July 01, 2012
Syria: Erdogan's Threat Is Already Diminishing
When the Syrian air defense shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet, according to Pentagon officials within Syrian airspace, the Turkish prime minister Erdogan claimed the jet was downed in international air space and issued a threat:
"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."
This led me to ask Is This Erdogan's Backdoor For Implementing Safe Zones?
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 answer is in:
Two F-16s took off from İncirlik air base in the southern province of Adana at 9:12 a.m. as a Syrian MI-17 approached Turkish airspace from the south of Hatay.
Another alert was given at 3:05 p.m. when a Syrian MI-8 helicopter again approached Hatay and got as close as four miles. Two F-16 from the "scramble wing" took off from İncirlik air base and patrolled the border area.
The final scramble order was given at 6:05 p.m. as an MI-8 helicopter approached the border near the southeastern Mardin province. Two F-16s immediately took off from an airbase in Batman in southeastern Turkey.
No air space violations occurred in the incidents, the General Staff said.
As the Turkish journalist Mahi Zeynalov commented:
The incident shows Turkey won't allow any Syrian aircraft to approach closer than 4 miles to Turkish border, creating de facto buffer zone.
Yesterdays Syrian "action group" meeting in Geneva ended with Russia winning. None of the points Clinton would have liked in the closing document survived the negotiations. Russia again made it clear that it will not push for Assad to leave as this would likely lead to a destruction of the Syrian state as well as other severe consequences. Without Russia the UN and even NATO will not take further steps and Assad will now have lots of time to fight the insurgency down.
The one person that possibly could, and maybe still wants, to escalate is Erdogan. He certainly could provoke another incident like the jet shoot down and then declare war on Syria. But NATO is not with him and the leak by the U.S. government to the Wall Street Journal and earlier to the NYT about the correct location of the shoot down destroys Erdogan's credibility and thereby his ability to get foreign backup for further steps. The Russians added to that by offering radar data that would make Erdogan's position even more uncomfortable:
Russia possesses “objective observation data” concerning the downing of a Turkish jet off the Syrian coast one week ago and is prepared to present it, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Geneva on Saturday.
“We have our objective observation data and we are prepared to present it,” Lavrov said.
That was certainly meant as a Russian threat towards Erdogan and it can be added to the dicey issue of Turkish energy security which depends on natural gas delivery from Iran and Russia. Meanwhile Erdogan's political opposition is slowly waking up and infighting in Turkey about the current policies towards Syria has started.
The four mile buffer zone does matter much at the current state of the conflict in Syria. It will be again of interest once the insurgency is driven back to only hold that zone.
By then further pressure will have build up against Erdogan. His stance is already opposed by the Turkish public. His political opposition woke up. The U.S., which wants Assad weakened but not out, as well as Russia will continue their threats to uncover his claims about the jet downing as lies. As time passes his buffer zone threat will diminish.
It is always difficult to predict what Erdogan might do next. He seems to react rather spontaneously to events and then to hyperventilate over the issue. That could lead to this or that boarder clash with Syria. But for now I do not expect him, or anyone else, to launch a full blown external war.
Syria is now safe from external military intervention. If it sustains the capability to win the difficult fight against the foreign sponsored insurgency, which I think is likely, a few month from now this crisis will be over.
Posted by b on July 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Permalink
I get the feeling Erdogan decided his relationship with Russia is more important than the idiots from FSA or SNC.
I am still trying to find more info on Saudi troop movement towards south Syria, through Jordan. For some reason RT and Debkfile seem to keep to this story.
Posted by: ana souri | Jul 1, 2012 12:52:42 PM | 1
And good times will be had by all..
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 1, 2012 1:31:16 PM | 2
ana souri, the Saudi military couldn't even defeat the rag-tag Yemeni Houthi rebels who're living just next door..What chance do they stand against a real army? Even Saddam Hussein at his weakest almost took Riyadh had it not been the intervention of the Americans.
When the news first broke, the first thing that came to mind was psyops..It was meant to coincide with the Turkish troop movement comedy show that's meant to distract people's attention from Erdogan's F-4 fighter jet blunder.Notice how not much is spoken about the downing of the jet anymore but rather "news" about Turkish and Saudi troop movements? What exactly are they going to do? Invade Syria? With what?
Posted by: Zico | Jul 1, 2012 1:40:30 PM | 3
>>> And good times will be had by all..>>>
Not necessarily, Alexander, the heat may be off from NATO but this will only mean that the terrorists will make more desperate moves, kill more people and in a very gruesome manner, like at Houla or like during the funeral procession yesterday. Until the insurgency is extinguished and the terrorists put away, there won't be a moment of peace in Syria. Assad should open his government to some of the opposition that are willing to talk to him. Burhan Ghalyoun is definitely out since he's been disparaging the Geneva talks because they offered him nothing. Anyone in the opposition that offered to make peace with Israel without getting back the Golan should not be in the government.
Posted by: www | Jul 1, 2012 1:53:33 PM | 4
Does this mean that Iran is safe, too?
Israel and Saudi Arabia are willing to fight only to the last dead American. (They won't risk their own.)
America only attacks the poorest of the poor (Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia) and the weakest of the weak (Libya, which basically had zero military capability) and then only if there is no opposition from Russia and China.
It still baffles me why successful leaders like Erdogan (like Britain's B-Liar before) are so eager to step into what are sure to be legacy-destroying quagmires. Does being a successful leader require a secret death wish?
Posted by: JohnH | Jul 1, 2012 2:16:57 PM | 5
If it sustains the capability to win the difficult fight against the foreign sponsored insurgency, which I think is likely, a few month from now this crisis will be over.
I think your assessment is too optimistic. I'd like for the crisis to be over in a few months, but don't see how. The FSA still has support from Saudi and Qatar, as you said. It can afford to continue attacks for years. It will also have supply lines from Jordan, Turkey and (likely Lebanon). Insurgencies can be quickly created but take a long time to defeat, especially if they are having cash/weapons paid for by backers with unlimited funds. Just look at Iraq or Afghanistan or Chechyna or any other insurgency, it takes a decade to break them and even after that residual violence goes on for years.
Also I personally don't trust Hillary Clintons change of heart, this is what Lavrov said as he left the hours long meeting:
"I felt Hillary Clinton’s position has changed. She said she understands our position."
Maybe Hillary Clinton grew a soul during the last seven days? But I wouldn't bet on it... more likely they are buying time knowing they can't go in before the November Election. Better to let the Russians spend the next 5 months trying the transitional government while she knows Saudi Arabia will continue bankrolling the FSA. After November when Obama doesn't have to worry about voters and once the Russian plan is going nowhere they will have free reign. In the meantime they can let the economic sanctions eat away at Assad and weaken Syria.
I mean that IS what it is all about "weakening Syria". If you can't have a puppet regime, you settle for a regime too weak and divided to pose a threat (especially to Israel). This agreement is no victory it is just agreeing to disagree and continuing to bleed Syria.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 1, 2012 2:19:04 PM | 6
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 1, 2012 2:19:04 PM | 6
Sound analysis. This is mainly true because saudi/qatar have nothing to lose. if however assad can make them feel the heat
somehow they probably will back off. Does he have assets there?
