Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 26, 2015

Syria: The Turkish Russian Apology Contest

"The incident which happened two days ago in the skies over Syria defies common sense and international law. The plane was shot down over Syrian territory. And we have yet to receive an intelligible apology from Turkey on a top political level, " [the Russian President Putin] said.


"I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us," [the Turkish President Erdogan] said. "Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to ... violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence."

Erdogan did not take the exit ramp Putin offered. So who will win this contest?

U.S. Air Force General (ret) Charles J. Dunlap assesses that Russia wins the legal case. The Turkish shoot down of the Russian bomber was plainly illegal under international law as there was no threat to Turkey from the Russian plane. Even Turkey itself does not allege that the Russian bomber intended to attack that country. There was no self-defense situation that would allow such behavior.

Russia is taking all kinds of small and bigger economic measures to let Erdogan feel the consequences of attacking the Russian military in Syria:

The businessmen were selling their stuff at the Krasnodar agro trade exhibition illegally as they only held tourist visa. There are more such measures like official warnings to Russians not to go on vacation in Turkey and thorough safety controls of Turkish ships in Russian ports. More can follow.

Over all 55% of Turkey's gas consumption depends on Russian gas. A quarter of Turkey's electricity production runs on Russian gas. It is unlikely for now that Russia will use the leverage that comes with this Turkish energy dependency. But should another big incident happen "technical problems" with gas deliveries will come into play.

An overview of other economic and trade ties shows that Russia would probably lose some business in Turkey should the economic fight escalate. But the damage for the Turkish economy from losing business in Russia would be much bigger. The Turkish construction, agriculture and tourism industry would all lose their best or second best customer.

The Syrian army is intensifying the fight on its side of Syrian-Turkish border in the Latakia area where the Russian bomber was shot down. The "Turkmen" in that area have been joined by Erdogan's party youth "volunteers":

Emrah Çelik, a 27-year-old district organization member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in northwestern Tekirdağ province who joined the Turkmen forces voluntarily, said the 2nd Coastal Division has been fighting against regime forces for the last seven months.

That people from his own political party fight in Syria gives Erdogan some interior political problems. He will be urged to fight on their side but a direct fight against Russian forces, without NATO backing, is too big a risk for him.

Russia says it 'destroyed' the rebels in that area:

"The terrorists operating in that area and other mysterious groups were destroyed," [military official Igor Konashenkov] said.

The Russian airforce also attacked (vid) other fortified "Turkmen" positions in Latakia and it again attacked truck convoys near Azaz next to the Turkish-Syrian border crossing. Some of those convoys carry "aid" in the name of the IHH, a Humanitarian Relief Foundation with ties to Erdogan's party. Such "aid" is measured as 7.62mm, 23mm or some other caliber.

Over the years various IHH "aid" trucks on their way to Syria had been stopped by Turkish police and were found to carry weapons and ammunition. Just today two leading Turkish journalist were arrested for publishing about such arm transfers. They were charged of being members of a terror organization, espionage and revealing confidential documents. A very stupid move by Erdogan as it highlights the very issue Russia is pocking at.

Syria will soon officially demand that all the "aid" trucks crossing the border be checked by United Nations personal to make sure that no weapons or ammunition are carried with them. Any truck not having been checked risks to be bombed.

The Kurdish YPG fighters are using the Russian air cover in the area and advance from the east along the border attacking the "moderate" rebels of al-Nusra and Ahrar al Sham within the corridor from Turkey down to Aleppo. This is precisely the area where Erdogan wanted to have his "safe zone". He had earlier threatened to bomb the Kurds should they move to close that corridor. But how can he do that now when Russia gives them air cover and has excellent air defense (see below) readily available? Should he invade? If he does there is no chance that NATO will stand with him.

All this looks like Putin is celebrating thanksgiving and having Turkey for lunch.

Additional Russian targets today were again oil storage (vid) and truck distribution points (vid) around Raqqa run by the Islamic State. Why has the U.S., flying there daily for the last 13 month, never attacked these obvious targets?

Russia activated one S-400 air defense system at its Hmeimim air base in Latakia. One  S-400 system consist of two radar vehicles, a command and control vehicle and up to twelve launcher vehicles with four missiles each. Parts of this system were already in Syria for at least two weeks. After additional transport arrivals (vid) it is now set to permanent combat readiness. With a range of 400 kilometers the system can cover west Syria and south Turkey as well as Lebanon and most of Israel. Another S-400 system is on its way to Syria. Also on their way are up to twelve additional fighter planes which will help the four fighters already deployed to fly air-to-air cover for the Russian ground bombers and helicopters. These fighters are modern and can match all modern "western" systems.

Seemingly completely detached from the real situation in Syria U.S. neocons have opened a concerted campaign for the eradication of the Sykes-Picot borders and the destruction of Syria and Iraq.

All three op-eds are merely fantasies and neither consider all actors on the ground nor the various motivations and aim of those actors. All three require large U.S. troop deployments into a fighting zone.

Why do they believe that the U.S. should decide border issues of Syria or Iraq? And, after the mess the U.S. created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, why do they believe it could?

Posted by b on November 26, 2015 at 18:11 UTC | Permalink

next page »

U.S State Dept: "Syria buying oil from ISIS." What purpose is there for this "Assad is Saddam kinda evil dictator" idiocy other than preparing Americans for war in Syria?

Posted by: Steve | Nov 26 2015 18:23 utc | 1

The USA and it's allies want to redo borders everywhere. They want India to reabsorb Pakistan, make Venezuela give up land to Guyana, forcibly fuse The Koreas, stop China from claiming it's islands and fuse Haiti and Dominican Republic together.
This is just too much, this will create more chaos.

Posted by: Fernando | Nov 26 2015 18:30 utc | 2

b - Russia now activated one S-400 air defense system at its Hmeimim air base in Latakia. The S-400 system consist of radar vehicles, a command and control vehicle and up to twelve launcher vehicles with four missiles each. Parts of this system were already in Syria for at least two weeks. After additional transport arrivals (vid) it is now set to permanent combat readiness. With a range of 400 kilometers the system can cover west Syria and south Turkey as well as Lebanon and most of Israel. Another S-400 system is on its way to Syria.

Of course if the Russians had had the integrity to fulfil the contracts they signed, to deliver the s-300 systems to both Syria and Iran, then the recent history of both those countries might have been a whole lot different.

AND: Had they fulfilled the contracts, No s400 might now be needed in Syria at all.

In truth Russia has no one else but itself to blame for the Syrian quagmire it now finds itself in.

In the future it might be best for the Russians to actually fulfil the contracts they signed. Otherwise why sign them in the first place? Was it just to get some money into the current account?

Posted by: Morningstar | Nov 26 2015 18:30 utc | 3

re 1

"Syria buying oil from ISIS."
Syria has always bought oil from whoever occupies the oil-fields. It's nothing new, been going on since 2011. There were other rebels before ISIS.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 26 2015 18:34 utc | 4

I'm wondering if Turkey is the next target of chaos by the US.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Nov 26 2015 18:49 utc | 5

russia sits with all the playing cards and turkey with basically none..

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2015 18:52 utc | 6

I would add one useful touch to Bolton's plan of replacing Islamic State with "Sunni State": relocate all Washington think tanks to Mosul. (And make sure they get no air conditioning in summer.) It could be couched in gentle terms: in Bolton's description, Sunni State would be surprisingly similar to the current Islamic state, with Islamists ideology and no "Jeffersonian democracy", but with one key difference: excellent relations with KSA and USA. And who better than our think tankers to guide the natives to be "pro-Western"! Plus, they could offer invaluable economic advise.

Concerning Steve @1, a title from FT:

US accuses Syria of buying oil from Isis
Treasury also accuses chess federation head of aiding Assad

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 26 2015 18:55 utc | 7

I believe that we have entered the twilight zone. There is a NYT piece that praises NATO for being so cool, while in reality, Russia is the one that deserves the credit. Turkey does not have one leg to stand on in terms of murdering the Russian pilot, destroying an aircraft, and trying to start WWIII. Yet our Magic Black President stands 100% behind Turkey and their right to defend their border. But Greece does not have that right with over 2,200 airspace violations in 2014 by Turkish aircraft over Greece and not one aircraft was lost. And the US AC-130 report on the hospital attack in Afghanistan says “mistakes were made”, sensors not working, just shoot from the hips guys - no big deal. In fact their google map like screens on that aircraft would even have the doctor’s mobile phone signals so they could target individual people. The details are color coded so it makes it easier to target hospitals, schools, and weddings. They knew what they were shooting at; otherwise the aircraft would need to return to base. The military does not like loose cannons. 100% fact that it was done on purpose. You have a choice: either the US military is incompetent or it is evil – you pick. The same would have to be said of the Turkish military. As I said, we are in the twilight zone.

Posted by: Peter B | Nov 26 2015 19:09 utc | 8

Erdogan is playing the nationalistic fiber by attacking the bad Russians who are bombing our brothers the turkmens.
While Russia will no retaliate decively on the economical level,they have now the best pretext to finish off all turkey's allies in syria. The turkmens and the FSA are dead men walking and the oil and weapons traffic with Turkey is over.
Russia will feel free to arm the YPG and prevent any Turkish plane to enter Syria for any pretext.
Erdogan got some points in his race for the constitution change and an excellent reason not to participate in the anti-ISIS war, but he may find himself more isolated than ever even as he is blackmailing the EU with the refugees and excluded once for al from the future of Syria.

Posted by: Virgule | Nov 26 2015 19:15 utc | 9

Erdogan is playing the nationalistic fiber by attacking the bad Russians who are bombing our brothers the turkmens.
While Russia will no retaliate decively on the economical level,they have now the best pretext to finish off all turkey's allies in syria. The turkmens and the FSA are dead men walking and the oil and weapons traffic with Turkey is over.
Russia will feel free to arm the YPG and prevent any Turkish plane to enter Syria for any pretext.
Erdogan got some points in his race for the constitution change and an excellent reason not to participate in the anti-ISIS war, but he may find himself more isolated than ever even as he is blackmailing the EU with the refugees and excluded once for al from the future of Syria.

Posted by: Virgule | Nov 26 2015 19:15 utc | 10

The "Project for a New American Century" is back but they now have a different name. It's called the "The John Hay Initiative".

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 26 2015 19:19 utc | 11

O/T but, Happy Thanksgiving everybody. You all are the best (trolls included).

