Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2013

Assad Stays While Erdogan Goes?

Reuters reports that the U.S. and the British government have somewhat given up on regime change in Syria:

Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace next month talks may not lead to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration, opposition sources said.
"Our Western friends made it clear in London that Assad cannot be allowed to go now because they think chaos and an Islamist militant takeover would ensue," said one senior member of the Coalition who is close to officials from Saudi Arabia.

So the "west" has agreed that Assad will stay as will the government structure around him. Good.

But down in the report is some bad news:

[O]pposition activists in Syria have said that Turkey has let a weapons consignment cross into Syria to the Islamic Front, the rebel group that overran the Bab al-Hawa border crossing last week, seizing arms and Western equipment supplied to non-Islamists.

That Erdogan is supplying the Saudi financed Islamic Front, who's leader has no profound ideological difference with AlQaeda, will not be liked by Turkey's NATO allies who want to get rid of these guys.

That issue will only add to Erdogan's troubles. Yesterday the police in Istanbul arrested dozens of people related to Erdogan's AK Party including the sons of three ministers involved in a number of graft cases. Just hours later the five police leaders responsible for the case were fired and two new prosecutors were named to oversee the whitewash of the issue. More police chiefs were fired today after the justice minister intervened. This hasty cover-up seems to show that the cases are valid. This corruption and justice scandal comes on top of a fight between Erdogan and the powerful Gülen movement which had supported Erdogan throughout the last elections. Lacking Gülen support his chances to win the three elections coming up next year are now seriously diminished.

It seems more and more likely that Erdogan will have to leave his office before the Syrian president leaves his. That would be a quite fair historic outcome.

Posted by b on December 18, 2013 at 16:23 UTC | Permalink


An interesting story that was easily missed from a few days back was one that appeared in the NYT; it was on Valerie Amos, the Brit who is the top relief official at the United Nations. She is taking heat because she is seen as being too cooperative with the Syrian government.

The humanitarian bombers at Human Rights Watch are lobbying for a binding Security Council resolution authorizing the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid across all Syrian borders. The border they have their eyes on is the Turkish one. I interpret this as a sign that things are not going all that well for the jihadis in the north.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Dec 18 2013 18:18 utc | 1

oh yes,i agree b. on another note i gotta say that as a veteran of truley nonviolent protests, those assholes in kiev,if they'd done the same ANYWHERE in the "west" ('specially in th' usa) they'da been DEAD, IN JAIL, or SCATTERED TO THE FOUR WINDS!!!!!

Posted by: bfrakes | Dec 18 2013 18:19 utc | 2

Apparently the police has found 4,5 million dollars in the house of the director of the (state-owned) bank who was arrested yesterday
العثور على 4.5 مليون دولار نقدا في منزل مدير تنفيذي لبنك حكومي تركي :روسيا اليوم

Posted by: Mina | Dec 18 2013 20:49 utc | 3

Erdogan wanted to get rid of the powerful military influence over turkish politics. To do that he needed the support of the Gülen movement. He thought he could tame the Gülen movement. But the Gülen movement is already so deep infiltrated into turkish society that I think Erdogan and his party doesn't stand a chance in defeating Gülen & his movement. I think, Erdogan's, Gül's & the AKP's days are numbered.

But Gülen & his movement is supported by ...... (surprise, surprise) the United States. The US are supporting that movement in order to undermine russian influence in Central Asia.

The US has a VERY long history of supporting muslim governments/regimes in order to counter russian influence in the Middle East.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 18 2013 22:07 utc | 4

Meanwhile Obama test nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 18 2013 22:50 utc | 7

its these sorts of lies that expose the liar, the guy they are campaigning for and the media used to foghorn them

According to the Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson, Dr Khan went to help the "people of Syria" by helping the injured "soldiers and fighters" (who are Killing them)!!!

In his interview with the BBC, he says; "The information we have is that Dr Khan traveled to Syria just over a year ago to help treat soldiers and fighters injured in the Syrian civil war. He initially started at Aleppo where he was snatched by the Syrian regime who at some stage transferred him to Damascus. The Syrian regime alleged that he entered Syria illegally and that he was treating rebel fighters, but the fact remains that he went to Syria to help the people of Syria that are affected by the civil war"!!!

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 0:32 utc | 8

'The humanitarian bombers at Human Rights Watch;

the right to bomb is the right to be free!

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 0:36 utc | 9

From the first par of b's Reuters extract ...

Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace next month talks may not lead to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration, opposition sources said.

Is it just me, or is that yet another example of the arrogant, illegal, right-to-interfere self-deception to which Western (so-called) leaders have become addicted?

It's more than a little bizarre when the cause of a disease grows a mouth and starts touting itself as the cure.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 19 2013 1:05 utc | 10

One could make a persuasive case that the Erdogan Regime supported the Syrian 'rebels' because the turmoil helped deflect attention from the increasingly obvious fact that most of its hi-ranking members were only there to line their own pockets - no matter what the cost to the Turkish People (which imo has been very, very high).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 19 2013 1:17 utc | 11

It will certainly be "fair" between Assad and Erdogan - but what about those 100,000 dead Syrians?

The fact that the ZATO goons can still get away with this kind of shit is appalling.

May it be the last.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 19 2013 3:43 utc | 12

We are not allowing sufficiently for the possibility that CIA is backing one set of horses and Pentagon is backing another.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 19 2013 6:55 utc | 13

Garikai Chengu ‏@ChenguGold 2m
Al Qaeda has been America's most profitable foreign investment. It has allowed Washington to invade oil rich nations from Iraq to Niger.

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 7:28 utc | 14

a fartwa for syrian the western world, thisd be known as a CONTRACT

one nasty feature of islam is this fartwa, which can be given it see any anyone, and is little more than a contract to kill someone

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 12:53 utc | 15

Forbes befuddled: a black US president or russias independent leader" which is the lesser evil to be crowned Number 1?

Forbes wouldnt try to lead people by framing he persons addressed, would they?

so here is how they describe Putin and Obama

'Who’s more powerful: the autocratic leader of a former superpower or the handcuffed commander in chief of the most dominant country in the world?'

Putin autocratic? Obama handcuffed? hancuffed by whom?

or a strong capable independent leader, who brought his country back from the brink of extinction, who knows how to lead, and an other who seems to prefer to defer to shadowy figures behind the scenes...

is how that could be rephrased.

Autocracy is what you can detect in Forbes itself, in its effortrs to control our view of Putin and Obama

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 13:16 utc | 16

"We are not allowing sufficiently for the possibility that CIA is backing one set of horses and Pentagon is backing another."

And the State Department a third, while fund raisers for 2014 Congressional candidates find donors with ideas of their own...And all these various interests will have their own factions of support within the Pentagon (Special Ops vs Army; Air Force vs Navy etc etc) and the CIA (Torturers vs Strategic thinkers. Assassins vs diplomatic schemers).

Such is the nature of an Empire with millions of individuals given security clearances and a Defense budget which supports hundreds of thousands of employees, billions of invested capital and thousands of elected officials from Poland to The Philippines, Japan to Norway...
File under "Reasons to Be Cheerful."

Posted by: bevin | Dec 19 2013 15:36 utc | 17

I have long had the opinion that a big part of the Syria strategy was to get Erdogon to overextend himself. b has had a big influence in that notion. His rise was meteoric, as is his fall

Posted by: scottindallas | Dec 19 2013 16:31 utc | 18

The Gülen movement is important, but

But Gülen & his movement is supported by ...... (surprise, surprise) the United States.

I doubt that the American relationship is worth that much. Gülen is very nationalist Turkish.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 19 2013 21:31 utc | 19

You can behead prisoners and throw pro-regime civilians from rooftops, but as long as you are not officially Al Qaeda (like JN and ISIS) it´s not that bad that you are a Salafi Jihadist. The US could still find a way to consider you "moderate" or otherwise worthy of support:

Posted by: KerKaraje | Dec 19 2013 23:30 utc | 20

"We are not allowing sufficiently for the possibility that CIA is backing one set of horses and Pentagon is backing another."

The U.S. is ruled by the Deep State, or it is the Security State. The State Department is, nominally, in charge of foreign policy. It doesn't mean that they created it. A foreign policy departments are simply follow a national priorities. The difference in comparison with other countries is SD is "nicer" face of general U.S. policy, when it is needed that face is replaced with Pentagon's one.

I am watching carefully the scandal with an Indian diplomat. It is an interesting example of bestiality, and how the US are playing with its (nominal) "ally". She was arrested and humiliated, also scandal with the Russian diplomats too. I've found that State Department is evasive and in uncomfortable in its statements, they were not in control of these events, nor apparently consulted.

