August 11, 2012
Clinton And Turkish Press Freedom
Hillary Clinton is currently in Istanbul. The Turkish journalist Mahir Zeynalov tweeted her press conference with the Turkish foreign minister Davutoglov. He thought that one of her statements was rather funny:
lol. Clinton: You don't have freedom of press in Syria as you have here in Turkey.
That lol is certainly deserved. Reporters without borders lists Turkey as number 148 in its press freedom index. That is worse than Russia which the various U.S. editorial writers like to bash for alleged lack of press freedom. Over the last year at least 90 Turkish journalist sat in jail for rather murky reasons. There is also a system of informal censorship through government pressure on editors and media owners.
Clinton is just covering up what every observer can easily see. The U.S. is not at all concerned about human rights or freedom of the press. It is an empire gone mad:
Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s … Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s … Libya 2011 … Syria 2012 … In military conflicts in each of these countries the United States and al Qaeda (or one of its associates) have been on the same side.
What does this tell us about the United States’ “War On Terrorism”?
[I]f you want to understand this thing called United States foreign policy … forget about the War on Terrorism, forget about September 11, forget about democracy, forget about freedom, forget about human rights, forget about religion, forget about the people of Libya and Syria … keep your eyes on the prize … Whatever advances American global domination. Whatever suits their goals at the moment. There is no moral factor built into the DNA of US foreign policy.
Posted by b on August 11, 2012 at 08:05 AM | Permalink
True..Clinton talking about press freedom in Turkey standing next to Davutoglu is just amazing..I'm now convinced these guys live in a parallel universe.
My take on Clinton's visit to Turkey are two fold:
1. After the defeat of the fsa in Allepo, one can see the panic and disarray among the backers of the fsa..Clinton's trip is her way of reassuring Ankara that the US's got their back and also to bully them to further commit to the project..They're now talking more about transitions blah blah blah..The recent PKK attacks have really shaken the Turkish leadership and they need to be assured by Washington that they'll be helped if need be.
2. The possibility of a wider regional war is now more real than ever..The US and allies are determined to have regime change in Damascus at all cost and are throwing in all they have to achieve it..Other countries like Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon's Hezbollah won't let this happen so....fill in the blanks.
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 8:19:51 AM | 1
Oh dear..More sh*t hitting the fan for Erdogan..
The PKK just declared Hakkari's Semzinan is no longer under Turkey's control...See where this is heading?
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 8:40:12 AM | 2
somebody @ 4
Yeah..It's like I'm watching history in the making..Turkey should've checked the ingredient in this poison before signing on to it..For the first time in history, the Kurds feel they've got the opportunity to finally break away from Turkey..
In Syria, their forces fighting government are Arabs so it'll be easy to mend them if/when the need arises as they all share the same language and culture..But for Turkey, it's Kurd/Turk affair..Different language/tradition and the hatred immense..watch this space.. :(
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 9:09:56 AM | 5
hmm, a no fly zone by Iran over Hakkari would be interesting as NATO then would be obliged to attack Iran, which NATO is not really ready to do ...:-))
ah the price of oil ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 9:21:20 AM | 7
the suicide bombing that appeared earlier...
It turns out that the guy purposely suicided to take the terrorists with him. He was a kidnapped soldier. Please watch this and spread it to honour his memory.
of interest, this comment: 'The video was idiotically uploaded by the FSA donkeys saying they were hit with an artillery strike.'
Posted by: brian | Aug 11, 2012 9:35:52 AM | 8
Oh yeah, landlocked Kurdistan,surrounded by historical enemies,is going to be an independent prosperous nation.Sheesh,and Shillary is an oracle instead of whorical.
What kind of mind twisting drugs are our idiot leadership on anyway?How else to explain this borg of like minded morons?Oh,Ziocaine,I guess that's it.
Posted by: dahoit | Aug 11, 2012 9:38:02 AM | 9
Zico, it is much more existential for Turkey, as estimations of the number of Kurds are up to 25% of Turkish population. As the Iraqui part is oil rich it is an attractive identity, too. Maliki in Iraq will hate the development though. Iran does not seem to be really concerned.
Turkey could try to retaliate via Azerbaijan, however, I guess Iran's management of relations with neighbours is too intelligent for that. US/UK has been trying for ages to explode the different Iranian ethnic groups.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 9:39:20 AM | 10
@3 Joint US/Turkish special forces mission to take out Syrian chemical weapons coming up. Codename: Operation Big Stink.
Posted by: dh | Aug 11, 2012 9:40:43 AM | 11
Whatever advances American global domination. Whatever suits their goals at the moment. There is no moral factor built into the DNA of US foreign policy.
That comes from the August newsletter of William Blum which is at http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer107.html , although 'b' has found a copy of it at http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/?p=15710 . For the last year I've been a subscriber to William Blum's monthly newsletter, The Anti-Empire Report. It's free and comes to my email inbox once a month. I don't agree with the entirety of the spirit of it, but every month I get educational tidbits about the depravities of USA foreign policies in times past and currently. The newsletter can be subscribed to as described at the foot of the page at http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer107.html
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 11, 2012 9:46:02 AM | 12
Speaking of times past, here's William Blum speaking about Libya in the November 2011 issue of his The Anti-Empire Report:
Libya's tragedy was the culmination of a series of falsehoods spread by the Libyan rebels, the Western powers, and Qatar (through its television station, al-Jazeera) — from the declared imminence of a "bloodbath" in rebel-held Benghazi if the West didn't intervene to stories of government helicopter-gunships and airplanes spraying gunfire onto large numbers of civilians.... The New York Times observed on 22 Mar 2011: "The rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of Qaddafi forces' barbaric behavior." The Los Angeles Times on 7 Apr 2011 added that the rebels' news media operations... have [false-propaganda] editorial rules, including the rule "No mention of a civil war: The Libyan people, east and west, are unified in a war against a totalitarian regime." http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer99.html
That false-propaganda editorial rule of the Libyan rebels had a counterpart in Syria:
In November 2011 after a recent attack by Syrian rebels on a military intelligence base near Damascus, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on 16 nov 2011 that the Syrian situation had some of the makings of "civil war". USA foreign ministry spokesman Mark Toner in response said on 17 Nov 2011: "We think that's an incorrect assessment. If it [Russia] characterizes it as a civil war, we view that it is very much the Assad regime carrying out a campaign of violence, intimidation and repression against innocent protesters." He continued: "We don't view it as a civil war.... [Viewing it as a civil war] just plays in the Syrian government's hands that this is some terrorist movement against the government, and that's just not the case. It's been from the very inception a peaceful movement.... We have seen violence, and we do believe it takes the country down a dangerous path, but the Syrian regime's oppression, repression and killing of innocent civilians has exacerbated the situation and led to this." (Source: AFP). Also on 17 Nov 2011 Syrian dissident Haithem al-Maleh, speaking on Al-Jazeera television, took issue with Russia's characterizing the attack on the intelligence base as a portend of "civil war". Al-Maleh said the particular intelligence base, where a number of detainees were being held, was a legitimate target in the protection of civilians. "This attack on one of the worst departments of the security services does not mean a civil war. This army of defectors is protecting civilians, no more, no less," Al-Maleh told Al-Jazeera. (Source: AFP).
