Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 07, 2014

U.S. Finally Reacts To Islamic State Attack On Kobane

After days of doing nothing while the Islamic State fighters encroached on Kobane the U.S. finally started air strikes against IS positions. Reporters near the locations said that several IS tanks were hit.

I assume that it was becoming too awkward to keep up all the rhetoric about the "evil" of the Islamic State while the world media were standing on a hill in south Turkey looking over the border at Kobane, counting the IS tanks surrounding the city and reporting exactly zero U.S. or Turkish attacks on them.

One wonders how the Turkish president Erdogan will feel about these attacks now. He tried to use the Islamic State advance to blackmail first the Kurds in Kobane and then the United States.

His demands to the Kurdish leader of the YPG forces holding the city in exchange for some help were: 1) Cut ties with Assad 2) Join the Free Syrian Army and fight Assad 3) Accept a Turkish buffer zone in Syria on your grounds 4) Stop any striving for independence 5) Do not threaten Turkey. The Kurds rejected these conditions.

Towards the United States Erdogan demanded that the U.S. should set the priority on destroying the Syrian government if it wants any Turkish help in its fight against the Islamic State. It should also install a no-fly-zone over Syria acting, like in Libya, as the insurgent's air force and it should support a Turkish buffer zone within Syria.

Especially after the recent spat between Erdogan and Biden I find it unlikely that Obama agreed to Erdogan's and believe that the air attacks today were ordered against Turkey's wishes.

How will Erdogan respond to this? The Kurds will have taken note of his behavior and the war the Kurdish PKK in Turkey waged against the state may soon become hot again. With his relations with all neighbors and now also with U.S. damaged one of Erdogan's few political successes, the peace negotiations with the Kurds, is now also in tatters. Who will he blame for this latest mistake?

After Washington dithered these attacks now come too late. While over the last week Islamic State forces were more or less out in the open around Kobane and easy targets they are now within the city and thereby much difficult to hit from the air. It is also somewhat disconcerting that the U.S. Central Command reports attacks on Kobane and Ayn al-Arab as two categories as if those were different places and not just the Kurdish and Arabic names for and the very same city.

Still - while the whole campaign against the Islamic State is likely to fail I do find it important that at least the heavy weapons it controls get destroyed before they create more suffering and damage.

Posted by b on October 7, 2014 at 11:45 UTC | Permalink


Erdoğan's most recent statement is curious:

“Kobane is about to fall,” Erdoğan told Syrian refugees on Oct. 7 during a visit to a refugee camp in Gaziantep. “The air strikes will not stop the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]. We need a no-fly zone, safe havens and to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria,” he added.

I guess he has a "no boots on ground (BOG)" position, like Obama. No-fly zone = aerial bombing, which will not stop ISIL. Safe havens in Syria requires BOG. Train & equip moderates? But "Kobane is about to fall" right now.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 7 2014 12:55 utc | 1


Finally reacts?
So you support US strikes now?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 13:13 utc | 2

@Anonymous #2
b - Finally reacts? - So you support US strikes now?

Describing an action does not imply support for that action.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 7 2014 13:32 utc | 3

What is Erdogan's game?

It looks like he would be just as likely to send the tanks to crush the Kurds as he would to fight ISIS.

Is Turkey on the same page as the US or are there competing agendas here?

Posted by: plantman | Oct 7 2014 14:21 utc | 4

The US is not doing much against ISIL because destabilizing Iraq and Syria is a US goal, and Turkey has generally the same agenda in regard to Syria. NATO has said that it would defend Turkey against ISIL, that's all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 7 2014 14:35 utc | 5

Erdogan is a complete weasel. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him.
And, is he really bothered by Isis beating up the Kurds?

Not at all. It's all play-acting.

What Erdogan wants is for the US to implement the no fly zone so he can send his tanks to Damascus and remove his rival Assad. That's what this Kabuki is all about.

And look how Israel is pitching in. The IDF started pounding S Lebanon this morning.
Great. A two-front war, just what Obama wanted.

Posted by: plantman | Oct 7 2014 14:59 utc | 6

There's another complication in the Erdogan story. Erdogan has been a little bit "too independent" to the likings of NATO. He wanted to buy weapons from non NATO countries (e.g. China) and that makes it likely E. will/could be removed from power in Turkey.

But what's the E.'s replacement ? Fetullah Gülen or one of his followers ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 7 2014 16:38 utc | 7

Erdogan's statements have made it crystal clear to Assad that Turkey is to be used as the main US tool for ousting him. But Erdogan has no political mandate for his war against Assad--he seems to be flying apart internally, blasted by his contradictions. I'll be interested to see what Russia does with the Kurds now that they've been thrown under the bus by the Outlaw US Empire and Israel.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 7 2014 17:01 utc | 8

Putin has been trying to make overtures to Erdogan, but this might change things. It's hard to tell.