Here, in this particular case of Syria, I do not think they can afford a luxury of allowing competition between various security apparatuses.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 19 2013 23:34 utc | 21

Algeria has received latest radar jamming system from Russia. This system has just entred in Russian electronic army system for couple months, huge blow to western military ambitions in the region.

Posted by: brian | Dec 19 2013 23:55 utc | 22

"Lacking Gülen support his chances to win the three elections coming up next year are now seriously diminished."

Not sure about this. This power struggle in the Turkish's upper strata is coming conspicuously in a eve of the elections - in March 2014. While I am not sympathetic for Erdogan I tend to believe him when he said:

“This has both national and international aspects. Some collaborators in the country cooperate with some international circles to undermine Turkey‘s success. First they tried with the Gezi Park protests to topple us, and now with this ‘dirty operation’,” said Erdoğan, who expressed his belief that the Turkish people will respond to “those circles” in the 2014 local elections."

He was caught off guard, somehow. While he is a Muslim, I do not consider him to be: "estranged", "irrational", "detached from reality" etc, an epithets that the western medias love to attach to MENA politicians. Turkish stock market lost $12.7B in a day, and stories and photos of $5M are all over the internet.

Those who has caused calamity of epic proportions in Syria are clipping the wings of a aspiring local hegemon. People like Erdogan, fierce nationalists, are not beloved in globalist circles. Paying in full Turkey's loans to IMF, buying Chinese missiles system, Russian's and Japanese nuclear power plants, flirtation with Putin to join SCO and mockery of the EU openly on press conference are example of his character and a leadership. Yes, he is buying US weaponry but general trend is to be an independent of them.

Tragedy is that he and his administration spearheaded destruction of Syria and murder over 100.000 of innocent individuals and suffering of those who survived.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 20 2013 0:44 utc | 23


This is a recording of a desperate call made earlier by a woman known as Reem, who is currently trapped along with other families in their building and under siege by Armed Terrorists in Adra ..

Reem appeals to the Syrian army through Sham FM Radio, explaining their desperate situation, that she along with other residents have barricaded themselves in their building and have so far managed to fight off the Armed Terrorists ..

Reem then explains that the Terrorists have now placed gas cylinders in the basement of the building, and have given the terrified residents until 6 am this morning (under 5 hours from now) to surrender themselves, or they will blow up the building, and kill them all ...

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 2:03 utc | 24

some good news

On Saturday, November 21, 2013 at 8:30 p.m., #Damascus time, (1:30 p.m. DST), Syrian State Broadcasting will air the confessions of the #cockroaches who murdered one of the #Islamic world's greatest modern theologians, Shaykh Muhammad Sa'eed Ramadhaan Al-Bouti, April 2013. This required the cooperation of all Syrian Security Serrvices as General Security agents (Al-Amn Al-'Aam) used forensic evidence, eyewitness testimony and dogged investigative techniques to finally identify, encircle and trap the gang of murderous villains who took the life of this wonderful man of ethics and brotherhood. The President, Dr. #Assad, must also be acknowledged as the primary force behind the investigation for it was he who told the services to spare no effort to find the killers. It was a personal affront to the president when this icon of religious tolerance was blown apart in a vicious act of terrorism paid for by the Qatari government and effected by others whose identities you are about to hear disclosed.

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 3:19 utc | 26

On Wednesday, State denied that they had any intention of allowing Assad to stay. And indeed, the hearsay story this post is based on, is the kind of thing the Sauds would make up just to embarrass the US, to intimate to global publics that the US is, as it were, "soft on communism":

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 20 2013 4:01 utc | 27

russia let Greenpeace go and even Pussy Riot...lets see if the danes have the same christmas spirit with this political prisoner

Snowden and Assange can look at this man for an idea of their fate

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 6:47 utc | 28

@27 USrael has little idea of the meaning of 'sovereignty' mark of an empire

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 6:48 utc | 29

terrorist and kidnapper who is NHS doctor Meet DR Jekyll ad Mr Hyde

Find terrorist NHS doctor: MI6 lead hunt for extremist on sabbatical from London hospital who held British journalist captive in Syria
British-born doctor was senior member of heavily-armed militant gang that held two photographers captive at a camp in war-torn Syria
Medic told captive John Cantlie he took leave from his post at a leading London hospital to wage 'holy war'
Extremist - who has a wife and child in Britain - intends to return to a job in the NHS when he leaves Syria

'A heavily bearded Islamic fanatic, he told his prisoners he had taken a sabbatical from his NHS job to wage a ‘holy war’ in Syria'
The medic, who said he was 28 and had a wife and child in Britain, was also among the leaders of a group who were planning to behead ‘spies’ and was furious when the execution of two Syrians he believed to be undercover agents was halted.'