Posted by: erraticideas | Jul 1, 2012 2:36:23 PM | 7
JohnH @ 5.."It still baffles me why successful leaders like Erdogan (like Britain's B-Liar before) are so eager to step into what are sure to be legacy-destroying quagmires. Does being a successful leader require a secret death wish?"
I believe the answer to that question is....Because most of the "worlds leaders" do what they're told to do by their "puppet masters" behind the scenes, not what's good for their respective countries. With rare exceptions, the "worlds leaders", further the interests of the mega-wealthy, not the masses.
Posted by: ben | Jul 1, 2012 2:36:50 PM | 8
I'm with Colm O'Tool. I don't understand these perpetual bouts of hope.
This whole diplomatic game is OBVIOUSLY designed to end one way; with the military defeat of the Syrian government.
These designed hiccups on the way to war are not victories for Russia or Syria, but are simply meant to justify war.
The Syrian army may be strong but does anyone seriously think they can repel all of NATO and Israel and the GCC? I think it will be a nasty regional war but all indications are the West is DEAD SERIOUS.
It is very misleading to pretend that the West will be deterred by pissant Russian "wins" like this. Completely meaningless.
Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Jul 1, 2012 2:44:41 PM | 9
if however assad can make them feel the heat somehow they probably will back off. Does he have assets there?
Doubt Syrian intelligeance would have enough of a presence to pressure Saudi Arabia or Qatar to back off... but Iran might be able to do it for them. Especially if Bahrain or Yemen starts to boil, Iran could offer to calm things down in exchange for breathing room for Assad. Syria could use their ties with the Kurds on Turkey though.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jul 1, 2012 3:05:08 PM | 10
I don't think the actors involved Qatar and Saudi have "unlimited" amount of resources to carry their policies through in Syria..George Bush Jr. thought the US had an unlimited amount of cash to Invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and today, the US is in the red economically.Trillions of dollars later, Iraq is more closer to Iran and Afghanistan is in a quagmire. The longer this power game continues, the more the main actors behind are exposed and weakened politically. Already, the Turkish opposition have been making a lot of noise about Erdogan and his anti-Syrian policies and they're gaining grounds. During the early days of the chaos in Syria most of the actors involved where not known much.Today, one can name almost all the actors.
Syria may not have the assets to strike the Western actors involved but can certainly strike the supporting actors in the region like Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey..Among these US gangs, Jordan is the most vulnerable and the weakest link..What baffles me is how Syria hasn't turned up the heat on Jordan. Waiting for the right time?
Posted by: Zico | Jul 1, 2012 3:05:28 PM | 11
Colm @ 6
Indeed, They aim at a weak Syria who is in no position to reclaim the Golan heights, and not able to assist Iran.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 1, 2012 3:10:14 PM | 12
>>> Does being a successful leader require a secret death wish?>>>
JohnH #5, look at how rich Blair has suddenly become by playing ball. Bill Clinon didn't do too bad either. It's a get rich wish.
Posted by: www | Jul 1, 2012 3:32:38 PM | 13
I don't think anybody will be rocking the boat:
this here is fun
Who wants Israel to bomb Iran?
The one who most wants an Israeli attack on Iran is Ahmadinejad, whose heart's desire is apparently to deal a very heavy blow, if not a deathblow, to Israel.
"Ahmadinejad's behavior in recent years reflects this fairly clearly. There appears to be a basis to the assumption that his conduct is guided by people with expert insight into Israel's current leaders. He denies the Holocaust with much fanfare, states clearly his desire to eradicate the little Satan, and makes explicit threats against Tel Aviv for the whole world to hear - even the Americans.
He systematically builds his image as Hitler's double, as Israel's leaders see him. He's also preparing nuclear facilities in his country to serve as easy targets for an air strike. He's doing all this to lure Israel's leaders to do something on their own initiative. If they do something, Ahmadinejad will have achieved his aim - not to mention his joy when he has 10 captured Israeli pilots in his hands.
If a certain two people in Israel don't control their urges and willingly join the world's desire for Israel to attack Iran, the international accord will be complete. For the first time since God stopped the construction of the Tower of Babel, the entire human race will get together with the same goal in mind. It will be up to us Israelis to regret that we're the ones to pay the price for this rare human harmony. "
IRGC missile war games to begin on Monday
TEHRAN, July 1 (MNA) -- A three-day missile exercise of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, entitled the Great Prophet 7, will begin on Monday, according to the commander of the Aerospace Force of the IRGC.
“During the war games, long-range, medium-range, and short-range missiles will be used and will be fired from different points across the country at 100 designated targets,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told reporters during a press conference in Tehran on Sunday.
He also said that domestically manufactured missiles will be fired at bases modeled on airbases of the extra-regional powers, which have been constructed in the heart of the Semnan desert in north central Iran in order to allow experts to assess the precision and efficiency of warheads and missile systems.
On the country’s latest missile achievements, Hajizadeh said that the domestically designed surface-to-surface Qiam (Uprising) missile has been mass-produced and will be used during the war games.
The Persian Gulf anti-ship missile, which has been produced by the Defense Ministry, will also be test-fired during the exercises, he said.
During the maneuvers, unmanned aircraft will carry out operations, he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that the IRGC has designed a new anti-radar ballistic missile, which has a range of 300 kilometers, travels several times faster than the speed of sound, and is able to destroy air defense systems and any base that transmits radar signals.
The early warning radar in Turkey, which is part of NATO’s missile defense system, the proposed missile defense shield in the Persian Gulf, and Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system are vulnerable to the IRGC’s new ballistic missile, the commander of the Aerospace Force of the IRGC added.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Hajizadeh said that if Israel attacks Iran, it will be obliterated by Iranian missiles.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 1, 2012 4:00:15 PM | 14
I find it more likely that some agreement was reached in St. Petersburg - well before the Geneva meeting...
Russia agrees to let the US escape relatively unscathed from afghanistan (how many reporters will want to be at the Friendship Bridge when that happens?) and in exchange the US agrees to back-off. Turkey will takes its que from that and cut off the FSA, Jordan already has and Lebanon is keen not to get involved (and the Saudi's don't want that to change)...
I tend to agree with B, things look bad for the FSA and SNC right now - their only hope to keep this alive is to play along and "agree conditionally" to consider thinking about forming a transitional government until the US/Western intentions/plans become clear (or they are given their marching orders - whichever the case may be).
Posted by: oab | Jul 1, 2012 4:49:19 PM | 15
To me, the most interesting factoid to emerge from b's update is that the Russians at Tartus, 90km from the shootdown, have no qualms about switching on their radar and leaving it on 24/7.
Parking a single Russian warship in Syrian waters is an obvious taunt to the anti-Syria crowd. But all of them know that anyone stupid (Georgian?) enough to attack it will pay a disproportionately high price for doing so - like Georgia did for believing Yankee and "Israeli" hogwash.
