Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2016

Syria's Enemies Seek Face Saving Escalation Measures

Russia Accuses Turkey of Preparing to Invade Syria

The Russian military said Thursday that it has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that Turkey is making intensive preparations for a military invasion of neighboring Syria.

Images of a checkpoint on the border between the Turkish town of Reyhanli and the town of Sarmada in Syrian taken in late October and late January show a buildup of transportation infrastructure that could be used for moving in troops, ammunition and weapons, spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in an English-language written statement.

He said these were among growing signs of "hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the ministry would have no immediate comment.

The Russian high command press briefing (vid with English subtitles) includes the pictures of the border post.

Turkey yesterday prohibited a Russian reconnaissance "Open Skies Treaty" flight over the Turkish-Syrian border zone. There are dozens such flights per year over Russia by NATO and over NATO countries by Russia. This is to my knowledge the first time such a flight, which had earlier been requested and accepted, is blocked by the guest country.

The Russian military spokesperson snarked:

It is to be reminded that the Russian Defence Ministry has intensified all kinds of intelligence in the Middle East region.

That’s why, if someone in Ankara thinks that the prohibition of Russian observer flight allows to hide something, it is unprofessional.

The decisive Syrian government victory yesterday cuts off the foreign supported insurgents in Aleppo and Idleb from they supply sources in Turkey and deprives them of their fuel supplies.

In reaction to that victory the supporters of the insurgents and terrorist in Syria are likely to increase their efforts. The negotiations in Geneva failed over the Syrian victory and the Saudis had already promised that such a failure would lead to an increased support. The Saudi Defense Ministry declared today that Saudi ground forces could take part in action in Syria. It is doubtful that the Saudis have a real capability to do so. But the Saudis and others will now again shower the insurgents and Jihadis in Syria with money and new weapons. A Turkish invasion could add momentum to such a move.

Such an invasion would come at the Syrian-Turkish border between Azaz and Jarabulus that is currently under Islamic State control. The Syrian YPG Kurds plan to take that area with Russian help and to seal the border. Turkey does not want that to happen. Its well working lines of communication with the Islamic State must be kept open.

So is a Turkish invasion of Syria in preparation? My guess is yes.

But will it really happen? My guess is no.

NATO will restrain Turkey from such a misguided adventure. It could mean war with Russia and no European NATO country would like that to happen. Without NATO backing the Turkish military is unlikely to follow the order for such a move.

The Russia revelation of the Turkish preparations is increasing the deterrence against such a move. It also means that Russia would react harshly against a Turkish invasion and surely Russia has demonstrated by now that it has the means to do so in decisive ways.

But even while Turkey is unlikely to send its army it may use a proxy force to capture more Syrian territory.

The Zionist lobby in Washington DC in form of the Washington Institute is advising Turkey to invade Syria by proxy to keep the Kurds away from the border zone:

The most effective way to monitor the Azaz-Jarabulus border area would be to ensure that the Syrian side is filled by forces friendly to Turkey, or at least opposed to IS. One possible such group would be the Syrian Turkmens, who are ethnically related to Turks and are being trained by Turkey as a fighting force in northwestern Syria.
[T]he Turkish armed forces has modern artillery with an effective range of twenty to twenty-five miles, UAVs, and other means to protect its clients administering a prospective safe zone.

These "Turkmen" had occupied northern Latakia where they are just being kicked out by the Syrian army and its supporters. They consist of Turkish "Grey Wolf" fascists, Turkish Islamists and Chechen and Uhigur Islamist mercenaries. They are controlled by the Turkish secret service MIT.

The whole plan has a logical flaw. If, as the Washington Institute lobbyists claim, it is desirable for Turkey to monitor or seal the border from Islamic State infiltration why can't this be done on the Turkish side of the border? Why does this necessitate an illegal invasion by proxy of Syria? I find no plausible answer to that last question.

The lobbyists also skip over the question of potential retaliation. If Turkish artillery fires into Syria then Syria and its supporters are legally justified to fire back by whatever means are needed. A few Russian cruise missiles could easily take care of those Turkish artillery battalions. What would then follow?

Neither the Turks nor the Saudis nor the U.S. nor Israel have given up on their "regime change" war on Syria. But their proxies have taken serious losses and are likely to lose the fight. While we can expect some new attempts of escalation I expect  that these will be mere face saving moves. It just takes some additional time until the reality will sink in and until some other issue can be found to distract from their inevitable retreat.

Posted by b on February 4, 2016 at 19:35 UTC | Permalink


"A few Russian cruise missiles could easily take care of those Turkish artillery battalions."

Works for me

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 4 2016 19:40 utc | 1

Western/Sheikh hubris is too immense to let Syrian/Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah/Kurdish battlefield successes go unanswered. If not a Turkish invasion, some sort of "game changer" is in the works. Maybe a spectacular terror attack in Moscow or Beirut. Maybe the Mosul Dam will finally be brought down.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Feb 4 2016 19:47 utc | 2

The Russians are on their A game. They are clearly preempting any direct military action by Turkey. There's no way NATO is going to back a Turkish military invasion of Syria. Even they are not that stoopid!

It's going to come down to how much covert support Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar can provide. How can they get more fighters and arms through as the Syrian army continues to seal the flow from Turkey on the ground while the Russian air force dominates the skies over Syria?

The US is going to be a no-show. Obama is done!

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 4 2016 19:50 utc | 3

The most obvious question is, how willing are the Russians to shoot down or attack Turkish or US invaders in Syria ?
It's a question that the US psychopathic genocidal maniacs are willing to test. And if that means using the Turks as the first test, then the US will be willing.
If the Russians refuse to attack, then that is a crucial green light for further US and Turkish invasion and occupation of parts of Syria.
A lot hinges on (including possibly starting world War 3 ) the resolve of the Russians attacking Western state terrorist invaders in Syria.

If anyone read the Pentagon budget speech, knows that the US is planning for world War three against Russia and china.

Posted by: tom | Feb 4 2016 19:52 utc | 4

Erdogan is a Turkish Netanyahu....

He's a very skillful and competent politician, but basically a pansy when it comes to war.
Notice how Bibi has never followed numbskull Olmert's lead and invaded Lebanon. Not his style at all. He's too busy knifing his friends and enemies in the back.

Erdogan's just the same. He's done a good job creating false flags to build his own power, but when push comes to shove, he's not going to get in the ring with Bad Vlad.

Posted by: plantman | Feb 4 2016 19:55 utc | 5

Mike @ 2
Terror attacks in Moscow should be answered with exploding Saudi princeling sandcastles in Riyadh.

Tom @4
Budget increase requests across the board, threats to send troops into Iraq and Syria...if not to fight Russia and China, then certainly to grift the US taxpayer-suckers, as usual. Without a boogeyman, no one makes any money.

Posted by: farflungstar | Feb 4 2016 20:00 utc | 6

I wonder if Russia can remain officially uninvolved while the "Syrian" airforce and "Syrian" surface to surface missiles pummel Turkish ground troops, as well as strategic targets inside Turkey. I imagine the Russians gummed out a Turkish invasion scenario before they entered Syria to begin with. And if not, they must have gamed it out since November 24th. Erdogan has gambled everything and can't afford to lose. He will pawn his clothes to place another bet and end up walking home naked.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 4 2016 20:18 utc | 7

"Without a boogie man, nobody makes any money."

