Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 22, 2015

What Did Turkey Pay To Free The Süleyman Şah IS Hostages?

Last night some 700 heavily armed Turkish soldiers invaded Syria and evacuated some 40 of their comrades. Those 40 had guarded the tomb of the 12th century military leader of the Seljuk Empire, Süleyman Şah. The area of the tomb was seen as a Turkish enclave since a 1921 agreement with the then colonial administrator of the Levant, France:

During the operation that was launched late Feb. 21, airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, military helicopters and drones were on duty as 39 tanks and 57 armored vehicles penetrated the border with support teams from Turkey’s Special Forces. Live footage and other data from the field were followed in an operation room at the General Staff’s headquarters.

Without engaging in any clashes, Turkish troops left Syria early Feb. 22, after detonating the symbolic building to prevent ISIL militants from using it as a base.

Davutoğlu announced in a series of tweets on Feb. 22 that the artifacts had been “temporarily” brought to Turkey, while the Turkish army “took control of an area in the Ashma region of Syria, raising our flag, where Süleyman Şah will later be transferred.”

So Turkey wants to steal more Syrian land next to the Turkish border to put the remains of the Shah there. Why should that be considered legal?

But back to the reason of the evacuation. The troops at the tomb, only some 40 kilometers from the Turkish border, were surrounded by Islamic State fighters. Usually Turkey would rotate the guards every three or four weeks but those evacuated now have been at the tomb for over 11 month. They were practically hostages of the Islamic State. So why did the Islamic State let them go?

It is very unlikely that the Turkish operation was not known to IS. Turkey used nearly 100 armored vehicles. With Islamic State fighters swarming all over south Turkey the assembling of this force near to the border will not have gone unnoticed. Two days ago Turkey had informed the Kurdish YPK, who fight IS in the area, of the operation. When the troops entered Syria they were filmed (vid) passing a huge Islamic State flag at the border station.

The Islamic State does not like tombs. It has demolished hundreds of important historic tombs in the areas it rules in Iraq and Syria. It did not touch the tomb of Süleyman Şah but kept the troops guarding it under its control. IS must have known that the Turks were coming to evacuate the soldiers and the remains but it did nothing against them. How come?

As Elijah Magnier remarks

We can say loudly: The "Islamic State" group allowed a NATO member army to enter its territory and gave it a free passage.

Indeed. Which leads me to this question:

What did Turkey give to the Islamic State to get the Süleyman Şah hostages freed without a fight?

Turkey already has a free trade agreement and bilateral touristic facilitation with the Islamic State. Something additional and very valuable for the Islamic State must have been agreed upon in exchange for the return of the hostages. What is it?

The U.S. wants to cooperate with Turkey to train Syrian fighters to fight against the Islamic State. It will be quite important to have the answer to the above question before continuing down that road.

Posted by b on February 22, 2015 at 07:16 AM | Permalink

Comments

Somebody posted a link from the Economist on 'time for a kurdish state in Iraq' which might be the signal of an ISIS/Turkish alliance against the Kurds?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 22, 2015 8:03:12 AM | 1

This is sounding very much like a conspiracy theory that B is cobbling together here

"What did Turkey give to the Islamic State to get the Süleyman Şah hostages freed without a fight?"

Can silly references to "Bohemian Grove" be far behind?

And there was I thinking that MOA didn't do "conspiracy theories"

Silly me, eh?

Posted by: TLC | Feb 22, 2015 8:59:49 AM | 2

anyone who takes the fight against ISIS at face value should have answers for the questions raised by Chussodovsky & Cartalucci (featured at niqnaq today)

this kind of overt manipulation is only possible through deep state control over journalism, as discussed in the open thread

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Feb 22, 2015 9:07:55 AM | 3

Time for a new thread to tell us all about why Kharkiv bombings were all a false-flag provocation...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 22, 2015 10:19:35 AM | 4

I think it's a bit of hyperbole to call this incursion an invasion and this site was a nationalist not religious site subject to shirk. It seemed to have little military importance but it is possible that there was a deal involving IS prisoners in Turkey that allowed the incursion to happen unopposed.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 10:52:20 AM | 5

Arrogant Erdogan's appetite for stealing more territory, like his capacity for hubris, has no limits. In 1939, the French ceded to Turkey the sizable and fertile region of Alexandretta wherein the historic Syrian city of Antioch is located. Syria had maintained an irredentist policy ever since it suffered truncation. The recent military invasion into Syria is an example of the vulture raiding what it perceives as a moribund prey. The chaos and instability in Syria is in large part due to both direct and indirect Turkish aggression. Their claim to even more Syrian land is beyond the pale. One explanation for ISIS' acquiescence to the Turkish troop incursion is the concept of honor among thieves.

Posted by: BSA | Feb 22, 2015 10:54:50 AM | 6

What did Turkey give to the Islamic State to get the Süleyman Şah hostages freed without a fight?

probably the assurance that it wouldn't close down the 'jihadi gift shop' in Istanbul.

