Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 20, 2015

How Influential Are Turkish Spies Within The Islamic State?

Today Zaman is a Turkish daily and part of the Gülen organization. As such it is currently in opposition to the Turkish president Erdogan and some of his policies. So take this with a grain of salt:

During the meetings between Turkish officials and Barzani in Ankara, Barzani spoke on the 150 ISIL militants of Turkish origin who had been captured by Kurdish peshmerga forces during clashes with ISIL. According to sources, Barzani said some ISIL members captured by the peshmerga had identified themselves as members of MİT and he requested that MİT head Fidan clarify the issue.

Barzani also sought assistance from Ankara to remove 500 Turkish nationals in Mosul who are in leading positions in ISIL.

The MIT is the Turkish secret service. It is certainly not the only spy organization whicht has infiltrated the Islamic State. But as Turkey has been the rear base and travel route for the Islamic State and its members the MIT is likely the service with the biggest contingent.

How any spies and/or operators does it have within the Islamic State structures? Even more important - how influential are these within the Islamic State hierarchies?

The Kurdish organizations within Turkey believe that the two big Islamic State attacks on mostly Kurdish rallies, in Suruc and in Ankara, were intended to support Erdogan's reelection. Influential MIT agents within the Islamic State would have been be part of such conspiracies.

The latest piece by Seymour Hersh, just out, also touches on the Turkey - Islamic State cooperation:

[By January 2014] American intelligence had accumulated intercept and human intelligence demonstrating that the Erdoğan government had been supporting Jabhat al-Nusra for years, and was now doing the same for Islamic State. ‘We can handle the Saudis,’ the adviser said. ‘We can handle the Muslim Brotherhood. You can argue that the whole balance in the Middle East is based on a form of mutually assured destruction between Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and Turkey can disrupt the balance – which is Erdoğan’s dream. We told him we wanted him to shut down the pipeline of foreign jihadists flowing into Turkey. But he is dreaming big – of restoring the Ottoman Empire – and he did not realise the extent to which he could be successful in this.’

Posted by b on December 20, 2015 at 13:13 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Bingo! A few threads ago and in remembrance of the victims, I revisited the bombings in Ankara et al in light of the newly discovered links between Turkey and IS, and my conclusion was Turkey "not-so deep state" were the perps. Turkey's MIT is playing the same role in Syria with IS/JaN and other terrorist groups, as Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence has played in Afghanistan with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar/Northern Alliance and a myriad other groups.

Control of these groups is maintained via financing and infiltration of agents in key decision-making positions to be activated as needed. Turkey is in deep with the takfiris, and what we are beginning to see is only the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks b for your update.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 20 2015 13:38 utc | 1

Thank you b!

Very interesting info provided again.

Posted by: nmb | Dec 20 2015 13:50 utc | 2

Must agree with Lone Wolf @1. I wonder if Erdogan will go after that newspaper for treasonous activity given the severity of the allegations?

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 20 2015 14:18 utc | 3

See all of b's articles on Turkey's intent to stretch it's empire to include Turkmen along the southern border and the recent invasion of Iraq to establish a spearhead near Mosul. Add to that the failed attempt by King Salman of the Wahhabist KSA to coordinate any sort of political opposition for Geneva-3 talks and a ill-fated announcement of an Islamic coalition of 34 nations. No wonder western powers US, UK and France found common ground with Putin's Russia for an unanimous UNSC Resolution 2254, still filled with many gaps.

Had just posted five comments on previous thread "Talks About A 'Political Transition' In Syria Are Not Serious – Yet" :: read on >>

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 14:32 utc | 4

Turkey never explained how they were able to obtain the release of around 60 diplomats and family held by ISIS in Mosul.
It was clear that Erdogan made a non-agression deal with that organization, a deal he has respected.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Erdogan sold his soul to ISIS to keep his position in Turkey.

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 20 2015 14:33 utc | 5

Breaking News RT: Unconfirmed reports of an IAF airstrike in #Damascus suburb
President Obama has urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pull troops out of Iraq

Obama also "reinforced the need for Turkey to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq."

Wow! Must western Alliance also respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of Middle East regional states? An about face for Obama, see also the pushed through UNSC Resolution 2254 on Syria. Is Obama listening to Secretary Kerry to give diplomacy a chance?

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 14:36 utc | 6


See all other comments IS was a useful patsy for Sultan Erdogan for his imperial ambitions. Just like the West, using jihadists to fight their proxy wars. Putin made a move that provided a red line for Erdogan ... he wouldn't abide and is in DEEP trouble with the Kremlin. It appears the US has NOT joined KSA's Alliance of 34 [Islamic] states to continue the civil war in the Levant. KSA has been using proxies in Iraq's Anbar province to combat the US invasion of March 2003. IS was the result.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 14:44 utc | 7

This potent alliance of jihadi militias had been formed under the auspices of the rebellion’s major backers: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar. But it also enjoyed the endorsement of two other major players. At the beginning of the year, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had ordered his followers to cooperate with other groups. In March, according to several sources, a U.S.-Turkish-Saudi “coordination room” in southern Turkey had also ordered the rebel groups it was supplying to cooperate with Jaish al-Fatah. The groups, in other words, would be embedded within the Al Qaeda coalition.

A few months before the Idlib offensive, a member of one CIA-backed group had explained the true nature of its relationship to the Al Qaeda franchise. Nusra, he told the New York Times, allowed militias vetted by the United States to appear independent, so that they would continue to receive American supplies. When I asked a former White House official involved in Syria policy if this was not a de facto alliance, he put it this way: “I would not say that Al Qaeda is our ally, but a turnover of weapons is probably unavoidable. I’m fatalistic about that. It’s going to happen.”

Earlier in the Syrian war, U.S. officials had at least maintained the pretense that weapons were being funneled only to so-called moderate opposition groups. But in 2014, in a speech at Harvard, Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that we were arming extremists once again, although he was careful to pin the blame on America’s allies in the region, whom he denounced as “our largest problem in Syria.” In response to a student’s question, he volunteered that our allies were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.

Biden’s explanation was entirely reminiscent of official excuses for the arming of fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the 1980s, which maintained that the Pakistanis had total control of the distribution of U.S.-supplied weapons and that the CIA was incapable of intervening when most of those weapons ended up with the likes of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Asked why the United States of America was supposedly powerless to stop nations like Qatar, population 2.19 million, from pouring arms into the arsenals of Nusra and similar groups, a former adviser to one of the Gulf States replied softly: “They didn’t want to.”