Posted by: mike | Nov 26 2015 19:27 utc | 12

Where is ISIS on this supposed map?
Guardian/ISW Map

Posted by: randomrob23 | Nov 26 2015 19:44 utc | 13

Mike hit the nail squarely on the thumb ... the empire has a celebratory day of it's exceptional indispensable role ... thanksgiving. And he wishes all y'all a happy one as you sit and bemoan the collapse of the evil empire.
Read Dunbar-Ortiz ...

Posted by: Rg an LG | Nov 26 2015 19:46 utc | 14

From b

[...] All three op-eds are merely fantasies and neither consider all actors on the ground nor the various motivations and aim of those actors. All three require large U.S. troop deployments into a fighting zone.

Why do they believe that the U.S. should decide border issues of Syria or Iraq? And, after the mess the U.S. created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, do they believe it could? [...]

Thanks b for another solid, well-rounded post on a complex matter. The US delusional neo-cons and their partners in crime might believe they can, the question now is, would they be allowed?

Partitioning Syria and/or Iraq is now a matter of strategic consequences, and can only be done by defeating the 4+1 in the battlefields of Syria/Iraq. Rabid neo-con John Bolton psychopathic delusions of mass murder will not work against the defensive wall the Russians/Iranians are building in the ME.

S-400s in Syria and the most advanced S-300s in Iran, soon to be followed by S-400s if and when needed, plus Russia's Mare Nostrum and Iran's Persian Gulf fleet, are all part of the defensive ring Russia is building on the ME.

And what is this anti-submarine Russian destroyer doing on the Gulf of Aden, besides "anti-terrorism" exercises?

Russian Naval Destroyer Carries Out Anti-Terrorism Drills in Gulf of Aden

On Erdogan apology, or lack thereof. His refusal to apologize is further proof he's just a pimp in this operation. Russians already know who is behind Erdogan, still need to find out what this "pre-planned" provocation (Lavrov) entails.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, y'all!!

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 26 2015 19:56 utc | 15

@11- Very interesting. They're now back with a new plan - to clean up from the mess that their disastrous failure of their last plan created. Its the arsonist fire-fighter again - as always.

"U.S. foreign policy is failing, and its rejuvenation and adjustment to new conditions are necessary for the maintenance of a prosperous and secure global order. "

Amazing that they still see things as a "choice". Despite the reappearance of Russia and the rise of China, it is, apparently for these insulated clowns, still a matter of just "choosing" to create their own reality. And of course its a "reality" that allows now space for any peer. But this invented reality, at this point in post-Cold War history, has no longer any relation to the far more important reality - real reality! Someone really needs to knock their heads together and let them get the difference.

So long as this "world order" tries to exclude two of the major powers, it will require more chaos and more "disorder" by definition. There can be no prosperous and secure global order so long as there are these efforts to try and encroach on and attack other major powers and their key allies.

The problem, as always, is that any tension between Russia and her neighbors - even if it causes havoc in both Russian and the neighbor - the US wins. Of course the US doesn't care what happens in Turkey or in Russia. The more chaos the merrier. So you can be sure that the US is whispering "do it!" into the Turks ears, no matter how much it hurts on the ground. After all, it would take a whooooole lot of chaos to penetrate the golden dome of silence that is Erdogan's palace. He's shielded, let the truck drivers take one for Turkey! Erdogan get's his good feelings from the support of the Americans, not from the support of his countrymen. So this still is a problem. The key, I would think, is to coordinate the response from all of Turkey's neighbors (Iraq and Iran and even Greece, if possible to convince them) so as to make the balance of hurt land far more on the side of Turkey.

Here's another good Pepe interview, though its about a year old, it gives a good run down of the "Empire of Chaos" machinations which are clearly at work in this latest episode of "Let's you and him fight" set up by the Americans:

About the partition of Syria - this is the last game plan. As soon as Russia started their operation, we heard "well, Russia may not let Assad loose, but they can't make him win either!" and so this partition is plan B. And its obviously being pushed hard, and as Jackrabbit said, maybe by using up Turkey's vitality as "the crazy factory", the US can make this happen. But I don't see that - as any partition would mostly benefit ISIL. Should the Syrian's deicide that they no longer will bother with fighitng ISIL, then they could simply settle into their partitioned state and the only people left to fight ISIL will be the Americans and al Nusra. It would be the surest way to bolster ISIL, not a way of "crushing them".

As for those who attack Russia constantly trying to tell Russia what it should and shouldn't do (Morningstar, foff's latest incarnation, "mr. honesty's" 7th screename in three threads) no one is buying that. Putin has 85% support among his people for a reason. The Imperial "Rebels" crossed a red line with their taking of Idlib and attacks on Latakia, the Russian's did what they had to do when it became clear that the Syrians and their local allies were facing more outside interference than they could handle. Russia is matching escalation with escalation, but they've made it clear that Syria will not become some dismembered collection of insane, Wahabbi run, statelets. They've proven that they're willing to fight to maintain the Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanon supply lines for the Palestinian resistance (and no mistake that there is a third intifada threatening) and that - though they won't do it without local support - they'll fill any breach that appears.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 26 2015 20:00 utc | 16

@11 more from "choosing to lead..."

First and foremost the new Administration will have to rebuild our defenses and demonstrate quickly both the resolve and capability to defend our allies.

How much more than a trillion dollars per year can we spend? They'd do better to strike a blow at the massive corruption that requires so much funding for this boondoggle of a military and the corporate lifestyles it supports.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 26 2015 20:09 utc | 17

Turkey’s dubious role in the IS oil smuggling route – which encompasses the KRG and ends up at the Turkish port of Ceyhan – was recently investigated by two British academics at the University of Greenwich.

The paper by George Kiourktsoglou, Lecturer in Maritime Security and former Royal Dutch Shell strategist, and Dr Alec Coutroubis, Acting Head at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, attempted to identify suspicious patterns in the illicit oil trade.

Their extraordinary study, published by Maritime Security Review in March, examined the smuggling route through Sanliura, Urfa, Hakkari, Siirt, Batman, Osmaniya, Gaziantep, Sirnak, Adana, Kahramarmaras, Adiyaman and Mardin. “The string of trading hubs ends up in Adana [in southeast Turkey], home to the major tanker shipping port of Ceyhan.”

By comparing spikes in tanker charter rates from Ceyhan with a timeline of IS activities, the University of Greenwich analysis identified significant correlations between the two. Whenever the Islamic State fights “in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the… exports from Ceyhan promptly spike. This may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds”.

While the evidence is still “inconclusive” at this stage, the authors wrote that “there are strong hints to an illicit supply chain that ships ISIS crude from Ceyhan” to global markets. Since the launch of the IS oil venture in summer 2014, “tanker charter rates from Ceyhan re-coupled up to a degree with the ones from the rest of the Middle East”. Primary research including interviews with informed sources indicated that this was most likely “the result of boosted demand for ultra-cheap smuggled crude, available for loading” from the Turkish port.

Posted by: Les | Nov 26 2015 20:14 utc | 18

U.S. slaps sanctions on Russia Chess Federation champion.

Good thing we nabbed those criminals behind the 2008 financial crisis and the mortgage securities fraud.

Posted by: Les | Nov 26 2015 20:17 utc | 19

Well, then Israel could implement their final solution to the Palestinian problem. Ship them to the new shiny Sunni State.

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 26 2015 20:17 utc | 20

In the future it might be best for the Russians to actually fulfil the contracts they signed. Otherwise why sign them in the first place? Was it just to get some money into the current account?

I've had read this statement every day for about a week now. Wonder if this is a bot whose programming didn't include English grammar, and if not, can a merciful soul provide him with a different trolling line?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 26 2015 20:34 utc | 21

What Russia will do if Turkey closes Bosphorous to their ships?

Posted by: emes | Nov 26 2015 20:46 utc | 22

To Mike and Lone Wolf, by all means a very happy Thanksgiving to all! I am most thankful for this post today, with comments, because the truth will make us truly free.

Blessed are the bringers of light, for their words enlighten us all!

Posted by: juliania | Nov 26 2015 21:05 utc | 23

‘Putin has not returned my call’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an exclusive interview | FRANCE 24 |

Posted by: Oui | Nov 26 2015 21:12 utc | 24

@27 They would do what the US Navy did around those artificial islands in the South China Sea i.e. send a destroyer through and dare the Turks to stop it.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 26 2015 21:16 utc | 25

I think it’s nearly impossible to win a fight when the opponent is evil, is destructive, is immoral, is dishonest.
But the latest developments are in favour of the good guy.
Isn’t that strange…

1. Downing Russian passenger jet
2. Assaults Paris
3. Downing Russian SU-24
4. Murdering pilot SU-24

These four items has –among other things- led to:
. Increasing support in the West public opinion for Russia
. The real face of ISIS and its sponsors comes to surface

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 26 2015 21:19 utc | 26


this is a thorny question. Of course this is a casus belli. up to nukes maybe?

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 26 2015 21:26 utc | 27

@13 "Where is ISIS on this supposed map?" Better yet, where is al Nusra? That's what gets me - al Qaeda? They're "rebels". And since they're not ISIS, according to our "leaders", they're moderate. No matter how many heads they chop off or women and children they dispatch.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 26 2015 21:45 utc | 29


Thanks for the link to the article, found the link to the research paper. There is another research paper on ISIS-Turkey links, published by Columbia University in NY "Institute for the Study of Human Rights,"

Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey Links

that came to us courtesy of Pepe Escobar at Sputnik News.

Sultan Erdogan's War on...Russia

[...] Married to the (Erdogan) Mob

President Putin nailed it; it was "a shot in the back". Because all evidence is pointing towards an ambush: the F-16s might have been actually waiting for the Su-24s. With Turkish TV cameras available for maximum global impact.

Two Su-24s were getting ready to strike a bunch of "moderate rebels". Ankara says they were Turkmen — which the Turks finance and weaponize. But there is just a small bunch of Turkmen in northern Syria.

The Su-24s were actually after Chechens and Uzbeks — plus a few Uyghurs — smuggled in with fake Turkish passports (Chinese intel is also on it), all of these operating in tandem with a nasty bunch of Turkish Islamo-fascists. Most of these goons transit back and forth between the CIA-weaponized Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat al-Nusra. These were the goons who machine-gunned the Russian pilots as they parachuted down after the hit on the Su-24.

The Su-24s posed absolutely no threat to Turkey. Turkish UN Ambassador Halit Cevik's letter to the Security Council is a joke; two Russian jets "warned 10 times in five minutes" to change direction, both flying "more than a mile" into Turkey for an interminable 17 seconds. The whole thing has already been amply debunked. Not to mention that Turkish — and NATO — planes "violate" the Syrian border all the time.

