Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 27, 2015

The U.S. and Turkey Have A *Something* Plan

According to several news reports the U.S. and Turkey have agreed to do something in north Syria. But  there seems to be no agreement on anything else. There is disunity about the aim of something as well as on the target of any something operation. The means of achieving something are in dispute. Even the geographic space in which something is supposed to happen is undefined. The only agreed upon issue besides doing something is to throw the Kurds, the most successful force against the Islamic State so far, under the bus. 

Consider all the caveats and general vagueness in the NYT report about the "agreement":

BAGHDAD — Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say.

The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be [...]

[...] many details have yet to be determined, including how deep the strip would extend into Syria, [...]
“Details remain to be worked out, [...]
[...] the plan faces the same challenges that have long plagued American policy in Syria.
Whatever the goal
,[...] raising the question of what they will do [..]
[...] questions also remain about which Syrian insurgents and how many will be involved in the new operation. [...] relatively moderate have been trained in a covert C.I.A. program, but on the battlefield they are often enmeshed or working in concert with more hard-line Islamist insurgents.

In another complication, gains for such insurgents would come at the expense of Syrian Kurdish militias
Turkish officials and Syrian opposition leaders are describing the agreement as something [...] But American officials say [...] it was not included in the surprise agreement reached last week
[...]  United States officials said Turks and Americans were working toward an agreement on the details of an operation [...]
That is an ambitious military goal [...] American officials emphasized that the depth of the buffer zone to be established was one of the important operational details that had yet to be decided.
Insurgents, as well as their supporters in the Syrian opposition and the Turkish government, are already envisioning the plan as a step toward [...]
American officials in recent months have argued to Turkish counterparts [...]
But until now [...]
By contrast, the new plan [...]
“Any weakening of ISIS will be a privilege for us on the battlefield,” Ahmad Qara Ali, a spokesman for Ahrar al-Sham, an insurgent group that often allies with the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate. [...]
Such Syrian Arab insurgents would gain at the expense of the People’s Protection Units, a Kurdish militia known by the initials Y.P.G. that is seeking to take the same territory from the east. While the United States views the group as one of its best partners on the ground, Turkey sees it as a threat; [...]
[...] challenges to this border strategy still remain, American officials acknowledged. [...] American officials [...] conceded [...]

(Did we notice the new "relative moderate" category the NYT introduced here for anti-Syrian insurgents? This especially for Ahrar al Shams like ilk who are nearly indistinguishable from AlQaeda.)

The vagueness of this "agreement" lets me assume that the Turks railroaded the U.S. negotiators with their surprise announcement about the use of Incirlik airbase last week. That announcement came after a phonecall between Obama and Erdogan. Did they really agree on anything but throwing the Kurds under the bus, with Turkey now shelling their positions in Syria?

Or is this vagueness about the strategy an administration ploy to make it look as if it is dragged into its policy by an ally. If things go wrong it could then always blame Turkey for overreaching.

Or the administration intentionally committing to nothing and just giving Erdogan enough rope to hang himself?

Would the Obama administration even have the legal authority to support the "moderate" AlQaeda "rebels" with airstrikes? So far it could not name any.


This something plan has little chance of achieving anything but more war and chaos in Syria, Turkey and Iraq. Something will fail.

Posted by b on July 27, 2015 at 14:42 UTC | Permalink


when two snakes get into bed with one another - anything is possible, but more snakes is guaranteed!!! what's that about they are going after the snake isis? - i think they are the parent!!!

Posted by: james | Jul 27 2015 15:24 utc | 1

This something plan has little chance of achieving anything but more war and chaos in Syria, Turkey and Iraq

which, of course, IS the plan.

Posted by: john | Jul 27 2015 15:37 utc | 2

A secret meeting was held last month between Israeli foreign minister Doree Gold and the newly-installed Turkish foreign minister.

No details of the meeting have emerged in the Israeli press. One possibility: Israel has abandoned its plans to establish Kurdish state and will collaborate with Turkey and the US in the establishment of a "safe zone." Turkey has long sought a "safety zone" as a base to attack Assad's forces.

Posted by: LZ | Jul 27 2015 15:38 utc | 3

The US and Turkey both think there are good terrorists and bad terrorists. The good ones attack their adversaries, the bad ones attack the US and their friends. But as Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said recently, all terrorists should be treated the same, that's the problem with US foreign policy. Supporting terrorism to bring about the overthrow of the legitimate Syrian government is contrary to International Law, similarly creating buffer zones within sovereign Syrian territory is also against International Law. I am not sure what Syria can do about this at the moment, but what must happen is Russia, China and Iran have to step up to the plate. For sure they are next.

Posted by: harry law | Jul 27 2015 15:40 utc | 4

Some points: authority of the President entails basically everything that Congress will allow, and so far, "bombing ISIL" is non-controversial. So the first question is if this vague plan makes any sense, and for whom -- there are things that make sense for Erdogan, but none whatsoever for Europeans and USA. The attitude of Erdogan clique toward the Kurds is best illustrated with "Moby-Dick", and for the dense of you, Erdogan has no resemblance to the whale in the story, nor Ishmael. Just look at this quote:

[Journalist question] Will the Turkish government take PYD forces as an enemy like the PKK and ISIL in Syrian operations?

“It all depends on the PYD’s behavior,” Davutoğlu said. “So far they did not bother us like Daesh or the PKK. If they do so, we will react in the same way. But if they do not disturb Turkey, cut all relations with the Assad regime and cooperate with the opposition forces, they can well have a place in the new Syria.”

My English vocabulary lacks the proper word to characterize it, so I will stop here.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 27 2015 16:01 utc | 5

"Many details have yet to be determined"--such as exactly how many Kurds can be "acceptably" killed, just what a "relatively moderate" extremist is, what the US proposes would take the place of the Assad government in Syria if it was defeated, etc. In fact, it seems the US hasn't figured out anything except that it's in favor of more killing in the Middle East unless it's in Israel (and even in Israel killing is perfectly OK just as long as it happens to be a Palestinian).

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jul 27 2015 16:46 utc | 6

The plan is disjointed because the US and Turkey are paying lip service to one another- this isn't difficult stuff!

They are creating a perception managed idea of working together while the US creates Kurdistan which will inevitably destroy Turkey
And Turkey knows they are on the NATO hit list

Turkey plans to pour all the displaced Syrians back into Syria- where they belong- back to their homes and land.

Or don't the displaced Syrians matter?
In order to push the super warrior Kurd meme?