In my opinion the whole shittarie will just be used to justify more spending on crap that doesn't work, and given (sold) to mercenaries because the US military is basically a charade. They didn't lose in Korea, Vietnam, et al, because of politicians ... they lost due to ineptitude based on the notion they were all powerful ... big doesn't mean effective ... it just means big.

The last time the US military was involved in winning a war, Russia was an ally. That in itself says volumes.

Regarding Erdogan ... he's unstable ... so I'm not betting he'll NOT do something stupid. He's the equivalent of a neocon ... all hot air and bombast, but in a position to do a lot of damage.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Feb 4 2016 20:19 utc | 8

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 4, 2016 2:50:23 PM | 3

There's no way NATO is going to back a Turkish military invasion of Syria. Even they are not that stoopid!

You really think so? Time and again especially after Ukraine debacles expect the unexpected, Russia and Syria better be prepares. Erdogan is not a sane human and Uncle Thug together with NATO been itching for war with Russia.

I expect Obomo will leave the stage with a big BANG his legacy, his contribution to endless wars, the BIGGEST Warmonger-in-chief, Liar-in-chief, Murderer-in-chief and Deported-in-chief than all previous president. Amen

Now back again to my theme...

With Iowa out the way, New Hampshire around the corner the two democratic twins proclaiming who is less warmonger-in-chief. They are still the same (Duopoly) both believe Israel has the right to defense itself. Even many progress website (except The Real News) and notable progressive leaders had forgotten that Bernie is still a warmonger - highlight Bernie a leftist, progressive socialist.... Blah!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Feb 4 2016 20:26 utc | 9

You cannot make this stuff up ...

Israeli General says "Israel effectively part of anti-isis coalition."

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 4 2016 20:53 utc | 10

The Saudis have today said they are ready to send ground forces in a joint operation with Turkey.

I imagine they will arrive as soon as they can arrange transport from Colombia and Eritrea.

Going all in it seems.

Posted by: Bob | Feb 4 2016 21:04 utc | 11

The Saudis only said they would agree to be part of a coalition led by the US to invade Syria.
"A Saudi military spokesman has confirmed that Riyadh is prepared to join any US-led ground operations to fight Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State, in Syria, if such operations are approved by the coalition".
Read more:
That DC lobby group advising Turkey to use long range artillery to support Turkman and other affiliates is pie in the sky. No air cover, no invasion. I would imagine Putin has quietly warned Erdogan of the potential consequences.

Posted by: harry law | Feb 4 2016 21:12 utc | 12

On RT there is an interesting pic of Saudi troops


They look plump and bourgeois. Hardly the type to win a war. No wonder Houthis have been giving them hell.
They will probably defect at the prospect of facing the Hezbollah, the SAA and the Russians. This is no head chopping

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 4 2016 21:20 utc | 13

"These 'Turkmen' had occupied northern Latakia where they are just being kicked out by the Syrian army and its supporters. They consist of Turkish "Grey Wolf" fascists, Turkish Islamists and Chechen and Uhigur Islamist mercenaries. They are controlled by the Turkish secret service MIT."

And those "Turkmen" just happen to have a lot of free time right about now.

I'm not as confident that there won't be some kind of invasion but I tend toward thinking there are some seriously powerful forces who really want to trigger WW3 in order to do some kind of delusional "reset" of the world order back to the kinds of advantages certain countries enjoyed post-WW2, and for all the other obvious war machine (that includes banks) reasons. There are people who think we could actually win a nuclear war.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Feb 4 2016 21:38 utc | 14

Info over WINEP co-author Edward G. Stafford:

Husband, Father. Philadelphia; Ben Guerir, Morocco; St. Andrew's, TN; Tijuana, Mexico; Conakry, Guinea; Lusaka, Zambia; Bucharest, Romania; Luanda, Angola; Baghdad, Iraq; D.C.; Ankara, Turkey.

Favoriete citaten.
"Loyalty is too valuable a virtue to be lavished on an individual person."

Edward G. Stafford - U.S. Department of State - Foreign Service Officer from 1991 to .... [cached]
U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey as a principal officer for Political-Military Affairs

Posted by: Oui | Feb 4 2016 21:51 utc | 15

Edward G. Stafford – his personal views on Catholic teaching

The U.S. Ankara Embassy Political-Military Counselor Edward G. Stafford gave a brief presentation to a group of 60 International Relations students at Bilkent University on “The U.S., Turkey and NATO: The Chicago Summit and the Next 60 Years.”

Posted by: Oui | Feb 4 2016 21:51 utc | 16

Joanne@14 "There are people who think we could actually win a nuclear war". During the first cold war one US official claimed that they had enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the USSR 10 times over. To which a Soviet official replied we only have enough nukes to destroy you once.

Posted by: harry law | Feb 4 2016 21:58 utc | 17

Do you really believe all those nuclear bomb crap?
Then look here:

Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 4 2016 22:05 utc | 18

I agree with you, b. The Turks are not going to invade Syria to defend their allies. It is not so much a question of NATO's view, rather public resistance to foreign adventures.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 4 2016 22:57 utc | 19

Erdogan has been able to manipulate the Turks (and the EU to get money) but his foreign policy in the region has a been a succession of failures: The breaking down of the relation with Israel, with Egypt and now with Russia. The failure of the relentless request for a no fly zone. The failure of the toppling of al Sisi and of Bashar al Assad. The irrelevance of the Turkmen lead Syrian opposition, and the list goes on...
The Erdogan-Davutoglu team is showing again their naivety when it comes to war.
I tend to believe that the Turkish army, fed up with Erdogan's creeping Islamists is ready for a revenge for its elimination from Turkey's political life.
I believe that some military close to Hizmet have set up the first trap where Erdogan fell: the mysterious shooting of the Russian plane.
The same military people are now pushing Erdogan into a confrontation with the YPG on Syrian territory.
I am sure that the USA is sending mixed messages to Erdogan as they always do because deep inside the international community wants Erdogan humiliated. He has become far too arrogant and a constant problem for NATO.
Yet Erdogan is blinded by his paranoia. My bet is that he will launch an attack in Syria that will end up in a bloody disaster and the eventual return of the Turkish army ( and the Hizmet movement) in politics, thus destroying his ambition for a new Constitution tailored-made for him.
Turkey's economy will get hit and that could shake the AKP political power.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 4 2016 23:28 utc | 20

With the successes of the Syria army and its allies over the foreign supported jihadis we are now nearing the maximum crisis point of the war on Syria.

If the US and its Anglosphere and EU vassals and its proxies in the Middle East escalate their war on Syria then it could very likely be an escalation that can't stop until all the major powers are at war, then God help us all.

But if we are lucky, and can just turn the corner without any escalation, then the Syrian army and its allies can complete the elimination of the jihadi head choppers.

I consider the war on Syria to be the fault line between a West that is falling into a debt super cycle collapse and a multifarious coalescing East that is rising and saying No More to the West. If the West escalates from this point it will be in the face of an East where defeat is not an option nor will the East any longer bend its knee to the West.

If the West escalates in Syria then I concluded that a catastrophic world war will follow.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Feb 4 2016 23:47 utc | 21

thank you b...

i think like tom @4... if toms scenario pans out, i believe russia will not hesitate to attack.. this is one byproduct of turkeys stupid move to shoot down the russian plane in late november..