Erdogan well knows how US neocons were livid with French President Francois Hollande after his "it's war" cry was followed by a drive to work together with Russia against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

So the real target was not a Su-24, but the evolving possibility, after the Paris attacks, of a real coalition — the US, Britain and France on one side, the "4+1" (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah) on the other side — finally converging their interests into a unified fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Where would that leave Ankara, which for years has invested heavily in the Salafi-jihadi nebulae, from Jabhat al-Nusra to Ahrar al-Sham and myriad other outfits, culminating with aiding and abetting and even funding ISIS/ISIL/Daesh?

Turkey, for all practical purposes, has been a handy, sprawling Salafi-jihadi Infrastructure and Logistics Center; it offers everything from porous borders enabling countless jihadi return tickets from Syria to Europe, facilitated by corrupt police, to a convenient crossroads for all kinds of smuggling and a hefty money laundering ops.

So Ankara, with a missile, thought it might completely change the narrative.

Hardly. Just follow the money. Even in the US and Europe the Turkish game is becoming increasingly transparent. A research paper at Columbia University details at least a fraction of the multiple instances of collusion between Turkey and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Bilal Erdogan, the Sultan's son, is a major profiteer of illegal trading of stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil. Imagine his terror after Putin revealed to G-20 leaders in Antalya — Turkish territory! — how Russian intel has identified most of the mobster maze of connections pointing directly to ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Imagine mobster/Turkish commodity dealer sentiment at the prospect of losing their cut with the impossibility of buying Syrian stolen oil to the tune of $50 million a month. After all the Russian Air Force had already destroyed oil farms, refineries and most of all over 1,000 tanker trucks — and counting; imagine the prospect of losing all the oil flow, the money flow, a Smugglers Inc. scattered in the desert with no place to go.

And we Also Do Extortion

NATO command may be stand-up comic material — just watch Dr. Strangelove's Greatest Hits, as in Gen. Philip Breedlove and his "Russian aggression" meme. But the generals are not foolish. NATO won't go to war with Russia over a mere vassal. And Russia won't provide NATO with a pretext for war.

In the Big Power Politics arena, certainly now we do have the post-modern return of the historic tension between the Russian and Ottoman empires. But that will play over time, slowly. The Russian direct response will be cold, calculated, extensive, swift — and most of all unexpected. No response would imply a carte blanche for "moderate rebels" to be weaponized in Syria ad infinitum.

What's certain is that Russia will turbo-charge the bombing of all ISIS/ISIL/Daesh supply corridors from Turkey into northern Syria, as well as the stolen oil smuggling routes from northern Syria into Turkey.

Russia can play with so many options to increase the pressure. For instance, S-300 and S-400 air defense systems covering the Turkish-Syrian border. That would be part of a Russian no-fly zone in Syria, approved by Damascus, for any jet daring to fly without explicit permission from the government. The Sultan wouldn't dare "violate" this airspace.

Erdogan's desperate gambit reveals that the last thing Ankara wants is a Vienna-conducted peace process in Syria. "Assad must go" is non-negotiable — for an array of geopolitical reasons (neo-Ottomanism), political (the need for a Sunni-dominated, pliant, Syrian satrapy) and economic (the proposed Qatar gas pipeline traversing Syria all the way to Turkey.)

And the whole thing is about to get hotter. Not only a Turkish mobster maze is aiding, abetting and profiting handsomely from doing business with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and other exponents of Jihad Inc.; Ankara itself is in the extortion business. And the willing "victim" is — who else — Europe.

German chancellor Angela Merkel had to go to Ankara to kiss the Sultan's feet so she may be able to "save" her refugee policy. Erdogan came up with the proverbial offer you can't refuse. You want me to hold the refugees here? Just give me 3 billion euros. Unfreeze Turkey's accession dossier to the EU (guess who's the top nation against it: France). And let me have my "safe zone" in the Turkish-Syria border.

Incredible as it may seem, Europe gave in. The European Commission (EC) has just given Erdogan the 3 billion euros. He starts getting the cash on January 1, 2016. The official spin is these funds are part of the "efforts to solve the migrant crisis." European Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans glowingly framed the so-called Turkey Refugee Facility as "providing support to further improve the daily lives and socio-economic conditions of Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey."

Don't expect the EC to monitor how the cash will vanish in the mobster maze — or will be used to further weaponize "moderate rebels".

Erdogan does not give a damn about refugees. What he wants is his "safe zone", not in Turkey, but 35 km deep in northern Syria, out of bounds for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), militias under Iranian command, Hezbollah forces and most of all the Russian Air Force. He wants his no-fly zone and he wants NATO to get it for him.

Erdogan is on a mission from Allah — at least his version of Allah. The downing of the Su-24 is just the preamble. Get ready, because 2016 promises an even bigger bang.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 26 2015 22:10 utc | 30

There was a quote in the Guardian I think it was, something along the lines of how Russia and Turkey could escalate. The think tank blabber said "and of course Turkey could escalate by supporting insurgents in the Caucuses". Insurgents? Guys in black hoods who take over elementary schools and murder hundreds of children don't really deserve to be called "insurgents" I don't think. At least not without the appellation of "terrorist".

But that's where we're headed. No holds barred. The US and its allied elites plan seems to be this: arm every nazi, whabbi, zionist settler, and fascist they can find then pull back into their gated communities and watch the fireworks, like so many Israelis watched the bombing of Gaza. American's sitting at home in their easy chairs, watching the world burn on CNN and saying "my, how awful. I hope that doesn't happen here! Maybe Trump will build that fence!"

There's some goofy conspiracy theory about "the breakaway civilization" of rich people headed to space, similar to the Elysium flick. We'll too late. It's already broken away. They're not going to space, but they've definitely cut themselves off from the rest of us and clearly don't give a shit what happens so long as they're safe. After all, what self respecting oligarch lives in Dagestan, eastern Syria, Northern Iraq or Donetsk? The Empire of Chaos is hard at work weaponizing every angry loser it can and then making sure that all they have to do is keep them "over there".

There's one point that the American people won't ever hear, and that's that this ISIL terrorist shit is all a sideshow to the real battle against China and Russia. But that curtain can't ever be raised because that is most certainly unpopular and ridiculous, where as people can easily be frightened into freaking out over the maniacs in ISIL. But it has to be sold, and sold hard. Even more so to the people of Europe who are obviously taking the most damage over this.


I have to say, I haven't seen the troll working this hard (work: changing IPs, stringing random curse words together, posting large chunks of inane articles, and acting generally like a 14 year old with an emotional complex) since the Maidan. Clearly, there is something very big and important to obfuscate in this whole jet downing. Or else computer hours have been extended down at the halfway house.

I laugh so hard when I hear this clown tell other posters "Good thing the Russian's don't listen to you!" having himself posted (under another name) "what the Russians should have done" just a few posts earlier. The Russians are good with Putin, nitwit. He's got a 85% approval rating. I'm not sure what approval rating you have in Russia, but if its anything like the one you have around here then it is somewhere between "0%" and "we hope you die in a fire".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 26 2015 22:11 utc | 31


See Lone Wolf@39, Pepe Escobar's article, section "And we Also do Extortion," same take as mine re: Syrian refugees, a discussion we had a few threads ago.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 26 2015 22:14 utc | 32

@22 les... that sounds like more of the same brain dead foreign policy approach coming out of the exceptional nation... thanks for the laugh..

@27 emes... those missiles fired from the caspian sea over iran and iraq into syria seemed to work fairly well.. not sure just how this will unfold, but many are still cheering for erdogan/isis.. you too?

turkey is supporting isis, whether it be with erdogans son helping sell the oil for isis, or turkey sending arms and militants into syria for more of the same.. the downing of the russian plane in syrian or turkish airspace for 17 seconds means turkey had this cued up before the plane hit turkish airspace and acknowledge it wasn't the threat to turkey.. it was a threat to the turkmen - those '''moderate''' rebels/terrorists.. their actions towards the ejected pilot coming down in a parachute as an act of self defense on their part summarizes them as terrorists to most... that is pretty hard to get around...

turkey's a rogue player here, while russia is a very disciplined one.. most folks can see this..

and in other news from today, "Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş is facing the prospect of up to eight years and two months in prison on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a series of tweets and statements that the journalist says was him simply expressing a critical opinion." better watch what we say on moa! goes with the other ongoing story - "Cumhuriyet daily’s Dündar, Gül arrested over report on Syria arms transfer." erdogan is going to have to control the press better, and that will require silencing the kurds and pretty well everyone else who isn't an erdogan loyalist..

i think someone upstream might have mentioned this.. erdogan better learn how to be a better liar then this.. it really falls flat.. "“Had we known it was a Russian plane we may have acted differently,” Erdoğan said in an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on Thursday."

and finally an opinion from an article today "First of all, Turkey is a wholesaler involved in the war in Syria, Ankara helping the Syrian opposition both financially and with weapons, Turkey wants regime change in Damascus. Turkey is holding an open border crossings with Syria for jihad warriors who fight on the side of the Islamic state, through Turkey and the port of Ceyhan it is smuggling oil it buys from the Islamic state, that Turkey buys at a price below 30 dollars per barrel of oil. In the last 48 hours, the Russian air force has bombed oil fields, terminals and tankers of the Islamic state, which is seriously threatened by the trade in oil through Turkey. In addition, Russian planes have helped advancing the forces of Bashar al-Assad to the Syrian-Turkish border, which Ankara does not see fit, because it wants a buffer zone in the area to be freely bombing the Kurds." turkey is being seen for the player it is which ain't great.. i think it bodes ill for turkey more then anything else, even if the usa is stupid enough to egg them on, or even worse - get caught in the act of egging them on..

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2015 22:19 utc | 33


The legal closure only applies to overt military vessels so the Syrian express which uses commercial vessels registered in other countries could not legally be stopped.

If it is closed, Russia could take the US approach and drop out of the Treaty so it is not legally affected by the Treaty. The Bosphorous would then effectively become a war zone as Russia would be reliant on force to go through. Insurance rates for ALL shiping would rocket and ALL countries using it would be affected. Russia could also do all sorts of non-permitted things such as send a nuke sub or two in. It could also blockade the Black Sea side so goodbye to Ukraine sea traffic, visits by the Donald etc.

Heck, in principle Russia could park a Moskva equivalent with S-300s in the Black Sea suitably close to Turkey, possibly totally sealing off its airspace now the S-400s are in place.

As a fallback Russia does have access via the Caspian and land/air through Iran/Iraq. So the outcome may be Russian bases in both.