"the most successful force against the Islamic State so far, under the bus"

Oh, yes the Kurds are so successful...And yet we are supposed to believe that ISIS is omnipotent- Do you find a contradiction in that?
A big glaring contradiction?

Posted by: Penny | Jul 27 2015 17:23 utc | 7

Today, the world becoming unhinged made it into Washington Post’s headlines:

U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria
Greek leftists’ secret plan to raid the vaults
Alaska’s terrifying wildfire season and what it says about climate change

Turkey wants to resurrect their lost empire. Turkey, Israel, the Gulf States and the USA are still trying to overthrow the Syrian government and neuter Hezbollah. Kurd’s closing the gap in northern Syria would have halted these schemes. But, I also think at a power point presentation to the Davos Elite, a technocrat translated YPG into English; “People’s Protection Units”. This raised the hackles of the oligarchs present and they declared war on the Kurds. Just like they dropped the financial neutron bomb on Greece. Or, their seizure of Ukraine to frack the Donbass. Plutocrats are at war with the world, it is just nobody wants to admit it.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jul 27 2015 17:39 utc | 8

U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria

Can someone guide a perplexed reader here? Is it possible to plan a zone that while not safe "de iure" will be safe "de facto"? I have a plan to write a self-improvement book offering original advise, and now I got a new idea, after the chapter "Protect your health by binge drinking responsibly" I will have "Protect your life by settling in a safe free fire zone". With Turkish artillery from the north (none to accurate), American bombing from above (guided by experts who advise Turkey how to annihilate a caravan of cigarette smugglers using F-16s, and now advise Saudis how to select market places in Yemen to bomb), once "moderate fighters" will dare to enter they will additionally face ambushes from ISIL. Can anyone believe that Syrian refugees will flock there, to relieve Turkey?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 27 2015 18:19 utc | 9

Whacking Kurds and ISIL falls short of what is needed to restore the Ottoman glory. No problem.

Frankly, it is hard to decide what to believe, so let us wait before jumping to conclusions on that one.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 27 2015 18:29 utc | 10

Vietnam Vet's post (@7) is based on realpolitik and reflects an accurate picture of the convulsions gripping the region at this time. In my opinion, the major catalyst which accelerated the frenzied internecine meddling was the consternation and shock of 2006 when the vaunted Israeli war machine was neutered in Lebanon as it attempted to deliver a fatal blow to the militia which ended its occupation of South Lebanon a few years earlier. The pro-Israel camp could not cope with the specter of a well-organized paramilitary force whose skill at asymmetrical warfare could neutralize its ability to project imperial power at will. As Seymour Hersh reasoned in his New Yorker piece, after 2006, intensive efforts were directed at using proxies, including putative ideological enemies to sow chaos aimed at obliterating the Iran-Syria-Hizbollah alliance which they deem inimical to their vision for regional architecture.

Posted by: metni | Jul 27 2015 19:15 utc | 11

Mentioning Seymour Hersh, now is a good time to go back and take another look at last year's "The Red Line and the Rat Line":

Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’
Now it's all about getting the PKK nuts and Assad's in a vice with yet another false flag, this time the suicide bombing in Suruc. That is the hubris of great power. You keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result and eventually so it is. Which is why the global order is coming unraveled.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 27 2015 20:06 utc | 12

Worried?Really? With the US, Turkey, Saudi, Qatari potentates by their side, not to mention some 200 nuclear warheads and the third or so ranked conventional military might in the world, military drills, as a means of defense, are superfluous. More often than not, combat readiness practice for the bloated military state is a signal of power projection designs inspired by offensive calculations.

Posted by: metni | Jul 27 2015 20:33 utc | 13

Keep it coming, b. I think the Sultan-in-waiting is just getting started.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jul 27 2015 21:01 utc | 14

NATO just held a article 4 meeting, the 6th in its history, this is regarding Turkey, and requested by Turkey.

Posted by: Kevin | Jul 27 2015 22:35 utc | 15

You have to wonder about the competence of the Syrian Kurd leaders or if they actually have control of their fighters. Just a short time ago they had a non-aggression agreement with Assad, steady air support from the Coalition in their fights with the IS and some grudging but important help from Turkey in Kobani. What they did was try to expand their territory along the Turkey border which was a red flag waved at the Turks. Then they blame the Turks for an IS attack and apparently condone if not execute the murdering of Turkish police and civilian which left Erdogan with the choice of political suicide or reprisal attacks.

I'm wondering if the US will end the air support for the Syrian Kurds and if Turkey will cut off Iraqi Kurdish oil exports through their pipeline and port. Both could be devastating to the Kurds of either country.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 27 2015 23:52 utc | 16

b: It looks like what the media is hyping is mostly Turkish spin. The State Department denies that it has a deal with Turkey to apply a no-fly zone or an ISIL-free zone. State is even claiming that its access to Incirlik allows the US to back up the YPG on the ground in a more timely fashion:

QUESTION: Thank you. Kirby, when you – you made clear: no-fly zone off the table, not being considered.

MR KIRBY: I said it’s not being considered.

QUESTION: Right. But can you help me understand: When Turkish officials say that their understanding of what this ISIL-free zone would require would be air cover to protect refugees and the Free Syrian Army --


QUESTION: -- is that part of the conversation being entertained by the U.S.?

MR KIRBY: We are, again, looking for ways to talk to the Turks about how to get after the ISIL threat better in northern Syria. We’re not using the phrase “ISIL-free zone.” We’re going after ISIL wherever they tend to go. Right now they seem to be gravitating along that border, gravitating to the west. So I think it’s fair to say you can expect to see more coalition effort and energy placed against that area, because that’s where ISIL is, and we want to hit them where they are.

What the military components of that look like I’m just not able to say right now. We’re still in very early stages here of talking to the Turks about what that would look like and how it would play out. But as I said to Ros, I mean, the coalition aircraft are not being challenged in that area of Syria. We don’t expect that that will change. And so right now, for right now, a no-fly zone is not under active consideration. But as we’ve always said, we’re going to continue to talk to the Turks, we understand their concerns, and we know they share our concerns about where ISIL is operating there along that northern border with Turkey.



MR KIRBY: They have already benefited from coalition air support.