So ... the Yankees project power by sending umpteen warships to their next imaginary hotspot ... while the Russians can achieve the same end by sending ... just one.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 1, 2012 4:54:16 PM | 16
William Hague really is an effing idiotic wanker who doesn't understand simple English!
"We made one step forward that's worth having, which is that we agreed with Russia and China what a transitional government should look like. And that there should be a transitional unity government in Syria, and that should be made up of people from the present government and opposition groups on the basis of mutual consent, which would of course exclude President Assad from that."
The current Syrian government refuses to have to have anybody from the SNC unless Assad remains, so Assad remains. What is difficult to understand about that!
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius is no better:
"Even if they say the opposite, the fact that the text says specifically that there will be a transitional government with all powers means it won't be Bashar al-Assad … because it will be people that are agreed to by mutual consent. The opposition will never agree to him, so it signals implicitly that Assad must go and that he is finished,"
Lavrov ran rings around them - I'm embarrassed to be English. The English public school system really is broken, it used to turn out world-class sociopathic diplomats, now all it does is produce tossers like Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Hunt and Hague.
Posted by: blowback | Jul 1, 2012 5:04:08 PM | 17
blowback, blaming Hague is putting it mildly.The shitbag takes his orders from the clueless evil queen, clinton...In fact, almost all EU "group-think" leaders take their orders from Hilary's State department. They don't make a single move without consultation with Washington.
The funny part is, Hague and his torry members believe in their own BS with such conviction and belief..The word reality is a distant thing.
Posted by: Zico | Jul 1, 2012 5:16:54 PM | 18
' "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 rank hypocrits are the mad turks. Iraq can make the make claim about them:
'TURKISH combat planes and ground troops have crossed into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish guerrillas who have killed 29 members of Turkey's security forces and five civilians in a series of raids over the past two days'
according to the turks : its ok if they do it...But terrorists based in turkey cross the border into syria and kill...security forces and civilians...and Syria is not do the same.
Posted by: brian | Jul 1, 2012 5:35:32 PM | 19
blowback, you can't really expect them to say "Sorry, we lost this one".
The main point seems to me that they have given all parties one year to fight it out.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 1, 2012 5:46:35 PM | 21
'Who wants Israel to bomb Iran?
The one who most wants an Israeli attack on Iran is Ahmadinejad, whose heart's desire is apparently to deal a very heavy blow, if not a deathblow, to Israel.'
Posted by: somebody | Jul 1, 2012 4:00:15 PM | 14
what utter rubbish , nameless somebody...please dont air your zionist fantasies here.
Posted by: brian | Jul 1, 2012 5:48:19 PM | 22
@scumbody: Ahmadinejad's heart might be up to anything. However, he has no competence whatsover with regards to wars, nuclear technology oder developing magic carpets.
Posted by: m_s | Jul 1, 2012 7:03:30 PM | 23
I agree with Colm O'Toole #6 when he said "look at Iraq or Afghanistan or Chechyna or any other insurgency, it takes a decade to break them and even after that residual violence goes on for years." Arguably the best-fitting reference point is the insurgency in Algeria starting in 1991, which took a decade to break, and even after that the residual violence went on for years more.
On the other hand as I see it, the insurgents in Syria don't have as much political support on the ground as in any of the insurgency cases mentioned above. For that reason, I think it's possible the insurgency does get "broken" (Colm's word) within a few months, while "residual violence" from die-hards does go on for years. I interpret 'b' to be intending to say the same when 'b' says the insurgency crisis may be "over" a few months from now if the Syrian Army takes the fight to the rebels in a vigorous onslaught. That may be an unduly generous interpretation of 'b'. Also it's unduly generous of Colm to refer to what 'b' says as an "assessment", since 'b' just has a bald one-sentence assertion not an assessment.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 1, 2012 7:12:50 PM | 24
This comment is off-topic. 'somebody' #14 quotes from somebody at Haaretz.com saying Ahmadinejad "denies the Holocaust". In fact, Ahmaddinejad says (1) the Holocaust story is open to questions and the questions are a matter for scholars and (2) he says he is not himself a Holocaust scholar and is not propounding answers to the questions. On this board quite a number of people (including myself) have come to realize how dreadfully bigoted and credulous-in-the-face-of-flimsy-evidence the mainstream Western media can be when it comes to accusations against foreign governments who "don't share our values", foreign governments who are deemed "seriously bad". We've seen this in the media coverage of Syria this past year. If you were paying attention a decade ago you would've seen it in media coverage of Saddam Hussein's government. I wasn't paying attention in 1998 and 1999 during the demonizing of the government of Serbia, but I've learned about what happened from later sources. This brings me to the Holocaust. The hard evidence about the Holocaust is highly problematic and weak. The question is a matter for people who have the time and interest to dig down deep into the details of the evidence of what did and did not happen in Poland in the early 1940s. It's not a matter for casual punditry. But one attitude you should reject is the idea that the Holocaust story has endured the test of time. 65 years of mainstream confidence in the truth of the story is NOT a reliable indicator that the story is true.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Jul 1, 2012 7:26:38 PM | 25
The number of Jewish deaths in the Shoah was pegged one time at 10 million with any smaller number considered antisemetic. The number has settled at six million.
Morrocobama is having a meltdown at SST. Kinda sad really.
Posted by: Optimax | Jul 1, 2012 9:35:04 PM | 26
... Ahmadinejad has a gift to wind up Israelis, nothing else was claimed ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 1, 2012 11:32:09 PM | 27
b, I'd only ask that are you sure those F-16's that 'scrambled' from Incirlik, were indeed Turkish, Incirlik is a US/Nato base...! Now, if I was Assad, I'd send in a bunch of Strela crews into that 4 mile buffer zone...
Posted by: CTuttle | Jul 1, 2012 11:50:17 PM | 28
What NATO would do to get detailled information on Syria’s air defense, was explained in an aviation forum by a former German F4 pilot:
You take a reconnaissance jet and fly slowly closer and closer to the assumed location of the enemy position, watch the activation of the enemy’s search radar and when the enemy’s target radar is activated you turn away. So know you kno how the enemy’s air defense system looks on your own warning systems, for example the newly delivered Russian one. That information can be used then to develop new counter-measures and tactics. Of course for such an avtivity is used only a single reconnaissance jet and not a squadron, because when the targetted country protests one wants to claim that the trespassing happened accidentally.
Posted by: nikon | Jul 2, 2012 12:23:32 AM | 29
I have to remark about that F-4 shootdown. I've read in a couple of places that the aircraft was testing some defensive radar capabilities. It was flying very close to the ground, and at a very high speed.
I know the F-4 has that capability. I worked on them when I was in the service.
Now, if I wanted to test the vulnerability of a perimeter defence against CRUISE missles, which fly fast and low, I think I could do some probing with an F-4 and see the defensive reaction.
Would it seem unlikely that the Americans would put the Turks up to this kind of test? Bet whatever they were up to, they sure didn't expect the defenses to be so good!
