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26 November 2015


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I can't believe it, sadly a Loony Tune comes to life, Turkey is having an "Oh Shit" moment.

Turkish military says did not know downed jet was Russian


The Turk military is telling the world in effect they are dumbsh**ts, that they have NO rules of intercept (ROI) no rules of engagement (ROE).

I think that a few Turk Generals are having a hemorrhoid moment. Preparation H won't help them on this one.


When the "polite green men" took guard over Crimea and blocked the roads to the continent that was in preemption of a takeover by a Right Sektor force that was coming from Kiev. A Right Sektor group earlier had attacked a bus full of people from Crimea who were on their way back from Kiev.

But there was another movement parallel to the Right Sektor force. A large group of Tartars was coming by plane from Turkey. Allegedly they had been trained there. The "polite green men" took over the Crimea airport and blocked it for a full day. The flight from Turkey turned around in midair and flew back to Ankara.

There was little published about the move and background but there is clearly more behind the Tartars-against-Russia group that now cut the electricity than just some local anger.

I find it likely that Turkey has very good connections with them and that Nuland's putsch in Kiev was/is supported by Erdogan.

Aside from that: Now within Russia the rights of Tartars in Crimea significantly increased. There language is now official (next to Russian and Ukrainian) and they can learn and teach their language in school. Tartars which Stalin had moved from Crimea (or their children) are now free to return. All these are rights they never had under Ukrainian rule.

William R. Cumming

IMO both Turkey and Russia playing blind man's bluff. Excellent summary in your post BTW!

IMO what is loose this decade is the notion that nation-states not really relevant and almost all such nation-states collectively and individually cling to the notion that they are keys to the future.

There are other forces that may well drive this century beyond militant Islam. IMO the Paris attacks may well be the ISIS high-water mark this decade.


""Turkish military says did not know downed jet was Russian""

WTF? Did they think the Klingons were zooming around Syria? This is pathetic.

Chris Chuba

"he is after all apparently trying to pull off a Turkish equivalent of the Liberation of the Sudetenland, an action of a type generally being frowned upon amongst neocons if their frequent invocations of the evils of Munich 1938 are any indication."

The Neocons are hypocrites and I have heard the Borg collective rumbling that they are dying to carve up Syria / Iraq along ethic lines, so if giving the Turks a slice of Syria is payment to let them experiment some more in the M.E. so be it. They probably underestimate how unwilling Turkey is to allow a Kurdistan to form so would probably settle to have Kurdish areas remain part of a Sunnistan and/or what's left of Iraq.

Here is a list of neocons that I have heard who have gushed over the thought of partitioning Iraq / Syria, Krauthammer, Bolton, Oliver North, and a few more random voices that I don't know well enough to recall their names.

I think that their main motive is to deprive Iran of an easy link to Hezbollah (their #1 obsession) followed by their own hubris that they are somehow anointed to solve all of the problems in the M.E. along with their typical disdain for the concept of national sovereignty.


The article states that "Both (Turkey and Russia) are targeting Islamic State jihadists" - in fact, the Turks are doing pretty much the opposite.


Chris Chuba
you forgot another obvious one, Ralph Peters of 'Blood borders' fame.


Joe Biden has said such things also:


Then, of course, there are the neocons with 'A clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm' and 'Coping with crumbling states'.



While the folks you named, and the ones I added, have all said and gushed over and written such things, I don't see the effects that have been produced on the ground being the result of any single overarching policy.

This is IMO chaos coming out of dumb foreign policy in which various players, independently and for their own ideological or political reasons, pursue mutually irreconcilable goals, reacting and adjusting to the moves of the others.

Only because these dudes grandstand with the calls to partition Syria or Iraq or to reduce the Greater Middle East to a smouldering cauldron so Israel can lord over it or whatever that doesn't mean there's a plan. That the Middle East is a de-facto divided, chaotic mess now isn't proof of causality.

It assumes a grand strategy where there is opportunism, infighting, contradiction and lack of coherence. As I see it the US has at any given time at least two, usually contradicting, policies toards any given issue.

Babak Makkinejad

That is fine if you accept that large parts of the world are to become ungoverned and ungovernable; local cunning, cruel, venal rulers who rule over a cowed ignorant parochial poverty-stricken populations for a time being.