@7 lysander.. that comment about russia not getting involved is just a ruse to throw off anyone who is incapable of paying attention... russia is clearly involved and the scene on the ground in syria definitely matters.. russia can say whatever they want to say.. the reality on the ground is pretty clear to see.. they will go in deeper if need be..

@9 jack smith.. i basically agree.. nato has already shown their subservience to the usa's warped agenda's regardless of how it is so counter productive to europes best interest specifically..

@20 virgile... i hope you are right about the turkish military saying no to erdogan.. i don't know how likely this is..

on balance i think turkey under erdogan is stupid enough to risk war by entering syria.. sorry.. i wish it was different.. i am sure victoria nuland and the rest of her rot are trying to egg this on as we speak.. these folks seem to only understand dominance and unipolar worlds.. the concept of relating to others as equals is not in their language set..

regarding saudi involvement.. the saudis are a bad joke.. i hope their little quagmire in 'make war on' yemen sinks them further into oblivion..

Posted by: james | Feb 4 2016 23:50 utc | 22

Erdogan already prove to US neocons that he could be crazy by executing Washington inspired provocation with Su-24. So if he attacks, he will have full support of the US (as it was in Su-24 case) and NATO puppets. Make no mistake, Syria is just an ignition point in brewing global confrontation. Expect more provocations, they already started and will escalate, more of shelling SAA and providing shelter in a few mile buffer zone they are establishing now within Syrian territory in violation of international law, to establish training and logistics supplies bases and hospitals for ISIL that will be defended from also Turkish proper, a form of defend a terrorist zone.

But if Turkish military does not stop Erdogan whole thing may blow up, since Russian patience has its limit.

An interesting take on Turkey’s interests and delusions in this war can be found here:

Unless they desperate to counteract against latest wonder weapon unleashed by evil Putin namely “Misha and Kasha”, a Russian animation clip viewed one billion times by Americans already. One billion more and America is defeated.

Posted by: Kalen | Feb 5 2016 0:05 utc | 23

@21 Arius Armenian- I think you have hit the nail on the head. This could very likely be the tipping point for the USA and the Wolfowitz doctine. They've been watching in likely horror, Russia and the SAA beat down their proxies and basically destroy their plan of regime change. I don't see how they can let this stand without losing all of the "our way or the highway" credibility they've been trying to impose on the planet. They have vowed not to allow anyone to become powerful enough to challenge their hegemony and yet Russia and China are not "kneeling down" as you say. This could very easily be make it or break it time. They might just let Turkey initiate a ground operation and see if it leads to Russia being taken down. The consequences are too horrible to contemplate, but I think there are many in the US MIC that would be willing to take the chance. I hope you and I are wrong.

Posted by: Kraken | Feb 5 2016 0:35 utc | 24

Turkey = Military Coup. Just my opinion.

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 5 2016 0:37 utc | 25

Looking again at the Russian press briefing in b's post it's not hard to see a subtext....i.e. we know exactly where you are massing your military equipment. Turks might be wise not to bunch them up so much.

Posted by: dh | Feb 5 2016 0:40 utc | 26

Aleppo siege lifted h/t RedKahina

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 5 2016 0:42 utc | 27

@20 'My bet is that he will launch an attack in Syria that will end up in a bloody disaster and the eventual return of the Turkish army ... the USA is sending mixed messages to Erdogan as they always do because deep inside the international community wants Erdogan humiliated. He has become far too arrogant and a constant problem for NATO.'

@21 AA 'I consider the war on Syria to be the fault line between a West that is falling into a debt super cycle collapse and a multifarious coalescing East that is rising and saying No More to the West. If the West escalates from this point it will be in the face of an East where defeat is not an option nor will the East any longer bend its knee to the West.

'If the West escalates in Syria then I concluded that a catastrophic world war will follow.'

@25 Alberto 'Turkey = Military Coup. Just my opinion.'

I hope b is right and that Erdogan is restrained, by the US by the EU by the Turkish Army. But I think that Erdogan's Bay of Pigs invasion is quite possible, and may go forward, abetted by those he thinks will be 'forced' to save his bacon. The question is, does the military coup come before or after Erdogan's Bay of Pigs.

The US/NATO are not going to start WW III over Erdogan or his pipe dreams - delusional megalomaniacs are a dime a dozen and he can easily be replaced with a less virulent version - or over Syria. US/NATO're already refocusing and repositioning on Libya and North Africa.

Just my opinion, as Alberto says.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 1:15 utc | 28

I see utter desperation from Saudi and Turkey; their economies in tatters making their populous restless/rebellious. Thus their recent pronouncements and actions. Too bad Matt Simmons didn't live to see what his predicted Twilight would really look like. With the Zionists formally allying with the Turks and Saudis in the Outlaw Coalition, the circle of desperation's complete. Would the Zionists invade to bolster the chances of their newly announced allies is a question/contingency I haven't seen asked/contemplated. I think they will since Nutty is just as desperate.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 5 2016 1:59 utc | 29

Turkish warplanes bomb northern Iraqi village

According to a report by Iraq’s al-Sumaria satellite TV network, the warplanes targeted the village in the northern province of Dohuk on Thursday.

There has been no immediate report of casualties in the aftermath of the aerial attacks.

Witnesses, however, said the airstrikes inflicted heavy damage on the village while many of its residents reportedly left their homes fearing fresh attacks on the area.

In mid January, the Turkish military said its jets carried out airstrikes against the PKK militants, destroying their compounds in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s aerial campaign inside the Iraqi territory has repeatedly drawn fire from Baghdad, which has denounced Ankara for violating the country’s sovereignty.

The Iraqi government is also urging Turkey to pull out troops from a base in the Arab country's north.

Erdogan has already begun in Iraq ... where the US provides him a can-fly zone. The Iraqis protest - the bombing of their country - but what's OK with the USA still goes in Iraq. According to the US, I suppose, the Iraqis should be used to being bombed ... the US has been doing it since 1991 ... for 25 years. The US will let Erdogan take the heat for bombing the Kurds - while protecting ISIS under pretense of fighting them. Just as the USA does itself.

The permanent war is allowing the US/NATO to display just how low they can go, to plumb the depths of their own degeneracy.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 2:00 utc | 30

Like b, I very much doubt that any incursion into northwestern Syria will occur. Doing so would likely lead to full-blown war between Turkey and Syria and, by extension, NATO and Russia+Iran.

Clearly, after the rebels are defeated, R+6 will move on to ISIS. And defeating ISIS would mean that they win all the marbels.

The 'Assad must go!' Coalition could deny R+6 total victory by attacking and occupying ISIS territory in Iraq and/or Syria as per UNSC 2249. Turkey, USA, and KSA have now all made statements supporting a military action against ISIS. And British Foreign Secretary Hammond has all but done so as well.

In that light, Turkish build-up along the border with Syria is mostly a defensive precaution.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 5 2016 2:04 utc | 31

So Erdogan cut his Latin America trip short, after setting the record straight on who discovered the Americas- Muslims-and is due back in Turkey Friday night to a) start the fireworks, b) fall to a military coup, c) rustle fleeing takfiris for their next mission.

I'll go with b, and failing that a- impending economic collapse means now or never in terms of saving face.

