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Syria war bulletin, 2015

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[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik Absolutely! ..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik Absolutely! ..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik Absolutely! ..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik Absolutely! ..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 31, 2015] Absolutely Mr. Celik. Absolutely!

marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star, December 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm
http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/moscow-demands-arrest-of-rebel-for-murder-of-russian-warplane-pilot-1260805

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death"

Absolutely Mr. Celik…Absolutely!……..

yalensis , December 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Ooo, this explains a mystery to me. I noticed on my own blog today there was an unusual spike of views for an older story, from November 29, which happened to be about this particular guy, Alparslan Çelik.
People must have googled his name, and maybe my story came up in the search results.

[Dec 31, 2015] Vladimir Putin Fights the War Party on All Fronts

readersupportednews.org

Ket's talk about "Russian aggression."

The fight to the death in Moscow's inner circles is really between the Eurasianists and the so-called Atlantic integrationists, a.k.a. the Western fifth column. The crux of the battle is arguably the Russian Central Bank and the Finance Ministry – where some key liberalcon monetarist players are remote-controlled by the usual suspects, the Masters of the Universe.

The same mechanism applies, geopolitically, to any side, in any latitude, which has linked its own fiat money to Western central banks. The Masters of the Universe always seek to exercise hegemony by manipulating usury and fiat money control.

So why President Putin does not fire the head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiulina, and a great deal of his financial team - as they keep buying U.S. bonds and propping up the U.S. dollar instead of the ruble? What's really being aggressed here if not Russian interests?

It's clear by now which party profited from the downing of the Russian Su-24 by the Turkish Air Force – a graphic act of war. The immediate result was the suspension – which could lead to the cancelling – of a crucial Pipelineistan plank: Turkish Stream, which is a bête noire for the Masters of the Universe as Turkey was about to become the key alternative bypassing failed state Ukraine for supplying natural gas to southern Europe.

On top if it the EU paid Ankara 3 billion euros for its "indirect" services (the official excuse is to allow Turkey to control Syrian immigration to the EU.) And EU sanctions to Russia were extended for another six months.

... ... ...

Putin – and Russian intel – didn't see it coming: Sultan Erdogan's "stab in the back." So a case can be made that Russian intel seriously underestimated Erdogan's massive investment on regime change in Syria.

Whatever happens on the ground – much more than in the Vienna-Geneva charade now passing for a "peace process" – the future of Syria bears two stark options; a neo-Ottoman colony, but essentially subordinated to the whims of the Masters of the Universe; or a unitary sovereign nation, not partitioned, with a strong relationship to both Russia and Iran.

The question, though, remains; how does Turkey get away with such a provocation, with Russia imposing just a few sanctions?

lorenbliss 2015-12-30 03:36

I fear that is indeed what we are watching, not so much in terms of Orwellian geopolitics as in terms of the One Percenters' tyranny literally surpassing human conception.

Picture not so much Orwell's world, which retained at least some small pretense of kindness, but rather the (fictional?) Borg hybrid with Nazi Germany, a ruthless global empire run by a capitalist Ruling Class whose bottomless Ayn Rand moral imbecility would make even a Ted Bundy flinch.

No doubt there will be scattered pockets of resistance, but in those realms, the unspeakable depredations of the Empire will eventually turn death into the ultimate synonym for freedom.

Which is why, as I said on another RSN thread, I am so very glad I have no living children -- no descendants to dwell in a world so inconceivably and irremediably malevolent toward the 99 Percent, the living will envy the dead.

That is the future that looms -- unless we the people of this planet somehow manage to overthrow capitalism, which is by far the most malignant evil we have ever unleashed upon ourselves.

cmp 2015-12-30 03:07

The 20th century, saw war, like none other before.

This century, the "War Party" (sadly, this sounds like a pun), but, their folly continues:
~" That follows a "tradition" Bill Blum, for instance, ... and the list goes on. "~

And:
~" .. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in "Eurasia", and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. "Eurasia" accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources. "~
~ Brzezinski, Zbigniew (2006). The grand chessboard : American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives ([Repr.] ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books. p. 31. ~

[Dec 30, 2015] Syrian troops backed by Russian jets enters rebel-held southern town army

Notable quotes:
"... Rebels still control large parts of the region, that also borders Israel, but have been largely on the defensive since their failed offensive in June to take the government-controlled part of Deraa city. ..."
"... In the course of actions aimed to cut terrorists' sources of income, the Russian aircraft eliminate large number of oil production, storing and transportation facilities on the ISIS-controlled territories in Syria. ..."
"... Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the target and eliminated more than 20 oil trucks, which had been used by the ISIS for illegal oil transportation, two off-roaders equipped with ZU-23 AD systems. ..."
"... It is necessary to pay attention to the statement made by representative of the US State Department. Time is changed. Situation is changed. Representatives of the State Department are changed. However, speech writers are not. ..."
"... All these impersonal claims without evidences about performing strikes on civilian objects by allegedly Russian aviation in Syria close resemble performances held by hypnotists or chapiteau. ..."
"... It is about absurd: there are serious accusations referring to some "reputable non-governmental organizations". However, there is no information about the exact name of these organizations and who they are reputable for. ..."
"... All this is happening while actions and, the most important, results of the US air bombardment in this region are keeping absolute silent. ..."
"... If this continue the Syrian military will regain control of all Syrian cities and all these terrorist islamic groups supported by foreign countries will be defeated and expelled from Syria. ..."
"... Well thats interesting. A "mainstream anti Assa armed group", yet they go through all that without actually revealing the name. ..."
"... Is there any question now that the WH was simply letting Syria get demolished in the hopes Assad would fall? ..."
"... Theres a lot of people that support Assad. The WH knows this. The WH stated that Assad hasent a chance in hell of getting re elected. Well if thats the case, why does the WH refuse to see his name on a ballot. ..."
"... They are "Islamist" and the Christian genocide would continue on and on and on. Dont forget, not one of these guys came to power without holding on to a gun. Does that sound like someone you would vote for? ..."
"... hilarious, while this silly article says the syrin army is making gains only after the Russian bombing. They slipped an wrote that the terrorists lost in June against the syrian army!! The russians only got involved in october!! propaganda always has its draw back....the truth!! ..."
"... Until DC provides the list of Moderate Rebels that don't have any Islamic reference they ALL will be viewed as Islamic Terrorists Organizations. And until that list is provided let the Russians bomb the Hell out of them. ..."
"... Let's get this straight... IS militants are all TERRORISTS. Any rebel groups that are fighting alongside with the IS group are also part of the terrorist group. And if those so-called rebel groups are supported by the US or NATO or Turkey, it means that those nations are directly or indirectly supporting the ISIS or TERRORISTS. ..."
"... Sheikh Meskeen is vital and strategic due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara'a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim. ..."
"... The Russians are doing this right, get rid of all terrorist groups including the one Israel and the U.S. are supporting, funding and arming. ..."
"... Terrorists are no longer terrorists but are now called rebels? That would mean the Paris slaughter was done by rebels. ..."
"... Somebody please tell to these so called moderate rebels and their brothers in ISIS that their heydays are over. Run while you can. ..."
"... Wonder what the US response would be to Russian airdropping thousands of RPG's and millions of rifles and ammunition to the #$%$, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam and various militia group in the US who feel they are being oppressed? ..."
"... Since there wasn't a single mention of ISIS in this article, then the emphasis should have been Obama's Syrian "rebel" allies are getting the krap kicked out of them by the Russians. ..."
"... But Reuters, being an Obama support group would only mention them as "backed by Western Powers". ..."
"... Does anyone see the connection between the terrorists, who are backed by the West, and the outright Lies the media tries to pass off as the truth. One other note here, they keep recycling parts of this article which appear almost verbatim in several other reports on Yahoo about Syria. ..."
"... The US is guilty of arming rebels against a government with representation at the United Nations. That is a crime. ..."
"... All the US resources are wasted on misguided and ill-convince military adventures that support corporations than its own citizens. ..."
"... Just like in the north of Syria....ALL the "rebel" groups in the south fight under Al-Nusra's umbrella and command structure. Al-Nusra plans ALL of their offensives, as well as ALL of their defense. You can call them moderate if you want. but ALL the "rebel" groups in Syria work hand-in-hand with the Salafist and Takfiri. ..."
"... Personally I think it's heartwarming the way Western governments and the 'free' press has lined up behind the radical Islamists against Russia and the secular regime in Syria where women can do such evil things as go outside without a sheet over their heads and men can drink beer and etc! This is madness! Russia is evil! ..."
"... stop this nonsense, no one believes it ny more... moderate rebels, barrel bombs ...they are all islamic terorrists, and very well funded and equipped by saudi arabia and qater and trained and supplied by turkey and the u.s. clear as day light ,they are all sunni muslim terrorists! ..."
"... I seriously doubt the "moderate" rebels would approve of anything Christmas-related. Assad looks a lot more moderate to me than the US-backed "moderates". ..."
news.yahoo.com
Rebels still control large parts of the region, that also borders Israel, but have been largely on the defensive since their failed offensive in June to take the government-controlled part of Deraa city.

Vladimir

Here's the latest from Russia's General Staff, with some interesting info about the US Air Force activities.

In the course of last two days, since December 28, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 121 combat sorties engaging 424 terrorists' objects

In the course of last two days, since December 28, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 121 combat sorties engaging 424 terrorists' objects in the Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Daraa, Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor provinces.

Near Mahin (Homs province), Russian Su-34 performed a strike on a large terrorists' base of the ISIS. A hangar with military hardware, depots with weapons, materiel and munitions of terrorists were destroyed. Five off-road vehicles equipped with large-caliber machine guns, an infantry fighting vehicle, and four trucks loaded with munitions were eliminated.

Near Shawarighat al-Arz (Aleppo province), Russian Su-25 destroyed a terrorists' strong point. Direct hits caused elimination of a tank and three off-road vehicles equipped with large-caliber machine guns.

Near Lahaya (Hama province), a Su-25 of the Russian Aerospace Forces eliminated two artillery guns and an ammunition depot.

In suburbs of al-Khadr (Latakia province), Su-25 carried out a strike on a large strong point of terrorists and eliminated 2 pieces of hardware.

Command staff of the Russian aviation group continues receiving information about objects of the ISIS and other terrorist groups active in Syria from representatives of patriotic opposition forces.

Therefore, on Monday, Russian party received information from representatives of one of the Syrian opposition detachments active in northeastern Syria concerning a planned meeting of the ISIS field commanders in the suburbs of Raqqah.

The Russian Defence Ministry organized a day-and-night air observation of the object. After receiving confirmation on arriving of militants' leaders to the assigned point, Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the building, where the meeting was taking place. As a result of direct hit with guided missile, the building was destroyed with all its contents.

Several days ago, representatives of a patriotic opposition formation active in the Idlib province presented information to the Russian Defence Ministry about location of a large ammunition depot of the Jabhat al-Nusra near al-Zerba.

After making research on the aerial photographs of the region and checking reconnaissance data, Russian Su-24M hit the target. Objective monitoring data confirmed elimination of the object.