Posted by: Jake | Jul 2, 2012 12:40:58 AM | 30
not sure what the real backstory is, but in addition to the big Russian-US joint exercises in Denver end of May, 2012 (coinciding with Colorado's big fire outbreak there) and the other under-the-table deals, how far do we believe the Russia vs US 'enemy/antagonist' drama?
Posted by: JL | Jul 2, 2012 12:47:43 AM | 31
as for all kinds of systemic reasons the West and Russia to a certain degree bet on high tech weapons, Iran obviously bet on comparatively low tech missile technology. I guess Syria has not only Russian high tech but Iranian effective low tech too. They claim, and I tend to believe them, that the plane was hit by low tech.
That should worry Turkey, too.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 2:19:11 AM | 32
I confidently assume the Turks took the initiative to the probe on the syrian air-defense-systems, actually it was probably a probe of Syrian SAM-radars, themselves.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 2, 2012 3:37:16 AM | 33
The plane was hit by low-tech, low tech anti-aircraft-machine-gun cannons. But then again, the plane wasn't exactly state of the art either.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 2, 2012 3:39:21 AM | 34
Turkey's military used to be much more an interior than an exterior force. They do get some but not much in US military assistance and seem to be shopping around for equipment and try to produce stuff themselves.
At present they are mainly interested in buying drones from the US for fighting the Kurds.
"The United States does provide some annual military and security assistance to Turkey. In
FY2010, Turkey received $5 million in International Military Education Training (IMET) aid and
nearly $3 million in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)
aid. The Obama Administration’s FY2011 and FY2012 requests for funding these accounts for
Turkey, along with the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) account,
contemplates aiding a wide range of Turkish law enforcement, customs, and security agencies as
well as the military (see Table 1 above).
In addition, Turkey has prior-year U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds in the amount of
approximately $75 million available to it from an account under U.S. government control. When
Turkey might spend these unobligated funds remains unclear. DOD informed the Congressional
Research Service in March 2011 that the most recent Turkish spending plan for these funds
include these approximate allocations:
• Communications, $33.3 million;
• General equipment sustainment, $19 million;
• Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate upgrades, $15 million; and
• Other equipment and systems, $7.7 million."
Turkey has come a long way towards democracy but the still have much room to improve on the human rights index.
At present the military is mainly involved in an interior fight - and bound to be pretty demoralized:
Turkish police hauled in a top retired general along with several fellow officers for questioning on Thursday over their role in the overthrow of Turkey's first Islamist government in 1997.
"Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which itself has Islamist roots, has made curbing the military's political influence one of its main missions, and state prosecutors have pursued officers suspected of conspiring against current and former governments.
The arrests are the latest humiliation for generals who for decades had considered it their right to interfere in political affairs, and had toppled four governments between 1960 and 1997."
So, Turkey a military power? Forget it.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 4:06:46 AM | 35
Alexander, I think the real deal here is not whether the jet was downed by a low-tech/high-tech weapon. The fact here is that a Turkish jet on dubious mission, recce or otherwise, was brought down at low altitude. Whether is was done by low-tech or high-tech doesn't prove anything. However, it demonstrates Syria's ability to defend themselves and has also proven Syria has a capable air defense systems/network.
To hit such low flying target at high speed is not an easy task. I watched as the Libyan air defense units tried haplessly with their AA guns to shoot down NATO jets doing their bombing runs over Tripoli at low altitude and high speed. NATO likes to bomb effectively at low altitudes. The human eye is not fast enough to lock on such high speed targets and bring it down so my guess is it must have been some form of AA weapons with a computerized fire-control system. It gives it the ability to calculate the jet's speed and fire in a direction the makes for a "bullet-meets-jet/jet-meets-bullet" scenario. If you fire several hundreds of lead in less than a minute at a target, you're surely going to hit something. This weapon was unveiled by Iran a couple of years ago and was mocked(I'm not saying it was an Iranian weapons that brought the jet down but it's plausible).
I believe the headache for Turkey/NATO is not Syria's active radars, but the passive ones. The ones that make the target believe their invisible/invincible. This Turkish jet may have been "painted" by a passive radar and consequently brought down(my own estimate).Iran has a lot of these passive radars and I'm sure if Iran's got it, Syria may have it too.
Remember the downing of the US "stealth" drone?
Again, Erdogan gambled and he lost. But to cover his losses, he's deployed troops along his border to again, escalate things to nowhere. Purely for domestic consumption if you ask me..Notice how nobody's talking about the jet incident anymore but rather on Turkish troop deployment..As if they're at war with Syria.
Posted by: Zico | Jul 2, 2012 5:00:07 AM | 36
Zico, low tech means that these weapons are cheap, easily produced, and "proliferated". There goes the technological advantage of the Western world ...
Whilst we have been discussing Iran going nuclear.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 5:53:57 AM | 37
Military analysts have been saying from the start that taking on Syria isn't going to be easy, and specifically referring to their air-defense systems, enforcing no-fly-zones like in Libya isn't going to be nearly as easy. I think that's the real reservations of NATO, that an assault on Syria would lead to an embarressment for NATO.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 2, 2012 6:30:06 AM | 38
multiply that for Iran with some real mountain ranges and throw in the self defeating sanctions ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 6:44:58 AM | 39
Russia is taking the transition seriously, so maybe Syria can hope for a stop in the violence
"MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it will hold talks with two Syrian opposition groups, officials from President Bashar Assad's government, and with UN envoy Kofi Annan later in July.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency as saying Monday that the first group headed by opposition leader Michel Kilowill will arrive later this week.
He added that another group with Abdulbaset Sieda, the new head of the Syrian National Council, as its head will visit Moscow after July 10.
An anonymous Russian diplomat also told RIA that Annan is expected in Moscow by mid-July.
The diplomat spoke off the record because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the press."
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 7:17:29 AM | 40
If you fire several hundreds of lead in less than a minute at a target, you're surely going to hit something. This weapon was unveiled by Iran a couple of years ago and was mocked(I'm not saying it was an Iranian weapons that brought the jet down but it's plausible).
Iran has a joint military base around the area the plane was brought down.
Posted by: hans | Jul 2, 2012 7:24:39 AM | 41
The diplomat spoke off the record because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the press."
Anytime I see such comment as "he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the press" I stop reading...If he wasn't authorized to speak to press, how come this diplomat seem to find trust in this very journalist and spill out everything? It's a journalistic way of telling lies without actually giving any evidence to support his/her claim, thereby absolving themselves of any accountability.
If the report is credible, why not name names?
Posted by: Zico | Jul 2, 2012 7:30:50 AM | 42
Article taken from CS Monitor talks about 100,000 Russians currently in Syria working on various projects from building dams to teaching the Syrians how to operate the defense systems. It also talks about how the Russians were tricked into going along with the "humanitarian" gimmick in Libya and that it won't happen again.
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 7:37:52 AM | 43
frankly, I find the report likely ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 7:38:27 AM | 44
@32: "Iran obviously bet on comparatively low tech missile technology. "
Well, not strictly true.
The Iranians will "bet on" hi tech if they can make it themselves.
The Iranians will "bet on" lo tech if that's all they can make.