Posted by: Les | Dec 20 2015 15:11 utc | 8

Isn't it more interesting that Gulen - with all his CIA ties (as I've read here) - would come out with this? Is the US trying to tighten the leash?

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 15:23 utc | 9

@9 because to my mind, that seems like giving a considerable benefit of the doubt to those who coddled the creators of ISIS.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 15:24 utc | 10

@10 - not that anyone suggested that except for me.

I just wonder- the whole war in Syria seemed to me to be the USAs first "post-pivot" Middle Eastern War. A war where it essentially "led from behind" and let its allies create and carry out policy (so long, presumably, it didn't conflict with US policy in some great way).

So, I wonder if we're seeing the end of that experiment?

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 15:59 utc | 11

Obomba must go!In about 13 months he will,for sure.I hope Assad sends him flowers.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 20 2015 16:17 utc | 12

@ guest77,

In the wake of the successful Russian intervention I think what we are seeing is an attempt by the US to abandon a loosing policy. That policy being the arming, financing and training of jihadi forces to destroy Syria, destroy Iraq or force it into compliance with US objectives. And ultimately to use the, by then victorious jihadis, to attack Iran, Russia and China. Now with Russia in the picture and not about to go away, someone has to take the blame for all this mess and it sure isn't going to be the US. Hence, a fall guy has to be found and Turkey is first in line. KSA and Qatar will be offered up if need be, but hopefully Turkey will suffice. And the more it looks like Russian/Syrian victory is inevitable, the greater will be the heat on Turkey. Not that it doesn't deserve it.

Also, whenever you see a Hersch article, always think "limited hangout." Yes what he is saying is probably true, and it is important. But always keep in mind that he leaves out the biggest part of the story which is that the US was coordinating the policies of Turkey, KSA and Qatar. The same would be true of any Gulen linked media. They are part of the attempt to offload blame on others. Think of it as a criminal conspiracy that went awry and now one criminal is implicating the others to save himself.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 20 2015 16:31 utc | 13

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 20, 2015 11:31:50 AM | 13

Also, whenever you see a Hersch article, always think "limited hangout." Yes what he is saying is probably true, and it is important. But always keep in mind that he leaves out the biggest part of the story...



Some parts of Hersh's narrative stinks. And that is from someone that frequently links to Hersh's "The Redirection" to demonstrate that USA, KSA, and Israel conspired to support extremists. A fact that many still can't get their head around. (The Saudis could not have employed extremists as a weapon without the support of USA and Israel).

However, "The Redirection", is flawed (as I noted in the previous thread). It paints the Saudi's as the ringleader - determined to use extremists as a weapon. It fails to mention that the Saudi's had wanted to start a nuclear program to compete with Iran. IMO the Saudis were dissuaded from this because a Nuclear program would've threatened Israel. They were encouraged to use extremists instead - using the success of the Mujaheddin against the Soviets in the 1980's as an example of successful cooperation to achieve an objective.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2015 17:31 utc | 14

at least hersh's article points back to bush 2 and branding syria as part of the "axis of evil." bush 2 was part of the axis of evil as far as i saw it.. interesting how in obama's speech from the past year - state of the union - or whatever the speech was - russia was one of the top 3 dangers or evils in the world.. does usa foreign policy ever get it's head out of it's ass? sure doesn't look like it..

Posted by: james | Dec 20 2015 17:39 utc | 15

Angry Arab goes off on murder of Samir Quntar, which is a big loss of face for Russia,

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 20 2015 18:06 utc | 16

The breach in the relationship between Turkey and Israel after the Mavi Marmara never made sense considering their history. The renewed alliance makes me wonder exactly what the game has been over the last few years and for what larger geopolitical purpose the faux? breach occurred.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 20 2015 18:10 utc | 17

What has Turkey done that Israel needed credible deniability of involvement and vice versa? Who besides the public needed to be convinced that Turkey and Israel were not allies?

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 20 2015 18:22 utc | 18

Can we believe these assertions from Hersh's anonymous sources:

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) was running their own foreign policy? ("...‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists . . . a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’ . . . “We have the power to diminish a presidential policy in its tracks.”’ )

Is this credible? Given the immense efforts made to oust Assad and the frosty relations with Russia for the last two years? No one at JCS ratted out the pro-Assad efforts to gain favor with the neocons? And WHY TELL US THIS NOW?

...what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey...?

But no reference is made to his seminal reporting in "The Redirection" of a US-KSA-Israel conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon!!!

Flynn is a 'truth teller' but says: "Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria"

Just "looking the other way"???? Not actively supporting them?

‘Bring him the head of Prince Bandar.’

The description of events during 2013 are rather strange. In September of that year, USA came very close to bombing Syria. That is not even mentioned. Does it make any sense for Assad to have asked for the head of Brince Bandar?

‘We worked with Turks we trusted who were not loyal to Erdoğan,’ the adviser said, ‘and got them to ship the jihadists in Syria all the obsolete weapons...

And neither CIA or MIT discovered this?

But as the army gained in strength with the Joint Chiefs’ support, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey escalated their financing and arming of Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State...

JCS helped Syria - counter to US foreign policy - yet there is no mention of the controversy regarding the USA's ineffective bombing of ISIS?

There was a suspicion that some of those who signed up for training were actually Syrian army regulars minus their uniforms.

I imagine that the Syrian Army conducts their own training. Isn't it MUCH more likely that the program 'dropouts' were ISIS/al Nusra trainees. As reported by CBSNEWS in August 2015, hundreds of trainees "dropped out" because they wanted to fight Assad more than they wanted to fight ISIS. It's quite likely that the real purpose of the 'moderate rebel' training program was to train anti-Assad fighters.

... two Turkish F-16 fighters, apparently acting under more aggressive rules of engagement, shot down a Russian Su-24M jet that had crossed into Turkish airspace...

Repeats the official narrative? Why no mention of Russia's belief that their planes were ambushed?

The JCS adviser told me that one of Hollande’s main goals in flying to Washington had been to try to persuade Obama to join the EU in a mutual declaration of war against Islamic State.

Could Hollande be that stupid? Or does this just reinforce the hate for Obama, Turkey, and KSA?

Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon.

