Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 12, 2016

Syria: Russian Campaign Enables Government Progress - Terrorist's Lines Fall Apart

To put pressure on Turkey for more support the Islamic State attacks the Turkish economy. But that is in vain if the Syrian government and its supporters can close the border to Turkey. That now looks very possible as the Syrian government, supported by Russian air force and indirect fire, is winning on all fronts.

Turkey received the fruits of its support for terrorists in Syria today. Ten people, most of them foreign tourists, were killed in a suicide attack in the Sultanahmet district, a main tourist area in Istanbul.

The Turkish government says the culprit was a 28 year old Saudi man. That mostly excludes that this was an attack of the PKK or any radical left group. The Islamic State is likely the organization behind this attack.

The attack's real target is the Turkish economy. Istanbul is the third most visited tourist city in Europe. That will now change. Earlier Russia warned its citizens against visiting Turkey. The German government and others are now likely to follow. Russians and Germans were the two top tourist origins for Turkey.  This will have significant consequences for the Turkish economy and employment situation.

Turkey has supported the Jihadists anti-government terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Until,very recently the Islamic State ran a sophisticated immigration operation through the Turkey-Syria border:

Turkey has long said that it is unable to secure its 500-mile border with Syria. In January, as Isis was logging people passing in and out of Tel Abyad, the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, told the Independent that sealing the border would be impossible.
The border crossing remained open until Kurdish forces took control of the town in June, at which point Turkey promptly sealed it. The crossing remains closed, a government official confirmed.

There are still other parts of the border where people can cross from Islamic State held territory to Turkey and back. Imports to the Islamic State come mostly from Turkey while stolen oil is exported to Turkey. Turkey will have to stop all support for the various terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq or it will experience ever increasing mayhem on its own soil.

Last year Turkey helped an alliance that included al-Qaeda in Syria and similar groups in capturing Idleb province and Idleb city from the Syrian government. That attack und the Turkish support for these groups was one of the reasons that prompted the Russians to intervene on the Syrian government side. Since then Russian intelligence and air support has helped to turn the war on Syria around. The government forces are now winning on every front.

But Turkey is not the only "western" country that is still actively supporting the Jihadidsts:

In a statement Monday to Foreign Policy, the Syrian Emergency Task Force said Russian planes bombed one of its offices in central Idlib province in a strike that “completely destroyed” the facility and equipment. The staff — which host civil society workshops, helps distribute U.S. humanitarian aid, and documents atrocities — was not present during the incident, and no one was killed, according to SETF.

Can someone explain why and how the U.S. Syrian Emergency Task Force, which is financed by the U.S. State Department, can continue to operate in al-Qaeda occupied Idleb?

When the Russian air support in Syria started and the Syrian army went on the offense a large number of U.S. provided anti-tank guided missiles where used by the terrorists. The number of such missile attacks has now significantly decreased. The Russian bombing broke the logistic lines of the various groups and ransacked their headquarters and support areas. The four month bombing campaign is now showing real results.

In Latakia in north west Syria the Syrian army today took the resort town Salma which had been a major center of terrorist activities in the area. Yesterday a whole suburb west of Aleppo city fell to the Syrian army. East of Aleppo city the Syrian army is advancing towards Al Bab which lies on one of the Islamic State's major roads to Turkey. Near Rastan in Homs province the Syrian army crossed the Orontes river and captured Jarjisah. Further south the Syrian army is progressing towards the Jordanian border. The Russian air attacks also support the advances of the Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State under the label of the U.S. created Syrian Democratic Front. The SDF is now moving to Manbij north east from Aleppo from the east and towards Avaz north-west of Aleppo from the west which together with the Syrian government rush north towards Al Bab develops into a pincer movement that will cut the Islamic State and other terrorist groups from the Turkish border.

Since the beginning of active Russian support the Syrian army has - according to the Russian General Staff - liberated more than 150 towns and villages from the terrorist forces. Since the beginning of January more than twenty two towns have been freed.

Bombing is not a solution for conflicts. The U.S. started bombing Iraq 25 years ago and has bombed it ever since. last year alone it dropped over 23,000 bombs on Muslim countries. But the Russian bombing in Syria is in support a legitimate and capable government which has the majority support of its people and that makes all the difference.

The Russian campaign has significantly decimated the militant's fighting force. A few weeks ago the head of the Islamic State Baghdadi had called for a general mobilization of all Muslims to support his shrinking state. Yesterday the main religious leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's organization in Syria, also issued a call for total mobilization. The Chechen terrorist groups in Latakia under Emir Muslim Shishani are calling for help. The fronts held by these shrinking forces now regularly fall apart when under Russian style attacks. They are now near their breaking point.