They were badly burnt during the 1980s Iran/Iraq War when their hi tech foreign-build stuff was rendered useless by the refusal of those foreigners to supply spare parts and ammo.
So their strategy isn't so much:
"stick to lo tech"
as it is this:
"if we can't support it ourselves then we won't field it".
Posted by: Johnboy | Jul 2, 2012 7:53:45 AM | 45
What is amazing is that the UN has not had ONE major conference on the collapse of Fukushima Daiichi plant, which is in constant meltdown. Reactor #4 cooling apparatus has been offline for over 36 hours. This is the greatest catastrophe in written history and 50x Chernobyl's lethality, if not more. Within 5 yrs the northern hemisphere is done- not including if the series escalates- which seems 90% likely. Instead the world is glued to mideast false flag coups. 2+ billion people literally at risk over next 5 yrs- no joke. Meanwhile, its CIA qaeda on everyone's mind. Incredible.
Posted by: vatick | Jul 2, 2012 8:34:41 AM | 46
Someone called the text as a "sound analysis",
"The U.S., which wants Assad weakened but not out..."
in light of the above statement it is very far from it - to me it is dilettante one. They wanted Assad to be executed, just like Ghadaffi or Saddam, whoever stand on their way.
One should bear in mind one country that wasn't invited to that neocolonial "conference": Iran. By reading today's forceful statement Iranians leave no doubt. Without Iran's approval nothing will ever work.
This is simply face saving conference for the West and that so called UN. Nothing has been imposed on Syria nor they should accept anything that comes from the West. The Merchants of Death after they tried everthing, and in the process murdures 15.000 Syrians, they finally "give up" for how long is anyone guess.
This conference is failure which is very good outcome - stunt for the Merchants of Death, they know that from very beginning and they needed scapegoat: Erdogan fit the bill. Nobody can rationalize his moves including Turkish media.
"Syria is now safe from external military intervention..."
Proxy war that we have seen in Libya - regime change - yes. Military intervention - no, and they, NATO, is well aware of that. It is wishful thinking. The White Man doesn't commit forces nor money in this type of warfare, they provide "consulting and covert" services, that is the only thing they are good at. From the Roman times wars has been fought by flesh and money of somebody else, I am surprised that the Turks did not learn lesson from WWI when Churchill played game (and lost) with them, now they repeating the same thing again.
Posted by: neretva'43 | Jul 2, 2012 8:53:09 AM | 47
>>> They wanted Assad to be executed, just like Ghadaffi or Saddam, whoever stand on their way. >>>
Gaddafi and Saddam declared war on the US dollar; what was Assad's sin and in what currency is Iran being today?
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 9:55:19 AM | 48
... in which currency is Iran being paid today?
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 9:57:47 AM | 49
b: Yesterdays Syrian "action group" meeting in Geneva ended with Russia winning. None of the points Clinton would have liked in the closing document survived the negotiations.
We must be reading different press/reports/gossip.
My interpretation of what I read/heard is that in the last hours Russia capitulated (big word and not apt, because it certainly has its own plans and presented some of that) in the sense that Russia is not fundamentally opposed to ‘transition’ (aka getting rid of Bashar. As was evident, as I posted before, in another meet, of the Council of Human rights.)
The point, imhho, is that, in the Syria case, Russia has resisted the fact that foreign, outside countries can dictate when a country should, must, may be forced to, give up its leader(s).
-> Note foreign control, guff, UN position papers, etc. from outside did not take place or have any effect sensu strictu, in Egypt, Tunisia; or Lybia where outright murder did the job. -
Getting Russia on board is a huge step in the direction of ‘external control’ (and Russia has its own reasons for liking that), not that one can expect outside opinions / actions of the proposed kind to have much effect, in the case of Civil War, which is what Syria is experiencing, saying it once more..
It is not just a question of ‘allies’, Russia having ‘biz interests in Syria’, defending its ‘contacts’ and so on.
b may be right, i hope so actually, but it is not what i see right now.
Posted by: Noirette | Jul 2, 2012 10:56:25 AM | 51
The news I heard was that neither the regime people nor the opposition(epecially Ghalyoun) were happy with what the others concluded at the Geneva meeting.
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 11:41:51 AM | 52
Noirette, it is the second time after Libya that world powers leave a meeting, giving completely opposite meanings to what was agreed on paper.
That means the paper is useless, we have to watch what people are doing.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 11:43:43 AM | 53
More tough talk from Iran
"Iranian lawmakers have drafted a bill that would close the Strait of Hormuz for oil tankers heading to countries supporting current economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
"There is a bill prepared in the National Security and Foreign Policy committee of Parliament that stresses the blocking of oil tanker traffic carrying oil to countries that have sanctioned Iran," Iranian MP Ibrahim Agha-Mohammadi told reporters.
"This bill has been developed as an answer to the European Union's oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Agha-Mohammadi said that 100 of Tehran's 290 members of parliament had signed the bill as of Sunday.
Iran's threats to block the waterway through which about 17 million barrels a day sailed in 2011 have grown in the past year as US and European sanctions aimed at starving Tehran of funds for its nuclear programme have tightened.
The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route through which most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq and nearly all the gas exported from Qatar sails.
An EU ban on Iranian oil imports came into effect on Sunday. "
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 12:08:41 PM | 55
BTW, when Hillary is mentioned as the main actor in this current US policy, it's best to remember she does nothing without Obama's OK or direction. He may be buying into something she's pushing, but she wouldn't do it without his agreement.
I'm not sure what's going on with Obama, but I figure he's trying to walk a delicate line between appearing hawkish enough on whatever issues Romney and the Republicans want to push to show they're more macho and hawkish than Obama and appearing more rational and peace seeking for the majority of US voters who don't want any more wars. Hard work, this presidentin' and reelection seeking....
I have serious fears about what either Obama or Romney will do if in office in 2013. On both international and domestic issues.
Posted by: jawbone | Jul 2, 2012 1:23:09 PM | 56
"Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf said Thursday Saudi Arabia would invest a total of $400 billion in Turkey in four years, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. Al-Assaf made the remarks at a joint press conference with Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek in the Turkish capital of Ankara, noted that the two countries planned to organize a forum for joint investments."
While this is old, Erdogan has to be compliant and keep them happy.
Posted by: neretva'43 | Jul 2, 2012 2:21:54 PM | 57
@Colm O' Toole - The FSA still has support from Saudi and Qatar, as you said. It can afford to continue attacks for years. It will also have supply lines from Jordan, Turkey and (likely Lebanon).
There will be ways to make the Saudis and Qataris stop their support. It is likely that Iran will take care for that. This may be a part of it:
Although Iran frequently holds war games, these exercises appeared to underline Tehran's threat to strike US military bases in neighboring countries — in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — if it comes under attack by Israel or the United States.
Supply lines: Jordan seems to have closed off supplies. It is itself too fragile and its regime is endangered. Turkey will close when Erdogan starts to recognize the mess he is in. Hisbullah will take care of Lebanon.
I believe that Syria , Iran and Russia have thought this through much more than the "western/arab" alliance. There is a game plan and Geneva was a part of it.