MR KIRBY: The fact that we now have access to bases in Turkey will allow for that support to be more timely and perhaps even more effective. So I would expect that that kind of air support will continue.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jul 28 2015 0:17 utc | 17

We've got Hezbollah and the Syrian Army mopping up in the Qualamon mountains.
There is also Shia militias going on a lot of offensives in Iraq.
As well as Kurds gaining ground In Syria......The US empire of planned mass murderous chaos cannot have this.
Yes I.S and Al Quada - US and evil allied proxies - are still in a strong position, but there are counter trends that the evil empire might want to get ahead of.
All the doing "something" plans by the hegemon(s), could be an idea of things being worked out and power compromises being negotiated between despicable ' Interests'.

If the destabilisation blood letting by US jihadi proxies is over, that is an IF, then the plans for the Western bloodletting might soon commence. It's just a matter of when.

Posted by: tom | Jul 28 2015 0:46 utc | 18


Typical Diplo-speak and evasion when the real question is will the Turks interdict Syrian aircraft if they attack FSA forces in this safe zone. Conversely will the Syrian Air Force interdict Turkish aircraft if they attack YPG forces in this area?

Either of these possibilities could expand the war into a direct conflict between Syria and Turkey and open up the door for coalition direct attacks on the Assad regime.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 28 2015 1:27 utc | 19

You nailed it at the end of your posting when you stated:
"This something plan has little chance of achieving anything but more war and chaos in Syria, Turkey and Iraq. "

That is a good part of the plan. War is good for business, population control (size and fear) and keeps our species from focusing any effort to address the underlying centuries old plutocratic financial control of the world. Read this article from the Guardian about the rich and their moving money around ( )

The global plutocrats are playing countries off against each other as the individual countries respond ethnocentrically , because that is how they are brainwashed to think. Until and unless there is a global attempt to reduce/eliminate private finance internationally then individuals, families and trusts are going to continue to rule the world through inheritance (neutering inheritance is another approach but again it must be done globally).

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 28 2015 2:26 utc | 20

@16 rusty pipes... if the usa as kirby says - want to go after isis, why didn't they bomb them in their victory parade thru al raqqah a few months ago? kirby can say all he wants to the press corps.. the facts on the ground speak differently.. it is still about regime change and supporting ''moderate'' terrorists and all the rest of the b.s. that is in steady supply from usa officials..

any plan they have going is meant to sow more discord and mayhem..destabilizing countries when they can't immediately do regime change is what they know best.. doesn't matter how many dead bodies or refugees result in all of it.. that is all these warmongers are good for.. paid mercenary groups - isis and etc.. same bs 24/7...

Posted by: james | Jul 28 2015 2:42 utc | 21

The shit will now proceed to hit the fan... just as it was always to do. Erdogan gets the double prize: a free hand to deal with Kurdish "terrorists" and a "safe zone" where he can station his mercenaries for the war on Damascus. And the Americans, as usual, think they are being terribly clever.

Posted by: chuckvw | Jul 28 2015 3:00 utc | 22

All this, andddd Putin has gladhanded Erdogan for turkstream.
Are you sure his brand of chess is winning chess?

Posted by: aaaaa | Jul 28 2015 3:48 utc | 23

With these new developments and the Syrian/Iranian forces on the defensive in most of Syria I wouldn't be surprised if Iran decides it's time for Assad to have an 'accident'. This would clear the way for some kind of cease fire and power sharing agreement that Iran could live with and the combatants could unite to confront the Islamic State or at least individually attack the IS with Syrian Air force support.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 28 2015 3:50 utc | 24

@23 wow.. that sounds more like an american tactic (convenient accident' then what you describe for iran.. but then you have never been a big fan of iran.. interferes with cheer-leading for your home team...

Posted by: james | Jul 28 2015 4:27 utc | 25

Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of NATO representatives for tomorrow, according to the CBC. As said, the shit is proceeding nicely toward the fan.

Posted by: chuckvw | Jul 28 2015 5:19 utc | 26

Either of these possibilities could expand the war into a direct conflict between Syria and Turkey and open up the door for coalition direct attacks on the Assad regime.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 27, 2015 9:27:28 PM | 18

Nope, that won't happen. Turkish war planes in Syrian airspace will become Russia's (and Erdogan's) problem, not Syria's. Russia has already said "Nyet" to a Turkish safe zone /protectorate inside Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 28 2015 5:33 utc | 27

@28 chuckw.. b reported this a few days ago in a previous thread... "Turkey has called for NATO consultative meeting under chapter 4. I doubt very much that his operations, obviously in support of the Islamic State, will get official help from NATO."

Posted by: james | Jul 28 2015 5:35 utc | 28

Explosion hits Iran-Turkey gas pipeline: Report

"The explosion caused a fire breakout; however, in a short time we managed to extinguish it. After repairing it, the gas flow will resume," [Turkish Energy Minister Taner] Yıldız said.

Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest gas supplier after Russia.

Apparently Iran supplies 20% of Turkey's gas and Russia most of the rest. I imagine this pipeline will be blown up again as soon as it's been fixed?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 28 2015 5:44 utc | 29


According to CBC they called today for an emergency meeting tomorrow. Of course, NATO is to all intents and purposes the US. I guess we'll see, but none of this bodes well for anyone.

Posted by: chuckvw | Jul 28 2015 5:46 utc | 30

This is how the conservative press is spining the current clusterf*ck, namely that Obama is allowing Turkey to kill US veterans:

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 28 2015 7:49 utc | 31

Carnegie Metllon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a ***$731,987,632*** indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the operation of the Software Engineering Institute, a federally-funded research and development center devoted to cyber warfare and domestic surveillance.

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, California, has been awarded a $6,587,447 modification (P00004) to previously awarded HR0011-14-9-0005 (Other Transaction), for the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program. The addition of the XS-1 Phase IB tasks brings the total cumulative face value of the agreement from $10,000,000 to $16,587,447, and the total monies spent since President Reagan inaugurated a Hypersonic Space Plane program in 1983, over 30 years ago, to **$5,483,654,876**.

'We won, you lost. It's just business, get over it. Now take the blue pill, and hop into the cattle car. It's a short ride.'

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 28 2015 7:56 utc | 32

Meanwhile the Assad government is ignored, even erased from memory, when the govt is legally and morally bound to protect the country and Syrian citizens from foreign intrusion and violence, which the govt has made a valiant effort to do.

The oft-repeated notion that Syria is engulfed in a civil war is utter nonsense. Syria was invaded by foreign militias which have received training, aid and generous funds from cynically 'interested' foreign players: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, US and Israel.

