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29 February 2020

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Silentd78909988

Let's pray that Tucker Carlson says something about this soon.

Another possibility is that Erdogan just wants to put up some token resistance to keep up his bona fides with his jihadi allies. He'll sacrifice some Turkish soldiers, get as many jihadis as possible killed, and then say "I tried .." and go home.

If Erdogan can't see it, the Turkish military surely does see that Pakistanification is the real threat to Turkey.

Harlan Easley

Very dangerous situation. Maybe one of the most dangerous situations of the war.

Barbara Ann

The dynamics of this situation look grave indeed.

Erdogan is drunk on his own bathwater and has not backed down following the strike on his troops. Indeed the most recent change of fortunes in his favor on the battlefield has resulted in even more ludicrous rhetoric. He appears to be oblivious to the fact that further progress by his pet jihadists could soon be perceived by Russia as a clear and present danger to its Mediterranean presence.

Will Russia accept this, or a protracted & debilitating Afghanistan-like situation in NW Syria? I think it more likely the response will be overwhelming. There can be no bargaining with a man obsessed with re-fighting the wars of his ancestors, I hope Putin now understands this.

Sure there is a risk of a NATO response, but the alternative is a strategic retreat which would dwarf the success with Crimea. Russia needs a stable host state for its bases and the barrier to this is now Erdogan himself.

Peter AU1

Turk rocket systems and long rang artillery from within Turkey will be a problem for SAA front lines. I suspect they rather than drones are scoring hits now. This may be why Erdo is desperate for patriot batteries. Sooner or later if rocket and artillery systems within Turkey are taking too much of a toll on the SAA, then Syria or Russia may well respond.

walrus

I have some intelligence that some of the powers that be in the swamp are getting tired of endless wars and will not support Pompeo. If Trump is also hearing the same thing, there may not be a new Syrian adventure.

different clue

I will claim that I was thinking what commenter
Silentd78909988 already said in comment number One.

I will claim further that I hope Tucker Carlson has people steadily reading this blog and these threads in order to steadily watch out for " internal dangers" to President Trump's fewer-wars agenda.

Walter Lang

James

You are a strategist?

j. casey

Am I missing something (as I so often do), or was Erd's move to take out a bunch of IRGC and Hiz (30 or more combined) a really big mistake?

Andrei Martyanov

@Barbara

Erdogan is drunk on his own bathwater and has not backed down following the strike on his troops.

Not really, it is MO of the region where hysterics and self-motivation with bizarre rhetoric and exaggerations are part of a culture. A lot of it also a propaganda, reality, however, is such that we don't know the actual number of casualties of Turks (nobody counts jihadists)and rumor has it--those a "slightly" larger numbers than reported. Russia is not opening airspace over Idlib for Turkish AF and that is the main point so far. Even is Patriots (let's imagine) ARE provided, I can only imagine the actual ECM situation in Idlib then. In other words, the work of Patriots will be disrupted. Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, took today a rather conciliatory tone when speaking of Russia. It is obvious that Russia can, if push comes to shove, make Erdogan's life much more complicated on economic front and this time there will be no reconsidering of tourism, Turkish exports to Russia etc. People have to remember that Turkey for all her large regional weight is not large (REAL economy) economic entity, especially in terms of key predictors and cannot fast replenish losses in the most important aspect of war materiel: be that tanks, let alone combat aircraft and other hi-end weapon systems and enablers. So, while grave it seems, the big guns didn't start talking and Erdo, for all his rhetoric, knows that once Russian missiles and aircraft start to fly in earnest--casualties count for Turks will grow really fast, together with Erdo's chances to be removed from office. Moscow will talk first, but I doubt that Erdogan will get much cooperation this time. But, obviously, no one wants REAL escalation. But Putin (Russia) actually does have an option of escalation and I am almost positive that some people in General Staff in Moscow suggest it. Why, is a separate topic altogether. I'll give a hint: in case of escalation Russia becomes a gatekeeper for refugees' floods to Europe, not Turkey, because this becomes the last Turkey's weapon in case Russian stand-off weapons and VKS begin to fly.

J

Pompeo and the Neocons may use the COVID 19 situation as a distraction to push through their Syrian debacle entanglements under Trump's nose, unless CJCS Gen Milley isn't keeping a keen eye on Pompeo's movements and stopping Pompeo dead in his tracks.

plantman

This is complicated situation, but there is an explanation.
Erdogan knows that the Pompeo wants a war between Russia and Turkey just as Putin knows that Pompeo wants a war between Russia and Turkey. Everyone knows this.

US support gives Erdo a little more clout with Putin just as releasing the refugees into EU gives Erdo a little more clout with the EU. Everyone knows this too.

The basic problem is that Erdo wants to control the M4 and M5 in an area that was part of the Ottoman empire before the Brits and frogs divided the whole area up (Sykes picot) This claim by Erdo has some legitimacy despite the western hatred for Erdo.

