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24 January 2016


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Balint Somkuti

The remnants of the turbe (shrine) once containing the heart of Suleiman the I was found in Southern Hungary. Ha died during the siege of Szigetvar. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Szigetv%C3%A1r)

Although he was clearly an invader his bust stands next to the heroic defenders' Nicholas (Miklós) Zrinyi. This and the excavations were fiannced by the turkish govt. The wrold has really gone mad.

Chris Chuba

Biden has done a public service announcement by establishing that Assad and the Russians are allied with the Kurds while the Turks are enemies of all of the Kurdish factions, not just the PKK (as some apologists try to claim).

On a separate but related not, I have noticed that ISIS in NW Syria are making gains against Turkish supported rebels in the direction of Azaz. Why would ISIS expend resources doing this when Manbiz and Al Bab are threatened? Is this to make themselves indispensable to Turkey and their rebel supported allies by controlling the last border crossing into Turkey. Presumably if ISIS could control Azaz then they would have leverage in being able to gain supplies and possibly retreat into Turkey. The Unicorns are getting crushed in the Latakia area so that border access looks as good as gone; Rabiya has been taken by the SAA. http://militarymaps.info/


I imagine that Biden could be doing something sensible in this Turkish visit. It will give him an opportunity to let the Turks know that the US policy is changing and that there are some actions we will no longer support. By making it clear that the US is supporting the YPG will make it more difficult for the Turks to attack YPG forces inside Syria. While Biden is there he might also let the Turks know that the US will no longer look kindly on Turkish support for ISIS and the other head chopping and liver eating factions (we can only hope). Perhaps Biden could let the Turks know that article 5 of the NATO charter does not apply if Turkey invades a neighboring country. In any case Biden could do a lot to help clean up Obama's disastrous policies towards Syria.


Col. Lang while you are at it, can you also please have someone explain this other statement by our utterly, instantaneous and astonishingly dumb VP on this same trip.

“U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against Islamic State in Syria should the Syrian government and rebels fail to reach a political settlement.”

for life of me I can’t understand why (the relation of) “if Syrian Government, can’t reach a political settlement with the rebels” (apparently the good guys) US and Turkey are prepared to attack the IS/DAESH?
At least on Syrian government part wouldn’t reaction to this statement be: well, all along we were told by you, and thought you are already doing this military solution against IS, but if you feel like you haven’t done enough and this time you really want to get read of IS with a military solution “go ahead make our day punk”.


The assumption is that there is in fact some kind of thinking going on. That's dubious. The record seems to suggest that nothing recognizable as strategic logic is occurring anywhere in Washington's power centers. Instead, we have a free-for-all whereby everyone emotes as impelled by inner demons while the President scoots around the country doing whatever. Carter declares on Friday that we are sending the 101 Airborne to evict ISIl from Mosul and nobody even asks whether it's true or not. Dunford on Thursday lays out the plot for an extensive bombing campaign in Libya against people we're still trying to identify - a campaign that nobody has heard reference to before; and there is no reaction. Breedlove as much as declares war on Russia and this too is taken in stride. To understand this phenomenon, perhaps we need draw on either chaos theory or psychopathology (collective and individual).

William R. Cumming

Biden and Gates unfortunately victims of their own resumes.

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel Lang:
"These AKP people clearly intend to re-establish something reminiscent of the late Ottoman Empire. "

IMO their particular wish was to re-form the Sunni caliphate with tayyip-the-lesser as the caliph. They know this gambit failed. They and their allies (handlers?) are now trying different things to stave of destruction.

Joint appearances with Merkel and Biden provided significant political capital for these clowns. In contrast Putin has refused to meet with tayyip, and did not take his calls after the plane shoot-down. Does the old saw about "One is defined by one's associates" apply here?

Ishmael Zechariah



OK the sultanate/caliphate of the late Ottoman Empire. pl


So while we are at it. What is Ashton Carter talking about when he says 101st Airborne will be in Iraq to fight IS?