During World War II a majority of casualties were caused by indirect fire. During the recent fighting in Ukraine some 80-90% of the casualties on the Ukrainian government side were caused by massive artillery attacks. The Syrian army has copied this Russian style of fighting by using more by artillery and airstrikes for the preparation of attacks. This preserves the manpower of friendlies but requires strong logistics and causes massive damage on buildings and infrastructure.

With the lack of manpower resulting in defeats everywhere the militants and their supporters have upped their "information operations". In a massive propaganda effort they asserted the people in Madaya, under siege by Syrian troops, were starving. Lots of fake and old pictures distributed by "activists" and mainstream media like the BBC showed starving people. But Madaya, like other cities under siege from the terrorists, had received food for several months in October and in late November. The militants seized all provisions and sold them to the inhabitants at extortion prices. Still the International Committee of the Red Cross could not confirm any famine casualties. The propaganda campaign over Madaya did not achieve the intended result of more "western" intervention. Madayan received fresh food but so did Fuar and Kefraya which are bigger and under siege by the terrorist forces.

The "starving" claims were fake assertions as they have accompanied the war on Syria from its very beginning. According to the Indian ambassador in Syria at that time al-Qaeda was involved even in the very first weeks of the 2011 "peaceful protests". A fact that at that time was denied by "western" media and is still covered up in recent reporting.

But as 9/11 showed and today's attack in Istanbul again demonstrates supporting fundamentalist terrorist forces always comes back to bite. Unfortunately only after creating terrible damage elsewhere.

Posted by b on January 12, 2016 at 15:31 UTC | Permalink


Here, in Paris, they said of Syrian origin.

Posted by: Philippe Grau | Jan 12 2016 15:45 utc | 1

Correction: The supposed bomber is "Syrian" NOT "Saudi" as declared by Turkey.

Davutoglu also told Merkel on the same phone call that the details of an ongoing investigation regarding the suicide attack, thought to have been carried out by a Syrian suicide bomber, will be shared with German officials.

Erdogan is now finally faced with his secret ally ISIS that he has managed for years to keep away from hitting what has sustained the AKP in power: The strong Turkish economy.
Forced by the EU and the USA to act against ISIS instead of concentrating on eradicating his own people, the Turkish Kurds, Erdogan was obliged to make a timid crackdown on extremist elements in Turkey. As a result, it seems that ISIS has become increasingly suspicious of Erdogan 'neutrality'. In addition talks about Turkey re-establishing relation with Israel is not perceived well by the Moslem Brotherhhod organization in Turkey.
After 4 years, Turkey has no more friends in the region, only enemies determined to wreck the Turkish economy and topple Erdogan.
In view of the AKP perverse game in the region that has cost hundred of thousands of dead and millions of displaced, it seems that pay time has come.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 12 2016 15:49 utc | 2

The attack might hurt the Turkish economy, but does it also strengthen Erdogan and his security state? And, at the same time, for PR purposes, is it intended to show that Turkey is also subject to ISIS attack?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 12 2016 16:02 utc | 3

RT: Breaking news: Not only was bomber Syrian, but 9 Germans were among those killed.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 16:12 utc | 4

9 dead Germans was what I thought I heard on RT television, but RT's print report only says "At least nine German citizens were injured in the blast, Reuters reports citing a senior Turkish official."

There was apparently a party of German tourists in Sultanahmet Square when the bomb went off.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 16:18 utc | 5

Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydanı), located between Hagia Sophia and the Blue (Sultanahmet) Mosque, is the site of the Hippodrome of Constantine, one of the prime tourist sites in Istanbul.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 16:22 utc | 6

Ahmet Davutoglu Turkish PM "We have the list of suicide bombers, but we can not detain them,until they explode themselves"

Posted by: papa | Jan 12 2016 16:24 utc | 7

Question: are the newly coined syrian "democratic" forces just the FSA rebranded? If so, I must say, a real lesson learned on my part about the importance of language and how masterfully this current administration rebrands various things. I suspect the SDF is the FsA because of the Army of Islams willingness to work w/ them.

Posted by: Au | Jan 12 2016 16:30 utc | 8

@ Au | 8

SDF are mainly Kurds and Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 12 2016 16:33 utc | 9

Istambul explosion a pretext for a no fly zone by Erdogan with German backing?