Much of the current mayhem was ignited by the brand new US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford [notorious for his contributions to shit-stirring in South America], who, from the very moment he took office in the newly reopened US embassy, put his skills to work. There can be little doubt that Assad regrets that decision …

From day 1, Ford set out to contact 'dissident' groups which, it must be said, had justifiable grievances with the Syrian government. But, soon, these groups were transformed into a cover for the importation of quantities of foreign militias, which were billed by media mouthpieces as doing nothing more than 'responding' to dissidents' need for support. Yeah, right …

After more than 4 years of extreme violence, confusion, massive death and destruction, the foreign geopolitically 'interested' parties find themselves precisely where they sought to be: in a position to crush the presently near-invisible Assad government. Hence, the sudden, open media coverage of Turkish / US 'something' plans.

If 'someone' [ie, Russia and / or Iran] doesn't step in to preempt the 'something' US / Turk game, it will mark the end of any remaining regional autonomy.

Posted by: dana | Jul 28 2015 8:44 utc | 33

Chipnik @ 31 says(for the umpteenth time):

We won, you lost. It's just business, get over it.

ignoring your rhetorical cutesiness for the moment let's just make it clear that, in fact, it's not just business, but nepotic, predatory, crony capitalism, or, in pukka, hardball criminality.

que pasa, hombre? you spend the last 30/40 years humping it for the extractor class or something?

Posted by: john | Jul 28 2015 10:10 utc | 34
Turkey is likely to face questions over its decision to lump its campaigns against the Kurds and Isis together into a broad “war on terror”, even though the secular Kurdish groups and Isis are themselves bitterly opposed.

The meeting – called by Ankara – will be held under article four of the alliance’s treaty, which invokes consultation but does not automatically trigger military action on the part of fellow Nato members.

It comes after Turkey and the US agreed on the outlines of a plan to drive Isis out of a strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border, according to reports, in a landmark deal that will draw Turkey further into Syria’s civil war and looks likely to increase the intensity of the US air war against Isis.

It comes after Turkey and the US agreed on the outlines of a plan to drive Isis out of a strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border, according to Washington Post, in a landmark deal that will draw Turkey further into Syria’s civil war and looks likely to increase the intensity of the US air war against Isis.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 28 2015 10:16 utc | 35

chuckvw @ 25 This meeting of NUTO - someone mentioned it as being the 6th one ever called - is obviously very important. What will come of it is any ones guess and whatever they announce as the result will likely be just bluff & bluster - a soothing salve so to speak to keep the sheeple disinterested but something nasty will come from it in the fullness of time.

On a lighter note - your comment ". . . . the shit is proceeding nicely toward the fan." had me giggling out loud. I like it !! I'm going to use it !!

Posted by: Chris in Ch-Ch | Jul 28 2015 13:16 utc | 36

@Chris PLease do. Laughs are hard to come by these days...

Posted by: chuckvw | Jul 28 2015 14:31 utc | 37


The Russians couldn't or wouldn't stop the destruction and death in the People's Republics in Ukraine so what makes you think similar rhetoric with no follow-up as used in Ukraine will have any effect on what Turkey does.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 28 2015 14:50 utc | 38

John @ 33: Thanks for the link, a good one. An excerpt:

"the long-range global dominance agenda of the superclass, which uses US/NATO military forces to discourage resisting states and maintain internal police repression, in service of the capitalist system’s orderly maintenance;"

As Chipnik @ 31 says.."We won, you lost. It's just business, get over it."

Simply put, but true.

Posted by: ben | Jul 28 2015 15:26 utc | 39

@32 dana.. insightful post - thanks.. i agree with you..

Posted by: james | Jul 28 2015 16:00 utc | 40

Gov’t whistleblower says recent attacks in Suruç, Kilis were plots

The suicide attack in the southeastern town of Suruç on July 20 and the shooting of a soldier in the southern province of Kilis on Thursday, both of which were supposedly carried out by militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were in fact plots designed by Turkish officials, a government whistleblower has said.

Posted by: b | Jul 28 2015 17:27 utc | 41
NYT Editorial "Turkey’s Shift on the Syrian War"

Perhaps most biting quote:
Turkey’s opportunistic decision to conflate the risks posed by the Islamic State with its three-decade conflict with Kurdish separatists could set back the broader efforts of the American-led coalition.

There is also a more negative opinion piece, more in line with the European establishment impression that Erdogan tries to eliminate a key political opponent in the quest for undivided political power, and in the way that does not suit Western interest (unlike, say, the massacre of the leftists in Indonesia in 1965, a fascist regime is at times preferable, but this is not one of those times).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 28 2015 17:55 utc | 42

The story from Today's Zaman that MIT manipulated ISIL and PKK to commit terrorism in Turkey, utilizing its agents in both, is highly plausible, but not certain. The "whistlebower" collaborates with an anti-government organization (that publishes Today's Zaman), plus the account postulates that the "well informed source" hates Erdogan quite a bit, as eschews to call him by name but refers to him as Yezid (it is as if a critic of a Christian government referred to its head as Judas, a symbol of treachery). Moreover, Erdogan broke the "process" a while ago and very recently, PKK announced a "mildly terroristic" program of attacking dam construction, sabotage and scaring of workers. It is worth to note that governments react with different severity to (a) killing civilians, rather mildly, (b) killing police, more sternly and (c) killing soldiers, going total ape. Thus the pre-Suruc actions of PKK were mild, but PKK already viewed the peace process as broken, as it actually was. In that situation, it would not be strange for PKK to progress from (a) to (b-c).

Concerning ISIL, one could imagine that they not conceived that an attack on a group of civilians hated by the government would be seriously troubling. How it was followed by an instance of killing a soldier is indeed mysterious, and arranging that death would be simplicity itself.

By the way, why would PKK decide to attack dam construction? Apparently, it makes sense.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 28 2015 18:33 utc | 43

A German journalist asked the German government speakers if the German government has assured knowledge that the Islamic State was responsible for the recent attack that killed 32 in Turkey.

The answer: *crickets*

Follow up question: So you just believe what the Turks are telling you?

Answer: Why not?

Short video (in German)

Posted by: b | Jul 28 2015 18:42 utc | 44

follow up to 42Turkey v Islamic State v the Kurds: What's going on?
But Turkey has also bombed a Kurdish rebel group that is leading the fight against IS in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey's government says its intervention in the conflict will prove decisive.

