Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 19, 2013

Erdogan Sends Jihadists To Kill Kurds

The "opposition" in Syria is in a bit of difficulty:
Syrian Kurds urged the opposition on Saturday to halt a siege against them by Islamist rebels, as the UN condemned the killing of dozens of children across the country over the past week.

The Kurdish National Council, a pro-opposition umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish parties, condemned what it said was an ongoing assault "against unarmed civilians" by jihadist insurgents on the northern town of Ras al-Ain.

It said the rebels, who came across the border from Turkey, were shelling the town indiscriminately, and called on the main opposition National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army to "pressure these militants to stop this criminal war which is detrimental to the Syrian revolution."

From an earlier report:
Fighters from radical groups Al-Nusra Front and Ghuraba al-Sham battled Kurdish militiamen a day after launching a new assault on the border town. A Kurdish resident of Ras al-Ain, who said he opposed al-Assad’s regime, said the jihadists crossed the Turkish border with three tanks into Ras al-Ain on Jan. 17.
This is not a small gang infiltrating over the green border but a larger infantry formations accompanied by tanks passing at the normal border crosspoint. It is impossible that the Turkish guards at that border crossing missed these.

Turkey is now obviously using the jihadist Nusra Front to fight Kurds in Syria, even those Kurds that are tied to the Syrian opposition. On three days last week it was also bombing Kurds in Iraq.

Do the Kurds that live in Turkey really still believe that they can make peace with the Erdogan government while that kills their brethren in Iraq and Syria? I do expect renewed Kurdish attacks in Turkey as soon as the snow melts in the south eastern Anatolian highlands.

Posted by b on January 19, 2013 at 18:45 UTC | Permalink


I feel a bit sorry for the Turks. Despite all the obvious signs that the White West thinks Turks are just as 'inferior' and expendable as any other race with the wrong coloured skin and religion, their government, bought and paid for by Western interests, is leading Turkey on a path of self-destruction. It won't surprise me in the least if the Erdogan Regime collapses before the Assad government.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 19 2013 19:05 utc | 1

Given the use of tanks, one wonders whether the "jihadists" were Turkish troops dressed to look like jihadists or real jihadists being employed by Turkey. One thing is for certain is that the Turkish government was behind the attackers. There is absolutely no way independent jihadists could operate tanks inside Turkey.

One has to wonder what psychedelic drugs Erdogan and co. are taking.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19 2013 19:42 utc | 2

This is nothing new - a repeat of what had already happened in early November. Turkey allowing hardcore Islamists (and the occasional CNN reporter) with tanks crossing over the border they alone control.

Read the full story here:

Posted by: CE | Jan 19 2013 21:32 utc | 3

"Do the Kurds that live in Turkey really still believe that they can make peace with the Erdogan government while that kills their brethren in Iraq and Syria?"

Honestly I am very suspicious about all Kurdish movements. They don't seem to have any principle at all. All these "Kurdish" movements seem to be about one thing and one thing only: separation without any other end goal at all.
To those who think that Kurdish movements are about a "homeland", I would like to ask:

don't Kurds currently have a "homeland"? Is "homeland" about an athnicity, or language?

Is it a "homeland" which should be the goal, or a democratic homeland? Which one?

If all one cares about is a "homeland" or a country of citizenship, then all Kurds currently have that. If it is about a democratic homeland, then why not trying to democratize the homeland they already have rather than creating a new homeland?

What is the guarantee that the new homeland will be any more democratic than the current homeland that they have? Is the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq any more democratic than what they had before? Is the KRG -with its flirting with Erdogan- any more democratic?
What sort of "independence" is this? Instead of being part of Iraq, they are "independent" to be the US/Israeli lackeys?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 19 2013 22:07 utc | 4


Interesting. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19 2013 22:18 utc | 5

@ Pirouz_2 [#4],

It's all a bit fluid. We went to the East, then the East came to the West, then 'we' went East and West and brought with 'us' diseases and rulers [both types] so 'we' could create 'countries.' Whether I stood at the banks of the river Gambia, walked through the second generation 'rain forest' in Malaysia or gazed at the North Korean tower over the DMZ near Seoul, my question always was 'Where did they draw the line?'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 19 2013 22:49 utc | 6

4) Like all national or ethnic movements it is about language, schools, cultural practices, citizenship, political representation, forced assimilation, discrimination and equal opportunity.

It also is about ownership of resources, the viability of a country, outside interference, alliances, nationalism and patriotism.

How do you define a nation? By language, culture, historical borders?

I think Turkey censures maps of historic Kurdistan because it is such a large part of Turkey.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19 2013 22:52 utc | 7

"Pro-opposition" Kurds? That's the first I've heard of them.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 20 2013 0:00 utc | 8

How come the Kurdish masses at the funerals of the 3 women did not riot, and it all went peacefully? How come PKK aligned parties never get more than 6% of the vote, while masses of Kurds vote for Erdogan--who I don't like, but is a conservative, like them? The peace process between PKK and Turkish government seems to be advancing, but the PKK cadres in the mountains of Iraq and Syria have always been dominated by Syrian resident Kurds, so Ocalan's control on them is quite limited at this stage. It's more complicated than the cartoonish depictions some people in this blog use. The murder in Moscow of a major Kurdish Mafia figure, supplying arms to PKK, is also possibly connected to the killings in FR. If I had to pick a culprit, it would be internal Kurdish feuding, or possibly Syria, who has the most to gain.