Means of intelligence detected a hidden reinforced concrete shelter of the AD complex Osa. A Su-34 bomber received an order to liquidate the target. Direct hits of BETAB-500 air bombs caused destruction of the building with all its contents.

In the course of actions aimed to cut terrorists' sources of income, the Russian aircraft eliminate large number of oil production, storing and transportation facilities on the ISIS-controlled territories in Syria.

In the course of last two days, the Russian aviation group destroyed six objects of oil trafficking in the Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo provinces.

In the course of the aerial intelligence operation near Kafr Nabl (Idlib province), the Russian aircraft detected concentration of oil tankers moving to the Syrian-Turkish borders. They were escorted by off-roaders equipped with anti-aircraft systems.

Russian Su-34 bomber performed a strike on the target and eliminated more than 20 oil trucks, which had been used by the ISIS for illegal oil transportation, two off-roaders equipped with ZU-23 AD systems.

***

It is necessary to pay attention to the statement made by representative of the US State Department. Time is changed. Situation is changed. Representatives of the State Department are changed. However, speech writers are not.

All these impersonal claims without evidences about performing strikes on civilian objects by allegedly Russian aviation in Syria close resemble performances held by hypnotists or chapiteau.

It is about absurd: there are serious accusations referring to some "reputable non-governmental organizations". However, there is no information about the exact name of these organizations and who they are reputable for.

All this is happening while actions and, the most important, results of the US air bombardment in this region are keeping absolute silent.

However, every day aircraft and strike UAV's of the US Air Force carry out from six to twenty combat sorties with performing missile and bomb strikes on ground targets.

Therefore, all the public community learns information about effectiveness of operations held by the US Air Force, when their "flights" had caused mass killing. It is impossible to be hide or shift responsibility to any party.


kingn500

Russia carpet bombing is winning the war for the Syrian military that is a strong army that was losing due to lack of air force power and lack of cities war fare experience needed during the attack and defense of Syrian cities, Syrian military was not trained for guerrilla warfare inside the cities but with Russia carpet bombing and Russia retraining the Syrian military in cities warfare they begin to regain Syrian cities and defeating these terrorist rebels If this continue the Syrian military will regain control of all Syrian cities and all these terrorist islamic groups supported by foreign countries will be defeated and expelled from Syria. Good for the Syrian people that most of them don't want an islamic state in Syria. Go Russia go .

smlslk

Rebels from another mainstream anti-Assad armed opposition alongside some Islamist groups"

Well thats interesting. A "mainstream anti Assa armed group", yet they go through all that without actually revealing the name.

Is there any question now that the WH was simply letting Syria get demolished in the hopes Assad would fall?

Theres a lot of people that support Assad. The WH knows this. The WH stated that Assad hasent a chance in hell of getting re elected. Well if thats the case, why does the WH refuse to see his name on a ballot.

So lets get this strait. All the people that now back Assad including all the people that would now vote for him would then become the terrorist if the WH appointed one of these nameless "armed mainstream anti Assad terrorist groups". They are "Islamist" and the Christian genocide would continue on and on and on. Dont forget, not one of these guys came to power without holding on to a gun. Does that sound like someone you would vote for?

Ramsis

hilarious, while this silly article says the syrin army is making gains only after the Russian bombing. They slipped an wrote that the terrorists lost in June against the syrian army!! The russians only got involved in october!! propaganda always has its draw back....the truth!!

stefan

Until DC provides the list of Moderate Rebels that don't have any Islamic reference they ALL will be viewed as Islamic Terrorists Organizations. And until that list is provided let the Russians bomb the Hell out of them.

J M

Let's get this straight... IS militants are all TERRORISTS. Any rebel groups that are fighting alongside with the IS group are also part of the terrorist group. And if those so-called rebel groups are supported by the US or NATO or Turkey, it means that those nations are directly or indirectly supporting the ISIS or TERRORISTS.

DAVID

The Syrian Army announced minutes ago that its troops alongside the popular forces drove the militant groups back from the entire districts of the key town of Sheikh Meskeen North of Dara'a after killing, wounding and capturing a large number of the terrorists. "Sheikh Meskeen is now under the full control of the Syrian government forces," the army said.

"The militant groups have suffered a heavy death toll. Most of the militants in the town have been killed or wounded. In addition, a large number of the militants have surrendered, while the rest preferred to flee the war zone," the army added.

"The Syrian army is fortifying its positions in the town now," it went on to say.

"Pro-government troops are patrolling the town to find the rest of the militants," the army added.

"The Syrian soldiers are transferring the captured and injured militants to safer areas behind the frontline," the army went on to say.

"The engineering units of the army are defusing the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) planted by the terrorists groups across the government buildings," the army said.

Reports said earlier that the Syrian government forces' rapid advances in the town of Sheikh Meskeen have forced the militant groups to start pulling back forces and fleeing the battlefield to evade more casualties.

"The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have continued to push back the militant groups from different districts of the town, including the residential area of the military forces and one of the main roundabouts of the strategic town," the army said.

"The militant groups, who have witnessed the heavy attacks of the Syria forces and the collapse of their defense lines in the Northeastern, Northern and Eastern parts of the city, have started to withdraw from more districts," the sources said.

"In the meantime, large groups of militants are fleeing the town in order to evade more casualties," the sources added.

"The militant groups have sustained a heavy death toll and are hopeless. The terrorists' commanders have called for fresh militants but have received no response from their comrades in other parts of the province thus far," the sources said.

"The government forces have completed their control over the Eastern part of the town, Pharmacy Street, al-Ra'esi Roundabout in the middle of the town, and Jame'a al-Omari and are advancing against the militants' strongholds," the sources said.

"The Syria forces also have surrounded the militant group of al-Wila Seif al-Sham in the city and are hunting them one by one," the sources said.

Reports said that the Russian and Syrian Air Forces' joint combat sorties over the militant groups' positions in Sheikh Meskeen North of Dara'a claimed the lives of large groups of terrorists and destroyed their military grid.

"The Russian and Syrian fighter jets, in over 25 sorties, massively bombed the militant positions in Sheikh Meskeen, which left many terrorists dead or wounded," the army sources said.

"The aerial coverage created by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets in Sheikh Meskeen battlefield was one the most important causes of the Syrian ground forces' advances against the militant groups on Tuesday," the army added.

The Syrian army and its allies have been significantly advancing against the militant groups in the province in the recent weeks, particularly in Sheikh Meskeen.

Army announced on Tuesday that its troops and their popular allies advanced in the Northern battlefronts of Sheikh Meskeen rapidly and pushed the militants back from more positions.

"Following the capture of Battalion 82 base and Tal al-Hish, the Syrian government forces captured the Sheikh Meskeen's Pool Facility, killing over 15 enemy combatants from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the army said.

"The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and other popular fighters are on a roll in the Dara'a province after launching a massive assault on the strategic town of Sheikh Meskeen over 72 hours ago," the army added.

Sheikh Meskeen is vital and strategic due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara'a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim.

Bill

MY FELLOW AMERICANS, the first "War on Terror" was during Jefferson's presidency. For nearly fifteen centuries the world has faced the disease of Islam, but our nation faced it head on when Thomas Jefferson, serving as the ambassador to France, and John Adams, servicing as the ambassador to Britain, went to London to meet with Ambassador Abdrahaman, the Dey of Tripoli's ambassador to Britain. Of course they met with Abdrahaman to negotiate a peace treaty, but keep in mind that in Islam, the only peace is submission to Islam.

After independence, however, pirates often captured U.S. merchant ships, pillaged cargoes and enslaved or held crew members for ransom. Jefferson had opposed paying tribute to the Barbary States since as far back as 1785, and in 1801, he authorized a U.S. Navy fleet under Commodore Richard Dale to make a show of force in the Mediterranean, the first American naval squadron to cross the Atlantic ...this lead to the "First Barbary Wars".

America, though this victory proved only temporary, according to Wood, "many Americans celebrated it as a vindication of their policy of spreading free trade around the world and as a great victory for liberty over tyranny." My fellow Americans, I am a veteran, I have fought against terror for over a decade (2001 to 2011). These radicalists have been like this from generation to generation to as far back as the 7th century. I'm concerned on what we will leave behind for our next generation and the future of this great nation! So I say onto you, my fellow Americans, LET NO ONE -AND I MEAN NO ONE- COME INTO OUR HOUSE AND PUSH US AROUND!

Paul

The Russians are doing this right, get rid of all terrorist groups including the one Israel and the U.S. are supporting, funding and arming.


The

Terrorists are no longer terrorists but are now called rebels? That would mean the Paris slaughter was done by rebels.

Kevin

Somebody please tell to these so called moderate rebels and their brothers in ISIS that their heydays are over. Run while you can.

Detritus of Sloth

Wonder what the US response would be to Russian airdropping thousands of RPG's and millions of rifles and ammunition to the #$%$, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam and various militia group in the US who feel they are being oppressed?

Vicious

Since there wasn't a single mention of ISIS in this article, then the emphasis should have been Obama's Syrian "rebel" allies are getting the krap kicked out of them by the Russians.

But Reuters, being an Obama support group would only mention them as "backed by Western Powers".

RT

insurgents on the ground told Reuters........you mean Terrorists don't you? This is a constant source of the media information, the terrorists themselves. We know what color pajamas the Jihadists wear to bed at night, and every move they make, and why, but our military seems to have missed this.......

Does anyone see the connection between the terrorists, who are backed by the West, and the outright Lies the media tries to pass off as the truth. One other note here, they keep recycling parts of this article which appear almost verbatim in several other reports on Yahoo about Syria.

jane

Who know, maybe in 2016 all "Sunni moderate rebels" and ISIS will be expelled. Then Syria will see peace and its refugees can return home. But I bet the blood-thirsty US Snake Department and the CIA probably will prefer continued bloodshed.

Peetie

The US is guilty of arming rebels against a government with representation at the United Nations. That is a crime.

Hezbollah:

Let's look at so-called "moderate rebels" supported by American taxpayers. Example: Jeysh Al-Islam:

- It means "Army of Islam"
- Its leader called for extermination of all minorities in Damascus
- Its leader called Alawites "more infidel than Jews and Christians"
- Is directly financed by Saudis
- Has clearly shown its support for Islamic Caliphate and vehemently opposes democracy
- Been involved in series of tortures, beheadings, murders and disappearances

Yep, "moderate rebels" all right.

J. de Molay

The two super powers, China and Russia, maneuvered on the global stage for supremacy while the US citizens politically in-fight with no clear future oriented goals or plans. Sadly, the US is slowly dissolving away from what is was supposed to be that was framed by the founders a mere 235+ years ago. All the US resources are wasted on misguided and ill-convince military adventures that support corporations than its own citizens.

Davin

Just like in the north of Syria....ALL the "rebel" groups in the south fight under Al-Nusra's umbrella and command structure. Al-Nusra plans ALL of their offensives, as well as ALL of their defense. You can call them moderate if you want. but ALL the "rebel" groups in Syria work hand-in-hand with the Salafist and Takfiri.

