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01 May 2017


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Fellow Traveler

I guess Erdogan feels Trump has put him in a corner:

Chief advisor of Turkey’s president, İlnur Çevik, gave statements about the conflict in Northern Syria and Turkey’s involvement in the region.

Answering questions of radio show host Erkan Tan during a program on CRI FM, Çevik said the US soldiers ‘may be hit accidentally’ in the region.

According to reports of Turkey’s online news portal OdaTV, Tan asked Çevik: “So, what do you say about the USA? They’ve become a protective shield for the PKK terrorists. They’ve literally become shield so that we don’t attack!”

In response, Çevik said: “If PKK terrorists continue their acts within Turkey… You know, they leak into our country from Northern Syria; from that region. What happened to DAESH? One night, we went there all of a sudden and we found ourselves in Al-Bab. The same goes for Northern Syria. If they step up too far, our troops will not care that Americans’ armored (troops) are there. Out of nowhere, you’d see that maybe a few rockets hit them accidentally.”

Having got shocked by statements of Çevik, the host Tan said: “Well, that’s a little harsh, though. You’re talking tough.”

Çevik replied: “Well, if they (USA) do that, what else could we do?”



Arguably its precisely when the middle class becomes affluent and assured of a good life the whole show goes down the tubes. Observe Scandinavia. Their economics are becoming more neo-liberal, they let corporations trick them into sending women into the labour pool, they think its sinful to promulgate a national identity that excludes the global South, and their social services are under increasing strain from increased immigration and lowered social trust.

Economic man, whether 'capitalist' or 'socialist' and his permissive individualism must be first abolished in favour of more ancient values if we're going to embark upon your program.


interview with Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, published in Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (German Economics Reports) on , March 9, 2015.

DWN: Is Putin taking advantage of the conflict, to use the situation to present his own people with an external enemy?

RS: No, I think that is a false argument. He doesn’t need this war. He has done everything to avoid it. The responsibility lies in Washington and Brussels. Putin has fantastic approval ratings. He successfully pulled of the Olympic Games in Sochi. What’s happening now is the last thing he needs. He is not a revisionist leader, and therefore the western reading of his handling is mostly all wrong.

DWN: How do you explain the fact that throughout the West there is a completely closed view of the story, namely that it is Russian aggression — in spite of the fact that, through that intercepted phone call of US diplomat Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland, we have clear indication that Washington was actively involved in the overthrow of the Yanukovich regime?

RS: I think the prevailing and utterly simple western view of the matter is the most unsettling aspect of the whole crisis. It is frightening to see how the public and the elites in the West have accepted this false viewpoint. It is always easy to put blame on Russia for everything. Russia is far from perfect, but it is for sure not the evil force that the West is now proclaiming. For me, it is also shocking to see how easily the western economic leadership have been led to this false reading.

read the whole interview (translated into english) here:

Jim Brooks

Col. Lang, what happened May 1st down here in Texas caused me to realize that we won't be doing anything other than fighting for the Saudis. They have woven their way deep inside corporate America and that is who's interests our government protects first and foremost. "America's largest oil refinery is now fully owned by Saudi Arabia"



From what I can make out the Russians are introducing the concept of cage fighting to modern warfare. The "moderates" in the de-escalation zones are supposed to fight the crazies with the SAA providing the virtual cage by manning the borders of the de-escalation zones.
If the "moderates" defeat HTS then the "moderates" will be severely weakened or if as is more likely HTS defeats the "moderates", then there'll be no "moderates" left for the US/CIA/whoever to try to protect.
If the "moderates" don't fight the crazies, then that just shows that the "moderates" are really crazies.


that map is so wrong. the abbasids were never in north africa at the time - the fatimids were, followed by salauddin ayyubi


sorry that was a mistake. the abbasids los egypt in the 900s. what I meant that in the period indicated N Africa was not in their control throughout.


well sure they make money (you mention), that is expected
and they do seek to control resources such as oil (you mention) even though USA does not need the oil
more than that, they get to sit at the head of the table, in the warm glow of power and prestige
today i read that trump probably did not even consider putting THAAD in Korea, it was decided by USA military men in consultation with Korea politicians at crucial stage of Korea elections
i went to school with the children of big brass, stayed in their homes as guest, and they were not humble people, they were not unconcerned about their status, quite the contrary
they had no doubts about USA hegemony, they did not really consider its costs, and that is what got us Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, now Syria
you are an unusual military man, because you do have doubts about USA hegemony
unlike others such as McCain, you seem to seek to avoid war, to actually examine events from the perspective of adversaries
maybe that is why you are not CJCS

Christopher Fay

In the Catholic church I infrequently go two Christians from Bethlehem selling their carvings after Mass basically said the Israeli Zionists are practicing ethnic cleansing. The Christian population in these middle-aged men had fallen from 25,000 to 2,500. And the Christians are lumped into the group the Palestinians making them easier to hate.


then Syria can be reconstituted along some vision of Ikhwan

Babak, Ikhwan is a bit hard to wrap my head around. 'Some vision of Ikhwan'?