Posted by: Nan2007 | Feb 5 2016 2:05 utc | 32

@29 karlof

Israel joining Erdogan in his Bay of Pigs? Something to imagine ... but I don't think it will happen. Their f-16s would meet the s-400, or whatever it's called, that enforces Russia's no-fly zone. The Israeli military will restrain Nutanyahoo. Now if Erdodan takes their advice - the Washingto Institute, above - and sticks with his 'indigenous' terrorist campaign, they'll surely help with that. I'm sure they are helping already, and that the USA/KSA/NATO are helping, too.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 2:10 utc | 33


Ahahahahaha. What the hell.

Posted by: Plenue | Feb 5 2016 2:28 utc | 34


The Atomic Bomb Hoax 1945-2016. Has Pen seen that yet?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 2:38 utc | 35

@35 It sure fooled the Japanese.

Posted by: dh | Feb 5 2016 2:52 utc | 36

"But if Turkish military does not stop Erdogan whole thing may blow up, since Russian patience has its limit."

Quite the contrary, I think the Turkish army is actually pushing Erdogan into the invasion while the business community is against.
The army has been sidelined by Erdogan who mistrusts it. He is terrified of a military coup. If he wants to attack ISIS and the Kurds in Syria he needs the full support of the generals and he dreads to give them his trust. I believe some in the army (affiliated to the Gulen movement) want their revenge satisfied by humiliating Erdogan. This is why, after having "arranged" the shooting of the Russian plane that made Erdogan weaker, they will push for a military attack, knowing very well it will fail and will be stopped by the USA and NATO intervention. Erdogan's public failure and display of impotence may bring him down and allow the army (and Gulen movement) to be back in Turkey politics.
Erdogan has a serious dilemma. If he does nothing, he will look impotent and ridiculous and if he does he will be humiliated by the defeat... It is a loose-loose situation.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 5 2016 3:14 utc | 37

If they were dumb enough to shoot down a Russian plane they are dumb enough to invade

Posted by: alex | Feb 5 2016 3:37 utc | 38

@38 alex.. that is indeed how i see it too..

Posted by: james | Feb 5 2016 3:55 utc | 39

Do you really believe all those nuclear bomb crap?
Then look here:
Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 4, 2016 5:05:58 PM | 18

...contradicted, somewhat, by this:
3.7 But only 0.1% of a Uranium-235 atomic becomes energy in an a-bomb.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 5 2016 4:28 utc | 40

@18 I hope we saved the receipt for the Manhattan Project.

Posted by: Guest77 | Feb 5 2016 4:44 utc | 41

Stephen Cohen and John Bachelor were talking about American innovative research to miniaturize nuclear warheads with the ability to dial-up or dial-down the amount of radiation released, meaning that with precise targeting nuclear weapons would be "usable" because they would not be a new Hiroshima and cause thousands of deaths, but could make territory no-man's-land (enhanced border control perhaps?)

cHuffPo: 01/27/2016: U.S. And China Agree On Need For New UN Resolution Against North Korea

I don't see indications that Korea's hydrogen bomb test on 01/06/2016 was "scaleable" but it sounds like it's not being treated as a bogus claim (as it was last I heard) and it's suggested it was miniaturized... HuffPo not the best cite/source, but it's late and I'm tired. Batchelor and Cohen were talking about how America's non-strategic nuclear arsenal (???) has been declared neglected and in need of refurbishment, and, iirc, placement on submarines. Batchelor said he'd written about this recently... something to do tomorrow ... unless someone beats me to it. It was all quite chilling.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 5 2016 5:04 utc | 42

I'll go with b, and failing that a- impending economic collapse means now or never in terms of saving face.
Posted by: Nan2007 | Feb 4, 2016 9:05:08 PM | 32

Good points. Remembering that Turkey hasn't actually made any threats, one could think of Russia's "invasion" accusation as Creative Payback designed to kill off the remnants of Turkey's plummeting reputation as a tourist destination. Russia asked for compensation for its fighter jet and Turkey refused. This move transforms a finite price into a bigger, open-ended, price.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 5 2016 5:19 utc | 43

The fight in the south will be very difficult if Saudi saturates the country with milans and sa-7s.

Posted by: Cresty | Feb 5 2016 5:24 utc | 44

b, thank you. Just perfect analysis.

jfl, There IS a hoax about the atomic bomb attack on Japan: The way their museum is set up it appears that RUSSIA is the one who dropped them. Nowhere is it mentioned that US did it.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 5 2016 6:09 utc | 45

ISIL for Dummies: The Turkey narrative

Posted by: Oui | Feb 5 2016 6:12 utc | 46

ISIS child soldier beheads captive, threatens ‘US soldiers’ in new gruesome video

A new video rereleased by Islamic State shows the ruthless beheading of an alleged Syrian “moderate” opposition fighter by a young boy of African descent, who threatens the same fate for any American or US-backed soldier who sets boot on the ground.

The boy also says that he wishes and more than ready to meet US troops on the ground

Note that it's not directed against the Russians or shiite militias who, evidently, turned the tide against the terrorists in the war (in contrast to their impotent NATO counterpart who for the better part of two years have achieved nothing).

Looks more like warporn propaganda to get the american public on board in yet another US middle east adventure to wipe out a couple of savages, but in actuality to fend off the real enemy and split/occupy parts of Syria (and Iraq).

Posted by: never mind | Feb 5 2016 7:19 utc | 47

Your "face saving escalation measures" characterization nails our global situation on multiple levels.

It is not just the situation in Syria and the Ukraine where the US has lost face. And not just with Russia.

Check out this link:

The link title is: Commentary: Obama's U.S.-centric thinking out of date

A take-away quote:
After the signing of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal among 12 Asia-Pacific states, U.S. President Barack Obama revealed a rather arrogant and outdated U.S.-centric mode of thinking.

"TPP allows America -- and not countries like China -- to write the rules of the road in the 21st century, which is especially important in a region as dynamic as the Asia-Pacific," Obama said in a statement Wednesday after the deal was signed.

He hailed the signing of the TPP by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam, as providing the United States an advantage over other leading economies, namely China.

The sabers are rattling all over the world as lines are drawn economically and financially. Most of America does not understand that it is taking war crimes to keep the US in control and much of the world is weary of the US Empire controlled by private finance.

I now see how folks think Trump will win the US presidency. If the brainwashed US public can continue to be sold US exceptionalism, manifest destiny and such then humanities swan song will be nuclear winter brought to you by the sore loser global plutocrat owners of private finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 5 2016 8:00 utc | 48

Army forces recapture town in southern Syria

Syrian forces liberated the town of Atman, located four kilometers (2.4 miles) north of the provincial capital city of Dara’a, following heavy clashes with foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists, killing and injuring scores of terrorists, Syria's official SANA news agency reported.

Moreover, Syrian troopers struck terrorists' positions in the al-Mahatta neighborhood of Dara'a, leaving an unspecified number of militants dead. Several vehicles belonging to the terrorists were also destroyed in the process.

Also on Thursday, Syrian government forces received hero's welcomes as they marched into the towns of Nubl and Zahra near the northwestern city of Aleppo, situated some 355 kilometers (220 miles) north of Damascus.