No, I have no proof for that. Just a hunch from observing these actors over the last decade.
Posted by: b | Jul 2, 2012 2:31:05 PM | 58
@Noirette - We must be reading different press/reports/gossip.
My interpretation of what I read/heard is that in the last hours Russia capitulated (big word and not apt, because it certainly has its own plans and presented some of that) in the sense that Russia is not fundamentally opposed to ‘transition’
Why read here when you trust the mainstream press reports?
Draft Communiqué From Action Group on Syria
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday, June 30, downplayed the changes made to the text of a joint statement on what should be done in Syria that was issued by major powers meeting in Geneva.
Indeed, Clinton continued, “we and our partners made absolutely clear to Russia and China that it is now incumbent upon them to show Assad the writing on the wall.”
“The unity government should be formed on the basis of ‘mutual consent,’” Annan stressed Saturday, as reported by Russia Today, which noted that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “also pointed out the new document does not command a political process for Syria.”
A draft Action Group communiqué dated June 28 and obtained by Al-Monitor called for “... an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms; … guidelines and principles for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and … actions … [to] support [Annan's] … efforts to facilitate a Syrian- led political process.”
But an Annan-proposed “non-paper” dated a day earlier (June 27) called explicitly for the formation of a transitional government in Syria that would exclude certain actors.
The national unity government “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups … but would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine ... the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation” — namely, Assad, the earlier version of the document said
The Annan non-paper which reflected the U.S. position was altered to fit Russia. The major issue, Assad leaving, was out.
Clinton of course tries to sell it differently ...
Posted by: b | Jul 2, 2012 2:37:06 PM | 59
From the Turkish magazine Radical (which isn't radical at all but rather mainstream): Increasingly Isolated Turkey No Longer a Regional Model
So what happened to Turkey, the model country of the Middle East? Some Turkish newspapers are full of endless bragging of what we have achieved. But you don’t see any of that in Al-Hayat, As-Safir or Al-Ahram.
Read their columns. If you only knew what they say about us. Never mind taking Turkey as a model, they are making fun of us. They say Turkey is a country that tries to build democracy in another country before solving its own Kurdish problem, with illusions of Ottomanism and suffering from bouts of grandeur. Turkey is considered an ineffectual and conceited country that is arguing with all of its neighbors. They say we lost a plane and learned our limits. Turkey couldn’t do anything regarding the Mavi Marmara flotilla affair, and it can’t do anything now either, they say. After all, Turks couldn’t even get a simple “excuse me” from Israel.
Instead of using shuttle diplomacy to engage the international community, we opted for a foreign policy that made our neighbors turn against us. Now we want to change the rules of engagement. In these days, we can’t even run our National University Administration; we fight with our neighbors for every conceivable reason and appointed a non-diplomat as the ambassador to Poland.
There are those who say we should turn off the electricity that we sell to Syria. How can you not giggle at this suggestion? With whose natural gas are we producing this electricity? Just as we were beginning to believe that we are no longer the sick man of Europe, we are becoming the lonely man of the Middle East. Isn’t it time to take a deep breath and start rethinking some issues?
Posted by: b | Jul 2, 2012 2:42:08 PM | 60
As usual, you cut to the core again, b. Good man.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 2, 2012 3:13:29 PM | 61
@61 agree, excellent stuff b.
Posted by: thirsty | Jul 2, 2012 3:38:03 PM | 62
it is kind of Billiard ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 3:51:10 PM | 64
it seems to work
Hezbollah could blockade sea in future war By YAAKOV KATZ07/01/2012 20:00IDF: Lebanese group will target cargo ships within 30-km radius of Israel to try to get them to refuse to sail there during war.
The officer warned of the economic ramifications for Israel if Hezbollah succeeded in stopping merchant ships from sailing to the ports of Ashdod and Haifa.
“People have not internalized what it means that 99% of what we import as a country comes by sea,” he said. “Ships stopping to sail here would have economic and security ramifications and is therefore the first and primary challenge we will need to confront.”
I guess what Israel is trying to do here in defense is extremely expensive whilst Hezbollah's technology is comparatively cheap ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 4:05:27 PM | 65
re Jawbone 56
I have serious fears about what either Obama or Romney will do if in office in 2013.
If Obama is re-elected in November, I would have thought the present policy would continue. It is very difficult to attack Syria militarily. If by air, they would succeed in destroying the Syrian air defence, and the Syrian economy.
If a land occupation, endless problems.
If Romney is elected, his Israeli advisors will council in the same way. Their aim is that Syria should be weak. Air attacks OK. Change of regime not important.
Posted by: alexno | Jul 2, 2012 4:22:48 PM | 66
Hezbollah could blockade sea in future war
This is a fantasy of Holocaust-obsessed Israelis. Hizbullah is not capable of closing the Mediterranean to Israeli shipping. They don't even want to, as far as I know.
Posted by: alexno | Jul 2, 2012 4:42:24 PM | 67
And Israel could still get supplies through the Red Sea even if Hizbollah could blockade the whole Mediterranean coast (which makes zero sense even with large range anti-ship missiles and/or fast missile boats which they don't have or don't have the means to direct, where would be the radar be sitting?).
So it's just the usual fear-mongering propaganda.
Posted by: ThePaper | Jul 2, 2012 4:55:25 PM | 68
well, that would have to pass Somali pirates ... :-))
no, seriously, they could not defend in 2006, they cannot defend now, all they can do is attack in the hope that stops it, it did not stop in 2006, I suppose it will stop even less now. they desperately need the peace, they just have not realized yet that they will have to pay.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 5:06:58 PM | 69
>>> Hezbollah could blockade sea in future war >>>
Somebody #65, stated that simply, it serves only to spook Israelis, but it wasn't in that context that the threat was made; it had come after the blockade of Lebanon by Israel in 2006. Israel's Hanit was anchored 10km off Beirut shelling Dahieh's residential buildings when Hezbollah took it out with a missile. Notice was served on Israel that the next time it would blockade Lebanon's coast, Hezbollah would attack any ship to and from Israel from as far as 300 km out. In other words, if there isn't any blockade of Lebanon by Israel, there wouldn't be any of Israeli shipping by Hezbollah.
Alexno, you're right about Hezbollah not wanting to but wrong about not being capable of doing it. Israel believes it's capable.
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 5:13:03 PM | 70
and now its time to get cynical :-))
"Unless pushed by a bloodbath on a massive scale, the president will act cautiously and always in the company of others. When it comes to Damascus (and Tehran too), he'll prefer pressure, process, multilateralism, and talking over shooting and risky unilateral intervention. It's not pretty and it's hard to watch. But it's not only necessary politics, it's in the national interest right now too."
Posted by: somebody | Jul 2, 2012 5:25:40 PM | 71
US and her allies decided to escalate things in Syria hoping that the Syrian government will capitulate and give them concessions. After many months of chaos, the rebels don't hold any grounds or control anything except for attacking anyone that doesn't agree with them.This will o down in history as one of the most dumb and useless revolutions the region has ever witnessed.