Relja

Seems 'the rebels' are regular troops from jordan and turkey. President Asad lost large teritorry because of turkish, joprdan and saudi 'rebels' loved by west/Us.

Reyter

Personally I think it's heartwarming the way Western governments and the 'free' press has lined up behind the radical Islamists against Russia and the secular regime in Syria where women can do such evil things as go outside without a sheet over their heads and men can drink beer and etc! This is madness! Russia is evil!

CRL

"Rebels from another mainstream anti-Assad armed opposition alongside some Islamist groups said they shelled the city of Izraa, a main government held town"

How many innocent civilians were killed? Did not see the number in the press.

Ramsis

stop this nonsense, no one believes it ny more... moderate rebels, barrel bombs ...they are all islamic terorrists, and very well funded and equipped by saudi arabia and qater and trained and supplied by turkey and the u.s. clear as day light ,they are all sunni muslim terrorists!

Mark

There is a news report "Christmas and New Year carnival in Damascus- Video" on SANA news website. I seriously doubt the "moderate" rebels would approve of anything Christmas-related. Assad looks a lot more moderate to me than the US-backed "moderates".

TruthMonger

Why our media is viewing Syrian events from the terrorists' perspective, never from the legitimate government's??

Scott

That GGAADDAAMMMM IDIOT BUSH & The AFFLUENZA Party (Republican Party) are 100% to Blame......for Creating ISIS....and The Whole Mess in Middle East.......Says RAND PAUL & TED CRUZ........92% of Americans Agree

analogy

I keep on reading "rebels , freedom fighters, moderates" that this means the Paris attackers and the ones that brought down the towers are one of the above?

[Dec 30, 2015] Putin rules out reconciliation with Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin fired off an angry tirade against Turkey on Thursday, ruling out any reconciliation with its leaders and accusing Ankara of shooting down a Russian warplane to impress the United States.

In comments littered with crude language, Putin dismissed the possibility that the downing of the warplane over the Turkey-Syria border last month was an accident, calling it a "hostile act".

"We find it difficult if not impossible to come to an agreement with the current leadership of Turkey," the Kremlin strongman said at his annual news conference.

"On the state level, I don't see any prospects of improving relations with the Turkish leadership," he said of Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ties between Russia and the NATO member have hit rock bottom since the November 24 incident, which led to deaths of two Russian military officers.

Turkey has said the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Moscow insists it never left Syrian territory.

Putin said he did not rule out that Ankara was acting with tacit approval from Washington, possibly so that the United States would look the other way to let Turkey "go onto Iraqi territory and occupy part of it".

"I don't know if there was such a trade-off, maybe there was," Putin said.

"If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place... I don't know, if they did the right thing," he added.

"Did they think we would run away now? Russia is not that kind of country," Putin said, speaking of Moscow's increased military presence in Syria.

"If Turkey flew there all the time before, breaching Syrian airspace, well, let's see how they fly now."

Turkey has voiced concern about Russian air raids in northern Syria because of the Turkmen minority in the area, a Turkic-speaking people who have had an uneasy relationship with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

But Putin declared: "I've never heard anything about these so-called Turkmen.

"I know that there are our Turkmen, living in Turkmenistan," he said, referring to the ex-Soviet Central Asian country.

Putin also accused Turkey's leaders of overseeing a "creeping Islamisation" of the country "which would probably cause (modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal) Ataturk to turn in his grave."

- Not an 'enemy state' -

Putin and Erdogan have been locked in a war of words since the plane downing, and Moscow has even accused Erdogan's family of engaging in oil smuggling operations with Islamic State jihadists.

On Thursday, Putin went as far as to say that the Islamic State group was a "secondary issue" in Syria as it was created as "cannon fodder under Islamist slogans" to protect economic interests of other players, although he did not name Turkey.

However, he said he does not consider Turkey an enemy state. "They committed an enemy act against our aviation, but to say that we view Turkey as enemy state -- that is not the case."

Russia has imposed a number of sanctions on Turkey but Putin brushed aside questions from journalists about raids against Turkish firms and expulsions of Turkish students from Russian universities.

Putin said that had the downing of the plane been an accident, Turkish leaders should have tried to "pick up the phone and explain themselves".

Erdogan attempted to call Putin on the day of the incident, but the Kremlin ignored his request to speak to the Russian leader.

[Dec 30, 2015] Moscow demands arrest of rebel for 'murder' of Russian warplane pilot

Please note the AFP does not mentions that killing parachuted pilot is a war crime.
Notable quotes:
"... Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology." ..."
"... She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot". ..."
news.yahoo.com

Moscow (AFP) - Moscow on Wednesday called for Ankara to arrest a rebel it claims killed the pilot of the Russian jet downed by Turkey last month on the Syrian border.

"We demand that the Turkish authorities take immediate steps to apprehend Alparslan Celik and his accomplices and bring them to justice for the murder of the Russian pilot," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

In an interview published Sunday in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Celik -- a Turkmen rebel and citizen of Turkey -- said that his "conscience cannot be bothered by a person who threw bombs at Turkmen civilians every day," referring to the slain Russian pilot.

Both pilots aboard the downed Su-24 jet ejected and parachuted to the ground on the Syrian side of the border, one of whom was killed by gun fire from the ground.

"Revenge is the most natural right," Celik said in the interview, while refraining from claiming the pilot's death.

Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a bitter spat over the downing of the Su-24 jet on November 24, with the Kremlin imposing a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey.

Zakharova said that the publication of Celik's comments in a major Turkish newspaper had angered and surprised Moscow, and accused the media outlet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate of Russia and the Russian people through nationalist ideology."

She added that Celik's comments constituted an admission of his "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot".

Turkish authorities have accused Russia of "ethnic cleansing" in Syria, targeting Turkmen and Sunni population that oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's long-time ally.

Turkey says the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, while Moscow insisted it did not cross over from Syria and accused Ankara of a planned provocation.

[Dec 29, 2015] What Really Caused the Implosion of the Occupy Movement -- An Insider's View

Notable quotes:
"... The author may be too young to know about it. A detailed study of FBI and other infiltrations into various movements through the 50s , 60s, 70s would repay the effort. ..."
"... Perhaps field guides should be written on how to "spot the agent", "spot the plant", "spot the disruptor" etc. ..."
"... "Homeless people make up a significant proportion of participants in the Occupy Movement in cities across the United States, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where at times they comprise an estimated third of the occupiers… Despite stereotypical beliefs that homeless people are not interested in politics, the homeless actually have perhaps the least to lose and the most to gain from being involved in the Occupy Movement." ..."
"... "[The social composition of the movement is] quite varied. Occupy Oakland, for example, is perhaps 50% black and Latino, whereas occupations in other parts of the country may be mostly white. Some occupations are primarily very poor people, homeless people, etc., others include a lot of white-collar workers. Young 'précaires' [people whose work situation and future prospects are precarious] are certainly among the most numerous participants." ..."
"... Yes, there was a 17-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown. All in one night. I watched and chronicled the live stream. ..."
"... For about a year I've wondered why NC could be so hard on Syriza while continuing to run that embarrassing Occupy banner at the top of the page. And you're fond of quoting Gandhi, (you lose, you lose, they give up, you win). But while you're losing you're getting beat up. And that's the problem with Americans generally; can't take a punch. Glass jaw. ..."
"... When leadership isn't willing to make that commitment there is no organization. And with no organization we're left with "going postal". Americans are much more adept at that. ..."
"... Unlike the situation in Europe, however, there appears to be little effort among the dispersed elements of the movement in the United States to achieve political power. The stronger effort here is to create a viable alternative to the current corrupt and destructive political/economic system, to step outside it and grow something else again. ..."
"... L'Échaudée: "Would you say that State repression (especially the unified and coordinated raids against the camps) was the main cause of Occupy's decline?" Ken Knabb: "Yes." ..."
"... Yes. And the violent attack on the encampments didn't just disperse the people. Cops destroyed food and food service supplies, shelter, electronic equipment, libraries, and medical and first-aid supplies, much of it likely donated by people not necessarily able to be part of an encampment. For some campers this was maybe most of what they had or, for the homeless and other marginalized people who came to the camps, more than they had. If we do build a movement, if bringing about real change will require people to strike, or boycott, or occupy vacant land or buildings, this kind of community support is crucial. We ought not discount (the "authorities" certainly didn't) the material and psychological impact of this destruction beyond just the local participants; and we need to find more sustainable, less vulnerable ways of providing community support. ..."
"... There is a difference between "color revolution" style events which promote neoliberalism and Occupy style events that oppose it. In case of color revolution style events the participants can rely on all the power of Western embassies, NGO, intelligence agencies and flow of money and equipment. Training of leaders would be provided, "revolutionaries for hire" will emerge, etc. ..."
"... Many of us Professional-Managerial Class (PMC) activists are hampered by having been told implicitly and explicitly for our entire education that we are the leaders of the world when we are at best lieutenants of the 1%. ..."
"... The sort of utopianism on display here is not only callow and tiresome (and precisely why Occupy failed), but also depressing. And if it reflects the level of understanding held by "activists" of the nature of the crisis we face, I am not heartened. ..."
"... I agree completely. This recap is self-absorbed, naive, and absurd - it reminds me in many ways of the business plan of a start-up that has no clear route to actually making money. It's impossible to imagine a movement of people who think like this accomplishing anything, because they have no model for the outcome they want; what they do have is a model for how they want themselves to be. ..."
"... "As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant" ..."
"... Whatever else you may say about Lenin, his goals, his means, or his beliefs, he had a remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental view of power and how one goes about getting it and how one goes about holding on to it. ..."
"... From my perspective the Leninist alternative dismisses any interest in a democratically self-organized society. In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered. ..."
"... May be the traditional Left has not yet recovered , but traditional right fully adopted Lenin's methods and organization under color revolution banner. ..."
"... "Occupy" failed because it had no goal, and having no goal, it didn't know how to get there. See: http://goo.gl/m6qmGn ..."
"... It goes on and on, protest after protest. Anti-racial profiling. Anti-union busting. Anti-tuition increases. Anti-school closings. Anti-mortgage fraud. Anti-unsustainable development. Anti-corruption. Anti-this, anti-that, anti-the other thing. ..."
"... For reasons unknown, the Occupy movement seems to take a perverse pride in being leaderless and directionless, preferring to run hither and yon, protesting whatever strikes their fancy. No focus. No plan. No idea. Just protest. ..."
"... The Tea Party has a simple, easily understood focus: Lower taxes. What is Occupy's simple, easily understood focus? ..."
"... The public grows weary of ineffectual, random, aimless protests, and Occupy, which began with such great promise, becomes last week's newspaper. A lost opportunity is a step backward, as people become discouraged and slide into lethargy. ..."
"... Somewhere, in board rooms around the world, the 1% is laughing. ..."
"... Do nothing? I'd be curious to hear what you mean on that. It took incredibly coordinated state action to defuse Occupy, not public weariness. ..."
"... It's unfortunate Occupy was not able to organize in a way to neutralize such action, but at the very least, it pulled back the curtain on the police state specifically and the power of government more generally in a way no one can deny moving forward. That's the spark of hope from the various events of the last few years. The elites want us to believe they are all powerful. But it is actually taking them quite a bit of effort to maintain that illusion. In reality, they are strategically weak and vulnerable. And they know it. ..."
"... Which is why the Democratic party has had to become so blatantly pro-inequality. Even a modest opposition to fascism on their part would ruin the efforts of the past few decades. ..."
Dec 28, 2015 | naked capitalism

Will, December 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Leaderlessness is very different than having many leaders. The strongest movements have many leaders that each know/feel when/how to lead and follow and cooperate in turn. Many powerful people, powerful enough to know that power does not mean dominating others in the movement. Such a movement will be much harder to stop than a leaderless one, where the FBI can easily insert its own leaders and derail the whole thing.