Posted by: danx | Jan 12 2016 16:36 utc | 10

Well, I regret to say that that initial report on RT television turns out to have been correct. Berlin Tagesspiegel is reporting at least 9 Germans dead: Anschlag in der Türkei im Newsblog: Mindestens neun Deutsche in Istanbul getötet.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 16:37 utc | 11

"Nabil Fadli, a 28-year-old ISIL militant of Syrian origin who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1988, blew himself up after blending into a tourist group of 33 German citizens on a visit to the Obelisk of Theodosius in Sultanahmet Square near the Blue Mosque in the morning hours of Jan. 12 when the popular square was relatively less crowded compared to the rest of the day. "

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 12 2016 16:38 utc | 12

You all are on top of things more than I am, so excuse me if you have already taken note of this:
The Islamic State terror group is making significant gains in Libya as hundreds of its members have been detected moving there from Syria and Iraq in recent weeks amid stepped up bombing and tighter border controls.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 12 2016 16:39 utc | 13

News blackout in Turkey, according to that Tagesspiegel article:

Angaben zur Herkunft der deutschen Opfer gab es zunächst nicht. Die Türkei soll dem Vernehmen nach auch eine Nachrichtensperre verhängt haben.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 16:39 utc | 14

Obviously Turkey should cease their support, but I'm curious what type of response rescinding support might stoke? Can you build up something evil, then simply pull the string, or will there be reprisals for cutting off the support?

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Jan 12 2016 17:59 utc | 15

i walked thru this area a number of times when we visited turkey in 2012...

i feel sorry for the people of turkey and the world by extension that we have to suffer thru this all..

"Can someone explain why and how the U.S. Syrian Emergency Task Force, which is financed by the U.S. State Department, can continue to operate in al-Qaeda occupied Idleb?" the usa is in bed with '''moderate''' terrorists...

"Bombing (only) is not a solution for conflicts." ditto that.

"information operations".. they are running out of pretty well everything else and hollywood is all they have..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2016 18:21 utc | 16

Sounds like Jihadi John 2.0 is another MI6 spy. The previous Jihadi John, aka Mohammed Emwazi, had also been targeted to work as a double agent.

Posted by: Les | Jan 12 2016 18:39 utc | 17

Thanks for the timely report, b. CCTV and the once-a-week RT broadcast I watch have been silent on Russia's Syria campaign for nearly 2 months. Sporadic reports from other sources have been positive so I assumed that Russia had decided to let the results speak for themselves or, more accurately, to be whined about by Zio-FRUKUS. The BBC led the Western Whine-fest with its Bliar-ish reports about Madaya, quickly followed by the Turkish Govt which is whining about Russia helping Assad instead of "fighting IS" (a US joke which is only funny if you're not Syrian or Russian).

Oddly, and alarmingly, CCTV picked up on BBC's starvation bs & fake photos only moments after BBC started the rumours. But this morning (less than an hour ago) reported that the "rebels" had been commandeering the food aid and extorting money from BBC's 'starving Syrians' - a pretty difficult crime to pin on the SAA or Assad in the circumstances.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 12 2016 18:42 utc | 18

The suicide bomber was a Saudi jihadists who came through Syria to Turkey. Hardly Syria's fault ...

Erdogan thought he could avoid this mess. He thought the people he helped would never come back to bite him. Well, he was wrong. I presume that this was only a start. Some attacks in west/south-coast tourist resorts like Antalya would go a long way now to further pressure Turkey.

Posted by: b | Jan 12 2016 18:48 utc | 19

Why would Daesh attack its patron Erdogan, even if only to strike against Germany?
Why would Erdogan openly blame his proteges in Daesh?

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Jan 12 2016 19:05 utc | 20

Erdogan made a lucrative deal with the EU in exchange for stemming the flow of refugees and part of that deal was Turkey closing its borders discernably to the free (and very lucrative) flow of money, oil, personnel, weapons TO and FROM ISIS ... i.e. they became (at least publicly) accomodationists if not fully collaborators in the war against ISIS (talk is cheap, proof of the pudding, etc).
Because it is Turkey, nothing can be taken for "what it seems to be" ... is Turkey begin punished by ISIS? or is this Turkey way of proving that it is stifling ISIS' ambitions (false flags can never be ruled out wrt Turkey)

It's rather shocking that all stories on the suicide bombing fret immediately about the effect on Turkey's tourism economy ... "Nuclear War? -- There goes my whole career" graphic. Yes, investor dividends may be disappointing.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 12 2016 19:18 utc | 21

At this point in time, you seriously have to have your f*cking head examined to visit ANY place at all in the Islamic world. Why risk becoming collateral damage while the West is at war with them and the Muslims are at war with each other?