Pulling punches? How could Hersh fail to point out the irony of Obama's supposedly bucking the neocons to make peace with Iran while doggedly supporting those who support extremists that make war? And AGAIN: WHY TELL US THIS NOW?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2015 18:28 utc | 19

This latest Sy Hersh article is extremely good. This piece along with his 'rat line' article has pretty clearly documented the idiocy of Obama and Hillary's foreign policy. It also reinforces how totally subservient the State Dept and CIA are to US political leadership (yes, I know that those agencies have always been subservient but there was a time both had traditions of maintaining some independent intelligence analyses that could give our leaders some glimmer of reality if they wanted to listen). What I find amazing is that independent and reality based analyses are coming from the Pentagon. Hersh is making the claim here is even more amazing -- Dempsy not only saw clearly what was going on but he quietly worked through Russian, Israeli and some European intelligence agencies to undermine Obama's deluded policies.

Such is the state of Western MSN. Hersh's writing is not even published in the US anymore, he apparently can't get this kind of analysis published in the NYT and New Yorkers (his former outlets) but relies of the London Review of Books of all places.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 20 2015 18:28 utc | 20

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 20, 2015 1:10:01 PM | 17

With the help of Europe, under the AKP, Turkey made a big step into the industrialization of the country. Yet the European market was shrinking due to the economical recession.
To get more market to sustain Turkey's economy growth, Erdogan saw the Arab world as a bonanza as most of the Arab neighbors are far from been seriously industrialized. They were the perfect buyers of Turkish goods and services.
In order to have more credibility among Arab countries and in the same time satisfy his Islamist supporters in the country, Erdogan thought it was clever to embrace the Palestinian cause and the Moslem Brotherhood in all the Arab countries. He went as far as apparently decreasing his intimacy with Israel in favor of increasing it with Hamas.
Turkish goods and services flooded Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia. Turkey's trade was booming but it caused harm to Syrian industrialists and may have caused also laid-off workers to feel a resentment toward the Syrian government 'open' policy toward Turkey.
Yet, the subsequent failure of the Moslem Brotherhood's attempts to get power in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria changes the whole picture.
Turkey lost a huge business in Libya, Tunisia, Syria and even Saudi Arabia.
Now that the Arab 'friends' have become rare and less gullible, Turkey has turned to the Iraqi Kurds and now back to Europe and to Israel.
I doubt Erdogan's blackmail on Europe will lead to any tangible result. Erdogan's Turkey is now perceived as a suspicious state hiding under NATO
Overall this infantile and failed foreign policy is the trademark of the tandem Davutoglu-Erdogan. If Turkey wants to economical and political ties with the Arab world and also get something from Europe, maybe it is time for these two and their cronies to move out.

Posted by: virgile | Dec 20 2015 18:55 utc | 21

Such is the state of Western MSN. Hersh's writing is not even published in the US anymore,
It is not the first time Hersh has published in the London Review of Books. The LRB is inclined that way. There was a great series of articles back in 2004 about the US shipping cash into Iraq, which subsequently disappeared: Ed Harriman: Where has all the money gone? plus two succeeding articles referenced.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 20 2015 19:00 utc | 22

Hee US-citizens, you have to vote Hillary, see:

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 20 2015 19:28 utc | 23

About the assassination of Samir Quntar ...

It was announced by the State Department on Sept. 18, 2015 when his name was listed as a target: a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.

Very identical to the assassination of Hezbollah militant leader Imad Mughniyeh, a joint operation CIA and Mossad. Don't blame the resident of the White House, sometimes he needs to juggle a few lives to justify the ends. Both Israel and the US have made operational cooperation between the military. Most likely scenario Jerusalem notified Langley and via the Pentagon the Kremlin was informed to stay away from a single operation. Jerusalem decides, Washington jumps and Moscow will profit from some leverage in their operations above Syria. Some lives are more expendable the others.

Targeting his son and the Iranian field commander was not acceptable and once again, Jerusalem was informed it was "not helpful." Let's see how Putin/Lavrov will react this time.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 19:41 utc | 24

I smell bullshit. Erdogan is being assigned so much power that he surely doesn't really have. I mean, come on.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 20 2015 19:43 utc | 25

@Joanne Leon

psst ... be careful, tell Erdogan he is full of it. ;-) He does have one of the world's largest standing army, the Levant is his hometurf and he is marketing Syrian refugees to western Europe.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 19:54 utc | 26

Erdogan's policy has become difficult to interpret. That he is now somewhat megalomaniac is clear, but that doesn't define the policy.

With regard to the EU, there's no hope of Turkey joining it, unless Erdogan is deluded. The aim must be to profit as much as possible. Turkey is faced with a big problem there, in the 2 million or so Syrian refugees, who the EU wish to prevent from going further.

With regard to Syria, Erdogan's natural tendency is to ally with the Sunnis, extremist or not. He has close relations with Barzani, if nothing else for Turkish business reasons, but more than that.

With regard to the Kurds of Turkey, I thought that Erdogan relit the conflict for electoral reasons. He is very Turkish, and the Kurds could be portrayed as the enemy in order to get him back into power. It wasn't that well thought out after a decade of detente.

Aside from Erdogan's personal peculiarities, I would have thought that Turkish business plays the main role. Turkish companies are to be seen everywhere. In Kurdistan, in Turkmenistan, as I have personally seen. No doubt elsewhere, including the ISIS harvesting of the Syrian oil-fields.

I would have thought that Turkish policy is divided between Erdogan's personal predilections and Turkish business. Probably with promises of financial help from the Gulf.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 20 2015 20:23 utc | 27

Where are the MoA-ers that believe that Obama is part of a 'faction' in the US government that is realistic and holds back the neocons?

If that were true, why does Hersh's source claim that there was "zero chance" of JCS getting a fair hearing from Obama?

Who is lying? Hersh's source or those who depict Obama as a 'realist' or 'peace-maker'? (Trick Question: They may both be lying.)


PS After seeing this article, I wonder how many mid-senior level officers will foolishly contact Flynn or Dempsey to discuss their policy concerns? Never let a crisis - or strategic retreat - go to waste.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2015 20:25 utc | 28

About the assassination of Samir Quntar ...
So Israel has assassinated another supposed leader. Israel is consumed by the need for revenge, even if it's useless.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 20 2015 20:32 utc | 29

There have been similar drippings about MIT within islamic state for the past few months. The reports all share the same character, either concerted effort by Gülen, or true. Interesting, either way.

Posted by: Cresty | Dec 20 2015 20:37 utc | 30

@Lysandr & @Jackrabbit - thanks for the comment and follow up comment. Excellent points.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 20:37 utc | 31

@JAckrabbit - I'd be interested to heat what your analysis of the US not going through with its threats to bomb Syria back in 2013 (following the Ghouta gas attacks)?

Why the stand down? The Russian moves? The fact that the attack would likely be publicly exposed (Hersh, again, had already started asking questions early on) as the work of the rebels during the course of a unilateral (because of the UK vote) and unpopular bpmbing campaign against another Middle Eastern country? A combination of all of these factors? I take you don't think it was Obama's realism.