The political limitations in Turkey, which is much more democratic than other middle eastern nation-states, apply to all, not just to Kurds. And sizeable liberalization has taken place over the last 20 years.

Kurdistan, as a geographic area, has never been independent, barring the short lived Mahabad republic in Iran, post WWII. It has been an unruly, backwards region dominated by tribal rivalries, where nation states have had trouble bringing law and order. Look at how the Kurdish region of Iraq is faring, and tell me it's more democratic than Turkey. It's not.

If a Kurdistan--wet dream of some outside powers, mostly USA, Israel, EU--is ever established it will be a client state of the West.

PS:For benefit of some who may not know, I am against Erdogan and his meddling in Syria, he's being the puppet of the west.

Posted by: kodlu | Jan 20 2013 7:47 utc | 9


"or possibly Syria, who has the most to gain."

Clearly Israel had the most to gain.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 10:16 utc | 10

this here is a complete list of the suspects by Zaman

My personal hunch - not mentioned by Zaman - is that Turkey is trying to clean the PKK for Öcalan. Öcalan is Turkey's asset.


"And sizeable liberalization has taken place over the last 20 years"

I wonder. Turkey got rid of military rule, that is correct. Its press freedom though has diminished heavily and human right lawyers get arrested.

Turkish anti-terrorism laws allow the AKP to do as they please. This fact is even noted by the UN
Turkey using anti-terrorism law to quash debate: U.N.

So yes, people voted for the AKP and gave them a chance to prove themselves, however the AKP uses this vote to cement their power in authoritarian style.

And no, you cannot be openly Atheist in Turkey nowadays.

Kemal Ata Türk would turn in his grave.Omar Khayyam, too.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2013 10:52 utc | 11

With due respect, kodlu @9, doesn't extolling the virtues of the quaint and rapidly receding notion of Democracy, make you feel a little uneasy?
For quite some time now the only significant difference between 21st C Western democracy and so-called dictatorships, is that we get to VOTE for our dictators. But voting is an exercise in futility when the list of candidates is been controlled (rigged) by 'well-funded' political parties. Thus trustworthy candidates with their heart in the right place are ALWAYS smeared mercilessly and thereby become de-popularised.

The crisis facing democracy has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a leader is "democratically elected" or not. The only thing that matters is whether the successful candidate defends and upholds the principles of democracy by BEHAVING democratically. Once people absorb that simple fact things could and would change very quickly.

Two things worth thinking about:
1. In a true democracy, ignoring the will of the people, and telling fatuously self-serving porkies to change people's mind, would be illegal.
2. It's never too late (no matter what 'they' say).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 20 2013 11:21 utc | 12

25 bodies discovered inside Algerian siege gas plant - Algerian TV

"I am afraid unfortunately to say that the death toll will go up," Minister of Communication Mohamed Said was quoted as saying by the official APS news agency, adding that a final death toll would be released in the coming hours."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 11:33 utc | 13

Syrian Kurds join fight against militants: Analyst

"A political analyst says that Syrian Kurds blame foreign-backed insurgents for civilian killings and they are joining government forces to defend their territories, Press TV reports.

In an interview with Press TV on Friday, Radwan Rizk said that the Kurds “do not agree on anything” with militants groups and “have reached some kind of understanding with the government of Syria”.

The analysts said that Syrian Kurds would join the security forces to protect their territories from invasion of militant groups.

“They [Kurds] will be able to hold their territories and defend it. I think so they are able to because they are well-trained, well-armed and they are not agreeing on anything with the oppositions or taking any action or serious action against the government…,” he added."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 11:41 utc | 14

#13 meant to be posted in Mali/Algeria thread.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 11:44 utc | 15

Those pushing the meme that the recent assassinations of Kurdish leaders/activists outside Turkey is a sign or "internal conflict" are dubious/clueless at best.

What's really happening is Mossad and other western intelligence agencies trying to divide the Kurdish leadership by assassinating the fringe elements in order to scare the rest. They're doing this as a thank you to Turkey(Erdogan) for their role in Syria. They're hoping these assassinations will pressure Ocalan into reaching a compromise with the Turkish government, which will eventually result in the disarmament of the PKK (highly unlikely)!!!

Why will the Kurds fight among themselves at this particular time in history where they have so much going for them? I mean, they pretty much have a free reign along the Syrian border to operate and also in Iraq, they have their bases there. There's even rumours some of their cadres have taken refuge in Iran(highly doubtful).

The assassinations are an attempt to rather divide Kurds and make them an ineffective fighting force against Turkish hegemonic ambitions in the region. If any group can fight off the Turks, apart from the Iranians, are the Kurds. How else will one explain the recent attacks by the Turkish backed fsa on Kurdish regions in Syria?

Israel and the West NEEDS and strong Turkey and they'll do whatever it takes to achieve that.