Syrian forces also closed in on members of Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) militant group in the city of Hama, 213 kilometers (132 miles) north of the capital, killing at least 40 Takfiri terrorists.

Negotiations continue.

Iraq slams Turkey bombing of northern village

Nouri said Baghdad has resorted to diplomacy to end the Turkish troop deployment and protect its national interests. He added that Iraq will try other options if political approaches fail.

Maybe the Iraqis should pick up the phone and call the Russians, too? ask for an s-400 to protect themselves from continuos Turkish depradations? Kiss the worthless, brutal, murderous Americans goodbye?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 8:43 utc | 49

Movements By Ukraine Junta Forces Near The Front Line, Preparing For Attack !

The activities of the Ukrainian Junta military near the disengagement line in Donbass shows that the Ukraine Junta may be preparing for settling the conflict in the Donbass region (Eastern Ukraine) by force, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich told a session of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday. ... Lukashevich believes that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is not monitoring the situation in Ukrainian troops’ rear in Donbass.

Could it be that the puppeteers behind the puppets are preparing to invade Donbass and Syria in tandem?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 8:45 utc | 50

Erdogan Guard Attacks Pro-Kurdish Lawmaker in Ecuador

Protesters were heard chanting slogans such as “Long live Kurdistan,” “Murderer Erdogan" and “Out with Erdogan” as the Turkish leader entered the IAEN University in Quito.

Giran Ozcan, the Latin American representative of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), was at the protest and told teleSUR that Ecuadorean lawmaker Diego Vintimilla, who was with the protesters, was injured in a confrontation with one of Erdogan’s security guards.

“Erdogan’s security guard attacked a protester, broke his nose and he is going to hospital now,” Ozcan said following the incident.

“Erdogan’s guard broke the nose of Ecuadorean lawmaker Diego Vintimilla.”

“People of Ecuador realise that a murderer is visiting their country today,” Ozcan said as he joined the protest against Erdogan.

“Through President Erdogan's support for ISIS (Islamic State group) he is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria.”

Ozcan added that Erdogan is responsible for the killing of hundreds of civilians in Kurdish towns such as Cizre and Sur as part of his push for consolidating power in Turkey.

Maybe this is why Erdogan is heading home to Turkey?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 8:46 utc | 51

ISIS Was Born In An American Detention Facility (And It Wasn’t Gitmo)

In early 2008, I [Andrew Keane Woods] spent a month with Major General Doug Stone, the head of Task Force 134, Detainee Operations in Iraq. ... Stone had been brought in to clean things up [at Camp Bucca] after Abu Ghraib; at the time, he was a high-ranking marine reservist willing to take a job that many lifetime military folks wouldn’t touch. ... Stone warned – to anyone who would listen – that coalition forces had created a university for jihadists. ... we know that Bucca was the place where al-Baghdadi made crucial connections to fellow radicals. As McCants notes in THE ISIS APOCALYPSE, al-Baghdadi’s stay at Bucca was transformative. When he was detained, he did not appear to be involved in the insurgency; ten months later when he was released, he had the connections and influence that would enable him to launch ISIS.

Both Woods, and presumably McCants - although I haven't yet read his 'Brookings Essay' - seem to be taking the 'It was all a mistake' tack on the 'education' and the de facto terrorist network creation at Camp Bucca, the US created jihadist University, out of which ISIS/Da'esh was sprung. I don't believe it was accidental.

As Woods points out ...

Stone soon left the armed forces while [General Raymond] Odierno [the commander of MNF-I Corps, whose aggressive tactics led to huge numbers of detentions] was promoted twice; draw your own conclusions about what this says about merit in the military.

... but the conclusions I draw are concerning the real goals for which Odierno was promoted for attaining.

I think that USA/KSA/Turkey/NATO built ISIS, nurtured and are nurturing it now, and have plans for its being the 'enemy' for their string of endless wars.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 9:13 utc | 52

U.S. planes deliver military equipment to Syrian Kurdistan

QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan,— The Hasaka Internal Coordination Committee announced on Thursday that three U.S. planes loaded with military equipment arrived in the Rmeilan airfield in Hasaka, Syrian Kurdistan (northeast Syria)...

Well, color me surprised!

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 5 2016 9:45 utc | 53

All great analysis and comments. But one also needs to look what's just been happening in Turkey recently to assess what this mad man of Bosphorus can or can not do:

There have been clandestine shootings at cafes in Istanbul, killing over 5 people over the last week. South East Turkey Sur-Diyarbakir, Cizre, now onwards to Yuksekova have been basically a local war zone, Turkish police force and military have suffered heavy losses (over 200 policeman and soldier killed by Kurdish PKK).
Although, Erdogan's AKP got near 50% of the votes, the country is at the brink of chaos.

Under Ataturk's foreign policy 'Peace at home, peace in the World', which pretty much had been followed by most governments since 1920s, Turkey had been a stable ally for West in the region, and also growing economic relations with Russia made her a stable neighbour for Russia over the last 20-yrs (tourism, gas, oil, construction, agriculture had been top benefitting sectors for both countries).

Since Erdogan had been picked and nurtured by neo-cons (Abromovitz, Fuller, Wolfowitz, ADL et el) as 'moderate Islamist' since his days as the mayor of Istanbul circa 1990s he was a perfect candidate to lead so called 'moderate Islamist party/AKP' to play 'role model' to the rest of the Middle East cause previous Turkey was 'too secular' to be a role model to the Muslims in the region.

So, Erdogan was chosen as Vice Chair of Greater Middle Eastern plan drawn by neo-cons of Fuller, Condi Rice, Wolfowitz et el.This was when he came to power in 2003-2004, he himself declared his Vice-Chairman status, when he was still 'rookie' in the political arena, much less so in the international political arena.

Erdogan, with the major help of local neo-liberals to showcase him as moderate Islamist that happened to believe in democracy (one can google countless positive articles about him and his party in the Western press form the NY Times, Journal, WP, the Guardian, the Economist, FT; Der Spiegel etc), and the US/the EU have weakened strong opponent voices in the Turkish Military under faux-forged SledgeHammer and the Erghenekon cases between 2009-2014 (one can look for Prof Dani Rodrik's blog how these cases, especially SledgeHammer have been played out during that time by the help of CIA/CIA infiltrated sources).

Most of the staunchly Ataturk following secular independent generals, high ranking soldiers had been jailed, and expelled from the Army, thus leaving the throne to rather spineless high ranking officers. All under planned by CIA in junction with Fethullah Gulen movement operatives (journalists, prosecutors judges, police force, and naturally the perpetrators inside the Turkish Army).

Now these officers have been acquitted and free but the damage has been done, and Erdogan went after Gulen movement with the help of one side of 'Turkish deep state', a long running traditional network of the republic. However, Erdogan with the full support of the US/Israel/the EU have had Neo-Ottoman wet dreams, basically taking Kurdish areas dominated by Barzani (who is a strong US/Israel ally) under its clouds under new Turkish Republic that is more Middle Eastern, religiously dominated much less secular a la Ottoman Empire once were.

I have asked this question before on MoA: Erdogan in power for 14-years have amassed massive amount of wealth via his family and mostly crony criminal network from Switzerland to Singapore, from Qatar to KSA, Malaysia to Brunei, all known and under record by NSA, that means CIA. Yet, he is still at power. Why doesn't US, Germany, France unveil and hand cuff him for all the crimes has has committed? Right?

