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Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 10th, 2019, 3:45 am
by toucana
There is a history of some ten months standing behind president Trump’s most recent decision to throw our Kurdish allies under the bus, and to allow the special forces of president Erdogan’s Turkish army to massacre them all.

You will need to delve into the locked annexe of read-only forbidden topics to find out what we wrote about it at the time though, because the moderators here deleted the article from the forum news-feed because it was deemed to be too ‘political’ at the time.

To be fair to Donald Trump he never made any secret of his intentions. Right from the start of his presidency he made it clear that he regarded money spent on maintaining US soldiers *anywhere* in the middle east as money wasted. His preferred tactic was to announce that he had already ‘won’ - regardless of the military realities on the ground - to withdraw all the troops, and to then re-route the money saved into his ample back-pocket, or into one of his megalomaniac vanity projects like the border wall. (The one that Mexico was supposed to be paying for - if you can remember back that far).

The only real novelty on offer in the current scenario is the unusual apologia offered by Trump for his actions yesterday.

Apparently the Kurds don’t deserve any military assistance or support from the USA because they didn’t assist the allies during WWII, and didn’t participate in the Normandy landings in June 1944.

This imaginative line of reasoning could usefully be extended in many other directions. The Kurds quite shamefully didn’t participate in the Vietnam war either. They stayed well away from the DMZ, just like all those other pathetic draft-dodgers and cowards who stayed at home nursing their imaginary bone-spurs.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 10th, 2019, 11:41 am
by TheVat
First thought crossing my mind, reading 45's rationale was "weren't the Kurds dealing with having been scattered and oppressed after WW1, then dealing with genocide during WW2??"

Kurt Eichenwald really nailed it, back in 2016. (scroll down to near the end of article, where he discusses Trump and Turkey) ... 98081.html

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 11th, 2019, 1:12 pm
by TheVat
(sidebar regarding the reopening of the General News thread, and administrative PERL script problems, moved to the Feedback forum)

Welcome back to General News.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 12th, 2019, 1:16 am
by charon
From Wiki:

'During World War Two, the Kurds formed 10 companies in the Iraq Levies that the British had recruited in Iraq. Kurds supported the British in the defeating the pro-Nazi 1941 Iraqi coup d'état.[79] Twenty-five percent of the Iraq Levies' 1st Parachute Company was Kurdish. The Parachute Company was attached to the Royal Marine Commando and was active in Albania, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.

Despite the fact they were a tiny minority in the Soviet Union, Kurds played a significant role in the Soviet war effort. They participated in the Soviet occupation of northern Iraq in 1941, creating the Persian Corridor, a vital supply line for the USSR. On 1 October 1941, Samand Siabandov was awarded the honour Hero of the Soviet Union. Kurds served at Smolensk, Sevastopol, Leningrad, and Stalingrad. Kurds took part in the partisan movement behind German lines. Karaseva received both the Hero of the Soviet Union medal and the medal Partisan of the Fatherland War (First Degree) for organising partisans to fight against the Germans in Volhynia Oblast in Ukraine. Kurds took part in the advance into Hungary and the invasion of Manchuria.' ... rld_War_II

They fought with the Allies. The US didn't enter the war till 1941 following Pearl Harbour. For the first two years of the war they decided to be neutral.

As far as I know, the US didn't ask the Kurds to help them and the Kurds at no point refused to help the US.

Quite what Trump's point is I don't know. But it's what we've come to expect from this amoral, self-serving regime. It's been mired in corruption and wrong-doing from the start and shows no sign of slowing up.

Actually, the whole world seems to be going through a brazenly amoral phase. Boris Johnson is Trump-like, flouting any rule he thinks fit, so it's not just the US. What Putin is up to with his sparkly new weapons, god knows. Perhaps he thinks the Martians are coming.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 12th, 2019, 10:35 am
by Serpent
This treatment of Kurds goes back before WWII - and is hardly restricted to the US. ... -betrayal/
They've been a handy international football for a century - to the western powers.
Before that, the armies of various rampaging armies largely ignored them, as just another Mesopotamian tribe of no conquest significance: just kill the ones that get in the way, recruit the able fighters and roll over the rest. This is the standard fate of small populations living between empires: they're used, bartered, deceived and abandoned.
Why should anything change now?

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 12th, 2019, 2:04 pm
by charon
Why should anything change now?

Ask the Kurds!

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 12th, 2019, 2:51 pm
by Serpent
charon wrote:
Why should anything change now?

Ask the Kurds!