When the snow melts in the Kandil and other safe havens, the heat on Turkey will increase. It's going to be a very interesting Spring/Summer this year ;)

Posted by: Zico | Jan 20 2013 13:57 utc | 16

16, you mean a lot of people will die - it is not something to look forward to.
kodlu is right in pointing out that the armed fight, PKK, represents a very small part of Turkish Kurds.
I would argue that the armed fight makes sure there is no sympathy for Kurdish issues in Turkey, and as it is directed against the Turkish state, and is instrumentalized by foreign powers, Turkey has the full right to retaliate. The Turkish terrorism act is used against all of the Turkish opposition and the PKK gave the Turkish government the justification for that act.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2013 14:14 utc | 17

somebody @ 17

you mean a lot of people will die - it is not something to look forward to.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.. People here sometimes blame Erdogan and his policies while excluding the average Turk, as if he's got nothing to do with it. I see this as an ignorant way of saying, "oh, we Turks are peaceful but our government is an idiot".. Now that may be true but they voted in those idiots in the AKP into power and must share in the consequences of AKP's actions. There's no independent/innocent in this. Ordinary Syrians are being murdered on a daily basis because of Turkey's open support to the many terrorist groups. Something's gotta give somewhen.

Be sure that Turkey's involvement in Syria will have a devastating effect of Turkish civilians themselves. It's just the natural progression of things. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a Syrian who's parents have been murdered by those Turkish back armed groups and see how you'd respond. Fact is, even if the Syrian government doesn't, the Syrian people will - especially those affected by Erdogan's backed terrorists.

The Kurdish PKK is just one such groups.. There're many other groups seeking revenge on Turkey for their negative role in Syria and it's only a matter of time before the blood-letting flow in Turkey itself. You can pretend this is not the case, but that won't make it true.

Go to the areas destroyed by those Turkish backed terrorists and you'll know how they feel.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 20 2013 14:35 utc | 18

'b' said above:

"A Kurdish resident of Ras al-Ain, who said he opposed al-Assad’s regime, said the jihadists crossed the Turkish border with three tanks into Ras al-Ain on Jan. 17. This is not a small gang infiltrating over the green border but a larger infantry formations accompanied by tanks passing at the normal border crosspoint. It is impossible that the Turkish guards at that border crossing missed these."

Thus 'b' thinks an unverified claim by anonymous dude in Ras al-Ain has got more credibility than the entire Turkish government and the entire institution of Turkish border law and border bureaucracy. 'b' has been thinking and talking like that since I first visited this board last year and he has never delivered decent evidence to support it. He is senselessly prejudiced and incorrigible on this question. He reminds me of Susan Rice, but with a different set of ill-founded prejudices. (Susan Rice thinks the entirety of the Syrian government is composed of compulsive and irrational liars).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 20 2013 14:48 utc | 19

18 Cycles of Revenge

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2013 15:01 utc | 20

Going Offtopic. 'somebody' #11 linked to a story from six months ago in Turkey where a Turkish person was prosecuted for "insulting religious values" and the Turkish person being prosecuted said "I am perhaps the first person anywhere in the world to be the object of a judicial inquiry for declaring that they are an atheist." He is badly misinformed about that (see e.g.). The very fact that he could have that wrong notion goes to illustrate that toleration for personal religious beliefs has been the norm in Islamic countries (even though there's not much toleration for proselytizing).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 20 2013 15:10 utc | 21

I agree the pianist takes himself a bit too much out of the ordinary.
The Catholic church has been unsurpassed for backwardness and intolerance for centuries since they insisted that the earth was flat, however, Saudi Arabia comes close.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2013 15:42 utc | 22


Please, enlighten us as to your knowledge of "the entire institution of Turkish border law", though bear in mind the state of integrity of this "institution" in light of the fact that the Turkish Government is sending arms and personnel across the border, and providing safe passage for terrorists.


"I would argue that the armed fight makes sure there is no sympathy for Kurdish issues in Turkey, and as it is directed against the Turkish state, and is instrumentalized by foreign powers, Turkey has the full right to retaliate. The Turkish terrorism act is used against all of the Turkish opposition and the PKK gave the Turkish government the justification for that act."

Shame the Turkish Government doesn't recognise the Syrian Government's equal right. No pity from me for conniving hypocrites

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 20 2013 16:50 utc | 23

@ Pat Bateman: I've did so before on this board at least twice last year. I'm not going to take time to go into another chat about it. A summary of Turkish law is:

(1) It is illegal for weapons to pass from Turkey into Syria.

(2) It is illegal for Syrian rebels to possess weapons on Turkish soil.

(3) It is legal for Syrians including active rebels to enter Turkey, then go back into Syria again, then re-enter Turkey again. (That is unlike the law in Jordan, where Syrian refugees are permitted to stay in Jordan under the condition that if they return to Syria they cannot again return to Jordan). But Syrians including the active rebels who enter Turkey must go to government-run concentration camps: they cannot roam about unsupervised in Turkey. It is illegal for Syrian rebels, even unarmed ones, to be at large in Turkey except for going to or from a concentration camp.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 20 2013 17:45 utc | 24

24) The New York Times seems to report complete nonsene then

Turkish security services insist that they are closely patrolling the 550-mile border. But medical supplies, matériel and fighters slide across the frontier every night, making this charming, quaint part of Turkey the most important base for the growing Syrian rebellion.