Posted by: john | Feb 22, 2015 11:28:40 AM | 7

Vlad does existential standup comedy ...

No Hyperbolic spin here. Putin says Russia's military strength unmatchable "No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such ...

source - http://en.apa.az/news/223405

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 22, 2015 1:12:35 PM | 8

It might all be connected to Hakan Fidan doing some housekeeping before he leaves MIT.

There can't be many people who would like to take Fidan’s place as MIT head. Columnist Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in Hurriyet Feb. 14 that the MIT head will always be the first to be affected by the negative consequences of Turkey’s Syria policy. Ozkok wrote, “Fidan is escaping from something. He wants to distance himself from a danger and doesn’t want to be held responsible for it.” According to Ozkok, Fidan is fleeing Turkey’s Syrian policy, which is “no longer shaped by logic but by emotions.” Ozkok says Fidan has left MIT because he knows that this wrong policy could get him into trouble with international law.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 22, 2015 1:38:17 PM | 9

@6BSA.. thanks. that makes sense.

@72 sarz on the previous syria thread made some interesting observations which with this "It looks like Turkey is casting its lot with Eurasia."

Posted by: james | Feb 22, 2015 1:51:52 PM | 10

which "end" with this..

Posted by: james | Feb 22, 2015 1:52:27 PM | 11

After the release of the 48 Turkish diplomats hostages of ISIS without casualties, now comes the release of 40 Turkish soldiers hostages of ISIS without casualties.
What more does the international community needs to realize that Turkey not only has a non-aggression agreement with ISIS but it also in collusion with ISIS to dominate the region.
The Syrian rebels to be trained in Turkey are NOT going to fight against ISIS, they are aimed to fight the Syrian Army to topple Bashar al Assad.
Yet Turkey's hypocritical foreign policy will turn against it sooner or later. Erdogan will have to pay dearly for the 200,000 syrians dead, the destruction of Syria and the violence his megalomania has triggered in the region.
If the nuclear deal is signed, Iran will become the dominating power in the region and Erdogan will have to bow.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 22, 2015 1:56:49 PM | 12

For me it's a confirmation that Turkey is supporting ISIS and wants the Assad government to be overthrown/replaced. Perhaps they don't want to support ISIS openly because they don't want to annoy the US.

Combined with the war/struggle in Eastern Ukraine and Russia seeking friendly relations with Turkey makes me think that the days of Erdogan are numbered and that the US is busy grooming Erdogan's successor. I think president Gul could become Turkey's next prime minister.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 22, 2015 2:05:04 PM | 13

This incursion could be a test run for further destabilization of Syria. They seemed to go there totally unimpeded.

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 22, 2015 2:29:03 PM | 14

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 22, 2015 1:12:35 PM | 8

"No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such ..."

Alberto - Russians remember the Hitler War, the Cold War, and most of all, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and what happened to Russia in the '90s. What Putin appears to be saying is that, if push comes to shove, the Russians would go all the way, and chance the consequences.

I personally don't believe that he is bluffing.

Posted by: gersen | Feb 22, 2015 3:27:12 PM | 15

@10James

Your comment to me is appreciated.

Posted by: BSA | Feb 22, 2015 3:54:03 PM | 16

What did Tukey pay/give ?
- a guarantee that those ISIS fighters are allowed to flee into Turkey if/when ISIS breaks down ?
- Perhaps green light to go after the Syrian Kurds ?
- A number of millions US dollars ? money to bribe ISIS ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 22, 2015 4:33:09 PM | 17

NATO/US has influence over ISIS? interesting

Posted by: brian | Feb 22, 2015 5:23:36 PM | 18

In case anyone had forgotten, a false flag or provocation at the Tomb of Suleiman Shah was the main topic of the leaked wiretap of the Turkish Foreign Ministry (for which Gulen's Hizmet plants in the police were blamed.)

From conflictantiquities.com, where there is much more...

“Prime Minister [Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan] said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

[Director of the National Intelligence Agency] Hakan Fidan: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

[Undersecretary of Minister of Foreign Affairs] Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”

[Turkish Armed Forces’ Deputy Chief of Staff (Lieutenant General)] Yaşar Güler: “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”

FIRST SCREEN:

[Minister of Foreign Affairs] Ahmet Davutoğlu: I couldn’t entirely understand the other thing; what exactly does our foreign ministry supposed to do? No, I’m not talking about the thing. There are other things we’re supposed to do. If we decide on this, we are to notify the United Nations, the Istanbul Consulate of the Syrian regime, right?

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: But if we decide on an operation in there, it should create a shocking effect. I mean, if we are going to do so. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but regardless of what we decide, I don’t think it’d be appropriate to notify anyone beforehand.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: OK, but we’re gonna have to prepare somehow. To avoid any shorts on regarding international law. I just realized when I was talking to the president (Abdullah Gül), if the Turkish tanks go in there, it means we’re in there in any case, right?