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 11, 2012 9:47:47 AM | 13
somebody @ 10
How do you think Iran survived all the powerful empires they faced throughout history? The art of diplomacy is what they do..They don't look for quick and easy victories..The bid their time and watch the enemy wear himself out.
Iran's been a fortress for many ethnic minorities throughout history.. Anytime there's some form of persecution, they all make their way to Iran to find refuge..From Kurks, Armenian, Arabs etc. This is why they are able to mange their neighbours somewhat well.
Barzani of Iraqi Kurdistan and his ilk found refuge in Iran when Saddam was after his head back in the days. Iraq's Al Maliki, Al Sadr and many other top Iraqi politicians were all living in Iran during the tough Saddam years.
I doubt Turkey can push Aliyev of Azerbaijan to confront Iran..They'll be finished!!! Not only Iran but it'll also be an opening for Armenia to settle old scores with Azerbaijan.
Regionally, Turkey's allies are very weak and the only thing holding them together is the US and NATO.
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 9:50:07 AM | 14
Zico according to Wikipedia "The Kurdish languages belong to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. Systematic comparison of Kurdish with other Iranian languages shows that Kurdish is a northwestern Iranian language. "
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 9:52:09 AM | 15
somebody @ 15
Which is why it's a lot easy for them to get along although not successful sometimes, Kurds in Iran enjoy more rights and freedom than their brothers in Turkey..In Iran they speak their language without restrictions, join the army and work in government departments..And they see themselves more as Iranians.
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 9:58:29 AM | 16
Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt,” airing this weekend, that the U.S. and its allies will probably impose a “no-fly zone” over Syria and take other “more aggressive action” against the Syrian regime.
COHEN: . . .I think we’re coming to the point, however, where the violence is getting so severe, I think that you’ll see a movement towards setting up those no-fly zones... Well, they’ll have to be along the Turkish border. They’ll have to be along non - and, you know, built-up areas, otherwise you really run the risk at that particular point of having lots of collateral damage. The question is political, in the sense that, OK, assuming there’s a no-fly zone, what do other countries then do? What does Russia do? Does Russia say, we’re going to then provide S-300s in shooting down American planes? What do the Iranians do?
HUNT: They wouldn’t do that.
COHEN: Well, who knows what they would do? They haven’t been particularly helpful in...
The Cohen Group provides global business consulting services and advice on tactical and strategic opportunities in virtually every market.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 10:25:28 AM | 18
ben 17 "setting up a working group" is code for doing nothing ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 10:40:36 AM | 19
this here is how Reuters quotes Hillary Clinton
"Asked about options such as imposing a no-fly zone over rebel-held territory, Clinton said these were possibilities she and Davutoglu had agreed "need greater in-depth analysis", while indicating that no decisions were necessarily imminent.
"It is one thing to talk about all kinds of potential actions, but you cannot make reasoned decisions without doing intense analysis and operational planning," she said.
Nevertheless, her remarks were the closest Washington has come to suggesting direct military intervention in Syria."
Somehow, I feel, Reuters has got an agenda here ...
Another Reuters article on Francois Hollande
"We are carrying out our humanitarian duty in addition to support for the Syrian opposition and also a determined search for a political transition in Syria," he said at the military ceremony, standing before the flag-draped coffin of France's 88th soldier killed in Afghanistan."
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 11:10:18 AM | 21
somebody @ 19: The objective, I believe, is to float the idea of a new "no fly zone" in the press, and see how much "push back" they get. These people never give up, and the only way they depose Assad is through a "no fly zone". Time will tell.
Posted by: ben | Aug 11, 2012 11:37:18 AM | 22
I don't need any reminders from you, thank you very much.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 11:37:28 AM | 23
ben @ 22
I'm hoping this is just another US spy-ops..But if it's true, they're really playing with fire...It's a shame Turkey will be the one that gets the sh*t!!!
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 11:50:37 AM | 25
ben @ 22,
That's probably true though I don't think it's so much public push back, as much as Russian. Whether a no-fly zone happens depends on how high Russia is willing to escalate. As in new SAMs for Syria, as well as shore to ship missiles, as well as surface to surface missiles (keep the Israelis from getting too excited)
That, as well as Russia's willingness to squeeze NATO troops in Afghanistan.
And so the question is if Russia is willing to do those things. I don't know the answer right now. If yes, then I suspect the west will hem and haw for a while until things quiet down and they will mention Syria less and less and the whole affair falls down the memory hole (at least as far as the public is concerned)
For the rest of the world, US/NATO leaders have to be much more concerned. If they back down in the face of Russian/Chinese/Iranian brinkmanship, in full view of the whole world, they will suffer a huge loss of prestige that they can't tolerate. That may make them take foolish risks.
Posted by: Lysander | Aug 11, 2012 11:55:55 AM | 26
Erdogan is advocating regime change . . .in Iraq. Killing two birds with one stone:
Erdogan slams Iran for supporting Maliki government, Aug 7 -- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Iran's support of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, contrary to the aspirations of a large coalition comprising Kurdish, Turkmen and other Shiite groups in Iraq to unseat Maliki Today`s Zaman reported.
And then doubles up on Iran:
Turkey says it will do ‘whatever is required' against Iran, Aug 10 -- In a sign of a further rift with its mullah regime neighbor, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç slammed Iran on Thursday, saying that the Turkish government is disturbed by Iran's stance against Turkey.
Which must bring Turkey closer into the US embrace while encouraging Iran ties with the PKK.
Arınç also said he stood behind the reporting by the semi-official Anatolia news agency last year regarding the alleged capture and release of the number two man of the PKK terrorist organization by Iranian forces, signaling that Iran and the PKK may have had an agreement. “Then Iran had been fighting with the PKK's Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan [PJAK]. That fighting stopped,”
That's a twofer for Iran-- an agreement with PKK to lay off Iran in return for assistance against Turkey.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 12:34:51 PM | 28
Thank you for the tip on Blum -- I've "added" to his mailing list.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 12:36:09 PM | 29
Clinton is very clear here, she says "stop the fighting"
And I guess they are very desparately scrambling to get the facts on the ground they need for any negotiation now.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 1:51:48 PM | 31
6.4 earthquake hits NW Iran many dead and injured. PressTV reports many after shocks. Strange this earthquake no seismic activity reported in the area!