The author doesn't address it, but I wouldn't be surprised if many of those emotional bullies he describes were gov't plants. Building a movement full of physically and emotionally powerful people is how to combat such tactics.

different clue, December 28, 2015 at 3:10 pm

The author may be too young to know about it. A detailed study of FBI and other infiltrationism into various movements through the 50s , 60s, 70s would repay the effort.

Perhaps field guides should be written on how to "spot the agent", "spot the plant", "spot the disruptor" etc.

nobody, December 28, 2015 at 10:04 am

Anybody who says, of Occupy, that "everyone went home," doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about.

cf:

"Homeless people make up a significant proportion of participants in the Occupy Movement in cities across the United States, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where at times they comprise an estimated third of the occupiers… Despite stereotypical beliefs that homeless people are not interested in politics, the homeless actually have perhaps the least to lose and the most to gain from being involved in the Occupy Movement."

(Matthew Charles Cardinale, "U.S.: Homeless Play Key Role in Occupy Movement," from December, 2011.)

**

"[The social composition of the movement is] quite varied. Occupy Oakland, for example, is perhaps 50% black and Latino, whereas occupations in other parts of the country may be mostly white. Some occupations are primarily very poor people, homeless people, etc., others include a lot of white-collar workers. Young 'précaires' [people whose work situation and future prospects are precarious] are certainly among the most numerous participants."

(Ken Knabb, "The Occupy Movement at Its Peak, November 10, 2011)

Yves Smith, December 28, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Yes, there was a 17-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown. All in one night. I watched and chronicled the live stream.

Occupy had very much depended on "place" as in the actual occupations. They had a great deal of difficult regrouping after that.

In NYC some group continue to do good work, most notably Occupy the SEC and Alternative Banking. Occupy Sandy was VERY important, and some of the many Occupy Homes groups were effective but not give much credit or even notice in the media.


MarcoPolo, December 28, 2015 at 9:48 am

For about a year I've wondered why NC could be so hard on Syriza while continuing to run that embarrassing Occupy banner at the top of the page. And you're fond of quoting Gandhi, (you lose, you lose, they give up, you win). But while you're losing you're getting beat up. And that's the problem with Americans generally; can't take a punch. Glass jaw.

Jesse published a quote from Fredrick Douglas a couple of weeks ago. I can't find it now. But it speaks to that; the commitment and preparation necessary to take the kind of punishment you must. When leadership isn't willing to make that commitment there is no organization. And with no organization we're left with "going postal". Americans are much more adept at that.

Consider this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6YNlI8T4RE

Ché Pasa

Credit Yotam Marom and Alternet where this piece was posted on 23 Dec 15.

Ché Pasa, December 28, 2015 at 10:14 am

Interesting that I didn't see any recognition that Podemos has won electoral victory in Spain (May have missed it, long article and all). Podemos grew directly out of the Indignato movement which was a precursor and model for the Occupy movement in the US and latterly around the world.

Whether Podemos will go the way of Syriza and basically become the leftish face of neo-fascism and colonialism remains to be seen. They say they learned from the Greek tragedy and they won't make the same mistakes Syriza did, but power does strange things to its holders and implementers.

The occupied squares were cleared by police in Madrid and the rest of Spain, sometimes over and over again and with as much violence as the police displayed in the United States and elsewhere, but the movement did not die in Spain. It dispersed and in dispersion, it built a politically potent element that now has control of the Spanish government - at least in theory. We'll see what happens when "reality" sets in.

The movement was not destroyed, it was dispersed in the US as well. Hundreds of localized programs and projects grew out of the dispersal of the Occupy movement, many of which continue and grow. The dispersal of the movement was akin to the broadcast of seeds over fields.

Unlike the situation in Europe, however, there appears to be little effort among the dispersed elements of the movement in the United States to achieve political power. The stronger effort here is to create a viable alternative to the current corrupt and destructive political/economic system, to step outside it and grow something else again.

That's more in tune with the anarchist roots of the movement than trying to obtain control of government.

nobody

The secret truth is that Occupy Wall Street was supposed to work. And this is how it was supposed to work:

"A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future… The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

"The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

"On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

"Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?… something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind."

And what happened to that idea? David Graeber and his friends derailed it:

"Two days later, at the Outreach meeting we were brainstorming what to put on our first flyer. Adbusters' idea had been that we focus on "one key demand." [sic] This was a brilliant idea from a marketing perspective, but from an organizing perspective, it made no sense at all. We put that one aside almost immediately. There were much more fundamental questions to be hashed out. Like: who were we? Who did want to appeal to? Who did we represent?"

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/david-graeber-on-playing-by-the-rules-%E2%80%93-the-strange-success-of-occupy-wall-street.html

nobody

Yotam Marom: "But the truth is, it wasn't the state…"

**

L'Échaudée: "Would you say that State repression (especially the unified and coordinated raids against the camps) was the main cause of Occupy's decline?"

Ken Knabb: "Yes."

http://www.bopsecrets.org/recent/occupy-looking-back.htm

marym

Yes. And the violent attack on the encampments didn't just disperse the people. Cops destroyed food and food service supplies, shelter, electronic equipment, libraries, and medical and first-aid supplies, much of it likely donated by people not necessarily able to be part of an encampment. For some campers this was maybe most of what they had or, for the homeless and other marginalized people who came to the camps, more than they had. If we do build a movement, if bringing about real change will require people to strike, or boycott, or occupy vacant land or buildings, this kind of community support is crucial. We ought not discount (the "authorities" certainly didn't) the material and psychological impact of this destruction beyond just the local participants; and we need to find more sustainable, less vulnerable ways of providing community support.

different clue, December 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Weren't the very first few days of Occupy Wall Street conducted by semi-spontaneous contemporary young people in part responding to a slogan written and a call issued by Kalle Lasn of Adbusters Magazine ( "Occupy Wall Street") called-for to happen on a particular day? This is just sketchy memory to be sure. And it became worth much more than one day's involvement.

But after the very first few days, I read somewhere that David Graeber and other older-generation holdover-anarchist-nostalgiasts crashed the movement and infiltrated the leadership and degraded it into a live-action display of "this is what Anarchism looks like". If that is part of the problem of what happened, then younger people will have to analyse that very carefully and if they have another upsurge, they will have to rigidly exclude and reject any David Graberoid self-actualizing/validation-seeking aging Anarchist Nostalgiasts from any contact whatsoever from a genuine upsurge-of-the-young movement.

They might also do some careful thinking about what they actually DO want, and WHY they want it . . . in actionable specificity.

Jim

So what is the lesson from this type of response by the national security state?

It may be worthwhile to take a more careful look at successful occupation strikes.

For example, Solidarity in Poland, after 30 years of average citizen political defeats, managed, through a carefully thought-out and premeditated assertion of power to occupy the Lenin Shipyard, in August of 1980, and to also create an interfactory strike committee which at the beginning consisted of 20 supporting enterprises that insured lateral lines of communication between the occupying sites within the entire Baltic coastal region–in order to ultimately accomplish was was thought of as impossible–the achievement of a self-governing trade union independent of the party state.

When the strike was initially announced at the Lenin Shipyard Walesa said the following:

"I declare an occupation strike. I have been given the trust of the workers. We are occupying the shipyard. We aren't going anywhere until we're sure we've gotten what we wanted. We're staying. This is an occupation strike. I'll be the last one to leave."

They had a single strategic goal with some 20 additional demands backed by a self-created institutional structure (with significant leverage) that was able to protect its citizens and leadership within the shipyard from the State during the time of occupation.

Serious politics with extremely high stakes that managed, for a time, to shift the balance of power, within Poland–and people who participated in this success talked about how their personal fear, in the process of this democratic assertion of power, began to dissipate.

likbez

There is a difference between "color revolution" style events which promote neoliberalism and Occupy style events that oppose it. In case of color revolution style events the participants can rely on all the power of Western embassies, NGO, intelligence agencies and flow of money and equipment. Training of leaders would be provided, "revolutionaries for hire" will emerge, etc.

Occupy was against the most powerful state in the world without any substantial external support.

See

ElViejito December 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm
I would distill my history of activism since the 60's by claiming that the new society will grow within the cracks of the old. I turned from working on "the revolution" a long time ago and now focus on small, achievable projects that have a potential for lasting and making a difference – a progressive forum that brings in speakers to a monthly potluck, a progressive film festival that encourages wide-ranging political discussion, a small think tank consisting of volunteers researching local issues (tax increment financing, anyone?).

Many of us Professional-Managerial Class (PMC) activists are hampered by having been told implicitly and explicitly for our entire education that we are the leaders of the world when we are at best lieutenants of the 1%. For dealing with the rest of the (non-PMC) world, I recommend the strategy suggested by Lois Mark Stalvey in The Education of a WASP: (Loosely quoting from memory) Go to meetings run by minorities (or non PMC-types), do not take over the meeting or offer advice – just be there and help with whatever project they are working on; develop relationships.

Experience being the minority. Later, when you have become accepted as a member of the group, only make suggestions and proposals that promote progressive values and build on the group's already existing values. Always be respectful of the group and its members. This is the best training for dealing with the world and building connected centers of resistance.

GlobalMisanthrope, December 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Sorry everybody, but I'm going to go against the grain here. Putting to one side the intolerably wise-whimsical tone, I read this piece as hagiography posing as critique. (It's mortifying to read, especially the struggle as raison d'être trope where he's totally cribbing and doesn't even seem to know it, even though this has been put forth as recently as this year to much fanfare and criticism by Ta-Nehisi Coates. No, he thinks he made it up. Yikes!)

Human history is disheveled, spasmodic attempts by those of us who would really rather get on with our lives to stop the ruthless from making that impossible. This battle rages and recedes over and over, sometimes for centuries. Just look how the revolutions of Christianity and capitalism completely reshaped the world and in both cases for good and for bad. Good grief, son. Read a book.

What's more, if you need Gestalt therapy to evoke fear in your heart, then you either aren't paying attention or are on the safe side of the fray. The rest of us are daily made aware that power and powerlessness are not cosmetic and that those are the forces that shape our lives while we try to live in them as best we can. And yet we find the courage to smile at our children. As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant. I am not charmed.

The sort of utopianism on display here is not only callow and tiresome (and precisely why Occupy failed), but also depressing. And if it reflects the level of understanding held by "activists" of the nature of the crisis we face, I am not heartened.