They don't signify - none of the spear-carriers on the world stage signify.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 13th, 2019, 6:29 pm
by toucana

On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization which reports on the war, said Turkey-backed groups had killed nine civilians, including Hervin Khalaf, secretary general of the Future Syria Party. “We have seen reports of the killing of (Hervin) well as several captured SDF fighters, the latter having been apparently shot while in the hands of Turkish Supported Armed Syrian Opposition elements,” a State Department spokesman said, referring to Turkey-backed rebels.

Turkish state-backed media hails a “successful operation” to “neutralize” an unarmed 35-year old woman working to unite Arabs, Christians, and Kurds in NE Syria. Ms. Hevrin Khalef was reportedly dragged from a vehicle and shot to death.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 16th, 2019, 9:00 am
by toucana
Rather like Cthulu arising from the depths once more, the intertwined stories of Reza Zarrab and Fethullah Gülen have resurfaced. This time in connection with Rudi Giuliani the personal lawyer of president Trump.

There is a side-bar here on SPCF that touched on this story almost a year ago.

To recap:
- Reza Zarrab is an Iranian/Turkish gold dealer with four different nationalities who played a leading role in helping Iran subvert international sanctions in a gold for oil arrangement. He was arrested in USA in 2017 and became a co-operating witness in a major money laundering trial against a leading executive of the Turkish Halk Bank. Zarrab memorably went missing from his own trial appearance in 2017 because he had been whisked away by the FBI who wanted to talk about his role in the other half of this tale.

- Fethullah Gülen is an exiled Turkish cleric and leader of the islamist Hizmet movement living in Pennsylvania USA, who is regarded by President Erdogan of Turkey as the greatest living threat to his own authority as president. President Erdogan was very nearly overthrown by a military coup d’etat in Turkey in July 2016 that was widely believed to have been inspired by supporters of Gülen.

In January 2017 Michael Flynn was the designated US National Security Adviser of the incoming Trump administration. Flynn was also working as an undisclosed agent of Russia, Denmark and Turkey as well. Flynn accepted a $15m bribe from the Turkish government to set up an illegal abduction and covert rendition operation to kidnap and transport Fethullah Gülen from USA back to Turkey. The plot failed partly because Flynn discussed the plan in front of the acting transition director James Woolsey of the CIA who promptly resigned and blew the whistle on it.

President Erdogan of Turkey has applied non-stop pressure on the US government and president Trump ever since, and he has never given up trying to persuade the US to extradite Gülen back to a certain death in Turkey.

In 2017 it was reported that Rudi Giuliani tried to persuade Rex Tillerson (then secretary of State) into pressurising the DOJ into dropping the federal prosecution of gold trader Reza Zarrab. Meanwhile president Trump began canvassing the idea of handing Fethullah Gülen over to Turkey - (much to the horror and disbelief of State department staff). Tillerson refused to have anything to do with such schemes and was subsequently dismissed.

In 2017 Rudi Giuliani was acting as legal counsel for Rena Zarrab who was not only a cooperating witness in the money laundering trial of the Turkish Halk Bank, but had also been a Turkish intermediary in offering the $15m bribe to Michael Flynn. Giuliani’s conduct in that trial was so extraordinary that he was censured by the trial judge.

The latest revelations disclose that Rudi Giulani carried on the lobbying campaign to extradite Gülen back to Turkey in such a relentless fashion that WH officials became convinced that Giuliani, like Flynn before him, was acting as a undeclared paid agent of Turkey, and was doing so in violation of FARA (foreign agent registration act).

Trump's advisers were staunchly opposed to handing Gülen over to Erdogan, but Washington Post reported that the president was open to the suggestion and asked why he couldn't give Gülen over to Turkey and Erdogan, whom he referred to as "my friend."

It remains to be seen quite how all of this fits into the broader picture of Trump’s latest debacle vis-a-vis his disastrous phone call with president Erdogan of Turkey, and the abrupt recent American troop withdrawal in northern Syria.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 17th, 2019, 2:37 am
by toucana
A copy in full of president Trump's letter to president Erdogan of Turkey, sent on October 9.


Apparently both MSNBC and Fox News had to check twice with the WH to make sure this didn't come from a parody account. (It didn't)

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 17th, 2019, 10:12 am
by toucana
According to Turkish journalists citing unnamed sources close to the government in Ankara, Mr Erdogan read the letter and launched the operation shortly thereafter at 4pm local time on 9 November.