I ask because I foolishly drew my own red line (slightly less foolish than Obama's "Assad must go" red line - meaning, probably completely unsupportable and certain to be challenged) which was - though I've laid it on as thick as anyone for the endless policy failures of his - that I'd always give Obama credit if he didn't go through with the bombing.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 20:49 utc | 32

Candidate Barack Obama was a lost cause on foreign policy as his congressional advisor was Joe Lieberman. President-elect Obama made crucial errors in judgement in selection of his team responsible for State, National Security and diplomacy such as the choices for UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Samantha Power. By appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Obama selected a DINO and someone close to Neocon policy pro-Israel and the Middle East. HRC pushed for the Libya intervention and overthrow of Gadaffi and appointed Ambassador Ford in Damascus. Said person is one of many CIA spooks that were holdovers from the Bush administration. Other advisors I recall: Vicky Nuland (Ass. to Cheney), Dennis Ross, and William Burns. WB was an experienced policymaker on Iran, Syria and the Arab nations. In an recent interview he let it be known from loss of a dear friend decades ago in Lebanon at the hands of Hezbollah, he considered Shia in general and Iran as part of terror organizations that cannot be trusted. I was shocked and felt betrayed by this White House. Obama has designated VP Joe Biden as pointman for policy in Iraq, Middle-East and Ukraine. VP Biden did well getting military contracts signed for the MIC. Obama lacks the knowledge and insight to set a policy framework.

HRC is a disaster and I shudder to think she could be the next president of the US! Read on >>

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 21:05 utc | 33

@32 - this is something I'm generally interested in hearing opinions about, btw. It's a complicated issue and was an event that surely had many factors bearing on it.

My personal opinion is that, despite the outpouring of anti-war sentiment from the American people, the elites in the US were ready to do it. But when the Brits "went wobbly" knowing that the gas attacks would probably be quickly exposed for being a fraud (their government is much more susceptible to public opinion on some issues than is the US) and having seen that the Russians and Chinese were ready to take some sort of stand (what that consisted of no one knew) Obama as the ultimate "decider" had to throw in the towel, even though those in the elite, like McCain, could and would snipe at him for the decision - likely if they were in the same spot, they'd have been forced to do the same.

That's my take.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 21:17 utc | 35

@35 and by "a fraud" I mean perpetrated by the rebels with Saudi and others assistance. The public blowback would have been enormously consequential - considering the WMD lies of the Iraq War -had the attacks been exposed as a fraud during a open-ended bombing campaign that surely would have caused huge civillian casualties and sparked god knows what reaction from the Russians and Chinese.

Likely the governments wouldn't have gotten away with a simple "mea culpa" considering the rabid, thoughtless media campaign (backed certainly by the Israelis, Saudis, and Turks) that was underway. There would have been serious repercussions, I think.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 21:21 utc | 36

Michael Flynn is painted as a hero, but nobody addresses the REST of what he said in that Spiegel article. Read it. He's advocating the same thing as the neocon/neoliberal slicing and dicing of Syria. That's the same as the Saudi and Israeli plan.

So is that the consensus from everyone including Russia and Iran and China? It doesn't sound like it. There's a big chunk of something missing here. I'm starting to wonder if I am misinterpreting what Flynn said in that Spiegel article or if keeping Syria intact is not as important as I thought it was.

"SPIEGEL ONLINE: How should the West fight this enemy?

Flynn: The sad fact is that we have to put troops on the ground. We won't succeed against this enemy with air strikes alone. But a military solution is not the end all, be all. The overall strategy must be to take away Islamic State's territory, then bring security and stability to facilitate the return of the refugees. This won't be possible quickly. First, we need to hunt down and eliminate the complete leadership of IS, break apart their networks, stop their financing operations and stay until a sense of normality has been established. It's certainly not a question of months -- it will take years. Just look back at the mission we created in the Balkans as a model. We started there in the early 1990s to create some stability and we are still there today.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is the Balkans mission a model for the current war?

Flynn: We can learn some lessons from the Balkans. Strategically, I envision a breakup of the Middle East crisis area into sectors in the way we did back then, with certain nations taking responsibility for these sectors. In addition, we would need a coalition military command structure and, on a political level, the United Nations must be involved. The United States could take one sector, Russia as well and the Europeans another one. The Arabs must be involved in that sort of military operation, as well, and must be part of every sector. With this model, you would have opportunities -- Russia, for example, must use its influence on Iran to have Tehran back out of Syria and other proxy efforts in the region."

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 20 2015 21:29 utc | 37

@37 jl... - Michael Flynn - bullshite artist... he will go far with the neo con crowd and all those who adhere to war 24/7... they have a lot of supporters..

Posted by: james | Dec 20 2015 21:37 utc | 38

Can someone who knows more about Turkish military intelligence give some background? Who has the most influence over Turkish MIT? And also who has the most influence over the Grey Wolves? And what is the relationship between the Turkish military, Turkish intelligence and Erdogan?

I'm thinking of the Susurluk scandal and everything that revealed, and how it relates to the situation today.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 20 2015 22:06 utc | 39


As I recall, the Pentagon wasn't onboard. The initial barrage of cruise missiles and bombs from air strikes was limited but increased as US Congressional hawks [and lobbyists] pushed for more. Similar to Clinton's wagging the dog to bomb Sudan and Afghanistan. An extended attack on Syria would be devastating with no known end result. France with Hollande was in the pocket of Israel and the Gulf states and was the last man [left] standing. Cameron lost the vote in British parliament and US Congress griped about the executive branch and the War Powers Act – thank goodness. In extra time, Kerry and Lavrov closed the deal to remove and destroy all of Syria's CWs through OPCW.

I also recall there was a missile fired towards Syria in the Mediterranean and intercepted.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 22:11 utc | 40


I don't really understand your thinking. Your understanding that Obama's red-line was a set-up is incompatible with giving him credit for NOT bombing.

IMO the only reason the bombing didn't happen was that the Russians were adamantly against it. The British Parliament wouldn't grant the go-ahead because they knew that there were questions about the attack and that the Russians were against any attack.