If the US wants to get rid off him, it should not be that difficult. Same goes for Israel, and for that matter Russia. Putin went ahead with him post-Russian war plane incident, but nothing came forward afterwards..

The US still carries the most weight, imo, when it comes to Turkey since Nato was founded. They know so much about this religious bigot but only chooses to keep him in power cause they got him so bad via his corruption (over $100 Billion from ISIS oil smuggling, Iran money laundering, to Syrian war debacle, to massive local corruption cases). Hence, what I see, he is still in power, cause whoever comes will not be as useful puppet as Erdogan is. And he silenced most opposition in Turkey, the Military is not what it used to be, and Turkey has become money laundering heaven across region (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, KSA; Qatar, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore), no independent press, no judiciary left almost, business people have been scared shitless via tax men, and every body is happy slave with Stockholm syndrome under his increasingly dictatorial regime.

He would use proxies as he has done up to now, let us not forget, yes CIA/Israel knows so much about him but he also has been in bed with them so much, so he can also talk/unveil info against them..

My guess, earlier he is out of the picture, much better/safer the region would get. So, some form of unlucky (!) accident might be his way out. As long as he is in the picture, anything can happen, and I expect worst days still ahead for Turkey, for the region, and for the World.

And I humbly would like to thank everyone starting with b of course for making MoA one of the best places on the net for informed intelligent discussions.

Posted by: Truist | Feb 5 2016 9:50 utc | 54

Isn't it odd that there was almost no follow up in the MSM on the Europol report stating that 10,000 refugee kids had vanished?
Numbers don't put up; once we are told 1/3 of the refugees are kids; another time we were told that the majority were Moroccans and Algerians. These certainly would not be among the kids.

Posted by: Mina | Feb 5 2016 9:55 utc | 55

Truist, it's pretty simple - Turkey is our KSA of the north. Really a part of Eurasia, not really ME. Extremely important for US world hegemony. A neocon's wet dream etc. The US turns a blind eye to Turkey's war crimes and Erdogan's human rights abuses, just like we do with KSA.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 5 2016 11:52 utc | 57

@54 Truist @57 OKf

Well, if the US/NATO/Israel want to/can keep him from invading Syria ... he stays pretty much as he is. Slowly fades away as Syria/Russia/Iran/Hezbollah slowly put Syria back together again.

If they do not, he'll be gone much more quickly, a new 'game' will begin in the ME, and US/NATO/Israel can blame it all on the dead Caliph, not on their own true-blue selves, and not on Syria/the Russian bear, who'll have mitigating excuses which they'll all have to accept : if invaded they's all have done same themselves. No one - or not enough people, in Turkey, or anywhere else - will be sad to see Erdogan go. I cannot believe that NATO vs Russia warfare will ensue in consequence of his suicidal Bay of Pigs in Syria ... but of course that might be exactly what will happen.

All of this for what, exactly? Why are we putting up with this shit when NOT ONE human on earth has anything to gain from any of it at all?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5 2016 12:32 utc | 58

@57 okiefarmer,

That looks like the case and more cause I think Turkey has much more extensive collaborations (!) currently and in the past with the West since NATO compared to KSA. And that makes it little more complex to assess, imo.

@58 jfl

''All of this for what, exactly? Why are we putting up with this shit when NOT ONE human on earth has anything to gain from any of it at all?''

Not for humanity, that's for sure. But military industry complex across the world have been profiting enormously. 21st century international political arena will be to 'manage and contain through chaos' as deliberately laid out by none other than Henry Kissinger.

Posted by: Truist | Feb 5 2016 13:34 utc | 59

@truist 54

Great analysis. Don't you think that the Turkish army is still faithful to Ataturk legacy and now to Gulen's non sectarian ideology? Don't you think that some elements in the army are actually provoking incidents (such as the Russian plane shooting) to lead Erdogan to a situation where he would come out weakened and in need to bring in the army to the forefront, when he has done all he could (including a deal with ISIS) to avoid involving the army other than against the kurds.?
There is an internal war within Turkey that is brewing. It may take time but it seems inevitable that it would blow up to Erdogan's face.
An invasion of Syria, indirectly encouraged by Russia, may accelerate that process. Will Erdogan realize that he may be shooting his own foot,or he is so paranoiac that he sees this as a help for his dream of a totalitarian presidency?

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 5 2016 13:41 utc | 60

Wow... talk about a change of heart
Fmr. amb. Ford admits to a few inconvenient truths...

Posted by: GoraDiva | Feb 5 2016 14:44 utc | 61

"Inconvenient truths" that would appear to represent once again an intelligence failure. Like the WMD's, there really were people observing and reporting the co-option/subjugation of Nationalist Syrian Rebels by the better funded and supported Jihadi, even BEFORE the influx of the Iraqi ex-Baathist ex-military personnel with all their expertise in leadership and tactics. This was prior to Summer 2013 when Assad was offering some rebels limited amnesty to lay down their arms (because they were increasingly under attack by rival jihadi militias, and iirc quite a number of nationalist rebel soldiers "defected" to the jihadi militias because they had no other option.)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 5 2016 15:31 utc | 62

NATO will restrain Turkey from such a misguided adventure. b.

Yes (or at least they will try ..) I read in Swiss Press (f + payw. + can’t find it back) that the High Command at NATO was livid at the shooting down of the Russian plane - manifested in shouting and foul swearing screams. This was borne out by their official, public reaction, which was: “Turkey has the right to defend itself”, incl. these very words. As addressed to a large country which is part of your military alliance, that must be one of the most vicious in the eff-you, you /add supreme insults/ line in history.

It negates the alliance. An angry, hard, diplo response would have been: This is all very alarming, worrisome (= Turkey shouldn’t have), we will investigate the incident (= Turkey we know what you did), hopefully any escalation can be avoided (= Turkey cut it out end this here! now!)

Still, the world situation, as evidenced by US (+ allies) multiple on all fronts (media, propaganda, statements, military build up, actioning proxies, etc.) provocations towards Russia, is becoming more dangerous by the day.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 5 2016 16:18 utc | 63

Nuclear bombs aren't, because they don't exist.

Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 5 2016 16:21 utc | 64

O/T WAPO: Why is the International Criminal Court stepping out of Africa and into Georgia?.

The ICC’s intervention into the conflict between Georgia, Russia and Moscow-backed belligerents in South Ossetia represents the court’s first investigation into a situation outside the African continent. It also marks the first time that the alleged crimes of a major power, Russia, will be placed under official investigation by the court’s prosecutors.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 5 2016 17:07 utc | 66

@ 66 ICC is just another western/nato/anti-russian institution

Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 5 2016 17:26 utc | 67

from the link @66
"...However, when Tbilisi ended its investigations into the alleged crimes perpetrated in 2008, it became untenable for the ICC to simply keep those crimes under examination indefinitely. Second, for an institution that seeks to command relevancy in international politics, it certainly does not hurt that there is a broader narrative vilifying Moscow and its role in the region. Whether or not the court targets Russian officials, investigating Russian conduct captures that broader, if not always helpful, international narrative condemning Russian aggression.
"...According to a foreign ministry spokesperson, Moscow is convinced that “the ICC prosecutor has placed the blame with South Ossetians and Russian soldiers, taken the aggressor’s side, and started an investigation aimed against the victims of the attack.” Despite not being an active member of the court, the spokesperson added that Russia will consequently “be forced to fundamentally review its attitude towards the ICC.”