Posted by: farflungstar | Jan 12 2016 19:23 utc | 22


Iran is quite safe, and will see the biggest tourist boom this year. But you are right, other than Iran the rest of Muslim World is f**cked, US and its puppets set them all ablaze.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 12 2016 19:33 utc | 23

Posted by: b | Jan 12, 2016 1:48:56 PM | 19

I suspect that Bibi is praying to whatever G-d he worships, that Erdogan doesn't start questioning his belief that "some of my best friends are "Israelis". Because if that belief falters then it's Game Over for Israel and a slightly better than even chance of a Turkey-Iran alliance.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 12 2016 19:34 utc | 24

Re: famine in Madaya...wondering how reliable a source is Doctors without Borders?

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Jan 12 2016 19:44 utc | 25

- Right. Destabilize the turkish economy and then depose Erdogan, like in 1980.

But will "destabilizing Turkey" not also push Turkey into a deep economic crisis ? Turkey is NOT in "the best of financial shapes". Turkey borrowed some $ 400 billion in USD !!!! And the exchange rate between the Turkish Lira & the US dollar has already moved very significantly. i.e. the USD/TRY went higher, sqeeuzing the turks who borrowed those USDs.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 12 2016 19:48 utc | 26

Looks like Turkey's little pet cobra project has taken a new turn.. All the cuddly pet cobras have now grown into uncontrollable king cobras that don't mind biting anyone - including their masters.

When Turkey started messing around in Syria, I said Turkey will eventually become like Pakistan. Guess I was right.

May the souls of the innocent, who had absolutely nothing to do with all this mess, rest in peace. Every sane Europeans should begin questioning their leaders about their support of the AKP, Saudi Arabia and the whole regime change nonsense in Syria. It's brought them nothing but pain.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 12 2016 19:49 utc | 27

Can someone explain why and how the U.S. Syrian Emergency Task Force, which is financed by the U.S. State Department, can continue to operate in al-Qaeda occupied Idleb?

you didn't read the fine print

from their web site:

Civilian Administrative Councils

In the liberated areas in the north of Syria, civilians are finding ways to develop grassroots civilian democratic structures to provide rule of law, basic services such as trash collection, civilian police force, and utilities. These CACs are being created out of necessity, but they are also the seeds of proto-democratic structures that the Syrian people themselves developed without international help. Defying conventional wisdom, the authority of the CACs is respected by the armed opposition, because they are providing social services and a structure that encourages stability for the families of the men currently fighting the regime. It is important that the funding mechanism being employed helps to further unite the opposition and mitigates financial competition from occurring. Support of CACs helps to stabilize liberated areas and provide civilian oversight and authority.

(my bold)

Posted by: john | Jan 12 2016 19:52 utc | 28

Well the blowback against Turkey is beginning to show. Erdogan's Syrian policy was incomprehensible from the very beginning. He was pursuing improbable goals with a dozen of ways that it could go bad. So it has. First war with the Kurds has re-ignited, relations with Russia have been spoiled and now ISIS is turning. It couldn't happen to a more deserving country. This right up there with the US decision to invade Iraq.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 12 2016 20:39 utc | 29


The Russians learned that lesson the hard way in Egypt but some tourists view themselves as adventurers.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 12 2016 20:47 utc | 30

suicide bombers = Wahhabi = saudi/qatar = a bitch for all their western friends..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2016 21:00 utc | 31

Posted by: john | Jan 12, 2016 2:52:54 PM | 28
All appears quiet on the YPG, Rojava Kurdish feminist front as far as I can tell ... recent google hits are sparse after their being "all the rage" Syria's best hope ... over the summer
Yes, more "I feel like I've already seen this movie..."
I suspect some of the highly dubious "reporting" by the Red Cross, MSF, Human Rights Watch, and the UN is part of the price of maintaining relations with local groups. The Red Cross, MSF, etc. do not have have any way to independently verify what is reported by local contacts and can't really risk destroying those contacts by dissing the reports.
The MSNBC report I linked yesterday wrt Americans trapped in Madaya clearly documented their inability to independently verify what they were told.
I feel I've seen enough cases where congress critters have "special ties" to any number of groups and lobby hard for the press to cover their pet issues -- a privilege the Kurds have enjoyed for decades now via McCain and others ...
There's a circularity -- we trust those who are willing to take our "aid" -- think Mujahadeen -- and then are stunned to discover they don't love us or even like us after all, much less feel in any obligated as a result of taking our "charity" (arms, money, intelligence, etc.)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 12 2016 21:00 utc | 32

Ahmet Davutoğlu is definitely an interesting character. In the link before we can witness Prime Minister telling the truth (360 degree difference with Islamic State) and a rather dubious stuff (taking credit for arresting a culprit of a suicide bombing, is the government of Turkey so good that they can even arrest zombies?).

