Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 26, 2012

Is This Erdogan's Backdoor For Implementing Safe Zones?

Having lost its reconnaissance plane to the Syrian air defense on Saturday the Turkish government was first holding back. But after having been pushed by the British foreign minister, the French and likely also by the interventionists in Washington the tone of the Turkish government changed.

It demanded a NATO Article 4 consultation which was granted but ended today in a relatively calm statement. It even leaves open where the Turkish plane was hit, within Syrian national waters, as the Syrian government says, or over international waters as the Turks claim. There clearly is suspicion by some NATO countries that Turkey provoked this incident.

But the NATO statement wasn't enough for the Turkish prime minister. This morning he spoke to the Turkish parliament and I have serious concern that some of his statements were in preparation of creating Turkish protected safe zones for the Syrian insurgents on Syrian ground:

"The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech. "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria and poses a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target."

What is the distance that is described with "approaches the Turkish boarder from Syria"? Is this a fifty meter no-go zone or a 100 miles deep buffer zone within which Turkey will go after any Syrian troop movement?

The insurgents currently dominate in some of the border areas to Turkey. The border-towns in Turkey is where their supplies are coming from. If the Syrian army moves against these insurgents on Syrian ground will that be "regarded as a threat and treated as a military target" by the Turkish government?

It seems that Erdogan plans to act against the Turkish public opinion and to order his military to use a generous interpretation of what "approaches the border" means and starts to attack Syrian troops on Syrian ground. This would be another provocation and likely an escalation on to a full fledged war on Syria.

As a sign of what might come this video and a picture, uploaded only a few hours ago, allegedly showing Turkish tank units deploying towards the Syrian border.

Posted by b on June 26, 2012 at 09:26 AM | Permalink

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Hopefully Syrian units can dig in at the border before Turkey enters. Their best chance is to force the Turks to attack frontally and fight defensively. They will not be able to dislodge Turkish forces once they have taken ground.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 26, 2012 9:35:53 AM | 1

Safe Zone ? I doubt it and wouldn't give Erdogan any credit for provoking this problem to justify the implementation of a safe Zone. The guy is dying and likely already senile as is.

Turkey hitting Syria, inside Syria would not qualify under NATO's defense agreement so I don't think he would do anything stupid on his own. I think the Syrians may trigger something because this would force this arrogant fool to the table and forced to change his stand on the FSA and the SNC. Erdogan knows very well that a fight with Syria would mean a full fight with the PKK who would take advantage of the chaos. Also Iran had already threatened him to back off. SO I think all we're hearing is an old dying man making a lot of noise as he digs his grave.

Posted by: ana souri | Jun 26, 2012 9:52:30 AM | 2

There's already a safe zone on the Turkish side of the border with the tent cities that were erected before the fighting actually erupted in Syria. The area the West has been desperate to set up as a safe zone (that's a polite word for military training and staging bases for foreign troops)is in north Lebanon that already has an air base that can be used but in spite of all the sectarian provocations that have been ongoing there since over a year to have the army move out of the area and permit the installation of an international safe zone, the Lebanese and their army are still holding on and preventing the creation of such a zone on their soil because it would trigger a civil war within the country.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 9:58:52 AM | 3

Their citizens murdered by Israel,and no NATO,and Turkish provocation results in their plane being shot down,with no casualties,and now NATO is called?
There is something behind the scenes that drives this,maybe Syrian support of the Kurds?European Union membership?Very strange.

Posted by: dahoit | Jun 26, 2012 10:02:45 AM | 4

ana souri, don't take Turkey so lightly. You wouldn't want to see an all out war on Syria by Turkey.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 10:08:37 AM | 5

Doubt it as obviously NATO does not want to commit ground troups and obviously Turkey does not want overt war. The idea of "safe zones" would have been to make it a civil war, and allow Turkey to keep out.
Erdogan cannot be sure his country would back him, and AKP is still fighting the Turkish "deep state".
Turkey's artificial border with Syria is bound to cut both ways

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-syria-trying-to-kill-three-birds-with-one-stone.aspx?pageID=449&nID=24031&NewsCatID=412

"Actually, while Syria was very careful in its official rhetoric towards Turkey, it was already sending the message that it would not stand still. It did so by letting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) move freely in Syrian territory, and by bribing members of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MİT) to hand over defected Syrian army officers, in accordance with “avoid open confrontation, hit quietly” approach. (For those not familiar with the issue, let me recall that Syria was successful in bribing one MİT official to hand over an army officer, while it has been also revealed that similar such initiatives have been prevented by Turkish security forces.)"

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 10:12:51 AM | 6

Passing question: Now that the precedent is established that shooting at a Turkish target is grounds for invoking the NATO treaty, will Israel come to regret this precedent when Turkey drags in NATO next time there is a Turkish-Israeli spat?

Posted by: Bill | Jun 26, 2012 10:36:19 AM | 7

Fair enoguh - let the Turks move their tanks to the border with Syria to let off some steam (Erdagon sounds very bombastic at times!) - as I suspect, soon, they will be needed on the border with Iraq as Kurdish rebels increase their attacks against the Turkish military.

What I do find interesting though is, this was announced at a time, when the (P)GCC-EU are holding a joint meeting in Brussels, with Ashton and SAudi FM chairing the meeting. Syria is on top of the list - was this announcement made on purpose to coincide with that meeting?

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 26, 2012 10:40:13 AM | 8

NEWS UPDATES (Syrian official sources)

Deir Ezzor
// Authorities stormed a terrorist hideout in al-Ba'ajein, Deir Ezzor city. The clash resulted in killing a number of terrorists, among them Ismael Ali al-Azeel.Authorities also clashed with terrorists in 5 pickup trucks equipped with machineguns in al-Shuhadaa neighborhood after the locals informed them about cars carrying terrorists in the region. The authorities killed the terrorists and destroyed their cars.
The Syrian army stormed a hideout of an armed terrorist group in al-Rashidiyeh neighborhood where they found money, fake passports, computers and weapons. In this operation the terrorist Saleh al-Ghbeir, who leads a terrorist group in Deir Ezzor, was killed.

// The Syrian army arrested a prominent armed groups official called "Khalil Salloum" - Abu Abdu, with a large group of militants.
Source: News About Syria - English

// Moscow: the plane that Damascus dropped was testing Syrian anti-aircraft defence systems.

// Iranian official: Syria airspace violation is a plot by the Turks to let NATO into Syria

// Security forces have destroyed a vehicle carrying armed men killing them all.

// Ahmad Said: Armed Group abducted me, photographed me as a defected Colonel.

// Foreign Minister of Luxemburg Jean Asselborn reiterated rejection of military intervention in Syria as it will further complicate the situation.

// Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said that her country supports the plan of International Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and opposes any military intervention against Syria, calling for adopting a political solution as the optimal way to resolve the crisis.

//The governor of Deir Ezzor survives an assassination attempt.
Source: Syria 24 English

// Clashes are going on in AlSultanieh and Jober. Some terrorists including one of the most wanted ones “Radhi Alkhaled” were killed and others injured.
Source: HNN Homs News Network

Posted by: brian | Jun 26, 2012 11:00:05 AM | 9

Irshad, the (P) is the Iranians insisting the Gulf is Persian? :-))

Listen, according to google this is no news issue apart from Gulf state news agencies ....

But thinking of Gulf this is another reason NATO will not go to war and refuse to buy Iranian oil - oil prices would climb to an all time high.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 11:02:53 AM | 10

'It seems that Erdogan plans to act against the Turkish public opinion and to order his military to use a generous interpretation of what "approaches the border" means and starts to attack Syrian troops on Syrian ground.'

that makes turkey a military dictatorship

Posted by: brian | Jun 26, 2012 11:03:22 AM | 11

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 26, 2012 10:40:13 AM | 8

EU working with a repressive saudi dictatorship and noone is worried by this ?

