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06 February 2018

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confusedponderer

b,
re: "Turkey has as much leverage on the Caucasus just as it thought it had with Crimean Tatars. Yes, it can create some local trouble, but that is not strategic leverage."

I feel that Putin made some points rather clear to Erdogan. Whatever one may or may not think about Putin is not the point.

What is a point is that Putin is a guy who you sucker just once, and that the second time he will see it at best as as careless, and the third time hat he'll clearly see it as intentional and deliberate and that then there will be a price to pay.

Russians observe, have memory, take measures and they think. An example:

Russians saw the US playing with the Tomahawk for thirty years, firing a couple thousands against Iraq. When that silver bullet was tried against Syria they were made fail to a considerable degree.

Why? Well, my feeling is that while the US fired a couple thousand Tomahawks against several states for decades, Russia observed, analysed and learned - on air defence and ECM. The Tomahawk was after all a weapon pointed at their head also.

Putin once said something along the line that forgiveness is a thing between nasty folks and God and that it is his job to arrange the meeting.

A grim and sober thing to say, but IMO seriously meant. It isn't just the shooting down of the aircraft by Turkey. The murder of the russian ambassador to Turkey isn't forgotten or forgiven either.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/19/russian-ambassador-to-turkey-wounded-in-ankara-shooting-attack

Putin must have made that rather clear. It speaks for itself that Turkey sent intel and military folks to Moscow to ask for permission before playing the olive branch game in Syria.

If Erdogan went to do silly things with Turcomans and/or jihadis in the Caucasus or even along the silk road I have the hunch that a lot of Turkish policy players, preachers, actors or agents will disappear and/or die. Maybe Allah will forgive such nasty people, but neither Russia nor China will.

JPB

Don't shoot the messenger. Mihrac Ural as I understand it is the leader of what is now called "The Syrian Resistance". They were formerly called the "Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Iskandarun", or at one time were called the "Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Alexandretta". Google it! His organization claims to be Marxist Leninist in ideology. But Ural also claims to be a defender of Alawites. He is allied with Assad's SAA and also the DHKP-C, a Marxist-Leninist group in Turkey.

The TKHP-C in the almasdarnews article I linked to was the Turkish claim. Maybe Turkish MIT got it wrong. Or perhaps they got it right and TKHP-C is related to both DHKP and Ural's organization. For all I know all three could be linked with the TKIP or MLKP or MKP or whoever? Or perhaps Ural is also linked up with the Turkish Hizbullah.

I was not aware of a referendum. But have looked it up since: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatay_State
You realize that every map of Syria produced in Syria still shows Hatay as being part of Syria. But an occupied part just like they also show the Golan occupied by the Izzies. I still want to know if Erdogan is ever going to let go of the Euphrates Shield enclave he occupied in northern Aleppo Province, or the Idlib lands he has occupied?

English Outsider


In fact I don't believe it is off topic. Whatever sinister machinations we suspect the Russians of getting up to in Syria, or whatever sinister machinations they suspect us of, there can be no doubt that the Russians are doing a better job of pacification than we are. I'd go further and say that it's been clear for some time now that they've been putting out fires we lit.

The courage of such as Filipov or Prokhorenko is humbling. As has been pointed out above we had our heroes too. We still do. Most of our fighting now is by proxy but we do send soldiers out there. But can anyone look at the tragedy we have made and will make of so many lives in Syria and say that our Filipovs and our Prokhorenkos die for good reason?

confusedponderer

TTG, re. syrian and russian artillery:

I recall reading of the reportedly pretty able General 'Giftzwerg' Gotthard Heinrici (reportedly he was very good in defence) who served on the east front during WW-II.

He was accused by some folks for doing things like ordering his soldiers to seek shelter when being shot at, especially by artillery, or to withdraw when overwhelmed. On the other hand, he still had soldiers left on the end of the day. Then there is another story on the man:

After ordering his troops to withdraw from the Oder line where they faced superior soviet troops, he iirc met field marshal Keitel on the road to Berlin. Keitel didn't like to see him withdrawing and yelled, accused him of treason and stuff like that.

At that time, so the story goes on, a company of heavily armed soldiers appeared from the woods and asked the field marshal if he had a problem or needed help. Keitel suddenly and spontaneously decided he didn't need help and ran to Berlin. So Heinrici survived.

Who ordered these soldiers to protect Heinrici from folks like Keitel is unknown to me, but if so, it speaks for itself.

nard

He landed in the midst of many enemy combatants. His wing man circled as long as possible giving him fire support..almost till he ran out of fuel. The major is seen firing at advancing combatants and then blew himself up with a grenade. Watch the video!

confusedponderer

Bandolero,
re. "the only way to avoid such a situation is not flying so low with manned aircraft"

Is that so? One can also, as is more widespread recently, use drones for recon. Then you can fly as low and as slow as you want or need to, and if it gets shot down that's just "damage to property".