“Erdogan rejected the offer of mediation and the letter was thrown into the trash,” wrote journalist Ahmet Hakan, who maintains strong official contacts with Ankara and writes for the pro-government paper Hürriyet, on Twitter. “The clearest answer to this letter is the one on 9 October at 16:00. This answer is the Operation Peace Spring.”

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 18th, 2019, 8:55 am
by toucana
Given that president Trump telegraphed his intentions to withdraw all American forces from Syria some 11 months ago on 24th November 2018, you might reasonably wonder why he waited until 7th October 2019 to pick up the phone, and give president Erdogan of Turkey the green light to send in his forces ?

Some critics are suggesting that the answer might be that 7th October happens to be the birthday of Trump's best friend and mentor, Vladimir Putin, the current president of Russia. (He was born on 7th October 1952).

Quite some birthday present.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 19th, 2019, 1:18 am
by hyksos
The method of blaming everything bad in the world on Donald Trump is really picking up momentum here. The seizing of every opportunity to smear and demonize Trump ratchets up to a near-religious fervor. There is no room left for facts in the smoke and fire.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 19th, 2019, 2:33 am
by toucana
Would you like to supply a single concrete example of how president Trump has been 'smeared' or otherwise misrepresented in items posted within this thread ?

Every single claim of any substance is documented by multiple and easily checkable factual press reports and reasoned arguments from multiple sources

Exactly which exculpatory 'facts' have been overlooked so far please ?

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 19th, 2019, 4:11 pm
by hyksos
toucana » October 10th, 2019, 11:45 am wrote:There is a history of some ten months standing behind president Trump’s most recent decision to throw our Kurdish allies under the bus, and to allow the special forces of president Erdogan’s Turkish army to massacre them all.

I suppose this is much more accurate than Chris Hayes's assertion that Erdogan is perpetuating a quote-un-quote, "ethnic genocide" inside of Syria.

The only 'massacring' that would take place would be those fragments of YPG fighters who don't get out of a strip of Syrian land along the Turkish border in the next 120 days. That's when the ceasefire expires.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 19th, 2019, 8:38 pm
by TheVat ... index.html

(CNN) — Clashes continued on the border between Turkey and Syria on Friday, according to eyewitnesses and Kurdish fighters, despite US Vice President Mike Pence's announcement that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had brokered a five-day ceasefire there.
Shelling and artillery fire was reported Friday in the border town of Ras al-Ain, one of the targets of Turkey's week-old offensive against Kurdish fighters, who have long been backed by the United States.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told CNN that shelling by the Turkish military and the Syrian rebel proxies supporting them has hit a number of civilian areas in Ras al-Ain, including a hospital. The SDF says five fighters were killed in the attack.

The fighting comes just a day after Pence announced that he and Erdogan had agreed to a deal to halt Turkey's incursion into northern Syria, which was launched after President Donald Trump effectively gave Turkey the go ahead on a phone call with Erdogan earlier this month.
The deal -- which does not clearly define the boundaries of the safe zone -- appeared to secure Turkey most of its military objectives, forcing America's one-time allies in the fight against ISIS to cede a vast swath of territory.
European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that the "so-called ceasefire" was a "demand for capitulation of the Kurds."

The ceasefire, which was violated within hours, was set at 120 hours, not 120 days, btw.

In other reports, about 300,000 have been driven from their homes and land by the Turkish invasion. ... -ceasefire

The offensive has been widely condemned for triggering a humanitarian crisis and risking the re-emergence of Isis amid the chaos. At least 300,000 people have fled their homes in the fighting and at least 71 people have been killed in north-east Syria, according to the UN and a human rights monitor.

In the US, the deal reached in Ankara on Thursday has been strongly criticised by both Democrats and Republicans as a gift to Erdoğan, granting legitimacy to the offensive and suspending sanctions, but requiring no Turkish concessions in return.

The ceasefire was supposed to last for 120 hours but it was unclear from the start whether the SDF had agreed to the terms laid out in Ankara.

However, while the SDF commander, Mazloum Kobane, acknowledged the ceasefire, he said his fighters were ready to abide by it only in the border strip between Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad, the other town under Turkish attack...

Amnesty International said it had compiled “damning evidence” of crimes committed by Turkish forces and Syrian militias backed by Ankara. Amnesty claimed they displayed “a shameful disregard for civilian life, including through summary killings and unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians”.

At the same time, UN chemical weapons inspectors launched an investigation following accusations that burning white phosphorus was used by Turkish forces against children in Syria earlier this week...