Of course, since Nature Abhors Vacuum, those areas will in time be gobbled up by functioning states and order would be restored.

Your position only pertains to a transitory period with all the attendant illogical death and destruction; just look at Eastern Somalia.

Or South Sudan, or East Timor.

Will Smith

S-400 systems at Hmemeim airbase in Syria very fast deployment.
video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RCLOfC3FfM
album of their delivery: http://imgur.com/a/JEz6Q


i would venture a guess that the kurd population in turkey - approx 20%, is a much bigger challenge for turkey then the tatars in crimea.. turkeys objective in syria doesn't line up with this part of it's populace either.. i am seeing a lots going on in turkey that runs at cross purposes to the apparent objectives of erdogan, the latest being the newspaper editor in court for 'espionage' after revealing weapon convoy to syrian militants.. turkey is walking a dangerous line and it's actions seem chaotic at best - about the exact opposite of russias to date..


I personally found this article far too optimistic of Turkish capabilities and making linear assumptions that fit more in the hypothesis being pushed vs. what's actually likely to happen. Especially in the case of the Turks closing the Black Sea in a /time of war/ and the Russians shrugging their shoulders and going WELP NOTHING WE CAN DO.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

'That is fine if you accept that large parts of the world are to become ungoverned and ungovernable; local cunning, cruel, venal rulers who rule over a cowed ignorant parochial poverty-stricken populations for a time being.'

You are taking a 'sighting shot' at a nightmare which confronts us – indeed, some of us who were not blinded by the euphoria of the collapse of communism could see very unpleasant possibilities, more than a quarter century ago.

But you leave out some critical elements. One of which is that in the kind of 'ungoverned and ungovernable' societies you describe, 'rational action' is not the kind of clean and antiseptic behaviour beloved of economists (commonly, antiseptic and at least relatively clean people).

Instead, commonly, it is criminal.

Moreover, while the 'small pickings' of this kind of 'rational action' involve preying upon 'cowed ignorant parochial poverty-stricken' populations, the richer pickings in one way or another involve exploiting the 'developed' world.

What do you think Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, and their like were up to? And these were the people hailed as heroes in the West.

Again, the same question: are those involved in this nonsense 'smart people who are putting us on' or 'imbeciles who really mean it'? Of course, they might be 'imbeciles who are putting us on.'

However, do not assume that 'functioning states' will be able to 'restore order' in areas of criminalised anarchy.

Insofar as the 'functioning states' are supposed to be Western, for anything of the kind to happen would require a reversal of the complete intellectual collapse of which Gorbachev – that naïve, pathetic, and tragic figure – was the unwitting architect.


Turkish authorities have informed the Russian military attache that they did not provide the media with audio recordings of alleged radio contacts between their F-16 fighter and the downed Russian Su-24 aircraft, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday... If so, this confirms yet again that the recordings of the Turkish pilots’ contacts with our crew that emerged today are another fake,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov told reporters. “Our military attache was informed that it was impossible to hand over any materials regarding the attack on the Russian plane by a Turkish F-16 on November 24,” the spokesman said."

"... an air navigator of the Russian SU-24 frontline bomber which was shot down by the Turks, gave his first interview with Russian media, in which he stated that there is no way that his plane violated Turkish airspace. No. It is not possible, not even for one second. Especially because we were flying at around 6.000 meters, the weather was clear, as we say in our jargon a day in a million, our whole flight up to the moment that the rocket hit us was completely under my control. I saw the border and our exact location perfectly both on the map and on the surroundings. There was not even the threat of crossing over into Turkey – he told reporters. We have carried out combat missions there many times, we know the area inside out, we perform combat missions and return on the reverse route to the air base. As the navigator, I know practically every elevation over there. I can even navigate without instruments – he said.
The pilot said that the Turkish missile hit the plane suddenly and it was not possible for the crew to avoid it and there was no advance warning from the Turkish side. In fact there were no warnings at all – not by radio traffic and not visually, there was just no contact. For this reason we went on combat course in regular mode. You need to understand how fast a bomber is and how fast a F16 fighter is. If they had wanted to warn us, they could have shown themselves, by holding a parallel course, but there was nothing like that. In effect, the missile suddenly came at the tail of our plane anyway. We didnt even observe it visually, which might have allowed us to carry out an anti-missile maneuver, said the pilot."