Mr Cantlie told the Daily Mail of his British captor: ‘When he told me he was an NHS doctor, I thought it was weird.
‘This is a man who has taken an oath to save people and help them, and here he is walking around with a Kalashnikov and preaching sharia law. There are not any doctors who I know that do that.
‘He clearly believed in what he was doing but to follow something to that extreme is the disturbing thing. He was visibly upset when the execution was called off.’
In a macabre twist, the doctor, who spoke in a South London accent and kept his face covered with sunglasses and a scarf – said he was glad of the experience in Syria as when he returned to Britain
he wanted to specialise in trauma injuries.
Mr Cantlie added: ‘He said treating jihadists wounded in battle was good training and had a pack of gauzes, medicine, IV drips and medical gear.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

thinks he can just return home to his day job....but why wage a holy war on syria and not israel? mark of a religous fanatic,

a sensible comment: 'Can't the mi6 just ask every London hospital what make doctors are on leave then check for any Syrian links or if anyone has flown to Syria' ? hed have flown to turkey or jordan

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 7:58 utc | 30

seeking sanction in the koran to commit murder
Syricide @Syricide 12h
"Command of Jihad"
Twisting Islamic text to accommodate murder.
Lexicon of death cult.
These savages are enemy No.1

Posted by: brian | Dec 20 2013 8:55 utc | 31

that Saddam moment! is Erdogan being thrown to the wolves?
#Turkey's PM Erdogan issues threat to US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone: "We don't have to keep you in our country.";_ylt=A0oG7uDZk7VSdBwANGtXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0ZzNtNmZsBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1ZJUDMwMV8x

Posted by: brian | Dec 21 2013 15:01 utc | 32

@b - in reference to your topic statement:

"It seems more and more likely that Erdogan will have to leave his office before the Syrian president leaves his. That would be a quite fair historic outcome."

I assume it was made regarding Erdogan's stand on Syrian. (I don't agree with it either). We should be careful what we wish for
(past misadventure in the Middle East). Erdogan's stand on Syria is right in line with the Western cabal causing mayhem in the Middle East. So that's an asset in their eyes.
The real issue they have with Erdogan are several, here are a few in my opinion:

1. He doesn't toe the Empire's or NATO's line regarding the Middle East ie too independent (like Iran) That's a sure recipe getting a "color revolution " in your country courtesy of you know who. This corruption scandal is the seed for just such.

2. His close cooperation with Iran, his next door neighbor. Turkey's Halbank has worked with Iran in the financial sector all
along since the unilateral sanctions on Iran by the US. Turkey's economic trade with Iran has seen strong growth year on year. Turkey and Iran enjoy strong political ties despite their differences on Syria.
The US ambassador to Turkey was quote in the Turkish press: "We requested an end of financial ties of Halbank with Iran but they didn't listen. You are watching the collapse of an empire". Disclaimer - US consulate in Turkey denies this.

3. The recent decision by Turkey to purchase Chinese missile systems (NATO can't like that)

PS: Gulen, the Turkish Muslim cleric and supposed adversary of Erdogan, is living in "self imposed" exile in the US as we speak.
Does all this have the earmarks of past Empire adventures?

Posted by: curious | Dec 21 2013 17:14 utc | 33

president al assad will remain while obama, kerry, hollande, cameron will leave.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 21 2013 19:30 utc | 34

Fascinating development: Erdogan threatens to expel US ambassador

Posted by: LLza | Dec 21 2013 19:44 utc | 35

you can hear the joy in the voice of the allah abkaring terrorist with this suicide bombing of a hospital

Syrian Rebel Watch
Footage of a huge 'martyrdom' truck bombing by the Nusra Front outside Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo which was recently overrun by insurgent groups after a long siege.

A recent innovation has been the use of customised armour plated vehicles designed to continue their advance even if they come under fire allowing them to reach their target when previously it might have been impossible.

Suicide attacks have become a key tactic in the conflict with Al Qaeda linked opposition groups known to have carried out dozens, many of them instrumental in bringing about key victories.

