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09 December 2015


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William R. Cumming

Agree with this post and believe MOSUL of strategic significance to all parties.


At that meeting, the Turkish official spoke openly about his country’s world view. “We know that we cannot get back the lands that were under the control of the Ottoman empire before 1917,” he said, “but do not make the mistake of thinking that the borders that were dictated to us at the end of the first world war by the victorious countries – mainly the UK and France – are acceptable to us. Turkey will find a way to return to its natural borders in the south – the line between Mosul in Iraq and Homs in Syria. That is our natural aspiration .../endquote/

The Obama administration is obviously actively supporting that long planned scheme. It pressed Iraq to not let the militia touch Mosul. They would have by now probably freed it.

Abadi is a dofos for not figuring that out. My advice after the first news of the Turkish invasion was "Bomb them. Immediately and hard." That was probably the only chance Iraq had.



If the BHO branch of the Borg is supporting a scheme to establish a Turkish southern border from Mosul to Homs that probably is an impeachable offense as violating the UN Charter which was ratified by the US. pl


That solution surely might suit several powerful interests. Presumably there's enough oil money available from Mosul to placate the local Sunnis, Barzani's pro-Turkish Kurds, and Erdogon's business interests.

The American/Israeli 'Borg' might accept their clients the Turks as the new local strongmen, a NATO state opposed to Russian and Iranian and Syrian interests. The boundaries and continued existence of Iraq and Syria have become matters of dispute. ISIS may be outlasting its usefulness. It may be less embarrassing to allow it to fade away or become a Turkish proxy under a new name, to help grab eastern Syria and Northern Iraq.

Would Southern Iraq be allowed to be absorbed by Iran, and would a Russian protectorate over western Syria be generally acceptable as a diplomatic solution in these circumstances?


it's possible turkey made the decision on it's own and that it just so happens to fulfill others long term goals in the area... all the others can hide behind erdogans ambitions and claim they had no involvement in it, but notice the usa's role with regard to mosul and advice to abadi in iraq? same deal with obama on record saying he was hoping ISIS would influence makili's perspective.. the usa is not a trustworthy partner is much of anything, especially in the middle east arena..


b, you've been on fire about Turkey's neo-Ottoman moves lately over at your blog. Great stuff, thanks :)

Anyone here who has not read the most recent 3 posts, all on Turkey's machinations, recommend checking them out http://www.moonofalabama.org/

As for the Iraqi's bombing the Turks, as appealing as that idea is... that seems pretty far fetched considering the US's still considerable influence in Iraq.

Given Obama's statements following Turkey's downing of the Russian war plane, and the lack of any real criticism of Turkey at all, one is left with the fact that the US is supporting (from behind) Erdogan's moves and is content with Turkey to be the face of NATO aggression against Russia. And as a reward for this, Turkey can take whatever old Ottoman territory it can hold (that the US doesn't care about).

Those old Sykes-Picot boundaries are becoming less and less relevant every day.


Yes!!! we do know US does not believe in leading from behind(!!!!)

or is that obamacy, as in obama policy of not wanting his legacy tarnished with yet another failed military objective. once again washington unable to see past their noses.. going for short term gains and not recognizing the un-intended consequences.


"Barzani's pro-Turkish Kurds"

I always had an impression that Barzani's pro-Turkish Kurds were in fact first of all pro-Barzani and secondly to rent.




For me, the Turkish establishment of a base near Mosul is not easy to understand. Erdogan is buddies with Barzani, so what was done must have have been in agreement with him. It's well known now that the Kurds (perhaps all the different Kurdish interests) are not going to reoccupy Sunni Arab territory. Certainly not fight their way into Mosul. The Baghdad government is not going to reconquer Mosul in the near future, so no need to prevent it.

b's idea that Erdogan wants to re-expand the Ottoman empire to a line Mosul-Homs is equally a non-goer. There are very few Turcomans south of the border in that area. Including large numbers of non-Turks in Turkey would be an endless pain for Turkey.

That Mosul is restive, almost ready to revolt against ISIS, as FBA suggests, corresponds to what I've heard. Only one direct witness, but also a web-page some time ago. Note also that the Kurdish re-take of Sinjar city has cut the direct road between Raqqa and Mosul. Traffic now has to divert to the south, with a good length on unsurfaced roads.

The most obvious argument would be that the intention is to enable the Turks to continue to resupply ISIS in Mosul, and prevent a revolt. With the agreement of Barzani, whose Peshmerga didn't take part in the reconquest of Sinjar. Barzani's position is very difficult. Since the stop on Baghdad subsidies, Erbil is in a difficult economic situation. Hard to resist Erdogan's blandishments.


A note on the subject by a very knowledgeable reporter: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-are-turkish-troops-doing-in-northern-iraq?intcid=mod-latest

He doesn't mince words: "As much as any other leader in the region, Erdoğan has pushed vigorously for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. To see this through, the Turkish government has backed the most extreme rebel groups, including ISIS, allowing and even helping foreign fighters to come into Turkey and cross into Syria. ISIS would never have metastasized as virulently as it has without Turkey’s assistance.

The Turkish policy in Syria matched its efforts elsewhere in the Middle East in the early years of the Arab Spring. Wherever he could, Erdoğan backed parties linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni Islamist movement that Erdoğan’s own political party, known by its Turkish initials, A.K.P., grew out of.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been routed across the Middle East, most notably in Egypt, where its leaders are either in prison or dead. In Syria, Assad is standing stronger than he has in months. (Remember when, in 2013, President Obama decided not to use force against Assad after he crossed the “red line” by using chemical weapons? No one was angrier at President Obama than Erdoğan.)"

