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20 January 2018


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I think I speak for us all in hoping that you will continue to write on the Turkish/Kurdish/US situation. pl


Fully agree with SmoothieX12


I very much doubt that Erdogan-led Turkey will ever voluntarily leave any occupied territory. He will have to be offered something in return, or made an "offer he can't refuse." The latter is exceedingly unlikely IMO, so the question is what will Turkey get? And will Erdogan be dumb enough to want more? Borders will change, that much seems clear.


On this new turn in the Syrian war theater I think Ambassador Bhadrakumar agrees with TTG, in any way one can think this will not add up to US’ strategic plans. After Barezani’ deal yet again a bad and desperate move from US, which it may cause losing a few pawns and a Knight maybe? Like the losing her Bishop in Kirkuk a few moves back?

“How does all this add up? To my mind, both Russia and Iran will simply sit back and watch as Erdogan goes about crushing the US’ main proxy (Kurdish militia) in northern Syria. Indeed, they have nothing to lose if a nasty showdown ensues between the US and Turkey, two big NATO powers. On the other hand, if Turkey succeeds in vanquishing the Kurdish militia, US will have no option but to vacate northern Syria, which will also work to the advantage of Russia and Iran. Succinctly put, Trump administration has bitten more than it could chew by its unwise decision to keep the US military presence in Syria indefinitely “to counter Assad, Iran.” Tehran knows fully well that if the US is forced to vacate Syria, the US-Israeli project against Iran will become a joke in the Middle East bazaar.”



There are many well wishers of Syrians, specially the syrian Kurds in France and rich europe, which can offer opening renegotiation on checking possibility of Turkey joining EU, or like the case on Syrian refugees a few years back, Erdo can go for 6 plus billion of Euro.


That's true, but it wasn't U.S. supplied. That is the straw that is breaking the camel's back, U.S. supplying Manpads. Turkey is on a hardon with D.C., Ankara and Moscow are using the U,.S. supplying Manpads issue big time to their favor. The Kurds have been a thorn in the side with Turkey, and other surrounding nations for millenia. Don't blame the Kurds, but they have not been smart about it. Instead of being sneaky devils, they've been using the right-up-in-your-face approach, and it hasn't worked, and it's not going to, because they are just too little and too weak to use that approach. Now if they were the 800lb gorilla in a woodpile, it would be different, but they are the mouse that roared with their middle finger sticking high in the sky.

Personally, I don't and have never liked D.C. and its arms dealer around the world (State Department) supplying weapons to every Tom, Dick, and Henry who tries to schmooze with D.C.. D.C. IMO is the poster child for P.T. Barnum's there's a sucker born every minute..

And we the American people wind up paying the cost of D.C.'s sucker approach.

English Outsider

Babak - "The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Persian Gulf, in South Korea."

As you point out, that could have unexpected effects. We saw what happened when a previous dominant power - Great Britain, though by no means as overwhelmingly dominant and not at all so at the end - effectively cut and ran after the Second World War. It ended up more of a mess than it started out as.

Even in an ideal world, a world in which the current style of Great Power politics was universally abandoned, the sudden withdrawal of the US would cause instability and chaos. The disengagement would have to be gradual.

But there is no such ideal world as that and there will not be. Therefore the sudden withdrawal of the US would leave a power vacuum that others would fill.

What others? Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now.

The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days.

I'm one of those that still hope that the non-interventionist policy that was voted for in America in 2016 will be carried through. But if that is indeed Trump's intention then there is more in his way than local political or administrative difficulties. To engineer such a transition would require great care. It's no good if the US just steps back and worse comes forward to take its place.

It's not overly idealistic, or even that unrealistic, to hope for a world in which defence forces (AND defensive alliances) are used for the proper purpose of defence and not for expensive and destructive enterprises dreamed up by some bubble elite. That's part of what Trump 2016 was about. But getting to such a world would require a considerably more careful transition than we've seen in similar circumstances in the past.


Love this tweet by Elijah Magnier:
Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai
Syria, a battlefield for two superpower countries:
#Russia is offering an "Olive Branch" to the #USA is #Syria. What would be the next step?

"Olive Branch" is the name of the Turkish operation in Afrin.

The U.S. rejected to help the Kurds in Afrin. The Kurds in the east will note that. The CentCom/Tillerson strategy announced last week is dead in the water.



"The CentCom/Tillerson strategy announced last week is dead in the water." Yes. I believe I said that last week. pl


I found this article to be quite interesting. Got the link from my Brother-in-law who got it from someone else.

19 days of training for $174.00 seems like a pretty sweet sign up bonus to me. Uniforms look pretty snazzy.


