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06 March 2018


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Barbara Ann

The Ottoman ruler was Sultan/Caliph and pretender to be the ruler in God's name of the entire 'Umma. pl


Some thoughts about the Kurds:

1. They are not Arabs and they are not Turks. Knowledge of the Arabs and Turks may not help for understanding them.

2. The Turks have insisted that the Rojava Kurds are a branch of the PKK, that they are building military capability for later use against Turkey. I know of no reason to accept this interpretation, but I think part of their strength does originate outside Syrian Kurdistan. From the beginning of the war they have punched above their weight in a way that suggests the presence of Kurds with pre-existing training and experience from outside Syria. Such people will not be looking to emulate the ISIS foreigners by dieing gloriously. Their cause may be hopeless, but it is very long term and not limited to this one area.

3. They know the state of play in far more detail than we do. I would not be surprised to find that both the SAA and the Turkish army are weaker than appears to westerners. That is a guess on my part. But the Kurds know whether that is so or not. So I look at their actions to make out how they see the situation. Do they think they can be effective against the Turks? For how long? What would break them loose before sheer numbers overwhelm them? Is the SAA too weak to actually help them?

4. They appear (at this distance) to be fairly rational actors.

Account Deleted

Thanks Colonel, didn't realize the terms were synonymous in the Ottoman context.

Ishmael Zechariah

1-There will be an election in Turkey in 2019 that Tayyip must win. The last time he "opened" to the kurds, he lost the subsequent election. Analysis of his actions/speeches/etc. must also take these points into account.
2-Tayyip is presiding over a very precarious economy. He has very limited freedom of action.
3-It is also well documented that the Afrin/Rojawa gambit is a Borg plan. Those who oppose the Borg should be pleased to see it fail. The kurds, true to their nature, overplayed their hand.
4-It is well documented that YPG is identical to PKK. Turkey cannot permit the Afrin/Rojawa gambit irrespective of who runs the country.

Ishmael Zechariah

Jony Kanuck

The Kurds practice what I would term 'post-anarchism' or anarcho-syndicalism. It comes from the ideas of American Murray Bookchin. The Kurds came to that from Marxist-Leninism. These are not politics, these are belief systems. I've seen Kurdish textbooks; they worship Ocalan. Last I've heard, from Syrian sources, the Kurds in Afrin want to keep their own police & militia!
Erdogan is running a straightforward modern dictatorship: Complete control of army, police, judiciary & especially, the media. He's put so many in jail that he may soon run out of room. Turkish media is even worse than the MSM. Most of the population is behind him but the Turkish economy has problems. Erdo is trying to play everyone off against everyone else & kill or drive away anything resembling a Kurdish state. Something could blow up in his face.


It suits Assad to have FSA and YPG kill each other, the question implied by Col Lang's post is what is the agreed limit of advance of Erdogan's forces. Factors would be the depth of Erdogan's 'desired' buffer zone and where the oil/gas reserves are within Afrin.
At the limit, what then ? Will we see subtle messages from Assad and Putin as the FSA and rebadged Daesh approach the limit ?
Erdogan will try to get away with whatever he can seize by increments and later successfully hold through military but primarily diplomatic means, and I have no doubt he sees the distant borders of the old Empire as an objective for later generations of Erdogans.

Babak Makkinejad

That is pre-modern bravado. I would not take it serously; rather I find it embarassing - if I were a Turk.


Barbara Ann

They were not synonymous but both were occupied by the Ottoman Emperor. pl


Rudaw.net/english reports "Turkey detains 4 Iraqis for plotting attack on U.S. embassy", finally they do something decent for the U.S. & "France told Turkey to end its Afrin operation" but they don't.

I think it's a big mistake to allow Turkey to create mischief & go unchallenged.
I've been concerned since the sultan's wife first appeared dressed like a mummy; I'm surprised her face isn't veiled. Then there's the Turk's tank barricade @ Kobanie insuring Kurdish slaughter by ISIS, the incident @ Incirlik AF base of shutting off the electricity, the so called coup & subsequent incarcerations of any possible discenters & dispatching thugs to rough up lawful Turkish protesters in D.C. the list just rolls on. What is the U.S. trying to accomplish by playing patsy
to this bullying? I wonder if 4 Iraqis were really going to attack the U.S. embassy or if this is just a little friendly distraction.