Posted by: hans | Aug 11, 2012 2:00:16 PM | 32
Clinton's default position is not diplomacy but war.
“Clinton and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said their two nations would set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as conditions there deteriorate. They said the group will coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the potential fallout in the case of a chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.”
So Clinton is pushing the “chemical threat” again. That’s the best she can come up with, combined with refugees (which never bothered the US when they were inbound in much greater numbers to Syria from Iraq). Meanwhile there’s no diplomatic effort because the US wants to overthrow the Syria government to weaken Iran, with Turkey firmly acting as a partner.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 2:10:49 PM | 33
Ho boy, if that story in RT is even close to correct then Turkey's intervention in Syria has blown up in their face faster than anyone expected. This could mean the end of the Erdogan government. For Syria's sake the big questions would be between the two following scenarios -- 1) Turkey quits the Syrian intervention deciding that they can stop their losses or 2) It is too late, Erdogan is politically trapped in the current course and believes he has to escalate the Syrian war in order to maintain power. I don't think Hillary is his ally in this decision -- Erdogan's political future means nothing to her.
Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 11, 2012 2:16:34 PM | 34
Don Bacon, 25
that is Iran
there is an Iranian region Azerbaijan and a state/country Azerbaijan.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 2:25:12 PM | 36
What happened in Hakkari (SE Turkey)?
The Shemzinan area is no longer under Turkey’s control.
Bakhtiyar Dogan, spokesperson of the HPG, said the group’s guerillas had besieged Turkish army camps in the area. “Shemzinan is currently under the control of our guerrillas. Most of the Turkish army bases in the area are under siege and no longer under the control of the Turkish army,” he told Rudaw. “Turkish helicopters and fighter jets have been trying to fly over, but due to HPG’s attacks they have withdrawn from the area. The Turkish army has failed to end the besiegement,” Dogan said.
The Hakkari Governorship has just announced the end of military operations in the Semdinli district of the southeastern province. Operations started July 23 and have continued for the past 19 days. An official statement defined the process as "careful and decisive" and stated that "many PKK militants have been rendered ineffective" as a result. The governorship also thanked the people of Semdinli for their "patient" attitude.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 2:26:57 PM | 37
Got it - thanks.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 2:30:43 PM | 38
Don Bacon, 37, no contradiction in the reports, they just cover two aspects :-))
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 3:05:19 PM | 39
I am sure the declaration of independence by Semzinan (I haven't checked the spelling, which is probably wrong)in Hakkari will put a stop on Turkish intervention in Syria. Whatever Hillary thinks.
Whatever the feeling of Turks about the Syrian Arabs in Antakya, the question of the Kurds is a highly sensitive issue. In recent years they've come to agreements with the Kurds, indeed encouraged the culture, and the language (which they didn't before).
However, independence crosses the red line, and you're likely to get coleric Turkish generals insisting on military intervention, and much of the rest of the Turkish population too. This expression of venom is likely to overtake plans about intervention in Syria.
Posted by: alexno | Aug 11, 2012 4:20:08 PM | 40
The UN should look into the human rights abuses involving Turkey's onslaught on its citizens including horrendous air attacks by jet planes and helicopter gunships, and the destruction of food and medicine.
Today's Zaman, Aug 5
Security sources say around 100 PKK terrorists have been killed there since the operation began. Journalists and other non-residents have been barred from entering Şemdinli for security reasons. The military has destroyed depots of food, munitions and medicine belonging to the PKK in the area. In addition, Turkish fighter jets shelled targets of the terrorist organization in the Hakurk and Avaşin-Basyan areas in northern Iraq. Cobra and Sikorsky helicopters were also used in the operation.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 4:43:23 PM | 41
The quakes took place in Varzaghan and Ahar, East Azarbaijan, about 75 miles east of Lake Urmia. The Turkey border is about 20 miles west of Lake Urmia, and Semdinli, Hakkâri Province, Turkey where the attacks took place is just west of that. (I hope I've got that right.)
The area has been in the news:
Washington, Jul 26 - Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton urging the United States to back freedom for Azeris from Iran.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 4:59:10 PM | 42
alexno, I do not see what Erdogan can do now. He cannot stop the Syrian rebels without upsetting the alliances he has left and entering into a fight with them, he has got 50 000 refugees in the country, a number that might increase (and there were already riots for there not being enough water among other things that are not being paid and coordinated by the "international community", and I do not think that a no-fly zone is militarily feasible otherwise Turkey would have done it a long time ago to keep the problem out of their country. He will not be backed by the US militarily before the election and probably not after.
He will need a decisive regime change victory in Syria (he is not getting that) or make sure there is a negotiated outcome. Neither Turkey nor Jordan can afford a long fight in Syria. I do not know if Quatar can.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 5:09:00 PM | 43
re 43. I do not see what Erdogan can do now.
What he can do, indeed will be forced to do, is nothing.
He has to pay attention to the Kurdish problem. The best solution for the Syrian problem is not to take further positions. Sweet-talk Hillary, and do nothing.
Posted by: alexno | Aug 11, 2012 5:19:44 PM | 45
more propaganda...this time british cinema does a Hollwood propaganda piece: a variation on 'Not Without my Daughter'
A British thriller of a kidnapped daughter in Syria, a country ruled by FEAR (according to the trailer), and her father's journey to retrieve her from Assad's brutal Syria. Another B movie propaganda, not surprised really.
However, this should raise a big red flag, remember when rumors of duplicates of major Syrian locations being built by Qatar and Hollywood were circulating and everyone thought it was ridiculous, including regime supporters? Well, could they have filmed this movie without the existence of such duplicates?
Posted by: brian | Aug 11, 2012 5:27:36 PM | 46
brian @ 46
That's the lowest they can get..The propaganda against Syria has broken my bullshitto meter...
The empire seems to be determined to get their regime change at all cost..I think they'll get something far worse than they'd hoped for..
Clinton's speech sounds like she wants the state apparatus to remain but without Assad - call it the Mubarak option where you still have a Mubarak regime without Mubarak himself. The problem is that the state apparatus want Assad to remain.I keep saying that if the Syrian army wanted Assad gone, they would've made a deal with Washignton and bumped off Assad. Thet fact that they haven't done so indicates they're digging in for the long haul..