"you seriously have to have your f*cking head examined to visit ANY place at all in the Islamic world." farflungstar | Jan 12, 2016 2:23:08 PM | 22"

And thus I plan to make a bird watching hike in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge -- as soon as it is liberated.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 12 2016 21:21 utc | 33

kooshy at ssr had an appropriate response " kooshy said...

According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily, the Istanbul suicide bomber who at least killed ten tourist today, was a Saudi born Arab named Nabil Fadli.
With that in mind, what we all should expect, a reasonable conclusion would be, to expect more US sanctions and visa restriction on Iranian Americans."

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2016 21:51 utc | 34

@21 Suzy 'false flags can never be ruled out wrt Turkey'

The bombing in Thailand targeted tourists as well, and there were Turkish fingerprints all over that. Speculation was that it was a warning to the Royal Thai Army/Police to stay bought with respect to the ratline from Xinjiang to Syria, and back, after the dictator shipped some hundred Uyghars back to China from Thailand.

That was not a suicide attack, though. This would be a MIT operation involving a KSA/Da'esh component as well, they supply the suicidal zombie. Maybe it was a cooperative effort by the Salman-Erdogan braintrust ... they did seem to forego a higher body-count in favor of a guarantee of killing more Germans - kooshy @12 - I wonder if this wasn't directed at Merkel, i.e. in support of resurgent militant forces in Germany? We take your 3 billion, Mutti, and kill your people here, in Turkey. The idea, of course, being that it's the rapidly vanishing Da'esh - not Turkey/KSA - who take the fall.

Who knows. Bush started it and Obama brought us to where we are today.

@30 nihilist CIA scum.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 12 2016 22:01 utc | 35

Saudi?Syrian? hitting German tourists for anti Muslim and refugee fever in Germany?
A reach to you or I,but for Muslim jihadists?

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 12 2016 22:01 utc | 36

So the suicide bomber is Syrian born and raised in the Wahhabi brainwashing factory? That factory is so prolific that we should expect more of this.
The bomb is probably a warning to Erdogan after his police has arrested a group of Islamist linked to ISIS a few days ago.
Erdogan has always been the hostage to ISIS and this bomb is a message telling him that he should stop cracking down on Islamists otherwise the attacks will get more painful.

Erdogan got more votes in the snap election by promising security. Since then there has been one bombing in Suruc and one in Ankara targeting ethnic Kurds. Now a bombing is killing foreign tourists in Istanbul.
Will the next one be in Antalya, the heart of Turkey's touristic economy?
When asked, will the Turks vote for a presidential system when they have started to have serious doubts about Erdogan's ability to protect them from Islamist terrorists, from the PKK and from other terrorist groups?

Posted by: virgile | Jan 12 2016 22:02 utc | 37

Here is an excellent letter of complaint to the Canadian Broadcast Ombudsman on the biasted reporting in Syria.

Posted by: harry law | Jan 12 2016 22:23 utc | 38

"Well the blowback against Turkey is beginning to show. Erdogan's Syrian policy was incomprehensible from the very beginning. " Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 12, 2016 3:39:39 PM | 29

Perhaps stupid, but yet comprehensible. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is rather smart, but he thinks that he is a genius, which he is not, and has an ego and temperament more fitting to an absolute monarch. By championing a fusion of Turkish nationalism with Sunni religiosity he cobbled enthusiastic following in his country that seems to entail 40-50% of the electorate. I would estimate that what AKP got in the early summer elections was "enthusiastic following" and he deftly got additional vote that was more grudging, and partly stemming from mass intimidation. And he needs spectacular successes or attempts at them, and in the case of "incomplete successes", a consistent narrative of dark conspiracies that try to keep Turkey down. He needs enemies that can be vilified, and slides to the national honor that he can oppose.