SRL, December 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm

I agree. Although I supported Occupy, it really had nothing to teach me.

Nick, December 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

I agree completely. This recap is self-absorbed, naive, and absurd - it reminds me in many ways of the business plan of a start-up that has no clear route to actually making money. It's impossible to imagine a movement of people who think like this accomplishing anything, because they have no model for the outcome they want; what they do have is a model for how they want themselves to be. Naturally, it turns out after a while that they all have different models for how they want themselves to be, and then it breaks up like an unstable bunch of polyamorists who can't stand the constant negotiating anymore.

I'm trying to imagine a leader of the civil rights movement writing a post-mortem like this, and simply can't.

animalogic, December 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Thank you, GlobalMisanthrope, I agree.

Credit where due, the author has reached out for some knowledge of both self and circumstances, however, that knowledge is symptomatic of someone lost in the the land of PC idealism.

Frankly, the "bad conscience" is alive and well in these ones. Callow indeed. In the face of one of the most vicious oligarchies in history, these amateurs fret and fight over the simple VALIDITY of leadership.

Perhaps, I should not be unfair: after all, how could people cultivated lifelong in the playroom of PC/Identity politics ever gain the knowledge, let alone the INSTINCTS. sufficient to fight our oligarchs ?

Indeed, PC/identity politics has been one of the oligarchs greatest assets over the last few decades:

1. PC etc has usefully SPLIT workers etc into descrete, often contradictory, even isolated, movements. Divide and conquer politics.

2. PC etc has DISTRACTED effort away from core economic issues onto social/cultural ones, which have little to no real bearing on their wealth/power. Or does anyone really believe that the real elites give a SHIT whether (say) gay people marry or not ?

3. PC etc has given them a wonderful stick with which conservatives can beat their "liberal" enemies. Can we not admit that PC often slips over into the ludicrous ?

4. And, in some ways best of all, PC encourages a fearful self censoring citizenry. Indeed, the author is a perfect example of a guilt ridden, confused, trivial modern citizen…really, anything to fear there ? Lol.

Roll on the crypto (?)fascist state….

Ulysses , December 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

"As a life-long member of the working class I find the suggestion that I need to be schooled in the ways of courageous resistance breathtakingly arrogant"

Well said!

sid_finster, December 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Y'all really really need to study the works of V.I. Lenin.

Whatever else you may say about Lenin, his goals, his means, or his beliefs, he had a remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental view of power and how one goes about getting it and how one goes about holding on to it.

Jim, December 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Sid,

From my perspective the Leninist alternative dismisses any interest in a democratically self-organized society. In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered.

likbez,

"In postulating a disciplined revolutionary party to act in the name of society he completed the final arc in a profoundly undemocratic political trajectory from which the traditional Left has not yet recovered."

May be "the traditional Left has not yet recovered", but traditional right fully adopted Lenin's methods and organization under "color revolution" banner.

sandra, December 29, 2015 at 12:37 am

We came out of the sixties with the idea that those people who pushed political and anti-war meetings into internal conflict that was intolerable to sit through were often undercover government agents. Sorry, it has happened and has been documented from the sixties and into the present. If it is a natural phenomenon that political movements move though that stage of participants attacking each other to the detriment of everyone, it is something that calls out for recognition as an historical phenomenon that is repeated, and that wider perspective is necessary somewhere in your analysis. The occupy movement may have been short-lived and crushed by the power of the state. But it was successful in my experience beyond our imaginings.

Your movement redefined everything that happened afterward. It is absolutely accepted that we live in an oligarchy, that wall street has destroyed the economy, that the banks are corrupt and the government is in their orbit. Your visceral reactions to the corruption that surrounds us made a profound mark upon the country's understanding of itself. Do not underestimate that. The thinking about what to do next had not yet evolved.

The corrupt capitalists are still in power and still control the major media, but they have lost the country. Sorry but there is no constituency there anymore to support their views. They must lie to us and trick us, as those in power have done. They must skew the elections. The path ahead was not clear to you or to us when your dramatic movement sprang up. And it is not clear now that we know these truths. We know how far away the power structure is from our values. And that is where we stand.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

"Occupy" failed because it had no goal, and having no goal, it didn't know how to get there. See: http://goo.gl/m6qmGn

Here is a quote from the above June 2012 article:

It goes on and on, protest after protest. Anti-racial profiling. Anti-union busting. Anti-tuition increases. Anti-school closings. Anti-mortgage fraud. Anti-unsustainable development. Anti-corruption. Anti-this, anti-that, anti-the other thing.

For reasons unknown, the Occupy movement seems to take a perverse pride in being leaderless and directionless, preferring to run hither and yon, protesting whatever strikes their fancy. No focus. No plan. No idea. Just protest.

The Tea Party has a simple, easily understood focus: Lower taxes. What is Occupy's simple, easily understood focus?

The business and political leaders, against whom Occupy protests, have learned one thing: Do nothing. Occupy will protest and then they will be gone, and we can resume business as usual.

The public grows weary of ineffectual, random, aimless protests, and Occupy, which began with such great promise, becomes last week's newspaper. A lost opportunity is a step backward, as people become discouraged and slide into lethargy.

Somewhere, in board rooms around the world, the 1% is laughing.

washunate, December 29, 2015 at 10:11 am

Do nothing? I'd be curious to hear what you mean on that. It took incredibly coordinated state action to defuse Occupy, not public weariness.

It's unfortunate Occupy was not able to organize in a way to neutralize such action, but at the very least, it pulled back the curtain on the police state specifically and the power of government more generally in a way no one can deny moving forward. That's the spark of hope from the various events of the last few years. The elites want us to believe they are all powerful. But it is actually taking them quite a bit of effort to maintain that illusion. In reality, they are strategically weak and vulnerable. And they know it.

Which is why the Democratic party has had to become so blatantly pro-inequality. Even a modest opposition to fascism on their part would ruin the efforts of the past few decades.

[Dec 29, 2015] The military strategy to defeat the Islamic State can be summed up as "isolate and eradicate"

Notable quotes:
"... "Our toothpaste will degrade and ultimately destroy cavities." ..."
"... D'oooooooooh! ..."
"... I suggest you read about the Boer War, where Roberts lost, and Kitchener, who replaced Roberts, won. Focus on the mechanism Kitchener employed to win – depopulation the countryside and gathering all the civilian (Afrikaans) population in camps, where a significant percentage died of diphtheria. ..."
"... "ISIS…ISIL..IS..(ok I prefer Daesh.. but whateva whateva)… is stockpiling RedBull for "The Long March" ..."
"... "I get the impression they are more a Wahhabi brand of ME Organized Crime in a religious jihadist wrapper than a bona-fide organizer of worldwide Caliphate." ..."
"... "Unlike, say the Taliban which has pursued a more modest goal of converting Afghanistan into a retro-fantasy barbaric Islamic fundamentalist State, IS has more ambitiously declared Jihad against the entire World. Now that's anyone and everyone including other Muslim sects that are not Wahhabis, or more precisely ANYONE including other Wahhabis not with the program!" ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Andrew Watts

RE: A Fearful Congress Sits Out the War Against ISIS

I have no idea what they're talking about. There aren't any American troops fighting the Islamic State in Northern Syria or Iraq. Only advisers and volunteers who do not see much frontline action… right?

The problem with the Obama Administration is that they seem to believe that every issue is a matter of public relations. I mean take the "degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State" statement for example. One of those words doesn't mean what they think it means. It makes a great marketing line from a toothpaste salesman though. "Our toothpaste will degrade and ultimately destroy cavities." F- yeah! In any case it's probably asking too much of Congress to give their vote of confidence in a war that lacks a coherent plan from the administration and when the US military may have exceeded it's military prerogative.

As for the British/German response there are potential consequences at stake that need to be considered. Fallout… eh? That's an interesting choice of words. D'oooooooooh!

Andrew Watts

…and because Congress shouldn't get off that easy and the fact it's the holiday season I offer the Obama administration the plan and media spin they desire in the spirit of the season. The military strategy to defeat the Islamic State can be summed up as "isolate and eradicate". By attacking and cutting major supply lines to and from the Islamic State's centers of gravity, with the co-operation of local and other opposition forces, IS forces will find themselves in increasingly dire straits. This is the strategy being followed by the Syrian Democratic Forces and was previously pursued by the Kurdish YPG/J. ("Just in case anybody didn't get the memo the first time around…") The successful result that this strategy has produced is self-evident thus far.

With the capture of Tishrin Dam and the ongoing advance from that area west of the Euphrates River and the forthcoming SDF campaign for the remaining IS territory in Hasakah province the Islamic State will find itself isolated in Aleppo province and cut off one of the last major supply lines from Turkey to the rest of the alleged Caliphate. By securing the remaining IS territory located in Hasaka province SDF will have effectively closed the most direct path from Mosul to Raqqa leaving it vulnerable. Raqqa will fall.

Ultimately, facing isolation and eradication in Mosul and cut off from it's remaining city strongholds in Anbar the Islamic State will face two incredibly bad choices; a guerrilla war of attrition that it will eventually lose or a high risk "Long March" maneuver into Saudi Arabia. We should all know which choice Mao successfully made.

God, this is gonna be an exciting year!

Synoia

Ultimately, facing isolation and eradication in Mosul and cut off from it's remaining city strongholds in Anbar the Islamic State will face two incredibly bad choices; a guerrilla war of attrition that it will eventually lose

And how pray, will ISIS, with legions of faithful supporters and new converts, a process fueled by US policy, US Military actions, and unwavering US support for Israel's bashing fellow Muslims on a daily basis, lead to a loss of a guerrilla war?

One cannot "win" a guerrilla war by attrition, because the actions of attrition generate supporters for the war at a greater rate than the loss from so called attrition.

I suggest you read about the Boer War, where Roberts lost, and Kitchener, who replaced Roberts, won. Focus on the mechanism Kitchener employed to win – depopulation the countryside and gathering all the civilian (Afrikaans) population in camps, where a significant percentage died of diphtheria.

Then explain how the lessons learned from the Boer War, an insurgency, from1899 to 1902, apply to ISIS today.

Those who do not know their history, etc…

Andrew Watts

For all it's pretense the Islamic State doesn't come close to representing every Sunni Muslim in the world. Although the idea of the re-emergence of the Caliphate must be an appealing ideal. As for blaming the US for everything wrong in the region, why do you think that the Shia and other minorities are targeted for annihilation by Sunni jihadists is solely the fault of Uncle Sam?

There are quite a few ways to win a guerrilla war. The Boer War was won by the British through the eradication of the guerrilla's base of support. Similarly the America crushed the Filipino insurgency through similar methods. Their loss was almost destined from the beginning though. The Filipinos were already divided by class, ethnicity, and geography and it's the latter I am focused on in the context of the former.

As other historical examples will prove there are less gruesome ways of accomplishing that goal. The Chinese Civil War will furnish many lessons to the students of history. The Chinese Nationalists tried and failed to wage a insurgency after they fled to Taiwan. In no small part due to the repeated defeats that were inflicted upon their forces by both foreign and domestic enemies and the subsequential humiliation that resulted.