Critics say Turkey's strategy - complicated by long-standing problems with its large Kurdish minority - is short-sighted and likely to backfire.
How did Turkey get here?
The Turkish government says it is ready to fight all the enemies of its national interest. But many observers believe it is particularly interested in one enemy.

The question is: Which one?
Some say Turkey will help the Americans hammer IS, while striking the PKK as a warning - no more. Others say it will go after the Kurds hardest, while doing the bare minimum against IS.

Turkish policy is "to pretend that it is waging a war against IS, while at the same time following up on another goal, which is to destroy the PKK," says Kerem Oktem, a professor at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz in Austria.
Turkey has nonetheless served as a highway for foreign fighters eager to join the jihad in Syria. Weapons and funds have also allegedly flowed down the same route.

Until now, Turkey has been reluctant to take a leading role in the US-led campaign against IS. Instead, it has labelled the PKK and IS as terrorists alike, and demanded the creation of a buffer zone - controlled by neither group - deep inside Syrian territory along the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, the YPG has taken the lead in the fight against IS in Syria.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 28 2015 18:47 utc | 45

Rebekah Cotton: (Rebekah Screams)
Rebekah Cotton: Rebekah Screams
Lulu Plummer: (Lulu Screams)
Lulu Plummer: Lulu Screams
Rebekah Brandes: (Rebekah Screams)
Rebekah Brandes: Rebekah Screams
Lucy Miller: (Lucy Screams)
Lucy Miller: Lucy Screams
Rebekah Cotton: (Rebekah Screaming)
Rebekah Cotton: Rebekah Screaming
Lucy Pevensie: (Lucy Screams)
Lucy Pevensie: Lucy Screams
Rebekah Brandes: (Rebekah Screaming)
Rebekah Brandes: Rebekah Screaming
Lucy Pevensie: (Lucy Shrieks)
Lucy Pevensie: Lucy Shrieks

Posted by: Timon Screaming | Jul 28 2015 19:08 utc | 46

Looking at this situation
NATO supported Erdogan actions the cynical conflation on isis and pkk
(Reminds me of ebola, isis and russia being linked)

Today however both the independent and the telegraph in the UK have written strong pieces about the west betraying the Kurds
Robert Fisk in the independent and Brendan oneil in the telegraph.
Sorry can't link but you can google
Turkey is not going to be supported in this. All can see his cynical power grab
Iran and Russia will quietly pursue their policy while Erdogan and the west sort out this messy policy
On the ground Syria making gains Kurds making gains -

Posted by: James lake | Jul 28 2015 21:31 utc | 47

Also announced at State yesterday, US appoints a new "special envoy" for Syria. Appointing an ambassador would imply that we have diplomatic relations rather than that we support a coup -- although the regime change language is softening the further we get from Hillary's tenure:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Ratney as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Syria. I have come to know Michael well in his most recent role as U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem, and am impressed by his keen intellect, deep knowledge of the region, and policy judgment.

Michael is a Senior Foreign Service officer who is fluent in Arabic and whose distinguished career has spanned Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and beyond. I am confident he will continue the important work led by his predecessor, Daniel Rubinstein, to shape our response to the complex and devastating conflict in Syria.

Michael’s leadership and counsel will be critical as we confront the significant challenges posed by more than four years of suffering, bloodshed, and destruction in Syria. We remain committed to reaching a negotiated political transition away from Bashar al-Assad, working to counter the shared threat of terrorism, supporting the moderate opposition, and addressing the humanitarian disaster and its impact on Syria’s neighbors.

Special Envoy Ratney will soon travel to the region to begin consultations with Syrians and other stakeholders seeking an end to the violence and a future of freedom and dignity for all Syrian people.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jul 28 2015 22:27 utc | 48

The plan to restore the Ottoman Empire under improved leadership encountered new snags. As coalition talks proceed briskly to nowhere, details are being unveiled in various plans and counter plans, and new facts and interpretations. For example, when did Erdogan develop Kurdophobia? Back in ZPP era (zero problem policy) Erdogan was a great friend of Kurds, and after some ups and down allow them a number of things, like speak, write and even make radio broadcasts in their language, why! his people were proudly distributing Quran printed in Kurdish (presumably, with Turkish spelling). As conservative Kurds flocked to the ranks of AKP voters, Erdogan was increasingly pleased with his fellow citizens.

Something broke down around the time when a resolution of Turkish-Kurdish conflict was pencilled by representatives of HDP who communicated with PKK as agreed with the government and government negotiators hand-picked by Tayyip Recep Erdogan. Apparently, one point was missing, a solemn promise to make sure that all Kurds (all Sunni Kurds?) will vote for AKP now and forever, and those who happen to live in Syria, join the victorious anti-Assad coalition. Pretty soon Erdogan started to predict (hope?) that Kobane would fall etc. But there was still hope that even without PKK telling the Kurds to do so, the eloquence, logic, brilliance, piety and so on of Erdogan will sway the Kurds that still did not recognize the superiority of AKP to abandon that error. Alas, the last parliamentary election showed otherwise. The next plan was unfolded: explain, with indisputable proofs, that HDP is utterly despicable, namely, they refused to condemn, abhor, detest etc. etc. the killings of innocent policemen and soldiers. It did not work to full satisfaction, on the plus side, a number of Turkish commentators figured than now HDP lost "any credibility" and thus cannot hope to pass 10% electoral threshold. On the negative side, the latest poll was: AKP’s 39 percent (from 41%), MHP 13 (from 16), CHP 28 (from 25) and HDP 15 (from 13). Now Erdogan demands to strip HDP of parliamentary immunity, HDP promises to request exactly that as all deputies are totally innocent, plus their leadership is telling the tale of Erdogan's duplicity while CHP chimes in "true, true".

To be precise, AKP does not call yet for outlawing HDP totally, just the leadership who was despicably in contact with despicable PKK, although duly asked to do so according to a preliminary agreement with the government, as claimed by some nefarious characters in HDP, CHP and the press.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 29 2015 0:51 utc | 49

The Russians couldn't or wouldn't stop the destruction and death in the People's Republics in Ukraine so what makes you think similar rhetoric with no follow-up as used in Ukraine will have any effect on what Turkey does.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 28, 2015 10:50:06 AM | 38

Ukraine & Syria are different scenarios.

In Ukraine, the (traditional) Yankee regime-change operation caught Russia by surprise and was notionally complete before Russia had time to react. And the actors in Ukraine are, for the most part, Ukrainian. So Ukraine is much more of an internal conflict than Syria.