After September 2013, the strategy changed: no more talk of a 'reset' with Russia. Instead, there is a US-supported coup in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, blocking of Russia gas pipelines, demonizing of Putin, and a severe drop in oil price (low oil prices have been cited as one of the reasons for the fall of the USSR). At the same time, another more determined 'go' at Syria was prepared (ISIS) while nuclear talks with Iran were proceeded.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2015 22:12 utc | 41

The intent of the US, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf States was to break the axis Teheran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut at all cost. After Russia's intervention, Obama has to admit it was a complete failure. Secretary Kerry is trying to piece together a diplomatic solution where the state of Syria needs to survive. No regime change except the exit of the Assad family and a number of top-level Baathists. The Syrian state must preserve its secular identity in a new constitution. >>

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2254 (2015), Endorsing Road Map for Peace Process in Syria, Setting Timetable for Talks

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 22:12 utc | 42

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 20, 2015 5:06:02 PM | 39

The "accident" in the Susurluk Scandal sounds a lot like the one that killed Serena Shim.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2015 22:46 utc | 43

Israel Worried by New Turkey Intelligence Chief's Defense of Iran | Haaretz – June 7, 2010 |

The Israeli defense establishment - and especially the Mossad's foreign relations department, which maintains ties with Turkey's national intelligence organization (MIT) - is concerned over the recent appointment of Hakan Fidan as head of that organization, and the implications of that appointment vis-a-vis Turkish relations with Israel and Iran.

Hakan Fidan, 42, a personal confidant of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, assumed the post of head of MIT, which combines the equivalent functions of Israel's Mossad and Shin Bet security service.

Saudi heavy weapons supply to Syrian rebels breaks up Arab summit in uproar | PCDN – April 2013 |

To arrange the transfer of this heavy artillery to the rebels in Aleppo, Prince Bandar contacted Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT-Turkish National Intelligence Organization. They agreed to set up an overland route from the Balkans via Turkey and across the Syrian border to Aleppo, under the protection of the Turkish army.

Our sources report that Ankara’s initial refusal of cooperation was overcome with a sharp reminder by Prince Bandar of the scale of Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia and the damage to the Turkish economy of their potential suspension. More >>

Posted by: Oui | Dec 20 2015 23:07 utc | 44

@Jackrbbit - I didn't think his red line was a set up. I think he meant it, only to find he couldn't back it up.

Thanks for the thought Oui. As for this "I also recall there was a missile fired towards Syria in the Mediterranean and intercepted." I heard that too, but never could get my head around wether there was any truth to it.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 23:34 utc | 46

In other words (even though in this case I despised the policy) it was another example of Obama blabbering feel good (to some ppl) horseshit but not doing it (thankfully, to me, in this case).

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 20 2015 23:37 utc | 47

From the Hersh article:

In December 2006, William Roebuck, then in charge of the US embassy in Damascus, filed an analysis of the ‘vulnerabilities’ of the Assad government and listed methods ‘that will improve the likelihood’ of opportunities for destabilisation. He recommended that Washington work with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to increase sectarian tension and focus on publicising ‘Syrian efforts against extremist groups’ – dissident Kurds and radical Sunni factions – ‘in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback’...

Ah, how very swell. How many innocent men, women, and children, I wonder, were murdered for nothing more than their religion or ethnicity because of this exceptionalist "policy", I must wonder. And the US then goes around to wail and moan about invented genocides in places like Kosovo where they have a political interest in the outcome?

Really quite a display of hypocrisy - but then, that's par for the course at this point. As long as we put up a 10 commandments monument up in our country, we can murder with impunity across the globe.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 21 2015 0:08 utc | 48

Oui | Dec 20, 2015 5:12:25 PM | 42

"After Russia's intervention, Obama has to admit it was a complete failure. Secretary Kerry is trying to piece together a diplomatic solution where the state of Syria needs to survive."

Do you see logic in this? While looking for logic in politics can be inane proposition this fall into Einstein's definition of lunacy. Asking from the Death Squad policy creators diplomatic solution is worst than silly.

"No regime change except the exit of the Assad family and a number of top-level Baathists. The Syrian state must preserve its secular identity in a new constitution."

Same here, "No regime change except..." is the same as Regime change.

I've read (lightly) the UN resolution, I do not see anything of significance there. Probably I am missing something.

The way I see this is imperialist deal between Russia and the US regarding sphere of influence in Syria and wider.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 21 2015 0:10 utc | 49

To avoid more tension with Russia and Iran, a veteran U.S. politician told me that the White House is studying two face-saving scenarios for Assad: either he leaves office within a transitional solution; or he remains in office until his term ends, without being allowed to run in the next presidential election. However, that may not be accepted by Syrian rebels, especially the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

I hope Iranians will prevent this Regime Change. So FSA who held, probably, less than 5% of territory, wouldn't survive next couple weeks without external support, have no support in the Syrian masses is having to say something.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 21 2015 0:23 utc | 50

@25 Erdogan is being set up for a dramatic fall.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 21 2015 0:25 utc | 51

“Bashar Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s redline since he has been elected by the Syrian people, and the Syrian people should finally decide about their country’s fate,” Velayati said in an interview with the state TV on Saturday night.

Tentatively, all sides are agree that political process is the only solution. As the devil is in the details who is going to implement the results of the process and how?

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 21 2015 0:32 utc | 52

"So FSA who held, probably, less than 5% of territory, wouldn't survive next couple weeks without external support, have no support in the Syrian masses is having to say something."

Exactly. Can someone remind me again ... this FSA, it actually exists? Or it "exists" like unicorns and mermaids "exist"? In stories and little children's imaginations...

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 21 2015 0:35 utc | 53

@21 Vulture capitalism is a decent explanation. Publics in those countries would certainly be more receptive to Turkish enterprise, but governments wouldn't need any nudge. I suspect some deeper reason for the Turkey/Israel split as well as capitalism. Speaking of the Kurds, maybe there is some reason there too.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 21 2015 0:43 utc | 54

@virgile | Dec 20, 2015 1:55:36 PM | 21

There is racist and Orientalists undertone in that let call it comment. Ask me why I am not surprised.

Without going into details, Turkey politics is no different than French, UK global foreign policy. That is all three countries follows the US hegemony. Turkey is only mirror at the regional level what the US is at world one, just as Iran has own one or KSA.

My only hope that I see the death of the US, and its allies, hegemony in West Asia.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Dec 21 2015 0:59 utc | 55

@27 Turkmenistan and Turkey have had plenty of trade for years. Back in the mid 90's one of the biggest, most posh retail outlets in Ashgabat exclusively sold Turkish products. It was like a Turkish state store in the middle of Turkmenistan. Those were back in the days of good relations between Turkey and Israel, so I doubt Turkmenistan is a good example of Turkey benefitting from fabricated split with Israel.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 21 2015 1:04 utc | 56


It's a hoot to read someone representing a country with a Supreme Leader talk about the validity of an Autocrat's unrecognized election. The people in the US have little to say about our government's actions no matter how much we might vote but Assad and Syria are somehow different.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Dec 21 2015 1:10 utc | 57

Very good piece over at The Nation with Stephen Cohen. He says that Biden is part of the neo-con group and that`s why the foreign policy keeps veering from right to left. Kerry supposedly is all for aligning with Russia.