Posted by: brian | Jun 26, 2012 11:04:28 AM | 12

Bill, Israel is now practically a member of NATO; it participates in its excercises, in its decisions, it has permanent reresentation in Brussels and is a participant at the NATO Academy in Rome. If Israel sinks a Turkish ship, NATO wouldn't bat an eyelash in the same way it doesn't get involved in spats between its members Turkey and Greece.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 11:05:38 AM | 13

What's wrong with EU working with Saudia? The Europeans did took a hatchet to Libya and you're worrying about them? I'd worry about the Saudis.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 11:21:54 AM | 14

I'm amazed how successful national leaders cannot resist their megalomaniac urges and get involved in foreign adventures. Erdogan had a great thing going, an assured legacy. Now he seems to have become enthralled with the notion of a self-destructive quagmire in Syria. What gives?

Reminds me of Britain's Tony B-Liar.

Posted by: JohnH | Jun 26, 2012 11:22:01 AM | 15

JohnH, it's the Brotherhood roots, they run deep.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 11:28:09 AM | 16

Turkey starts launching military convoy at Turkey Syria border / Long distance guns deployed Breaking News

Turkey launches first wave of military convoy to Turkish Syrian border. The large military shipment reported to include lond-distance guns towed and self-propelled howitzers.

Hatay, Turkey / Nationalturk – Turkey has initiated deployment of a large number of military vehicles to the Turkey Syria border, not far away to the point where the Turkish military jet was gunned down by Syrian air defense.

The military shipment contains 15 armored tanks, in addition to long-distance guns, towed and self-propelled howitzers and other military vehicles with weapon systems. The Turkish convoy of Turkish armed forces is reported to be heavily guarded as it moves toward the Syrian border in the event of an attack by outlawed Kurdish Terrorists from Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

Posted by: b | Jun 26, 2012 11:29:21 AM | 17

Everybody here is getting very dramatic. 15 tanks and other hardware inching their way towards the border does not necessarily announce the coming WW III. Turkey got a lot of egg on its face with the botched F4 flight and is trying to wipe off some of it.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 11:36:58 AM | 18

So what happens if an 'activist' shoots something nasty at a Turkish tank from inside Syria?

Posted by: dh | Jun 26, 2012 11:47:43 AM | 19

www #5
you seem to be impressed by the turkish army, which is likely fair but apart from attacking a defenseless Cyprus, what are you impressed by, the size, equipment ? The only thing that would worry me about a war between Turkey and Syria is NATO. Both Turkey and Syria would lose since they would be fighting at home, whereas NATO countries, known for their cowardice in battle and would resort to bombings only from 100's of miles they have nothing to lose. If this fight would be contained, then i would say both Turkey and Syria would be bloodied with many poor soldiers paying the price and many border villages wiped out. The result would be the fall of both Governments and uproar around the world for allowing the civilians to be caught in the middle. I don't think Turkey has the stomach to fight a war that would cost it in the future with any arab country and Iran and especially Iraq.
A war is not only what you do in the field but political and economic ramifications. Unless you really think Turkey is so stupid that it would risk all for the FSA.
I think you are still seeing saber ratlling that might start a couple of problems but i am sure both sides will do all to stop further flaming of the situation.

Posted by: ana souri | Jun 26, 2012 11:53:40 AM | 20

WWW, indeed Israel is very close to NATO, and NATO would certainly NOT want to be dragged in. However, a legal precedent is being set. This gives leverage for Turkey to pressure NATO in the future. Would it lead to shooting between NATO and Israel? Of course not. But it does give Turkey some leverage to externalize any spat with Israel on to NATO.

Posted by: Bill | Jun 26, 2012 12:27:33 PM | 21

"Unless you really think Turkey is so stupid that it would risk all for the FSA."

I'm afraid Erdogan may be that stupid, and may not listen to advisers telling him to cool off. I don't know why he insists upon this course. Maybe he hopes to have a future Syria as a client state. Maybe the GCC is offering him billions in investments, etc. I have no idea.

The point is, if Turkey wanted a peaceful resolution of the problem, it wouldn't have been violating Syrian airspace in the first place. It wouldn't be helping the FSA. Clearly Turkey wants some kind of war and is only interested in minimizing the cost to itself, while negotiating the biggest reward for itself.

Now that they have made a stink about the aircraft, it will be hard to back down. The main reason the insurgency continues is that they are hoping for foreign intervention. If there is a lot of talk of war, followed by nothing, a lot of air will be let out of the FSA balloon. It would become more and more clear that NATO wont intervene and the whole thing will fizzle out.

But Both Turkey and the entire west have made too much of the matter to back down. Letting the insurgency die off would be like admitting defeat. I doubt they can swallow that.

The only way to stop this is to find a way to raise the cost to the FSA's sponsors. Mainly Turkey and the GCC. That means the PKK has to blow stuff up inside Turkey and Saudi pipelines have to have "technical difficulties." If those things happen often enough, they may reconsider their actions. Otherwise, why stop?

I hope I'm wrong about all this.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 26, 2012 12:38:08 PM | 22

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-284587-is-turkey-itching-for-war-with-syria.html

"From the domestic perspective, there is also a campaign from some circles to push Turkey into the Syrian debacle. That is a dangerous game as well. In case we have forgotten, it was only nine years ago that a group of senior generals in the Turkish army drafted a military coup plan called Sledgehammer to oust the popular civilian government in Turkey. According to the court indictment, the coup plotters hideously planned to force a Greek fighter jet to shoot down a Turkish fighter plane over the Aegean during a dogfight and, if that were to fail, to instruct a Turkish pilot to take down a Turkish jet in order to shift the blame to the Greek side. The aim was to bring Turkey to the brink of war with Greece so that the new Turkish government would be made to look weak and embarrassed in the eyes of the public, creating the perfect environment for a military takeover.

The Sledgehammer trial, which started in 2010, is still going on at the İstanbul High Criminal Court. Does Turkey have enough trust in the generals in the army now that they will not make a stupid move on the Syrian front just to do what they failed to do in the Greek scenario? Has the military fully surrendered to the idea of democratic control of the armed forces, necessary for an EU candidate country?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaman_%28newspaper%29

so?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 12:39:03 PM | 23

Another passing question:
Is the PKK really a viable asset for Assad? I.e., can he deploy them pretty much unilaterally, and then leave them to the tender mercies of the Turkish military if and when he reaches an accommodation with Erdogan?

Posted by: Watson | Jun 26, 2012 12:42:40 PM | 24

ana souri, not impressed by either but concerned about what would happen to both Turkey and Syria in the way you decribed it. These types of horrors happened in the 8-year war between Iraq and Iran that was instigated by the US and financed by the Gulf Arabs. 1.5 million Iranians and Iraqis died in that senseless war. None of us would want to see that happening to Turkey and Syria.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 12:44:18 PM | 25

Bill, at NATO it's not much different than at the UN; members vote but the ultimate decisions of what either does depends on what the US wants and in a spitting match between Turkey and Israel, whether at NATO or at the UN, the US would side with Israel; it's one of life's sad facts.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 12:50:16 PM | 26

Lysander #22
NATO countries, including Turkey always puff up when they think they are being tested. It is the mark of cowardice and it calls on making a lot of noise to scare off the opponent who may be thinking of testing them. The truth is that the world has changed and NATO encroaching ever so closely to Russia, Putin is also too scared to back down so we have a check stalemate and everyone is happy to make noise. Reality is, unless you are sure about the outcome, war, not just military is no longer viable and you better calculate the worse case scenario up front. Erdogan also has to calculate if NATO is using him to go after Iran and nothing more, he may be stupid but this is an easy 1+1.

Somebody #23
This one is more interesting, i wish i knoew more about the Generals. But, unless they are still looking to take power away from the Islamist Erdogan, I would say they will stay down and watch him lose popularity as he marches to his own death from cancer. I need to read up more about the Generals.