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 3:07 am
by hyksos
TheVat ,

Everything you are describing in your post is the nature of modern warfare -- particularly when large governments go up against rag-tag militias that engage in asymmetrical warfare and "guerilla" warfare. The YPG is absolutely doing that. When fighters embed themselves in civilian populations, when the bombs drop it kills nearby civilians. This is the nature of 21st century warfare. Nothing you have described in your post indicates genocide on the part of the Turkish military.

All warfare in civilian neighborhoods displaces civilians. That is not the intent of the Turkish military. The intent is to remove YPG fighters from a strip of land along the Turkish border that is ostensibly inside of Syria. When YPG fighters embed themselves in schools and hospitals, they do so knowing full well who they are putting at risk.

I would like you to stop posting emotionally-charged CNN headlines, and begin to talk to me about what you want the American military to do in that part of the world. I will hand you a pencil and a piece of paper, and I want to you write down precisely what tactical and strategic actions you want the American military to perform inside Syria. I want locations, names of the branch of military, whether it be Air Force or Marine spec ops, and details of particular operational missions.

I will not accept the answer "We need to back the Kurds cuz they are our allies." That is amorphous poetry. Tell me if you want to give them air support, or something specific.

After you have submitted your plans, I will tell you exactly what those particular actions will lead to, and we could go on to discuss the consequences in a level-headed way.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 10:57 am
by TheVat
I would like you to stop posting emotionally-charged CNN headlines, and begin to talk to me about what you want the American military to do in that part of the world. I will hand you a pencil and a piece of paper, and I want to you write down precisely what tactical and strategic actions you want the American military to perform inside Syria...

There is nothing emotion charged in the news posted, just a report on the results of greenlighting Erdogan's attack, and the US suddenly terminating it's commitment to the Kurds, who fought and died to help us against ISIS. Nowhere was I characterizing the Turkish action as genocide. The fact that Kurds want, as they've struggled for for centuries, some sort of autonomous state, and that Turkey wishes to crush that effort (see history on why Erdogan could not get a 2/3 majority to end parliamentary democracy, until he declared Kurds as enemies and reversed his previous policies towards them) is not in dispute, is it? There is good reason that both Democrats and GOP view Trump's action as a gift to Erdogan, a brutal autocrat who has zero regard for the welfare of Kurds in his own country. Kurds were only useful to Erdogan when they supported his absolute power - when that ended, he had no problem rejecting them and labeling all resistance to his repression as "terrorism."

"Terrorist" is often what an oppressor likes to call the people located under their jackboot.

Finally, I want to make clear a couple points about this discourse:

1. Condescending is not acceptable. The "I will give you pencil and paper," as if one is a school teacher and your interlocutor a pupil, should not appear in a posting here. The notion that you can give assignments, or dictate how the discussion proceeds, is one you need to lose. I also do not need mini-lectures on the messy nature of warfare. (we're seeing plenty of evidence of that mess right now, which is what usually follows a destabilizing gaffe)

2. We are not military analysts here. Nor do we need to be. The salient facts are sufficient, in this case, to give anyone a grasp of what has happened. I leave tactics and intelligence analysis to the experts to whom we citizens delegate those duties. Someone with great knowledge of the situation, James Mattis, had to resign when it was clear that Trump could neither understand, nor follow, his advice on Syria. Pretty much any expert in such matters can point out that our presence in Syria, approx. 1000 soldiers, helped to stabilize the situation along the northern border, promote safety for the Kurdish people living there, hasten the dismantling of ISIS, and honor our alliances there, as well as preventing greater Russian influence and possible alliances of an adversary state with various groups, including Kurds.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 12:59 pm
by TheVat
Interesting thoughts on the dismantling of Pax Americana: ... e=Homepage

(If you turn off private mode on your browser, you can view 4 free articles here. Also, switching browsers will usually give you another round) (I've cut/pasted some of this, in case you still can't access it)

A slow and orderly transition from an increasingly tattered Pax Americana is needed. But the great danger of the Trump presidency is that the transition might take place in an atmosphere of chaos and panic. This is why the betrayal of the Kurds could have such serious costs. If the bona fides of the dominant partner in an alliance can no longer be trusted, the partnership will disintegrate fast, with many unintended consequences.

The current lack of confidence in the United States and in what has become of the order it created is already apparent in Europe. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, stated after a NATO meeting in 2017 that Europeans could no longer completely rely on Britain and the United States and so Europeans should be prepared “to really take our fate into our own hands.”

