, to Al Qaeda's chagrin, been stealing a lot of their thunder of late. It would explain why Al Qaeda in Yemen flies a flag resembling that of ISIS.

Seen in that light, Jabhat al-Nusra and sticking with something visually similar to the style of Al Qaeda speaks for itself, casting doubt on Turkish and Gulfie suggestions that they constitute a moderate force.

PS: I could have also thrown in the Taleban flag for an 8th profession of Muslim Faith but was out of space. It would have also ruined the Jolly Roger angle.


Medicine Man

Confused Ponderer: Thank you for writing this. Very sharp observations all and also very enlightening on why the US's clients in the region seem to have so much influence over the country.

Babak Makkinejad

We have, in my opinion, a multi-faceted religious war in which Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, Shia and multitudes of Sunni Muslims are slugging it out.

Significantly, the Shia and the Orthodox are saying the same thing: "We are fighting them there (in Syria) so that we would not have to fight them here (Iran and Russia).

The Catholic Church, like our Chinese friends, has stayed out of it even though Catholic communities are disappearing - perhaps the Church has determined that there is no future for Christians in there in the Middle East and why get excited.

Protestant Christians seem to think that they can prevail against Islam - they are enemies of both Shia and Sunni - all the while helping Israelis maintain the results of their conquests against incompetent Arabs.

And then you have the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister stating today that she dreams of the Israeli flag flying over the Al Haram Al Sharif; all the while Palestinian Muslims attacking Jews.

And of course, then there is the constant attacks against the Shia in Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

This is not a problem of client intractability, client intractability is a consequence of religious passions and the concomitant wars - in my opinion.


To express my impression of US policy I can only use concepts like lunacy, incoherence, recklessness, US exceptionalism = uber alles, cognitive dissonance, irrational, Empire of Evil, etc.

It is obvious that the East will not bend its knee to the West. The East has drawn a line in Syria that the West must not cross.

The East has been preparing for war with the West. The West cannot defeat the East. For the East defeat is not an option.

Unless the US pulls back from its policy of exceptionalism there will be a world war. This is obvious to very few as most are dissolved into the drama from one day to the next.

This is the late 1930's all over again but the roles have shifted. The US is fascist and trying to stillbirth the new world trying to be born in the East.

William R. Cumming

Great post! And MSM now reporting KURDS control 50% of Turkey's border with Syria and about to shut down last Turkish border crossing controlled by ISIS.

Convince me why the Great Powers in Paris in 1919 did not properly decide to allow the KURDS and Ukrainians to become nation-states?

Would the world be better off if NO Desert Storm/ Desert shield?

Besides India how does Pakistan target its nuclear tipped missiles? Qurttar?

William R. Cumming

As to Israel both the US and Russia protect that entity.


'This is not a problem of client intractability, client intractability is a consequence of religious passions and the concomitant wars - in my opinion.'

Fair point, but it is the client intractability that hobbles the US.

Whether it is symptom or desease is secondary at this point because there is little the US can do to about the underlying cause if it is indeed just a symptom.

They can hardly tell the Wahhabi nuts that run Saudi Arabia that they just should stop worrying about Iran. If anything, that alarmed the Saudis even more, and one of the results is the war in Yemen since the Saudis feared imminent encirclement by the Shia or something silly like that.

The Saudis and Turks also pursue their own plans for regional spheres of dominance, which the former justify with Wahhabi supremacism, and the latter with their own Islamic panturkism. At that point we're speaking of quite worldly politics that are deeply imbued with religion.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, US cannot do anything in Nigeria either but in the Middle East she can cut and run - as I suggested in response to TTG's earlier post.

Amusingly, here is what the Quran says about Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula:

"The Arabs of the desert are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and are least inclined to acknowledge the limits that God has revealed to his Messenger. God is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise."

Surah 9. At-Tauba, Ayah 97

الْأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًا وَنِفَاقًا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلَّا يَعْلَمُوا حُدُودَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ


And SST seems to be the only space where the weird, self absorbed, crazy, American world view does not intrude. Great post CP.


"Legacy of Ataturk’s expansionist vision of Turkey as the motherland of all Turkic-speaking races", sorry but you are confusing Enver Pasha with Ataturk.

Ataturk, at the onset of the Republic, coined the motto for Turkey then, and the future "Peace within the homeland, peace in the world". He had no visions of a pan-Turkic empire, or any dreams of expansion otherwise, he had had too much of that, and knew exactly where it lead. For goodness sake, after the revolutionary war, he shook hands with Venizelos of Greece, General Hamilton wrote an entire book on him, and he let go of the Ottoman past and its claims entirely. Please read up, and not for a moment, confuse current Turkish high jacked regime with Ataturk and his ideals.


Again, a normal Turkey will have no demands on any country's head of state to be removed, or parts of another country being Turkishised, and to top it all, be in the same league as Saudis and Qataris in the world opinion, and even worse, Islamic fundamentalists. Not to mention any revival of Ottoman neo-imperialism, after having been effectively ended by putting the last Sultan on a fast boat to Nice and firing the last Halife.

Turkey, and those who rule it, no matter what demands they make on anyone, are not representing the Republic of Turkey. Its the demands of a criminal Mafia cabal that took over over here, why should Turkey have demands for a no fly zone, Syrian Republic never attacked Turkey, there should be and never was any reason to do so.

David Habakkuk


Tails wag dogs.


The Great Powers should have called the conflict to a close four years earlier, but human vanity of the select few prevented it, as it does today.

As for Israel being protected by Russia and the US, then it is time to tell them whether One State or Two have the plan ready on 2 Jan 2016 to be implemented.


Movement in a rational direction?
Syria conflict: Iran to be invited to key talks, US says


Kunuri, I was hoping you would comment (also anyone else from Turkey or environs). I know very little about Turkish history other than very broad historic brushstrokes and some dribs and drabs I've learned here. CP's recent posts on Turkey have prodded me to pay more attention to Turkey, so I'm making the effort to read articles about the current state of Turkey today such as the two I linked above, which include some historical analysis. However I have no way of evaluation the quality of their information. Thanks for taking the time to educate me, and feel free to suggest better articles on Turkey.

Until your comment I was unaware of any details about Enver Pasha vs Ataturk. Appreciate the heads up, and for anyone else who is interested


Jonathan: Kerry wants the talks before the replay of Bannockburn.

See http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-kurdish-forces-seize-control-border-post-jihadists-162742467.html


CP (Great post!) & others

"With forward presences denied, US influence (to a large extent relying in military to military relations and US military proconsuls enjoying greater influence than ambassadors) is reduced, and US reach and leverage will be diminished."

Can someone explain why projection of our military power through land bases in these client states is so important that to keep them drives our policies to madness and devastates much of the region?

What vital interests cannot be met by our carrier groups, etc.? Or is this more sheer momentum - mindless holding onto basing rights because "we have them"??

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