Short of NATO disowning Turkey, too overt Russian punitive actions against Turkey are probably off the books--unless Putin is making a huge gamble, which I don't think is his style. As to whether NATO leaders will cleanly give up Turkey, that seems mixed: there seem to be enough who are disgusted with Erdoganist antics to want to see the Russians put him and his coterie in their place. Many others are, however, too clearly gleeful about giving the Russians a black eye that they seem to be eager to lie in bed even with the Jihadists. The confused public statements coming out of NATO capitals bear that out, and without a clear public position by NATO leaders, a clear disownment of Turkey will not have taken place, which will bring us back to square one.

This, in turn, is coupled with relative sparseness of Russian resources in the short to medium term for the Middle East--I don't see them committing less capable, conscript-heavy elements of their forces to Middle East and complications with Turkey will limit their ability to enlist civilian shipping (if that was a serious prospect to begin with) to support their expeditionary forces. This means that, in the short term, at least, Russians will have to limit themselves to covert and/or economic retaliations, which may not be enough to deter Erdoganists much yet... or at least that's what Erdoganists will think.

Now, I'm curious as to how things will unfold, albeit with much trepidation. S-400 batteries are a serious show of force. Will they be shooting down Turkish or Israeli jets that merely "seem" too threatening? I don't doubt that both will be quite eager to "test out" what the Russians will do in the near future. So Russians bring down a few Turkish, or for better or worse, Israeli jets... (or better yet, the Greeks do somewhere outside Middle East, with their Russian supplied S-300's? I don't think that'd ever happen, though.) what then? It seems like a recipe for even further escalation between NATO and Russia (the nice thing about Greeks bringing down Turkish jets for airspace violations would be that that rules out NATO level response while leaving the message clear to the Turkish leaders, but I don't see Greeks quite so willing to be Russian pawns at this stage, but maybe....).

As everyone has been noting, the Turkish (and Borgish) strategy is to bring about NATO-Russian confrontation on full scale by sparking, in Bismarckian words, "some damn thing" in the Levant. They are expecting that Putin will eventually slip and let loose a crisis which will force Russians to back down in humiliation. The flip side of this is that we will all be glass.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your kind words.

I think Western Diocletian thinkers and populations take the existence of State as a necessary evil. And I think that must be due to the influence of such fantasists as Rousseau and others like him, in contradistinction to Hobbes and that entire unsentimental empirical tradition of English statecraft, on the Western popular imagination.

One only needs to look at how often the Red Coats had to be sent abroad to restore order in various parts of England and Scotland by ruthlessly hanging any and all from the nearest trees to conclude that there is nothing natural about the English state. And to further note what it took to maintain its writ and what the alternatives could be.

Those lessons, the lessons of the Warring State period in China, the lessons of Russian History prior to Ivan the Terrible, the lessons of consequences of dynastic collapse in China all seem to have made no impression on the minds of men such as Khdorovsky or other like him - East or West of the Diocletian line.

I am inclined to think that they are dangerous imbeciles who believe - in the half-digested manner - the theories of Western Diocltean Thinkers.

And yes you are correct and I was wrong in assuming that 'functioning states' will be able to 'restore order' in areas of criminalised anarchy.

Iran will not march into Afghanistan and try to restore order, the Iranian people will revolt against sharing their oil/gas wealth with Afghans and US will not intervene in Mexico to restore order either.

So, areas of criminality will expand and walls have to be built to keep them out - one such wall already is at US border with Mexico, Iran is completing one in her Eastern border with Pakistan, and I imagine many more such physical borders will be built over time.

I do believe that foreigners cannot externally strengthen any given governing structure or state but they can at least refrain from weakening the existing countries and their governing structures.

The continuing experience of Western Pakistan which has been trying to build a state where none had existed for centuries is quite instructive; it is an extraordinarily difficult task since you are going against the grain of the population and their internal values.

Babak Makkinejad

Israelis, in my view, are failures at the grand strategic level since they have failed to make themselves acceptable and accepted in their region.

For them is not the leisurely stroll in Isfahan or summer by the Caspian Sea.

Their greed and stupidity has isolated them and will keep them isolated and no amount of chaos in the Middle East is going to alter that.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree.

From its inception Turkey was conceived along the Nation-State theories of Western political thinkers and philosophers, which, unfortunately, were not applicable to Turkey with its variegated population.

