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01 March 2017

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Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

That is just a public pose by him; hoping to fool Russian and Iranian leaders.

He is, in my opinion, on script with the rest of Fortress West - Wound-Iran-In-Syria.

I suppose the idea is that after Iran's wings are clipped, Gulfies will reimburse him - as well as EU.

Rd

"What would be the result of a Turkish/US proxy war in NE Syria? "

On the other hand; every one concerned with terrorism and safety of troops, should help this legislation pass

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists

https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/video-rep-tulsi-gabbard-introduces-legislation-stop-arming-terrorists

The Twisted Genius

There are several photos of a group of four Special Forces models of the HMMWV with up-armor kits installed. They appear new and one has what appears to be an air movement manifest marker still attached. Normally four of these vehicles are manned by one SFOD-A. Two vehicles fly American flags. Several YPG soldiers and at least one Toyota technical are also in the photos. My guess is this is a new team brought in to reinforce the MMC. This is in addition to those GB brethren already embedded with the MMC and YPG. I agree that these GB brothers are willing to die at the sides of those they now see as comrades. Before that, they will make the Turks and the FSA jihadis pay dearly.

Now we will see what Trump and his administration are made up. It's time to nut up or shut up.

BraveNewWorld

Right now the US and Russia view Erdogan as a useful idiot. When that changes and they both view him as just an idiot...

Liza

Col. Lang:

Erdogan may be preparing to leave NATO. Erdogan and Putin are scheduled to meet soon to discuss the purchase of an S-400 system. It's difficult to imagine that Putin would sell this system if Turkey remained in NATO.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/sputniknews.com/amp/military/201702281051120583-s-400-deal-putin-erdogan-talks/?espv=1

Stumpy

The Syrian war imo has featured a certain tolerance for slop, i.e. Turkey shoots down Russian fighter, US attacks Syrian troops at Deir Ezzor, Russian aircraft attack Kurdish fighters near Aleppo, etc.

The Turks don't have the best track record of taking and holding ground, thus the notion of taking Manbij has an element of doubt. Turkey adjusts expectations under pressure to get something out of this clusterf*.

The threshold at which US decides to back its friends and save our SF by fire support is likely determined by tactical necessity on the ground, correct? How far will Erdogan go to save face if more flag-draped coffins return to Andrews due to Turkish-supported fire?

mike

Let's hope that Erdogan's bombast is to his base for the coming referendum. But the man thinks he is the reincarnation of Suleiman the Magnificent, so who knows whether he will pull the trigger. He has probably been watching too many Turkish historical soap operas about the Ottomans. There is a biopic film about him titled "Reis", which translates to "the chief" in english.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-21/turkey-parliament-triggers-referendum-on-presidential-system-iy6kd8n6

http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-biopic-about-turkeys-president-screened-at-birthday-gala-2017-2

Plus Putin would love to see Turkey out of NATO and the removal of NATO aircraft from Incirlik. So who knows if there are subtle wedge issues being exploited in the press?

mike

The Al-Sanadid depicted in the blood red shield icon, top right on your graphic are an interesting group. They are an Arab militia from the Shammar tribe. They are very anti-Wahhabi and anti-Saudi. Originally from the southern Arabian Peninsula, some came north to Syria in the 18th century, some others in the early 20th century when Ibn Saud and his Wahhabi's restored his family's rule.

The Sanadid forces come primarily from northeastern Syria and number 4 to 5000 fighters. They are neither for nor against Assad. The Shammar have had a long relationship with the Syrian Kurds. They were the only Arab tribe to refuse to fight against Kurds who were protesting during the 2004 Qamishli riots.

http://www.france24.com/en/20160314-focus-syria-sanadid-sunni-force-islamic-state-group

What does their Arabic script insignia say on the shield?

Gabriel

Posting a remarkable expose [https://belluminexpertis.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/an-army-in-disarray-turkish-military-and-the-comeback-of-the-bashibozouk/]>expose (clearly by current or former officer) on the accelerating degringolade of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Images flooding the social media depicts a very gloomy picture of the Turkish Military. Unfiltered pictures remind not of the Army of Ataturk, the modernizing force and the guardian of the Republic, but that of Ottoman Era bandit-militia, the Bashibozouk.

Apparently, without an efficient leadership in the forced absence of the Officer Corps, uncontrolled soldiers started to behave as they wish and with no code of ethics. What makes the matter worse is the complete lack of a STRATCOM policy or oversight on the dissemination of information in the public domain. As Generals seem to be busy with building their political connections, the prospect for theTurkish Military looks very grim, to say the least.

