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08 March 2020

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Barbara Ann

Yes, it is that simple and the battle for the M4 will presumably resume in earnest on or soon after the 15th March deadline in the deal. The difference this time, I would think, will be a zero tolerance approach by Russia to any attempts by the TSK to interfere. I look forward to watching it unfold.

Haddad (previous post) has it pretty much right IMO. I actually see the unleashing of the Weapon of Mass Migration as a positive. As well as evidencing how desperate Erdogan is, it is a policy sure to backfire. I have even read rare criticism saying as much in the Turkish press. With luck other European leaders will be cured of their willful blindness to the true nature of the wannabe Sultan.

The Twisted Genius

Not only did I not expect this ceasefire to hold, but I doubt Moscow, Damascus or Ankara expected it to work either. It was a fig leaf Putin offered to Erdogan to enable him to save some face as he abandons the HTS to their fate in Idlib. Without Turkish fire support, the jihadis are toast.

plantman

Does this mean that Erdogan has no power over HTS or that HTS is secretly doing what Erdogan wants??

Peter AU1

UNSC designated terrorist groups were specifically excluded I believe from the truce agreement between Putin and Erdogan.

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) first on the list.
https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13365.doc.htm

turcopolier

PeterAU1

So what. There obviously is not going to be a cease fire without HTS compliance.

turcopolier

plantsman

No real power if their fantasies collide.

Peter AU1

It has always been open season on HTS and any UN designated terrorist organisations. Putin and Lavrov are always clear on that. They can kill cease fires I guess but they can hardly reject a truce or agreement that specifically excludes them.

turcopolier

PeterAU1

You are just an argumentative annoyance. Goodbye

TI

"HTS is uninterested in his fantasy. They have their own fantasy to fulfill."

What are the differences between their visions?

To those who think Erdogan's threat of mass migration will wake up Europe: imo that's unduly optimistic, at least in Germany where I'm living. I fully expect Merkel's government to cave in again, to fork over a few hundred million Euros over to Erdogan, and to accept migrants in some kind of regularized way. Leading Christian Democratic politicians have even gone so far as to claim Erdogan's behaviour is merely a "cry for help" (not the blackmail it is), and there has been some confused verbal support for the creation of a safe zone in Idlib. The political class here has only a very tenuous relationship to reality.

Lyttennburgh

HTS are a bunch of murtads-shavats anyway. Yesterday was the “International Women’s Day”, so they ought to be congratulated with it, for they are no men – they deny the agreements, yet won’t be fighting, for without the Turks they’d become shahids earlier than expected.

Erdogan the Tomato Sultan is no Sultan Caliph and mahdi – he’s a kaffir.

turcopolier

TI

Islam, in this case Sunni Islam, is divided into many consensus groups each believing that its understanding of the "Roots of the Law" is the correct one and that all other consensus groups are to some extent incorrect in God's opinion. These differences can be large or small. The official Ottoman cult was that of Hanafi Law. presided over post 16th Century Sunni Islam by the Caliph in Istanbul who was also Ottoman Sultan. HTS, like ISIS is based on Hanbali Law and the teachings of Ibn Taimmiya in the Middle Ages. To adherents of these jihadi groups the neo-Ottoman cult is inevitably a cult of personality focused on the leader, Erdogan. This smacks of the sin of Shirk which is the attribution of importance to something or someone other than God Almighty. IMO this makes any jihadi/neo-Ottoman relationship inherently unstable. Want some more?

Serge

It is instructive to refer back to the history of the IS-Turkey relationship to see the incompatibility of visions discussed above. To start in 2012-2014, Turkish gov actions abetting what later became known as IS(it was AQI successfully masquerading as "Nusra Front" back then), arguably verging on outright support. The Turks got nervous very early in 2015 when they realized that Baghdadi's group were the real deal, true believers as they say, and could not be controlled. The wiser Gulf backers of the current "HTS" had realized this fact 2 years before and were responsible for the Nusra/AQI split in early 2013 which immediately followed the seminal Akashat ambush in Iraq. 2015 brought with it the wave of IS terrorist attacks within Turkey itself, turkish retailiation in the form of airstrikes, the opening of Incirclik etc airbases to US air, and the later 2016 direct military intervention against IS which in hindsight crippled it for good by cutting off the border. Will a similar evolution occur with HTS? Same incompatibilities of vision between the two parties says yes, however HTS are not true believers. They are a slimy bunch still firmly ensconced in Gulf pockets, something that IS never was at any point in time. HTS does not have the freedom to act as it wants. I can easily see HTS fracturing into a patchwork of hardline groups as was previously seen with Junda al aqsa and Ansaw al tawhid, these could cause real problems for Turkey.