English Outsider


"3-Hatay joined Turkey after a referendum. Turkish forces did not enter Hatay until after the referendum. Thus, the sequence of events is slightly different than the Crimean referendum. Why did you omit mentioning this fact?"

Very different indeed. If the street fighters had got into the Crimea in force there would either have been heavy fighting or the population would have experienced worse than Odessa.

With respect, I believe we do tend to emphasise things such as naval bases, or the Kosovo precedent, or the big geo-political picture when considering the Crimea. Of course such matters are relevant but what was urgently needed at that point was to stop further killing and atrocities. NATO wasn't going to do that. Who else could but the Russians?

Sorry if this is off-topic.

In fact I don't believe it is off topic. Whatever sinister machinations we suspect the Russians of getting up to in Syria, or whatever sinister machinations they suspect us of, there can be no doubt that the Russians are doing a better job of pacification than we are. I'd go further and say that it's been clear for some time now that they've been putting out fires we lit.

The courage of a Filipov or of a Prokhorenko is humbling. As has been pointed out above we had our heroes too. We still do. Most of our fighting now is by proxy but we do send soldiers out there. But can anyone look at the tragedy we have made of so many lives in Syria and say that our Filipovs and our Prokhorenkos die for good reason?

SmoothieX12

If Erdogan went to do silly things with Turcomans and/or jihadis in the Caucasus or even along the silk road I have the hunch that a lot of Turkish policy players, preachers, actors or agents will disappear and/or die. Maybe Allah will forgive such nasty people, but neither Russia nor China will.

1. Turkey wields a massive influence on Azerbaijan and unlike all kinds of non-state actors in Caucasus, some of whom Turkey does support, having a state being so closely ideologically and culturally allied with Turkey is a huge issue. Consider that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Nagorno-Karabakh_clashes

https://www.rt.com/news/338196-nagorno-karabakh-armenia-azerbaijan-turkey/

2. Erdogan if he wishes so can wreck a havoc by merely exiting Minsk Group and Turkey's "support" of Azerbaijan was demonstrated precisely in 2016. Will he do that is totally another matter. Armenians certainly think so, and so do at least some Russian observers.

https://southfront.org/turkey-fuels-the-nagorno-karabakh-conflict-supports-azerbaijan/

3. If such a conflict between two states in Caucasus erupts the avalanche effect will be devastating for the whole region. There are also outstanding territorial issues between Armenians and Georgians, and then there is a host of other issues already on purely religious grounds. And then there is a n issue of Nakhichvan and list goes on and on and on... Caucasus is Balkans 2.0. In the end, the collapse of the Soviet Union started precisely there. I know, I was there.

kooshy

Turkey has influence in Azerbaijan, but that is mostly due to Azerbaijan and Armenia' territorial disputes, Turkey supports Azerbaijan> Azaris are almost all Shia, and Not Sunni like Turkey, language is not all that similar Azaris cannot easily understand "what they call Istanbuly" Turkish, Azeris are Iranian and culturally part of Norooz people even the food is different, Azaries are all Chelo Kabab, Tabriz Dolmeh and not Mezeh and Doner Kebab. Turkish food is very delicious too, but IMO more of mediterranean style.

SmoothieX12

Ask yourself a question with whom Azerbaijan has closer relations despite being anchored ethnically and religiously in Iran. Yet, it is with Turkey that "One nation, two states" and "Two nations, one armed forces" concept was adopted by Azerbaijan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agreement_on_Strategic_Partnership_and_Mutual_Support

In Caspian Sea, moreover, Iran viewed by Baku as a competition and relations between two are rather not-even.

plantman

Thanks Twisted Genius---

You say: in my opinion the Turks and the FSA are bogged down. With the arrival of more YPG/YPJ reinforcements and the denial of Turkish overflight by the SAA and the Russians, I doubt the Turks will make anymore meaningful progress."

I know that Erdogan gutted the military after the coup and lost many competent officers.
BUT I don't see how he can afford to lose and be the laughingstock of the middle east.
Won't he HAVE to take Afrin to save face?
and if he doesn't, he knows Tillerson and Mattis will just brush him aside like a child.
Erdogan cannot afford to lose (it seems to me)
But I could be wrong.

The Twisted Genius

plantman,

Erdogan doesn't have to win on the battlefield. He just has to spin it his way. If the R+6 is more interested in letting Erdogan save face than publicly humiliating him, Erdogan can spin this any way he wants.

JPB

TTG -

Turkish Army is bringing in more artillery. Additional US made M110 8-inch howitzers have been seen being trucked to the Afrin borders. A few have been there for a week, now they are sending more. Its an old system, we had them in Nam in the 1960s. The Turks were supposed to phase them out in favor of Turkish built 155s. But they pack a big punch.

SAA counter-battery would be effective against guns in Idlib or in the EP enclave. But would they fire into Turkey?

Kooshy

I didn’t mean or said Azerbaijan was politically or government to government closer to Iran, I only said Azaries are culturally Iranian and obviously closer to Iran. Actually politically and economically Armenistan is closer to Iranian government. Azarbijan’ Aliyev government for her own security reasons is naturally closer to American side, including Turkey , Israel and various Sunni client states of US, which all in all, is a difficult position to hold for a Shia sate.