The real power in Syria IS the military. And it'll take another coalition of the willing to break it - which will inevitably ignite the entire region.
Posted by: Zico | Aug 11, 2012 5:48:37 PM | 47
re 46. couldn't see many Qatari sets in the trailer. Maybe London, or somewhere much greener than Damascus.
Posted by: alexno | Aug 11, 2012 5:50:49 PM | 48
the goal of this movie like all propaganda is to use emptions to demonise the syrian govt
Posted by: brian | Aug 11, 2012 6:15:19 PM | 49
Zico 47 according to this twitter account @THE_47th Clinton met with 4 handpicked FSA Commanders deemed reliable and the US will set up a control center in Turkey coordinating and supplying logistics. That would mean they are in for the long fight. I do not see how it could work as the US presumably is not paying the fighters. And I do not see how fighters could be interested to be controlled by people who do not pay them.
This guy here thinks that there are two types of armed fighters in Syria - foreign funded in the offense - and local defending their communities. He also says that the US has turned to a destructive role to spoil it for anybody else as they are not in control.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 6:35:07 PM | 50
If anyone else managed to force themselves to watch the BBC in the last 24 hours they would have seen a doco that pretty much in its twisted lying BBC way sums up what Erdogan is up to and he is gonna be tough to beat at it.
neo-Ottomanism is a current buzzword among the Turkish chattering classes and it plays well in Washington who have already slipped france n england off the leash to revive their colonial history (see Libya).
Everyone understands that israel is not a credible alternative regional leader to Iran amongst the islamic ME population, so the name of the game is to crank up the turkish empire again.
This is playing well inside and outside Turkey in at least some ME circles where they all claim that Turkey didn't bring cruelty and oppression, "it brought art and culture".
That is like the englander's saying "we may have knocked off a few sepoys but we taught you cricket" to the Indians which is in fact their current line.
They don't mean Turkey should invade its old vassal states, well mostly not. The plan is to make Turkey the regional boss with sufficient economic and political control to get its way without overt violence as much as possible. Like england has done with Burma say.
Thinking about it, this play makes sense if yer a western 'leader' bereft of ideas in a world that doesn't seem to function.
Just forget the 20th century with its 'rights of man' bulldust and abolition of colonial rule, go back to the way things were in the pre-industrial revolution and the short 'golden age' of the industrial revolution. When peeps were as interchangeable and disposable as a duracell.
There is an pachyderm in the living quarters though. germany the country with the technology, money (tho not for much longer if this mob gets their way), but not much in the way of traditional colonies to bleed white.
If the resurgence of Ottomanism has been on the table for more than a short while, this does put the deliberate sabotage of the euro in a new light, altho surely this mob must know some history. Sending central europe broke won't stop trouble, it will guarantee conflict.
Maybe germany is meant to settle for control of Slovenia, Croatia and Greece then stay schtum. Nah can't see it working.
Oh well here we go again.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 11, 2012 6:35:16 PM | 51
There has been US/Azeri military cooperation and Clinton went there recently. (In both -- why leave anyone out?) “The Azerbaijani military, and especially the Navy, have been systematically rearmed in recent years by the US. From 2010 to 2011, Azerbaijan’s military spending rose from 3.95 percent to 6.2 percent of GDP, or $3.1 billion. In a telegram to the American government in 2009, published by WikiLeaks, Azerbaijan is described as “an important partner in the war on terrorism.” Azerbaijani rulers supported the wars against Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
But we shouldn't underestimate Iran diplomacy.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 6:35:37 PM | 52
Erdogan is going to be tough to beat in gaining economic and political control over Kurds, Syrians, Iraqis AND Persians, who among other things (1) hate him more every day and (2) provide him his gas and oil?
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 6:41:41 PM | 53
52 actually, Don Bacon, Iran also supported the war in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, they also were very much in favor of the war in Libya ...
Relations with Azerbaijan are kind of hostile but Azerbaijan has to live next to Iran and cannot really risk open war ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 6:45:55 PM | 54
Azerbaijan itself is not that homogenous either ...
"This helps explain Iran’s tacit support of Armenia during the conflict; as long as the dispute remains Azerbaijan’s primary political issue, the irredentist claims to Iranian Azerbaijan will remain relatively dormant. Iran has capitalized on the Azerbaijani Republic’s own geopolitical weakness to counter the irredentist claims its leadership had towards its Turkic populated northwestern provinces. The Republic of Azerbaijan simply couldn’t maintain such claims and attempt to incite a secessionist movement in Iran, while facing one within its own territory."
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 6:50:51 PM | 55
dh's context was that Rep. Rohrabacher cottoned to Azer possibly b/c of Azeri/Israel military cooperation and I was merely pointing out the extensive US/Azer cooperation, as well as Clinton's visit, which are stronger factors than the Israel connection.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 6:59:06 PM | 56
oh, Rep. Rorabacher has been redrawing a lot of borders ... anything that would create problems for Iran
Should the US support an independent Balochistan?
"Washington, DC - Over the last few months, a small faction of congressmen, minority Afghan groups, Baloch nationalists, and their supporters have laid out the framework for an alternative US policy approach for Southwest Asia.
This alternative policy centres on backing remnants of the Northern Alliance and Baloch insurgents, who seek to carve out semi-autonomous territories or independent states from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. "
Posted by: somebody | Aug 11, 2012 7:08:21 PM | 57
No one is talking about Turkey beating everyone on the same day bacon. The moves are being made right now to try and develop a political settlement with with "groups within the Kurdish Community" Turkey's deputy Prime Minister whatever his name is claims it is already in the bag but that is an overreach. Have no doubt though that is some of what Clinton is trying to get done this weekend.
The 48 journos in jail is more difficult but Erdogan's Party is trying to resolve that by getting rich supporters who like the sound of 'neo-Ottomanism' to buy up media outlets.
The pols imagine Turkey won't have to defeat anyone militarily if the neo-Ottoman plan is allowed to run.
Take the Kurdish 'issue'.
After all the englanders didn't have to defeat the Irish did they? All that is required is the complete corruption of those Kurdish pols who already have their snouts in the trough. One thing Clintonistas know how to do is how to 'seal the deal' on a half corrupt politician.
As for Iran, this is the out from war, make Turkey a viable alternative for Middle Easterners "who want peace and prosperity" to be spruiked into supporting.
