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17 January 2018


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What a mess!

The impression I get is that the US has no real long-term strategy and is just improvising, assuming that no one will mess with them on the ground.
But this all plays into Putin's hands who would like to see Erdogan in his corner.

My question is: How should Assad proceed? At the very least, he needs to recapture the oil fields east of Deir Ezzor and the headwaters of the Taqba Dam. But what then?

And will the US really attack the internationally-recognized government of Syria to defend the Kurds???

I guess we'd better ask McMaster because I'm not sure Trump has an opinion on the matter.


Time to put up or shut up. Hard to believe that this has not been planned for. But this response is really lame. I suppose next we'll start hearing complaints when the Kurds try to work though people we don't like. They have, for good reason, very carefully avoided becoming enemies to the SAG. Having announced our disinterest, we should not be surprised if they combine with forces that do care about Turkish incursions into Syria.


There are actually two USG goals with this Border Force. The first is to deny the SAG access to their eastern territory until a satisfactory peace plan is implemented. That is directly tied to the even more pressing USG goal, and that is denying the Iranians the "highway" or "Shia Arc" [to keep Israel and Saudi happy]by controlling the Syria/Iraq borders. Protecting the Kurds from the Turks is a sweetener for SDF. It seems there are also tensions within the Russia/Iran/Turkey alliance over Syria.

All this looks like the generals rolled POTUS once more over cooperation with Russia. If this relationship is not restored and the US stays in the east, then the Russians are denied the ability to carry through with its own plans for ending the conflict.

For all the bluster in Ankara, much is in order to arouse nationalist fervor in order to bash any faction in Turkey that does not buy into the AKP government's role of savior of the nation. It is questionable whether they would go anywhere but Afrin though that would bring them into some conflict with the Russians.

Turkey has a big monkey on its back, its friendship with HTS et al that the Syrian government is rapidly driving out of various parts of Idlib.



the Teheran-Lattakiya road is already open through the border crossing at al-Qa'im. pl


What about air power? If Syria and Russia say no to the invasion and use air power against any Turkish units on the ground or attempts to enter Syrian air space - with US agreement to stay out of it - then has Turkey got the ability to prosecute the campaign? As long as NATO air space is not violated then Turkey are on their own but how does article 5 apply regarding retaliation in kind against cross boarder missiles and artillery attacks?

The Twisted Genius

Al Masdar News says Damascus has allowed YPG reinforcements to move through Aleppo into Afrin. Another Twitter commenter wrote "Turkey is asking Russia to open Syria airspace for at least 15-20 days. Still negotiating. If approved, Turks will carry airstrikes for 6-7 days before ground offensive." It will be interesting to see if Russia grants this request.


The Turks have a history of land grabs. Hatay Province & Cyprus for example. The Turks believe their borders should be based on October 1918 Ottoman Empire borders which includes a good chunk of Northern Syria and Northern Iraq. They have also been making noise about greek islands. Like Hitler, Erdogan claims concerns for the wellbeing of Turks living outside its borders. The land they have already taken around al-Bab will never be returned. The Manjib and Afrin areas won't be either if they get them. They really want Aleppo.

Fellow Traveler

At least we'll find out how much of an army Turkey still has after all of Erdogan's purges.


T-Rex is going to give a speech on Syria to the Hoover Institution and Stanford's Research Institute for International Studies. It is scheduled for 2:25pm East Coast Time. It will be available via webcast on DVIDS.


Hopefully he won't cancel due to the current Erdo-uproar. And hopefully his audience will be allowed to ask some tough questions.


"Ultimately, the promotion of wealth and a strong middle class in the Middle East are America’s best hope. This principle of prosperity was once the mainstay of US foreign policy; it won the US respect around the world. Today, sanctions and military intervention have become the mainstay of US policy. Free trade, the rule of law, and respect for national sovereignty have been pushed aside. Democracy promotion has become a codeword for hurting US enemies and an cynical instrument of regime-change. Rarely does the US promote democracy to friendly potentates. U.S. foreign policy has slipped its moorings.

Only by returning to the simple truths that prosperity will advance U.S. interests will the US begin to put an end to terrorism, promote democracy, and attenuate the flood of refugees that pours from the region. Democracy, moderation, and the acceptance of liberal values will only come with education and economic growth. There is no quick fix to the regions problems. Ensuring that Syrians and Iranians remain poor in the hope that they will demand regime-change is a bad policy. It has not worked despite decades of sanctions. It has brought only collapse, war and destruction to the region. Dividing Syrians and keeping them poor may ensure short-term US interests; it please some of America’s allies; but in the long-term, it will ensure failure and more wars. Only by promoting growth and unity can the United States advance stability, the rule of law, and liberal values."


Landis also believes that Erdogan will not invade Afrin.


I can’t imagine the Syrian government will get a better chance to kick the Turks out. Risky though.

