Tag Archives: Turkey

Death in Ankara, by Justin Raimondo

Turkey, Russia, and Germany are hit by Middle Eastern blowback, which is what countries that intervene in the Middle East almost invariably get. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

If you think the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, the same day terrorist attack in Berlin, and the announcement the next day of an agreement by Russia, Turkey, and Iran to end the Syrian civil war are all a monumental coincidence, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Aside from the requisite “Allahu Akbar!”, Mevlut Mert Altintas, the Russian Ambassador’s killer – a police officer – shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” That’s what’s being reported widely, but he also said, according to the Daily Mail, in Arabic:

“’We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad for jihad.’ According to local media, his words are similar to the unofficial anthem of Al Nusra. Some reports claimed he said words to the effect of: ‘We made an oath to die in martyrdom … it is revenge for Syria and Aleppo … until they are safe, you will not taste safety.’”

Turkish strongman Recep Erdogan has had to walk a tightrope between the party’s rural fundamentalist supporters and the realities of the Syrian civil war, as the combined might of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian forces has steadily made inroads on the Saudi- and US-supported Syrian rebels, which also include the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front. With the fall of Aleppo, Erdogan’s turn away from support to the rebels and his focus on defeating ISIS and the Kurds, proved problematic on the home front.

To continue reading: Death in Ankara

 

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Declaration Of War? Erdogan Says Turkish Forces Are In Syria To End Assad’s Rule, by Tyler Durden

Is Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan trying to reconstitute the Ottoman Empire? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Having stated in the past that the only reason Turkish forces are on Syrian soil is to combat Islamic State terrorists, today Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a dramatic diplomatic reversal and said that the Turkish Army has entered Syria to end the rule of President Bashar Assad, whom he accused of terrorism and causing the deaths of thousands.

“We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” the Turkish president was quoted by Huyrriyet as saying at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul. Erdogan said that Turkey has no territorial claims in Syria, but instead wants to hand over power to the Syrian population, adding that Ankara is seeking to restore “justice.”

“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice,” he said, taking a page out of the US playbook, which however in recent weeks has been muted following substantial advances by Syrian and Russian forces which as reported last night, have made material gains in the fight against Syrian rebels in east Aleppo.

Erdogan went on to say that “in his estimation” almost 1 million people have died in the conflict in Syria, although no monitoring group has provided any similar figures according to RT.

To continue reading: Declaration Of War? Erdogan Says Turkish Forces Are In Syria To End Assad’s Rule

Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’, by Michael Krieger

Syria still threatens to become “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires.” From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.

To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.

– From August’s post: Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six months or so warning about World War 3, an event which is more likely over the next few years than at any other point in my lifetime. Such a conflict is the last thing I’d ever want to see or have to raise red flags about, but I can’t simply ignore all the obvious and troubling signs around me.

Just last week, I published a post titled, The Situation in Syria is Very, Very Dangerous. Here are a few excerpts:

Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. officials said the failure of diplomacy in Syria has left the Obama administration no choice but to consider alternatives, most of which involve some use of force and have been examined before but held in abeyance.

It’s not just Syria, of course. The entire region looks like it’s about to go up in flames in a way that could make recent conflicts look tame by comparison. We all know about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen that the Saudis seem determined to make as chaotic as possible, but there’s also Iraq.

For example, Reuters reported the following earlier today:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.

In case you’re not paying attention, Turkey is now involved in military operations inside both Iraq and Syria.

To continue reading: Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’

US-Turkey Lurch to World War in Syria, by Finian Cunningham

SLL said in “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires” that World War III would begin in Syria. Now, it may have officially begun. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Following US President Barack Obama’s dubious stellar performance this week at the UN General Assembly recounting a litany of lies for almost one hour before the eyes of the world, it was the turn of Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to insult humanity’s intelligence.

Like his American ally, who inverted reality by claiming that US war crimes against numerous nations were a virtuous legacy, Erdogan performed a similar spellbinding conjuring trick. In his address to the UN, the Turkish president said his military has rendered peace to the Middle East region by invading Syria last month.

Can you imagine Adolf Hitler declaring to the then League of Nations that Germany had just invaded Poland to restore peace to Europe? It is astounding, when you think about it, how the august international forum in New York City indulged Erdogan and Obama with such polite attention, when they are both responsible for the supreme war crime of aggression against the sovereign state of Syria?

Turkish and American troops are occupying a 100-km wide swathe of northern Syria after they both launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24, with tanks and warplanes in support of ground forces.

Syria and Russia have both expressed concern over the incursion, with Damascus denouncing it as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. American warplanes have been violating Syrian sovereignty for nearly two years. Just because Turkey and the US claim that the latest operation is aimed at fighting the ISIS terror network, that still does not confer legitimacy.

Four weeks on from the US and Turkey launching the incursion into Syrian territory, Ankara says that it is expanding its occupation.