Posted by: Yonatan | Nov 26 2015 22:32 utc | 34

@ 27 asking "What Russia will do if Turkey closes Bosphorous to their ships?"

What will Russia do? That's not Russia's problem. Russia can put ships in the Caspian Sea firing missiles through Iranian and Iraqi airspace into Syria. Russian warplanes can take off from northern Russia, skirt around UK airspace and go through international airspace over the Mediterranean to fire missiles at ISIS strongholds in Syria.

If necessary, warships from China and Iran can bolster the Russian presence in Latakia and Tartus.

The real question is whether Turkey has any right to close the Bosporus at all.

You can be pretty sure that if Turkey did close the Bosporus, the one country screaming the most will be Ukraine, because Ukraine will be cut off from US and NATO warships.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 26 2015 22:38 utc | 35

Russian embassy in Britain are enjoying themselves

I guess Sarajevo has always been a Turkish place.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 26 2015 22:46 utc | 36

So it looks like:

-- US encouraged Erdogan in the downing; evidence is that US (exactly whom I don't know) confirmed that they monitored that Turkey did warn Russian planes. Thus staying in good w ally Turkey, and w US neocons.
-- Then US (exactly whom I don't know) leaked that the Russian plane was in Syria when shot down, which was known by the heat signature. Deniable, but a threat to anyone who thinks to carry the matter politically further against Russia.
-- Result of the entire action is that Erdogan is neutralized.
-- What makes you think this was not the desired result? Surely it was predictable. You didn't really think Russia was going to shoot herself in the foot by doing something dramatically vengeful, did you?

From yesterday's MoA:
"The Obama administration is also preparing to install the Turkish dream of a "safe zone" between Aleppo and the Turkish border north of it.
"Among several coalition priorities in Syria, the United States has begun a series of airstrikes in an area known as the “Mar’a line,” named for a town north of Aleppo in the northwest. There, a 60-mile stretch to the Euphrates River in the east is the only remaining part of the Syria-Turkey border under Islamic State control."

IMHO Obama remains unalterably opposed to a safe zone. Neither the US nor anyone I can think of wants to strengthen Turkey, and that would be the likely outcome.

From today's MoA:
"All three op-eds are merely fantasies and neither consider all actors on the ground nor the various motivations and aim of those actors. All three require large U.S. troop deployments into a fighting zone."
My condensation of a Voltaire article yesterday might be relevant:

11/24/15 Barzani, Mossad dictator of regional govt of Iraqi Kurdistan joins British & French forces in liberation of Raqqa from IS. June 2014 it annexed Iraqi Kirkuk region and a few days ago, Iraqi Sinjar region; next w/b Raqqa in Syria, where they'll proclaim the independent country of Kurdistan straddling the border (including ALL the oil of Iraq).
In Syria, "Democratic Forces of Syria" (group created by France, Britain & Israel on the day of Russia's first strikes) includes Syrian Kurds (YPG) & the some of the N Syrian Arab tribes. They are now forcibly inducting Kurds from Iraqi & Turkish refugee camps into fighting for the creation of "Kurdistan". Refugees are trying to flee the camps, don't want to fight for Barzani family.

Admittedly, I am seeing everything through the lens of what might reinforce my "factions" theory of 2 US factions bent upon world domination-- one of which is more pragmatic and willing to be temporarily more multipolar, at least in the middle east. The other is the Bushite neocon reckless faction whose rhetoric Obama uses, while undermining it in action. Saying "Assad must go," does nothing; preventing a safe zone/no-fly is everything. If you believe Obama was behind Turkey's shootdown, then wasn't he FOR the very predictable result of Turkey's neutralization?

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 26 2015 22:46 utc | 37

Yep Penelope, that is my theory too, the 'old' vs the 'new' neo-cons. Both groups are neo-cons (US domination, etc) just that the 'old' ones are 'Israel interests first', the new ones see Russia and China as the #1 targets and the ME is just another part of it, rather than the primary goal.

The US 'incoherence' in policy can be seen as each side getting various tactical victories.

Obama is (and always has been) a 'new' neo-con, but because of their insider power he has to appease the 'old' ones regularly.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 26 2015 22:57 utc | 38

    "well the Syrian gov'ts gameplan right now, in response to the very overt US bombing of it's territory and killing it's civilians, seems to be "Let's just sit tight and ignore them. Hopefully they'll just go away"

    Unless it can militarily assert itself in it's own airspace soon, then it's only a matter of time."

    Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4, 2015 1:31:25 PM | 7

Within 2 weeks of that statement being made the Russians announced their intention to launch an air campaign in Syria.

Posted by: MorningStar | Nov 26 2015 23:01 utc | 39

The real question is whether Turkey has any right to close the Bosporus at all.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 26, 2015 5:38:05 PM | 46

Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits

Turkey was authorised to close the Straits to all foreign warships in wartime or when it was threatened by aggression; additionally, it was authorised to refuse transit from merchant ships belonging to countries at war with Turkey. A number of highly specific restrictions were imposed on what type of warships are allowed passage. Non-Black Sea state warships in the Straits must be under 15,000 tons. No more than nine non-Black Sea state warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of no more than 30,000 tons, may pass at any one time, and they are permitted to stay in the Black Sea for no longer than twenty-one days.

Although the treaty is often cited as prohibiting aircraft carriers in the straits,[12] there is no explicit prohibition on aircraft carriers in the treaty. However, the tonnage limits in Article 14, which apply to all non-Black Sea powers, would preclude the transit of modern aircraft carrying ships. In the case of non-Black Sea powers, these terms make it impossible for transit any modern ships carrying aircraft through the straits without violating the terms of the convention.

By contrast, Black Sea powers such as the USSR were able to transit aircraft carrying cruisers through the straits under other terms of the convention. As with non-Black Seas powers, the Montreux convention does not explicitly forbid a Black Sea power from transiting aircraft carriers through the straits, and the tonnage limits in Article 14 also apply to Black Sea powers as well as non-Black Sea powers. However, under Article 11, Black Sea states are permitted to transit capital ships of any tonnage through the straits. Annex II specifically excludes aircraft carriers from the definition of capital ships, but limits the definition of carriers to ships that are designed primarily for carrying and operating aircraft at sea and specifically excludes other ships that merely are able to operate aircraft.[13]

The result of this is that by designing its aircraft carrying ships such as Kiev and Admiral Kuznetsov to have roles other than aircraft operation and by designating those ships as "aircraft carrying cruisers" rather than "aircraft carriers" the Soviet Union was able to transit its aircraft carrying ships through the straits in compliance with the convention, while at the same time the Convention denied access to NATO aircraft carriers, which are not covered by the exemption in Article 11.[14][15][16]

Under Article 12, Black Sea states are also allowed to send submarines through the Straits, with prior notice, as long as the vessels have been constructed, purchased or sent for repair outside the Black Sea. The less restrictive rules applicable to Black Sea states were agreed as, effectively, a concession to the Soviet Union, the only Black Sea state other than Turkey with any significant number of capital ships or submarines.[11][17] The passage of civil aircraft between the Mediterranean and Black Seas is permitted, but only along routes authorised by the Turkish government.[18]

Posted by: MorningStar | Nov 26 2015 23:05 utc | 40

-- US encouraged Erdogan in the downing; evidence is that US (exactly whom I don't know) confirmed that they monitored that Turkey did warn Russian planes. Thus staying in good w ally Turkey, and w US neocons.
-- Then US (exactly whom I don't know) leaked that the Russian plane was in Syria when shot down, which was known by the heat signature. Deniable, but a threat to anyone who thinks to carry the matter politically further against Russia.
-- Result of the entire action is that Erdogan is neutralized.
-- What makes you think this was not the desired result? Surely it was predictable. You didn't really think Russia was going to shoot herself in the foot by doing something dramatically vengeful, did you?

Well at least one other person here is awake and comprehending

Posted by: MorningStar | Nov 26 2015 23:07 utc | 41


Dobbins is hardly a neocon.

Posted by: Dragon | Nov 26 2015 23:11 utc | 42

Erdogan might be a lunatic, but he isn't going anywhere. Putin will need to embrace him again sooner or later.

The Turkish-Russian incident poses another question though; how does Russia intend to seal the border with Turkey? What happens when a Turkish soldier is "injured" by fire from Syria as Syrian troops close in. Will Turkey, under the same pretence as the Israelis around the Golan, shell Syrian forces to keep the border area open for terrorists? Then what? Strike back?

One wonders if the intention is to seize the high ground and enforce an exclusion zone inside Syria - creating a kind of no man's land a few kilometres deep. An unfortunate, but perhaps necessary, solution.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 26 2015 23:33 utc | 43


The US 'incoherence' in policy can be seen as each side getting various tactical victories.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 26, 2015 5:57:42 PM | 49

This notion of there being some "incoherence" in the US policies is a complete fiction

Full Spectrum Dominance is in effect

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "

    That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

Amazing how many people completely fail to get the actual meaning of that quote

Posted by: MorningStar | Nov 26 2015 23:42 utc | 44

Thank you b for your brilliant work during this - and I hesitate to say conflict - because it is much more than that. I know your effort is the product of many, many years of work and thinking and sacrifice. I am so grateful to you for being there at this hugely important moment in history to shine a light with your brief and precise perceptions. Thank you b.

Posted by: Lochearn | Nov 26 2015 23:50 utc | 45

An interesting alternate explanation to the SU-24 shootout, which also incidentally closes the bitching about the "alleged" Russian ECMs

Posted by: acrimonious | Nov 27 2015 0:02 utc | 46

MorningStar | Nov 26, 2015 6:42:56 PM | 55.

My point being that both neo-con groups believe the same but differ on priorities and tactcis.
The 'old' neo-cons being 'Israel First' are obsessed with the ME.
The 'new' ones see the ME as a secondary priority, to be tidied up later after Russia and China.

Hence we get contradictions like the US signing up to pushing the domination of Sunni salafists in the ME, but signing a nuclear agreement with Iran.

The 'new' neo-cons wanted Iran off the table for awhile (maybe ideally to wedge it away from Russia and China), the 'old' ones want war with it. So we get these constant swings backwards and forwards as the the different neo-cons get a 'win' over the other in the inner beltway fights.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 0:27 utc | 47

Russia's Yuri Solomonov - the chief designer of "Yars" and "Bulava" ICBMs - said that Moscow's nuclear deterrent is now superior to the US, and that the gap will continue to grow.

Posted by: telescope | Nov 27 2015 0:30 utc | 48

I guess that we need a bit broader perspective.