Watson #24
Elementary my dear Watson (sorry , couldnèt resist this). It is a chess game and everyone is watching. Assad does not have to count on the PKK but the PKK is a player and are always looking for an opening. The fight between the PKK and Turkey is far more important to Turkey than Syria. The PKK does not have a country and no one can pressure them to stand down, Syria can be pressured and is a UN member so has some clout.

I am sure everybody is watching how far Erdogan will carry this. Is there an election coming up in Turkey any time soonÉ or is he banging the drums to help his successor whoever that may be. Big question is, what's in it for Turkey. Even if the GCC promises them the world, their neighbors are Syria, Iraq and Iran and I don't think they consider Greece a friendly place. Remember what Erdogan said, " no problems with our neighbors", so hopefully soon the limelight will dim and we'll remember him for , nothing.

Posted by: ana souri | Jun 26, 2012 1:00:30 PM | 27

For the benefit of those that still don't believe the Turkish pilot stories or those others that don't believe everything they read in the news, details about the 2 missing Turkish aviators from a Turkish source:

"Missing pilot's father: ‘Don't want a war because of my son'

The father of Gökhan Ertan, one of two pilots of a recently downed Turkish jet, has said he does not want Turkey to go to war with Syria over the tragic loss of his son last week.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The father of Gökhan Ertan, one of two pilots of a recently downed Turkish jet, has said he does not want Turkey to go to war with Syria over the tragic loss of his son last week.

Speaking to Samanyolu Haber from his home in Malatya province, Ali Ertan said: “Our country is not a country that will go to war for a pilot or for a fighter jet. It wouldn't be appropriate anyway. My son could be dead, but what matters is that he served his country. I am a devout believer; I do not believe that my son or other martyrs are dead. They are alive and among us.”

Osman Aksoy, the father of the other pilot of the downed jet, has said his family is still hopeful that their son will return home. Speaking to the press from their home in İstanbul's Bagcılar district on Monday, Aksoy said he is following developments on television and has criticized Syria, saying Turkish pilots frequently carry out such training missions.

Link to article and photo of one of the aviators:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/index.php?aType=haber&ArticleID=91797


Photo News


Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 1:20:17 PM | 28

The Generals and the Turkish deep state are the left overs from the Cold War (much like Syria)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Turkish_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 1:38:54 PM | 29

In other news Russia offers to pay the debt of Cyprus. Nobody confirms the rumour this is about building a Russian base ....

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 1:42:50 PM | 30

>>> The Generals and the Turkish deep state are the left overs from the Cold War (much like Syria)>>>

Both have pictures hanging high in every room; the Turks of M.K. Ataturk and the Syrians of their president. If I can just get Midnight Express and its soundtrack out of my head.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 2:05:43 PM | 31

Operation Oraj: Pushing Turkey to the brink of war with Greece

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-253595-operation-oraj-pushing-turkey-to-the-brink-of-war-with-greece.html

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 26, 2012 2:16:21 PM | 32

The Syrians are being placed under huge pressure, the Turks and Nato are apparently convinced that the Syrian armed forces are about to break, I see no other explanation for the obvious brinkmanship. The Turks have no intention of fighting, but things could easily go down a slippery slope.

The problem for the Turks is that Erdogan has painted himself into a corner and he is not giving himself any room - if he can't back up his words - he will be out on his keister.

from Zero Problem to one big disaster in only a few months. The irony is that if this does not pay out for Turkey, it could blow up in Erdogan's face (electorally speaking).

BTW - the tanks in the video are M-60, i.e. cold war relics, I certainly hope the Turks don't intend to deploy these 1st generation museum pieces to try and hold any ground - 4th generation tanks have a hard enough time against modern AT missiles - even if they were massively upgraded M60-A3s...

Anyway - it seems the video is for public consumption and propaganda.

Posted by: Osama | Jun 26, 2012 2:17:02 PM | 33

"Assad does not have to count on the PKK but the PKK is a player and are always looking for an opening."

Maybe he doesn't, but his powerful neighbor is having some interesting idea. This story is so laughable to me that I no longer considering Turkey as a serious player in the region - serious in sense that it is sovereign country. It is mockery of country.

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-253915-iran-pulls-the-pkk-card.html

Iran is sending an evil message to Turkey; a message saying it is willing to take action against the PKK in return for concessions by Turkey regarding the Syrian issue. The message that this false report seeks to send can be read as follows:

To Turkey, you have a dominant role in the uprisings in Syria, which is an indispensible ally to us in the region. If you try to put pressure on Syria or start an operation against the Syrian regime, we will be strongly involved in the game with the PKK.

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-253915-iran-pulls-the-pkk-card.html

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 26, 2012 2:40:13 PM | 34

www, don't be silly, I mean this here

"The Truman Doctrine was the American policy in 1947 of providing economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey because they were threatened by communism. It was the start of the containment policy to stop Soviet expansion; it was a major step in beginning the Cold War.

President Harry S Truman told Congress the Doctrine was "the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."[1] Truman reasoned, because these "totalitarian regimes" coerced "free peoples", they represented a threat to international peace and the national security of the United States. Truman made the plea amid the crisis of the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). He argued that if Greece and Turkey did not receive the aid that they urgently needed, they would inevitably fall to communism with grave consequences throughout the region. Because Turkey and Greece were historic rivals, it was necessary to help both equally, even though the threat to Greece was more immediate."


http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/50511/william-b-quandt/syria-and-the-united-states-eisenhowers-cold-war-in-the-middle-e

"The episode selected for analysis in this "re-revisionist" history is the Syrian crisis of 1957. Until recently, the American role in this affair was treated as a deep secret. Now it is clear that the United States was drawn into a plan to destabilize the Syrian government, in league with Britain, Iraq, and Turkey, during 1955-56. The Syrians managed to disrupt the plan in August 1957, by which time Iraq had pulled back, and the whole affair looked quite amateurish. Lesch believes that the misguided pressure on the leftist, but not communist, Syrian regime in this period had the counterproductive result of driving the Syrians into the arms of the Soviets and later toward unity with Egypt. Eisenhower and Dulles were unable to make much of a distinction between radical nationalists and communists, and by failing to do so they adopted policies whose results were the opposite of those they hoped for. This is a well-done case study, which does not quite succeed in lifting the veil on all the mysteries of what Washington was trying to do to Syria in 1957, but comes closer than any previous account. And it helps to explain why Syrians have long been suspicious of American policy toward their country."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 2:49:33 PM | 35

Obama just signed another of his notorious stealth pre-conflict national emegency exec orders- this time aimed at "russia's nuclear weapons proliferation".
another false flag escalation imminent?

Posted by: Jason Group | Jun 26, 2012 3:13:47 PM | 36

"The Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Resources and Plans at Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, engaged in staff talks with the Turkish Naval Forces Command Chief of Intelligence, at the Naval Support Activity Naples in Naples, Italy, June 12.

During the talks, Rear Adm. Kenneth “K.J.” Norton spoke about interoperability in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas with Turkish Rear Adm. Aydin Sirin to understand and achieve each nations’ common interests and goals."

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=67752

Turkish military staff have renegaded, again? And politicians of Turkey are in state of denial and damage control?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 26, 2012 3:22:37 PM | 38

nothing like that in the text or inferred

Posted by: Jason Group | Jun 26, 2012 3:29:41 PM | 39

Somebody #35, I think you have me mixed up with someone else for this post as I haven't said anything about Greece and the communists. Nonetheless, that thing about not being silly was cute.