So far, the romance with jihadi extremists was quite useful indeed, and that includes the previous bombing attacks in Turkey that were all directed at the opposition, leftist Kurds. However, lately he Erdoğan had minor miscalculations. He needs to be both a linchpin of anti-ISIS coalition and the best friend of ISIS and keeping several balls in the air may lead to slips. In particular, he built a "zone of influence" in Iraq in the capacity of "the linchpin", with an armed camp near Mosul that studiously avoided any clashes with ISIS while maintaining the posture of a vulture ready to sweep down the moment IS in Iraq collapses. Perhaps because of a pressure from USA, or some verbal goading, he gave more aggressive instructions to that camp near Mosul, resulting in 18 dead IS members, and now, in an inconvenient bombing.

It is not even clear that this was a political mistake. A modicum of domestic mayhem makes him an "indispensable leader" who must be cherished now more than ever, and tightens his alibi in relationships with the West. It is not a huge blow to the economy or to his popularity.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 12 2016 22:29 utc | 39

So the Wahabbi target was 'worthless' German infidels? And the result less Western tourism and its 'corrupting' effects on Istanbul?

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 12 2016 22:54 utc | 40

Washington Post: Two U.S. Navy boats in Iranian custody but crew will be returned ‘promptly’.

Military trying to sabotage Obama's deal with Iran, on the very evening of his State of the Union?

Posted by: lysias | Jan 12 2016 23:41 utc | 41

Posted by: b | Jan 12, 2016 1:48:56 PM | 19

Erdogan thought he could avoid this mess. He thought the people he helped would never come back to bite him. Well, he was wrong. I presume that this was only a start. Some attacks in west/south-coast tourist resorts like Antalya would go a long way now to further pressure Turkey.

As forecasted not so long ago, when we touched upon the bombings unleashed on the Kurds last year in Diyarbakir, Suruc, and Ankara. The bomb yesterday was not so lethal, and might just cause a warning from the respective foreign desks to European tourists, the next one in Antalya et al however, might be Erdogan's dead sentence, a blowback on his Syrian policies, and yet another blow to Turkey's tourist industry. The dogs of war are biting back.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13 2016 0:50 utc | 42

Re: Posted by: lysias | Jan 12, 2016 6:41:51 PM | 42

Exactly my thoughts. Clearly American MIC sabotage of Obama.

Iranians should release asap. No need to fall for this crap.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 13 2016 1:06 utc | 43

Could this situation be partly a CIA noise response to a failing State Dept. signal in Madaya.

Posted by: Ralph Reed | Jan 13 2016 1:45 utc | 44

Philadelphia policeman shooter looks like a Visas for Al Qaeda case:

"They want to know how an unemployed man with no prior foreign travel was able to obtain a passport and pay for an extended stay in the Middle East, the law enforcement sources said. They are trying to find out whether Archer's trips to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012 were funded by people or organizations with links to terrorism, the sources said."

Posted by: Les | Jan 13 2016 2:25 utc | 45


Iranians should release asap. No need to fall for this crap.

Why should they? US Navy boats were caught in a blatant violation, one mile inside Iranian territorial waters. IRGC Navy intercepted them and confiscated their GPS system which would "prove that the American ships were 'snooping' around in Iranian waters."

There is an SOP for this type of incidents, and Iran is not a country to be pushed around by anyone, the return of the US sailors will follow established procedures, who cares about Obama's SOTU drivel. Iran was about to be demonized either way, guaranteed, Obama needs to throw bones to the zio-nazi/neocon/saudi dogs, and whether Iran releases the sailors or not will have no effect whatsoever on Obama's position re: Iran.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13 2016 2:32 utc | 46

Re: Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 12, 2016 9:32:22 PM | 47

It does come back to hardliners v reformers/moderates in Iran. IRGC/Khamenei v Rouhani.

Setting that aside slightly, what does Iran hope to gain from this? They've made their point - incursions into Iranian territorial waters will be targeted, they won't be allowed unimpeded travel where they shouldn't be. Sure, SOP should be followed, but it should be expedited if possible.

No doubt Obama has contributed a stream of drivel today (I haven't heard any of it), but this action clearly wasn't driven by him. By escalating Iran will simply be following the script written out for them by US neo-con hardliners. Why should they do that? Shouldn't they instead follow the lead that their most important ally, Russia, has been following?

There is a time for escalation, and that time may be near, but it isn't yet. I suspect it will be determined in one way or another by the price of oil. Perhaps capitulation on oil will finally come when oil reaches $20 or $15? Very likely in the next couple of months.