Nobody wants to fight and die for a losing cause. Only for glorious victory.

Synoia

Answer the question: How will the ISIS insurgency collapse when there appears to be a large supply of the disaffected?

You made the assertion, state the means.

Banana Breakfast

US/Western/capitalist imperial boondoggles will continue to create disaffected youths, who will continue to become guerillas, but if IS, having talked some big talk and taken the big step of capturing territory and making the pretense of being a state level actor, loses their territory, IS will not be such an attractive name to associate with. Al Qaeda shrank because they became associated with losing, and only the serious, long game playing, professional revolutionaries have the patience to stick that out. When IS becomes associated with losing, they'll be replaced as well.

Andrew Watts

Somebody gets it. Furthermore IS fighters can be divided by their status as conscripts, mercenaries, and even fewer who are true believers that'll stick out the jihadist revolution to the end. Plus more than a few infiltrators from foreign intelligence agencies. It's the Levant after all.

Everybody thinks they can manipulate jihadist sentiment and it's gotta be one of the reasons why there's a glass ceiling for the advancement of non-Iraqis in the Islamic State.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef

That's human nature.

And you see that towards the end of any war, with generals defecting, leading to a swift defeat of the losing side. 'Saving lives,' they tell themselves and anyone will listen.

Going with the winner is how the rich will always have followers and supporters.

optimader

ISIS…ISIL..IS..(ok I prefer Daesh.. but whateva whateva)… is stockpiling RedBull for "The Long March"
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/07/19/Western-products-showcased-in-ISIS-shopping-mall-.html

I get the impression they are more a Wahhabi brand of ME Organized Crime in a religious jihadist wrapper than a bona-fide organizer of worldwide Caliphate. I mean, let's be generous and say the "organization" is good for what 40k dingdongs,, against the world?.. Really? How many times in History has that not worked?, (or as the Military would ultimately frame such an operation: "… it has been less than a complete success…)

Unlike, say the Taliban which has pursued a more modest goal of converting Afghanistan into a retro-fantasy barbaric Islamic fundamentalist State, IS has more ambitiously declared Jihad against the entire World. Now that's anyone and everyone including other Muslim sects that are not Wahhabis, or more precisely ANYONE including other Wahhabis not with the program!

I think of them more along the lines of the overly ambitious but ultimately doomed to fail Virus strain that kills it's hosts. Maybe they'll be the cause of a lot of death and destruction directly and indirectly as sovereign countries are used as fullscale weapons proving grounds, but ultimately IS will be hoisted by it's own Petard.
In the long play, targeting the least critical thinking disaffected youth in the West and ME with stale packages of M&Ms, Cadbury Chocolates and an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of shooting an AK (or being summarily married off to a GoldStar member if you're female) until you're aerosolized is not a solid longterm plan IMO.

Andrew Watts

"ISIS…ISIL..IS..(ok I prefer Daesh.. but whateva whateva)… is stockpiling RedBull for "The Long March"

They call themselves Islamic State so that's what I call them. It's been tough over the years trying to keep up with their constant name changes. I forget what came before ISI > ISIS > ISIL > IS. And hey when you can't drink alcohol because your religion forbids it you need other stimulants.


"I get the impression they are more a Wahhabi brand of ME Organized Crime in a religious jihadist wrapper than a bona-fide organizer of worldwide Caliphate."

Who knows. I still haven't made up my mind if the revanchist Baathists are using the jihadists for their own self-interest or the other way around. Before the inception of Al Qaeda in Iraq it was some motley crew of jihadists trying to destabilize Jordan and overthrow the government which sounds like something the Iraqi intelligence apparatus would want. After the Iraqi invasion they relocated to Anbar to wage an insurgency against the American occupation… who just so happen to link up with Saddam regime loyalists drawn from the intelligence services?

If the Iraqis who comprise the leadership positions in the Islamic State are only in it for the money the whole Caliphate could collapse as the leaders abandon the cause when the prospects turn sour. That seems like wishful thinking though.


"Unlike, say the Taliban which has pursued a more modest goal of converting Afghanistan into a retro-fantasy barbaric Islamic fundamentalist State, IS has more ambitiously declared Jihad against the entire World. Now that's anyone and everyone including other Muslim sects that are not Wahhabis, or more precisely ANYONE including other Wahhabis not with the program!"

Undoubtedly the Islamic State will target other Wahhabis as their jihad is aimed at other Sunni Muslims. That's why I think of them as Wahhabi revolutionaries. They're trying to overthrow not just the state, secular or otherwise, but eradicate other sects of Islam.

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john

I hear the Israeli Secret Inteligence Service isn't so happy about the "ISIS"-branding issue.

The elites tell us the truth right to our faces, but it is so terrible and offensive to our humanity we can only turn away.

The same narciscists who see us as animals, and cast themselves as gods are mere beasts.

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different clue

Probably each thinks it is using the other. But because the Old Baathists are smarter, and they have the institutional memory of decades of conspiratorial activity, and then secret police activity, etc.; the Old Baathists will outlive ISIS in the end. The Old Baathists will not disappear on their own. They will either have to be invited to Come In From The Cold, or they will have to be separately and specially hunted down and killed.

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Jim Haygood

'There aren't any American troops fighting the Islamic State in Northern Syria or Iraq.'

Things have changed, comrade. Jim Dandy Special Ops to the rescue:

WASHINGTON - They are taking on a larger combat role in Afghanistan, where the war was supposed to be over. They are headed to Syria to help fight the Islamic State in its stronghold. And President Obama recently ordered nearly 300 of them to Cameroon to assist African troops in their battle against a militant group that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State.

Even as Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that he opposes American "boots on the ground" in far-flung parts of the world, his administration continues to carve out exceptions for Special Operations forces - with American officials often resorting to linguistic contortions to mask the forces' combat role.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/28/world/middleeast/more-and-more-special-forces-become-obamas-military-answer.html

This is how empires die: $58 billion for "overseas contingency operations" in the omnibus spending bill.

It would just as productive (and create more jobs) to build a giant marble sphinx on the Capitol Mall, featuring the fatuous mug of Obamamandias, King of Kings. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair.

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MyLessThanPrimeBeef

When the legions retreated from Britain (or, was it Dacia), the empire was over.

Perhaps the lesson is, never retreat.

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Andrew Watts

The Romans didn't exactly go out with a whimper. So the potential lesson to be learned is that even when the empire is collapsing you can still annihilate some barbarians on the way out.

It's not a perfect world.

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Synoia

Don't be ridiculous. Rome fell in 410 AD, well after Constantine moved the Roman Empire to Constantinople, where it continued for about another 1,000 years.

It was the western roman empire which crumbled in 410 ad.

Rome at that time was governed by the Church.

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efschumacher

Lest We Forget: the Romans retreated from Britain because they needed to protect the 'heartland' that had already been sacked by Attila and his running dogs. The Romans retreated because the Germans were in the process of winning. That led to the 1500 year Reich that we are still enjoying.

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Andrew Watts

I can still pretend that they're just advisers and volunteers even though the Obama administration is making it impossible to do so. That'd be the smart move as opposed to the other option.

…and where's your holiday spirit?!

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Jim Haygood

Holiday spirit? I donated to Médecins Sans Frontières to help offset the damage that the Kunduz Killa did when he bombed their hospital.

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Andrew Watts

Well, you know sure know how to poop in the punch bowl.

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Carolinian

Reaganmandias. Oh wait, they already named the airport after him.

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Katniss Everdeen

No surprise to most here, but the "affordable" care act is not so "affordable" after all.

"I love my family, and I'm not going to let them go without health insurance," said Kevin Broyles, a 63-year-old insurance broker from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Broyles, who had been paying $629 per month for coverage from a long-standing Blue Cross plan for himself, his wife and their three children, recently got an an "eye-opener" when Blue Cross canceled his plan because it was not compliant with ACA standards. He learned the lowest-priced "bronze" plan in his area would cost $1,161 per month, or $13,932 annually to cover himself, his wife, and their two teenage children who will remain on the family's plan.

"This is almost 14 percent of our pretax income," said Broyles. "If we could afford the [second least-expensive] 'silver plan' in our area, that would cost $1,568 per month, or $18,816 per year. That would be almost 19 percent of our pretax income."

Broyles makes about $100,000 per year. I can remember when that kind of income was considered "wealthy."

Gee, I wonder where all the "savings" from lower gas prices went.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/24/obamacare-plans-put-big-dent-in-customers-wallets.html

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edmondo

See, under ObamaCare, he can get insurance, he just can't afford it!

And the clowns over at the DNC will sit there in wonderment why these "stupid people" continue to "vote against their own interests".

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MyLessThanPrimeBeef

It sounds like they are in the infamous 1% circle.

Too bad they don't belong to the 0.01%.

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allan

But as with a glass of red wine with dinner, too much of a good thing creates new problems. If people have insurance that pays for too much, they don't have enough skin in the game. They may be too quick to seek professional medical care.


(Mankiw&Summers, 2015).
The problem with the family in the story is that
they don't have enough skin to get in the game.
Which should incentivize them to get another job or two. Or vote GOP. I wonder which will happen.

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Vatch

Huh. I wonder what kind of health insurance policies Summers and Mankiw have; pretty good, I would imagine. They're both tenured full professors (not adjunct professors) at Harvard. I suspect they're doing rather well financially, and will continue to do so whether or not they have the proper amount of skin in the game. It's easy for people like that to demand that others should pay more.

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Katniss Everdeen

Always love that "skin in the game" bit. If they wanted "healthcare consumers" to have "skin in the game," they'd have put price tags on everything. That "shoppers" could see PRIOR to "purchasing."

Interesting concept those price tags. And pretty hilarious watching people try to "shop" without 'em.

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flora

"Always love that "skin in the game" bit."
heh. It always comes out sounding like "pound of flesh."

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ambrit

Or, as Obamas' "Uncle Shylock" would put it:
"My debtor! Oh my ducats! Oh my debtor,
Fled with an Austerian! Oh my Austerian ducats!
Justice, the Law, my ducats and my debtor!
A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats,
Oh double ducats, stolen from me by my debtor!
And jewels–two stones, two rich and precious stones–
Stolen by my debtor. Justice, find the churl!"

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Katniss Everdeen

Always reminds me of the movie "Silence of the Lambs." The serial killer kidnapped his victims and starved them for a few days to loosen up their skin. Then he killed them and cut pieces of skin off to make a dress.

Sounds about right.

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Pat

I always feel the need to point out the various things the insurance industry and Private Medical jettisoned when adapting the Swiss system for the Heritage/Dole/Romney/Obama health insurance plan.

In this case, the government also regulates all medical costs. In Switzerland if you get an appendectomy it costs X. There might be some differences of price based on Canton, but otherwise if you get it at one hospital it costs X, if you get it at another it costs X. If you have insurance it costs X, any insurance, if you don't it costs X, Same with drugs, medical tests and doctors visits. You may not chose not to have the appendectomy, but you know what it costs.