Russian-Turkey confrontation was there right from the start, because of (a) Syria being Russian ally, (b) Turkey being the chief architect of the war against Syria by recruiting, training and supplying paramilitary forces fighting the government. While the "architect" worked with materials supplied by others, chiefly Gulf states but also CIA etc., this war is a project that projects Erdogan's personality.

One can ask, why states fight by proxy. Well, a direct confrontation is orders of magnitude more expensive, even a full blast economic confrontation is an "Economic Mutually Assured Destruction". Moreover, every escalation causes an international reaction and it can backfire, dependent on circumstances.

The rough chain of events in recent months was that as the balance of war slowly but seemingly, inexorably, was turning against Syrian government, and as a major diplomatic obstacle, sanction negotiations of Iran, was gone, Russia provided direct airforce and Iran, thousands of recruited and trained paramilitaries. However, while the tide of war changed direction, the speed of change remains quite disappointing, and the top reason are the supplies of heavy weapons, most notably TOW missiles, to the rebels. Initially, Russia was waiting for the possible political change in Turkey, but Erdogan proven to be a canny and ruthless politician (by "ruthless" I do not mean skillful use of arrests, confiscations, media closures and even massacres to increase electoral support to the precious 50% level). As the elections are over, new government in place and weapon supplies to the rebels as vigorous as ever, Russia started to bomb closer and closer to the border. I mean, within a kilometer or half a mile.

Then Turkey used what they conceived to be the trump card, "the right to defend ethnic Turks (this is what "Turkoman" means in Syria, as opposed to Turkmenia) from Russian depredations". Russia shrugged on that, and a Russian bombing plane was shot down.

However, while Erdogan as canny and ruthless, he has less resources and foresight than Putin. Well, with perfect foresight he should not engage his personality and prestige in this stupid war. Now that a Russian plane is down, Russian escalated bombing of the border, and for the first time they target highway crossings from Turkey that can actually cause a humanitarian crisis in "Idlibstan", including the main crossing of the "safe zone", Ciliz-Azzaz. The government fight in the Jabal-al-Turkoman, Turkmen Mountains on the border with Turkey, accelerated. My reading of the situation is that in Putin's calculation, a premature direct bombing of the crossing would cause to much of international opposition, and he waited for a proper moment for that step. Moreover, he increase the number of aircraft that is involved.

Among other events that happen next to border crossings, rebels are now readying to attack YPG Kurds in Afrin and Aleppo. I suspect that YPG will benefit from some Russian supplies and air support if they push will come to shove. They apparently have a lot of fighters, although I can only guess if they have adequate weapons, most importantly, they are a force that you wish to have on your side: they proven to be competent fighters and their positions are within few kilometers of two principal highway crossings between Turkey and rebel territories.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 27 2015 0:54 utc | 49

Will USA support its NATO ally? Titles in NYT suggest otherwise:

"Thanksgiving, with or without a Turkey?"

"How to Carve a Turkey"

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 27 2015 1:00 utc | 50

FacePalm | Nov 26, 2015 7:49:20 PM | 62

"Where's the "contradiction"?"
Making a major agreement with the largest Shiite country while being a member of an anti-Shiite coalition... The internal US fights over that were vicious.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 1:11 utc | 51

The reality of the present scene onstage is that Russia and Turkey are at odds.
If the rift were to deepen any further, Russia will probably have a tough time crossing
from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Forcing one's way through the Dardanelles is
no small feat, trickier even than the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab Al Mandab.

This compounds the logistics of the Russian Navy.

So in the lapse of less than two years, the US has practically cornered Russia which finds itself
in enmity with its neighbours to the west,

Enemies in the Baltic Sea, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and to a lesser extent Norway
Enemies in the Black Sea, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey
Enemies in the Mediterranean under constant ferment by the empire.

A careful grooming of the Pacific neighbours nets at least one substantial enemy, Japan, and possibly
South Korea.

To the North, there is the Cold, and Canada that has worked itself into a frenzy of yankeeism and is
willing to face the bear.

Note that I wrote that Russia "finds itself at enmity". It is not that Russia did anything to its neighbours
to reap such animosity. But the reality of pervasive propaganda builds a new realiity.

So the reality is that the Empire is surreptitiously caging the Bear.

The Bear realises that there are very few openings left.

Iran to the South? Yes but the noose is around Iran's neck. Turkey is next door. In one swell coup,
the Empire has made a new reality: Iran has now an enemy in Turkey, plus the house of Saud plus Israel
plus Qatar.

Then there is China. Unfortunately, China has not yet reached the point of swift projection of
its power. Nor does it seem to be willing to jeopardise its present well being by taking a stand.

The reality, the present one, is that for all the sympathy Putin may have generated among the rank
and file citizens of the World, Russia is not exactly alone, but almost so.

Given its present "detente" with the West, how deeply is Iran willing to commit it's strength for
the good of the common cause? After years of ostracism, is it willing to make more sacrifices?

There is only one avenue left for Russia.

To strike first, as hard as possible.

The Empire has placed Russia in the same position Japan was in 1942. Cornered.

That is the reality.

The next one depends on who will be an actor?

Will it be more of the same or will a new actor make a new reality?

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 27 2015 1:46 utc | 52


Lisa, by interacting with trolls, you're feeding the trolls.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 27 2015 1:52 utc | 53

FWIW here is a link to Erdogan speech today

And a link to posting about the meeting today between Putin and Hollande

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 1:55 utc | 54

Facepalm @67:

Can't see the Russkies materially supporting YPG at all at all.

Ypg are NATO's creation as far as I can tell.


This is a general misconception in discussions on events in a variety of places. In fact, "creating" is very rare, local political-military movements have their own history, motivation and interests, and of course, in need they shop of outside support. But it rarely makes them puppets. In fact, a reverse process can be observed: the handlers dedicated to convey the supports become the advocates of their beneficiaries, and alter the policy of the sponsor state in a way that can be counter-productive.

In the particular case of YPG, the movement is closely linked to PKK, a Marxist (some say, Stalinist) group that operated in Turkey for decades, and was duly designated by our State Department as "terrorist" (every year, close to Christmas, DoS makes a list, checking it twice, which armed group is naughty and nice, PKK is naughty). Syrian Kurds were settled mostly close to Turkish border, and the Baath regime treated them quite shabbily, for example, they were denied citizen rights. Having similar social status and, I am guessing, the same dialect of Kurdish, they were naturally attracted to PKK ideology. And when civil war came to Syria, PKK could provide experienced officers and fighters. However, their rebellion from the start was different than Islamist movements, and now they have local tacit collaboration with the government. I assume that Russians view them as a necessary element of post-war coalition that can stably rule Syria (roughly, 14% of Alawates and Shia, 10% of Christians, 6% of Druze, 10% of Kurds and those Sunni who are disenchanted with Islamist or who were never enchanted with them).

The connection of YPG with NATO is very recent, and it kind of accidentally allow each side to satisfy some urgent needs. YPG clearly needed weapons and air support to withstand ISIS. American government had to show some success story to the citizenry after ISIS emerged taking Mosul and a huge swath of Iraq. Ultimately, the chief interest of USA in the region is to look good. The jury in that beauty contest his not impartial, heavily recruited from think tanks that are either funded by Zionists or Gulfies, but the broad public participates too. The plucky Kobane resisting invading hordes presented an enormous appealing picture, worth billions, and in actuality, costing much less. And they had fetching female fighters! Who cares if they are Stalinists or Social Democrats. (This theory has limitations, there are other interests at play, but the beauty contest is very important.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 27 2015 2:26 utc | 55

I would like your take on the following:

- US has 50 "advisers" training Kurds
- Russia agrees to coordinate where to bomb and where not to bomb with France

Aren't both of these going to tie the Russians' hands in Syria?

Posted by: Mischi | Nov 27 2015 2:36 utc | 56

Seemingly completely detached from the real situation in Syria U.S. neocons have opened a concerted campaign for the eradication of the Sykes-Picot borders and the destruction of Syria and Iraq.

"John Bolton in the New York Times: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State
Max Boot in the LA Times: Islamic State's Achilles' heel: Its Sunni identity
James Dobbins in USA Today: Partition Syria to crush the Islamic State

All three op-eds are merely fantasies and neither consider all actors on the ground nor the various motivations and aim of those actors. All three require large U.S. troop deployments into a fighting zone.

Why do they believe that the U.S. should decide border issues of Syria or Iraq? And, after the mess the U.S. created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, why do they believe it could?"

The DEATH RATTLE of the PNAC...Sounds delicious

Posted by: psakiwacky | Nov 27 2015 2:37 utc | 57

If the Kurds take back territory they lost to Islamic State (IS), IS would lose much of the oil reserves needed to support a Sunni state carveout after the war.

Posted by: Les | Nov 27 2015 2:48 utc | 58

1) "Where's the co contradiction?" There is none. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Mr Burns (of The Simpson's cartoon): Iran can't have nukes for 10 years? excellent.

2) Why the focus on Turkey? Has everyone forgotten KSA, Gulf States, Israel?

3) Russia is NOT in same position as Japan in 1942.

4) There are not two kinds of neocons, there are Neocons and neolibs. One focuses on mil power, the other focuses on economic power.

5) Closing the Bosporus risks a NATO war with Russia. IMO it is a straw man used by the Assad must go! crowd as part of a 'madman' strategem' to pressure Russia to enact the agreed upon political solution sooner rather than later.

Posted by: jackrabbit | Nov 27 2015 2:57 utc | 59

@ les @76

There isn't going to be a "suni state carve out" , at least there wont be in Syria.The Iraqis are still - too bad for them - under the thumb of Uncle Shylock and his fellow global finance sector parasites and their hired terrorists, but I think it doesn't work without Syria

Posted by: psakiwacky | Nov 27 2015 3:03 utc | 60

@77 - I agree w/ #5 wholly. After all, it isn't about "would Turkey close the Bosporous" but "what would it take for Turkey to close the Bosporous". And that would most certainly mean an attempt to sink the first Russian ship that would naturally be forced to push the issue. Not that the Turks aren't crazy enough to do try, but I have a feeling the Russians would not just sit and wait for that, but sink any approaching ships that dared to try. In other words, exactly as you said: an extremely high risk of a war in which anything goes. The kind of war where Turkish society would absolutely risk coming apart at the seams.

I think the focus on Turkey comes from the fact that wether they like it or not, they've either taken or been placed as the face of the NATO/GCC war on Syria just as the Saudis have owned the war on Syria. Israel, of course, is so hated by everyone for playing Goliath to the stone throwing Palestinian Davids that making them the public face of operation in the Middle East would doom it to instant failure.