There's also been a power struggle in Turkey in the last year, which (I thought) Erdogan blamed partly on the US. Am I wrong?

Anyway, the US managed a lousy 5 air strikes on Isis positions which tells me that the Kurds have been sold out again, and that this is all part of the grand plan to redraw the ME map.

Posted by: plantman | Oct 7 2014 17:13 utc | 9

To follow on my previous, the Kurds have gone on the attack as reported by RT--Storming the EU Parliament, demonstrating in large numbers widely across Turkey, and even shutting down a Tube station. NATO now has unplanned Blowback to contend with from people who won't give up, and whose protests have the moral high ground.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 7 2014 17:15 utc | 10

it is encouraging to think the usa will get rid of some of the usa weaponry ISI is using.. whether that is due any new ideological position is hard to say.. it is a bit like trying to understand the words of a fool.. it makes you a fool for trying..

Posted by: james | Oct 7 2014 17:35 utc | 11

2) Always ready to accuse, just like Satan in Rev 12:10.....I will sell you, rash, inane, meaningless, ludicrous, insensate and half baked comments for 5$ Dollars.

Do I hear 5$$$$$$?

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 7 2014 17:40 utc | 12

Could Erdogan been hoping for Syrian aircraft to fly so that Turkey could shoot at them?

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Oct 7 2014 18:06 utc | 13

- Turkey does not allow Syrian planes to help in Kobane. Those who tried were "painted" with attack radar frequencies which says "stay off or you will be dead".

- The Kurds do NOT want any Turkish intervention. They do want the border opened so they can supply and reenforce Kobane. So far the Turkish police is using lots of teargas to keep them away from the border.

- New strategy for the Kurds in Turkey (and European countries) are now demonstrations and riots in the streets to get some help. Looks pretty well orchestrated by the Kurd organizations are well established. But what kind of help they want is badly communicated. They should be clear that they only ask for supplies, not for "boots on the ground". They have themselves enough of those.

Posted by: b | Oct 7 2014 18:27 utc | 14

Doesn't Syria have countermeasures/jammers?

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Oct 7 2014 18:51 utc | 15

If I were Bashar Assad, I would be doing everything I can to encourage the PKK to revolt against Ankara again. A Kurdish revolt in the east would practically guarantee that Erdo-war would be unable to attack Syria himself.

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Oct 7 2014 19:27 utc | 16

Kurds whine whine whine, why dont they ask Israel their friend to help them?
Btw didnt alot of kurds support isis in the beginning, what goes around comes around I guess.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7 2014 19:34 utc | 17

The Arabic name for kobane is Arab Spring - the devil has all the best jokes...

Posted by: bridger | Oct 7 2014 21:36 utc | 18

Is this Turkish Syrian animosity Ottoman hangover or is it just the religious stupidity?I can't fathom why Turkey would kow tow to obvious Western interests(read Israeli)with the Zionist provocations against them,killing their citizens with impunity(Mavi M)and insults(little seats).
The whole thing is mindbogglingly nuts.
Who(GW?) said beware of foreign entanglements?I think he was on to something eh?

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 7 2014 22:36 utc | 19

Erdogan is obsessed that the Turkish army tradionaly secular may attempt another coup against the Ismalist AKP. Thus Erdogan hates the military, that's one of the reason he hates Egypt's Al Sissi.
Therefore he does not want that the Turkish army gets any heroic role that would boost its prestige and compete with his own.
He prefers that the USA and the coalition agree to a no-fly zone that they will protect so the Turkish army will almost have nothing to do. In addition if ISIS attacks Turkey, NATO will be obliged to defend it, thus the Turkish army will have a minor role.
Erdogan does not trust his own army and will try all he can not involve it in combats. That is his Achillean's heel.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 7 2014 23:23 utc | 20

Roza Kazan ‏@rozakazancctv ·26 mins26 minutes ago
Why foreigners join ISIL fighters. … @CCTV_America

Posted by: brian | Oct 8 2014 3:10 utc | 21


Finally reacts?
So you support US strikes now?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 7, 2014 9:13:26 AM | 2

so you oppose US strikes, ergo you support ISIS, mr anon

Posted by: brian | Oct 8 2014 3:12 utc | 22

PressTV is reporting Al Nusrah, those lovable, cuddly moderates, have kidnapped a Catholic priest and 20 of his parishioners.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2014 3:32 utc | 23