“The Turkish police are watching the border, but with their eyes closed,” said Ahmed al-Debisi, a Syrian pharmacist and opposition member based in Antakya, who is trying to clandestinely make gas masks out of Coke cans and cotton balls, in case the government of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, unleashes chemical weapons.

Syria’s intensifying civil war is turning into a raging national security headache for Turkey. Beyond the strain of hosting more than 40,000 refugees — which Turkish officials said was initially manageable but is now “creating problems” — a Syrian border post just fell into the hands of a group linked to Al Qaeda, and about a dozen Libyan fighters with bushy beards and black backpacks were recently spotted hanging around Antakya’s main hospital, waiting for their wounded “brothers.”

It seems the Antakya area is becoming a magnet for foreign jihadis, who are flocking into Turkey to fight a holy war in Syria. One Turkish truck driver said he passed through the Bab al-Hawa border post on Wednesday night and spotted four foreign fighters with guns and rough Arabic accents, leading him to believe they were Pakistani, Afghan or possibly Chechen.

Another border zone, just inside Syria, was seized by Kurdish militias, leaving the Turks deeply concerned that the rapid unraveling of the Assad government could reinvigorate Kurdish militants in Turkey.

When asked a few days ago whether Turkey would strike inside Syria if Kurdish militants used Syria as a base, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said: “That’s not even a matter of discussion; it is a given.”

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2013 18:01 utc | 25

Pretty funny to fall back on the argument about Turkish law, when the cow has already escaped from the barn. The law is but a minor annoyance for Erdogan, who has obviously made his bed with Washington.

Posted by: Copeland | Jan 20 2013 18:09 utc | 26

@Pirouz_2 - I have traveled in Kurdish parts of Turkey. It's a while ago but I think my observations still hold. Many poor people compared to western Turkey. a lot of military suppression in daily living circumstances.

Just one example. Traveling in a minibus taxi a military checkpoint decide to hold us up to search the Kurdish drivers - the drivers cigarettes and the co-drivers wallet were stolen by Turkish soldiers. (They didn't dare to touch my stuff.) That was a daily, normal incident. Living under such circumstances just builds hate.

Then again - my critic on the Kurds and their attempt to build a state is that they never manage to get onto one plan and onto one way of action. They always divide as soon as there is room to do so. See right now where the Kurds in north Iran are currently in love with Erdogan to sell their oil even as Erdogan bombs the hell out of their cousins. They will never get anywhere unless they unite which is something they seem incapable of.

Posted by: b | Jan 20 2013 18:30 utc | 27

@Parviziyi - there have been hundreds of reports from "western" reporters who crossed, together with insurgents, from Turkey into Syria. There is no doubt, zero, that Turkey is allowing this and also distributes and allows arms to flow into Syria. Its artillery even helped the insurgents to take the border stations. This is simply a fact that the world, except you, has acknowledged.

Clashes getting severer in Serêkaniyê

Clashes between Turkey-backed armed groups and People's Defense Units (YPG) forces are getting severer in the West Kurdistan city of Serêkaniyê. At least 84 members of the armed groups were killed by YPG forces in clashes from 16 to 18 January.

The armed groups, reportedly called Ahrar-ı Resul, Ahrar Heran and Şuheda El Tahiriye, entered the city by crossing the border over Turkey on 16 January. The groups which are armored with heavy weapons and tanks launched an expansive attack on the same day, targeting the civilian locations as well. The group was immediately responded by YPG forces, fighters responsible for ensuring the security in the Kurdish area.

The most recent attack of the armed groups was carried out with seven tanks which were also brought into the city via Turkey-Syria borders. The attack heavily damaged the houses and the sub-structure of the city. Three tanks of the armed groups were destroyed and one other was damaged by YPG forces.

Posted by: b | Jan 20 2013 18:47 utc | 28

Erdogan Sends Jihadists To Kill Kurds

Probably to finish the job the FSA started.

The DKos blogger "InAntalya" posted this on Jan 17. There is a description of fighting in the Syria border town of Ras al-Ayn by the FSA. The FSA is headquartered in Turkey. "InAntalya" is familiar with al-Nusrah but inexplicably doesn't mention the jihadists here. In any case the border fighting is (1) Turk-supported and (2) doesn't involve Damascus.

Today schools in Ceylanpınar, Turkey are once again closed due to fighting just across the border in Ras al-Ayn, Syria.

Sporadic fighting in and around Ras al-Ayn has continued since the town was attacked by FSA forces last November and major battles broke out there again yesterday afternoon and last night. The streets of Ceylanpınar were deserted yesterday afternoon and last night because bullets from these battles were being fired across the border into the town. As a precaution the Turkish government closed all schools in and near Ceylanpınar today.

The fighting is between Kurdish forces and FSA forces and there are reports that rival FSA forces are also attacking each other. Wounded FSA forces are being transported across the border and treated in Turkish hospitals. Many deaths are being reported but no numbers have been given.

Until last November Ras al-Ayn had been a quiet peaceful farm town with a population of about 50,000 in northwestern Syria on the Turkish-Syrian border when it was attacked, and much of it occupied, by FSA forces who were not from the area. Ras al-Ayn, which had a majority of Kurds and also had significant populations of Arabs, Christians and Chechens, has been generally deserted since last November when many (est. at 30,000+) of its residents fled from the fighting and crossed the border into Turkey. The total number of Syrian refugees in the two nearest refugee camps (Ceylanpınar and Akçakale) grew from about 36,000 to about 66,000 during this period.