Earlier this week, Erdogan said his troops would push further south into Syria to take a total area of 5,000 square kms – about five times the area already under its present control. In Orwellian jargon, the Turkish-US forces are labelling the annexed territory as «safe zones». Exactly to whom this is being made «safe» for is not yet clear.

While in New York City, the Turkish leader urged the US to step up its military cooperation with Ankara to, as he put it, «finish off Daesh [ISIS]» in Syria. Erdogan is pushing Washington even harder to get onboard with the long-held Turkish objective of setting up «no fly zones» in the occupied northern Syrian territory.

Erdogan also hinted that he expected a Clinton presidency to be more gung-ho about escalating military involvement, and in particular implementing no fly zones. Hillary Clinton has already said that she would take a more hostile line towards Syria and Russia, going as far as declaring she would deploy military force to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

It is notable that Erdogan is making his appeals solely to Washington for greater military intervention «to finish off Daesh» in Syria. Surely, if Turkey was serious about this stated objective then it would be entreating Russia to join forces, given that Russia has shown itself to be the most effective military power against the terror groups, after it was requested to intervene by the Syrian government last year.

That Erdogan wants to go it alone with the US on his supposed «anti-terror» mission in Syria points to an ulterior agenda. That agenda is nothing less than war on Syria.

To continue reading: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/09/24/us-turkey-lurch-world-war-syria.html

 

Washington’s Failure in Syria Is Not About Strategy, by Federico Pieraccini

The US policy in Syria has been to get rid of its leader, Bashar al-Assad. It has not been to get rid of terrorist outfits like al Qaeda and ISIS, and the US will use those groups to achieve its primary objective. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

So much has been said about the Syrian conflict in numerous analyses, yet one of the least discussed topics concerns the strategy and the relationship of cooperation and conflict between the United States, Turkey, the Kurds and Daesh.

From the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Washington and Ankara have never hesitated to exploit Daesh’s advances. The occupation of Syrian towns near the Turkish border by Islamic extremists has been one of the preferred tactics endorsed by the United States and Turkey. Closing one eye, often both, concerning Daesh’s operations meant attacking the Syrian state indirectly and threatening its integrity whilst simultaneously allowing the creation of safe havens where terrorist groups could receive weapons and material support to spread their attacks on the legitimate government of Damascus over the rest of the country.

In the specific case of Turkey, there were also other assessments. ISIS / ISIL was supported vigorously by Ankara in the process of sweeping Kurdish territories, wreaking death and destruction on the community. Given the historical conflict between Turkey and the Kurds, it is easy to assume that advances by ISIS/ISIL meant a victory for Erdogan and a successful degradation of the Kurdish community in the Middle East.

Subtly and somewhat complacently, the United States reacted to this behavior of Ankara in two ways. It primarily imposed a media blackout on trade deals between Turkey and Daesh and it especially never attacked ISIS in Syria with the so-called international coalition.

What has altered the chessboard is the Russian military intervention in September of 2015. Moscow has been able to smash the wall of silence and collusion present in Syria involving terrorist organizations such as Daesh, Al Nusra Front, Jaysh al-Islam, Ansar al-Islam and countries like the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. In addition to military action, the Russian Federation has been able to apply strong diplomatic pressure on Western countries and, through the RT news channel, has repeatedly exposed the support of terrorism at any cost by the opponents of the legitimate government in Damascus.

Since September 2015 the war of aggression against Syria has been hit hard by Moscow’s triad of military, diplomatic and media action. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) quickly recaptured many territories previously lost. The liberation of Palmyra, and the road already opened to Deir ez-Zor, the vast areas around the Russian military base in the province of Latakia cleared, the recent victory at Darayya and Aleppo – these finally showed a clear military solution to the crisis in Syria.

The consequences of the strategic re-conquests made by the SAA, combined with the inability of Washington to more explicitly intervene directly in the conflict with men and materiel, forced the US to change its initial tactics. Hidden support (deliberately never mentioned by TV and newspapers) of terrorist groups continues unabated, the same of which can be said for Washington’s allies in the region. But what has changed is the media narrative of the conflict.

To continue reading: Washington’s Failure in Syria Is Not About Strategy

The kingmaker club, by Stephen Kinzer

Foreign interventionism’s quagmires and disasters are certainly not confined to the US. It hasn’t worked out too well for Saudi Arabia or Turkey. From Stephen Kinzer at bostonglobe.com:

VIOLENTLY INTERVENING IN the affairs of other countries has brought the United States much grief over the last century. We are hardly the only ones who do it. The club of interventionist nations has a shifting membership. During the current round of Middle East conflict, two new countries have joined: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both have succumbed to the imperial temptation. Both are paying a high price. They are learning a lesson that Americans struggle to accept: Interventions have unexpected consequences and often end up weakening rather than strengthening the countries that carry them out.