If I neglect the power aspect, or fighting aspect, could there be difference in the Islam law school or law tradition the former allies AKP and Gülen movement follow? Or do they adhere to the same legal tradition versus the Shia? ...Sunni versus Shia in Turkey? Do both traditions have Sufi schools or only the Sunni?

You may have explained before. What's the core law source for Shia doctors? Yes, hard to remember without solid foundation or study.

The AKP, or at least Tayyip, seems to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood. Vision? Some type of neo-Ottoman pan-Islamism? Hanbali?

Last but not least, could you suggest scholars that can help me to get a glimpse on the history of the struggle between the Sunni and Shia over the ages.

PS, the interview with Ali Shamkhani is interesting.


Pat, My response wasn't meant to be disrespectful. I realized that the site you linked to was created by the late Michael Handel. ...


I shifted to the English translation. The German version only on first sight looked the same. The 1941 edition may have been edited. 1812/13 is an interesting year in Clausewitz' bio. I didn't know about that. To check the original would need more time.



Thank you. Handel would have been interested in the detail on the historiography of "On War." try reading it for content. pl


Christopher Fay

Interesting I have people in my family tre named "Christopher Fay." I have spent a lot of time in bethlehem. Native Christians in the Holy Land ARE Palestinians. Israeli Jews are every bit as unpleasant to them as they are to Muslims. pl



I see. You are simply anti-military. This is personal for you. I am not interested in having you work out your childhood angst on SST. What happened? Did some general's daughter turn you down? "This why you are not CJCS?" I was mighty pleased to be a colonel and expected no more than that. pl



"Moderates?" What "moderates?" However many of them may have once existed they are largely gone, killed or wounded out or fled to Europe. pl



"the western economic leadership" So, for you the "western economic leadership" runs the West. In what citadels of exalted brooding were you indoctrinated with all this economic determinism? pl

Christopher Fay

Monty for his thrusting wanted commade of the northern most U. S. army group and half of the next most northern U. S. army group. When the thereotical advanced slowed down, then he would have demanded commade of the other half of that army group, then start on the next.

Larry Kart's on the right cart. The British army was worn out. They could have cleaned up the Belgium port and held the flank while we let the Americans have a hack at it in the center and southern flank. U. S. troops already did some heavy work moving up Italy. That's where Dole lost his arm.


Operation Plunder and the drive across Northern Germany in the aftermath was both how Operation Market Garden should have been planned, they obviously learnt their lessons, and how things were envisioned as panning out afterwards. Unfortunately errors were made in the planning and too many things that could go wrong did go wrong, Napoleon's element of luck was lacking.

The opportunity to exploit was there in the British sector whereas it wasn't existing in the southern American sector of the front at that time. It was also easier to supply an Army positioned on the coast, as mentioned a successful would have opened up the port at Rotterdam in about the same time frame it would take to open up Antwerp.

Actually I think that book I linked to above has a good description of the arguments around Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.

Babak Makkinejad

In my view, the situation is much worse than that; the West has adjudicated among Muslims and has proceeded to act against the Party of Ali as the Muslim Enemy of the West.

Even if that policy is abandoned forthwith & right now, its legacy will endure for decades.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think that the distinction between Shia and Sunni is a matter of their corresponding legal schools.

The word "Shia" is an abbreviation for the "Shia at un Ali" - the Party of Ali.

The Ottomans, per the Seljuk Tradition, while not Shia, were Friends and Admirers of the Household of the Prophet. They reserved special admiration & respect and love for Fatma, Ali, and their children. Plaques bearing the names of Fatma, Ali, Hassan, and Hussein were for centuries present in Hagia Sofia.

Gulen Movement, AKP, Ikhwan, and the revolutionary Muslims of Iran all have wanted the same things since the middle of 1800s; i.e. restoration of Muslim state power and ejection of the political & cultural influences of the non-Muslims from the historical lands of Islam.

This process is not yet complete and will go for a few more centuries; in my opinion. And as I have written on this forum before, the intellectual foundations for such a renewal of Muslim Civilization does not exist outside of the Seljuk countries and then only robustly in Iran alone.

Specifically about Erdogan, it is a mistake to think of him in terms of such made-up words as Noe-Ottomanism that are devoid of any analytical content. I think Erdogan is a pragmatic politician that would use any instrumentality to remain in power - be it Democracy, or Reconciliation with Kurds and so on.

Erdogan's roots do not encompass just Ikhwan but also the political ideas of Ozal and Menderes. Erdogan was the first Turkish leader who admitted the murder of Kurds by the Turksih state and initiated the process of reconciliation with Kurds, he solved the Hejab problem in Turkey (unlike in Iran, let us say), he helped expand Representative Government and the Rule of Law in Turkey, and Turkish economy expanded and improved during his premiership and presidency.