There are now as many Syrians (36,000 registered Syrian refugees and 10,000 or more non-registered Syrians) living in the town of Ceylanpınar, Turkey (population in 2010 45,000) as Turkish citizens. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2013 19:46 utc | 29

Parviziyi - 19, 24

The Turkey you are defending exists in the same imaginary manner as the USA who invaded Iraq to bring them democracy and the Israel who is interested in an equable settlement in Palestine.

Zico 18

There are quite a few people in Turkey opposed to what their government is doing in Syria and how the Kurds are being repressed. There have been many protests. Many Turks are also sickened by the way their government sucks up to Israel and the USA and see through the scam Erdogan has been running about his past "fight" with his Israel-American string-pullers (Mavi Marmara, Gaza). But as with Europe, America and all the rest of the Israeli-American colonies, the protests are mostly ignored by the governments, who in true capitalist form, only answer to the wishes of the most powerful oligarchs, and use their military to enforce what the oligarchs decree.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 20:18 utc | 30

Jihadists in Syria:
--Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), the most active. Blogger InAntalya makes the point (which I had missed) that the US designated JN as an alias for al-Qaeda-Iraq (AQI) and not as an independent Syria rebel group.
--Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), a conglomeration of eleven "brigades" outside the FSA. SIF is a collection of locally focused jihadists with no known connections to al-Qaeda.
--Syrian Liberation Front (SLF), another grouping of so-called brigades outside the FSA. The SLF hopes to establish an Islamic state in Syria. Its members are a mix of Muslim Brotherhood-type Islamists and Salafists who are less radical than those in the SIF and JN.

These groups are all outside the Supreme Military Council (SMC) established recently by the US to oversee anti-Syria military action

Also there is the Free Syria Army (FSA), leader currently unknown, with its many disparate groups. Rebel commanders who fight under the Free Syrian Army banners say they have become increasingly angered by the behavior of jihadist groups, especially the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, who they say aim to hijack the goals of the revolution.

There are various Kurdish groups, some wanting an independent Kurdish state and not merely another autocratic Syria government. Recently the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) and the Free Syrian Army have fought in the city of Ras al-Ayn, with the FSA supported by Turkey. It's the US-favored divide-and-conquer strategy to set Kurds and Arabs against each other. The YPG has been linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the most powerful Kurdish party in Syria, which has been accused of ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which concerns the FSA.

It's a witch's brew.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2013 21:09 utc | 31

Things are not looking up for the terrorist mercs attacking Syria...

The Bared Teeth of the Syrian War: Qatar Feels the Brunt

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 21:16 utc | 32

On the question of Turkey, ask yourself: which part of the word "illegal" do you not understand?

I asked that question on this board on 9 Nov 2012, and what I said then still stands today;

Regarding the enforcement of the Turkish law, I said more than once in earlier threads: "The law is enforced to a very substantial degree (even though there is room for making it more effective more comprehensively)." We'd like to see more vigorous enforcement of the law on the Turkish side of the border. But please remember that the Syrian side is having difficulties too in enforcing its border laws on Syria's side of the border, and the border authorities in Lebanon are having similar difficulties in northern Lebanon. Some cross-border movement of weapons from Turkey to Syria has been happening, for sure. But one shouldn't accuse the Turkish border authorities of bad faith, deceit, malfeasance, and violating their own laws, when the cross-border movement of weapons can be explained by -- certainly to some degree, if no wholly -- the practical difficulties of enforcement which are comparable to the practical difficulties that Syrian and Lebanese border authorities are experiencing.

Words of the wise: "Never ascribe to bad faith what can be explained by incompetence."

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 20 2013 22:02 utc | 33

Parviziyi - 33

"which part of the word "illegal" do you not understand?"

I thought only New Yorkers and New Jerseyites were the people who used the grating turn of phrase:

Which part of "x" do you not understand?

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 22:37 utc | 34

Turkey: War to last until PKK leave

"The terror organization (the PKK) must give an end to its actions, withdraw abroad, and lay down their arms. And we will give our best support to the process," Endogen said in southern Gaziantep province on Sunday.

He added that the Turkish Army would not launch attacks against PKK fighters if they were leaving the country."

I supposed that is why Turkey bombed Kurds in Iraq and have had their terrorist proxies cross the Syria border to terrorise Kurdish people living in Syria, all in the last week. Perhaps Turkey thinks of their country's territory as being that of the past Ottoman Empire?

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 23:00 utc | 35

Turkey has a consulate in Iraq Kurdistan which issues visas, and a Turkish bank has recently opened in Erbil. It's Syrian and Turk Kurds that Turkey hates. So choosy. Let's see if it works.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2013 23:21 utc | 36

вот так @ 32.
Glad I checked. I was was going to post a link to that article.
As a regular lurker there, I've found that V-net's (borrowed and home-grown) perspectives on Syria have been consistently more reliable than most others on and off the www.
One of the things I like about Meyssan/V-net is that he doesn't feel obliged to add posts on a daily basis. Thus, V-net only 'talks' when it has something to say - unlike the MSM.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 21 2013 0:30 utc | 37

Hoarsewhisperer - 37

I find Voltairenet a fairly reliable source. There doesn't seem to be that many left any more now that quite few progressive sites are using all manner of disguised (and sometimes open) methods to push R2P and other establishment agendas.