There may well be some plan afoot to wreck Turkey. Its hard to say. But the fact is that Erdogan has been out in front here, and if it does happen, its his own fault.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 27 2015 3:14 utc | 61

I agree with you. This all matter is ludicrous if it was not for Russia refusing to fulfill its duty to Syria and Iran Israel and Turkey and indeed the west would have changed its narrative toward the Syrian conflict.For a man with such foresight Poutine failed to understand the basic working of a battle.The best way to beat his adversary is to prevent or lead his moves.Poutine should have remembered this famous saying by Sun tzu"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." I hope he will respect his contract now and not act as France did with the Mistral. Building a multi-polar world means must a foremost to respect his word toward other nations.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Nov 27 2015 3:18 utc | 62

via zerohedge

Russia Releases Video Of S-400 SAM Deployment In Syria, As Putin Issues Warning To Obama

"... Needless to say, the US was not enthused and earlier today the US embassy in Moscow said that the "Russian deployment of the S-400 air-defense system to Syria won't aid the fight against the Islamic State, with the US diplomat adding that the US is hopeful Russia won’t use the system to target planes flown by international coalition since Islamic State doesn’t have air force." Clearly a warning to Putin not to dare use the rockets against Turkish (or other coalition) jets.

So what is Putin's intention by escalating the military deployment of Russian weapons in Syria? Conveniently he explained his thinking just a few hours ago during his press conference with Francois Hollande. In answering a question by a reporter from French Le Monde, Putin said the following:

"The S-400 is an air defense system. The reason we didn't have the system in Syria is because we thought our planes were flying at high enough altitudes where a terrorist could not reach them; they don't have weapons capable of downing our planes at the altitude of over 3 or 4 thousand meters. And We could never think that we could be stabbed in the back by a country we regarded as our ally. Our planes operated at altitudes of 5-6,000 meters and were completely unprotected against potential attacks from fighter jets - we could never imagine that that could be possible otherwise we would deploy such systems in the area protecting our bombers against possible attacks."


"We never did it because we regarded Turkey as our friend, we never expected an attack from that side. This is why we regard this attack as that of a traitor. But now we that this is possible, and we have to protect our planes. This is why we deployed a modern system, the S-400, it has a pretty long range and it's one of the most effective systems of this kind in the world. We will not stop there: if we have to we will also deploy our fighter jets in the area."

Bottom line: another direct engagement by a Turkish fighter will be its last, and in fact now that Russia is prepared we would not be at all surprised to see Russia cross into Turkish airspace on purpose just to provoke Erdogan to repeat the events from last week, only this time with the Russian ready and prepared to retaliate to any engagement. In fact, the odds of Russia doing just that in the next few days are especially high.

But while the reason behind the S-400 deployment was largely known to most, where Putin's press conference took an unexpected detour was what he said just around 20:30 in, when in not so many words, Putin effectively accused the US of leaking the coordinates of the Russian plane to Turkey, which was merely a hitman acting with the blessing of the Pentagon.

This is what Putin said:

"We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don't control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners."

Posted by: crone | Nov 27 2015 3:30 utc | 63

seems like russia is making it a priority to point out to the world that the ISIS oil sales are the result of an arrangement with turkey.. i wonder if the western msm will pick any of it up, or do they have to go along with the previous script that the west was going after ISIS? the two are not compatible..

Posted by: james | Nov 27 2015 3:32 utc | 64

the newbies, mixed with the regular trolls being supported by the newbies makes for interesting reading.. or are they talking to themselves? trolls calling others sock puppets is pretty rich too..

Posted by: james | Nov 27 2015 3:37 utc | 65

Penny has some interesting and extensive analysis at her blog:

Posted by: crone | Nov 27 2015 3:43 utc | 66

Lisa @ 60,

I also see the two factions as wanting world domination, but the neocons who are still the more powerful are beginning to slip as the more pragmatic faction's tactics are seen to be less risky. In particular the more pragmatic concentrates more heavily on supranational institutions to weaken all nations' sovereignty-- both financial and trade (TPP, etc). The more recklessly aggressive has proved to be too expensive in dollars and in world opinion-- too many people & nations waking up. I think there was an overt agreement between Obama & Russia & Iran to let them clean out ISIS, et al. Neocons don't like it, but Obama's so far held off any actions that wd seriously incommode the clean-out. There are advantages to Obama faction in US not doing the clean-out itself: expense, US citizen opinion, hiding betrayal of Saudis, Qatar, Turkey, France. Letting Russia/Iran do it at least allows deniability.

I don't know what's going to happen with Iraq/East Iran. I think more manpower from either Iran or China is going to be necessary to dislodge ISIS while preventing partitioning-- and it will have to be soon if Voltaire is correct about partitioning being already in process via expansion of Iraqi Kurdistan or Sunnistan.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 3:55 utc | 67

Posted by: Jen | Nov 26, 2015 5:38:05 PM | 46

If Turkey did close the Bosporus they would only close it to belligerents against them. It would not be closed for anyone else.

It would be up to Russia to close it to anyone else if they so wanted.

Posted by: Julian | Nov 27 2015 3:56 utc | 68

Les @ 21, My goodness, what a nice link you found. Here's more of it:

"The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkish military intelligence have supported secret IS oil smuggling operations and supplied arms to the terror group, according to Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish officials. [KRG head Barzani is Mossad. He & his closest are millionaires now]

"Genel [Energy] operates in the KRG with the backing of the British government, and is also linked to a British parliamentary group with longstanding connections to both the British and KRG oil industries.

"The relationship between British and Kurdish energy companies, and senior British politicians, raises questions about conflicts of interest – especially in the context of a "war on terror" that is supposed to be targeting, not financing, the Islamic State."

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 3:57 utc | 69

Guest77 @ 17,

I don't really see any "good feelings" between Erdogan and the US:

For YEARS Erdogan has been willing to go into Syria & only needed US to accompany him, but US won't do it. He signed a MoU on a lucrative gas deal w Russia; US made him abandon it. He & General Allen colluded on a buffer/no-fly, he sent special forces & Turkmen in, Turkish newspapers said Aleppo was as good as Turkey's 84th province; Obama made them disband the whole operation. Obama has insisted he stop bombing Syrian Kurds. US has given Syrian Kurds aircover while they fought Turkey's ISIS forces. Obama took away the Patriot missiles that made Northern Syria a no-fly. Obama made a nuke deal that strengthened Shiite rival Iran. US have allowed Russia & Iran into Syria. US didn't back his NATO play when he downed the Russian plane, but leaked that it was in Syria when struck. US continue to act as if they actually want to get rid of IS, instead of accepting it & letting it have a consulate to help channel fighters into Syria.

I doubt Erdogan's got too many good feelings about the US.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 3:58 utc | 70

@81 crone

Thanks for the link and summary. I hadn't gotten to ZH yet tonight.

My only problem is the the American public is asleep and brainwashed. They will never have this situation presented to them in a context other than USA USA USA. Non-Americans have no idea how addicted the US public is to TV. It is more than a religion to most. It is where there world is defined and where they are told how they should think. And, you know what? Just like in Hitler's time, but more effective now, the Big Lie technique works. The movie Wag the Dog is a good example of how it works.

And look at how MoA has attracted all this troll traffic. An active exchange of information and positions is instructive but the agnotology the trolls bring to the discourse does reduce the overall value of the sharing....try to read/comprehend @80.....and they know how hard/time consuming comment management can be.

The trolls do expose us to the delusions of some and paid obfuscation by others.

Blessings to b for what he does.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 3:59 utc | 71

@17 guest 'So you can be sure that the US is whispering "do it!" into the Turks ears, no matter how much it hurts on the ground.'

It works so well in Europe the US decided to do it in Turkey, too?


But that's where we're headed. No holds barred. The US and its allied elites plan seems to be this: arm every nazi, whabbi, zionist settler, and fascist they can find then pull back into their gated communities and watch the fireworks, like so many Israelis watched the bombing of Gaza. American's sitting at home in their easy chairs, watching the world burn on CNN and saying "my, how awful. I hope that doesn't happen here!"

Sometimes things are what they seem to be ... you'd think that the Europeans and Turks - whose easy chairs are the ones that will burn - "my, how awful. THAT WONT happen here!"

I believe we Americans are addicted to "hope" and satisfied to "hope" it won't happen 'here' ... and it won't really. Perhaps a[nother] CIA/al-CIAduh terrorist operation, but it won't really happen here ... until it goes nuclear. And then it won't make any difference what any of us think or do. And things seem to be getting more and more out of hand. And sometimes things are what they seem to be ...

Posted by: jfl | Nov 27 2015 4:00 utc | 72

Blessing to b for what he does is right.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 27 2015 4:01 utc | 73

Willy2 @ 11,
"The "Project for a New American Century" is back but they now have a different name. It's called the "The John Hay Initiative". "

Thanks Willy2, I'll check out the link. The Democratic version of PNAC is CNAS Center for a New American Security
Siemens @ 36, Erdogan is so impatient; if he wants those TOW missiles back he should just ask for them.
Lone Wolf @ 41, Oh, of course the Caliph doesn't care about refugees-- but I still think he's got an obsession in his pointy little head about getting into the EU. He's been trying for YEARS. But, you're right -- he'd throw that obsession out in a NY minute if he felt it interfered w his obsession of continuing to be Caliph of ISIS. Seriously, I think he's unstable.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 4:04 utc | 74


Besides yet another calling for a "coalition," Hollande had no new message for Putin, just more of his boring drivel, i.e. prevent Assad from targeting civilians (every country with interests in Syria had a different definition of a Syrian civilian); don't bomb the "Syrian opposition" (Al-CIAdah, Turkmen, Uyghurs?); a political transition ending with "Assad must go."


And he is "firmly opposed" to lifting sanctions on Russia, in exchange for Russia's "cooperation" in the fight against IS, as long as Minsk 2.0 is not implemented. One more hypocrite, ignoring the Ukronazis military build-up against Donbass, and their relentless attacks, probing and penetrations in violation of Minsk 2.0.

What shape would this coalition take, if the interests of the potential members and their intended goals are strategically opposed? Let's assume IS is defeated in Syria, who would dictate the terms of surrender, and the composition of the new government? US/NATO,KSA, France included, are not looking for a coalition, all they want is to have a foot inside Syria ready for the moment the 4+1 defeat IS, to continue to carve the ME as by neo-con design.