I'm not that up on ME history but I seem to remember the Ottoman's replaced the Persians as rulers of the Mid East in a series of wars that ran from about 1515 to 1823.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 11, 2012 7:36:52 PM | 58
I haven't really considered a re-run of the Ottoman empire until I say the beeb pitch in favour of it last night.
I raise it because a recent thread running through MoA of late has been "what the fuck is Turkey in particular Erdogan up to and how can it be rational?"
Since posting here I did a bit of a search and came up with a few hundred sites promoting or at least discussing neo-Ottomanism & I reckon it needs to be considered by anyone seeking to get a grasp on what Turkey is about now recognising that kemalism is dead and unlikely to be re-surrected any time soon.
The englander neo-libs like it because it solves a number of immediate problems from how to get the oil without seeming to be a gangster to how to keep Turkey outta the EU without seeming racist. One thing that Turkish neo-colonialism will stop is EC entry. Two reasons (1) as any amerikan or englander knows foreign interventions impact on domestic relations. amerika has become far more oppressive and intrusive at home since gwot and england may have had a decade of relative domestic freedom in the 90's but life has been dominated by increasing 'security concerns' in england from the start of the NI battle of independence thru the Malvinas re-invasion to the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
That means that whether or not Turkey gets into an open conflict with Syria or not the accelerating support for sunni atrocities around the ME will create a blowback that will make keeping the police/security state no more oppressive that it is now an impossible task, let alone reducing the oppression to a situation where Turkey can gain admittance to the EU.
But (2) may obviate that. If Turkey convinces its population that it is now a major player in the ME again, the pressure will be off from the population to 'join europe'
Here is an englander blog which sees neo-Ottomanism as a way forward for turkey. The site calls itself “The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies" and reeks of englander intelligence/foreign office wonks. A short quotation from these assholes' desk:
Over the past decade Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government and his AKP (Justice and Development Party) have been successful in undermining Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy and the character of the state founded upon that legacy. What remains is an increasingly empty shell of constitutional secularism.
That shell was nevertheless an obstacle to the formal grounding of the new legitimacy in Islam at home and neo-Ottomanism abroad. Erdoğan and his team were determined to remove such vestiges, however, and on September 12, 2010, they succeeded. On that day Turkey’s voters approved, by a large margin, a 26-article package which ended the role of the Army as the guardian of secularism. In 2011 Erdoğan was duly re-elected with a substantial majority for a third term.
Davutoglu’s Strategic Depth – What has become known as Turkey’s neo-Ottoman strategy became prominent with the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu as foreign minister in 2009. As Erdoğan’s long-term foreign policy advisor, he advocated diversifying Turkey’s geopolitical options by creating Turkish zones of influence in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. On the day of his appointment Davutoglu asserted that Turkey’s influence in “its region” will continue to grow: Turkey had an “order-instituting role” in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus, he declared, quite apart from its links with the West.
You'll notice the article goes on to claim that neo-Ottomanism will help Turkey join the EU. I reckon that is a furphy (NB none of the definitions mention this but over time furphy has become applied most frequently to the lies told by politicians to get their way).
neo-Ottomanism isn't big among the englander orientalists whose antecedents (e.g. TE Lawrence, St John Philby) were advocates and wannabe enablers of Turkey's exit from Arab nations.
One of orientalist, oxbridge 'don' Timothy Garton-Ash gets quite heated about the notion:
Garton-Ash told an anecdote that he heard last year, at an occasion in which EU ministers had a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. “After the meeting one of the foreign ministers made a joke.
He ironically told me he got the impression that Mr. Davutoğlu was inviting the EU to join the Ottoman Empire!”
“I think the EU should avoid defining itself as a Christian club; China should avoid describing itself in purely civilizational terms; and, in the same way, I would warn against Turkey defining itself too much as a centre of a neo-Ottoman civilization. Some people might think that there are some moments when Turkey is doing that,” he added.
What are the amerikan imperialists saying?
A site calling itself 'open democracy' burbles on about the beauty of an exhibition of 'neo-Ottoman' art before getting down to the nitty gritty, their worldview of amerikan exceptionalism and moral superiority:
It bears repeating: so called “neo-Ottomanism” – latest example being the massive recent (native) box office success of “Fetih 1453”, an epic film glorifying the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 – isn’t inspired by a newly-discovered affection for those aspects of Ottoman history that liberal-minded westerners find attractive. Rather, it’s perhaps more realistic to see the phenomenon as fuelled by a deeply-felt desire to regain what is considered to be a lost national glory, power, and prestige. It’s naive to think that Turkey has become less nationalistic in recent years; the only change has been in the nature and context of this nationalism. My impression is that the country’s increased international assertiveness and breakneck economic development have only diverted some of the less savoury impulses of Turkish nationalism from their more traditional spheres; the cracks have merely been papered over.
A more pragmatic amerikan by the name of Don Rich (no not the C&W singer he's long dead) who I've googled to no avail put a piece titled Neo-Ottomanism and American Interests in the Middle East up on his blog back in June, here's a taste of his pov :
There are Islamists and then there are Islamists some will argue as to Realpolitik, athough that could be the worst naivete of all in the long run, unless you remember that in international relations, friends can become enemies, and vice versa.
Turkey isn't the Kemalist state we took for granted gradually after the Cold War, and whom we almost broke with over Iraq in 2003 (because of the Kurds), although its still an important American ally, partly for managing Russian power not only in the Middle East, but in the Caucasus and beyond.
All the "Stans" speak a Turkish language, save for the Tajiks.
If the "Stans" underwent a heavy process of Russification, and geography and lock-in effect of Soviet infrastructure limit the ability of outside powers to wield influence there at the pure expense of Russia, at the same time the "Stans" look for outsiders to balance Russia, in which Turkey is useful to American interests in that regard as to preserving Western derived influences, if one must also be realistic about the meaning of Neo-Ottomanism.
I realise that many contemporary MoA-ites devote themselves to the study of the minutiae of fukusi outrages, it is important to pull back and consider 'the big picture' now and again. If Ottoman redux is the fukusi strategy it seems to me that this may go a long way towards resolving things that have been taken as inconsistencies in the involvement of Turkey across the ME obviously with Syria but also with israel and Libya.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 11, 2012 9:26:12 PM | 59
Debs is quite right regarding Turkey. Neo-ottoman-ism is just a term. It can be called anything else and it isn't new. The US always wanted Turkey as a counterweight to Israel's enemies and it always has acted as such. There was a brief period of 2008-2011 when we thought Turkey would finally move away from this role, but somehow, for whatever reason, it's been dragged back in.
Regardless of what happens in Syria, this has to be regarded as a setback for anti-imperialism. An Iran-Turkey detente (if not actual alliance) would have been a very powerful force, especially when combined with Iraq and Syria. Now the west has successfully played the divide and conquer card.