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 5 2016 18:12 utc | 68

It's the MIC money stupid.

Backed by an increase in U.S. military spending, NATO is planning its biggest build-up in eastern Europe since the Cold War to deter Russia but will reject Polish demands for permanent bases.

Worried since Russia's seizure of Crimea that Moscow could rapidly invade Poland or the Baltic states, the Western military alliance wants to bolster defenses on its eastern flank without provoking the Kremlin by stationing large forces permanently.

NATO defense ministers will next week begin outlining plans for a complex web of small eastern outposts, forces on rotation, regular war games and warehoused equipment ready for a rapid response force. That force includes air, maritime and special operations units of up to 40,000 personnel.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 5 2016 18:23 utc | 69

Summary of neocon foreign policy for people who hate politics. The following real commercials air in Egypt for Panda brand cheese. Imagine the panda in an Uncle Sam outfit trying to packages of freedom and democracy to Ukraine or various Middle Eastern countries.

Never Say No to Panda

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 5 2016 18:32 utc | 70

yes, the two "dovetail" well and will provide regular headlines to hang the usual repetition of Danger-Putin!! stories on. Many people have utterly bought and absorbed the "Russia as aggressor" in Georgia story ... which was again dragged out as "proof" wrt Crimea.

Oh in other news, Sashkvilli had his first day on-the-job as Ukraine's "chief corruption fighter" [nyt]
... glad-handing and making jokes, colorful character style.

nyt: Railing Against Graft, a Georgian Leads Calls for a Cleanup in Ukraine.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 5 2016 18:42 utc | 71

@60 Virgil

I think Turkish Military is broken inside like never before in its history and I think former independent mind secularist officers, the ones that are strongly loyal to Ataturk's secular principles have been trying to get back in helm.

As you pointed out, there has been a constant brewing of internal shoot outs taking place in Turkey other than south eastern part. Thus, inquiring minds asking whether there has been another 'deep state at works that will take the country into pre-coup dates a la 1980 military coup. Turkey is restless like never before both internally and externally thanks to Erdogan-Dauvtoglu duo's neo-Ottoman wet dream foreign policy. Let us not forget Turkey has always distanced herself from Arabs in foreign policy until Islamists took over. Now, it's the corrupt partners with KSA & Qatar.

More dark days ahead unless tyrant of Bosphorus is out of the picture.

Posted by: Truist | Feb 5 2016 20:13 utc | 72

"The Saudi Defense Ministry declared today that Saudi ground forces could take part in action in Syria."

I though the saudi forces were already in Syria for the last 4-5 years.. terrorizing Syrians and cutting throats and eating livers!!!

guess someone forgot to show that memo to the KSA DM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Rd. | Feb 5 2016 20:43 utc | 73

Syrian Weekend Rumors:

First, a Russian officer in Syria dies from his wounds in what the Russian MoD described as a mortar attack from Turkish territory. Yesterday, the FSA head-choppers cough up a video claiming to shows the attack was by them with a BGM-71A TOW (made in the USA). The Russians are unusually quiet about this. If it was really a mortar attack from Turkey, they would be screaming about it. I can only conclude it was a TOW. So now they're even more pissed at the U.S. (if that's even possible). A mad Russian is not a quiet Russian. Something bad is bound to happen soon.
Russia: "If Turkey Sends Troops into Syria, Russian forces will engage them in battle"

1:50 PM - EST -- Moments ago, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that if Turkey sends troops into Syria, Russian forces will engage them in battle...

...After Turkey repeatedly denied invasion plans, markets calmed, but that was short-lived. At 1:50 PM eastern US time today, the Russian Defense Ministry made another statement, making explicitly clear "Syria still has a functioning government and that government is an ally of Russia. Any foreign force entering Syria without the permission of the Syrian government will be viewed as an invader. If Turkish troops enter Syria, Russian forces will engage them in battle."

Note: posted yesterday, Feb. 4th, by New York Superstation95 newsroom. I can't find any other reference to such a statement and nothing on the Russian MoD site. I believe this has been their general position all along, but can't reference a quote anywhere. Nothing on the Russian MoD site. I wouldn't expect western MSM to ever mention this.

From Sputnik today:
Turkey's Invasion of Syria? Moscow Keeping an Eye on Ankara's Moves

Russian MoD briefing Thursday pointed out a specific site on the Turkish side of the Bab al Hawa border crossing that showed evidence of a buildup of trucks that could be used to move supplies and military equipment into Syria. This was interpreted by some outlets as a possible point of Turkish invasion.

The much more likely spot, IMHO, is Jarabulus. From YeniSafak on 3 Feb:
Turkish soldiers retaliate after Daesh opens fire on them

The Turks have been demining the border strip around Jarabulus (Turkish side of crossing is Karkamis). I presume the Turks mined it to begin with. I think we know what that means. Jarabulus provides a convenient and plausible(!) excuse for the Turkish Army to cross the border (ISIS threat, "They're shooting at us", etc.). The real benefit though would be to block Kurdish attempts take the ISIS-held town. The Kurds, of course, would continue further west along the Syrian-Turkish border to close the Jarabulus - Aziz corridor. A sizeable contingent of Turkish armor and troops along with a large perimeter around Jarabulus would interfere with the Kurdish plans. If the Turks went no further than Jarabulus AND used the excuse of attacking ISIS, then they might get away with only minor PR damage. The U.S. would support them in any case ("It's for the children...").

Then consider the unusual event I mentioned a few days ago: CNN apparently doing reporting at Rmeilan. Well, as a reliable mouthpiece of CIA propaganda, we might wonder what purpose a CNN report of the 'unfinished, lightly-guarded airstrip' was all about. "Nothing to see here folks... Move along..."? I wouldn't have thought twice about it if there were not subsequent reports about three cargo planes landing there. Then there's the fact that no other arabic sites mention the source "The Hasaka Internal Coordination Committee" and their web site is inaccessible. Some kind of weird disinfo? What purpose would it serve?

If that's not enough for my fellow tin-foil hat nutters out there, I did catch a mention in the Russian MoD briefing of 150 tons of equipment and ammo had recently delivered to the YPG. Hmmm... 50 tons is about what I would cram on a medium-sized transport, so it would take three of them to deliver 150 tons. Maybe the Rmeilan airfield aircraft were Russian, not U.S. (or maybe there were never any aircraft there). The fact that the airstrip isn't paved is irrelevant - it's plenty long and flat enough right now for any air force's tactical transports.