The FSA have tried everything from calling Assad an Israeli agent(this from people who're openly receiving support from Israel) to stoking sectarian conflict, which Syrians are not buying into.
The US sought to hijack the UN again for their dubious policies but were blocked TWICE by a Russian/Chinese veto. I think they should be really thankful to Russia and China for those vetoes because they could've easily found themselves in another quagmire in the ME.
As for Erdogan and his zero problem turned many problems foreign minister, they're finished...They've lost any credibility they once had in the region. Davutoglu has been on record telling a blatant lie about the downing of the Turkish jet. Even his own NATO allies don't agree with him. It's sad that Turkey allowed themselves to be bamboozled by Wahabi fanatic monarchies in the Persian Gulf, who're themselves far from democracies...In the Middle East, there's always a price to pay for stupidity.
Posted by: Zico | Jul 2, 2012 5:42:57 PM | 72
>>>In the Middle East, there's always a price to pay for stupidity. >>>
You're right, Zico, but just as this applies to Turkey and the monarchies meddling in Syrian affairs, it also applies to the Syrian ruling elites that could have avoided much of what's happened if only they'd have given up a little when it was still time to. You left out the redundant Arab League.
Posted by: www | Jul 2, 2012 6:06:57 PM | 73
Among all the different news and/or conspiracy outlets, at times this blog comes closest to a serious journalism alternative source of information. Thanks b, and thanks to many folks who contribute in their ways.
Posted by: peter radiator | Jul 2, 2012 6:27:17 PM | 74
anybody @ 68 Pat Lang has lost his marbles. He thinks the infamous Morocco Bama is a jihadi.
I don't blame the Col...
As MB wrote the to the Col. Lang...
"Jesus, you're sounding more and more like a Jew every day. So, go ahead, sue me you Jewish wannabe. That's the beauty of having nothing. It just means you have that much less to lose. Reporting you to the FBI is probably redundant. I'm sure they're watching you already. A loose cannon like you is sure to have made waves many times over.
You should be getting back to holding up your numerous chins, Generalisimo. You don't need another chin on top of what you already have."
Who's the loose cannon...? ;-)
Posted by: CTuttle | Jul 2, 2012 7:42:11 PM | 75
@ 76 - both of em. They are both amerikan exceptionalists unable to see the world except thru red white and blue tinted glasses. They deserve each other and I for one am happy that neither of them corrupt MoA threads with their distortions and bullying any more.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 2, 2012 8:13:21 PM | 76
isn't mb posting here still just under a different handle - first as sultanist and now as wenis?
Posted by: b real | Jul 2, 2012 9:12:34 PM | 77
Debs, I agree that Col. Lang is decidedly conservative in his views, but, he is well-informed and aware of the impending train wreck that is Syria and/or Iran...! I'd posit that Prof. Juan Cole is similarly afflicted, just from the Left...! ;-)
Posted by: CTuttle | Jul 2, 2012 9:29:48 PM | 78
Col. Lang and I got into it by email a few years ago shortly after Friday Evening Happy Hour began(EST). For the life of me, I can't even remember what our tempest in a teapot was about.
What I vividly remember is that Col. Lang repeatedly emailed me abusive comments all throughout that Friday evening from his Blackberry or some other device - certainly from outside of his blog - a torrent of belligerent invective - email after email - his exchanges bordered on madness.
Could his emails have been fueled by an overindulgence in fine single malt Scotch...? Who knows?
I implored him to stop. "Please ban me! GO AWAY! Leave me ALONE!" He seemed incapable. Until the bottle ran dry or he fell asleep in his chair, that is...
And then the abuse abruptly stopped late into the evening Friday and I never heard another word from him. Ever.
He can be a fascinating, if irritating soul, to be sure, much like a python placed in a display case designed for mice.
Posted by: arthurdecco | Jul 2, 2012 10:06:26 PM | 79
*wow* I'm certainly glad I've never had to endure that Bullsh*t, arthurdecco...! I'm sorry to hear that you had to endure that sordid crap...! I've been commenting at SST for years now, rather infrequently, like my commenting here at MOA, but, I've only experienced a handful of moderated comments at SST(and even fewer here at MOA)...! I respect the man, but, I always have a shaker of salt handy...! ;-)
Posted by: CTuttle | Jul 2, 2012 10:27:42 PM | 80
Posted by: b | Jul 2, 2012 2:42:08 PM | 60
re turks and 'democracy' ...since it doesnt exist anywhere - all we have are political parties that use elections to legitimise all manner of dodgy and criminal enterprises and try to prevent the masses from seeing how their tax money is abused - there need be no cause for concern by the Turks!
Posted by: brian | Jul 2, 2012 11:40:24 PM | 81
Posted by: b | Jul 2, 2012 2:31:05 PM | 58
ironically the saudis are figting shia rebels in saudi arabia ad even crossing over into Yemen to fight rebels who enter saudi arabia...pot kettle black!
this has gone on for years with no call ot aid the yemeni rebels by the US UN R2P amnesty etc...very revealing!
Posted by: brian | Jul 2, 2012 11:43:35 PM | 82
Huff Posty, home of Bernard Henri Levy spinning madly on syria
meanwhile Huff post was worried 2009:
'The Saudis – owners of a sophisticated air force they rarely use – have been increasingly worried that extremism and instability in Yemen could spill over to their country, the world's largest oil exporter. The offensive came two days after the killing of a Saudi soldier, blamed on the rebels'
"So it is a Saudi-Iranian proxy war," he said.'
The Gulf Cooperation Council, the region's main diplomatic forum, condemned what it called the "violation and infiltration" of Saudi Arabia's borders. "Saudi Arabia is capable of protecting its lands," it warned in a statement.'
The SAME GCC was happy to violate and infiltrate Libyas borders as also Syrias!
Posted by: brian | Jul 2, 2012 11:53:16 PM | 83
www, the Arab League is now officially dead - DED..No sane and self respecting Arab country must be part of it. Like any organization, the idea of setting up the Arab League was a good one that was aimed at forging a united Arab front against Western imperialism. Syria was the champion of AL back in the days.An organization who's leaders position can be bought with a few dollar(Qatar bought their leadership from the PA).It has now been subverted by oil rich fanatic monarchies in the gulf and become a tool for implementing NATOGCC policies in the Arab world.
The AL has been instrumental in the overthrow of two Arab governments - Saddam and Qaddafi, just to please their masters in Washington. They don't dare utter a single word of condemnation of Israeli occupation and crimes against Palestinians. They never call for sanctions against Israel or drag then to UNSC for violating Palestinian rights.
Also there's "news" of "high ranking" defections of Syrian generals along with their soldiers into Turkey.And they all somehow end up in a Turkish refugee camp. My hunch is that this is also part of the psywar campaign against Syria..Think about it, no self respecting general, Syrian or otherwise, will defect and be happy to be held in a refugee camp..If anything, high ranking defectors are held in high esteem and not some shabby refugee camp..Anytime I hear of another high ranking defection, I laugh...lol
Posted by: Zico | Jul 3, 2012 2:33:26 AM | 84
they are "brigadier generals" Zico ...