Ishmael Zechariah

It might be worth remembering that tayyip himself was a Borg project. The article at the following link is a good summary of tayyip's transformation:

Quite a few of the original sources documenting the Borg support for tayyip has disappeared from the web. I guess the Russians are responsible.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

Ever try to chat up an unmarried young Kurdish woman? All of sudden all that anarcho-syndicalism melts away and you would be faced with the same enraged Muslim male whose namus is being thresthened. Cognitive Disonance par excellence.

Babak Makkinejad

He was harmed by Kurds, they bit his outstretched arm, the first in hundreds of years. Kurds fancied themselves Machiavellian


Yes, indeed. The islamists of Turkey hates Ataturk not only because he made the country a secular republic but also Ataturk explicitly ruled out going after lost territories of ottoman empire. Erdogan, true to all turkish islamists, is daydreaming to bring the former ottoman vilayets under his sultanate and there is a significant public support for this among turkish populace as they apparently do not to understand what that truly entails in terms of blood and treasure. But, that would quickly change as the first body bags of mass casualties starts to come home and syrian missiles starts to land in turkish cities


"I don’t believe Erdogan intends to steal northern Syria"

I think that's a mistaken view at it.

In my impression Erdogan would liklely say that doesn't steal the land he craves for.

To him it is his Turkey's property anyway, unfairly lost in WW-I (by folks "who didn't know what they were doing", actually close to an actual expression made by a Turkish politico).

That's why he wants to get it back. He wants to 'fix' the losses of WW-I. That would also explain his trouble with Turkey over greek islands in the aegais (which once were turkish).

My feeling is that, in his own way, Erdogan simply wants to undo the borders set at the end of WW-I.

That's geographically an extension, but seen from a "neo-osman view", it is a "restauration of the old empire". IMO Erdogan doesn't see himself as a "destroyer" but as a "repairer".


A correction, I wanted to write "...his trouble with Greece ..."


Why would either Russia or Iran care enough about Afrin, or even northern Syria as a whole, to risk getting into an open confrontation with Turkey about it? Their priorities are surely: 1 keeping Assad in power and: 2 getting the US out of Syria. Even the Syrian government would find it hard to justify getting into a fight with Turkey over Afrin alone, so long as the US still squats menacingly in the far more strategically significant eastern Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria. The likelihood is that all they would achieve is ensuring the US and Turks both return to focusing their energies wholly on Syria, instead of at least partially on each other as at the moment.

Likewise it appears the US has decided it is not worth confronting Turkey over Afrin.

The interesting thing is what happens after Afrin, or if Afrin bogs down, if and when the Turkish operations are more openly extended into eastern territory held by the US-backed Kurds, or perhaps into Idlib in response to Syrian operations there. The Syrians and the Russians and Iranians are probably hoping for the former, the US for the latter.

Account Deleted


You just defined revisionism and you are dead right, he feels the Treaty of Lausanne 'cheated' Turkey. I found this article helpful in explaining the history of the Treaty and the Kemalist secular state/neo-Ottoman feud than has been going ever since. It ends with

When the doctrine is based on delusions of senile and twisted minds how can the actions be true and decent?
Such thinking gave us Hitler & Mussolini, I pity the Turkish people.


Babak Makkinejad

Borg had been looking for an alternative to the Islamic Republic of Iran; first it went with Salafism and Neo-Salafism - when that did not work out too well they groped for another alternative - the candidate was Muslim Brotherhood - first in Turkey and then in Egypt.

Sid Finster

From the outset of "Operation Olive Branch" I have said that Erdogan will not simply leave.

That is also why the United States tolerates his antics in Syria.