This so-called "coalition" brings memories of WWII's communists and socialists alliance policies, and the historical debate about the viability of the "popular front" vs. the "united front," which took different shape in different countries. Russia cannot decide on its own its participation on any coalition, or make decisions about any coalition's policies, its first responsibility is with the 4+1. On his recent visit to Iran, Putin told Supreme Leader Khamenei, "Unlike certain parties, we are committed to avoid stabbing our partners from behind and refrain from taking any behind-the-stage move against our friends and to resolve any difference that may arise through dialogue."

As we know, Putin is a man of his word.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 27 2015 4:05 utc | 75

Nafeez Ahmed article from nov 19th.. turkey and erdogan come in for a pretty strong pounding, and this is before they downed the russian plane..

Posted by: james | Nov 27 2015 4:16 utc | 76

Peter B @ 8, You got me belatedly curious. I started wondering WHY US was mad at Doctors w/o Borders & look what I found:
US bombed their hospital on October 3d. Three days later another of their Afghanistan hospitals was bombed (not from the air), killing 19 staff plus patients. This 2d hospital had been their for 4 years-- so why two hospitals belonging to Doctors w/o Borders in 3 days?
Press releases by Doctors w/o Borders prior to the attacks:
Syria: Airstrikes Hit Nine Hospitals Over Four Days in Idlib Province. (August 14, 2015)

As US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meet in New York today, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that US pressure on India to change its intellectual property policies could result in millions of people around the world losing their lifeline of affordable medicines. (Sept 28, 2015)

There were 3 other press releases in August/Sept which were very critical of TPP's affect on cost of pharmaceuticals, or which were otherwise highly critical of Big Pharma.
Could be the attacks on two hospitals are linked to the press releases, no?

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 4:19 utc | 77

The merry-go-round of empire is like that economic myth that "growth" is a requirement and there must always be more.

Empire needs to keep creating "Wag the Dog" reality at a faster and faster pace to cover all the BS and lies blowing up behind them.

We are reaching, or have reached, the point where parts start flying off the merry-go-round. Those parts flying off necessitate making up more lies to cover that damage caused by the flying parts and the spinning increases.

They hope we all get dizzy and lose track of their accumulating crimes against humanity.

I hope their merry-go-round breaks soon to stop the human misery caused by their actions. The global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else are a parasite of our species and are marching us toward extinction with their values of war and uber competition.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 4:24 utc | 78

Penelope | Nov 26, 2015 11:19:22 PM | 95

Suggesting the US might be using military power for comercial reasons? ...I am shocked I say, shocked.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 4:25 utc | 79

@95 Penelope

The new trade rules are one of the prime legacy's of Obama's presidency, shadowed only by his ongoing bailout of private finance.

I think the MSF position on TPP stuff was secondary, if at all relevant to the clinic/hospital bombings. I think the primary reason was that the MSF was providing solace to the "enemy" which also also then publicizes the ugliness of the conflict given their visibility.

Are the bombings of the medical clinics war crimes? Probably. I see them as representative of the late stage flailings of empire as noted above. Committing more and more war crimes just to keep the merry-go-round of empire from disintegrating is sickening to see as an American.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 4:41 utc | 80

I gather there is more than a whiff of scandal wrt the MSF attack -- the US Miltary is unwilling to identify who was punished and/or specifically for what (I'm not sure that "how" they were punished has been revealed also) ... There's a distinct "mistakes were made" passive voice ...

Calling the airstrike a “tragic mistake,” Campbell read a statement announcing the findings of the investigation, which he said concluded that “avoidable human error” was to blame, compounded by technical, mechanical and procedural failures. He said that another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued.

Boston Globe

It sounds terribly familiar to over a decade of strikes ... apparently once the "go" button is pushed, pressing the "stop" button is all but impossible ... see also the photos of Kobane ... "we destroyed the city in order to save it" -- this time from ISIS ... alarming lack of professional responsibility, sounds more like someone excusing any disaster on the basis of technical, mechanical and procedural failures -- but they're all still good boys.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2015 4:59 utc | 81

@all - deleted all comments by the "Siemens" aka "Facepalm" sockpuppeteer and blocked it for trolling other commentators.


Posted by: b | Nov 27 2015 5:04 utc | 82

@34 "Oh boy, good thing the Russian Military command don't come to you for advice."

Oh, yawn. The same ol' troll, back under a different name.

"Stopping a destroyer trying to ram itself through the Bosporus would be exceptionally easy to achieve"

To what end, exactly?

Russia has every right to send a destroyer through the Bosporus. Turkey has no right to prevent such passage.

So, yeah, you are claiming that this is an act that would be "exceptionally easy to achieve", without contemplating what that "achievement" would mean i.e. it would mean that Turkey has just decided to go to war with Russia.

After all, consider this: China could have "achieved" the "stoppage" of a US Destroyer sailing around those islands in the South China Sea, but doing so would have meant war with the USA.

So they let it sail, which From The USA's PoV was the entire point of the exercise.

"but even if ONE destroer made it's way through, that would do absolutely nothing to improve the situation from the Russian pov."

On the contrary, for the Russian PoV sailing a destroyer through the Bosporus achieves exactly the same thing that the USA achieved by sailing a destroyer around an artificial island in the South China Sea i.e. it asserts the right of passage for their ships.

"All you'd be doing is isolating a Russian destroyer on the wrong side of the Bosporus strait, making it very vulnerable and easy pickings for anyone that wants to take a potshot at it"

You are quite the stupendously belligerent little fellow, aren't you?

Nobody has any right to take potshots at a Russian destroyer that is on "this side" of the Bosporus, or on "that side" of the Bosporus, or at any time in transit through the Bosporus.

Remind me again what "taking potshots at a destroyer" is called in your world-view, because in my world doing that means war.

Russia can sail its vessels through the Bosporus - it is in possession of a treaty that says exactly that - and so Turkey does NOT have a right to block passage, and if it makes claims to the contrary then Turkey does NOT have a right to take potshots at a Russian destroyer that dares to put Turkey's pronouncements to the test.

That Turkey *could* take that shot is not in dispute - just as Russia *could* launch a volley of cruise missiles at Erdogan's holiday-house today - or China *could* launch an anti-ship cruise missile at a US Destroyer.

All have that capability, but none have the right to take such actions, and therefore taking such actions is "aggression" to which the attacked party is entitled to act in "self-defence".

Honestly, you sound just like John Bolton.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 27 2015 5:15 utc | 83

Here is a link but some parts below

Turkey and Russian FM to meet Dec 3-4 at Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting before potential meeting between Putin and Erdogan.

When asked what can be done to check the tension between Turkey and Russia after the downing of the plane, Cavusoglu (FM) said Turkey does not want the crisis to climax.

"We do not want this regrettable incident to sour our relations with Russia. We talked on the phone with Lavrov yesterday. We told him that we want to share with him in every detail all the information we have," said Cavusoglu.

But he maintained that since Russia started its air operations in Syria there have been violations of the Turkish air space.

"On the issue of security of the borders and our air space the rules of engagement are clear," said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu added that after three or four violations of Turkey's national air space the Russian government had been officially notified.

He repeated Turkey's claim that the fighter had been warned 10 times within five minutes and added that as it was not clear what the nationality of the plane was and since it did not change course the Turkish planes saw it as a danger to them.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's military leaders gave their Russian counterparts all the information they had, calling for a truce.

"We want to keep open both the diplomatic and military channels," he said.

"Up to now we did not see Russia as any other neighboring country, as we had special political and economic ties," Cavusoglu added.

He said that he was pleased to hear what he called "constructive statements made today by Russia."

"The important thing is reason to prevail and the tension not to be allowed to climax," he said.

When asked to comment on Russian President's Vladimir Putin statement that he waits for an apology from Turkey, Cavusoglu said: "There is no need to apologize for a situation in which we are right. But we expressed our regret on the phone yesterday and a few times today...As I told Lavrov yesterday, no country would accept its air space to be repeatedly violated," said Cavusolgu.

Cavusoglu's statement came in the aftermath of calls by Russian leaders for economic measures to be imposed, which will hurt Turkish exports of food stuffs and the business of contractors and retailers.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 5:17 utc | 84

We all tend (myself included) to concerate on Europe and the ME, but there is some real scary stuff over in the China sea and with Japan.

The 'new' neo-cons (for want of a better term) primary focus is on them and it is not just trade/economic wise (the TPP is supposedly designed to weaken China).

On top of the usual 'containment' and growing AMD systems, there is some real game playing going on with the USN. For me the scariest is the US letting Japan off the military leash and the encouragement of the Japanese 'Nationalist' factions there, there is no way that can turn out well.

The blog China Matters has some great coverage of what has been going on and there is not much that is good happening.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 5:21 utc | 85

Well that went well...not. Real link:

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 5:24 utc | 86

@85 Lisa

With apologies to the thread content nazis I will extend your OT comment and provide this link about how China is looking at their poverty situation, propaganda or not.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 27 2015 5:26 utc | 87

Don't know how interested you are in whether Erdogan is more than a little bonkers. He combines criminality, powerlust of the Empire-builder, all rationalized w a sense of himself as a Great Man in history, and religious mania.

Here's a photo of him w historical guards/fighters of historic "Turkish" era. He doesn't tolerate joking about them, and greets foreign dignitaries w them.

He wants to make children learn Ottoman Turkish, which uses a different script & is a dead language.

His list of the "Turkic peoples" includes the 6 "stans" (which ARE Turkic), some areas extending into China, Crimea though it today has only a small Tatar population & other places I can't recall.

He demanded the right a few months ago to jail the opposition parliamentarians. (he didn't get it). He seems to use the power of the state as if it were personal power-- like the Godfather. If Turkey gives him his "presidential-power constitution"
he will become a dictator.

Comments of a former Turkish ambassador:
A distinct downward trend marks the quality of Erdogan’s prime ministerial rule. He started well by enthusiastically embracing Turkey’s dream of membership in the European Union, and as part of the drill, proceeded to clip the wings of the mighty military, authors of four past coups. This was hailed as democratization. He presided over unprecedented economic prosperity.

His government declared a policy of zero problems with neighbours that came as a breath of fresh air in a restive region, and the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was suddenly the toast of diplomatic salons. When the misnamed ‘Arab Spring’ occurred, the ‘Turkish model’ — that combined religion, secularism, democracy and economic success in a heady mix — was much in vogue. He tried to effect reconciliation with the Kurdish minority in the knowledge that even partial success here would heal a festering sore that has troubled Turkey for decades and make him a statesman the like of whom the country had not seen in a long while.