That and everything else they jettisoned is why the Swiss system still works. It may be the most expensive version of universal health care out there, but it still works. But we had to butcher it to have it because even though it was the most 'market friendly' it was highly regulated and controlled and so not market friendly. So we have the most expensive health care in the world and still do not have universal care – even with our piece of crap version of 'reform'.

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Jagger

They may be too quick to seek professional medical care.

I don't know about everyone else but I don't want to go to the doctor. I suspect most people have other things to do and only go if they absolutely have to. The percentage of people who go to the doctor just because they have an urge has got to be pretty small.

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cwaltz

I have co pay insurance for doctor's visits and I still can think of at least a half a dozen things I'd rather do with the $25 than sit in an office with other sick people waiting on a doctor that may or may not tell me what's wrong and how to fix it.

$25 buys flowers for my garden, it pays for the movies for the family, it pays for the indoor pool for the family in our burg, it could pay for a new book from the bookstore, etc, etc

All things I'd rather do with the money than visit with the doctor. I think it's absurd that the insurance community is selling this idea that people are visiting doctors too quickly for no reason whatsoever(which just so happens to cost them in profits.) When individuals go to the doctor they're going because something is wrong and they want help(whether the medical community can provide it or not is in my mind a different argument.)

[Dec 28, 2015] 2015 – The year Russia exposed Western barbarism

From Countervailing power - Wikipedia.
Countervailing Power, or countervailence, is the idea in political theory of institutionalized mechanisms that the wielding of power within a polity having two or more centers can, and often does, provide counter-forces that usefully oppose each other. This political organization stands in contrast to polities such as principalities where "various princes were absolute rulers in their domain"[1] or in modern examples of totalitarian governments.
In the 20th century, "Countervailing Power" is a theory of political modification of markets, formulated by American economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1952 book American Capitalism. In the classic liberal economy, goods and services are provided and prices set by free bargaining. According to Galbraith, modern economies give massive powers to large business corporations to bias this process, and there arise 'countervailing' powers in the form of trade unions, citizens' organizations and so on, to offset business's excessive advantage.[2]
Seventeenth century England was an active time for the development of countervailance theory. Although much political discourse during the period was focused on the matter of sovereignty, or absolutism for the sovereign as, for example, we observe in the writings of Thomas Hobbes, the principle "significance of seventeenth-century England for constitutional theory was that during this period the concept of sovereignty was replaced by the concept of checks and balances."[."[3] The evolution of political practice in England paralleled the evolution in theory, for it was during this period that "the operational dynamics of the system developed in accordance with the countervailance model of government."[3] While the trend reversed somewhat under the power of Oliver Cromwell and the era of the later Stuarts, and was therefore rather uneven over the flow of the 17th century, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 "firmly established the principles of dispersed power and checks and balances as the central pillars of English constitutionalism."[3]
Notable quotes:
"... The US, Britain and France have reportedly supplied weapons to so-called "moderate rebels" only for these weapons and indeed fighters to end up with the known extremist brigades of IS and Al Nusra. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also funded Islamist networks, such as Jaish al Fatah and Ahrar al Shams, which are known to be involved with IS and Al Nusra. ..."
"... A central part of the charade is how NATO member and EU aspirant Turkey has been involved in smuggling oil and weapons across the Syrian border. Russia's concerted airstrikes have exposed the Turkish connection to the Western-backed illegal regime-change operation in Syria, and no doubt that was a factor in why Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane on November 24. ..."
"... The deterioration of legal standards, sovereignty and explosion of conflicts and terrorism in many parts of the world can be directly attributed to the machinations of the United States and its European partners. "Do you see now what you have done?" asked Putin before the UN. ..."
Dec 28, 2015 | RT Op-Edge

... ... ...

Russia's military intervention in the Syrian conflict in support of its long-time ally beginning on September 30 has transformed the dynamic. Russia's intervention, along with that of Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement, is the only lawful foreign contingency in the five-year-old war, because it has been requested and approved by the Syrian government.

All other foreign interventions in Syria from the United States and EU members, Britain, France and Germany, are in violation of international law. Russia's intense aerial bombardment against all illegally armed militants, including the IS and Al Nusra Front, is not encumbered with the false dichotomy articulated by the US-led military coalition, which disingenuously divides militants into extremists and moderates. In three months of Russian aerial operations, the losses suffered by anti-government militants in Syria have been much greater than during 16 months of bombing by the US-led coalition. That is because Russia is working in close liaison with the Syrian Arab Army, which is now making sweeping ground advances. Also, the US and its allies are accused of not being fully committed to combating terrorist groups in Syria, because these militants are at the same time being used by Washington and its partners as proxy forces to illegally achieve regime change in Syria.

The US, Britain and France have reportedly supplied weapons to so-called "moderate rebels" only for these weapons and indeed fighters to end up with the known extremist brigades of IS and Al Nusra. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also funded Islamist networks, such as Jaish al Fatah and Ahrar al Shams, which are known to be involved with IS and Al Nusra.

Oil smugglers are us

Russia's dramatic intervention in Syria has exposed what can only be described as a charade in which the US, European powers and their regional allies have been involved in trying to destroy a sovereign country through covertly supporting an array of illegally armed mercenary networks.

A central part of the charade is how NATO member and EU aspirant Turkey has been involved in smuggling oil and weapons across the Syrian border. Russia's concerted airstrikes have exposed the Turkish connection to the Western-backed illegal regime-change operation in Syria, and no doubt that was a factor in why Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane on November 24.

... ... ...

Putin made a seminal speech at the UN General Assembly in September when he clearly called out rogue powers who have trashed international law with illegal military, political and economic interventions overseas. The deterioration of legal standards, sovereignty and explosion of conflicts and terrorism in many parts of the world can be directly attributed to the machinations of the United States and its European partners. "Do you see now what you have done?" asked Putin before the UN.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

READ MORE:

[Dec 28, 2015] Wars Past and Wars to Come

Notable quotes:
"... With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, elements within the U.S. ruling class came to believe that their country was militarily invincible. ..."
"... A long-heralded Revolution in Military Affairs was taking place, enabling the United States to reshape the world. New smart technologies would disperse the "fog of war," making it possible for the United States to kill its enemies without their being able to strike back, and the "Vietnam syndrome" could be overcome once and for all.… Even so, at this point in time, the U.S. government proceeded with considerable caution. ..."
"... Ten years later such caution had been replaced by an overweening self-confidence, by a belief that the United States could completely reshape the Middle East, starting with Iraq, and then moving on to Syria and Iran. And, moreover, this could all be achieved with a comparatively small invading and occupying army. ..."
monthlyreview.org

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, elements within the U.S. ruling class came to believe that their country was militarily invincible. Indeed, they believed this newfound military superiority over any potential rival was something new in human history. So great was its technological advantage, the United States could destroy its enemies with complete impunity.

A long-heralded Revolution in Military Affairs was taking place, enabling the United States to reshape the world. New smart technologies would disperse the "fog of war," making it possible for the United States to kill its enemies without their being able to strike back, and the "Vietnam syndrome" could be overcome once and for all.… Even so, at this point in time, the U.S. government proceeded with considerable caution.

The then-secretary of defense, Dick Cheney no less, made clear that the United States did not invade and occupy Iraq at this time because of the danger of finding itself in a "quagmire" where it would be taking casualties while the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunnis fought it out. The administration decided not to involve itself in "that civil war."

Such a commitment would have had to involve the use of "overwhelming force" for an extended period if it was to have any chance of success. This was in 1991.

Ten years later such caution had been replaced by an overweening self-confidence, by a belief that the United States could completely reshape the Middle East, starting with Iraq, and then moving on to Syria and Iran. And, moreover, this could all be achieved with a comparatively small invading and occupying army.

[Dec 24, 2015] European Leaders Cry Foul Against Germany's Support for Gas Pipeline

Dec 21, 2015 | OilPrice.com
There is a growing chorus in Europe against Germany's support to expand a major natural gas pipeline from Russia over fears that it will leave Europe more dependent on their eastern neighbor.

The Nord Stream 2 would build on the existing Nord Stream pipeline, a conduit that delivers Russian natural gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea. Crucially, the project cuts out Ukraine, a key strategic objective for Russia since the original project's inception.

The latest $11 billion expansion would double the pipeline's current capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. From Russia's perspective, the project will increase market share and gas sales; from Germany's point of view, the project increases sources of supply. Nord Stream 2 was originally conceived of years ago, but in June 2015 Gazprom signed a memorandum with Royal Dutch Shell and OMV to move forward.

Nick Cunningham is a Vermont-based writer on energy and environmental issues. You can follow him on twitter at @nickcunningham1

[Dec 24, 2015] Obama's foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices

Notable quotes:
"... At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States. ..."
The Washington Post

Plunging crude oil prices are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars away from the treasure chests of oil-exporting nations, putting some of the United States' adversaries under greater stress.

After two years of falling prices, the effects have reverberated across the globe, fueling economic discontent in Venezuela, changing Russia's economic and political calculations, and dampening Iranian leaders' hopes of a financial windfall when sanctions linked to its nuclear program will be lifted next year.

At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

"Cheap oil hurts revenues for some of our foes and helps some of our friends. The Europeans, South Koreans and Japanese - they're all winners," said Robert McNally, director for energy in President George W. Bush's National Security Council and now head of the Rapidan Group, a consulting firm. "It's not good for Russia, that's for sure, and it's not good for Iran."

... ... ...

In Iran, cheap oil is forcing the government to ratchet down expectations.

The much-anticipated lifting of sanctions as a result of the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program is expected to result in an additional half-million barrels a day of oil exports by the middle of 2016.

But at current prices, Iran's income from those sales will still fall short of revenue earned from constrained oil exports a year ago.

Moreover, low prices are making it difficult for Iran to persuade international oil companies to develop Iran's long-neglected oil and gas fields, which have been off limits since sanctions were broadened in 2012.

"Should Iran come out of sanctions, they will face a very different market than the one they had left in 2012," Amos Hochstein, the State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, said in an interview. "They were forced to recede in a world of over $100 oil, and sanctions will be lifted at $36 oil. They will have to work harder to convince companies to come in and take the risk for supporting their energy infrastructure and their energy production."

Meanwhile, in Russia, low oil prices have compounded damage done by U.S. and European sanctions that were designed to target Russia's energy and financial sectors. And when Iran increases output, its grade of crude oil will most likely go to Europe, where it will compete directly with Russia's Urals oil, McNally said.

Steven Mufson covers the White House. Since joining The Post, he has covered economics, China, foreign policy and energy.

[Dec 24, 2015] Is The Russian-Turkish Standoff An Opportunity For The West

Notable quotes:
"... apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. ..."
"... At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that. ..."
Dec 14, 2015 | OilPrice.com

It was, in this latest incident, Turkey, working with the U.S. Government of President Barack Obama, which planned and executed the November 24, 2015, interception of the Russian Air Force Su-24. The event was not a spontaneous occurrence, and, apparently, two USAF F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters (which had been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, in November 2015) were in the air as back-up to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force: THK) F-16s, one of which shot down the Su-24. USAF sources subsequently said that the U.S. was taken by surprise when the THK shot down the Sukhoi, but that hardly squares with the historical Turkish practice of coordinating such actions with Washington. Moreover, the Turkish narrative that it "warned" the Russian aircraft several times over a period of five minutes before the THK F-16 shot it down also does not square with reality.