- Eliot


I think you need to read on Lausanne peace treaty after the Turkish war of independence was won. Also, please polish up on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ismet Inonu who negotiated the peace conference for Turkey and kept it out of WWII adroitly.

Nobody wants war and a return to Ottoman Empire adventures in Turkey. Turkey is strong enough, but walking on economic tightrope presently. Despite all the rhetoric, AKP knows that an economic collapse will be their end.


The ones that were purged out were not promoted according to their merits. Present ones are more than capable and are in sufficient numbers to carry out any and all operational orders.
I am not an Erdo sympathizer, far from it, you can read my past comments on this site. However, I am the son of a Colonel in Turkish Army, a Korean War veteran. TSK will do just fine because of, at the least, enormous support it gets from the population and its remarkable past martial culture.


Is Erdogan a nobody? "Erdoğan reiterated his call to revise the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, "



The situation indeed looks like a "sac de noeuds" as the French idiom says.
Elijah J. Magnier has churned out quite a lot of papers recently on this recently in English French and Italian so I surmise he is somewhat concerned about its evolution.


I predict that the US will come in on the side of the Turks in order to gain a better foothold in Syria.

Ishmael Zechariah

re: "Like Hitler, Erdogan claims concerns for the wellbeing of Turks living outside its borders."
1-Why are you comparing tayyip to Adolf Hitler? Is Hitler the only politicians who claimed concern about the well-being of ethnic relatives of his nation?
2-Do you know that initially, when he was supported by the zionist jews and ziocons, tayyip-the-mild-islamist was against the term "Turkish" in "Turkish Republic? His appointees even removed the letter "T" from some government offices.
3-You might know that tayyip did not help the Turkmen in Iraq/Syria when they were in real trouble, and asked for aid, because they were Shiite.

As far as Hatay and Cyprus are concerned, do take Kunuri's advice and educate yourself about the history of the region.
Here is a link about Hatay:
And here is a link you might read about Cyprus:

Finally, care to answer a few questions:
1-What do you think about the "land grab" efforts of the only democracy in the Middle East? Are they justified?

2-Do these folk care about their co-coreligionists around the world?

3-Do you think Benjamin Mileikowsky is also like "Hitler"?
Thank you.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

Erdogan, in my opinion, will destroy Afrin if he determines that it is a sufficiently immediate and high threat to the Turkish state.

The Turks - observant or not - will support him to the hilt if he makes a solid case that he is aiming to save the Republic; in my opinion.

Already many Turks - religious or not so - believe that the United States and the European Union aim to destroy the Republic.

No regional state will protest potential Turkish actions in Syria if they are understood to be in defense of the integrity of the Turkish state.

Jony Kanuck


I have been watching Afrin for the last week, wondering. My latest reading has the Turkish army opening three or four additional holes in the border fence & bringing up Tomahawks. Gollum, er I mean Erdogon, has piled the rhetoric on so high & deep that I'm not sure he can back down. The Kurds are trying levee-en-masse & talking brave. The 300 Russian servicemen are sitting in their camp in Afrin. There has not been a peep from official Russia. I think the 'fix is in' between Russia & Turkey.



I was just reading up on The Treaty of Lausanne and the Turkish war of Independence. Very interesting. I had forgotten how aggressively the British (and French) had moved to colonize/neo-colonize the Turks after WW I. It certainly puts contemporary events in a different light for me.


The Russians seem to be in residence in Afrin, so a Turk incursion there would require their approval. From Manbij east to the Iraq border, the US's objectives would be bases and ensuring the PYD has enough oil and water to maintain a viable (agrarian socialist ? ) economy, and where that leaves room for Turk encroachment, if any, is .. ?
The Shia Crescent is independent of SDF areas - there is plenty of space south of the Euphrates between Damascus and Iraq where the Persians and friends can punch through a brand new MSR complete with solar powered Ayatollah Khomeini billboards every 10Km. That game is already decided unless the Jordanians with some Saudi help push north to the river.

Account Deleted

The Kurds are gonna get Border Force training alright - just not the kind the US had in mind & on borders of their choosing.


I assume that it is something that our border folks will try to fix, if not from the Iraqi side, then from the Syrian side. This is an obsession. The top article on Syria Comment now by Joshua Landis points out the great economic benefits to having all these countries on good terms and trading like mad in a peaceful environment, including he points out that if oil from these various places could depart from the Syrian shores, Europe would not be bound to only Russian oil. This is a win-win in his mind and I agree. Of course, certain parties are just obsessed with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon as an existential threat. To my mind, it all comes down to certain nations not wanting to see Iran develop and take its rightful place in the world economy and body politic.


This is an excellent article worth reading in its totality.

Babak Makkinejad

You omitted to take him to task for such land grabs as the Land of the Cherokee Nation as well as the one-third of Mexico that they swallowed up.

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