Yaşar Güler: It means we’re in, yes.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Yeah, but there’s a difference between going in with aircraft and going in with tanks…

As I said, there's much more.

I didn't know this, but I read today on wikipedia that the 'relics' had already been moved, in fact quite recently, to a spot near Kobani. This is from wikipedia, which is, interestingly, super up to date:

Legal status

In accordance with Article 9 of the Treaty of Ankara signed between France and Turkey in 1921, the tomb "shall remain, with its appurtenances, the property of Turkey, who may appoint guardians for it and may hoist the Turkish flag there".[4] The treaty is silent in regard to the land beneath the tomb.

Since 2014, the official position of Turkey appears to be that the land around the tomb is the sovereign territory of Turkey.[3][5] However, no other state, including Syria, has publicly supported this position. The Syrian position is that the relocation of the tomb in 2015 is a breach of the Treaty of Ankara.[6]
First relocation

In 1973, the location of the tomb was flooded when the Tabqa Dam created Lake Assad. At that time, the tomb was moved to a new location some 80 km (50 mi) north of Qal'at Ja'bar,[7] but also on the Euphrates riverside, not far from the town of Sarrin and some 35 km (22 mi) from the Turkish border. Until February 2015, Turkey maintained a small military presence as an honour guard at the site.

(snip)

Second relocation

On the night of 21–22 February 2015, a Turkish military convoy including tanks and other armored vehicles numbering about 100 entered Syria to evacuate the tomb's 40 guards and repatriate the remains. One soldier died accidentally during the operation. The tomb complex was destroyed to prevent its use by ISIS.[14] The tomb is now located on a hill in Syrian territory controlled by the Turkish military near the village of Esmesi, near the border town of Kobanî.[2] The Turkish Foreign Minister has stated that the relocation is only a temporary measure.[3]

Posted by: Benu | Feb 22, 2015 5:52:27 PM | 19

Hmmm. Scanning search results I see a couple interesting details: Esmesi is in Kurdish-controlled territory, the Turks "planted" a Turkish flag and the mausoleum that had housed it was destroyed to "prevent its use by IS."

So, the Turks went for what the Independent (yes, I know) characterized as its "first land incursion" into Syria. They chose to move the remains to Kurdish-controlled territory and planted a Turkish flag. No doubt the Kurds fully grok that act.

The mausoleum was destroyed. I wonder if anything interesting was inside?

A soldier died, but it was totally an accident. Mmm-hmm.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 22, 2015 6:06:04 PM | 20

G@15

Most Russians have no memory of WW2 but they do remember Afghanistan and the first Chechen War both of which Russia lost. This rhetoric is good for local consumption but has little real meaning.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 6:16:58 PM | 21

@20

yeah, Russians have forgotten about the 20-25 million it lost during WWII - NOT!

Posted by: crone | Feb 22, 2015 6:49:13 PM | 22

Zaman article is weird (or the information in that article): for the last 11 months the tomb guards were not changed, nor supplied, so they were getting food and water from ISIL.

Erdogan apparently wants to remove Assad from power by any means necessary, as long as those means are Sunni. United States had de facto the position of letting the war in Syria to continue as long as possible, "we cannot let either side to win", but after the fall of Mosul the Administration apparently decided that preventing ISIL from winning requires more action than "watch and pass the popcorn".

What happened with the tomb is impossible to explain in the "fully rational" framework. AK party and ISIL are uncomfortable allies, united in the cause of restoring primacy of Sunni Islam wherever needed and possible, i.e. Syria and perhaps Iraq as well, but they also mutually view themselves as heretics. As Salafis condemn veneration of relics, they may felt that they need to demolish the tomb, and in the same time, they appreciate that AK party gives them a necessary conduit for money, weapons and recruits, so they would not offend Turkey too much. Relocation of the tomb allows ISIL to maintain Salafi purity and AK can save face, win-win.

Concerning earlier hostage taking, that of truck drivers and diplomats, it was also a win-win. Turkey got under instant international and domestic pressure to "do something". So the government did something: total ban on dissemination of any news concerning the relationship with ISIL justified by the safety of the hostages -- do you want to kill our diplomats, you scribbling/blogging scum? The policy of supporting ISIL (by commission and omission) is not universally supported in Turkey, and open discussion of that policy could force USA to notice that something is going on -- so far, the power of US intelligence is used not to notice anything, and since we are not talking about a lost pin but about busloads of recruits, truckloads of weapons and contraband to pay for them, prevention of noticing it is not easy at all.

But Erdogan has his holy war so prying that toy from his hand would not be easy, it is much better to humor Erdogan covertly, but in the same time, prevent the victory of ISIL.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 22, 2015 6:59:47 PM | 23

C@21

I should have written direct memory of WW2 just as most Amerikans have no direct memory of WW2 either. It is ancient history to most people , only experienced through books and possibly films. You cannot forget something you never experienced.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 7:04:52 PM | 24

OK. I give up. Obviously, someone doesn't like what I have just posted -- twice.
Since it doesn't appear-- twice.