No need for long sentences and fancy intros: Alarm bells are ringing for Turkish Military. Images flooding the social media show a Military in disarray; replete with indiscipline, insubordination showing signs of severe lack of oversight and as a result, demonstrating unacceptable forms of conduct. Apparently they also lack even a basic STRATCOM capacity to manage the image of the Turkish Military. This is a very slippery slope, the end of which leads to nothing short of military disaster on a biblical scale and/or accusations in the ICC. I hope this piece serves as a way belated wake up call for military authorities and they get their act together.

Take a look at this video for example:Who are these guys? Who is the leader of these bandits? What kind of a commander lets his subordinates to shoot aimlessly in a combat zone on this scale? And more worryingly, how can troops be allowed to salute with ultra-nationalist greywolf sign and shout slogans? This is not the only video. Political and/or xenophobic messages, salutes are all over the social media.(Here, here) One wonders, whether they have started allowing-or even promoting- neo-fascist tendencies as well? Have they not learned their lessons from all this FETO debacle? On top of debates about the politicization of the military, clashing cliques (pro-Russian vs. pro-Erdogan Islamists), this addition of ultra-nationalist flavor is very bad. Last thing we need is proxies of a ultra-nationalist (at times racist) political party in uniform, swinging their weapons, chanting racist slogans, drawing racist graffiti in operational areas.

From having studied Argentine Army in Falklands in some detail, I've have always been a bit skeptical of the assumption "conscripts + COIN = military ineffectiveness" (they can and did in Falklands, but via more subtle mechanisms than is usually understood) but this (plus the scale of the ongoing purges [http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-army-advertising-for-special-forces-personnel.html]) goes well beyond anything I've seen. It'd take a Malaparte or Celine to do it justice.

For what it's worth, I think "FSA" numbers are being underreported, and what Turkey plans is to use Ahrar as Sham [always its principal client among the jihadi groups) as the infantry while they supply air and artillery support (tanks seem to being used to shell from a distance--those early losses (href='https://southfront.org/new-data-reveals-how-many-military-equipment-turkey-lost-in-attempts-to-capture-al-bab/)] seem to have made someone much more cautions).

[Literal PS--just saw this]: On the other hand, https://southfront.org/new-data-reveals-how-many-military-equipment-turkey-lost-in-attempts-to-capture-al-bab/. (announcement by SDF Manbij Military Council--it's official).

Pundita


BREAKING: Kurdish-led SDF to handover huge section of territory to SAA
By Andrew Illingworth
AMN March 2

"The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are to hand over a massive section of their territory west of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army in order to create a buffer zone against the Turkish Army and Turkey-led forces in northern Syria. The map above is an initial estimate of the area which will be handed over to pro-government forces and not official.
[...]"

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-kurdish-led-sdf-handover-huge-section-territory-saa/

turcopolier

Gabriel

If the Turkish military is in such pitiful condition Erdogan can blame himself for purging the officer corps repeatedly in fear of a rebellion. pl

Henshaw

Interesting implications from several angles, particularly if it allowed SDF resources to be redirected towards Raqqa.

turcopolier

mike

"Rais" (ra-ees) is an Arabic loan word in Turkish. It obviously means "boss," "chief," etc. It also forms compound words as in "rais al-jumhuriyet" means "presidentt of the republic." You can fins thd term in any Arabic newspaper. I don't read Turkish. pl

turcopolier

Stumpy

None of the "slop" ever surprises me. It is in the nature of war that there is "slop." This reminds me of a civilian colleague in DIA who expressed surprise that weapons and other equipment do not function as advertised by manufacturers. I laughed more than I should have. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for the link.

Whomever aspires to partition Syria, will have to actually pay for the sustenance of that population which it controls. Will Fortress West pay for "Northern Syria" that is going to be occupied by Turkey indefinitely?

Fortress West does pay for the Occupation of West Bank as well as Afghanistan - without a doubt. Will they add Northern Syria to it?

I do not think so.

Or is that supposed to come from the Gulfies?

Doubtful for long period of time.

In an analogous situation, Russia is now paying for Eastern oblasts of Ukraine.

b

Current news from Yemen says that there is -right now- a large raid ongoing today by U.S. forces against yet unknown targets. Allegedly in multiple locations, with air support and some sea landing.

On the earlier raid:
According to local sources in Yemen the SEAL raiders did not enter any homes and seized no equipment from homes. The raid was targeted, said other reports, at an AQ bigwig who, it turned out, wasn't there. That makes a lot more sense than the supposed "intelligence" raid.

Early eye witness accounts also claimed that two men were abducted by U.S. forces though I did not see any follow ups of that assertion. The clan that was raided was known be in the pay of the Saudis and was known to be al-Qaeda affiliated. The Yemeni proxy president Hadi was allegedly informed about the mission. Maybe someone around him warned the target?