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 0:05 utc | 36

Gulen (and that means CIA) is really getting heavy at Erdogan:

Turkish cleric Gulen curses purge of police command
Reuters, Dec 21 2013

ANKARA - Influential Turkish Islamic cleric Feth'ullah Gulen has cursed those responsible for a purge of police officers involved in a corruption investigation, in his first comments on the case that has struck at the heart of the ruling elite. The reclusive preacher has lived in the US since 1999. Gulen's words, invoking God's punishment, raise the stakes in a crisis seen as the biggest challenge to PM Erdogan in 11 years. Erdogan has called the detention of scores of people seen as close to the government a "dirty operation" aimed at undermining his rule. Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts since the detentions began. Erdogan has refrained from naming Gulen, who has influence in the police and judiciary, as the hand behind the investigation. But Gulen's Hizmet (Service) movement has been increasingly at odds with Erdogan in recent months. Gulen said in a recording uploaded to one of his websites on Friday: "Those who don't see the thief, but go after those trying to catch the thief, who don't see the murder, but try to defame others by accusing innocent people: Let God bring fire to their houses, ruin their homes, break their unities!"

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 22 2013 7:22 utc | 37

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 22, 2013 2:22:38 AM | 37

strange that their god cant bring peace, only punishment

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 12:06 utc | 38

president al assad will remain while obama, kerry, hollande, cameron will leave
Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 21, 2013 2:30:05 PM | 34

to be replaced by other clones

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 12:08 utc | 39

"My name is Viggo Mortenson and I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists" #Israel #BDS"”

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 12:14 utc | 40

penny for your thoughts! who bremembers Moazzam Begg, ex Guantanamo prisoner?.its been a while but he is back in the news:

NOW guess what: he may have earned his place in Guantanamo: here is an interview he has with a real life 'syrian rebel',.,...but forget the 'rebel'. and act as if BAKS views were in fact Beggs:

MB: Jazaak Allahu khairan and thank you for taking the time and effort to answer our questions. I wish you the best with your work in Syria

id read this as Begg supporting the islamists in their acts of terrorism against the 'Assad Regime; does Begg see Assad? same as BAK!

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 13:18 utc | 41

Damascus, (SANA)- An armed terrorist group affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra confessed to the assassination of Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti at al-Iman Mosque in Damascus after it was ordered by the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra.

"After that Sheikh al-Bouti criticized Jabhat al-Nusra operations in Syria we were ordered to kill him due to a fatwa by the legislative general official of Jabhat al-Nusra , nicknamed Abu Khadijeh al-Ordoni, " the armed terrorist group said in their confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV on Saturday.

The terrorist group said it was planned to assassinate Sheikh al-Bouti at al-Hamidiyyeh Souk after he finishes a Friday sermon at the Umayyad Mosque while his car passes across the Souk .

"The plan was changed after we get information that Sheikh al-Bouti addresses a religious lesson every Thursday at al-Iman Mosque so the assassination took place at the Mosque," the terrorists said.

They said that the plan of attacking Sheikh al-Bouti car by a person wearing an explosive belt was changed for fears that the car could be armored.

The terrorists added that Jabhat al-Nusra did not adopt the assassination as it was strongly condemned and rejected by the Syrian people because the assassination targeted a religious figure and a big number of worshipers.

On March 21, a suicide bombing targeted Sheikh al-Bouti while he was addressing a religious lesson at al-Iman Mosque.

Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) called, in an interview with the Syrian TV , all the Islamic scholars to be aware of the danger of the Takfiri mentality on the Islam, asserting that Sheikh al-Bouti was able to confront the Wahabbi thinking by his sermons.

For his part, Chairman of Scholars of the Levant, Mohammad Tawfik al-Bouti said that those terrorists are tools in the hand of the Zionism, the US and the conspirators on Islam, the homeland and the Syrian people.

H. Zain/ Ghossoun

Posted by: brian | Dec 22 2013 14:27 utc | 42

A police chief working in Ankara Police Department’s Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Unit has been found dead in his car in Ankara’s Dikmen district.

Authorities think police chief Hakan Yüksekdağ committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a gun, according to initial findings, Doğan News Agency reported.

The late police chief, a father of two, had been working at the Police Department in Ankara since 2011.

Yüksekdağ has been reported as having family issues and debts which may lead to his distress.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 22 2013 15:34 utc | 43

brian @39


Posted by: joe anon 1 | Dec 23 2013 19:24 utc | 44

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