This will be hard enough in Europe, where the European Union still has no common foreign policy, let alone a unified defense force. The Japanese, with their constitutional problem and lack of any formal alliance apart from the security treaty with the United States, are in an even worse situation. Terrified of China’s rising power in Asia, which represents a new and far more oppressive hegemony, the Japanese still have to rely on America when it no longer is reliable, no matter how many rounds of golf Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plays with Mr. Trump.

For a panicky Japan, a frightened South Korea, a bellicose North Korea, a malevolent Russia and a powerful Chinese dictatorship seething with resentful chauvinism, the unraveling of Pax Americana could result in violent conflict. And where careful diplomacy is needed to replace complete dependence with more equal partnerships, Mr. Trump is more inclined to wield a wrecking ball.

Apart from the risk of war, Mr. Trump’s posturing is having another serious consequence. The strength of the United States never relied only on its often-misguided use of military power. American democracy, with all its flaws, was a model, even an ideal, for much of the world. Refugees from tyranny and war continued to see the United States as a haven. Popular American presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama were idolized for that reason.

This has come to an end. Mr. Trump is no model of democracy or American generosity. On the contrary, he is a model for strongmen all over the world who view democratic checks and human rights with contempt. In the past, such autocrats would at least have had to contend with American censure — with the notable exception of some of the brutes on our side during the Cold War, like Suharto in Indonesia or Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile (all foreign policy carries its own hypocrisies). They could hold on to power in their own countries, but they could never win the esteem of the world public opinion.

Now that Mr. Trump has given his stamp of approval to autocrats and despots, from Vladimir V. Putin in Russia to Kim Jong-un in North Korea, the moral check on dictatorship has disappeared. More and more political operators, not only in former Communist countries in Central Europe, but everywhere, including in some of the oldest democracies, will be emboldened by Mr. Trump’s example. Countries will become more divided between authoritarian populists and the supposed enemies of the people who try to hold them back.

It will be unfortunate if turning all of Syria over to Assad and Putin (with Erdogan patrolling his little 32 km strip) furthers this unraveling. It is worth asking, with all the calm and level-headedness in the world, how long the Kurdish people, caught between Assad and Erdogan, will be able to survive. How much democratic self-determination will they ever have?

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 1:26 pm
by hyksos
"Terrorist" is often what an oppressor likes to call the people located under their jackboot.

Unfortunately, you have not done your homework on this issue. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by 23 European nations, Japan, and the United States Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs of Staff sat in front of the American congress, and told them that the PKK are terrorists right to their face without hesitation. ( much for `jackboots`)

The YPG is the name of the armed militias of the PKK. THe YPG is what Erdogan is trying to remove from a strip of land that borders Turkey along northern Syria.

The YPG are who CNN and other media outlets are claiming are our "allies". It is true they fought alongside US forces for years. The situation on the ground in the Middle East lacks any kind of pretty moral clarity. In that sense it is very much like sub-saharan Africa.

There is good reason that both Democrats and GOP view Trump's action as a gift to Erdogan, a brutal autocrat who has zero regard for the welfare of Kurds in his own country. Kurds were only useful to Erdogan when they supported his absolute power - when that ended, he had no problem rejecting them and labeling all resistance to his repression as "terrorism."

All these things are true. I don't think anything in my posts paints Erdogan as a good guy. Erdogan is a brutal dictator, and I hate brutal dictators as much as you do. Unfortunately, in a desperate search for moral clarity, I am humbled by the fact that Turkey has been in NATO since 1952.

We are not military analysts here. Nor do we need to be. The salient facts are sufficient, in this case, to give anyone a grasp of what has happened. I leave tactics and intelligence analysis to the experts to whom we citizens delegate those duties.

I hope that you have something to contribute to this conversation other than emotional paroxysm at Donald Trump for "turning his back on our allies". You have not considered what "Backing the Kurds" would actually mean in practice. Futhermore, you have told me in plain english that you do not want to consider the consequences of those actions. "We are not military analysts" you say.

Are you sickened by dictators? Did a news headline make you angry? You want to "Back the Kurds"?

Okay, lets back the Kurds.

Heavily-armed militias of the PKK -- called the YPG -- are currently running offensive operations into northern Syria. They are taking land inside of the international borders of Syria. The Turkish military is coming in to remove them. Also, the Syrian military is arriving from the south to remove them. You want to back them with US airpower? If your answer is "Yes" then your bombs will be dropping on the heads of the Syrian military.