Turkey’s long intervention in Syria has failed to bring about its intended result, the fall of President Bashar Assad. Instead it has intensified the Syrian conflict, fed a regional refugee crisis, set off terrorist backlash, and deeply strained relations between Turkey and its NATO allies. As this blunder has unfolded, Saudi Arabia has also been waging war outside its territory. Its bombing of neighboring Yemen was supposed to be a way of asserting regional hegemony, but it has aroused indignant condemnation. The bombing campaign has placed Saudi Arabia under new scrutiny, including more intense focus on its role in promoting global terror, which the Saudi royal family has managed to keep half-hidden for years.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia intervened in foreign conflicts hoping to establish themselves as regional kingmakers. Both miscalculated. They overestimated their ability to secure quick victory and failed to weigh the strategic costs of failure or stalemate. If the Turks and Saudis had studied the history of American interventions, they would have been more prudent. We know the sorrows of empire. From Iran to Cuba to Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, the legacy of our interventions continues to haunt us. Ambitious powers, however, continue to ignore the stark lesson that American history teaches. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the latest to repeat our mistake. It is the same mistake that has undermined many nations and empires. They overestimated their ability to shape events in foreign lands. Now they are paying for their delusional overreach.

When protests in Syria turned violent in 2011, Turkey might have supported the Assad government or adopted a hands-off policy. Instead it wholeheartedly embraced the rebel cause. Turkey shipped weapons to militant groups, helped foreign fighters travel to battle fronts, and allowed wounded jihadists to be treated at clinics in border towns. Turkish leaders calculated that this semi-clandestine operation would quickly topple Assad’s government. Instead the war dragged on for years. Turkey’s intervention in Syria failed. Worse, it brought the war into parts of southern Turkey. Syrians began killing each other on the streets of Turkish towns.

Turkey has finally begun accepting the reality that partnership with jihadist groups does not pay off. Under intense pressure from Washington, it is turning on its former friends, even sending its regular army into northern Syria to fight them. Turkey is also fighting Kurdish nationalists. Its shifting, multifront war has outraged both Kurdish and Islamist militants. They are taking revenge by launching terror attacks inside Turkey. Intervention in Syria was supposed to pacify the region and increase Turkey’s strategic power. It has done the opposite.

To continue reading: The kingmaker club

Syria: Their War, Not Ours, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The first step towards straightening out US policy in Syria is to determine who we actually want to fight. Patrick Buchanan recommends ISIS. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

The debacle that is U.S. Syria policy is today on naked display.

NATO ally Turkey and U.S.-backed Arab rebels this weekend attacked our most effective allies against ISIS, the Syrian Kurds.

Earlier in August, U.S. planes threatened to shoot down Syrian planes over Hasakeh, and our Iraq-Syria war commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, issued a warning to Syria and Russia against any further air strikes around the city.

Who authorized Gen. Townsend to threaten to shoot down Syrian or Russian planes — in Syria?

When did Congress authorize an American war in Syria? Is the Constitution now inoperative?

That we are sinking into a civil war where we sometimes seem to be fighting both sides is a tribute to the fecklessness of the Barack Obama-John Kerry foreign policy and the abdication of a Congress that refuses to either name our real enemy or authorize our deepening involvement.

Our Congress appears again to have abdicated its war powers.

Consider the forces that have turned Syria into a charnel house with 400,000 dead and millions injured, maimed and uprooted.

On the one side there is the regime of Bashar Assad and its allies — Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. Damascus buys its weapons from Moscow and has granted Russia its sole naval base in the Mediterranean. And Vladimir Putin protects his interests and stands by his friends.

To Iran, the Alawite regime of Assad is a strategic link in the Shia crescent that runs from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to South Beirut and Lebanon’s border with Israel.

If Syria falls to Sunni rebels, Islamist or democratic, that would mean a strategic loss for Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, which is why all have invested so much time, blood and treasure in this war.

If they are going to lose Syria, Assad, Iran, Hezbollah and the Russians are probably going to go down fighting. And should we decide to fight a war to take them down, we would find ourselves with such de facto allies as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Have the hawks who want us to target Assad considered this?

The American people would never sustain such a war in the company of such allies, with its risks of escalation, to remove Assad, who, whatever we think of him, never terrorized Americans or threatened U.S. vital interests.

Years ago, Assad dismissed Obama’s demand that he surrender power, then defied Obama’s “red line” against the use of chemical weapons. He is not going to depart because some U.S. president tells him he must go.

As for the Syrian Kurds, the YPG, they have sealed much of the border with Turkey and fought their way ever closer to Raqqa, the capital of the ISIS caliphate. But what has elated the Americans has alarmed the Turks.

For the YPG not only drove ISIS out of the border towns all the way to the Euphrates; this summer, with U.S. backing, they crossed the river and seized Manbij.

Turkey’s fear is that the Syrian Kurds will link their cantons east of the Euphrates with their canton west of the river and create a statelet that could give Turkey’s Kurds a privileged sanctuary from which to pursue their 30-year struggle for independence.

To continue reading: Syria: Their War, Not Ours