AQ in Yemen is now a proxy of the Saudis. There is a lot of fighting between the UAE, which had elements taking part in the SEAL raid, and the Saudis. This is a violent competition over port and pipeline rights.

The SEAL raid was a SWAT raid against some Saudi asset. It was blown early on but instead to retreat and try gain later the SEALs unleashed hell on everyone around them. A stupid overreacting but consistent with the behavior of this unit in other missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The SEALs should be urged to find back to their original missions. Their troops have degraded into overhyped shooter/killer gangs. That is far away from their original and more cautious profile.

b

The only issue uniting Russia and U.S. in Syria now is fighting Erdogan and his proxies.

Somewhat ironic ...

Ghostship

From further down in the same article:
“To reach these objectives [the defense of Manbij] we have transferred, after reaching a new alliance with Russia, the defence of the line to the west of Manbij – where the villages between us and the gang groups [FSA, Ahrar al-Sham] affiliated to the Turkish army are – to Syrian state forces.”
So the Kurds were talking to Moscow. Have the full un-redacted transcripts of Flynn's conversation with the "Russian Ambassador" been published? I don't think so. So perhaps Syria and destroying ISIS is what Flynn was discussing and sanctions were just a misdirection if indeed they were discussed, and that's why Flynn had to go for the time being.

kooshy

As a Persian proverb goes “here are two words (cents) from the mother of the bride” in this case the WP editorial board and Fred Haitt. Dear colonel’ pilgrims, IMO, nothing has changed, Borg has won once again. As the other Fred, Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son use to say, holding his hand on his heart “Elizabeth honey I am coming to join you, this is the big one” Colonel sorry for lengthy paste up.

“The U.S. should use its leverage on Syria”
“Ms. Haley, who lunched with Mr. Trump and Vice President Pence the day before the Security Council’s meeting, insisted on a vote so that the Putin and Xi Jinping regimes were forced to go on the record. Then she bluntly called them out. “It’s a sad day on the Security Council,” she said. “When members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people, the world is definitely a more dangerous place.”
“The ambassador’s forceful diplomacy was useful for more than sending the message that the Trump administration will be, like all U.S. administrations before it, ready to oppose war crimes. We hope it also is meant to put Mr. Putin on notice that Mr. Trump’s stated willingness to join with him in fighting the Islamic State will not extend to tolerating gross human rights violations or propping up the blood-soaked Assad dictatorship. An alliance with Russia that abetted such actions would only discredit the United States, including with its major allies in the Middle East; the chief beneficiary would be Iran, which has made the Assad regime its puppet and which has the largest interest in sustaining it.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-us-should-use-its-leverage-on-syria/2017/03/01/a1272bd4-fea0-11e6-8ebe-6e0dbe4f2bca_story.html?utm_term=.5534f66fec56#comments

LondonBob

Be interesting who suggested that and at what level it was improved, very smart, bodes well for future cooperation. Allowing Erdogan to play Russia and the US off against each other benefits neither party. Putin has clearly shown how to handle Erdogan, I should hope Trump has watched and learned, even if Frau Merkel hasn't.

LondonBob

So Haley's idea, or whoever feeds her her ideas. A meaningless resolution that would have no effect. Trump must move cautiously, especially until he can consolidate his position with the 2018 midterms. Look how carefully phrased Trump's comments on foreign policy were in his address, although I thought the message was clear enough. Change would always be slow and largely occur below the surface, but change is coming.

mike

That was a good move. Before that you had three different armies within hand grenade range of each other, which was a disaster waiting to happen.

Now, to take Manbij, Erdogan is faced with either taking on the SAA to the west of Manbij, or the US to the north of Manbij.

The big question in my mind is when and how the Syrian regime will push the Turks completely out of northern Aleppo province and send them back behind their own borders? Will the Turks go peacefully? The Iraqis face the same situation with Turkish bases in northern Iraq.

But that probably will not happen until Daesh an al-Qaeda are defeated.

mike

Prior to the handover, the SDF beat off an attack west of Manbij. They are reporting they killed 12 Ahrar Al-Sham fighters, injured 30 Others, captured 2 Turks and seized 3 armoured vehicles. ACV-15s maybe?

Gabriel

Damn, having brackets at the end of links made them useless. Sorry people.

Main article, which strongly recommended is here https://belluminexpertis.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/an-army-in-disarray-turkish-military-and-the-comeback-of-the-bashibozouk/

A second piece that I think is also important in showing how (a) the purges are targeting junior officers and even senior enlisted personnel and (b) they are ongoing and happening in small batches, here http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-army-advertising-for-special-forces-personnel.html

LG

الصناديد al sanadid

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