I would venture to guess that Erdogan would want to resume his reconciliation with Kurds, if possible. It may not be possible if he continues his policies in Syria and in Iraq against the Party of Ali. (He evidently thinks that he can use Azeri Turks in Iran against the Iranian Government; neglecting the 35 million non-Turkic population of his own country - 15 million of them being of the Party of Ali.) Also, Kurds, who commit, collectively, the largest number of Honor Killings in Turkey, are poorly served by the maximalist and unreachable demands of their political representative like Demirtash.

Erdogan also has been ill-served by the policies of his alliance members - NATO states as well as Gulfies against the expansion of Iranian power in Mesopotamia and in the Levant. He clicked his heals and saluted the flag (likely not too reluctantly) and the result is what we see. I think much had been promised to him and little was delivered; he looks very much like an embittered man.

Erdogan may not be able to keep all of these balls in the air; he might cause a war with Iran which will shatter Turkey into 2 or 3 pieces - this depends also on what the NATO states do as well; do they want to continue with their Cold War against the Party of Ali?

When I look at what is going on in Western Asia, all I see are organized attacks against the Party of Ali: in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iran, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in Yemen.

Analogous attacks have not yet materialized in Turkey or among the Persian Gulf States or in the Azerbaijan Republic but for how long can that be sustained?


I don't consider that an effective rebuttal. He is arguing that Putin doesn't need a war that involves Russians to boost ratings. I argued that Putin is simply allowing US foreign policy blunders to play out and benefitting from them. He didn't initiate it.

He is providing Assad with enough resources to slowly take back vital territory but not enough to win or even stop the Balkanization of Syria. It kinda looks like a very half ass, barely committed strategy because it is but maybe there is a reason behind that. The alternative is that Putin has no spine and provides minimal if any support to protect his few allies and to stop a pipeline that will hurt Russia's economy. That might be true but I think we've seen the opposite. Putin acts decisively (Crimea and Georgia) when needed so something is up here.



"If they step up too far, our troops will not care that Americans’ armored (troops) are there. Out of nowhere, you’d see that maybe a few rockets hit them accidentally.”"

When making threats, it is best to be sure you can back it up to the end. Decimating your professional armed forces would give a wise man pause about this ability.

"Çevik replied: “Well, if they (USA) do that, what else could we do?”"

And if Sultan Tayyip allowed this, what is to be done by Uncle Samuel? And considering Recep has effed over one and all, could there be a quiet global consensus to send him to the world beyond and blame it on Daesh? There would be a long line of volunteers for that task.


What you are saying is correct, but you are ignoring the Shia Muslim's role in all of this. You need to ask yourself, what is the purpose of the rigid anti-Israeli stance that the Iranian government has held since it came to power in 1979? Isn't dangerous to keep antagonizing a country that has 400+ nukes and one that appears to have unrestricted control of a world superpower?

It appears to me that two of the key characteristics of Shia Islam, mainly its drive towards idealism and sacrifice, are driving it towards a disaster and its putting the lives of all Shia Muslims around the world in danger. I really can't fathom what the senior leadership in Iran are thinking about the long-term consequence of all of this. The world is full of injustice and its not the responsibility of one ethno/religious group to fix and amend all injustice.

If the Jews have done wrong, they will eventually suffer. Jews have been expelled from 109 countries in the last 3000 years. They don't have a good track record when it comes to long-term success. As matter of a fact, its possible that their current golden age might be coming to an end soon and lets hope the Iranians are smart enough to see it and stay out of the way of coming train wreck.

Sometimes you win by staying out of the fight.

Jony Kanuck

Re: Syrian manpower; Patrick Cockburn has just written a column that sheds light on Syrian/Iraqi/Kurd manpower issues, along with some dark humour!


Babak Makkinejad

Bruce Riedel (sic. ?) set the number of Israeli weapons at 10 kiloton range weapons.

So, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, machine gunning women, children, old people, the Iranian leaders, unlike their counterparts among Arabs, Turks, Indonesians, Pakistanis and many others did not stand idly by. They did something.

And they (the Israelis) started this; no one had put a gun to the head of Begin or Sharon to invade Lebanon. No one had prevented them from fully implementing the Camp David Accords. Any day now they can fly go to Ramallah and sign a deal with Palestinians and give them back their lands.

Iranian leaders also provided shelter to Afghans (Sunni and Shia), Kurds, and Shia Arabs who fled to Iran; are you saying they should not have done so; because some powerful people would get angry?

And all these attacks against Shia Muslims in Pakistan; should Iranian religious and government leaders ignore those too?

Jews were never expelled from Iran and the Iranian Plateau has been the only place with continuous Jewish presence over the last 2500 years.

The key characteristic of Shia Islam - which it shares with both Christianity and with Zoroastrianism - is the belief that God is Just; it is a principle of the Faith among the Shia. You are asking them to not be Shia Muslims.

I would like to point out to you, in case you did not know, that it is only in Shia Islam that you can find delicacy of feeling and emotions expressed and experienced; it does not exist in the rest of Islam (it does exist in Christianity.)

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