The only solution is a compromise between Putin and Erdo to create a jointly-patrolled and overseen area in Idlib that was originally designated as the de escalation zone.

It is not in Russia's interest to alienate Turkey who is a vital ally in its plan for a greater europe that extends from Siberia to Lisbon.

Putin will not be drawn into a foolish unproductive war that does not advance Russian interests.

Please pay attention to how complicated and fraught this situation is now, because afterwards you will realize that Putin is a master tactician and the greatest statesman of our time.

He's also a pretty smart guy.

Jane

Would Trump, who vowed to get us out of endless wars and just signed off on a deal with the Taliban, really risk such a move as he seeks re-election?

As for Israel and Syria, if the Russians can be believed, the issue is not about the Assad regime, which kept their border safe for decades, but with the presence of Iran and its militias as well as Hezbollah. Otherwise, the Israelis might accept the Saudi-UAE desire to bring Syria back into the Arab fold, away from both Iran and Turkey.

paul

looks like serious escalations happening today, rebels in daraa reportedly capturing various government facilities, aircraft being shot down, rebels counter offensive in idlib. strong statement from iran.
things are looking very serious at the moment

Barbara Ann

@plantman

Actually Ottoman Turkey was carved up after Sykes-Picot in the Treaty of Sèvres, whose centenary is this August. Of course this year being the centenary of the historic humiliation is being used by the nationalists to whip up hysteria in their devotees. Turkey's modern borders were set in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, after the war of independence. The nationalists do not accept this and refer to the National Oath (Misak-ı Millî) map. A look at this is very instructive (it includes Aleppo, for example) for anyone who wonders why Erdogan seems to be willing to risk war over parts of northern Syria.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misak-ı_Millî#/media/File:Misak-i_milli.png

@Andrei

Thanks for your response, I try not to be overly excitable ;-).

I recognize the fact that much of Erdogan’s rhetoric is propaganda and it is impossible to tell how delusional he really is. The 2016 coup attempt and RAND Corp’s recent ‘analysis’ that another was possible cannot have helped his state of mind. I maintain that the real risk (for him) may ultimately come from from the Bozkurtlar (Gray Wolves) who do fervently believe Erdogan is leading them towards the recovery of lost lands. I would not like to be in the position of disappointing them.

Might Russia’s remedy for such delusions be to give the Turks a glimpse of what a protracted & debilitating conflict looks like for themselves? I see that the Idlib operation now has the official (& very unimaginative) designation of “Spring Shield”. Putin, for now, certainly seems happy for Erdogan to keep digging his hole deeper. The SAA have fought for 9 years straight in an existential war. Idlib is far from an existential issue for the average Turkish voter & my guess is they will tire of blood & treasure being poured into this adventure very much sooner.

Harper

Now Erdogan is threatening the EU with a new wave of millions of Syrian refugees if they don't join the US in a NATO Article V support for the Turkish invasion of Syria to defend Jihadist last stronghold in Idlib.

How smart is this at the moment Europeans are in near-lockdown over fear of more COVID-19 to face a surge of Middle East refugees?

Pentagon is clearly aware of the danger of being drawn into direct military conflict with Russia inside Syria. Not even the West Point Class of 1986 crew is that crazy.

New twist: Turkey should establish a safe zone in Idlib, running 22 miles into Syrian territory up to the M4 highway and secure it from Turkish territory with anti-aircraft batteries and other weaponry. And Trump and Putin should have a phone call to work things out.

Walter Lang

Harper

IMO the R+6 should persist in the present offensive until ALL of Idlib Province is re-occupied by the SAG and the jihadi groups like HTS destroyed.

LondonBob

Presumably the reason the US court case against the Turkish Bank that Erdogan and his family were connected to was dropped was on the basis Erdogan would start a fight in Idlib?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-turkey-halkbank/turkeys-halkbank-shares-surge-after-iran-sanctions-trial-paused-idUSKBN1ZY0OY

Of course it helps that annexing Syrian territory is something Erdogan would like to do anyway.

divadab

My grandfather fought the Turks at Gallipoli. He had great respect for their bravery, tenacity, and ferocity as soldiers. I'm not sure whether taking more casualties will cause them to stand down - it may motivate them to greater efforts.

My admittedly dilettante 2 cents.

Jane

At Gallipoli, the Ottoman soldiers were fighting a foreign invader, not so in Syria. I say Ottoman because a very high percent, perhaps even a majority of the troops were from the Arab and Kurdish regions, with a few Albanians thrown in. In addition, they included Greek, Armenian and Jewish soldiers and specialist officers.

Whatever irredentist thoughts some of today's troops and their families may harbor, be they from the Caucuses, Crimea, the Balkans, etc., they and their ethnic Turkish and Kurdish comrades do not see their mission as revisiting the post-WWI political arrangements.

Phil Cattar

Andrei,I read your comments today and one you wrote the other day.They reminded me of an old Russian saying about Russians..We are slow to mount but fast to ride".

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