No links to 'typepad-despised' places or plausible reasons that I can perceive, except content.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 22, 2015 7:08:08 PM | 25

The U.S. wants to cooperate with Turkey to train Syrian fighters to fight against the Islamic State.

Well, not r-e-a-l-l-y. The U.S. makes a big show of fighting IS, but understands that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The main enemy is Iran and its allies, which translates nicely enough into 'Shias', which means Assad is still the only real enemy. For a 100 years the second-best Middle East friends of the US/UK have been extremist but stupid Salafists, so if IS would just stop making videos of chopping heads off and burning people to death, we could all get along. How long do we have to wait for those "new, moderate Islamic State" think pieces from the usual suspects?

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 22, 2015 7:28:06 PM | 26

"Smokes and mirrors". Alliances are shifting... :-)

Posted by: ProsperityPeace | Feb 22, 2015 7:30:31 PM | 27

The Islamic State does not like tombs. It has demolished hundreds of important historic tombs in the areas it rules in Iraq and Syria.
Then ISIS is not Islamic

Posted by: MRW | Feb 22, 2015 7:59:09 PM | 28

27

Thread winner!

Posted by: TLC | Feb 22, 2015 8:28:13 PM | 29

Comparing the impact of WW2 on the USA with that it had on the USSR is ridiculous.

I should have written direct memory of WW2 just as most Amerikans have no direct memory of WW2 either. It is ancient history to most people , only experienced through books and possibly films. You cannot forget something you never experienced.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 7:04:52 PM | 23

Posted by: Matt | Feb 22, 2015 10:04:00 PM | 30

Third time's a charm...? Different computer.

Turkey ostensibly moves relics and remains to a small village, Esmesi, in Kurdish-controlled territory of north Syria, just over the border from Turkey. (Why not move sacred relics to Turkey proper if so much danger?)

One soldier dies, but they claim it's an accident. Mausoleum blown up. Wonder what besides relics and remains might've been in or beneath?

Media describes this as "first land incursion into Syria". Turks plant flag -- in Kurdish-controlled territory (just days after prominent media calls for independent Turkish state -- craved from Iraq) and leave tanks and presumably soldiers, along with flag.

I sense a message. I'll bet the Kurds "get it."

Posted by: Benu | Feb 22, 2015 10:20:15 PM | 31

Akk, #30 should be "after prominent media calls for independent Kurdish state"

Posted by: Benu | Feb 22, 2015 10:24:57 PM | 32

@19 benu and @22 Piotr Berman.. thanks..

@wow.. how old are you? you appear quite young, naive and opinionated.. it is possible the ordinary russian has a much better appreciation and grasp of history then the ordinary american, but of this you seem incapable of considering or factoring in your quick conclusions/opinions..

Posted by: james | Feb 22, 2015 10:27:18 PM | 33

@20 I don't know. I've been to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and there is an IKEA where the Germans advanced in Moscow. The under 35 crowd still knows or knew their grandparents. How many Americans can locate Pearl or Hawaii?

The villain of every movie, alternative history, and video game was in their capital where people lived. Washington was a glorified boarding house when the British burned it. In time, people will forget. They don't celebrate Evacuation Day in Boston anymore.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 22, 2015 10:49:24 PM | 34

Matt@29

If you read what I said you would see I said nothing about the impact of WW2 on anybody just that most Russians of today were not alive to experience that war directly.

The real topic I was addressing before this diversion was Putin's statement about Russian military capabilities which no one seems to want to address, so I will.

Russia has one aircraft carried in service and a fleet of rusting subs, their other naval ships are in better condition. I'm sure their army could easily defeat Ukraine's sorry forces and Putin may have been addressing threats from Kiev but they are not the global military power the USSR was.

The fact that they are trying to rebuild their forces because of Western threats may put then into the same position that the USSR was in before it disintegrated.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 11:29:29 PM | 35

J@32

I could ask you if you are old, thickheaded and simpleminded but I won't, that would be rude.

I would never presume to know what ordinary, whatever that means, Russians or even Amerikans grasp of history is. I would assume that they, just as Amerikans, have been exposed to myths and distortions to advance the politics of their elites.

There is a huge video-gaming industry in Russia so I imagine their youth are more interested in orcs and dragons than patriotic pabulum.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 23, 2015 12:22:33 AM | 36

THIS IS SHOCKING IF TRUE
http://nationalreport.net/hollywood-studio-caught-producing-isis-videos/

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 23, 2015 12:33:49 AM | 37

I personally don't believe that he is bluffing.
Gerson @ 15

He's not bluffing.