It left the Turkish state with no internal conceptual defenses against ethno-linguistic nationalism of the sort that could find appeal among Kurds.

May be a different name - "Republic of Anatolia" could have helped.

Babak Makkinejad

I think your observations clearly indicate that NATO as a military alliance no longer can deal with the world as it is.

One member, Turkey, evidently supports Jihadists who have attacked another member, France.

Furthermore the NATO member France now proposes to collaborate militarily with the non-NATO member Russia, which is itself under sanctions by NATO member states.

Moreover, those ground troops that are fighting ISIS, which has attacked both Russia and France, are from Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, enjoying various degrees of sanctions by US and EU.

Lastly, France, US, and UK are selling tens of billions of weapons to Gulfies, who are supporters of ISIS and assorted other Jihadists in Syria. And all 3 states are committed to defend Gulfies against aggression by Iran - who is fighting ISIS in Iraq and in Syria.

They should have copy-righted all of this so that it could not be used by such TV Series as "the Game of Thrones".


Few comments.

Greeks need cash, although they also need balls and providing it externally is a tricky thing.

Russia and Israel enjoy pretty good relationships right now. No conflict I think would happen. Just blind eye on actions of each other.

As for Turkey... Putin may not want to overreact, but he can't make as much as half a step back.

So any further moves by Turkey will invoke progressively harsher responses. There is no long term hopes to temper Russian reactions like in Ukraine. Indeed even prospect of deteriorating NATO if exploiting its inner contradictions by aggressive reaction to turks. It's a gamble, but considering overall risks involved in international politics right now, not out of realm of possible strategies to pursue.



The Islamic State is the response to 25 years of conflict with the USA. The Dead Zone is ruled by men with the most weapons. But, areas where religion still has leaders and believers they self-organize. Being American and embedded with the culture of John Ford movies like “My Darling Clementine”, I believe education by strong women imposes civilization onto chaos.

This is not only a Middle East religious war but also the first battles of World War III. The next escalation is if Russia shots down F-16’s bombing YPG Kurds or do they escort them back to Turkey. The war will be very hard to dampen down. The West is ruled by plutocratic War Lords intent solely on profits and power. They are spreading chaos across the world that is spreading to Europe; destroying western civilization.


a repost of a comment on Saker:
"Nato in complete dissaray, I noticed Hollande didn’t once attempt to come “collectively” to the defence of Turkey, instead he appeared tres embarrassed. Erdogan was floored by Putin in this press conference and I have never seen him so determined to enact retaliatory measures. He argued that Turkey was a loose canon within Nato, and through down the gauntlet to the americans and their “led” coalition that they had all details of Russian flight paths/sorties, and yet Turkey abused this trust. Responding to the s-400 deployment, what was the threat about the many and other counter measures that will be used? Electronic jamming, decoys..
Hollande also stuck the boot into the IS/Erdogan oil company saying quite clearly they are going after this too. Will this coalition work, its difficult to say, Russia needs to press on regardless, it doesn’t need the mistrals. Fascinating press conference!"


thanks babak and kao_hsien_chih for a good summation of where we are at here..


I understood that the present day Turkish Generals are Islamists (perhaps not of the ultra type), but of the Sultan's choosing. The old Kemalist military crowd is either in jail or dead, hence, not a great chance of a coup from the current bunch.

This Syria thing will probably devolve into a non-nuke missile exchange, sinking ships you say, then tac-nukes. After that, it's party time. I wonder whether China would decide that US Navy boomers in the Pacific would launch their MIRVs over their airspace to get to Russia, and think that this was cool? Some of their military Denny Downers might imply that they would be next. Decisions, decisions, decisions, launch or not launch. Perhaps I'm going a dozen bridges too far.

PS. I heard that the Russkies were talking about having their gear shipped on board third country shipping. The Turks might block the Bosporus still, but what if the Sultan wants to sink a few of those?

As the Colonel said of the future of the viability of the OBE, execrable NATO, methinks quite a few of that peanut gallery's
membership might frown on participating in the upcoming Article 5 hoedown.


Actually, you don't have to go that far. http://www.juancole.com/2015/11/potomac-corrupt-society.html

Its quite an amazing article with situations worth considering.


You act like Turkey is a special case. I can't name a single state with more than a million people for which it hold true

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