In part 2 of your post to the mystery person, you mentioned how the Syrians started getting suspicious about the scheming Americans from the botched 55-56 coup. In fact, it started before that date; it was on May 29,1949, a mere 6 years into Syria's independence from France when the US developed an aversion to Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatly because he was soft on the commies, hard on Israel and was refusing to let America's Trans-Arabian Pipeline cross into Syria to reach the Med. To dispose of this undesirable Syrian, The CIA, whatever it was called back then and only 2 years into its existence, helped plot with the Syrian General Zaim to remove Al-Quwatly from office. It was the CIA's very first international operation and the Syrians had the honor of being the country where the CIA first cut its teeth on such plotting and overthrowing of governments. The general threw al-Quwatly in jail, rounded up all the commies and immediately signed the TAP line agreement for the Americans. Zaim was himself overturned only 4 months later. It was 6 years later that al-Quwatly re appeared on the scene to become president once more and give the US further headaches. That's when the second CIA plot was being hatched to again remove al-Quwatly from office and the unity deal with Egypt came up.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 3:42:42 PM | 40

www, it was you talking about Midnight express?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 3:53:34 PM | 41

thanks Jason Group, that would be this here?
http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-declares-national-emergency-and-issues-e-o-against-russian-assets

It sounds completely incomprehensible so likely it is cover for something else. Let me guess, nice words did not work with Putin, so it is blackmail now?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 26, 2012 3:57:06 PM | 42

Erdogan has proven himself far more stupid than I thought..By taking upon himself something that was an entirely a Syrian internal issue and making it his problem, he's now brought Turkey close to a real war..I'm sure this wasn't part of his initial calculations..He thought Assad will fold within weeks like Qaddafi did and he'll be welcomed in Damascus with flowers.

He managed to talk himself into a corner by the encouragement of Persian Gulf dictators, who're not themselves democratic in anyway and the blessing of warmongers in the EU and Washington..Backing down now will be political suicide for him..He must keep his tough talk going and hope that Syria backs down..But as things stand, the calculation in Damascus is that of a preparation for war and they're ready for it.

Like I said earlier, all the ingredient necessary to disintegrate Turkey exists today than ever..War with Syria will be a blessing for the Kurds in the region.It'll be a Godsend opportunity to finally break away from Turkey..As for the availability of arms, the Syrian army is stocked up with all sorts..

This is so reminiscent of how the Iran-Iraq war started..Back then, the same agitators who're feeding Erdogan today fed Saddam's ego and encouraged him, feeding him bad Intel that the Iranian army was weak due to the revolution etc etc..Eventually the West had to intervene on Saddam's behalf to prevent Iran from winning the war by providing Saddam with chemical weapons - something they themselves turned back and accused him of using.

One thing Erdogan's good at is bluffing, but his bluffing will cost him this time.

Ps: Turkey's been fighting the PKK for decades now and still haven't been able to declare victory..It'll be wise for those overstating Turkey's military to take that into consideration..Being part of NATO doesn't necessarily mean you have the best army.

Posted by: Zico | Jun 26, 2012 4:08:28 PM | 43

Yes, somebody, if the silly thing was about Midnight Express, it was silly. I threw that in lieu of making a reference to police states to keep Brian from blowing a fuse; he gets upset at the mere mention of the word "regime" when talking about Syria. The Greece-Communists thing threw me off.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 4:08:48 PM | 44

Zico, nobody here has overstated Turkey's military power. Keep in mind the Kurdish issue isn't limited to Turkey. When that volcano erupts, it would do so in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. I agree Erdogan is trying to save face but to go as far as saying he is stupid is an overstatement. It wasn't that long ago that he was everyone's chouchou when he walked out of Davos and when he stood up to Israel's refusal to apologize. Now all of a sudden he has turned stupid?

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 4:30:03 PM | 45

“As awe-inspiring as Turkey’s friendship is, Turkey’s wrath is equally awe-inspiring,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament on Tuesday.

Erdogan is quiet the bullshit artist

Posted by: nikon | Jun 26, 2012 4:46:59 PM | 46

Kurdistan covers a small area of syria, medium area of Iraq and Iran, a large area of turkey.

Posted by: nikon | Jun 26, 2012 4:51:20 PM | 47

www, Erdogan's tirade against Peres at Davos was something that was permitted by Washington..Name one solid thing Erdogan has done to help the Palestinians apart from throwing useless words of support around...Erdogan will only go as far as Washington allows him. He's such an obedient puppet.

Posted by: Zico | Jun 26, 2012 5:11:46 PM | 48

"There clearly is suspicion by some NATO countries that Turkey provoked this incident."
You can hear it in Rasmussen's statement. It wasn't a hawkish statement, it was a bureaucratic one.

Posted by: Sophia | Jun 26, 2012 6:07:55 PM | 49

I'm interested by the process here. First the Turks are doubtful, then suddenly Erdogan is aggressive, in spite of strong public feeling against war as recorded by b.

There are two possible explanations:

1) the US embassy in Ankara has been applying pressure.

2) The Turkish military have not entirely lost their power, and they have to be placated.

In neither case do I believe that Turkey will actually intervene militarily. It's a question of satisfying their audiences.

If Turkey were to launch war against Syria, that would be a big mistake.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 26, 2012 6:14:19 PM | 50

'The Turkish convoy of Turkish armed forces is reported to be heavily guarded as it moves toward the Syrian border in the event of an attack by outlawed Kurdish Terrorists from Kurdistan Worker’s Party.'

the irony: Turkey is fighting kurdish terrorists on its soil, while aiding islamist terrorists in syria; turkey violates international law to bomb kurds stationed in iraq...while its own soul hosts islamis terrorists!

Posted by: brian | Jun 26, 2012 6:46:02 PM | 51

'thought Assad will fold within weeks like Qaddafi did and he'll be welcomed in Damascus with flowers

zico @ 43

Gadfi did not fold in weeks but was murderede months after hostilities by the terrorists began and with NATO bombing cities and civilians,killing up to 100,000 people. The resistance there is still battling.

Posted by: brian | Jun 26, 2012 6:49:28 PM | 52

>>> Erdogan is quiet the bullshit artist>>>

Nikon and Zico, Davos was just a show; he didn't walk off because the Zionist child-killer was nauseating him, it was because the Israel-propagandist moderator, David Ignatius gave Erdogan only 12 minutes compared to the 25 he had given Peres. As to his "Marmara" stand-off, he was exposed for his empty rhetoric after he had promised to cross over to Gaza but didn't during his trip to Cairo to congratulate the Egyptians of Tahrir Square. I read somewhere that most of the dozens of trade and military agreements between Turkey and Israel were signed under Erdogan's watch and in his own words after the "marmara" incident, he still said Turkey was "Israel's best friend in the ME". People are easily influenced by events in the news.

Posted by: www | Jun 26, 2012 10:10:03 PM | 53

Kurds Stop Free Syrian Army from Entering Kurdish Areas

http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/4882.html

Posted by: nikon | Jun 27, 2012 12:40:15 AM | 54

It was 14 months ago that President Assad naturalized 300,000 Syrian Kurds just as they were about to join the movement. It took Syria 50 years to correct this injustice but at least it was corrected. Until then, the stateless Kurds were not allowed to work in Syria or to travel out of the country as they didn't have passports. Better late than never, although this demonstrates some of the reasons behind Syria's current unrest. The country until last year was ruled under emergency laws since 1963 when the Baathists took over the government. Although mostly Muslim, Kurds as a people are closer to the Iranians than to the Arabs. In Iraq, the US had promised the Kurds in the north that if they played along, they'd have their own state. Another broken promise.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 2:10:04 AM | 55

Erdogan deserves credit for standing up very publicly to Israel's Hasbara, nobody else in the EC or in NATO does, he thereby increased his popularity, of course, he is a politician, what do you expect?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 2:32:38 AM | 56

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 2:32:38 AM | 56

he is now working WITH israel to attack syria...so his credit is now gone and he is morally in the red

Posted by: brian | Jun 27, 2012 2:56:28 AM | 57

the genocide in syria makes its way to australia in a way even FM Bob Carr cant miss:
HE small Alawite community in Australia say they have been targeted by vicious "jihadist" attacks as the bloody Syrian conflict spills over into Arabic communities in Sydney and Melbourne.