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 23, 2015 12:37:24 AM | 38

@Alberto #37:

Russia has parity in strategic nuclear missiles with the US and significantly more tactical nukes. NATO is a paper tiger and no one believes that its forces would have a rat's chance in hell if they went into Ukraine; the question would be how much into their advance would Russia start destroying them.

The US has forgotten how to wage war without overwhelming air superiority. But it can't achieve air superiority in Russia's neighborhood. As is often pointed out, not only has the US not won a war since WW II (and that was against Japan; Russia won that war against Germany) aside from Granada and Panama, the armies it trains aren't effective, either. See the Taliban, ISIS, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The Syrian army can hold its own against ISIS; the US-trained Iraqi army has had problems with that.

Finally, Russia was able to decimate the US-backed Georgian military in three days in 1998, and the Novorossiyans, who are culturally Russian, are able to route the Ukrainian army, even though they are just farmers, miners, and drivers. If Novorossiyans can do that, it is worth considering what the actual Russian army can do.

Russia gets invaded by the West every half century or so, so it has no choice but to keep up its military capabilities. The US is under no such pressure. The main purpose of the US military is (1) te be able to turn countries without a notable military into rubble, to prop up the dollar; (2) to create revenue streams for corporations by ordering weapons systems that are designed to have gee whiz high tech features as opposed to be effective in combat.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 23, 2015 1:14:18 AM | 39

#34 WoW. Russia has never had a significant navy. Their feeble efforts were exposed in 1904 against Japan. But they do have a very capable army that can fight to defend their territory. It was without doubt severely degraded after the collapse of the Soviet Union and we really cannot say how much they have recovered. However, their officer corp has remained intact and that is the foundation that is the basis for today's army. Also given their emphasis on antiaircraft defenses there is no guarantee that Nato could have air superiority over any battlefield within Ukraine not to mention Russia. It would be extremely unwise for the US to test the Russian military in its own backyard.

I doubt Russia would be able to keep its navy afloat if war with the US happened. But I think it is also quite doubtful that the US could bring its Navy into either the Black Sea or the Baltic or any where near Vladivostoc. The Soviet Union accepted in the early 70s that it could not compete with the US Navy on the high seas. They compensated by focusing considerable resources on anti-ship missile technology. These missiles have effective ranges of 300 to 500 km from Russian shores. This is not counting airborne launched missiles. In all out war they probably could sink any US warship that ventured into the Black and Baltic Seas.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 23, 2015 3:45:59 AM | 40

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 23, 2015 3:45:59 AM | 39

That is old warfare. Today's is electronic warfare. I think Russia is very good at it.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 23, 2015 4:03:00 AM | 41

The "Islamic State" group allowed a NATO member army to enter its territory and gave it a free passage.

Of course ISIS did allow free passage, why wouldnt they? Turkey allows free passage to ISIS and other Al Qaeda groups in Turkey, helping them with arms, logistics, and financially as well (at the very least as a middleman for funds from Gulf and other countries). Whats more, Turkish military directly helps ISIS in battles against SSA with its army and bombing SAA positions (much like what Israel is doing in the Syria's south). Therefore I dont see any contradiction in this story.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 23, 2015 4:07:35 AM | 42

@somebody #40:

Yes, that buzzing of the AEGIS ship. The way the story goes, the Americans were so dispirited at the Russian plane disabling their radars that they quickly sailed for a safe harbor in fear. At times, I've thought this story is almost nothing but invention and imagination. If the Russians have such capabilities, why would they reveal them to the Americans? That takes away the element of surprise, which is very useful if an actual hot war occurs. But I can think of two reasons for why the Russians would have taken this unorthodox step (assuming that the story is more or less accurate). (1) The Russians fear that the Americans might be crazy, so the Russians made this demonstration to try to talk some sense into the Americans to keep them from doing anything reckless. (2) If Russia does indeed have such capabilities, the US will start working on countermeasures, but Russia may have figured that the Empire will have collapsed before the US managed to get the countermeasures working.

Thanks for that link. The link is to a translation of an article from Rossiskaya Gazeta, which is the official newspaper of the government of the RF. I wasn't aware that this newspaper had published a story about this incident. That it did makes me more inclined to believe that this really happened as described.

In any case, the Ukies caught in the Debaltsevo cauldron complained of being cut off from from their superiors electronically, which means that the NAF have effective jamming capabilities.

On a side note. The US is now up against an adversary that is its equal. (The US may have all kinds of financial and political power, but none of that is a substitute for military supremacy when your adversary is the largest country in the world.) The US hasn't been in such a situation for sixty years (not counting the Cuban Missile Crisis). How long will it take US elites to realize that they cannot prevail over Russia, so they should just leave it in peace?

Posted by: Demian | Feb 23, 2015 5:20:10 AM | 43

I do not think that "Russia is an equal adversary" for USA. It is more the case that American elite imagined that they can translate their financial and military superiority into universal domination, and that is simply not possible. For example, you can try to find a pair of obedient puppets in a region, but anyway you do it, the "puppets" are spending most of their efforts trying to kill each other. Vetting, training etc. go down the drain. Second, American military is incredibly expensive, so trying to teach and arm Georgians or Ukrainians to fight in American style but without American budget will not work. Next, America cannot "project power" everywhere, but it tries, so it does not work well.