Perhaps Iran should immediately return the sailors and confiscate the boats indefinitely while "checks" are carried out.

Shouldn't Iran be aiming to empower, as much as possible, moderate/ sensible voices in the US to stare down the Neo-Cons maniacs rather than handing them further ammunition for their 'hate Iran' campaign?

Posted by: Julian | Jan 13 2016 3:01 utc | 47

O/T very interesting operational security analysis of Penn's visit with Guzman at the intercept

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 13 2016 3:33 utc | 48

"Can someone explain why and how the U.S. Syrian Emergency Task Force, which is financed by the U.S. State Department, can continue to operate in al-Qaeda occupied Idleb?"

you're joking, right? the US State Dept's best friends are AQ. thought you knew that.

anyone that will wreck the common enemies of US capitalism and Israeli ethnic cleansing...
you are joking, right?

Posted by: anon | Jan 13 2016 3:43 utc | 49

"As 9/11 showed…" You're not one of those deluded people who still believe the official Western moonshine about that key false-flag stroke of our time are you, b? Surely not someone as savvy as you? Grammatical glitch, perhaps?

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Jan 13 2016 5:37 utc | 50

the troll is back!!

@39 harry law.. thanks for that..

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2016 7:06 utc | 51

Turkey is not supporting ISIL but you people are so blind to see this truth. In whole cities Turkish polices are arresting ISIL militants since the beginning. Also this is not the first attack of ISIL to Turkey and it won't be the last. Turkey is the country suffering from terrorist movements and has no tolerance against terrorism for sure.

Posted by: MR G | Jan 13 2016 10:45 utc | 52


Its a shame that even the best of us fall victim to the propaganda. I for one believed it was muslims sent by Saudi Arabia for years.

When it dawns on you that even that story is fanciful, and you see the true level of media deception going on, you can't really discuss war in the middle east in the same light.

Also crucially Putin said he had evidence Bin Laden was guilty straight away. He lied to back Bushes war on terror. Therefore he cannot be trusted and should be viewed in the same light as Blair (sans Iraq).

Posted by: Bob | Jan 13 2016 10:50 utc | 53

You are right.

Posted by: MR G | Jan 13 2016 10:53 utc | 54

' Also this is not the first attack of ISIL to Turkey and it won't be the last. ' Preparing us for a sustained campaign of MIT terror?

Wonder if 51, 53 and 54 are all the same person?

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13 2016 10:56 utc | 55

Posted by: virgile | Jan 12, 2016 10:49:48 AM | 2

saudi NOT syrian...but the turks want it to be syrian to justify an attack on syria: why believe Davutoglu ?

Posted by: brian | Jan 13 2016 11:58 utc | 56

what makes people think Istanbil attack is blowback? slipshod thinking

why not bomb Ankara the capital? unless we hear from the jihad we dont know why he bombed a tourist area....we dont know id this was orchestrated by other persons with a political agenda . targets were western tourists, suggesting a targeting of the turkish economy

Blowback is one of the least satisfacting explanations for terrorism

Posted by: brian | Jan 13 2016 12:03 utc | 57

Riyadh admits to using cluster will 'international community' respond?

Posted by: brian | Jan 13 2016 13:00 utc | 58

@47 For the record Trump was very upset about the Iranians 'seizing' the sailors. They released them just in time. He was all for sending in the USS John Bolton.

Posted by: dh | Jan 13 2016 14:19 utc | 59

farflungstar @ 22 says:

At this point in time, you seriously have to have your f*cking head examined to visit ANY place at all in the Islamic world

a few years ago i went down here for some music and had my 'f*cking head' pleasantly expanded. but, yeah, it's way out on the edge of the Islamic world.

Posted by: john | Jan 13 2016 15:29 utc | 60

Brian@59. Riyadh admits to using cluster bombs. As Cheyney would say, 'so'. Nothing will happen, as a friend of a veto wielding power the Saudis have nothing to fear, Bush and Cheney bragged about the use of torture [water boarding] in Iraq, and said they would do it again.Obama to his shame said "We tortured some folks" but we must look forward, not back, when refusing to prosecute the instigators.
Unfortunately we live in a lawless world, at least for the 5 veto wielding powers [and their friends] where what counts is money,military capability and/or Geo-strategic considerations.