Alawi community leaders say the decision of Foreign Minister Bob Carr to expel Syria's charge d'affaires, Jawdat Ali, last month, after the massacre of an estimated 92 men, women and children in the village of Houla, inflamed threats to "hunt down" Alawis in Australia.

Attacks over the past four months include a young father being shot in the doorway of his home in Sydney's west after a heated Facebook exchange and a prayer room being fire-bombed in Melbourne's north.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/syria-violence-erupts-here-as-fearful-alawis-lay-the-blame-on-carr/story-fn59niix-1226408324742

eve Bob Carr cant be so blind as not to see the reality of syria being recreated in australia...so how can he attack the syrian govt while ignoring the FSA terrorism? is he corrupt?

Posted by: brian | Jun 27, 2012 3:25:34 AM | 58

It's much easier to list those countries not working against Syria is some way or other. In the group of Arab countries, which ones other than Lebanon and Algeria are not openly against Syria? Brian, it's about time you accepted that the mess Syria is in now is due in most part to its own actions or inactions. Next down the ladder of responsability for the mess is of course, the US and Israel that are acting as one and right after them are the Arabs and the Turks that are kissing up to the Americans. It took a deadly uprising to get the Syrians to recognize that changes were overdue. You still haven't accepted that fact.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 3:50:08 AM | 59

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2012/3/15%20syria%20saban/0315_syria_saban.pdf

"Turkey’s participation would be vital for success, and
Washington would have to encourage the Turks to
play a more helpful role than they have so far. While
Ankara has lost all patience with Damascus, it has
taken few concrete steps that would increase the pressure on Asad (and thereby antagonize Tehran). Turkish policy toward the Syrian opposition has actually
worked at cross-purposes with American efforts to
foster a broad, unified national organization. With an
eye to its own domestic Kurdish dilemmas, Ankara
has frustrated efforts to integrate the Syrian Kurds
into a broader opposition framework. In addition, it
has overtly favored the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
over all other opposition groups. Washington must
impress upon Turkey the need to be more accommodating of legitimate Kurdish political and cultural
demands in a post-Asad Syria, and to be less insistent
on the primacy of the Muslim Brotherhood."

"Some voices in Washington and Jerusalem are exploring whether Israel could contribute to coercing Syrian elites to remove Asad. The Israelis have the region’s
most formidable military, impressive intelligence services, and keen interests in Syria. In addition, Israel’s
intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria,
as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could
be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press
for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or
near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition.
This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of
a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to
do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition
is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a
mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military
leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the
balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were
aligned properly"

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 4:11:15 AM | 60

'Brian, it's about time you accepted that the mess Syria is in now is due in most part to its own actions or inactions. '

wha a load of rubbish...or do you think the jihadis really are peaceful protestors whove had enough?

Posted by: brian | Jun 27, 2012 4:13:36 AM | 62

The jihadis are another story, Brian, and they are anything but peaceful protestors. But I wasn't talking about them. My post was about the Syrian government. If you want to discuss jihadists, terrorists or other gangsters running wild in Syria and claiming to be part of the FSA, we can but you are evading the subject of the Syrian government having maintained state of emergency laws since 1963. I mentioned ne small detail about the injustice the 300,000 Kurds had been suffering in Syria for 50 years and it seems to have run off your back. Maybe it's not your intention to evade anything and it's simply a matter of something you are not aware of. There are many things you evidently don't know about Syria. There is a lot of good there, but there was also a lot of bad, like in any country.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 5:03:04 AM | 63

this here is hilarious in a sad way: WINEP proposes war to change other peoples perception of reality

"The challenge for the P5+1 is to change the perceptions of Iranian leaders -- a difficult task given their remarkable ignorance about the outside world, combined with self-confidence and ideological blinders that lead them to believe Iran is the rising power and the West is on the decline. Ultimately, changing this mindset may require a profound shock of some sort, be it remarkably tough sanctions, more-complete political isolation, or military action."
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/iran-confident-as-sanctions-tighten

Yes indeed, the earth is flat and humans were created from a bone ...:-))

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 6:28:51 AM | 64

to clarify the stupidity of the above WINEP "think-tank" arrogance

From Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Khamenei

"Literary scholarship

Khamenei is fluent in both Persian and Arabic.[25] He has translated several books into Persian from Arabic, including the works of the famous Egyptian Islamist theoretician Sayyid Qutb. He is a less fluent speaker of the Azerbaijani language, his father's native language[26] and has some understanding of English.[27]

In his analysis of the Persian poetry of Allameh Muhammad Iqbal, he states that "Iqbal was not acquainted with Persian idiom, as he spoke Urdu at home and talked to his friends in Urdu or English. He did not know the rules of Persian prose writing."[28] Nevertheless, he admires Iqbal.[citation needed]

Like many other politically active clerics at the time, Khamenei was far more involved with politics than religious scholarship.[29]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb

"Sayyid Qutb (Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈsæjjed ˈʔotˤb], Arabic: [ˈsæjjed ˈqotˤb]) (also Said, Syed, Seyyid, Sayid, or Sayed; Koteb, Qutub, Kotb, or Kutb) (Arabic: سيد قطب‎; October 9, 1906[1] – August 29, 1966) was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamist theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s.

Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts’ critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books Social Justice and Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq (Milestones). His magnum opus, Fi Zilal al-Qur'an (In the shade of the Qur'an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Qur'an.

During most of his life, Qutb's inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians, intellectuals, poets and literary figures, both of his age and of the preceding generation. By the mid-1940s, many of his writings were officially among the curricula of schools, colleges and universities.[2]"

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 7:10:24 AM | 65

For those that are confused about Syria, part of a good article from al-Akhbar. Those that aren't means they have taken sides:

" There are Syrian reasons for vacillating on the subject of Syria: The regime in Damascus has two faces, one gentle and one bloody, and the revolution in Damascus has two faces, one secular and one Islamist. There is endless confusion and an abundance of ulterior motives.

Only the blood is honest and clear. That is why it beckons us and we bow to it. Blood, especially children’s blood, is above everyone. And it rules over everyone, so long as deception remains master of the situation, and there is no court to name and arraign the perpetrators.

If we read Asharq al-Awsat or al-Hayat (Saudi newspapers), we find that the perpetrator is the regime alone. If we read Al-Akhbar, we find that the regime is the victim of a worldwide conspiracy because it resists American imperial schemes. If we watch Al Jazeera, we marvel that there are still people left alive in Syria amid the incessant barrage of shelling, not to mention the participation of tanks, warplanes, shabeeha and mercenaries. If we watch al-Dunya or the official Syrian satellite channel, all is calm on the front other than a few crimes committed by armed gangsters.

Should we blame the media? The media are an extension of (or facade for) the regimes and sects. It would be unfair to the Arabs to confine the description to them. We saw the deceptions in the US media and the European press before, during and after the invasion of Iraq. Nobody, neither Bush nor Blair, has been made to answer for their falsification of history. America’s allies and its free media were never held to account for the genocide in Iraq, the looting of its oil and treasures, and the tearing apart of the great country called by al-Masudi the “key to the world”. Our Arab media – despite their laughable and lamentable biases – remain innocent in comparison to the American media and its European affiliates.

Full article:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/apology-aligned

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 7:17:42 AM | 66

Somebody, Sayyid Qutb went beyond being the scholar you described. He was responsible for having taken a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood on a very violent road after the assassination of its pacifist founder, Hassan al-Bana in 1948. Qutb condemned Muslims that used the Brotherhood to advance their agendas and later turned their backs on it once they succeeded, such as what Gamal Abdel Nasser did in 1952 when he took over Egypt in a coup with the help of the Brothers.

Qutb's hate for Naser got him preaching about new “vanguard Islamism” that advocated jihad against the non-believers as a means to achieve universal Islamic polity. Such violent ideas are what inspired the likes of Zawahiri and Bin Ladin that were coached in this philosophy by Qutb's brother that taught in Saudia. Luckily for the Brotherhood, the new leader of the Brotherhood, Hasan al-Hudaybi, rejected Qutb’s violent vocation.