Posted by: Mischi | Dec 21 2015 1:20 utc | 58

Jackrabbit @ 28,

"Who is lying? Hersh's source or those who depict Obama as a 'realist' or 'peace-maker'? (Trick Question: They may both be lying.)"
Jackrabbit, When I first came on this site I explained why I thought there were factions and cited the otherwise-inexplicable acts of Obama which formed a clear pattern for 3 years in flat contradiction to his rhetoric. I was at pains to explain that BOTH factions desire a global oligarchy, but only contest the method to complete their plan.

Never at any time did I describe Obama as a realist or peace-maker. It is useless to explain to you what the two factions presently contest, as you have already described it as a lie.

You might just as well continue on your little treadmill, excluding all facts which don't fit your a priori worldview.

Posted by: Penelope | Dec 21 2015 1:32 utc | 59

"Barzani spoke on the 150 ISIL militants of Turkish origin..."

"... to remove 500 Turkish nationals..."

I find these round numbers suspicious.

There is another scandal involving Turkey which has disappeared from public attention. FBI translator Sibel Edmonds stumbled across Turkish criminal activity in the course of her work after 9/11.

Posted by: Edward | Dec 21 2015 1:37 utc | 60

Tangentially related: hunters become hunted

Similarly, the influence inevitably flows both ways. When Turkey is influencing jihadists, MIT must select officers responsible for supervising recruitment, delivery of arms, money, supplies, and interacting in person, and everybody involved acquires the perspective of the "tools" to some degree, all the way to the top of the organization. The same happened earlier to ISI when the military of Pakistan decided to use "proxies" against India and to get "strategic depth" in Afghanistan. And the same happened to CIA and American think tanks.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2015 1:41 utc | 61

I forgot to say that Stephen Cohen says that Merkel is encouraging German businessmen to do business with Russia despite the sanctions. The only problem is that the banks don`t want to be punished for this illegal stuff, so they won`t put up the money for any business deals.

Posted by: Mischi | Dec 21 2015 1:41 utc | 62

Aside from Erdogan's personal peculiarities, I would have thought that Turkish business plays the main role.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 20, 2015 3:23:43 PM | 27

Money can give power and vice versa. In Erdogan's Turkey, companies that oppose the government can be treated like dogs, inspections, even de-facto confiscations of property, particularly media, and those who support get permits, contracts and practical legal immunity. While foreign trade is surely important, it seems that the largest fortunes in recent years were made in real estate and other internal development, and additionally, real estate booms relied a lot on Gulf investors. When Erdogan needed eliminate a number of TV channels sympathetic to opposition, a Qatari led consortium took over a cable operator.

Gulf magnates need friendly places to stash their money, and Sunni Turkey with a relatively large economy and more stability than Egypt was naturally attractive. Thus while trade and investment opportunities in "friendly countries" were somewhat motivating, cultivating Gulf investors was even more important, with many more billions being at stake.

One puzzle is why Erdogan helped ISIS and al-Nusra so much. His flavor of Islam is closer to the Muslim Brotherhood, and is rather far from Salafism. One reason could be that once toppling the "tyranny of heretics" in Syria was the priority, it was more important to identify groups that were militarily most effective that sweating out details of theology. However, one reason that Salafis were so effective is that they could pay their troops well and get good weapons which required a green light from Turkey that let those goodies to pass through. I suspect that Erdogan's clique simply got a cut of the pie.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2015 2:06 utc | 63

58 Kerry supposedly is all for aligning with Russia...

Possible, but not likely. That wouldn't be very Zionist of him. He is Kerry Kohn of Jewish grandparents. Second point being that he wouldn't have gotten the position if he weren't on board with the Yinon Plan for expanded (Greater) Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 21 2015 2:10 utc | 64

@59 I agree with you that there are obvious factions in USG foreign policy. There is plenty of evidence.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 21 2015 2:20 utc | 65

The corporate empire that the US and it's minions have become, will NEVER let anyone but a vetted "empire manager" become "elected". Some Americans knew that. After Obama, it will be HRC, or some other "corporate empire manager". These wars in the ME are about containing any challengers (Russia, China), or any other alliance that threatens corporate hegemony to the western empire.

Posted by: ben | Dec 21 2015 2:27 utc | 66


I guess it's possible the Kurds keep Islamic State captives alive, I doubt the Iraqi Shia do, and that there are a number of them that are Turks. I wonder if those captives that are claiming, possibly lying, to be Turks spying on IS are doing so in hope of remaining alive

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Dec 21 2015 2:28 utc | 67

Before I start cussing Putin and his policies in Syria vis-a-vis Israel, I wonder if anybody here has a clear idea/info about what happened in Damascus yesterday. Was it a neozionist airstrike? Was it rockets? Does anybody know the straight skinny? Any links from reliable sources? Thank you.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21 2015 2:28 utc | 68

@39 I assume you've already read what Sibel Edmonds has said about Susukluk?

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 21 2015 3:16 utc | 69

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 20, 2015 11:31:50 AM | 13

Yep, they are looking for fall guys for a policy shift.

This here is the BBC with the mention of an "operations room" coordinating all actors in Turkey - British role in that room was minor they say.

Oh yes, and the West found itself on the same side as the Jihadis, again, the BBC says.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 3:22 utc | 70

68 Xinhua? This is their photograph

Israel does not like the UN resolution on Syria?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 3:31 utc | 71

State sponsorship of ISIS

and why this is not in Western media

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 3:58 utc | 72

guest @36: ... by "a fraud" I mean perpetrated by the rebels with Saudi and others assistance.

guest77 @46: I didn't think his red line was a set up...

The Obama Administration is very smart politically. They would not have committed to a 'red line' without thinking it through. And ANALYSTS AT THE TIME warned that his 'red line' was subject to abuse (as in the rebels could use it to force the US into the conflict).

And when has Obama shown concern for ordinary people except when his Administration could get something out of it? Every move is calculated and poll-tested. How many die in Greece from austerity every month? How many will die from the delayed response to Global Warming.