Lastly, what are the goals and purposes of American policy? All to often, they are captured by the "puppets". Ukrainian nationalists were recruited by USA back in 1940-ties, and they developed quite a bit of influence. Top example of that tendency is Israel, but there is a lot of groups recruited over the years that captured various aspects of American policy.

Russia, by necessity, is engaged in much fewer places and has a much smaller number of lobbies that would push its polices, so it cannot be beaten on the ground of its choice.

That said, Russia is perhaps the only country that seriously works on countermeasures for Western weaponry. Take reactive armor that became thoroughly obsolete. Or anti-ship missiles that can convert Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Persian Gulf into no-sail zones. A simultaneous attack on Russia and Iran can be a serious disaster.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 23, 2015 6:14:36 AM | 44

What I find interesting about this incident and I don't see it being mentioned here... The Kurds that accompanied Turkey into alleged "ISIS" territory via Kobane.

Kurdish fighters with Turkish troops entering through territory stolen by the Kurds, from Syria proper.

The YPG, Kurdish fighters, of course...

http://basnews.com/en/news/2015/02/23/kurds-cooperate-with-turkish-army-to-move-suleyman-shah-tomb/


"Advancing in company with vehicles of YPG forces, the Turkish military reached the Suleyman Shah tomb following a route which had been previously determined. Our forces have precisely fulfilled their duty after undertaking responsibility for the deployment and reinforcement of Turkish soldiers in the areas controlled by our forces”, YPG said.

After the operation, it was reported that the President of the local administration in Kobani, Anwar Muslim, traveled to Ankara to meet officials in Turkey."

What officials did the Kurds meet in Turkey?
No name officials

The Turks may have got their remains, but, there is more to this then meets the eye

Posted by: Penny | Feb 23, 2015 8:32:13 AM | 45

@ Penny | 44

The Turks may have got their remains, but, there is more to this then meets the eye

Breaking apart Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc. to a smaller, more manageable statelets is many decades old plan by USrael, which is being executed in front of our eyes. Turkey was initially against Kurdistan, but it seems they reached the agreement that Kurdistan will be formed from Syria, Iraq and Iran territories, while Turkish borders remain the same (or expand at the expense of Syria) with kurds moving into their new country.

Same thing is planned with many ethnic groups - sunis, kurds, druze and alavis in Syria; baloochis, kurds and azeris in Iran, etc etc.

And as you correctly noticed, kurds are also expanding their territories (+40% of extra land in Iraq, and they keep grabbing more on daily basis, including oil rich fields). In Syria kurds havent fully embraced USrael plans yet, but they are work in progress - I can bet in due course of time they'll be fully on board too. Its hard to resist the empire - they have many tools to pursued.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 23, 2015 9:36:17 AM | 46

As for the ISIS flag flying??? Nice prop!

From the article I linked above- and posted at my place
B, did you read from the mouth of the horse
Or in this case the Kurds, themselves

“In this context, armoured vehicles and a certain number of soldiers affiliated to the Turkish army crossed into Kobanê Canton through Mürşitpınar border crossing at 21.00 yesterday evening,” the YPG said."

the YPG, which controls the area from which the Turkish army crossed over the border to evacuate troops protecting the tomb.

That flag is a nice prop for the cameras- Or perhaps as I have long contended there is indeed a relationship between sunni muslims kurds and sunni muslim arabs?

Posted by: Penny | Feb 23, 2015 9:39:19 AM | 47

Demian @ 38: "The main purpose of the US military is (1) te be able to turn countries without a notable military into rubble, to prop up the dollar; (2) to create revenue streams for corporations by ordering weapons systems that are designed to have gee whiz high tech features as opposed to be effective in combat."

Yep, absolutely.

Penny @ 44:"The Turks may have got their remains, but, there is more to this then meets the eye"

Another no-doubter.

"

Posted by: ben | Feb 23, 2015 10:55:39 AM | 48

Penny's latest: http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ben | Feb 23, 2015 11:14:05 AM | 49

Related, from Glen Ford:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/02/21/us-empire-and-isis-tale-two-death-cults

Posted by: ben | Feb 23, 2015 11:24:21 AM | 50

TS@39

Putin has begun the largest warship building program in Russian history but we should concentrate on who his recent rhetoric was aimed at. If it was the Junta in Kiev, as I suspect, it is an appropriate counter to their insane belligerence but if it is a nuclear threat aimed at the US we may be seeing another manifestation of insanity, a willingness to destroy all to make a point. I doubt Putin is insane, any more so than most other leaders.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 23, 2015 11:57:43 AM | 51

In the previous thread on Syria I had surmised (james @10 kindly mentions the posting) that the removal of the body of Suleiman Shah and destruction of his tomb were intended to decrease the threat to Syria, and this was part of Turkey's opening to Eurasia. This anti-NATO act has been well disguised with bravado and faux-nastiness (that b has fallen for), and Syria has done its bit by protesting. ISIS and its handlers must have realised a bit late what was really happening.