In Syria, the (traditional) Yankee regime-change operation was quickly identified as such and the Syrian government reacted quickly, but not quickly (and/or violently) enough. Thus the regime-change failed and cannot succeed without even more outside military interference. Russia will disrupt any overt external military attack on Syria, to prevent a repeat of the Libya fiasco.
As far as I can tell, both Russia and China are embarrassed by their failure to intervene in Libya and are unlikely to behave in a half-assed way to 'save' Syria from Yankee bloodlust.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 29 2015 2:36 utc | 50

That dipshit Putin just called for Sepp Blatter - head Corruptofuckwit of FIFA - to actually be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize !!!!!!

As soon as Blatter reassured that Russia will still be the soccer world cup holders, with the announcement only a few days ago, Putin comes in with that bullshit.

Once again he proves the Putin doesn't give a shit about anyone on the whole planet. He only cares about strengthening the Russian state and it's image.

Posted by: tom | Jul 29 2015 2:51 utc | 51

@ #51. That's Russian Humour.
If you could be bothered perusing the list of (thoroughly undeserving) Nobel Prize winners, you'd "get it" too...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 29 2015 4:03 utc | 52

[The Independent]

Approving Air Strikes Against the PKK America's Worst Error in the Middle East Since the Iraq War

Turkish air attacks on the PKK have provoked bloody Kurdish retaliation. With claims that America approved the strikes that restarted the conflict, Patrick Cockburn argues that the US may have made its worst mistake since invading Iraq

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 5:16 utc | 53

A look at media this morning, US and Europe, including radio, most are calling-out the Turk's as pretending to go after ISIS in order to attack the PKK.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 5:44 utc | 54

@52 Not even close to a joke:

And Putin believes Blatter, who has not been charged with wrongdoing and denies any misconduct, deserves special reward for his work.

"We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now," Putin told RTS.

"I don't want to go into details but I don't believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally.

"I think people like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition.

"If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel prize, it's those people."

Posted by: tom | Jul 29 2015 6:45 utc | 55

Selahattin Demirtas says Turkey's battle against IS is simply a cover for operations against the PKK Video

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 7:35 utc | 56

@ #55.
Ok, that reinforces your claim. But it's not a Russian award and the Nobel Peace Prize, especially, is often awarded to criminals. Pre-emptively in Obama's case and post-massacre/ vandalism/ ethnic cleansing to Begin, Rabin and Peres (Piece Prize).
And I'm sure the reference to the IOC was meaningful. So I still think Putin was kidding.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 29 2015 7:54 utc | 57

Turkey launches heaviest air strikes on PKK since campaign began

Turkish fighter jets launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq overnight since air strikes began last week, a government official said, hours after President Tayyip Erdogan said a peace process had become impossible.

The F-16 jets hit six targets in Iraq and were scrambled from an air base in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakir, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operations.

"Last night's attack was the biggest assault since the campaign began last week," he said

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 8:31 utc | 58

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Ratney as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Syria.

I presume General Ratney is an Ashkenazi American Jew, he was council general in that abominable state. on a side note are they no non Ashkenazi American Jews in the state department anymore?

Posted by: papa | Jul 29 2015 8:36 utc | 59


You're prolly too young to remember Heckle & Jeckle, but if you look back over all b's posts and threads, and all Billmon's posts and threads since the Beginning, and I have from the first, and saw them with you, what are we *doing* here at MoA, we're like toothless fairies in a VietNamese cat house.



Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (H92222-15-D-0022) and CACI-WGI Inc. (H92222-15-D-0025), Tampa, Florida; Raytheon Blackbird Technologies Inc.(H92222-15-D-0023), Herndon, Virginia; and MacAulay-Brown Inc. (H92222-15-D-0024), Dayton, Ohio, were awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract with a combined ceiling value of ***$900,000,000*** for Special Operations Command Wide Mission Support services.

And it will be another $2.5BILLION for MegaDeath Inc tomorrow too,
and the next day, and the next day, ... like the Perpetual Interest Only BleedOut on the Fed 'Debt' (sic) ... f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

"We won, you lost. It's just business, get over it.'

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 29 2015 8:57 utc | 60


...if you look back over all b's posts and threads, and all Billmon's posts and threads since the Beginning...


and gosh, i've never been in a Vietnamese cathouse, though i am inclined to agree about the toothless fairies part anyway...

obviously there are no limitations on 'defense' spending, but the money part is the inanimate part. it's the seemingly limitless supply douchebag goobers(the contractees) in its service that concerns me.

which brings us back to my initial question that you never answered...

"you spend the last 30/40 years humping it for the extractor class or something?"

Posted by: john | Jul 29 2015 10:20 utc | 61
The Afghan government is investigating new reports that Taliban leader Mullah Omar has died, a spokesman said.

The Taliban has yet to comment on the claim, which was made by top sources within the Afghan administration and intelligence agency.

The sources said the reclusive militant leader had died two to three years ago.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 12:21 utc | 62

Have Turkey promised to the USA that it would mend its relation with Isrsael if it gets the long waited no-fly-zone?
It will start by a 'safe-zone' and as negotiations with Israel proceeds, it will evolve to a no-fly zone where Turkey could dump the 2 millions Syrian refugees and build a Sunni controlled mini-state friendly to Turkey and opposed to Kurds.
Yet, until now Turkey's foreign policy has been short-sighted and let's say it, incredibly infantile and dumb. With the same people leading it, it is doubtful it will be more successful now.

Posted by: virgile | Jul 29 2015 13:17 utc | 63

chipnik @60

'what are we doing' 'toothless fairies'

spitting it out instead of swallowing and asking for more?

Posted by: sillybill | Jul 29 2015 15:06 utc | 64

where Turkey could dump the 2 millions Syrian refugees and build a Sunni controlled mini-state friendly to Turkey and opposed to Kurds.

One of the newspapers I read this morning made exactly that case. Don't remember which one - read a bunch.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 15:14 utc | 65

Tom;Blatter?How about Glazer?Is soccer(ho)at its highest worldwide peak ever?No credit to Blatter?Probably all a political game vs Russia,you know,the nation whose leadership looks out for its nations interests?
Chipnik is the resident realist or pessimist,its hard to discern today.And Erdogan lost me at his failure to keep Marvi Marmara on a justice course.A political deal with Israel?

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 29 2015 17:59 utc | 66

Re Rand Paul;Mossad intelligence tapes of untoward behavior?