I have no idea what this all means, but it's bound to be an interesting weekend.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 5 2016 23:30 utc | 74

caught this prophetic photo caption on iran mil form

Posted by: aaaaaa | Feb 6 2016 1:35 utc | 75

@ 66 ICC is just another western/nato/anti-russian institution
Posted by: From The Hague | Feb 5, 2016 12:26:32 PM | 67

Yes and embarrassingly racist-supremacist - and a Kangaroo Court too.
CCTV Africa reported a few months ago that South Africa had enlisted China's advice on how to get the ICC off Africa's back. This exercise in refocusing the ICC's Evil Eye on imaginary Russian crimes suggests that China's advice was 24ct gold, and included threats (of exposure of ICC's own crimes) which the ICC couldn't ignore. Going after Russia takes the ICC from the sublimely dishonest to the ridiculously dishonest. If this isn't the end of the ICC it's the beginning of the end.
Imo, Russia's "trial" will quickly transmogrify into a trial of the ICC, followed by a speedy execution, if Justice prevails.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 6 2016 4:32 utc | 76

NATO defense ministers will next week begin outlining plans for a complex web of small eastern outposts, forces on rotation, regular war games and warehoused equipment ready for a rapid response force. That force includes air, maritime and special operations units of up to 40,000 personnel.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 5, 2016 1:23:14 PM | 69

It reminds me the war strategy devised by then President Saakashvili. Rather than creating an army with a lot of troops, like nearby Armenia, Georgia created a smallish force of ca. 20,000, placing her bets on (a) new, better weapons (b) superior training (b) lofty Caucasus mountains. Then a daring attack on rebellious South Ossetia was designed, but, alas, it required quite a number of troops, so the rest of the border was left to the local police. Alas, local police failed to stop a Russian armored troops that advanced from Abkhasia, perhaps they tried to use a barbed coil, or a flashing lights, but surely (and reasonable) they did not try to shoot. "Complex web of small outposts". Estonians may start feeling relief.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 6 2016 4:41 utc | 77

@ 59 / truist

>> But military industry complex across the world have been profiting enormously.

It's like chipnik once said: "Taxpayers are the new aborigines and is the new reservation."

Posted by: dumbass | Feb 6 2016 8:16 utc | 78

>> Wow... talk about a change of heart
>> Fmr. amb. Ford admits to a few inconvenient truths...

If the jig is up, TPTB will find it convenient to lay the blame on Obama now. After all, when he's gone, there's new hope, yes???

Same goes for the economy.

I suspect TPTB are now timing things to go south so that people will feel stressed out for a while, go to the polls, feel better about a "new" government, and "give it a few years" to "see if things get better". The election is cathartic.

We might see public blame shift increasingly towards Obama. I'm *not* defending him. But, I think it's a "convenience", to make it the fault of a person leaving office and not "colossal, systemic rot".

Posted by: dumbass | Feb 6 2016 8:25 utc | 79

@63 noirette @73 rd

Saudi military intervention in Syria amounts to war: Russian deputy

A Russian deputy has warned Saudi Arabia that any military ground operation in Syria without the Damascus government's consent amounts to a declaration of war.

"Syria has to give official consent, to invite, otherwise it will be a war. The same applies to international law," Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the State Duma committee, told Interfax on Friday.

That's pretty unequivocal, isn't it? Unlike the NATOnians, Pavel speaks right up, doesn't he? Do you think that the Russians are looking over the Saudi's shoulders at the Turks when they say that? I do.

I suppose he's just a deputy, a parliamentarian, but I imagine he's able to say things that the diplomats just cannot ... so they've stood aside and let him express himself (themselves?). It's not what you look like when you're doin' what you're doin', it's what you're doin' when you're doin' what you look like what you're doin' ... express yourself.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 6 2016 10:37 utc | 80

Here's a piece on what's really happening with the Iraqi Kurds, Isis in Iraq: The Kurds Have Fought Off the Jihadists, But Fear They Will be Used as Cannon Fodder and Then Discarded

Some 1.4 million Kurds out of a total population of six million work for the KRG or receive benefits from it. But over the past two years they have been paid only part of their salary or no money at all. Government expenditure is estimated to be $1.1bn a month and revenue only about $400m. The skylines of Kurdish cities are dotted with half-completed hotels and apartment buildings, their concrete shells sometimes housing displaced people and refugees.

The slogan of only a few years ago about KRG becoming “the new Dubai of the Middle East” sounds today like an absurd fantasy amid the general economic ruin. “Nobody has been paid for five or six months,” said Mr Amin, explaining why his relatives had made their disastrous effort to get to Europe. “I rent a house but there is no way I can pay for it.”

Anger runs deep at what is seen as the incompetence and greed of the Kurdish leaders. Asos Hardi, editor of the independent newspaper Awene, said: “You can feel the anger in the streets over government corruption.” When he investigated and exposed the theft of $18m three years ago, he was badly beaten up by thugs sent by the government official whom he had accused of taking the money. He said that many people blame the government for trying and failing to turn Kurdistan into an oil state independent of Baghdad. Agreeing with this, a Western oil expert said that “the KRG made a gigantic bet on a high price for oil and they have lost”.

Maybe the Iraqi Kurds are going to rise up and jetison the Barzani klan, and with them the USofA?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 6 2016 11:55 utc | 81

Who said the European are hypocrites?

Posted by: Mina | Feb 6 2016 14:20 utc | 82

@81 "We face the very real prospect that there will be another huge influx of refugees (into Europe)... that is the result of the indiscriminate bombing around Aleppo," Asselborn said as he went into the meeting.

I'm sure Asselborn knows best how indiscriminate the bombing is. Seems to me anti-government fighters would be selectively targeted. The civilians getting out probably realize that.

Posted by: dh | Feb 6 2016 15:31 utc | 83

Reports Turkey has closed its border to 15-20,000 fleeing Aleppo (border ~30 miles from city) , inexplicable report it let 15 individuals through. Also reports that Turkey strongly encouraged opposition to leave "talks"

War on the Rocks: Long Road to Mosul.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Feb 6 2016 15:54 utc | 84

Most pictures show men; some of them (red keffieh) are probably the Kurds from one of Aleppo's suburbs which has been supportive of the rebels, Sheikh Masud. After being paid by the Turks for looting Aleppo's factories, why not getting their own state properties back and loot Turkey in turn?

Posted by: Mina | Feb 6 2016 16:10 utc | 85

2 minute video Bab al-Salameh border crossing: Thousands try to enter Turkey from rebel controlled Syria -

Posted by: james | Feb 6 2016 17:16 utc | 86

Syrians, by far not the only ones entering Europe.

There are many from the Mahgreb, from Algeria and Morocco in first place. Then, from the turmoil in Iraq, Afgh, Lybia. Plus from Somalia, Egypt, Tunisia and from various in sub-Saharan Africa. From Ethiopia *who usually declare themselves as Erythreans*, to get at least a temp stay. From Palestine, as well, never mentioned. (The last 3 refugees I met were from Palestine and Yemen…)

Not to mention non-EU Balkans (Kosovo, Albania, etc. plus Turkey itself…)


9.5 million stayed ‘home’ or close to it.

6.5 million are internally displaced, most have moved to areas controlled by the Gvmt.

5.3 million left Syria, mostly to Jordan and Turkey.

Which more or less adds up to the pop. of Syria 2011 (22 million or so).

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 6 2016 18:02 utc | 87

Re: Russian warning about Saudi intervention in Syria
Posted by: jfl | Feb 6, 2016 5:37:47 AM | 80

per CCTV Feb 7: "Syrian FM warns Saudis against ground invasion"
It's official. If the Saudis want to find out what trouble with a capital T feels like, invading Syria will acquaint them with the reality.
If I was a marauding Saudi soldier, I'd be wondering if there'll still be a Saudi Arabia when it's time to go home...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 6 2016 18:52 utc | 88

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