"somebody" makes a good point with his reference, in the previous Syria thread, to an editorial in the Economist calling for an independent Kurdistan. This is an aspect of the new map of the middle east that the Empire has been fostering for some years now. But the call from the Economist expresses a new urgency. The magazine is as close as you get to a mouthpiece for the Rothschilds - Jacob Rothschild was for some years the chairman of the board, and they are of course in one guise or another the owners. The Empire strikes back.

As for b's question asking what Turkey paid ISIS for its cooperation, the answer is: probably nothing special just now. Turkey has maintained good relations with ISIS under the table for some time for a variety of reasons. And will continue to do so, but with re-balanced equations, after the Anglo-Zionist Empire's push for independent Kurdistan.

Posted by: sarz | Feb 23, 2015 1:08:04 PM | 52

@35 wow.. lol - you have some of that right.. i just see your approach at moa as being naive or worse - that's all..

Posted by: james | Feb 23, 2015 1:47:01 PM | 53

Robert Fisk also believes that Erdogan made a deal with IS

Just a year ago, it gave the Turkish army three days to clear out of Suleyman’s old tomb before it destroyed it. The Turks stayed put. Why?

Well, this was around the time Syrian oil engineers reported the appearance of Turkish mechanics in the Isis-controlled oilfields. A quid pro quo, perhaps? Give us your oil experts and you can keep your old king? Or did something go wrong? Well Ataturk’s army has now driven into “Isis-stan”, dug up the old boy’s remains for reburial and trashed the shrine to prevent the puritans of the “Islamic Caliphate” doing the same.

A deal, of course. In return for more Turkish oil engineers?


Posted by: b | Feb 23, 2015 2:34:54 PM | 54

This is the old Reaganist canard about how the USSR collapsed under the burden of the arms race imposed by the USA.

That's not what happened. The USSR was dissolved from within by the then ruling elite who wanted to become capitalists. The "overthrew" themselves, they were not overthrown by a mass revolt. Even in Eastern Europe, a mass movement only really got momentum once their leaders got wind that the old regime was voluntarily folding its tent. Hell, I'd be out on the street jumping for joy too, if there was any indication that that Uncle Sam and CIA, etc. were folding on their regime and its imperialist ambitions! Alas, they will likely have to be removed by the force of the American people, and that is going to happen. That is why the USSR dissolution was relatively peaceful, as was the withdrawal from E.Europe. Quite a remarkable event in history if you (I mean any of you), the American, manage to unplug your head from the relentless 24x7 pro-Washington propaganda machine. When's the last time an "empire" dissolved itself so peacefully? Even the British and French doggedly fought the collapse (as opposed to dissolution) of their very real colonial empires tooth and nail, and if they couldn't hold on, they made sure the breakaways paid dearly in blood. Indeed these two, in a different way, still fight bitterly to the end to preserve their privileged position in the world system.

And yes the WW2 US military wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. There was a reason that the Wehrmacht, even on its last legs, preferred to target the Americans. Most were not band of brothers in the 101st quality.
------
The fact that they are trying to rebuild their forces because of Western threats may put then into the same position that the USSR was in before it disintegrated.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 22, 2015 11:29:29 PM | 34

Posted by: Matt | Feb 23, 2015 2:35:45 PM | 55

Also interesting:

Private donors from Gulf Oil States Helping to Bankroll Salaries of Up to 100,000 ISIS Fighters

Was obvious, at least me.

Posted by: b | Feb 23, 2015 2:36:34 PM | 56

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 23, 2015 6:14:36 AM | 43

"…Lastly, what are the goals and purposes of American policy? All to often, they are captured by the "puppets". Ukrainian nationalists were recruited by USA back in 1940-ties, and they developed quite a bit of influence. Top example of that tendency is Israel, but there is a lot of groups recruited over the years that captured various aspects of American policy…"

I think this is a pertinent and often overlooked point. I can't recall where I read it the other day, but someone asked whether in Ukraine the US had created the coup they wanted or used the coup that presented itself. (I am not denying US involvement over time, but rather calling attention to opportunism.)

A few days later I was reading about coup-ish events in Macedonia and saw that there'd been a re-examination of the crash of the president's airplane a few years ago. I started poking around and came to Balkan Analysis, where the author, Chris Deliso said:

Since December, outside observers of Macedonia have been entranced by a faux crisis orchestrated by a political faction seeking foreign support for its cause. By involving themselves heavily but ambivalently in this drama, foreign diplomats have played into this factional strategy, whereas by either ignoring it or exerting maximum leverage at the beginning they could have resolved it by now. However, with local leaders acting in bad faith, the internationals are growing increasingly frustrated with the situation, one month before local elections are to be held on 24 March.