Read the whole thing.

FB Ali

Barzani is a client of Turkey's and Erdogan does not need to consult him before any moves in the area.

I very much doubt that Turkey provides aid or supplies to IS, in Mosul or anywhere. Buying their oil at black market rates, or allowing IS recruits to pass through Turkey in earlier days, does not constitute the relationship you are implying. Turkey indirectly uses IS where possible, but it is in no way an ally.

I don't know about the Mosul-Homs line, but I am pretty sure that Erdogan wants to regain the sway in the region that the Ottoman Turks wielded. He knows that he cannot incorporate these 'Empire' lands into Turkey, but he wants to wield over-riding influence in the Sunni areas around Turkey. His move in the Mosul area is part of that plan.

FB Ali

Dexter Filkins's answer to the question he poses (What are Turkish troops doing in Northern Iraq? is: Erdoğan wants to be part of whatever happens in Mosul.

I think Erdogan wants more than that; he wants to control and shape what happens in Mosul and the surrounding region.


"I very much doubt that Turkey provides aid or supplies to IS, in Mosul or anywhere."

You surprise me. Where else is ISIS going to to get its supplies from?


"I think Erdogan wants more than that; he wants to control and shape what happens in Mosul and the surrounding region."

His acts could be interpreted as less than that - simply defending ISIS.

Ishmael Zechariah

General Ali, Monsieur "War";
Some of us think that tayyip is simply trying to save his ass. In the words of our own Patrick Bahzad "we will see...".
Ishmael Zechariah

different clue


A minor quibble . . . it wasn't Assad that used those chemical weapons.


Ishmael Zechariah:

Do you think there's any possibility of a coup ? Would AKP replace him under American pressure ? Erdogan has always seemed to have a mafia mentality, but he seems to have become increasingly reckless and out of control. He's reportedly provoking Russia now by sending the Grey Wolves into Ukraine and Crimea. There are also reports that Russia is installing an S-300 system to protect Armenia. The Turkish economy is in meltdown, and this crisis in Iraq will only make it worse.


FB Ali, about a month ago I wrote pretty extensively about Erdogan's family dealings with Barzani. The long and short is that there is are new gas fields and if pipelines can be built it will give Turkey new supplies of natural gas that would free it from Russia and Iran. It needs Turkish financing and access. Behold Erdogan family to the rescue not down with public fund financing in 2016.

Keep main eye on Erdogan's son, oil company Genel run by Tom Hayward and BMZ Shipping. A mafia-like empire depends on cash and that inevitably means O&G in the Middle East.

Mosul is also critical to trucking routes headed toward southern Iraq and the GCC states for Turkish industry.


A formal border change is not necessary. Erdogan may look at Iraq and western Syria like Putin looks at the eastern Ukraine. It feels like 1938.


Pretty obvious the plan now is to create a Sunni state in Iraq and divide the country, quite how they will work it I do not know. Seen this advocated by the usual Zionist mouthpieces and no doubt has the approval of Saudis and Turks.


London Bob

IMO the US is not trying to create a Sunni state in Iraq. The US still clings to the one person one vote fantasy in a unified state. The Turks and Saudis however would love to create such a state. pl

Ishmael Zechariah


I do not know if the US will try to control their rouge operative-they might try. One of the primary sources of funding for this operation, bootleg petroleum sales, is in danger. The second source, heroin transit to Europa, is still going on but will not suffice. The cabal running Turkey is a nepotistic Sunni kleptocray; their malfeasance is well documented. So far they have been censoring the news to prevent the less-educated, pious electorate from finding this out. The last Russian plane gambit, however, has changed things. First, they now have a capable group interested in disclosing their operations on the world stage. Second, very few folks in TSK revere tayyip enough to die for him. Putin, in his last speech, was very careful to separate his regard for the Turkish people from his feelings for the regime.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

If you mean the Miran field, I think you are mistaken about its potential.

The Turkish annual import consists normally of 11 billion cubic meters and Miran's output is about 5 billion cubic meters per year.

Allowance must be made for domestic gas consumption from Miran field as well, further reducing what is available for export.

Fundamentally, neither Najaf nor Qum will accept partition of Iraq and that, in my opinion, is the decisive factor and not what US, Russia, Gulfies, China, or EU wish or do not wish.

Babak Makkinejad

Well, US then politically is holding the same position as that of the Najaf & Qum pseudo-Vatican of Shia does as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

David Habakkuk

Ishmael Zechariah,

I very much hope you are right, and tayyip has managed to, as it were, machine-gunned himself in the foot.

My reading of Putin has long been that he commonly went to very great lengths to prevent rifts becoming irreversible – on the prudent principle that circumstances change, so yesterday's adversary may become tomorrow's collaborator.

But I cannot see that the Russians have anything more to lose by a 'no-holds-barred' approach to Erdogan. And there may also be another possible advantage here. Focusing on his role involvements with the 'Islamic State' puts his NATO allies in a quandary.

If they respond by moving to control their 'rogue operative', the Russians win one way. If Western governments do not, they give aid and comfort to the suspicion among Western publics that jihadist terrorism is, at best, something their governments have not effectively tried to fight – or at worst, a monster they have been instrumental in letting loose.

Relevant questions then become how much mud the Russians have on tayyip – and how much they feel they can afford to sling, without risking exposing matters they may prefer to keep from the light of day.

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