But setback does not mean disaster. Turkey was never really part of any resistance axis, and only briefly appeared to be. Not a loss since it was never a possession. But if Turkey is going to actively challenge Iran/Iraq/Syria on the white man's behalf, then Iran is wise to gather chips to neutralize her. Which is precisely what Nikon's linked article suggests.
So while neo-ottomanism may be the plan (or just hope?) it does not mean it will work or that other countries don't have resources to fight back.
Posted by: Lysander | Aug 11, 2012 10:20:25 PM | 61
To repeat from above. . .
“Clinton and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said their two nations would set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as conditions there deteriorate. They said the group will coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the potential fallout in the case of a chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.”
. . .therefore we might look for the rebels to use captured chemical weapons for a false flag chemical attack
which would furnish a reason for a US/Turk military response.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 11, 2012 11:00:13 PM | 62
ṭeʿ ساطع @sate3
Almayadeen journalist films a report inside an #FSA "factory" for bombs, & anti-tank & anti-personnel mines in #Damascus countryside. #Syria
7h Sāṭeʿ ساطع @sate3
Almayadeen anchor challenging a Turkish journalist in Ankara: What are the US & Turkey coordinating now, to send sugar supplies to #Syria?
Posted by: brian | Aug 11, 2012 11:17:03 PM | 63
Addounia TV camera on a street in Aleppo within the past few days shows Syrian army soldiers chanting "with blood with soul we support you Bashar": time 0:40 @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q5sMicf88o . Similarly a Russian TV station (1TV.ru) shows Syrian soldiers chanting "Aleppo is with Bashar", uploaded 9 Aug 2012: time 1:44 @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAw9jf67mTQ . I have copies of about two dozen more videos like those which I've collected at Youtube since March 2012. I've said several times on this board over the past few months: it's significant and consequential that the soldiers specifically chant for Bashar and do not only chant for the Syrian State. It's one of the things that demonstrates that the hope of "transition at the top where Assad goes" (still being voiced by Western foreign ministries) is a pipedream.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 12, 2012 10:20:21 AM | 64
Bashar Assad interviewed in English language on 8 Jul 2012, 20 minutes. The interviewer is Jürgen Todenhöfer (who is a schmuck). Interview doesn't have new content for anyone who has been making an effort to hear Assad's and Assad's supporters' position, but perhaps may be worthwhile for some viewers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyWi8hS5kRE
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 12, 2012 10:22:44 AM | 65
Bashar Assad speech at a gathering Syria's Muslim religious establishment during Ramadan last year on 25 Aug 2011, with English subtitles, 40 minutes long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H28TTkKEZX8 . This speech is a good place to learn about the fundamentals of the Syrian government's handling of religion. That's something that must be learned by anyone who wants to understand Syrian politics and society in general. But it's not for viewers with only a casual interest in Syrian affairs.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 12, 2012 10:35:31 AM | 66
For those that might want to claim that the rebellion has "spread" to the citizens of Aleppo, this Telegraph article by Richard Spencer has another take. (excerpts)
. . .The strategy that Mr Salameh – who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Jumaa – and Hajji Mari then devised was so striking that it led to a split in rebel ranks. The two men – old friends, one a honey trader from the town of Anadan, the other a seed merchant from Mari – had orchestrated the rural uprising from early on, and decided it was time to strike a decisive blow.
They took their rural volunteer followers with them.
The leaders of what until then had been thought of as the "proper" Free Syrian Army – defected colonels such as Abdul Jabar al-Oqaidi – thought they were crazy, and refused to join in. But on the night of July 18, after a bomb attack in Damascus killed four of the Assad regime’s closest military henchmen, Abu Jumaa and Hajji Mari decided to act.
"That was Thursday night," Mr Salameh said. "We were in Aleppo the next morning. . . .
. . .The people of Aleppo stood by as Homs was pulverised, he said. Why should it only be other cities that were caught in the eye of the storm?
"Why destroy one part of Syria and not another part of Syria?" he said. "If all of Syria is destroyed, that is only fair."
The article by Richard Spencer is (snarkily?) entitled:
Aleppo 'is becoming Syria's Stalingrad'
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 10:35:44 AM | 67
"Whatever advances American global domination." That is the rationale provided by William Blum the author of that article that b linked to as the rationale for American foreign policy.
This idea and the other idea of American foreign policy being driven by economic interests are the conventional wisdom. To me both these notions make no sense considering the outcomes. Either American policymakers are incompetent beyond belief or there must be another set of reasons for American policies.
Col. Pat Lang has another thesis which makes much more sense to me.
Posted by: ab initio | Aug 12, 2012 1:56:59 PM | 68
Vast profits for military profiteers -- "economic interests " -- does make eminent sense to those who are a part of the cohort, as Lang is.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 2:22:30 PM | 69
this is fun, there is a disappeared guardian article in google news
"Syria: western diplomats lose faith in SNC to unite opposition groups
The Guardian-3 hours ago
The US, Britain and France are scrambling to retain their influence with Syrian opposition groups amid fears that most support from the Gulf ..."
Posted by: somebody | Aug 12, 2012 2:30:47 PM | 70
The emergency Arab League session in Jeddah scheduled for today to consider Annan's replacement has now been postponed indefinitely. It was supposed to be a foreign-minister level discussion, but I think only including Qatar and KSA. Some discussion. Anyhow it's off.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 2:41:11 PM | 71
no loss of faith here, but patience
Guardian, Aug 10
Britain is establishing official contacts for the first time with the Free Syrian Army and more than tripling its humanitarian and other non-lethal aid to opposition and human rights groups.
That shift of emphasis coupled with the dispatch this week of Jon Wilks, the UK's special envoy to the Syrian opposition, to Istanbul to make direct contacts with FSA representatives reflects a loss of patience with the diaspora-led Syrian National Council (SNC). It is a diverse umbrella group that western capitals hoped would become a strong and united voice of popular opposition to Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 2:47:58 PM | 72
Conspiracy theories are sorta like lawyer jokes. They're not really theories/jokes. At least that's what a lawyer told me, in the latter case. Likewise they're (for the most part) actual conspiracies and not theories.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 3:16:41 PM | 74
dh :-)) well their strategy on the ground seems to have spectacularly failed if it was not a conspiracy to keep Bashar Assad in power ...
@HalaJaber They are outsiders not liberators intent on ruining our city. They have brought destruction, myhem, displacement and destitution.