Let us not forget that the Axis of Resistance that includes Syria, Iran and resistance parties, militias and mass base is not going to roll over and play dead so the Evil Empire and its local collaborators can take over the region. Glaringly missing from the view of many here are the strategic thinking of these key players in the unfolding battle. Ultimately the war is between the local players and all their foreign allies, friends, supporters or masters is just support. The final outcome will be determined by the popularity and longevity of these two sides: The Axis of Evil and its corrupt local collaborators and all the shame and humiliation they have brought the people of the region versus the Axis of Resistance that unites Islamists, nationalists and even leftists in a broad Anti-imperialist resistance front. I don't see the Evil Empire winning this one no matter how many decades it takes. Its inability to consolidate its hegemony over Afghanistan or Iraq after taking out hostile regimes, Israel's failure to subdue Palestinian resistances even after 66 years of the most brutal occupation and the US's failure to take over Pakistan and Yemen (recently taken over by pro-Iran Ansarullah) show the limits of the Evil Empire's military power - can cause death and destruction but can't achieve its political objectives.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8 2014 6:42 utc | 24

The Axis of Resistance knows what it is up against and are prepared to resist whatever the price. If you have noticed, this is, over time, coalescing all patriotic parties and groups into a broad front to resist the Evil Empire - Islamists, nationalists, Nasserites,socialists,minorities etc. It's going to get tougher for the Evil Empire.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8 2014 6:49 utc | 25

For all the above forces comprising the Axis of Resistance, the fundamental contradiction for now is between the people of the region and the Evil Empire. All other internal contradictions can be resolved after the region becomes free from the interference and control of the Evil Empire.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8 2014 6:53 utc | 26

How timely, each time the empire wants to expand its wars to a larger degree, some really scary virus make people think twice before grouping to protest. You've liked anthrax, you will love ebola.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 8 2014 7:06 utc | 27

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8, 2014 2:53:12 AM | 26

Look, this "resistance" mindset reinforces itself, you will be "resisting" till eternity if you don't get out of the box. But presumably this is the intention of framing the discourse like that. Like Republicans and Democrats in the US.

The layers of power and oppression run deep. There is no single party in the Middle East - except maybe that is debatable PKK/YPG Kurds - who do not have foreign patrons as leverage for local power. Not one. And all parties pay back by policies tied to their patrons.

If Middle Eastern players could solve their local conflicts they could feel safe to turn against their patrons together.

As is there is neither freedom, nor solidariy nor equality in the Middle East. Never mind justice or charity.

People have to get rid of the leaders and secret services that make them kill each other, there is no other way.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2014 7:17 utc | 28

@somebody - the primary enemy is the Evil Empire. Most of the local leaders and secret services that kill our people are clients of this Empire. Your suggestion is what people have been doing, which has forced the Evil Empire to intervene directly as we have been witnessing lately. The people know which Axis to support and they have been showing it. They overthrow some and back some based on ground realities they live everyday, however imperfect their choices may seem to you. I am sorry the situation cannot be simplified more than that.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8 2014 8:10 utc | 29

We are witnessing more solidarity now than in many decades since the region was invaded by imperialists. Freedom and equality can only be work in progress under these conditions, with some parts of the region doing better than others in some areas than in others. However the people themselves, not the Evil Empire, will bring about the necessary reforms if the Evil Empire stops propping up regimes such as Saudis and Bahrain for their own colonialistic interests. Resistance is part of that struggle for freedom, equality and justice.
Btw you in the West have a bigger struggle for true freedom, equality and justice as well as solidarity ahead of you.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8 2014 8:19 utc | 30


"ISIS Finally Reacts US attacks On Kobane " How would you approach that? Not that the writer would support ISIS?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8 2014 8:28 utc | 31

@31 What are you on about, Anonymous?

Here's a statement: "The husband finally beat his wife to death".

As a statement of fact that sentence can be 100% accurate, but making that statement does not suggest that anyone "supports" wife-beating, murder, or that particular wife-beating murderous sack o' shit.

It says what it says i.e. it says that this event was "predictable", not that it was "supportable".

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 8 2014 8:57 utc | 32


No, it mean you anticipate it, you await for it to happen, you legitimize it.
However its a nonsense debate Im sorry I brought it up here.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8 2014 9:24 utc | 33

@dahoit 19

Dogan has neo-ottoman aspirations. He wants Turkey to be a hegemon again. So he wishes to have a friendly puppet in control of Syria. Remember that the droughts and crop failures that led to rural unrest in Syria were helped by Turkey building dams and cutting off tons of waterways to Syria.