Posted by: harry law | Jan 13 2016 15:42 utc | 61

Re Malheur;Don't believe the MSM command and control take.I think its just a modern moonshiner revenuer conflict about govt. overreach.Why do people support the govt. here,when the govt is obviously out of control regarding fiscal,moral and military thinking.The area is the high desert,and the only people who live there are ranchers.Look at a map.there are few towns.The govt.backburns there(I've seen it myself when i visited Crater Lake.)also.Tempest in the Zionist teapot,divide and conquer nonsense.
It will be the Feds who will start the violence,they always do.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 13 2016 16:32 utc | 62

@ 56 jfl.. that would be my observation as well..

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2016 17:31 utc | 63

ISIS attacks the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Isis has established a presence in Nangarhar, having fought the Taliban in recent months for control of at least four border districts. The attack comes two days after Islamabad hosted a meeting of representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US to discuss ending the Taliban insurgency.

Pakistan is widely believed to support the Taliban through its security service, though Islamabad denies the claim.

Posted by: Les | Jan 13 2016 17:48 utc | 64

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" can work in many ways.

If one believes that the US government has made incredible mistakes, lied, overstated and mischaracterized the Syria conflict, the corollary need not be that the other side is blameless.

"The Syrian government ... capable ... majority support ..."

All that is complete horseshit. There's a reason Assad lost his country 4 years ago (not 2, not 3.) Those who believe this was all stirred up by outsiders weren't paying attention in 2011.

I oppose the administration policy. But I don't have to pretend to believe a load of crap.

Posted by: falcone | Jan 13 2016 18:16 utc | 65


Shouldn't Iran be aiming to empower, as much as possible, moderate/ sensible voices in the US to stare down the Neo-Cons maniacs rather than handing them further ammunition for their 'hate Iran' campaign?

Making a distinction between "moderate/sensible voices" in the US re: Iran sounds as difficult as differentiating "moderate" from "radical" terrorists in Syria. Hence the Russian policy was to kill them all, the Shaytan will sort them out later.

What are the "moderate/sensible voices" in the US Iran can count on? Since you're talking about them, you might know a voice or two. Please illustrate me.

On another note, Iran could not set the US Navy sailors free out of fear of retaliation from the US, which was what your release proposal amounted to. Instead, proper procedure, such as a US apology for the violation of Iranian sovereign waters, is obligatory to follow after this kind of incidents.

Iran Frees Captured US Marines

[...]Senior US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, were in contact with their Iranian counterparts on the fate of the marines since Tuesday, and according to Iranian officials, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had told Kerry that the US should extend a formal apology first.

According to the statement, the Americans have extended an apology [...]

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13 2016 19:31 utc | 66

Read the Ignatius op-ed this a.m. and thought a better title would be: "Doomed to PEACE with Putin". Gawd-knows. The neo-bolshie-con-alphabet-war-machine is crying into their oatmeal each morning. Wishing and hoping and praying for war with Russia. Such a bummer for David --cause VVPutin isn't like Hitler after-all! Honestly. Why bother to read Ignatius? But when he uses Putin's name in the lede it’s sheeple catnip. And forgive me Father. I do love a good meme when I see one.

The precarious notion of "nationhood" is a fragile concept. Particularly in nation-states where ethnic diversity is promoted (not just preferred) as totally superior to ones tribal DNA. Or to those ancestors who actually suffered and sacrificed for its creation. Except. Of course. For some folks. There are exceptional exceptions. And YOU know who you are.

There's an expected kinship between countrymen. And a time where I considered myself "connected" to folks like David Ignatius. Watching SOTU it occurred to me I feel no kinship to any one in that room. None. Nada. Zippo. And particularly not the talking-heads giving me preferred meme takeaways. Wasn't always this way. At one time I'd read David Ignatius without laughing derisively. But that was then. And this is now.

Now, I've adopted the attitude of generations of diaspora. Those who take no part in nationalism. (Except to thank gov't mercs for their service to the cause.)Those who are citizens of a NWO in which they are the masters. Those who wish to deploy my blood and treasure for THEIR benefit. Am biding my time and waiting for my moment to move-on down the road. In the meantime. I obey laws. Pay taxes. Not vote. And smile serenely at my mortal enemies. The ones who think I'm a pawn. A slave. Too stupid to see their game. An ignorant sheep to their superior intellect, exceptional wisdom and breathtaking mendacity. Hahaha.

I don't pity them. I’m simply done with them. And done feeling "American". Just one more fucking carpetbagger looking to trade my wares to some greater fool. And that's what "exceptionals" like Ignatius have done to America.

Posted by: 4H | Jan 13 2016 20:51 utc | 67

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