Khamenei is a pacifist; Qutb is all about violence.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 7:51:02 AM | 67

BTW, since we're talking a lot about the Muslim Brotherhood, it should be noted that the Swiss academic, Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Tariq's father, a prominent member of the MB was exiled to Switzerland by Nasser. I think it was you, somebody, that last week mentioned something about Tariq Ramadan no longer being blocked from entering the US and you were wondering why the sudden change of decision by the US.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 8:03:40 AM | 68

Wikipedia is garbage when it comes to Iran and Iranian officials. Ayatollah Khamenei is quite fluent in Azeri and he was a high ranking religious figure or Mujtahid in Mashhad before the Revolution.

Posted by: Amar | Jun 27, 2012 8:07:17 AM | 69

www what do you think the US is supporting, could it be violence?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 8:13:34 AM | 70

The US doesn't mind the violence as long as it's the one doing the driving. Iraq comes to mind.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 8:28:27 AM | 71

this blog, and its commentary, has become so mired in the irrelevant details of the muck, that it no longer can see the larger picture, nor does it care to see the larger picture. the opposition, to the extent there is such a thing, couldn't have asked for more. who is this person that goes by the name of brian? is it one person, or is it an organization? if it is one person, this person is very clearly mentally unstable, and anyone who cannot see that after stepping back and observing the patterns, clearly is mentally unstable themselves. i often skip over most of the comments these days because it's the same shit, day after day. it's the peanut gallery pretending to be announcers at a baseball game and commenting on mundane behaviors such as the significance of an obscure bullpen pitcher fondling his jock behind the right field wall. of course, what does one expect from a grown man who likes to erect toy cranes?

Posted by: wenis | Jun 27, 2012 8:47:48 AM | 72

www,

There is nothing justifying a Turkish/British invasion. These are unjustified acts of war. They have been committing acts of war for over a year now. Saying you don't like the Syrian "regime" is not a legal reason.

You are trying to muddy the waters by pretending western propaganda is just as reliable as the other pro Syrian papers. As if both sides are equally using propaganda. You should know this is not using an accurate scale. What propaganda has the "regime" put out that even comes close to the falsehoods put out by the West with such terrorists like Danny?

Tell me what justifies this Turkish/British act of war? The plane incident? The treatment of civilians? The emergency laws?

Also, the U.S. has acted under emergency law as well, for decades. Obama just recently re-approved an emergency order hyping war with Russia. Should Syria attack the U.S. to free us?

In fact, if you compared things like number of people imprisoned, etc, Syria is a far more humane state that the U.S.

The online propagandists are coming out of the woodwork now that the real invasion is under way. There are so many online finks it's unbelievable. It just boggles my mind the extent of the crimes and the evil people that run our media and western governments.

How touching that Wenis is *concerned* about Brian's mental state and chooses this time to call Brian and b out and throw a hissy fit.

These are indeed evil men. You are mentally unstable if you run interference for child murderers. There is an aggressor in this situation. Syria would not be waging war against any country if it wasn't for this attack. This is bald aggression but suppossed liberal-minded internet commentators like Wenis and www somehow want to blame Assad for this bald aggression against him.

They are the older brother bullies that are using their little brother's fist to hit himself in the face and asking why he doesn't stop it.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jun 27, 2012 10:26:13 AM | 73

Except, it's not "Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!", it is "Stop shooting yourself, stop shooting yourself, stop shooting yourself!".

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 27, 2012 10:49:24 AM | 74

@72 "observing the patterns" lol! You shopping for drapes?

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 27, 2012 11:44:28 AM | 75

Walter, you made 9 or 10 assertions about me and all of them wrong. You too know very little about Syria's history. If you have something to say to Wenis, please address it in a post to him.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 12:23:43 PM | 76

I made one claim about you wwww . . . that you are blaming Assad and Syria for the crimes being committed against them. It's blaming the victim.

Oh, I guess I called you "liberal-minded" but that is an assumption and I could be wrong.

The "evil" ones are directly responsible for this terrorism, like Obama and Western leaders, FSA terrorists, Turkey, CNN, Al Jazeera, Tyler Hicks, Anderson Cooper, "progressive" blogs, etc. I am also certain there are terrorist agents working for intelligence services posting comments on the internet . . . . but I'm not saying that about you.

And of course not saying that about Wenis, just "observing the patterns" of comments like this.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jun 27, 2012 12:45:48 PM | 77

Walter, you won't find any of my posts in which I blamed one party over another. I've been saying all along that I trusted neither side to tell the truth and I blamed both sides but your reading skills are seemingly at par with Brian's. Maybe I should give it to you in small doses. Look up the story of Canadian citizen Maher Arar and where the CIA's rendition program landed him about 10 years ago.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 1:16:29 PM | 78

Don't take that tone with me. I know all about Maher Arar's claimed treatment.

And guess what? Don't you think it's a bit strange that the only evidence being proffered against the Syrian government involves people that have been paid millions of dollars? Reminds me of Lockerbie.

And I don't trust Wikileaks. I think it's U.S. disinformation. I won't get into it fully here (but my theory is strong, imho), but I think this info about renditions was planted to make Libya and Syria look bad.

What other evidence do we have? Any other reports on the number of prisoners? How many murders? What is the income discrepancy like? Are people of all religions and ethnicities allowed to hold positions? My brief introduction to this data shows Syria is probably a more humane country than the U.S. or Britain. Please show me how I'm wrong.

Also, I looked into the emergency laws in the past but it's too much work for me to go back through it . . . but long story short the U.S. also has many secret laws and emergency orders. Let's see a better analysis that really examines Syrian law.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jun 27, 2012 1:23:06 PM | 79

The regime in Damascus has two faces, one gentle and one bloody
all governments of the world do; whereas warlords in a failed state only have a bloody face to offer, ask Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Lebanon during the civil war (ended by the Syrian occupation with everybody's relief), etc

Posted by: claudio | Jun 27, 2012 1:24:55 PM | 80

cited by nikon #54:

"This army (FSA) wants to deal with the Kurds as individuals. We are a nation, and if they want us to become their partners they should treat us as such," Brimo added.

how can the Turks think they can ally with the Kurds in Syria and oppress them at home?

Posted by: claudio | Jun 27, 2012 1:30:02 PM | 81

Walter, I'd like to think of myself as being liberal-minded but in reality and after all the bullshit has been put aside, I'm really very conservative and I don't get impressed easily. Maybe this is why I'm seeing certain aspects of the Syrian conflict that are going over your head because you (like most here)have already made up your mind which are the good guys and which are the bad. My opinion of who's what or which is changing with each situation. I hope this didn't overburden you.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 1:37:06 PM | 82

Walter, it's good you already know about Arar. You probably also know that the Canadian Government paid him $10.5 million in compensation for having helped the CIA send him to Damascus to be tortured during 10 months. Canadian Prime Minister Harper as well as the US Congress apologized to Arar for the unjust treatment. All this to say that Syria's regime was cooperating with the CIA's rendition program and Syria was one of the US favored rendition centers. Look up Palestine Branch in Damascus and you'll find other names of invitees. BTW, a couple of months back, a suicide bomber did his number right in front of Palestine Branch and killed 44 and injured hundreds of innocents on their way to school and work.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 2:04:57 PM | 83

Walter, a while back,I wrote here and I'm sure you missed it, that I thought that President Assad was a good guy but that his regime was so-so. I also wrote that from the day he took over in 2000, he wanted to make changes for the better in Syria but that his regime's apparatus was very big, very powerful and it wasn't letting him do anything. He's been talking about making changes for the past 12 years and it was only recently that the regime let him. But even at that and with a new constitution, nothing has really changed as the Baathist machine is still making all the appointments.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 2:15:12 PM | 84

www,

Again, I believe this to be disinformation. The West has planned to attack Syria and Libya and Iran for a while now and they set up Syria and Libya for these rendition allegations.