Sam Iam

Islam, in this case Sunni Islam, is divided into many consensus groups each believing that its understanding of the "Roots of the Law" is the correct one and that all other consensus groups are to some extent incorrect in God's opinion. These differences can be large or small. The official Ottoman cult was that of Hanafi Law. presided over post 16th Century Sunni Islam by the Caliph in Istanbul who was also Ottoman Sultan. HTS, like ISIS is based on Hanbali Law and the teachings of Ibn Taimmiya in the Middle Ages. To adherents of these jihadi groups the neo-Ottoman cult is inevitably a cult of personality focused on the leader, Erdogan. This smacks of the sin of Shirk which is the attribution of importance to something or someone other than God Almighty. IMO this makes any jihadi/neo-Ottoman relationship inherently unstable. Want some more?


Col,

Thank you for this. This is fascinating. I would be very much interested in learning more about the ideological similarities and differences fueling the Anti-Assadniks.

JamesT

Thank you for your explanation of why the jihadi/neo-Ottoman relationship is inherently unstable, Colonel.

TI

@turcopolier

Thank you, that was informative. I don't quite understand what's HTS' vision for an ideal society though, if they see dangers in a "cult of personality", would they be in favour of restoring the caliphate (like Isis did, with al-Baghdadi as caliph) or do they want some other organization without a supreme leader of the faithful at the top?
And how much do Erdogan's views owe to the Muslim brotherhood? My understanding is that the Islamist parties Erdogan has emerged from were influenced by the brotherhood, and iirc in the early 2010s he also tried to play patron to the short-lived Muslim brotherhood government in Egypt and to Hamas in Gaza. What's the relationship between those ties and Turkish neo-Ottomanism?
If you ever find occasion to write more about those issues, I'd be very interested.

turcopolier

TI

In all forms of Islam the separation of the divine and the earthly interests of man is impossible. A practice of Islam that allows for the separation of religion and government is murtad (heretical), a heresy punishable by death. Countries where that separation occurs are following a type of Islam that is very adulterated by the culture of the West. Any sect of Islam that seeks to make the religion the main thing in society has no choice but to try to make their form of Islam politically supreme. The Hanbali law of the different jihadi sects does not allow for the evolution of religious doctrine because it accepts only two Roots of the Law - Qur'an and Hadith. It does not allow for a gradual evolution of the law through accumulated case law based on hadiths (codes of stories of the practice and sayings of the Prophet and early community) and case law by analogy from past cases and codices of hadiths not accepted by the Hanbali school of law. Therefore judgments are based on Hanbali hadiths which tend to be severely extreme. The Wahhabi, ISIS, al-Qa'ida all think that way and are unwilling to compromise in the direction of more developed systems based on Hanafi and Shafa'i law codes. To pursue their religious codes these Hanbali based sects choose (or respond to) leaders like Al-Baghdadi who lead in the direction of their shared belief. The Ottoman Sultan/caliph was limited to some extent in his actions by the Hanafi law and the actions allowed by the law as they understood it. Rivalry between the leaders of these groups (sects) is inevitable because only one is thought to be representative of Allah's will because Allah's will and opinion is indivible. Hardly anyone in the West understands any of this and they do not care to do so preferring to think that this is all a screen for economic determinism.

Zarate

The cease fire is between the Turks and the Syrians. The Syrians will proceed to mop up the remaining insurgents while the Turks look on. Sounds like a plan.

turcopolier

Zarate

I will be glad to see every single insurgents killed but the cease fire is between the Russians and the Turks.

Zarate

turcopolier. I may have misunderstood, I assumed that although the cease fire is between the Turks and the Russians, the Russians are guests of the Syrians which in my mind equated the cease fire with the Syrians because without their agreement I have my doubts the Russians would operate openly in Syria.
Thanks for the work you put in.

Leith

Erdogan has claimed that his TAF drones have destroyed eight Pantsir-S1 missile/AA systems in Idlib. The Russian MOD says BS. They say there are only four Pantsirs in Idlib and none were destroyed but two were damaged. Most Syrian-manned Pantsir's are in and around Damascus. There are some Russian manned Pantsir's at their bases on the Latakia coast.

So perhaps Erdogan's claim is a hopeful BDA appraisal pushed by drone pilots, then amplified by TAF brass?

Or it is a complete fabrication pushed by Erdogan to propagate faith in his Syria policy among the Turkish electorate?

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