That is an act of war. Now you are at war with Bashar Al-Assad and his government. Do you want a war with Syria? How far do you want to back the YPG as they push into Syria? Do you want to continue to give them super weapons, laser-guided missiles fired from AI-powered drones and MOABs that can destroy city blocks. Should we keep doing this until the YPG pushes all the way into Damascus?

The YPG fought alongside American troops. Yes they bled in battle with the United States in tow. But that fact does not stop them from feeling emboldened, and going haywire on their own missions. The Kurds are their own people who make decisions independent of the Pentagon.

I hate brutal dictators as much as you do. There are bad guys in South Sudan. Bad guys in Mali. Bad guys in Yemen. Brutal tyrants in Congo. The world is full of them. They murder journalists and human rights lawyers in cold blood, and they use assassins-for-hire to do it. I'm disgusted by this and morally outraged because of it. But lets pause for a minute. Do you want to deploy 20,000 american soldiers into every little podunk backwater every single time a news headline disgusts and outrages you?

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 5:14 pm
by TheVat
If you characterize any different perspective from yours on the situation as "emotional paroxysm" you will likely have few parties who wish to chat. Ad hominem just. doesn't. work.

The next few weeks, I suspect, will settle the issue of the wisdom of sudden withdrawal. Hope it provides some illumination on the points raised in the Pax Americana article posted. The loss of trust and confidence in the US will create some unmistakable changes. Until then, you can make whatever case you want (minus ad hominems and innuendos about emotional stability).

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 21st, 2019, 10:42 pm
by hyksos

The world is potmarked with civil wars. Civil wars that result from badly-drawn borders after first and second world wars. Civil wars resulting from non-recognized ethnic groups by European Colonial powers. Civil Wars resulting from 600-year old aches and pains from Sunni versus Shiite ethno-religious enclaves. Lets not leave them out, Civil wars caused by megalomaniac dictators.

And even civil wars resulting from American military coming in and "destabilizing" a region into chaos.

Does the American military have some prepackaged duty to insert ground forces in every Civil war on the globe? Okay where first? Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Mali, Niger, Somalia, or Syria? Roll some dice. Draw lots.

The political punditry on TV and in news media creates a sort of seductive, entirely plausible sounding narrative. The narrative would be that if we just go in and remove this one guy... this one, evil, terrible dictator. All we need is a few months of American boots on the ground to take him out of power.. and once we do that one little removal -- the entire region will be covered with a magical rainbow and the birds will sing, and deer and some little bunnies will come out of the woods with Snow White and a sparrow will land on her finger. The whole region will have 200 years of stability, peace and prosperity. We can turn a war-torn poverty-stricken backward religious region of the desert into a quiet Finnish suburb.

We will bring immediate lasting peace and prosperity if we just let the American spec ops go in and dethrone the evil dictator. Like flipping a switch, really. Just remove Bashar Al-Assad, and presto-chango, bunnies, deer and Snow White. It's a beautiful, heart-warming, seductive narrative. The American military has the Secret Magical Sauce to deliver lasting peace and prosperity to any part of the world which they bomb into rubble.

I want to believe in that fantasy. Some days I do believe it. But when I'm awake I know it's a fantasy. The YPG has been fighting the country of Turkey at least since 1984. But only God knows how far back the strife really goes, perhaps back before the Ottoman Empire -- only the historians know.

I come to this forum and what do I get? ::

"Lets back the Kurdish fighters with American airpower. Why? because I hate Trump."

"I can't talk about the YPG, the PKK, or the geography of Syria, because I'm not a military analyst."

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 22nd, 2019, 12:32 pm
by TheVat
No one, least of all military advisors, were suggesting deposing Assad. That's a strawman argument. And it wasn't the strategy in play. Containment is another matter. See the Pax Americana article, again.

We made a commitment in the region, so it's a false equivalence to suggest that all flashpoints and civil wars are the same. Whether or not our initial commitment was sound (as someone who is more or less a dove, I could certainly say we shouldn't have gotten involved), we did make it. That's the key fact here.

This situation is playing out by increasing the power of Assad and his two primary allies Russia and Iran, has reintroduced Assad's murderous reign into northern Syria where it has not been in years, released dozens of ISIS fighters, driven people from their homes and managed to kill and burn a bunch of people. And by betraying an ally we have made it harder to work with anyone in the Middle East in the future. We can wait and see how it plays out, but I suggest you do not need to drink thr entire gallon of milk when the first gulp is sour. Trump's move is a disaster. Period.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 28th, 2019, 6:02 am
by toucana

The latest updates on Google Maps for this area show the legacy of a very recent major military assault. You can see a large crater caused by demolition charges in the centre of the compound, and the shattered perimeter walls levelled by the assault team as they came in.