So you confirm that the main evidence of the Syrian government's crimes against its citizens comes from a U.S. and Canadian "admission" and cables from the U.S. State Department? And the witness was paid $10 million dollars. Boy, he sure got a lot luckier than those imprisoned in Guantanamo.

The U.S./Canada lost almost next to nothing making that admission. Plus, they gained a cause to go to war against Syria and Libya.

Notice that Syria denied the allegations about Maher Arar and indeed, he was only in jail for a short amount of time (because the U.S. said he was a bad guy) and then Syria released him! How long do people disappear in U.S. custody? Arar got swift justice in Syria compared to the U.S. or Britain and he got rich.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jun 27, 2012 2:31:00 PM | 85

The NYTimes is now reporting that the attack against a TV station supportive of the government in a suburb of Damascus was possibly committed by Republican Guards who defected to the FSA. This, according to the FSA.

The attack on al-Ikhbaria began before dawn when assailants “planted explosive devices in the headquarters of al-Ikhbaria following their ransacking and destroying of the satellite channel studios, including the newsroom studio, which was entirely destroyed,” the official Syrian news agency, SANA, reported.

The news agency referred to the assailants as terrorists — the usual official language to denote armed opponents of Mr. Assad’s government. While initial reports from SANA said three employees were killed, a subsequent official estimate put the death toll at seven.

The station, privately owned but strongly supportive of the government, is in the town of Drousha, around 14 miles south of Damascus.

The Associated Press quoted one of its photographers who visited the compound as saying that five portable buildings used for offices and studios had collapsed, with blood on the floor and wooden partitions still on fire. Some walls had bullet holes, the photographer said.

Hours later, The A.P. said, the station was able to broadcast a rally in Damascus’s main square against the attack on its premises.

Col. Malik Kurdi, a spokesman in Turkey for a rebel commander, Riad al-Assad of the Free Syrian Army, said the attack was the result of the defection of a group of Republican Guards who had decided to change sides and attacked other guards at the station who had remained loyal.

>

Noticeably missing are any witness reports or comments.

The article also discusses the UN Human Rights Council report on Syria (political violence and killings have turned markedly more sectarian, Houla massacre killers impossible to determine but are probably pro-government, among other findings) and that Kofi Annan has given in to US demands that Iran be disinvited from the coming non-UN discussions of what to do about Syria.

I am still somewhat amazed how willing the rest of the West is to go along with Obama's efforts to create wars and destroy small nations. While the US would scream bloody murder (and probably seek UN sanctions and maybe go to war) if another country or countries tried to openly influence US elections, sent fighters into the US to aid "activists," and even urged allies to contribute arms and technology to aid such "activists," it is goes about such steps against another country with perfect impunity. Exceptionalism run amok.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 3:08:17 PM | 86

Perhaps Erdogan was persuaded to be the camel's nose pushing under the tent. The camel might get a bloodied nose, but what's two pilots compared to getting rid of the current Syrian government, perhaps even the present boundaries* of Syria? The West might have dangled the possibility of Turkey being able to demand revisions to the water treaty with Syria, and be able to keep more of the water for its population.

Whatever caused the Turks to send these jets into Syrian territory, and news broadcasts I listened to last night were saying that it was becoming clearer that Turkey had sent them in to spy, the shoot down gives the West a pretext for more assaults on Syria. Economic, support of rebels, etc. The US would prefer something which gives it plausible deniability, but also gets the job of dismantling Syria done. Done quickly, which is the part that may not happen on schedule.

However, I cannot believe Obama sees war in Syria, with US involvement, as a winning election issue. However, it might take that issue off the table for Romney to use against him, altho' Mitt could argue he would dropping bombs faster and heavier or something like that.

Nikon's link @ 54, about Syria's Kurds fighting the FSA to keep it out of "their" territory might presage another rebellion altogether, which would include Kurdish areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Now, who would supply those "activists" with arms, fighters, UN sanctions, munitions, communications?

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 3:22:07 PM | 87

The Daily Star has parts of the AP report left out by the NYTimes, including and eyewitness surviving employee. There's also a different photograph.

An employee at the station said several other staffers were wounded in the attack, which happened just before 4 a.m. local time. He said the gunmen kidnapped him along with several station guards. He was released but the guards were not.

The employee, who did not give his name for fear of repercussions, said the gunmen drove him about 200 meters (yards) away, and then he heard the explosion of the station being demolished. "I was terrified when they blindfolded me and took me away," the man said by telephone.

Earlier this month, two Ikhbariya employees were shot and seriously wounded by gunmen in the northwestern town of Haffa while covering clashes between government troops and insurgents

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Jun-27/178382-syria-tv-station-attacked-3-staffers-killed.ashx#ixzz1z1W4sSy3
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb).

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 3:30:54 PM | 88

Something worth considering when wondering why the big fuss about the US insisting on getting rid of Assad:

From YNet News May 15th

Minister Landau okays Golan Heights oil exploration


Despite current upheaval in Syria, overall instability on northern border, Energy and Water Ministry greenlights oil exploration in area

Amir Ben-David Latest Update: 05.15.12, 13:24 / Israel Environment

Two decades after diplomatic considerations led to a decision not to explore for oil on the Golan Heights, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau has decided to renew drilling permits, Yediot Aharonot reported Sunday.

After the Golan Heights Law was passed some 30 years ago, it was determined that it applied to the Petroleum Law as well – meaning that oil exploration could be carried out in the area.

In those days, oil exploration rested in the hands of government entities. In the 1990s the Energy and Water Ministry licensed Israel Oil Exploration Ltd. to drill on the Golan Heights. The Rabin government's attempts to negotiate with Syria put the licenses on hold, but in 1996, the government – under Benjamin Netanyahu – declared that drilling would be renewed.

Syria quickly condemned the decision, Israel issued official denials, and the exploration never resumed.


By law, the National Infrastructures minster may – after consultation with the Petroleum Council – decide which areas to open and which to close to oil exploration. In recent weeks, Landau decided to reopen the Golan Heights for oil exploration, a decision that was approved in secret.


The decision could have far-reaching political ramifications, and those in Landau's inner circle do not deny that his political beliefs played a part in the decision. A source close to the minister said: "His view that (the country) must take advantage of every possibility for oil exploration in Israel – to free itself from dependence of Arab oil – is known."

Past experience has shown that the decision to resume drilling could garner condemnation by Syria and affect future negotiations between Syria and Israel.

But is there actually any oil on the Golan? It is possible, but the area is covered by basalt, which makes it difficult to conduct geological surveys.

If, in fact, drilling proceeds, and oil or gas is discovered, there could be a massive international outcry and a dispute about sovereignty over the areas containing the reserves.

Meanwhile, Landau has also decided to "close" Israel's coast and stop issuing new permits for oil and gas exploration; citing that the drilling that has already been authorized and is due to be conducted in the next few years will supply information about the gas and oil potential in the area that will assist in granting future licenses.

Sources close to Landau said that the minister had taken the decision to "allow the market to stabilize and internalize the regulatory guidelines outlined in recent years."

According to Syria's official news agency, Damascus was livid to learn of the drilling prospects, saying: "The Zionist entity is stealing oil from the occupied territories of the Golan Heights.

"This is a blatant violation of international law and a complete disregard of the United Nations and the decisions made by the UN Security Council."

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 3:43:31 PM | 89

Link to above YNet stry about oil exploration on Golan:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4228220,00.html

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 3:47:47 PM | 90

The BBC's report on the TV station attack included the following, along with a comment by BBC reporter Jim Muir.:

State TV showed pictures of burnt and wrecked buildings, with fires still smouldering.

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi, on a visit to the site, said some of the victims had been abducted, bound, and killed in cold blood.

He also condemned the EU's decision to impose sanctions on Syria's state-run TV and radio agency for its support of the Assad government.