These were bold actions, typical of the man, and in taking many of the political risks, he was mentored and aided by a shadowy self-exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who, through his Hizmet network of schools, banks, insurance funds and media outlets, had built up over the years an enormous influence in the higher echelons of the Turkish State.

But when things started to unravel for the prime minister later in his rule, rank opportunism and calculation to further his own career were seen to be behind many of his actions. It came to light that hundreds of high ranking military officers were sent to jail for long terms on trumped up conspiracy charges so that a coup threat did not cloud Erdogan’s horizons. In a shocking development, prosecutors launched investigations into charges of massive corruption by Erdogan’s ministers and family members. Many of his imperious decisions were greeted with raucous street demonstrations all over the country. In response, a cornered and angry Erdogan set new standards of high-handedness. He turned brash and irrational in dealing with the neighbours too, losing the mantle of the honest broker; his personal preference gave rise to a distinct pro-Sunni line in Turkey’s foreign policy that prompted even the government appointed religious head to caution that Turkey was forfeiting the role of an arbitrator by taking sides. His moralistic rants became a subject of ridicule and mirth. Samples: abortion is murder. C-sections are unnatural. Every woman should have three children.

Erdogan suspects his old ally and now opponent, Gulen, of stoking his troubles. In the biggest challenge to his political career, he has declared war against Gulen, charging him with running a ‘parallel state’ through well-placed adherents in the government. A nation-wide witch-hunt against judges, prosecutors, police officers, media — ‘Gulen’s men’ — continues in an atmosphere of charged paranoia.

These are disturbing trends for Turkey and its people. Erdogan, derisively called Turkey’s Putin, is unlikely to change. An executive presidency for him may, therefore, herald the beginning of a Turkey of far greater religious conservatism and intolerance at home and abroad, mirroring the leader’s paternal and autocratic style. This would exacerbate tensions and further polarize the already divided Turkish society. In a newspaper interview recently, President Gul rued: “We are alienated from the party we founded. Only one person’s projects have started to be realized, instead of those of all of us.” At the other end of the spectrum, a personal friend from Istanbul reported: “Turkey is now a one man show, all set for Erdogan’s values and decisions, which is tried to be passed off as a natural consequence of democracy. We feel humiliated.”

Here's a photo of him w historical guards/fighters of historic "Turkish" era.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 5:29 utc | 88

@38 This week's Troll Asks......

"This balls-to-the-wall Russian Destroyer you're on about"

In what way would it be "balls-to-the-wall"?

The US Navy sent a destroyer around an artificial island in the South China Sea to assert the right of unimpeded passage through a body of water where China claimed a right to decide passage.

In what way was that any different to a Russian destroyer sailing through the Bosperos Strait to assert the right of unimpeded passage through a body of water where Turkey claimed a right to decide passage?

Why would the latter be "balls-to-the-wall" when it is simply a carbon-copy of the former?

". . . by any chance would that be the one carrying those Battalions of eagerly awaited Russian Paratroopers,"

I would very much doubt it, if only because Paratroopers of any nationality don't tend to arrive by ship.
Perhaps you might like to look up the difference between a "paratrooper" and a "marine".

"about whom everyone was enthusing about several weeks ago?"

Some people have said....
It is alleged....
Everyone knows that....
How would you answer people who say....

Those are the questions made by smirking jackasses, and are not worth answering.

" :) "

The international symbol of the smirking jackass.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 27 2015 5:30 utc | 89

oh, my bad, the NYT had a bit more

General Campbell and his staff Kunduz, a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, had been seized by the Taliban in the days before the airstrike. General Campbell said the gunship’s crew believed it was firing on a different building identified as a Taliban base in the city. He said that the aircraft’s targeting systems had failed to deliver accurate information and that email and other electronic systems aboard the aircraft, including a video feed that would normally have sent pictures to higher-level commanders in real time, had also failed during the operation.

SNAFU ... the independent investiation the MSF demanded ....

The aid group, which has called for an independent, nonmilitary international inquiry into the airstrike, was sharply critical of General Campbell’s remarks. “The U.S. version of events presented today leaves M.S.F. with more questions than answers,” said Christopher Stokes, the organization’s general director. “The frightening catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war.”

No, just usual "bull in a china shop" destruction ... collateral murder all over again.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2015 5:32 utc | 90

I wrote that the attack on the Russian plane was an ambush and asked if the U.S. was involved in it.

Confirmation for both is coming in.

Putin says to keep cooperating with U.S.-led coalition over Syria

The Russian leader said, under the cooperation already established with the U.S.-led coalition, Russia's military had passed on details of the flight plan of the jet that was shot down this week.

"Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place," Putin said.


John Batchelor @batchelorshow The Crimean grid attack reported link to MIT.

RT @SP_JohnSullivan: @batchelorshow @anvilinvest @cheefrocka37 @blumo0n True. .

John Batchelor @batchelorshow
yes, is the report.
also: there were US F-15s nearby the Turkish attackers.
Did the NSC know of the shoot order?

Jewish Russophile @JewRussophile
@batchelorshow Turkish intel linked to the Ukrainian Tatar attack on power lines going to Crimea?

John Batchelor @batchelorshow
am told Obama and Erdogan ordered op to teach Putin a lesson.

Posted by: b | Nov 27 2015 5:39 utc | 91

Apology Contest makes a great headline, b. And "Today Putin is celebrating thanksgiving and he is having Turkey for lunch" is the understatement of the month.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Erdogan thanks Obama for his advice and Obama thanks Erdogan for believing ALL of his bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 27 2015 5:40 utc | 92

The headlines in various papers wrt the Hollande-Putin confab are all-over-the-place ... extraordinary disconnect/editorializing on display ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2015 5:54 utc | 93

Thanks psychohistorian #87, yet another sign that Chia is heading down the road of rebalancing its economy (should have started 5 years ago though).

The reason I brought it up was because the 'new' neo-cons are playing on a worldstage and what they are doing is all interconnected. The 'old' neo-cons tend to be more OCD and get fixated on a single target (like Syria).

But Obama is playing for big stakes, if he can pull it off Russia and China will be isolated economically and surrounded militarily. I can see the calculations, we don't want China getting into the Syrian thing, hence some actions in the China Sea to distract it...etc, etc, etc.

Of course Russia and China have their own ideas too.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 27 2015 6:13 utc | 94

Talking about weird stuff, according to the latest TV news headlines, "Assad must go" France, and "Assad must stay" Russia, are forming an alliance to "fight Ter'rism" in Syria.
Pass the popcorn?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 27 2015 6:15 utc | 95

@91 b

It is amazing that any could believe that it wasn't conscious.

Who the heck else is going to be flying fighter jets in the area, aliens?

I guess you can get faith breathers to believe anything.

What is going to be the next Wag the Dog event to spin the merry-go-round faster so folks don't notice?

Posted by: psychohsitorian | Nov 27 2015 6:18 utc | 96

Psychohistorian @ 78,

I know what you mean about the necessity for more lies. A few years ago it began to feel to me that we are in an endgame. That is, they are telling such whopping lies that they can't be maintained for long, so that it felt to me that they intended to finish tieing us up in their imperial structure before the lies could be widely exposed.

Now it feels like we've gone past that-- that they've lost the information war & too many people know too much. But they still have a little while until we get organized; I don't know how long.

They'll do something now, but I don't know what. Cashless society with maybe a bail-in first. Cashless can hide monetary collapse for awhile. Seems to me prices are now going up really steeply. Cashless would increase their control over us astronomically. So would disarming citizens.

I've been eager for people to see thru the hoaxes because I think they'll try a really big one-- maybe a pretend small nuclear war-- to stampede us into accepting a formal Global World Order.

Yes, we're picking up the same thing: that things are starting to come apart, informationally.

We can't possibly have Hillary for President. I think they are going to have to wheel out someone else. I got a really creepy feeling when Biden said he wasn't running that "There are other ways to become Prez."

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 6:18 utc | 97

Lisa @ 79,

No, not suggesting US using govt to advance the commercial. TPP, TTIP, TiSP are all ways to use trade treaties to strip govts of sovereignty. Doesn't matter how you vote if the deciions are made at some far away supranational entity.

These treaties invalidate all sorts of other legislation.

" The Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships eliminate political sovereignty and turn governance over to global corporations. These so called “trade partnerships” have nothing to do with trade. These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations on corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine “sovereign” governments. For example, the ban in France and other counries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership. Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule.--PCR by Ellen Brown Anything once private can never become public again. Not money creation, banking, P.O.m medicare, utlities. etc {TiSA}

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 27 2015 6:25 utc | 98

Yeah, it's crazy -- Holland is willing to partner with Russia (regardless of Assad) ... and Germany has (apparently just) announced they are willing to partner with France ... so Obama and the Joint Chiefs and Erdogan can go pound sand ... Even Maliki in Iraq (he's now a VP) is highly critical of Turkey's aggression ...
It leave Cameron sitting on Obama's lap as Obama sits on the lap of the Generals (even if "he doesn't really want to") ... I think it's shaping up ... and a bit more quickly than it might ... (I'd been wondering exactly who was moving "who" and "what" in and out of Syria in preparation for "more bombing" and "tighter borders" ... but even more pressing before the next Vienna meeting in early January ...
My "spidey sense" is that ISIS may -- as Saddam did on the eve of invasion -- release soldiers to fight elsewhere (Iraq? -- out of Russia's field of operation?)
Wikipedia says that Turkmen in Syria number somewhere between 500,000 and 3.5 million .... isn't that conveeenient? because they -- like the Kurds -- are a "landless people" ... cough .... I wonder if Erdogan has been importing "Potemkin" Turkmen ... as the Kurds rush about trying to grab up any/all available territory to claim ownership of ... before Vienna ... before a ceasefire....
Oh, I read elsewhere that Turkey makes beaucoup bucks also hosting and providing for all of the ISIS wannabes who usually enter Syria after a few days making contacts, etc. in Turkey.
I keep being amused how "worried" the press seem to pretend be about Putin's popularity wrt Syria ... and suffering of the Russian economy ... and etc. "We" also can't remember that Putin's mandate/plan is to get a Syrian civil war cease fire BEFORE going after ISIS ...
(oh, my bolding and underlying codes are not showing up in Opera or Firefox -- have they been disabled?)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2015 6:33 utc | 99

oh, I just realized -- Putin may be acting with Assad's consent ... I wonder what, if anything Putin might do about the legality/legitimacy wrt France, Germany, even the US of A.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 27 2015 6:36 utc | 100

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