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 29 2015 18:02 utc | 67

Top members of Turkish government reveal why peace process with PKK was terminated: because HDP campaigned against making Erdogan a president in presidential system.:

The HDP has become a tool to topple the AKP government, but the process would exist if the AKP existed, Akdoğan [deputy PM] said, calling on the voters of the opposition party to ask the HDP to give account for such a stance.
“They are always lying on behalf of Öcalan,” he said.

“They say Öcalan is against the presidential system, Öcalan is against the AKP. These are totally lies,” he said.

“Were there any coalition talks when they were meeting with Öcalan?” he asked. “If Öcalan ever catches them, he would chase them with a stick.” .... Akdoğan also labelled the HDP’s election propaganda, which bid not to allow Erdoğan to become the president in a presidential system, as a provocation.


To me, it seems that AKP tries to be Machiavellian, but they are like some GOP politicians who are so used to the reactions of the Tea Party that they cannot comprehend why the same arguments would not work with everybody else. Since they emasculated the judiciary, they may outlaw the "Kurdish-problem-oriented" HDP, but that may be harder than indulging in mass arrests and bombing, USA and EU prefer the allies to uphold democratic principles at least a bit. If it is really, really hard, like in Egypt, they can show a lot of understanding, but this is not the case in Turkey. Moreover, unlike al-Sisi, Erdogan styled himself as a champion of democracy, and totally radical hypocrisy can be difficult.

Short of becoming Anatolian copy of al-Sisi, AKP will have to choose between a coalition with CHP, which presumably will become rather demanding, or early elections in the fall with similar but more mediocre results, and then they will face the same choice once more. Also, with the economy already in trouble and the blame for the strife in Turkey, their electorate could actually collapse even before the subsequent early election.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 29 2015 19:02 utc | 68

All this talk of Ottoman expansionism is rubbish. Erdogan has to address his electorate, which is turkish and sunni, with added personal obsessions. Erdogan wants a sunni regime in Syria, and fights to achieve it.

It has also become evident in the last few days that he wants to fight the Kurds, rather than make a deal with them. Very Turkish. Always difficult to accept another identity. He won't succeed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 29 2015 19:54 utc | 69

The results of a fall election in Turkey may not be mediocre for the AKP if Erdogan can whip up war fever. And in the process outlaw or semioutlaw the CHP.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 29 2015 19:54 utc | 70

The results of a fall election in Turkey may not be mediocre for the AKP if Erdogan can whip up war fever.
I don't think the Turkish public is much interested in invading Syria. The Kurds taking over what is seen as Turkish land is more of a problem.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 29 2015 20:21 utc | 71

And now Turkey has hired a crack team of D.C. lobbyists: Turkey’s Political Influence Felt as Washington Turns Its Back on Kurds Fighting ISIS:

Turkey employs an all-star lobbying team of former government officials, including former Democratic lawmakers Dick Gephardt and Al Wynn; former Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson; retired Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss; and, until he was indicted in June and left the Dickstein Shapiro law firm, former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. Others on the payroll include Brian Forni, a former Democratic aide, the law firm Greenberg Traurig, and Goldin Solutions, a media strategy firm.

Sibel Edmonds has described in her earlier writings the extent to which Denny Hastert supported Turkey during his career in the House, and also how he was being blackmailed for his sexual indiscretions.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 29 2015 20:50 utc | 72

Counterpunch: The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey:

Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility, they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites.

Absolutely disgusting. But it certainly does expose the incoherence of the alleged Western war against ISIS.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 29 2015 21:02 utc | 73

Absolutely disgusting.
Why is that disgusting? We're talking about politics.

The Kurds are just as imperialist as the Turks. Supporting the Kurds means supporting imperialistic expansion. I'm astounded that that's oK with MoA readers.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 29 2015 21:20 utc | 74

I realize that it is summer, but, for the second day in a row: no State presser.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jul 29 2015 21:43 utc | 75

@74 I agree. It's strange that Kurds are regarded in the West as cute and cuddly. Arabs and Turks have traditionally seen them as mountain bandits.

Posted by: dh | Jul 29 2015 22:35 utc | 76

This is heartbreaking. How often in conflicts is there a true set of 'good guys?' The pkk and derivative Kurds definitely qualify.

Posted by: Crest | Jul 29 2015 23:30 utc | 77

Israel strikes again - 5 victims comprised of hezbollah/syrian army

Posted by: aaaaa | Jul 30 2015 1:44 utc | 78

I'm astounded that that's oK with MoA readers.
Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 29, 2015 5:20:11 PM | 74

It's not the first time the US has tricked the Kurds onto Useful Idiocy. After the Kuwait-inspired Gulf War I, during which the Yankees stirred up the Kurds and massacred the Iraqi Army, they went home and abandoned the Kurds to be mopped up by their other victim of betrayal, Saddam, who thought he'd been given the green light by April Glaspie.

It's much more about USA's betrayal-via-recruitment habit than about the perceived ambitions of convenient dupes.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 30 2015 2:25 utc | 79

Re: 77

The killed fighters are defending a major Druze village, Hadera, and Israel already had a riot because wounded attackers of that village were transported through Golan Druze village to an Israeli hospital.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 30 2015 11:29 utc | 80

LOL, the Kurds are such "good guys" regurgitating spoon fed tripe

The ethnically cleansing kurds
the child recruiting kurds
the pkk- gladio- kurds
Yup- definitely good guys-

If ethnic cleansers, child recruiters and terrorists fit your definition of good guys

Seriously- some repeaters need to vary their diets- I can't imagine their not feeling sick by those rotten feedings repeating on them.

Posted by: Penny | Jul 30 2015 12:45 utc | 81

58: good link!

One can find more details in (informative, slightly suspicious because it has Guelinist slant) and A digression in reply to penny/81: there are no "Kurds, Turks, Americans", those are sets of individuals and organizations that are quite different from each other.