He's a lot like George W Bush. Cunning in a stupid cruel way, supported by fundamentalist rural people, massively for neoliberalism and privatization, very militaristic, purged people who didn't agree with his ideology from government service, and so on.

The mavi marmara incident gave him great p.r. that he didn't deserve.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 8 2014 9:58 utc | 34

@33..."No, it mean you anticipate it,"...

Correct, tho' I'm kinda' struggling to grasp what is so fundamentally different between "anticipating" an event and "predicting" an event.

@33...."you await for it to happen,"...

Again, correct. There is not much point making a prediction unless you keep your eye out for when you prediction finally comes to pass.

After all, there is the question of bragging rights to consider.

@33 ..."you legitimize it"....

Whoah, Nessie!!!!

That's one Mighty Big Leap Of Logic your nag-of-an-argument just attempted there.

Anticipate, OK, sure, I get that.
Waiting for it to happen, hmm, yep, no argument from me.
But *legitimize* it merely because ya' saw it coming????

Bizarre. Totally and utterly bizarre.

@33 "However its a nonsense debate Im sorry I brought it up here"

Well, I'm certainly seeing much nonsense coming from your corner, so I don't much doubt you are sorry that you've backed yourself in there so tightly....

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 8 2014 11:46 utc | 36

Even more lovely, the way the French authorities deal with the Kurds

Posted by: Mina | Oct 8 2014 12:21 utc | 37

@19 I think it's more simple. Ankara has certain potential, but it's been cut out of the EU. With the U.S. receding in the region, Ankara sees opportunity to increase ties with the U.S., a receding power, by knocking over Syria with Euro ties out.

Ankara is making a grab before Syria reforms/has a succession plan or falls into a chaos which might have forced a Euro/U.S. response cutting out Turkey. Like the Ukraine, this was all supposed to be done on the cheap and ages ago.

Erdogan can't make a big move because of Kurdish concerns and the political situation, but he is also in too deep to get out. Much like Obama/DC, Ankara won't make much sense because they invested too much into original plans without plan b's ready to go.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 8 2014 14:25 utc | 38

35) Yep. It is not just Turkey.

This is Der Spiegel's take on the Hamburg Kurdish-Salafi riot.

St. Georg chaos night

St.Georg for its Christian name is the traditional red light district, Kurds seem to have noticed the venue was a mistake, they plan to move on to Altona.

That's it though, I suppose. German Burghers not just from Hamburg will now assume Kurds and Salafis are the same type of terrorist. Send them back where they came from.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2014 14:46 utc | 39


I heard that kurds began when they attacked Turkish companies which caused the fight, could you deny/confirm that?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8 2014 14:54 utc | 40

Lovely... so I can use Youtube and many other apps without accepting to be fully traced by the "Google services", but these guys have no problem.
I want my taxes back!!

Posted by: Mina | Oct 8 2014 15:51 utc | 41

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8, 2014 10:54:27 AM | 39

Nobody knows how it started they seem to have arranged the meeting via facebook :-))

My take is, it is a certain age group looking for a fight, no matter the pretext. If the Kurds had been politically serious, they would have invited the press to watch their meeting place be smashed by Salafis.

Both sides seem to have been armed with knives and iron bars which makes it nasty.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2014 16:28 utc | 42

Jimmy carter want troops in Iraq


Thanks for the info!

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 8 2014 16:52 utc | 43

"ISIS is our baby! Let's just be pointlessly hesitant and fake incompetent, attack 'em a little, too late, around the edges. Go ISIS Go. Kill Assad!!" -- The U.S.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 9 2014 0:20 utc | 44

Abuu Alii, great posts. Thanks for the reality check.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 9 2014 0:28 utc | 45

abuu alii - ditto guest77's comment @45.. thanks for your insight..

Posted by: james | Oct 9 2014 0:42 utc | 46

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Oct 8, 2014 4:19:12 AM | 30

We are witnessing more solidarity now than in many decades since the region was invaded by imperialists. Freedom and equality can only be work in progress under these conditions, with some parts of the region doing better than others in some areas than in others.

How can that be when what the parties effectively are fighting for is the break up of the regions in mini states. And how can that be when the "resistance" covers under an umbrella of "against" but are incapabable of stating what they are fighting "for"?

And how can that be when equality is the equality of weapons?

Weapons don't lead to freedom and equality by themselves they have to be guided by brains that state what these weapons should be used for.
You need an ethical code, a plan and stated aims. Where are the stated aims? No, resistance is not an aim. It is insistance on the status quo.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2014 5:49 utc | 47

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