There may not be a 'smoking gun' but I would bet that most people paying attention think it likely to have been a set-up.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2015 4:45 utc | 73


I just think it is incompatible for Obama to be the guy who resists neocons while at the same time Hersh's contact depicts Obama as determined to follow a neocon-friendly course.

Are some people too willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt? Do some people cling to their conception of Obama as a good and peace-seeking person? If so, isn't that advantageous for the neocon establishment? Could it be that such views are encouraged?

And why does Hersh's contact want people to know about this 'resistance' to Obama/neocons? It is a warning? Does he want to encourage more resistance? Is it that Obama really does head a faction that the neocons are trying to undermine?

I think they are both lying because I see Obama as the front man. Policy is made elsewhere, Obama just 'sells it' to the American public. I don't see him as totally divorced from policy (like an actor might be) but as a 'team player' that has come under the sway of the neocons and will be richly rewarded for his service to the establishment. In this view, the WH is the "don't do stupid stuff" political filter but doesn't actually make policy.

So Dempsey's belief that he can not change policy by talking with Obama is true - but only because there is no 'there' there. Obama doesn't make policy! IMO Hersh's reporting is a 'lie' because it implies that Obama himself is an obstacle: that he has the ability to make or change policy but won't (e.g. ideologically committed).

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2015 5:14 utc | 74

@21 virgile, i had read that turkey took over a number of the industrial sites in aleppo which would add further strength to your viewpoint, but from an even uglier angle.. apparently the syrian owners were suing turkey in some way to get them back.. not sure where all that is at now..

@71/72 somebody.. thanks for the Nafeez Ahmed article.. excellent reading and especially for anyone who has only gotten the msm angle..

Posted by: james | Dec 21 2015 6:58 utc | 75


Here's one that you will like, by Michael Hudson. He's just like you; whenever he talks about Russia or China he freely projects his desires upon them. His description of the economic world they are going to create is beautiful. Unfortunately there is not the slightest evidence that they intend what he describes.

However, Michael does describe a difficulty I hadn't thought of. He explains how the IMF's failure to uphold the necessity for Ukraine to repay Russia before getting new loans undermines the viability of the Silk Road-- or even the AIIB.

Posted by: Penelope | Dec 21 2015 7:29 utc | 76


I recommend reading Anthony C Suttons book Americas Secret Establishment. In fact all of his books if you havent already.

For Hegelians, the State is almighty, and seen as "the march of God on earth." Indeed, a State religion. Progress in the Hegelian State is through contrived conflict: the clash of opposites makes for progress.

If you can control the opposites, you dominate the nature of the outcome.
We trace the extraordinary Skull and Bones influence in a major Hegelian conflict: Naziism vs.

Skull and Bones members were in the dominant decision-making positions - Bush, Harriman,
Stimson, Lovett, and so on - all Bonesmen, and instrumental in guiding the conflict through use of "right" and "left." They financed and encouraged the growths of both philosophies and controlled the outcome to a
significant extent.

This was aided by the "reductionist" division in science, the opposite of historical
"wholeness." By dividing science and learning into narrower and narrower segments, it became easier to
control the whole through the parts."

This of course extends to the domestic left/right paradigm too.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 21 2015 7:42 utc | 77

@ 76 Penelope

Michael Hudson has missed something

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 21 2015 8:21 utc | 78

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 20, 2015 9:28:53 PM | 68

Original post of breaking news on RT (posted this earlier via a link of mine)

Breaking News RT: Unconfirmed reports of an IAF airstrike in #Damascus suburb #Jaramana killing Palestinian terrorist, Samir Quntar

Headline updated to: "Lebanese militant leader killed in Syria, Israeli airstrike and terror attack suspected"
More >>

Posted by: Oui | Dec 21 2015 9:25 utc | 80

Top Hezb militant killed in Israeli raid | Kuwait Times |

Hezbollah said Kantar, known in Lebanon as “The Dean of Lebanese Prisoners” for being the longest-held prisoner in Israel, was killed along with eight others in the strike in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana Saturday night.

Druze men mourn the deaths of Farhan al-Shaalan and Samir Kantar who were killed from an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital, in the Druze village of Ein Kinya in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, near the border with Syria.

Ein Kenya lies in the southwestern foothills of Mt Hermon, above the Banyas Nature Reserve. Until the Six Day War (1967), the inhabitants of Ein Kenya included Christians, but today its 1,600 inhabitants are exclusively Druze. More >>

Posted by: Oui | Dec 21 2015 9:26 utc | 81

Report: Kuntar planning major terror attack on Israel when he was killed | Ynet News |

Authored by Ron Ben Yishai, a tool of Israeli intelligence. No reports he writes are credible. But this shows that Israeli intelligence wants to justify its murder of Kuntar.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 21 2015 9:26 utc | 82

You actually get a good - likely true - review of the Hezbollah/Druze Golan project via Haaretz

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 9:52 utc | 83

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 20, 2015 9:28:53 PM | 68

Excellent reporting ...

IDF Lies About Kuntar Murder Flow in Abundance

... According to Aviv Sela, a noted Israeli psychologist who served in that capacity for years with the police and Shabak, Kuntar did not kill the girl or her father. Instead, he claims he had left the boat to help his comrades who’d been attacked by Israeli security forces. The firing that killed the Israelis came via friendly (Israeli) fire and not the Palestinians. As with so many ugly facts Israel tries to conceal in such circumstances, it creates comfortable narratives that obscure the truth.

I’ve often written about specific instances in which the Israeli security apparatus blatantly lies to cover up embarrassment or deflect from the truth of events. In the case of Kuntar, the IDF knows that I, and perhaps other journalists will begin calling this what it was, an extrajudicial execution. To pre-empt this inconvenient narrative, it puts forth yet another bubbeh meiseh portraying Kuntar as a revitalized terror mastermind. A man who had to die to save Israeli lives. He was a “ticking bomb.” Apparently, the ticking was in the ear of the beholder. What was he planning? A vague terror attack somewhere in the Golan. But it would’ve been big, trust me, or so they claim.

See also my additional posts above.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 21 2015 10:50 utc | 84

"Michael Flynn is painted as a hero, but nobody addresses the REST of what he said in that Spiegel article. Read it. He's advocating the same thing as the neocon/neoliberal slicing and dicing of Syria. That's the same as the Saudi and Israeli plan."
Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 20, 2015 4:29:18 PM | 37

Nice work.
In denying (by omission) Russia's successful anti-ISIS coalition, and recommending that the Iran & Hezbollah components be sent home, Flynn is very clearly advocating anti-Assad boots on the ground. Very Neocon-ish indeed.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 21 2015 12:37 utc | 85

Was Russia complicit in the extra-judicial murder of Kuntar?