It's depressing to see the same sort of establishment control of the msm swallowing up alternative websites.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21 2013 0:54 utc | 38

Interesting interview with Marat Musin:
War in Syria will be over in July 2013

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2013 8:42 utc | 39

I doubt this has anything to do with Turkey, Kurds or the PKK, but it is a very strange incident. The people involved are ethnic Turks in Bulgaria.

Find attack mastermind: Bulgarian party

One can watch a video of the incident as it happened here:

Point blank: Man aims gun at head of Bulgarian politician during speech (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

It's graphic because the attacker became the attackee. The man pointed a gas pistol at Dogan, who quickly knocked it from his hand, then many people in the audience jumped the guy and began wailing on him. The strange thing about this attack is the attacker used a non-lethal weapon. What did he want to happen? Scare Dogan? The attacker obviously was unprepared, and totally surprised - look at his face, when Dogan disarmed him, and it was clear by his actions he had no idea of what to do at that point.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21 2013 9:29 utc | 40

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 20, 2013 9:48:48 AM | 19
like whoa!:

so whats got Partviziyi suddenly to attack 'b'?

well its interesting how govts do thing collectively...which may have to do with the fact they are parties of men and women with party loyalies

Posted by: brian | Jan 21 2013 10:30 utc | 41

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20, 2013 3:18:05 PM | 30

interesting objection to Parviziyi....govts tend to act many republicans or members of Bush regime opposed neocon war on iraq or afghanistan?

Posted by: brian | Jan 21 2013 10:37 utc | 42

I'm not attacking 'b'. I'm saying there is no intelligent basis for anyone to believe that the Turkish border authorities are intentionally not enforcing Turkish law.

'b' says his basis is "there have been hundreds of reports from "western" reporters..." I don't read the western newspapers nearly as much as 'b' does. So I'm not well qualified to get into an argument about what's in the newspapers. But still I'll venture to say that "hundreds of reports" would averge out at something like one report every other day for the last year (not counting duplicate reports, of course), and thus, if you think about it, it has to be a great exaggeration. Perhaps there have been tens of reports. I've only come across about ten reports myself. In most of those reports the weapons were carefully smuggled at night to avoid Turkish law enforcement; and the rest are thoroughly unverified and unverifiable ancedotes from unreliable anonymous locals (just like the one at Ras al-Ain quoted by 'b' at the top of this thread). As I've said before (sigh), we aren't getting any verification from Turkish officials who are in a position to know, if it were happening "there would be enough disapproving Turkish individuals involved in the operation that whistle-blowing would be inevitable."

To maintain a belief like 'b' maintains, you'd have to believe that the whole Turkish State -- not just top officials, but all enforcement officials all the way down the line to the policemen on the streets -- are big liars who are deviously conspiring to violate their own laws -- laws which they say are good and virtuous and not to be changed. It's counterintuitive, to put it politely.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 21 2013 12:47 utc | 43

#43, sigh

Bab al Hawa: Legal Smuggling

Does this sound like real life to you? The way you talk does not.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2013 13:57 utc | 44

@Parvizi #43 etc.

The Turkish government just conducted a mass arrest against over 80 people, accusing them of spying for Syria and Greece. Among those arrested were leftist lawyers who had just given a TV interview claiming that they had collected evidence in Beirut and Damascus of Turkey's government's border violations in aiding the insurgency:

Nine of the 15 lawyers were reportedly members of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), chaired by Selçuk Kozağaçlı.

The police added that the suspects did not cooperate with the security forces, and that they were then forced to break in and burn CDs and documents.

Kozağaçlı in a statement posted online said that the spying allegations were “ridiculous, especially when they come from people that cannot go to the bathroom without the United States’ permission, and from those that cannot enter NATO bases in their own country.”

Turkish leftists are seen to be generally critical of Turkey’s western-aligned policy towards Syria, accusing the government of having imperialist ambitions and allowing Salafi organizations to enter Syria via Turkey for the transferring of arms.

Kozağaçlı said that they were being persecuted for defending the rights of Syrians and oppressed peoples in Turkey.

Just before he was detained on Sunday morning, Kozağaçlı had told left leaning IMC TV, that they were in Damascus and Beirut meeting with officials and collecting evidence against Turkey in their treatment of Syria.

He had said that they had collected documented proof around those that had opened “the borders [of Turkey] to armed assailants which are killing, raping and looting Syrian people.”

We are the lawyers of the Turks, the Arabs, and the Kurds,” Kozağaçlı told the online T-24 newspaper.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 21 2013 19:10 utc | 45

‘There are countries that benefit from the war in Syria. Israel is the first among these countries’ – Lebanese politician

"I have already endured a heavy experience of the civil war in Lebanon. Judging by this experience, Syria has embarked on the long path of instability. And, unfortunately, the games that some influential states play in the region facilitate it. There are countries that benefit from the war in Syria. Israel is the first among these countries.