Erdogan is not a nationalist, and he develop Kurdophobia quite recently. He is a person of a grand vision where there is a nice place for Kurds cultivating their culture, as for all other citizens of the Republic of Turkey, especially if they recognize the need for national harmony and unity under the benevolent but firm leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That harmony and unity entails all proper details like the appropriate place of Sunni Islam (superior), for women (honorable, but remember that modesty defines female honor) and so on. Actually, some Kurds were founding members of his party, AKP. The start was very good: Kurds were allowed to talk in Kurdish in all public places, print, make radio broadcasts, and get elected without the harassment that was the norm under previous nationalistic governments. AKP got a nice percentage of Kurdish votes, and then two years ago launched "peace process" which was about to be concluded this February. A ‘Dolmabahçe Agreement’ was formulated, but not concluded. AKP demanded some form of support for their program to change the constitution to a presidential system, something that would require parliamentary supermajority, perfectly possible if AKP supporters and all Kurds voted for it. Additionally, Kurdish forces in Syria would join their hands together with ISIL and "Conquering Army" and remove Assad regime, so Erdogan could emulate Salah-ed-Din, a famous Kurdish hero who removed Crusaders from Levant and ruled over Syria and Egypt (compare with the given name of Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of HDP). All those plans were nixed by the obstreperous opposition of HDP and Kurdish forces in Syria which did not join hands etc. And hell knows no fury as Erdogan scorned.

From AKP perspective, HDP, PKK, YPG (and Guelinists) are all ingrates and backstabbers, and as soon as the public will become fully aware of their iniquity, his plan for harmony and unity will be realized. To most others, he is fomenting mayhem, first in Syria and now in Turkey, for his naked political ambition. It is hard to see what will happen. Domestically, Erdogan is perhaps sufficiently strong to impose dictatorship: outlaw HDP, imprison thousands like al-Sisi and, like al-Sisi, win in unfair elections. But perhaps he is not. Unlike al-Sisi, he does not control the military as tightly, and the society is not as scared of his enemies as in Egypt, plus his plans are more detrimental to the West that has influence in the military. Repeated failures of Erdogan in the last year suggest that he is too much out of touch to prevail, but he also has parliamentary majority to impose some "force solutions". But this majority currently depends on MHP which is another bunch of grandiose gasbags. The ship of Turkish state is in stormy waters and several canons are loose.

Posted by: Piotr Berman |

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 30 2015 22:28 utc | 82

There are two pieces of news on Turkey, each with only one source so far, that bombing of PKK killed 190, and that the government wants to revoke immunity of 9 deputies, including the top official of the second largest party, so I am checking "Google news: Turkey". Now the crisis moves to Ann Arbor, where turkey terrorizes one of the largest university campuses:

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 31 2015 2:41 utc | 84


Your response to my comment at 81 had nothing to do with one another
It was what I would call at my blog - "dazzling with bullshit"
The Kurds have engaged in every activity mentioned
It's all been documented very thoroughly.
They are not the "good guys"
That is just an illusion created to manipulate the perception of the repeaters.
If you would like to actually respond to my comment, clear, concise and with some actual relevance to my comment would be much more appropriate

Posted by: Penny | Jul 31 2015 11:38 utc | 85

Re: nasty Kurds, according to Penny. You have mentioned "ethnic cleansing" and "recruiting children", in a war zone where the enemy is regularly massacring civilians, this is truly hard to avoid, and sadly, not unique to the war in Iraq and Syria. Training boys and girls is widely accepted, and when they additionally live in areas under attack, it is hard to expect checking IDs before "authorizing" to participate in the defense. I do not understand what does it mean "gladio Kurds", gladius = sword in Latin, sword-bearing Kurds???

The only way to stop abuses is to stop the war, especially avoiding any supplies of people, money, arms and ammunition to the most egregious actors, but also helping those who fight them, while also using the concomitant influence to improve their behavior (not always easy even with our own military).

Incidentally, according to the readers of RUDAW, the only way Turkish airforce could kill "hundreds" as the government informed the press rather then "several fighters and ten civilians" is if they count killed sheep as they have already done in the past.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1 2015 18:19 utc | 86

Piotre Berman- point being Kurds are not good guys as is being spun here by the repeaters- You acknowledge and excuse atrocious behaviour that would be roundly condemned had it been done by anyone else. That appears highly suspect in my opinion

You claim it is widely accepted?

"Training boys and girls is widely accepted, and when they additionally live in areas under attack, it is hard to expect checking IDs before "authorizing" to participate in the defense"

Do you have first hand knowledge of this acceptance? Or are you just spinning? I think you're spinning away many, many Kurdish abuses-
Including multiple reports of Kurds ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Christians

Don't know what the reference to Gladio is? I find that hard to believe. Coy? Or simply never heard of NATO Stay behind armies. Operation Gladio being the most egregious of NATO's terrorism in Europe

Unlike yourself I don't spin away lies, killing and murder no matter who has done it- There are no good guys and if there was the Kurdish NATO affiliates wouldn't qualify as 'good' in any way shape or form

Repeaters need to stop repeating lies and dig for truth and facts

Posted by: Penny | Aug 2 2015 12:28 utc | 87

An account of Kurdish child recruitment- A documented account. One of many
Kurdish forces continue to recruit school children as child soldiers, despite a public pledge not to do so, according to witnesses and relatives.
It had previously emerged that the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s military wing – the Public Protection Units – had been recruiting at schools under their control since the start of 2014. Later the same year, Human Rights Watch also issued a damning report on the many groups involved in the fighting that recruit child soldiers.

Yasser al-Hassan, 46, an engineer in the oil fields of Rmelan, a town in the northeastern al-Hassakah Governorate, told Syria Deeply that armed boys and girls man checkpoints between al-Qamishli and Rmelan.

“Many children died at the fronts in Ras al-Ein, Yarubia and Hassakeh,” he said, adding that he had personally attended the funerals of a number of child soldiers.
“The recruitment is still ongoing under the excuse of defending the area and claims these children volunteered by themselves. But that’s not true, because most teachers in schools are members of the Public Protection Units and they brainwash children and convince them that joining and fighting with them is a sacred matter and that everyone must volunteer to fight with the units.”

“My nephew, Butan Taj al-Deen … dropped out when he was in elementary school due to the lack of teaching staff … [he] wasn’t good at school so when he quit his parents didn’t care much and they sent him to work in the vegetable market in town, which is ruled by party members. Every day he brought back with him lots of vegetables and 200 Syrian liras (about one dollar).

“It was a very good salary so his family didn’t pay much attention to the threat their son was under. We later heard he joined the Public Protection Unit.
”We didn’t take this seriously and his family thought he was just going to guard the market along with other members of the party, but three months later we received the news of his death.
“I still can’t believe he was killed. I have no idea how he and his younger friend Hassan Ibrahim joined the party together and both got killed together too. How could a 13- or a 14-year-old child carry weapons and fight?"

Yup, good guys

Posted by: Penny | Aug 2 2015 12:29 utc | 88

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