Perhaps one should no longer be surprised to find that Western politicians no longer act in the interests of their own countries. They are all controlled and financed by zionist billionaires, so naturally those who pay the piper call the tune.

different clue


Sanders isn't. Trump isn't. So far as I know.


Only Trump shows some sign of offering less than 100% loyalty to Israel in preference to his own country; which is causing outrage to those for whom anything less than 100% devotion to Israel is unacceptable. Even he can't be very independent.


Biden's statements should be viewed in the context of his post-Iraq strategy: Iraq cannot be put back together; there will eventually be a Shia, Kurdish and Sunni nation.

Biden is placing down markers to the neo-Ottomans that US and Kurdish interests are increasingly aligning. The Erdogan Turks are pushing back.

In a region increasingly characterized by proxy wars, the imperial power must protect and nurture its sub-state actors. Playing at two levels requires an ability to read the sectarian landscape while simultaneously playing the larger regional game.

Historically, we have not played this 3D chess very well in the Middle East because we allow our regional partners to define the substate actors. We accept their narrative rather than playing off competing narratives to our own end.

This is a good first step.



I had quite a lot of exposure to Biden when he was a senator. He was completely dominated by a couple of clever neocons on his staff. I would describe him as cunning rather than intelligent, but then, I am a severe INTP and obsessed with competence. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I do not believe there the analytical capacity - in whole or in part - to read and to play the sectarian landscape in the Near East exists in US or anywhere else among the Western Diocletian's.

Even at the level of this discourse on this forum one keeps on hearing about "Kurds" without attention paid to the significant divisions and difference of the Kurdish Cultural archipelago.



That is really a very snobbish thing to say. we could easily get down in the weeds but we would in the process lose the attention of many who come here to learn. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I just do not think there are that many smart and knowledgeable and capable people in the world.

And, further, that if that capacity does not exist in US, in my opinion, it sure as hell does not exist anywhere else in the world.

Perhaps the defunct Colonial Office had such capacities.


Colonel, Babak,

I for one would vote for more info, particularly about the Kurds. For example we almost never hear about the Iranian Kurds. Babak mentioned a few days ago that they think they are teh superior Kurds - why is that? Also mentioned was his opinion that they are missing a certain something essential to nation building. Which led to mention of Myers-Briggs personality types, as if nations or peoples have anologous 'personalities' (maybe they do, I have no experience judging such things).
More info will not chase me away, it's why I keep coming back here.



Whether you believe the capability exists will not prevent the US, in an age of crumbling state structures, from trying.

To cite a recent example:



This analytic capacity you speak of cannot exist in what has become a bloated and insular IC. DC thinks tanks are even worse.

It needs to exist in the State Department.

But we live in an era that shuns specialists.


I'll settle for cunning that is informed by intelligent.

At that level, you are who you surround yourself with.

Babak Makkinejad

No doubt.



As you know, the Borgist careerists in the USG shun real knowledge because people who have that kind of knowledge do not fit into the Hope and Change campaign for "social justice." pl



He surrounds himself with AIPAC types. pl

Babak Makkinejad

My understanding has been that many foreign intelligence agencies rely on US and what US choses to share with them.

Analogously, much of the world is reliant on the (presumed) analytical capabilities of the United States, inside and outside of US Government, to make sense of the world.

And then there is largely US-based Anglo-Saxon news sources that dominate the entire planet.

Having paid attention to issues related to Iran and the broader world of Islam over several decades, I, regrettably came to the conclusion that independent analytical capacity regarding Iran and Islam is largely absent outside of US.

The entire world, it seems to me - is largely & willingly a victim of Group-Think.

Specifically, in regards to Iran, I think there is only residual capacity left in UK and in Italy and nowhere else in Europe (including Russia).

France seem to have some understanding of Arab and African worlds but nothing East of Suez, it seems to me.

China could have more insights than she is letting on, perhaps she has very good capabilities in regards to the world of Islam but I cannot read Chinese and cannot gauge that.

So they all have a tendency to listen to US and follow what she says or suggests; "Americans know more than us..."

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