The location is a compound (one of three) on the western outskirts of a village called Barisha in the Harem district of the northern Idlib Governorate of Syria. This was where the ISIS founder and leader al-Baghdadi was reported to have been tracked and killed by US Delta forces on Friday.

But as US leaders and their allies celebrate the death of Baghdadi, journalists are puzzled by a number of anomalies:-

- Barisha is a village located just 5 kilometres from the Turkish border. It is within a zone in Syria that is firmly controlled by Turkish security forces not Russian ones. President Trump claims that US forces co-ordinated with Russia during the planning of the attack (Russian sources now deny this), but he makes no mention of having co-ordinated with Turkey whose forces actually control the area in question.

- A number of reports indicate that it was the military intelligence service of our Kurdish SDF allies (the ones recently thrown under the bus by Trump) who recently located where Baghdadi was hiding. The Kurdish counter-intelligence service had predicted that the ISIS leader would be found within the Idlib area several months ago, and they worked in tandem with the CIA to find the exact location by tracking an ISIS courier and members of Baghdadi’s family.

- According to a French language report by a Kurdish SDF spokesman Agit Polak, their intelligence officers also recently spotted Baghdadi inside Turkey visiting the small town of Reyhanli in the Hatay province. This Turkish town lies a short distance north across the Syrian border from the village of Barisha where Baghdadi was living

This reinforces a suspicion held by some, that al-Baghdadi was effectively living in a military cantonment under the protection of Turkish security forces, in much the same way that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was discovered living in a compound in Pakistan under the effective protection of the Pakistani security forces.

The Barisha area of Idlib is regarded as a border smugglers paradise. Several years ago at the height of the ISIS insurgency, the Turkish government was accused of smuggling arms and missiles into ISIS held territory in exchange for contraband Syrian oil from oil-fields controlled by ISIS.

The journalist Can Dündar who was the editor of Turkey’s main opposition newspaper Cumhuriet Daily was forced to flee into exile in Germany in 2015 following treason charges levelled against him by President Erdogan after his newspaper published a story (and video footage) of a convoy of Turkish miltary trucks loaded with hidden weapons being stopped by border gendarmes in this area in 2014.

Some critics now suggest there may have been a quid-pro-quo between presidents Trump and Erdogan that Turkey would allow US forces to come in and claim a politically opportune kill on the former ISIS leader in return for Trump withdrawing US forces, and giving Turkey a free hand to attack the Kurds and create the Syrian security buffer zone Erdogan has long wanted.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: October 28th, 2019, 9:14 am
by toucana
General Mazloum Abdi the commander of the Syrian Kurdish SDF forces has announced that his group’s intelligence unit carried out a joint operation with U.S. troops in northern Syria to kill Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the right-hand man of al-Baghdadi just hours after the ISIS leader was killed by US Delta forces in Idlib.

The second attack took place late on Sunday near Jarablus, a town in the far north of the Aleppo Governate of Syria right up on the border with Turkey, on the western bank of the Euphrates river, and also within a Turkish controlled security zone. US government officials have yet to make any comment about this second operation.

This article by a former Pentagon official Lara Seligman published in Foreign Policy gives more detail about the political background behind the raids, and the extent to which they were compromised by president Trump’s wild policy swings towards US Intelligence’s allies in Iraq, and the Kurdish SDF forces.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: November 5th, 2019, 1:40 pm
by TheVat
Some interesting speculation - and, so far, that's all it is: ... in-salman/

According to Cockburn’s source about the seven whistleblowers, there’s more. It is that Kushner (allegedly) gave the green light to MBS to arrest the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was later murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A second source tells Cockburn that this is true and adds a crucial twist to the story. This source claims that Turkish intelligence obtained an intercept of the call between Kushner and MBS. And President Erdogan used it to get Trump to roll over and pull American troops out of northern Syria before the Turks invaded.

Turkish leverage is one of those theories that may make some ask, "Really? Russian leverage wasn't already enough?" Trump would deny any knowledge, of course. But Jared Kushner, if the tape was released and confirmed as genuine, would be in pretty hot water.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: November 5th, 2019, 7:29 pm
by toucana
That is a singularly interesting update. I read the original version of that Cockburn article in the Spectator a couple of days ago, but didn't see the further update on the Kushner angle.