The problem is that America does not show real interest in peace either. Maybe (I emphasize – “maybe”) they want to destroy Syria in order to build their “new Middle East”, and in the meantime createchaos, leaving Israel to take control over the region."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21 2013 19:13 utc | 46

Russian Committee: Armed Groups in Syria Recruit Children in Battle

"Russian Committee for Solidarity with Syria underlined that the armed terrorist groups in Syria "recruit children and force them to take up weapons and to participate in battles against the Syrian Army and state."

In a statement published on Monday, the Committee pointed out that these acts contradict the international law that prohibits mustering or recruiting children under fifteen in forces or armed groups and considers misusing them in conflicts as a crime whether through the direct participation in battles or through reconnaissance, espionage and disobedience or using them as a means for information or camouflage.

The statement pointed out that it is important for the world to know and be informed of the practices of this "fake revolution" in Syria."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 1:52 utc | 47

This is a fairly informative interview with Assad.

Syria to save ties with Turkish nation; Erdoğan govt. ‘transitory’


“We should distinguish between the countries and their nations. The question is what should be our position toward their nations or governments. Should we tolerate and keep ties or resort to taking revenge? For example, Turkish government position on Syria is clear. Turkey has directly intervened in killing Syrian people. When we took a policy of mutual relations, we did not see it in terms of individual statesmen. Individuals come and go.”

“We see our 9 decades of crisis-prone relations with Turkey and, determined to continue current stability, will not return our policies to the past for ignorance of some politicians in Turkey.”

“Syria highly evaluates relations with Turkish nation. They have expressed their support for us since the outbreak of crisis, and have not swerved from their direct path under the impact of media propaganda, and costly campaigns.”

“We must think for nations, since governments are transitory. So, we should not react before enough thinking, since nations would be our supporters, and any government lacking popular legitimacy, would remain weak.”

It was speculated on this site a short while ago that once the terrorists were eradicated, Syria would seek revenge. From what Assad said in this interview, I doubt he would be that stupid to do that, or let it happen.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 2:20 utc | 48

Turkish MP blasts foreign intervention in Syria

"Mehmet Ali Edib-oğlu, representative for Hatay, a strategic city in Turkish-Syrian border has been elected for Hatay seat in Turkish Parliament with high percent of votes from Alevis. Turkish nationalists and anti-Israelis know him for his role in uncovering selling of land to Israelis by Turkish government and his critiques of Erduğan administration.

In an interview to Mehr News Agency, Ediboğlu pointed to foreign interventions in Syria and said that energy-seeking attempts were interpreted as democracy in Syria, and foreign countries had targeted energy resources in Syria."

The English is a little off, but what is meant should be clear enough. There is a wide spectrum of dissent with the direction Turkey is taking, within Turkey. Erdogan may soon find himself in similar shoes as Israel-America's Saakashvili in Georgia.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 2:37 utc | 49

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21, 2013 9:37:14 PM | 49

erDOGan is digging his own grave, or is he looking for a bone buried by his masters? alas he has destroyed his reputation...for what?

Posted by: brian | Jan 22 2013 7:25 utc | 50

Is anyone familiar with the news organization AINA and its reliability as a source? It has published a Saudi memo about condemned prisoners being sent to Syria to be trained as insurgents:

News agency AINA published Sunday the April 2012 memo from the Saudi Ministry of Interior, revealing that Saudi Arabia had negotiated with 1,239 prisoners slated for execution to be trained and sent to “jihad in Syria” in return for a full pardon and a monthly stipend to their families.

The document also stipulated that the prisoners’ families would “be prevented from traveling outside Saudi Arabia.”

While 212 of the inmates were Saudi, the majority of those concerned were foreigners. The prisoners mentioned in the memo hailed from Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.
While Riyadh has publicly denied the existence of this program, it allegedly recognizes it in private circles.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 22 2013 17:43 utc | 51

From a public opinion poll carried out in Turkey in early January 2013, there's polling evidence that the ruling AKP party is vulnerable and can be beaten in the next parliamentary election in Turkey if the opposition parties don't mess up their opportunity:

Some results from the poll:

(1) 53% of respondents thought the government was pursuing a successful foreign policy, and that's down from 71% of respondents who thought so when the same question was asked in a poll in December 2011.

(2) When asked about the government's performance in the field of economy in 2012, 57% said they find it successful, and that's down from the 70% who said so in the survey in December 2011.

(3) Erdogan and the AKP party is advocting for a constitutional switch from a UK-style parliamentary government system to a US-style presidential system, and according to the survey 37% of the people support this proposal (44% oppose) and that was a decline since a poll in June 2012 when the level of support was 43%.

(4) In response to a question on whether they support the removal of a school uniform requirement for primary, middle and high school students, 71% percent said “no”, and yet the requirement was abolished by the government in September of last year.

(5) 51% voiced disapproval of government plans to construct nuclear power plants while 35% said they approve.

(6) When asked if they believe Turkish security forces were successful in fighting the Kurdish nationalist PKK in 2012, 36% of respondents said “yes” and 58% said “no”.