Muir's commentary:

When government troops overran the embattled Baba Amr district of Homs in March, there was a widespread feeling this marked the eclipse of the rebel Free Syrian Army. Three months on, the armed opposition has sprung back, not just in Homs but in almost all parts of the country - including the suburbs of Damascus, where the semi-official TV station al-Ikhbariya was stormed.

In late January, the Damascus suburbs were first on the list of targets in a concerted government campaign to reassert control over the whole country with an iron fist. It has failed so far. Residents in Damascus now spend their nights listening to explosions and shooting.

Homs remains a shattered battle-zone, with artillery pounding rebel-held quarters. Areas adjacent to borders are also the scenes of daily clashes. The official news agency Sana this week suddenly stopped reporting the funerals of military personnel killed in action. The average had gone up to more than 50 a day.

With no end in sight, President Assad has told his new cabinet that it is a real war. He is clearly right. (My emphasis)

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 3:55:00 PM | 91

BTW, in looking ar various articles about the attack on the Syrian TV station, my feeling that many newspapers are cutting back on their use of "regime" when writing about the Syrian government. I wonder if since they're possibly doing more of their own reporting, not just taking stenography from the Western governments and videos from the oppostion "activists," that they're noticing the reality of the situation somewhat more?

But, since I haven't been watching TV, I may not be seeing the main source of US government propaganda.

I'm going cold turkey on trying to drop the TV habit. Not by any real discipline of my own, of course. It's an experiment.

My cable company, which told us broadcast cable customers (meaning getting only stations sent over the air) that we did not need to purchase high definition antennas since we would always have the analog signal through our cable, just recently was granted their request to be able to drop analog (required by FCC regulations) in order to use the bgandwidth to offer their customers more "services." They said those of us losing our cable of local over-the-air stations would receive set top digital boxes free for two years.

What could go wrong?

So, I picked up the set top digital boxes and began installing them. And they don't synch up properly: The furthest I got was receiving the banner, in color, at the bottom identifying the station and ptroam on at the time, but nothing but grey above. No sound, no picture. Technical services said it looked like the digital boxes required "more frequency" (uh, isn't a form of bandwidth?) and I would have to have a booster installed, may be have my house rewired. Cost unknown.

So, I'm testing myself to see if I can go without any TV. I know I'll really miss what's broadcat of Wimbledon, some dramas on PBS, some movies...but I think I'll give myself more time to do other things....

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 4:13:03 PM | 92

>>> Three months on, the armed opposition has sprung back, not just in Homs but in almost all parts of the country - including the suburbs of Damascus, where the semi-official TV station al-Ikhbariya was stormed. >>>

Jawbone, we're hearing that the above bit of information is not very accurate. While it is true that there is fighting in all parts of the country, what is not true is that those foghting agaisnt Assad's army are one unified force. In fact, those fighting are made up of many different groups working independently of each other but commonly referring to themselves as being part of the Free Syrian Army, which is not true. Dozens of ragtag groups have been formed especially by Syrian draft dodgers that got themselves hired by a foreign power at $500 per month to make trouble in a specific area. Some of those are claiming to have defected from the army when they hadn't even been in the army. A lot of hoodlums and petty gangsters have taken up arms and are saying they are the Free syrian Army, which of course, they are not. The West is going all out to make these independent groups appear as one huge cohesive force fighting Assad and the Western Press is going along with spreading stories such as this one in the BBC. Your Muir commentary is full of propaganda to demoralize Assad's forces.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 4:19:56 PM | 93

In the meantime in Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/downed-jet-was-flying-with-another-plane-chp-deputy-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=24217&NewsCatID=338

"A Turkish jet downed June 22 was flying in tandem with another aircraft when Syrian forces took it down, according to Republican People Party (CHP) deputy Orhan Düzgün.

Düzgün demanded that the government reveal the nationality of the accompanying jet, which "Hatay locals saw with their naked eyes."

"There were two planes flying. The fate of that second plane remains unknown. The government now denies the existence of a plane clearly seen by the people of Hatay," Düzgün said.

"The key to solving this issue is [the second jet]. Who did it belong to and what was it doing over there?" Düzgün asked. "

Posted by: somebody | Jun 27, 2012 5:11:05 PM | 94

"The office of the prime minister said Erdoğan had called Putin yesterday to discuss the incident. 'Putin expressed his deep sorrow over the incident . . . .' Ankara has proven that its F4-E jet was downed by Syria 13 nautical miles off the Syrian coast in international waters, while Damascus insists that the incident took place in its airspace. Echoing his Tuesday statement, in which he described Syria as a “clear and present danger” to Turkey’s security and said that the Turkish military had amended its rules of engagement, Erdoğan yesterday described Turkey’s southern neighbor as a 'rogue state.'

'Those who challenge Turkey’s greatness and act in a hostile way will get their response in the strongest terms,' Erdoğan said in a ceremony held at the Turkish Airspace Industry (TAI). 'As Turkey, the Turkish nation, we have no intention of attacking [Syria],' he stated." http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/pm-calls-syria-rogue-state-as-turkey-russia-in-touch.aspx?PageID=238&NID=24255&NewsCatID=338

Okay, is Putin a chump?

If there are machine gun holes in the plane then case closed. Turkey has possession of part of the plane that Syria says has holes in it so how about Turkey show us the plane? The fact Turkey has not rebutted the Syrian allegation about the bullet holes tells me it's true. Why doesn't this critical piece of evidence interest the Russians?

And the gall of Erdogan is amazing. He's committing war crimes by amassing troops on the border and threatening attack. Hell, their sponsorship and material support for these attacks are acts of war as well. And Erdogan has the gall to say Turkey will not attack and warns Syria of attack?

And then Turkey lambasts Russia for issuing a 'balanced' statement about both sides being to blame, or something, and Turkey heavily criticizes Putin but yet he still plays along with Erdogan's games? Putin should say, "show me the plane part. I want to see the bullet holes"

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jun 27, 2012 5:42:52 PM | 95

jawbone, I was without TV for many years, in the '80s, I only really missed the soccer games

the real drawback was that I got out of synch with reality: I didn't realize how society was changing; maybe it saved me, since the "great transformation" of that period (and continuing) remained alien to me, but I had to do some catching up later to understand what had happened around me

Posted by: claudio | Jun 27, 2012 8:09:35 PM | 96

"The official news agency Sana this week suddenly stopped reporting the funerals of military personnel killed in action. The average had gone up to more than 50 a day."

The statement is false and this can be seen by simply looking at the SANA page in question:

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/index.htm

Last report of casualties was yesterday. In addition, casualties are not reported every day, there are often gaps of several days between the reports.


Posted by: Jim Steel | Jun 27, 2012 9:37:47 PM | 97

Claudio @ 96 -- I usually watch the national news broadcasts to try to abreast of how those who get their news from TV are being manipulated, but, as a friend has said, what good does do for me to know that? What I'm missing most if the...weather reports, especially those great new radar representations of what's happening. I use Wunderground, but it's not quite as dramatic.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 27, 2012 11:25:39 PM | 98

>>> The statement is false >>>

That's what I was talking about when I said to Jawbone in #93, "the Western press is going along with spreading stories such as this one in the BBC. Your Muir commentary is full of propaganda to demoralize Assad's forces".


Also on example of what I meant when I said Walter doesn't read all my posts.

Posted by: www | Jun 27, 2012 11:39:07 PM | 99

@ Jawbone "So, I'm testing myself to see if I can go without any TV. I know I'll really miss what's broadcat of Wimbledon, some dramas on PBS, some movies...but I think I'll give myself more time to do other things...."

there ain't nuttin on TV that you cannot download via torrents - but with torrents you don't have to suffer the advertising - TV is bad for you anyway - drag yours outside and smash it up - you'll be surprised how much fun it is

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jun 27, 2012 11:46:21 PM | 100

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