11:29 AM - 12 Aug 12 via web · Details
41m Hala Jaber Hala Jaber @HalaJaber
#Aleppo2: Contrary to general blv many in city seek same changes & reforms that opposiion seek, but reject how other side gone about it.
44m Hala Jaber Hala Jaber @HalaJaber
#Aleppo 1: I reiterate people there R furious with what has become of their city, this applies 2 both middle class, affluent and displaced.
Hala Jaber @HalaJaber
@Aziza23 If his resignation was a must before, after what they have seen and heard in their city these weeks, this is not so anymore.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 12, 2012 3:28:50 PM | 75
Well if you take conspiracy theories out of the Gulf it doesn't leave a lot to talk about. Price of racing camels? Best place to buy whisky?
Posted by: dh | Aug 12, 2012 3:42:08 PM | 76
Like Father Like Son -- crumbling
July 24, 1994-Assad puzzles many analysts who wonder how long he will be able to maintain this tough-guy stance in light of his rapidly crumbling position.
Aug 22, 2011 – Syrians say Assad rule will crumble
Jun 14, 2012 – Clinton calls for UN Security Council unity on Syria .... The Assad regime is now clearly beginning to crumble.
Jul 8, 2012 – Although Assad has been hit by a string of embarrassing defections ... "the Assad regime is crumbling from within" and predicted "Assad's days are numbered."
Jul 26, 2012 – More defections as Assad regime begins to crumble from within, US confirms
5 days ago – ...defection of Prime Minister Riad Hijab is a sign that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is crumbling
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 4:35:58 PM | 77
woah - Assad crumbling - About 933,000 results !
must be true ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 12, 2012 5:24:56 PM | 78
Don Bacon @ 77
"The regime is crumbling" noise coming from the usual suspects is a classic pys-ops game they play to boost the morale of the rebels..There were times when the fsa even claimed the entire Syrian army is short on ammo and parts...How else are they supposed to tell them they won't win no matter what? The writing's been on the wall for fsa in Allepo but they still holding on to some false hope that they'll win..They need to keep the charade going and hope that some army guy from the inside stage a coup..But the problem is that, the army want Assad to stay..And they'll make sure of that..
Right from the beginning of the conflict, Obama stated Assad's days were numbered..Here we are today..It just goes to show that politicians in Washington have no idea what's going on inside the country..They go by the fake-it-till-you-make-it policy..
Posted by: Zico | Aug 12, 2012 5:32:43 PM | 79
It's hard to choose-- raspberry crumble cake, blueberry crumble cake, apple crumble cake
--Ah -- let 'em eat crow. Crumbly crow cake (try saying that 5 times fast)
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 5:54:08 PM | 80
What's interesting is that a large portion of the Western public seems to have seen through all the BS. Maybe Libya opened a few eyes. Or it could be crumble fatigue.
Posted by: dh | Aug 12, 2012 5:58:14 PM | 81
It looks like the presidential campaign will be on the economy, not foreign relations. So it seems to me they have stuck the lame-duck War Goddess (to mix a metaphor) from the State Department out there to promote war (hey, think of Panetta trying to do it) but really she's a pathetic loser without any accomplishments being left to twist slowly in the wind.
Soon the adults from Russia and elsewhere will step in, brace Erdogan up against the wall, remind him that his rapidly-growing economy is entirely dependent on imported energy (mostly from Russia) and that his Muslim friends in the middle East would be more than happy, more than happy, to aid and abet the eighteen percent of his population who are of the Kurdish persuasion in their quest for autonomy like their neighbors in Iraq and Syria enjoy. More than happy. So he's better see how his bread is buttered and stop dancing on Clinton's puppet strings.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 12, 2012 6:43:32 PM | 82
dh, I do not think it is just the public ...
They got the chief of German BND that is the German foreign secret service to come out in Der Spiegel to claim that the last days of Assad have begun. Being German he could not just say that but had to quote numbers. So he said
50.000 left an army of 320.000
of the 50.000 deserters 2000-3000 joined the armed opposition
the erosion of the army was ongoing and small guerilla units were difficult to target
so he basically told what is happening.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 3:02:32 AM | 83
oh, he gave another number, he said there are an estimated 20 000 resistance fighters in Syria ...
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 3:04:12 AM | 84
Just like they did in Iraq, they are trying to get the brains trust outside of Syria. “Documents confirm Syria's armed opposition has a hit list with scientists, engineers, doctors and civil servants on it,” Ammar Safi, a plastic surgeon from Damascus, told RT. http://www.rt.com/news/syria-aleppo-post-video-476/
Posted by: brian | Aug 13, 2012 6:12:45 AM | 85
these people need military protection...also cause you know where the jihadis will be
Posted by: brian | Aug 13, 2012 6:13:59 AM | 86
Land Destroyer @LandDestroyer
#Turkey needs to jettison #Erdogan w/all possible expediency b4 he destroys/mires Turks in conflict across entire region #Syria #Iran
Retweeted by Sharmine Narwani
when Erdodan took action during the mavi marmara crisis, people esp palestinians, thought he was a hero...that Erdogan, if he ever existed, is long gone
Posted by: brian | Aug 13, 2012 8:42:38 AM | 88
i always warn about the use of words to manipulate the unwary:
terry kelly @slicktrick3
#AJE #BBC double-speak: #Assad's govt is a "regime" but Gulf & #Saudi dictators are "govts". It's all about what side you're
Retweeted by Land Destroyer
i caught DemocrayNows correspondent in Benghazi early in 2011 doing the same thing.
Posted by: brian | Aug 13, 2012 9:24:24 AM | 89
The media, when not using "regime," says "Assad" did these and those bad things and never say "Syria." It's propaganda to personalize the enemy as one bad guy like Tojo, Saddam, Ahmadinejad, etc. some of whom aren't even gov't leaders (Ahmadinejad).
Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 13, 2012 9:51:40 AM | 90
Commenter 'somebody' at #78 got 930,000 reported results from Google for seaching for ASSAD CRUMBLING . I can top that: There's 1,300,000 reported results from Google for ASSAD DOOMED: http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&hl=en&q=assad+doomed
For example: UK foreign minister William Hague speaking of the Syrian government on 6 Feb 2012: "This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can get its credibility back internationally or with its own people. When you realise that, you see what a mistake Russia is making by backing this regime." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vYSUDDgxRQ4#t=63s . For example: Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak on 11 Dec 2011: "The Assad family is doomed and no one knows what will happen afterwards." http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/22970-barak-assad-downfall-would-be-a-blessing-for-mideast
Commenter Zico #79 said ""The regime is crumbling" noise coming from the usual suspects is a classic pys-ops game they play to boost the morale of the rebels." I reply that a certain amount of such "pys-ops" is in the mix, but a lot of outsiders who know little about Syrian politics have come to the honest belief that the government is crumbling and the honest expectation that it is doomed. Many of the rebels themselves have the same belief and expectation.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 13, 2012 11:13:29 AM | 92
@ Don Bacon #82: You're misinformed when you say the Kurdish-majority pockets in Syria have as much autonomy as the Kurdish region in Iraq. The Kurdish-majority areas in Syria have as little and less autonomy than the Kurdish-majority areas in Turkey. (I've come across such misinformation from Kurdish nationalist sources based in Kurdish Iraq). The Syrian government's policy on the Kurdish question in Syria is essentially the same as the Turkish government's in Turkey.
Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 13, 2012 11:28:03 AM | 93
Parviziyi 93, sure, that is the essence of war that two sides think they can win ...
though in this war, the aims why people are fighting are very foggy to say the least
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 12:18:11 PM | 94
so, again: was Aleppo really a schwerpunkt? I haven't seen reports yet that indicate rebels are being effectively surrounded and decimated; if they largely managed to escape, the most the Syrians can say is that they managed to avoid the establishment of a Bengazi on their soil - not much, facing the destruction of parts of the city and the big refugee problem
maybe the most important setback for the rebels so far lies in the rifts that emerged among the various factions and their sponsors (Us/Turkey, Qatar, SA)
also, it seems there's a wealth of details concerning what's happening on the ground, but little synthesis concerning the number of rebels captured or killed, and their nationalities; maybe the rebels in Aleppo are mostly Syrian, while foreign terrorists rampage in the rest of the country?
my fear is that Aleppo won't turn up being a turning point after all, I hope I'm wrong
Posted by: claudio | Aug 13, 2012 1:55:17 PM | 95
no, this type of destructive guerilla warfare can go on for a long time
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 2:35:18 PM | 96
so US/UK and France did lose faith according to the Guardian in the end
"US, UK and France seek to build more direct links with disparate rebels amid fears that Islamists are getting Gulf donations"
"The US, Britain and France are scrambling to retain their influence with Syrian opposition groups amid fears that most support from the Gulf states has been diverted towards extremist Islamic groups.
Rising concern that an increasingly sectarian civil war could spread across the region, combined with reports of brutality by some opposition groups, and evidence that the best-organised and best-funded rebel groups are disproportionately Salafist (militant Sunni fundamentalists), has triggered an urgent policy change in western capitals.
Washington, London and Paris now agree that efforts to encourage a unified opposition around the exile-led Syrian National Council (SNC) have failed, and are now seeking to cultivate more direct links with internal Syrian groups."
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 5:34:45 PM | 97
and the New York Times is changing what the Head of the UN Mission in Syria said
This is what he said
"The indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the Government and targeted attacks by the Opposition in urban centres are inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians.
Our patrols are monitoring the impact of this violence, visiting internally displaced people and hospitals.
This is why we intensified our efforts to facilitate local pauses: to enable assistance to be provided to civilians.
I deeply regret that none of the Parties has prioritized the needs of civilians.
The fighting continues and I continue to remind the Parties of their obligations to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. The conflict has gone on too long and far too many people are suffering."
this is how the New York Times summed it up
"General Gaye strongly condemned the government of President Bashar al-Assad for using heavy weapons, which now include jets firing on at least three cities, according to rebels. And he urged Mr. Assad’s government to trade its military mind-set for “a mind-set of dialogue.”
“It is clear that violence is increasing in many parts of Syria,” he said. “The indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the government and targeted attacks by the opposition in urban centers are inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians.”
Posted by: somebody | Aug 13, 2012 5:55:43 PM | 98
I guess in Aleppo "rebels" whoever they are, were trying to get to the tipping point where they are accepted as the new power - and they seem to try to cling on desperately to the fiction that they control part of Aleppo - with the help of the international press - there can be no mistake the media now is an important part of the fight, accordingly they get threatened, assassinated and closed down / shut out from satellites if they threaten the narrative.
In that respect Aleppo was a Schwerpunkt.
Now they are back to try to deny power to the regime in Damascus, Aleppo and in the countryside trying to cut of supply routes to the big cities and doing hit and run terrorist acts in the cities. The fight now is to deny the state the ability to provide security and necessary goods thereby losing legitimacy.
They lost the liberation freedom fight narrative (Spanish Civil War) so the narrative now has switched to death, refugees and suffering (Stalingrad).
Modern warfare is over the dead bodies of civilians.
Posted by: somebody | Aug 14, 2012 2:50:07 AM | 99
@somebody - I agree, except that the conclusion should be that it wasn't a Schwerpunkt ... unless the rebel forces have been battered to the point they won't be able to stage other large scale take-overs of urban terrain, and will be limited to hit-and-run actions and terrorism; but sustained support of terrorism can get out of control, and it seems the West is getting wary of this;
I'd really like to know exactly which factions of the rebels gamed on holding the ground, and then took the grunt of the army's reaction in Aleppo; in these situations, the burden is never equally shared
exhibition of new financial support by Us/Uk/France for rebels is probably a sign given to specific worn-out groups that now must be reorganized
from now on, military provocations by the West will hinge on "refugee protection" rather than the "new Bengazi" rhetoric; the WMD meme, in absence of battles where their use would be justified, makes sense only if some red flag event is being prepared
still, I'm convinced that the weak point of this externally-sustained insurgency lies in the numbers: the supply of foreign jihadists and of domestic radicals, however large, is nonetheless limited, and such forces might be destroyed by attrition well before the Syrian state's legitimacy; this is why it would be important to have assessments of the battle of Aleppo
the attempt to escalate exploiting the Kurds will give rise to new, uncontrollable dynamics; at this stage it looks like a chess game, and Iranians are great at this; but we shouldn't underestimate the cards Us and Turkey can play in the rivalries among parties and factions;
but at the end it all boils down to whether Turkey, pressed by the Us, is willing to risk an invasion of a portion of Syrian territory, whether in the name of R2P, or fight against PKK terrorism, or whatever;
b said the Turkish army will resist such pressures; I'm afraid the virus of colonialism ("neo-ottomanism" in this case), with its side-effect of delusions of grandeur, is taking hold in a part of the Turkish establishment; together with the traditional subjection of the army to NATO, and with the refreshed paranoia over the the Kurds' activities, it might defeat the Turkish "reality-based" community
Posted by: claudio | Aug 14, 2012 3:49:07 AM | 100