(7) On the matter of corruption, 52% said they thought corruption increased last year.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 22 2013 19:52 utc | 52

Rusty Pipes - 51

I remember this use of prisoners being discussed last year. See this short article, also:

Saudi Arabia sent prisoners to fight in Syria

The Syrians are only finding ID papers on a portion of the bodies of the terrorists killed fighting them. It's speculated most of these are foreigners, brought in to Syria, and they don't carry ID so their origin cant be easily determined.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 20:23 utc | 53

People's Party Launches Initiative to Resolve Status of Citizen Misled Into Bearing Arms

"The People's Party launched an initiative titled "Enough and How Long?" which calls upon those who willing to put down their weapons to turn themselves in so that their legal status can be resolved, with the Party pledging to provide the necessary guarantees.

In a press conference, Secretary of the Party Nawwaf Tarrad al-Milhem said that this intiativie is inspired by the recent speech of President Bashar al-Assad and is based on the Party's goals and desire to help end violence and launch dialogue.

Al-Milhem said that his Party guarantees that those who turn themselves in will have their legal status fully resolved and will be released to return to their families, pledging to help those who want to leave hotspots find shelter and necessities until the crisis is over.

He added that the Party will contact those who have personal claims and seek to convince them to drop their right of action in order to achieve national reconciliation.

Al-Milhem also called upon Syrians who were forced into taking refuge in neighboring countries and who were exploited and currently live in difficult conditions to return to Syria, vowing that their status will be resolved and that they will be provided with decent housing."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 21:07 utc | 54

In Lebanon, Israel loses a major asset:

Highest-paid Israeli spy caught in Baalbak

"Yari, a former member of the Baalbak City Council, and a former employee of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, was said to have received a total of $600,000 as an Israeli informant, making him the highest-paid spy caught to-date in Lebanon.

He had been working with Mossad for 23 years since 1990 during which he went through several rounds of intelligence training."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 22 2013 21:25 utc | 55

As linked at #52 above, an opinion poll in Turkey published yesterday shows that support for the ruling AKP is slipping among the Turkish public. However, more results from the same poll published today shows that the opposition parties have not been gaining from the government's slippage. Also shows that prime minister Erdogan and president Abdullah Gul are popular. Whereas Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the largest opposition party, is not popular. Kılıçdaroğlu gets a negative rating from 59% of poll respondents:

Pollsters also asked if the respondents like President Abdullah Gül and his way of handling issues. More than 75 percent said they like the president, and only 17.6 percent said they do not like the president. More than 62 percent said they like the prime minister while 30.5 percent disagreed. As for Kılıçdaroğlu, 30.6 percent said they like him, and 59 percent said they do not like him.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 23 2013 16:57 utc | 56

Have you been following the Syrian Electronic Army leaks at Al-Akhbar (Al-Akhbar claims to have authenticated them)? Today, AA published a few Qatar memos related to the Arab Spring, Libya and Syria: 6/12, Mursi and Qatar's PM; 3/11, Davutaglu and Qatar's PM; 10/11, Davutaglu and Qatar's Crown Prince.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 23 2013 20:55 utc | 57

Syria Calls for Approving Palestine's Request for Full UN Membership

"Syria on Wednesday called upon the Security Council to approve the Palestinian state's request for obtaining a full membership in the United Nations with ensuring the restoration of all the Palestinian legitimate rights, including the right of return and compensation for their losses according to General Assembly resolution no. 194 for 1984.

Delivering a statement during an open Security Council session to discuss the situation in the Middle East, Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al- Jaafari, expressed welcome of the presence of Riyad al-Maliki, the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, which was only able to obtain a non-member observer state in the UN after over 65 years from the issuance of resolution no. 181.

Al-Jaafari considered this as "a first step on the path of restoring the Palestinian people's inalienable right to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital on the line of June 4, 1967."

"The Palestinian people have been undergoing the ugliest forms of expansionist racist occupation for 65 years," al-Jaarafi said, adding that he is almost certain that "the Palestinian people cast a suspicious eye on our regular nominal meetings here."

"How couldn't they?" al-Jaafari wondered, when the Security Council has so far failed to put an end to their sufferings and could not be able to help them restore their legitimate rights throughout 65 years.

He continued to say "If we want to maintain the remaining credibility of the UN, and if we want to prevent the chances of war and consolidate those of peace in our region…we should take tangible procedures to end the disability of the UN to carry out its duties regarding ending the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories"...

This is one of the main reasons Israel insists upon the devastation of Syria. It's also who so many so-called progressives promote the Israeli-American war against Syria.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 24 2013 10:38 utc | 58

But I thought Israel was Assad's buddy? At least that was one of the lines used by the so-called progressive "anti-zionist" pundits used to try and sell Israeli-American aggression against Syria to people on the left.

Israeli DM: Lack of Syria Invasion a ‘Lesson’ to Israel
Can't Count on Other Nations to Start Wars, Warns Barak

"Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke at the World Economic Forum today to caution that the lack of anyone invading Syria proved to Israel that the international community couldn’t be counted on to invade Iran either."

In other words, Israel needs to step up the dirty tricks more, and do anything else it can get away with doing, to "persuade" those governments who are derelict in their duty to Israel.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 25 2013 17:07 utc | 59

Venezuela and Cuba Condemn Supporting Terrorists in Syria

"Venezuela and Cuba condemned on Thursday some countries' continuation of supporting terrorists in Syria, calling for respecting Syria's sovereignty and non-interference in its internal affairs."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 25 2013 17:17 utc | 60

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