In this case, the faction seeking international attention and support is Macedonia’s largest opposition party, the left-wing SDSM, which seeks to regain power after seven years of aimless wandering in the political wilderness.


I saw this same idea mentioned several other places, too, in reference to the Yugoslavian machinations some years ago. Call me naive (and I know I am) but I had no idea that political factions openly shop around on the international coup market for foreign backers for their nasty doings. Heinous!

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 2:40:57 PM | 57

M@55

I agree with you that the collapse occurred as you depict but I was referring to the combination of factors that led to this event and todays similar factors. The Soviet military depended on high oil prices then just as Russia does today and in both instances the collapse of oil prices could result in similar outcomes. If Putin finds other revenues or trims back dramatically on military expenditures the outcome of possible bankruptcy may be avoided.

Putin seems to think that oil prices will be back to normal within two years but this may be wishful thinking.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 23, 2015 3:44:07 PM | 58

@45 Penny

That is quite interesting, thanks for your posts. But still, I wonder what is meant by the planting of the Turkish flag and what the YPG Kurds (and others) understand that to mean.

I keep coming back to the fact that the Turks could have moved the old bones (let's not forget whose: the founder of the Ottoman Empire) to Turkey...but they chose a seemingly arbitrary spot in Kurdish northern Syria.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 4:17:30 PM | 59

Posted by: sarz | Feb 23, 2015 1:08:04 PM | 52

In the previous thread on Syria I had surmised (james @10 kindly mentions the posting) that the removal of the body of Suleiman Shah and destruction of his tomb were intended to decrease the threat to Syria, and this was part of Turkey's opening to Eurasia. This anti-NATO act has been well disguised with bravado and faux-nastiness (that b has fallen for), and Syria has done its bit by protesting. ISIS and its handlers must have realised a bit late what was really happening.

Yes, I think you might right about this. Turkey has crowed incessantly about the SS site as a trigger. Perhaps someone (could be Russia, could be US, could be their own MIT…hell, could be Germany) has recommended this as a face-saving de-escalation -- removal of the trigger.

But it's not removed all the way, is it? There's still that flag planted in northern Syria...

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 4:27:38 PM | 60

Benu

Bringing the bones back to Turkey would be seen as a humiliation for the Turks as they would have been obliged to renounce to a piece of Syria.
This is why it was important for them to still occupy a piece of Syria.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 23, 2015 4:29:17 PM | 61

@ my 59

Oops. Should be: "...the old bones (let's not forget whose: the father of the founder of the Ottoman Empire

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 4:32:50 PM | 62

@61 Virgile

Many thanks. That had not occurred to me. Makes sense.
Although I must say these concepts of national humiliation and the like seem strange to me.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 5:04:52 PM | 63

How Turkish Troops Entered Syria with ISIS and Kurdish Assistance


Turkey today is implementing a new strategy in north Syria. It is the country that viewed the Ain al-Arab battle as a win-win situation, as it sponsored breaking the backbone of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) (which had launched a “self-management” project), through the massive ISIS invasion of the village of Ain al-Arab and its countryside in September 2014.

Ankara then used the presence of the fundamentalist organization near its borders to justify interferences in Syria, and allowed Iraqi peshmerga fighters to step in and support Syria’s Kurds after the Baghdad-Erbil agreement, which coincided with the start of the US coalition’s strikes.


Russia needs to be very careful of the double-crossing Turks. I'm sure the Russians know that much better I do.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 23, 2015 5:57:42 PM | 64

That is old warfare. Today's is electronic warfare. I think Russia is very good at it.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 23, 2015 4:03:00 AM | 41

Don't forget financial warfare...

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 6:12:59 PM | 65

@ 64 jfl

Really good article you posted. Quite amazing, the accommodation among all parties...neh? Turkey, showing off a bit. Perhaps to impress their Western masters...?

Hadn't heard of the Syrian Turkmen Brigades. No doubt we'll see more of them over in Xinjiang soon enough.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 23, 2015 6:28:05 PM | 66

Benu at 66 -- Well, the Turks are nice to the Syrian Kurds. Not so much to their own. No one (apart from the Palestinians) in the region deserves their own, truly independent state as much as the Kurds, IMHO, and they're the most likely to get done over by the various players in "The Great Game." What do you want to bet that the target demographic for the show is a little more local; if it worked with Westerners, too, so much the better. "Turkey, Your Local, Reliable & Benevolent Regional Power." Will it find Eastern or Western sponsors?

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 23, 2015 10:09:02 PM | 67

Exchange rate of hryvnia shows a drastic reaction to the good news that the government may get arms for its war plans, and that it does not want to implement the ceasefire.

http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=UAH&view=1Y

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 24, 2015 11:35:27 AM | 68

The comments to this entry are closed.