"Syria-Turkey tension: Assad 'regrets' F-4 jet's downing
A Turkish Air Force F-4 war plane (file image) The Turkish F-4 plane went down in the Mediterranean and both pilots are missing
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is quoted as saying he regrets "100 per cent" a Turkish jet was shot down after entering Syrian airspace."
"In an interview with Turkey's Cumhuriyet newspaper, he argues that the plane was flying in an area previously used by Israel's air force."
according to FAZ he also expressed regret on the two pilots who died, said the soldier who shot the jet down had no radar and could not now whose plane it was ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 3:17:56 AM | 85
@somebody: so Erdogan obtained from Assad a polite (though surely insincere) "I'm sorry" - more than he got from Israel after the Flotilla massacre; hope it's enough for his face-saving problem
Posted by: claudio | Jul 3, 2012 3:32:34 AM | 86
Claudio, problem is Cumburiyet is close to a Turkish opposition party ... :-))
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 3:50:36 AM | 87
this here is the photograph on the front page
actually, it is easy to make fun of Erdogan, but he is in a tough spot with the conflicts between Turkey's neighbours, its NATO membership and its politized armed forces, the AKP's economic policy - that is what counts for voters - is very successful - 3.2% growth in a quarter is really good - http://en.cumhuriyet.com/?hn=349206 - and he does keep Turkey out of real conflict - and that also really counts.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 3:56:55 AM | 88
plus, suggesting Israeli planes had been flying there is a bit of poison ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 3:59:15 AM | 89
Zico, the roundabout way the AL gave its approval for the bombing of Libya was despicable and so was the illegitimate way it suspended Syria's membership. Its never-ending silence on the oppression of the Palestinians is shameful. I don't think any Arabs, other than the leaders, take it a seriously. It didn't make a fuss about the partition of the Sudan, was not involved in Yemen and never expressed an opinion on what is happening in Bahrain. As you said it never raised its voice over the destruction of Iraq or over Lebanon's 18-year Israeli occupation. It's just another tool for the West.
Posted by: www | Jul 3, 2012 5:09:23 AM | 90
"defecting generals" are normally spies who's cover's been blown and need to run to safety..Otherwise, no self respecting general will "defect" to live in a refugee camp...
Posted by: Zico | Jul 3, 2012 5:15:15 AM | 91
Good point well made, Zico,
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 3, 2012 5:45:07 AM | 92
Although, some of these "Refugee camps" are in reality probably FSA training camps and army bases.
Posted by: Alexander | Jul 3, 2012 5:47:54 AM | 93
>>> plus, suggesting Israeli planes had been flying there is a bit of poison ...>>>
Somebody, Erdogan's phony temper tantrum over the Mavi Marmara is one thing and the very cordial relationship and military and commercial agreements Israel enjoys with Turkey that never changed is another. It never stopped being business as usual between Turkey and Israel, even after the Marmara massacre.
Posted by: www | Jul 3, 2012 6:04:29 AM | 94
Zico, no, there is a real moral issue of being ordered to shoot at the guy next door. Usually military is trained to regard the enemy as an inhuman threatening other, so that soldiers get over their inhibitions to kill. And it needs a lot of propaganda to get a population used to war. The Syrian army is a conscript army, i.e. comprised of very normal young kids. The people who defect are brigadier generals, people who actually have to look into the eyes of recruits when ordering them to shoot.
What is happening in Syria is only possible in a very sectarian society, where people consider the other sect as not part of the human race and an existential threat, the violence of both sides, shooting of demonstrators and demonstrators shooting at the military and police. In Germany when a policeman gets killed by demonstrators (it happened in Frankfurt) the demonstrations have ended, the political cause is dead, no large group would agree to be associated with it.
Any of the real revolutions meant that soldiers refused to shoot from a certain point on and that point was quite early ...
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 6:12:13 AM | 95
this here is from June 22, but bascially it is an obituory
The first negative result of the use of arms was to undermine the broad popular support necessary to transform the uprising into a democratic revolution. It made the integration of competing demands – rural v urban, secular v Islamist, old opposition v revolutionary youth – much more difficult. The resort to arms gave birth to fragmented groups that have no political programme. Turkey trained army dissidents on its territory, and a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence. Most militants inside Syria now carry a "Free Army" logo, but beyond a name there is no coordination or organised political harmony.
Money was given for this purpose at the expense of support for relief assistance and peaceful political activity. It could be argued that the violence escalated: the pumping of arms to Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the phenomenon of the Free Syrian Army, and the entry of more than 200 jihadi foreigners into Syria in the past six months have all led to a decline in the mobilisation of large segments of the population, especially amongst minorities and those living in the big cities, and in the activists' peaceful civil movement. The political discourse has become sectarian; there has been a Salafisation of religiously conservative sectors.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 7:12:40 AM | 97
Somebody, this more or less describes all movements erroneously branded by the West as "Arab Spring". The opposition in Syria ingeneral has no political program other than aasking for the removal of Assad in the same way the youth gathered at Tahrir Square only asked for the removal of Mubarak and little else. The people that won the parliamentary elections in Egypt are not the same people that occupied Tahrir and the new rulers in Libya are not those civilians that were supposedly shelled by Gaddafi.
There was only one true "Arab Spring" after the Prague model and it was in Bahrain; there too it was mercilessly crushed. Combined military forces from the GCC monarchist states, Saudia, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar rolled into Bahrain to viciously put down the peaceful demonstrations.
Posted by: www | Jul 3, 2012 7:42:34 AM | 98
Turkey trained army dissidents on its territory, and a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence.
I wonder where we have seen something like that before?
It could be argued that the violence escalated: the pumping of arms to Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia ..., the phenomenon of the Free Syrian Army, and the entry of more than 200 jihadi foreigners into Syria in the past six months
That seems familiar as well.
Don't the fuckwits in Washington/Whitehall ever learn?
Posted by: blowback | Jul 3, 2012 7:51:16 AM | 99
well Assad seems to have entered Turkish politics now actively
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad said that the Turkish government has destroyed most of the relations that were built between Syria and Turkey, adding that the base of this relation, which is the relation between the Syrian and Turkish Peoples, remains.
The remarks came during an interview with the Turkish newspaper of Cumhuriyet on the events in Syria and the latest regional and international developments.
The interview was scheduled with several Turkish media institutions, but four Turkish media outlets didn't attend because Director of Erdogan's Office asked them not to.
Representative of D and CNN-Turk TVs and Posta newspaper Mehmet Ali Birand, representative of Hurriyet newspaper Ertugrul Ozkok and representative of Radikal newspaper Fehim Tastekin couldn't attend the interview.
"The Arabs and the Turks have lost. It is unreasonable that now we want to go back to that stage to lose. During the past 15 months in Syria; that is, from the beginning of the crisis, we were working in more than one direction: the first direction is solving the internal crisis and combating terrorists. The second direction is preserving the Syrian-Turkish relations," President al-Assad said.
Posted by: somebody | Jul 3, 2012 8:19:14 AM | 100