If so, how can Hezbollah trust Russia now? What did Russia gain by going along? Promises from Israel and the US?

If not, is the suggestion they were involved a plan to drive a wedge between the forces attacking Israel's ISIS guys in the Golan area?

It took a while for the Russians to come out on the air attack on Syrian forces. I guess Russia's actions in the next few days will go some way to answering these questions. In the absence of a strong response from Russia, it looks fscked either way.

Silverstein wrote: "I strongly believe in the rule of law and that no state has the right to make these decisions outside of courts and the justice system." That is supposedly Putin's view too.

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 21 2015 12:44 utc | 86

"America's Ship Is Sinking" Former Bush Official Exposes The Unfixable Corruption Inside The Establishment

The 1%.

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 21 2015 13:43 utc | 87


Thanks for the pic. I am looking to discern whether it was a zionazi airstrike, or rockets launched from Syria proper that killed Quntar.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21 2015 14:42 utc | 88


Thanks for the pic. I am looking to discern whether it was a zio-nazi airstrike, or rockets launched from Syria proper that killed Quntar.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21 2015 14:52 utc | 89


Thanks for the links. As I wrote in my former post to somebody@71, I am trying to find out if Quntar was killed by a zio-nazi airstrike or rockets launched from inside Syria. In this case, the smoking gun is very important to assign responsibility to the Russians, who I would primarily blame for the blatant assassination of Quntar, and a violation of Syria's airspace, if it was a zio-nazi airstrike.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21 2015 15:11 utc | 90

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21, 2015 9:52:16 AM | 88

Seems to have come from the front - the roof looks intact.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 15:21 utc | 91

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21, 2015 10:21:43 AM | 90

Add - if it was a missile it was incredible targeting. Someone must have been using their mobile phone.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 15:26 utc | 92

Lone Wolf @88, @89

here are some comments from the Russian Defense Forum.

"That guy was insignificant for the war effort. His only value was seemed to be PR. For some reason Israelis decided to use up the "coupon" they had with Russia on him. Waste of perfectly good coupon if you ask me, but whatever spins their dreidel...

Another reason why Russia agreed to look the other way is probably because this guy broke a certain taboo back in a day. Like I said during the Su-24 incident, there are some unwritten rules that all good players follow.

Had Israelis requested to take out some Hesbolah officer with clean resume or who is actually relevant for the war effort Russian answer would be a resounding "don't even dream/think/fantasize about it!!!"."

The claim is the guy was insignificant to the war effort - just like the pilot of the Su-24 shot down by Turkey. I'm sure the Hezbollah supporters regard his death as significant as the Russian do the death of the SU-24 pilot.

There is the notion that Russia has given Israel some 'coupons' to use for such actions presumably with some promises by Israel as quid pro quo. The contrast between the handling of one ISIS-supporting state like Turkey and another like Israel is stark. I guess Russia is happy for Israel to go along committing extra-judicial murder to protect its boys in the Golan as long as Russians are not involved.

There is also a coy reference to a 'certain taboo' in the past. Israel claims Kuntar shot a girl in the head - so presumably this is the 'taboo'. Kuntar claimed the girl was killed in cross-fire.
What is known is that more recently an IDF officer shot a Gazan schoolgirl then walked up to her body and emptied the magazine of his gun into her. That resulted in a minor reprimand in Israel (presumably for wasting ammuntion) and certainly does not constitute breaking a taboo.

ISIS-supporting Israel seems to get a free pass even there.

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 21 2015 15:35 utc | 93

Also, whenever you see a Hersh article, always think "limited hangout.” Lysander at 13.

Absolutely. And perhaps even worse. I believe his piece on the Ghouta chem. attacks (which I and others went into with some thoroughness, right here, Petri Kohn amongst others) was in part fabrication. From sources of course, I have no doubt ‘sources’ communicated what he reported (maybe there was some cherry picking, who knows.) But he didn’t take the time or effort to look at the ‘available’ / ‘real’ facts.

> Such as pictures and vids of the attack, the MSF report, the phone calls, a tally of the victims, the medical report on the victims, a location / time line analysis, etc.

His piece on that, link, goes into all kinds of convolutions about the checking and use of rockets, sarin, etc. .. but never questions the MSM ‘agreed - on ’ description of event itself.

He works with second-hand analysis, layered-over interpretation, narrative, and facts thrown into a certain story-line. Sometimes that can’t be avoided, and the piece (linked by b) is certainly interesting and important, as you say. In other cases, the facts on the ground matter, and are at least partially available, or can be scoped out.

At heart - I’m not dissing Hersh here particularly, or even strongly - journos (and other pundits, speculative commentators, low-level investigators, even a certain brand of ‘conspiracy theorists’, etc.) of this stripe, ACCEPT the events as they have been reported by Gvmt. agencies, spokes-ppl, the media, etc. while seeking out conficting motives, alternative perps, other underground plots, complications, minor inaccuracies, plus indulge in a tiresome expositions of irrelevant details. Not to mention red herrings …

Result: Any event becomes a Rorschach test (an ambiguous pic one can interpet how one likes), appealing to judgment of personality, motive, power, etc., like a detective story, a tv fiction series! Which increases strife between groups, serves to divide and disrupt society.

maybe his worst effort: (Ghouta attacks in LRB)

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 21 2015 16:14 utc | 94

Sorry that had nothing to with Turkish spies. I reckon Ankara doesn't need spies. Or only in a minor way, for sort of panicked pone calls. ;)

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 21 2015 16:22 utc | 95

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21, 2015 9:52:16 AM | 88

Syrian official news agency says "terrorist shelling".

Posted by: somebody | Dec 21 2015 16:23 utc | 96


Thanks, it's beginning to appear more clear now. When are these combatants in the resistance going to learn not to use cell phones? Whatever happened to smoke signals?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 21 2015 17:25 utc | 97

Islamic State 'journalist' arrested in Afghanistan

Probably a security contractor who works for one of the foreign intelligence agencies.

Posted by: Les | Dec 21 2015 18:25 utc | 98


I suppose its possible. My question, though, is whether the numbers 500 and 150 are made up. What are the odds that these figures will be multiples of ten?

Posted by: Edward | Dec 21 2015 18:45 utc | 99

Will Dempsey confirm Hersh's account? Could be court-martialed for what is alleged?


Now that he is retired, he is free to air his disagreements, right?

Decorum and tradition might argue for waiting for a year or two, but now that the issue is 'out there', Dempsey should be free to comment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2015 19:07 utc | 100

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