SAC Brat

Dumb question time.

How long do the batteries last in small anti-aircraft missile systems? How much maintenance do they need to stay serviceable? Would answers to these two questions help in figuring out where the missile came from?

I hope Russia improves it Search and Rescue operations. I have met several US pilots who were shot down in Vietnam that were picked up. In the Martin Caidin book "Zero" Masatake Okumiya, an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Staff Officer, was impressed and jealous of the US search and rescue operations for both morale and operational advantages.

Account Deleted

The Afrin op appears to have been primarily a PR campaign for Erdogan. He could stop now saying an appropriate quota of terrorists has been killed & simply declare victory. Better still he will keep the pressure on until he extracts some kind of vote-winning concession from the US (Gülen?). Once the polls look good enough a snap election & hey presto. In this aim, what he almost certainly can't afford to do is 'win' - i.e. take & hold all of Afrin, especially given those recently arrived Kurdish reinforcements.

BTW thought it may be of interest to all that sources in Israel are reporting KSA has allowed overflight of commercial aircraft to Tel Aviv for the first time; Air India from New Delhi. El Al are asking for similar treatment, as their flights route south of the Arabian peninsula and are currently 2 hrs longer than the direct route. They will thus immediately be rendered non-commercial. The prospect of the Israeli carrier overflying Saudi airspace is intriguing.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/in-first-saudi-arabia-allows-flights-to-israel-over-its-airspace-1.5803140

Babak Makkinejad

I agree with your assessment.

At one time, before say 1865, Turks in the historical areas of Aran and Nakhchevan identified with Iran - not any longer, in my opinion.

They have imbibed all that Pan Turkic nonsense and at the official level, the discourse is modeled after a country such as France; Ethnic Nationalism, anti-Clericalism of the Enlightenment as well as an admixture of Persian Legends - identifying themselves with the Turanians of yore - all the while suppressing Taleshi and other Iranic peoples.


Babak Makkinejad

There are very strong anti-Iran currents around her - both within and without the Seljuk boundary.

While among the Europeans, East or West of the Diocletian Line, there has been a consensus around the centrality of France to the European Civilization, an analogous one regarding the role of Iran no longer exists.

Jony Kanuck

Col.

On the subject of the TSK (Turkish Army)taking Afrim: The TSK is big, well equipped & experienced. The TSK can take Afrim (and wreck it)but the Kurds will be defending their homes. TSK casualties would be significant & caustic to Erdo's Presidential campaign. My guess would be that Erdo's trying to figure out if he can get Manbij without fighting Americans. That would give him a victory to ride into the election.

turcopolier

Jony Kanuck
The Turkish Army has fought no one since the Korean War. they are NOT experienced. They participated in some COIN ops against PKK but actually the Jendarma field force did most of that.
They could probably take Afrin City but would regret it. pl

The Twisted Genius

JPB,

I remember seeing the effect of 8-inch guns during firepower demonstrations at Fort Bragg. Those guns were know for their accuracy, but they still took out a grid square at a time.

I doubt the SAA would fire into Turkish territory even though the SAA's Russian artillery generally outranges Turkish artillery. However, more discreet drone strikes or "commando" strikes that look like PKK hits might be more likely. I still doubt even that would be tried. The precedent of striking into Turkey would be too much.

turcopolier

TTG

We had 8 inch howitzers and 175 mm field guns in mixed corps artillery batteries in VN. The range fans were so big that from one firebase to another they often overlapped. The eight inch is more accurate but the 175 has greater range Its beaten zone is more elliptical at long range (20 odd kilometers). I often adjusted the fires of these guns and we never used the 175s to support troops in contact. In my biggest fight at Song Be in February, 1969, we fired these 8 inch into the valley of the Song Be River just down the hill from our defenses as an assault breaker. The guns were about 10 kilometers away and behind us. The rounds would come in over the town and clear our positions by not very much to thunder in down in the valley. pl

JPB

I recall they sounded like freight trains overhead.

Account Deleted

Lt. Gen. Funk's presence in Manbij right now suggests the US is not the pushover Erdogan may have expected. Anti-US propaganda in the press is one thing - open conflict with the US is quite another. I can't see him trying it. Erdo's comfort zone is in playing the superpowers off against each other. The instant he commits to hostile action in areas with US forces he loses all US leverage against Russia/SAG/Iranian plans in Syria. He'd also immediately rocket to the top of the regime change candidate rankings. Him bluff may have been called.

JPB

SAC Brat -

Russian and Chinese MANPAD have a shelf life of 10 to 20 years. US Stinger and the German & Turkish versions produced under license are more like five years. France, the UK, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, and the two Koreas all have MANPAD, and I assume battery life is similar.

But it is all macht nichts, as some techie or EE rebels in Syria have been adept at devising replacement batteries. Some of them rechargable.

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