The goal of the United States government is the destruction of the Syrian government. Whether this is accomplished by ISIS, al Qaeda in the guise of "vetted moderate headchoppers", Turkey or the Kurds is irrelevant as long as the Pentagon and State Department get what they want.

robt willmann


In your comment you say: "It’s pretty clear 'the west' is dedicated to neocon plan of balkanizing Syria and creating a Kurd state. All of the think tank plans I’ve seen envision part of turkey as part of that Kurd state."

That seems to say that the West wants to create a Kurdish state in Syria but at the same time part of Turkey is going to be removed from Turkey and made part of the new Kurdish state. Who is going to provide the force to take over part of Turkey and hand it to the Kurds for a new state?

Which "think tanks" have written papers saying that part of the existing land of Turkey is going to be taken from Turkey and given to the Kurds?


Yesterday al-Masdar news was saying that the regiment deploying to Afrin from Raqqa was NOT ypg. Instead they were saying it was Jaysh al-Thuwar, a multi-ethnic (Arab, Turkmen, and some Kurds) FSA group originally from northwestern Syria. Many are from al-Bab and Sheba in Turkish controlled north Aleppo, the Euphrates shield Azaz-Jarabulus-Bab triangle. They will have to go thru SAA controlled territory to get to Afrin, will Assad let them? Or will they even go to Afrin and perhaps instead create a diversion by attacking Erdogan's proxies in al-Bab?


Also I suspect that Johnny Kanuck is correct that Russia will not stop Erdogan's adventures in Syria as long as there is a remote chance they may drag Turkey out of NATO. Putin is playing the long game. Assad is not happy about that but has little choice in the matter. Other parts of the R+6, Iran and Hezbollah, have spoken out against Erdogan's trespassing into Syria.

There will be a Russian/Iranian/Turkish summit in Istanbul next month. The FMs of all three countries will meet in the next week or two in Astana to work out the agenda of the April summit. A lot of that agenda is going to depend on the "facts on the ground" in Afrin at the time.


Yes IMO, that is a valid analysis, IMO they knew a secular subservient client sate model will not work and seat well with newly more educated young urban muslims, it needed to have a hint of religious tone, and not for sure Shia since their experience with shia muslims was not at par with western hegemony. So far, in this last 40 years everything they tried, including the kitchen sink ,has not stopped or reversed Iranian islamic revolution. At the end of the day Iran will not, and can not, dominate the Sunni muslims, but nor can US and the west, with their past strongman dictators, or the newly creative models, based on "American Islam" as late ayatollah Khomeini use to say.

Babak Makkinejad

The only secular order in a Muslim society is Bayonet Secularism, a.k.a. Garrison Secularism.

But so much of contemporary political theory is based on the ideas of Western Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment Thinkers that few could conceive of normal quotidian politics except in terms of European norms.

The funny thing is that they love the theocratic Israel - for which they have paid and are paying a very heavy price - as well as the Gucchi-wearing head lama of Tibet.

I have concluded that they are against Islam.


Amazing to read: "Gucchi-wearing head lama of Tibet."
That description comes direct from Rupert Murdoch, and Murdoch said it at the time he was trying to gain favor from government of China for access for his Star TV network.
And it is not true, he does not wear gucci shoes.
He is a very humble man, also very funny.
Have you met him?



I for one miss the realists. It is simply impossible to have a rational vision of what is happening in the Middle East. The never-ending war is the intention. It is of no matter that it is against the best interests of Europeans and North Americans. The number one priority of Israel and the Sunni Gulf Monarchs and therefore of the American Empire is cutting the Shiite Crescent and neutering Hezbollah. The USA will stay in Eastern Syria until it or the Syrian Arab Republic collapses. Russia is playing a cold game to allow Turkey to invade Syria to soften the Kurds. Although the Turkish Army left Iraq; now that Turkey is fighting the Kurds in Syria, it will take a cataclysm as bad as WWI force the Turks back to their old borders. The Kurds are fighting to keep their arms, institutions and autonomy. They must fight to survive. Without Peace, the holy war will kill off any minorities left and bring on the Apocalypse that the fanatic Abrahamic religions profess to want.

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