The Twisted Genius

pl and all,

I'll keep up with this developing situation as best I can. I think the next step is to see how the Turks, their FSA proxies and the Afrin Kurds fair after trading a series of face punches. There are so many unknowns that I'm sure it will be a while before we get a clear picture. I remain convinced that there is no bloodless way out of it.

Babak Makkinejad

US withdrawal needs to be predicated on Yalta 2.0. Which is not in the cards as Chinese are busy eliminating their strategic vulnerabilities to both Russia and USA. A Yalta 2.0, in 1993, could have frozen the strategic situation to the West's advantage, but the Olympians thought otherwise.


Erdogan has said Manbij is next but US troops are still there and have in the past exchanged fire with the Turkish backed rebels. So many questions - How tough a nut will Afrin be for the Turks? (doomed without air support) Will Syria carry through on threats to attack the Turks in the air? (no way). Will the US withdraw from Manbij? If US troops stay and this turns into a pissing contest it could get real interesting.

Turkey is effectively blocked to the North, East, and West. The stans project isn't ripened yet. South is the opportunity. As the SAA starts to roll west will Erdogan support elements in western Idlib? I think it is possible he might take a bite out of the western edges of Idlib, particularly Jisr al-Shughour.

On another note did anyone watch Dirilis: Ertugrul (Resurrection:Ertugrul) on Netflix? Besides being great entertainment it was wildly popular in Turkey and I believe popular media offers insight.


TTG - Sadly I have to concur.

Once the news of the so called SDF "Border Forces" emerged, Turkey had to move into Afrin.


EO - I agree Trump did campaign on a non-interventionist policy but I think he has realized that the battle he would have to fight to get such a policy isn't one he is prepared to undertake in this term.

You're right that the US can't just step back suddenly but it can make sure it doesn't entangle itself further and that's the outcome of Trumps policy.


What the heck is "D.C."?
(Acronymania is a plague to all Americans...)

The Twisted Genius


D.C. is short for Washington, District of Columbia.


George Kennan was right about our interests in 1947 and he is right now, may he RIP.

Turkey should be ejected from NATO and our military should be re-assigned to liberate Ottawa, London, Brussels, and Berlin. The comes the clearing of Malmo and the reconquest of Paris.


Thanks, but it is usually used without the dots "DC" so I mistook it for a person name and definitely not Dick Cheney since he isn't a player anymore.


English Outsider:

Us low-life enlisted men take a different view of it.

Ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἥν παρὰ θάμνῳ
ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
αὐτὸν δ' ἔκ μ' ἐσάωσα· τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;
Ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω


Since this was written 2600 years ago, I think that I can say there is a bit of tradition to this sort of thing.

Look, Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon have been completely outplayed for the past year or two. Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and take the shame.

For non-greek (sorry, being trained by the Jesuits scarred me

One of the Saians now delights in the shield I discarded
Unwillingly near a bush, for it was perfectly good,
But at least I got myself safely out. Why should I care for that shield?
Let it go. Some other time I'll find another no worse.


US withdrawal needs to be predicated on Yalta 2.0. Which is not in the cards as Chinese are busy eliminating their strategic vulnerabilities to both Russia and USA.

China cannot completely eliminate strategic vulnerability from the US since she will not match US Navy's capability to shutdown Indian Ocean SLOCs for a while, if ever. Granted the US still remains a more-or-less cohesive state. I wrote a piece on that on UNZ several day ago. But some kind of the new global arrangement (call it Yalta 2.0) is certainly long overdue. There is another thing here with China, which is military-political reputation and record, but that is a separate matter.

Babak Makkinejad

He did not have to become the Mukhtar of Gulfies, he did not have to escalate in Syria, he could have left JCPOA alone. Those were his choices and his own decisions.

Peter AU

I am interested to see how Armstrong and Korybko's theories play out here. Trump jumped aboard the neo-con bus in Syria and now with Tillerson's announcement, looks to have driven it off a cliff.

Babak Makkinejad

You are likely correct about China, I was only suggesting that the passage of time would make any settlement more expensive to the Western Fortress, if there ever to be such a thing as a new Peace that supplants that of Yalta 1.0

Bill Herschel

If Turkey occupies "Kurdistan", will they not be able to play Russia and the U.S. off against each other? Turkey has a very long history of being one of Israel's strongest allies. They are in NATO. The host a gigantic U.S. airbase. They have expressed again and again a desire to be a member of the European Union. They shot down a Russian fighter at the behest of and with the connivance of the U.S. Putin would have to be some kind of magician to reverse all this history.

Turkey takes the West, the U.S. takes the East, and Syria has been split up, losing a lot of oil revenue. What am I missing?

What is more, will Turkey become a launching pad for Islamic terrorists traveling to Russia? That Russia will not permit. Just as in the long run, it will not permit the same in Afghanistan. But does Russia have to do anything about Kurdistan to prevent this?

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