Some of Kushner's dealings with Saudi Arabia, especially allegations that he purloined information from presidential security briefings about Saudi dissidents to peddle to MBS have been covered in a previous thread here viz:-

Kushner was also said to have been responsible for green-lighting the Saudi Arabian blockade of Qatar in June 2017, mainly as a payback because the Qatari authorities initially declined to help Kushner with the $1.4billion sum he urgently needed to pay off the mortgage on his marquee 666 Fifth Avenue property which had become a financial albatross that was about to bankrupt him.

It would seem that the Qatari authorities belatedly got the message about the wisdom of helping Kushner with his real estate problems - as this article in Vanity Fair explains :-

The Canadian based Brookfield Asset Management company magically swooped in at the last moment in August 2018 and paid 100 years of rent up-front on a 99 year lease for 666 Fifth Avenue to save the day. By a curious coincidence the Qatari Investment Authority had just become a major investor in the Brookfield company a short time before.

It is entirely credible that the Turkish intelligence service would have had knowledge of all of these details as well.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: November 6th, 2019, 12:50 pm
by TheVat
toucana » November 5th, 2019, 4:29 pm wrote:
Kushner was also said to have been responsible for green-lighting the Saudi Arabian blockade of Qatar in June 2017, mainly as a payback because the Qatari authorities initially declined to help Kushner with the $1.4billion sum he urgently needed to pay off the mortgage on his marquee 666 Fifth Avenue property which had become a financial albatross that was about to bankrupt him.

It would seem that the Qatari authorities belatedly got the message about the wisdom of helping Kushner with his real estate problems...

That was an informative thread you did, last year. 666 seems to be the number of that particular beast.

Re: Turkish Delight

PostPosted: December 4th, 2019, 2:55 pm
by hyksos
Turkish military is not committing genocide in Syria nor anywhere else. Turkey is a NATO member, and has been a NATO member since 1954.

"But hyksos, I saw this atrocities being committed against Kurds and here is the video proof and wee-ooo-wee-oooo and ethnic cleansing and wee-ooo-wee-oo!"

Right. Atrocities are being committed in that part of the world. Yes. It's a violent destabilized area of the world. Yes. Often groups are targeted based on ethnic or religious distinctions, 'ethno-religious' distinctions if you will.

Yep. No argument from me.

But the Turkish military isn't doing any of that. Instead realize that these border regions out in the deserts of the middle east are full of rag-tag paramilitary groups who act autonomously or semi-autonomously from state actors there. For example there are Turkish-backed militias, who likely are the criminals targeting civilians, abducting people for ransom, and other nastiness. Probably. That's likely what you are seeing in your "video proof".

But this conversation comes down to the definition of the word backed. The definition of the phrase "Turkish-backed" could fit anywhere along a spectrum... going from "they just like each other" to "They are being paid by" all the way to "they receive direct logistical support from Turkish air force" and anything in between those.

If you are possibly unaware of what happens when giant OECD countries "back" semi-autonomous paramilitary groups in the more impoverished regions of world... if you unaware that every country, including Uncle Sam does this and has been doing this since 1963 in nearly continent --- where to begin? How can I explain this phenomena in a short forum post -- when the details and examples could stack a desk to the ceiling.

Not just onesies-twosies examples in El Salvador and Guatemala --- but even recent examples of atrocities committed by groups in the early years of the Afghanistan war. Afghanistan is a good example, because this goes far beyond "The Pentagon gave them some AA missiles." We have video of camo-clad american soldiers --- boots-on-ground deployed american soldiers --- milling around with the very Afghani groups who were known to have committed atrocities and war crimes. Like breathing the same air with American boys.

Now what your brain is going to do is play a slip-slide semantic game with the word "backed" as we all do. You're going to qualify and nuance it as we all do. SO while the Northern Alliance committed war crimes, you can always fall back to "Yeah well.. the American soldiers did not PULL THE TRIGGER". And that's true. I won't argue that point. American soldiers practically sat around campfire eating dinner with these Afghan folks.

But no, the American servicemen did not "Pull the trigger" during the atrocities. They ate dinner with each other on base and exchanged photos of their kids and laughed and made jokes with each other. But they american boys were ::cough:: not present during said warcrimes and atrocities.

That's correct. You make a good point.

Now let me make a good point. The Turkish military men did not "pull the trigger" in Syria ( "pull the trigger" so-to-speak) And with that, I am confident that I have communicated something.