And in this particular ground attack operation, the two Su-24s - including the one which was destroyed - were engaged on missions which did not require them to enter Turkish airspace, even though an acci-dental entry into it was conceivable. Their targets were in the area of northern Syria: pro-Ankara Turkmen militia engaged in supporting the massive cross-border operations of ISIS (asad- Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-'Iraq wash-Sham, or Islamic State) moving oil, fighters, and weapons across the Syria-Turkish border.

Dave Majumdar, Defense Editor at the U.S. blogsite, The National Interest, on December 7, 2015, noted: "The United States and Turkey are working on an agreement that would allow the US Air Force F-15Cs to defend Turkish airspace. However, the precise rules of engagement and procedures have yet to be ironed out." It is possible that Turkey wanted to illustrate to the US that its airspace was, in fact, threatened. But what has been clear is that no credible Russian military threat to Turkey existed.

At best, Russia may now move to cover its tactical operations in northern Syria more effectively by offering its own deterrence of top cover by advanced fighters while the ground attack aircraft, such as the Su-24s, do their job. It is also clear that any further Turkish incursions into Syrian airspace were now at-risk, but the Turks already knew that.

Recently-retired U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn publicly said in Moscow on December 10, 2015, that there was no possibility that the Turkish shootdown was undertaken without the express permission and direction of "the highest authority" in Turkey.

Indeed, Turkey has traditionally played the role of aggressor in terms of airspace violation. Not only did the THK lose an RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft well into Syrian airspace on June 22, 2012, as a result of surface-to-air missile fire, it continues to consistently invade the airspace of fellow NATO member and neighbor Greece in a manner far more hostile than the penetration of Turkish airspace it alleged Russia undertook (for 17 seconds). THK F-16s entered Greek airspace some 2,200 times in 2014 alone. Moreover, Turkey consistently has violated Cypriot air-, sea, and land-space since its 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus.1

So Turkey is hardly the victim. [Indeed, by deliberately starting the "civil war" to remove Pres. Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria, Turkey only incurred a "refugee problem" as a result of its own actions, and has subsequently sought to push those refugees onward into Europe as quickly as possible, seeking political rewards from Europe as the only power capable of stopping the refugee flows.]

In any event, Pres. Erdogan, three years ago said that "a short- term border violation can never be a pre-text for an attack". But that, of course, was when a THK aircraft was shot down by Syria when the THK F-4E deliberately and for some time penetrated Syrian airspace on a mission against Syria.

... .... ....

Turkey, too, will not remain inactive. It will resume its support for anti-Russian terrorism, including support for jihadist movements in the Caucasus. These have included such groups as Kvadrat (Quadrant), a Bos-nia-based Wahhabist unit, which had "laundered" its operations through Turkish-occupied Northern Cy-prus, thence into Turkey and on into the Russian Caucasus.4 But the reactivation of Turkish-backed terror-ism in the Russian Caucasus will be far wider than just Kvadrat: Turkey works extensively, even now, with Chechen and other Caucasus groups inside ISIS and in the jihadi operations in Syria.

Significantly, by early December 2015, President Erdogan assumed that the crisis had passed sufficiently for Turkey to expand its activities in the area. There was no indication that Turkey and ISIS had diminished their extensive and integrated operations in terms of oil transactions, the supply of weapons to ISIS via Turkey, and the use of Turkey as a medical support arena for ISIS wounded. But Turkey went further and deployed Turkish Army troops into northern Iraq near the ISIS-held city of Mosul in early December 2015. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi led calls for Turkish troops to be withdrawn immediately; they had not been withdrawn by the time this report went to press.

... ... ...

The path, however, is open for a great Russian cooperation with the Kurdish forces, as well as with other regional allies which are concerned about Turkey's strategic adventurism. The Kurds, particularly those led by the majority Kurdish force (under the PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, the Kurdish Workers' Par-ty), are now well underway in responding to Ankara. The civil war is underway inside Turkey, and it re-mains literally out-of-bounds to the international media. What is significant is that the Kurds have thus far not agreed to cooperate with Russia, but are awaiting a nod from their principal ally, Israel, before trust-ing Russia.

Thus Israel's position becomes critical in this debate.

Much of the Israeli leadership still hopes that a rapprochement might be achievable with Turkey, but that hope is fading. On the other hand, Israeli planners have to consider whether a broken Turkey - perhaps replaced by a patchwork of states, and with no non-Arab player other than Iran to monitor the region - is worse than a troublesome Turkey. There is also the question of whether unqualified Israeli support for the Kurdish "big push" against Turkey would then jeopardize Israeli strategic relations with Saudi Arabia, which is apparently undecided on whether, or how much, it favors a continuation of the Turkish state.

Without Turkey, according to the Saudi rationale, who would be the counterweight to Iran?

Israel is also not immune to this argument, although for Israel the prospect exists for an eventual reunion with Tehran, after the clerical leadership goes, or modifies.

So Russia is left with three potential regional allies - apart from Syria, Iraq, and Iran - against Ankara: Greece, Egypt, and Jordan. And Cyprus and Armenia to the limited extent that they can assist.

... ... ...

Articles 10 to 18 are the articles which allow for various states, including Russia, to transit military ships through the straits. In short, if Turkey invoked either Article 20 or Article 21, Russia would be legally blocked from moving any naval vessel through the Straits.

Moscow has clearly long gamed out this scenario, which accounts for President Putin's commitment to a measured response to Ankara. Thus it must be a proxy response, for the most part, as well as an economic one. But while it demonstrates the delicacy needed by Moscow, it also demonstrates the reality that Russia cannot continue to be strategically constrained by an increasingly hostile and ambitious Turkey.

So where Turkey is vulnerable is in its economy.

The effects of Russian economic embargoes against Turkey are far more significant than would seem to be the case because the Turkish economy is more vulnerable than it has been portrayed. It is far more leveraged with borrowings than at any time in the recent past. It has a discreet outflow of domestic capital and is heavily reliant on discreet financial injections, probably coming from Qatar, and possible Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia's ability to prop up Turkey is becoming limited.

...while Turkey may not be regarded as an entirely stable partner for the PRC in the region, Beijing would be wary of acting precipitously against it.

...Iran - like Russia - is constrained to act cautiously and indirectly against Turkey. Moreover, Iran cannot risk that its own Kurdish population could join with Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds to form a new Kurdish state.

...And in the short-term, this all has hardened Ankara's position on remaining in control of the northern 37 percent of Cyprus, which it has occupied militarily since 1974.

...There is no doubt that Pres. Erdogan believes that continued brinkmanship will be possible, although he is not perhaps aware that he is losing the information war, or the psychological war.

Amvet on December 15 2015 said:

Thank you Mr. Copley for a well researched, honest, and very interesting article. Any chance of getting this published in any US mainstream
newspaper or magazine ?? .

Jim on December 15 2015 said:

...Nice information actually, most mainstream media doesn't even come close. Thanks. definitely a deliberate and pre-approved escalation of the conflict, pointing fingers back to Washington, D.C.

Chris on December 15 2015 said:

A great article that brings together much of what has been reported and provides a coherent framework for understanding it. This piece should be in a general interest publication such as the NY Times so that more Americans could understand what is really going on in the Middle East.

[Dec 23, 2015] Turkey won't respond to Putin's insulting comments

nation.com.pk

On Thursday, Putin escalated the rhetoric by saying that Turks had decided to "lick the Americans in a certain place" as he accused of a "creeping Islamisation of Turkey that would have Ataturk rolling in his grave".

... ... ...

...He has been shown that if you poke Turkey and NATO in the eye, bad things happen," said Bryza, who is also former deputy assistant of the US secretary of state for the South Caucasus.

"I think this [combative rhetoric] is going to fade away. It already has on the Turkish side, they have been more restrained."

He added that it was likely that the Syrian conflict and Turkey's ties with Israel will take centre stage in the weeks ahead.

Israel and Turkey reached a preliminary agreement to normalise relations, including the return of one another's ambassadors to both countries, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The deal came five years after relations reached a low point for the two countries over a deadly Israeli raid on a ship carrying Turkish activists attempting to break Israel's blockade on Gaza.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that negotiations with Israel are "ongoing at the expert level", while in New York attending international and UN talks on Syria.

harry

Putin does not have to answer his parliament. He will show his teeth when the situation demands it. Turkey cannot afford to be on the wrong side of Putin.

[Dec 22, 2015] Seymour M. Hersh · Military to Military · LRB 7 January 2016

lrb.co.uk

Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.


The military's resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria's takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an 'all-source' appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration's insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama's Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, 'that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.' The assessment was bleak: there was no viable 'moderate' opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'

'Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,' the former JCS adviser said. 'The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration's policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad's got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It's the "anybody else is better" issue that the JCS had with Obama's policy.' The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama's policy would have 'had a zero chance of success'. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.

[Dec 21, 2015] Ignorance is Strength

Notable quotes:
"... " it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries" ..."
"... It's okay to bullshit if the Culturally Superior Westerner ™ is dissing with libelious claims Inferior Non-Westerner. See, who needs any proof that "Putin kills journalists"? No one! Not even trump or their auditory – They Know It For Fact ™. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al, December 19, 2015 at 11:02 am
Butnits Insider: Donald Trump left Joe Scarborough stunned after being asked about Vladimir Putin killing journalists
https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-praises-vladimir-putin-125622048.html

…Scarborough pointed to Putin's status as a notorious strongman.

"Well, I mean, it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?" Scarborough asked.

"He's running his country, and at least he's a leader," Trump replied. "Unlike what we have in this country."

"But again: He kills journalists that don't agree with him," Scarborough said.

The Republican presidential front-runner said there was "a lot of killing going on" around the world and then suggested that Scarborough had asked him a different question.

"I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know," Trump replied. "There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that's the way it is. But you didn't ask me [that] question, you asked me a different question. So that's fine."

Scarborough was left visibly stunned.

"I'm confused," the MSNBC host said. "So I mean, you obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?"

"Oh sure, absolutely," Trump said…

…But Friday during his "Morning Joe" interview, Trump said he always "felt fine" about Putin and touted the Russian president's poll numbers. Putin's position in his country is bolstered by the Russian government's control over much of the Russian news media.

"I always felt fine about Putin," Trump said. "I think that he's a strong leader. He's a powerful leader … He's actually got a popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader."

Trump contrasted Putin's numbers with President Obama's.

"I think he's up in the 80s. You see where Obama's in the 30s and low 40s. And he's up in the 80s," Trump said. "And I don't know who does the polls. Maybe he does the polls, but I think they're done by American companies, actually."
####

When I read stuff like this, I'm so glad the US is so far away. Damn modern technology.

Lyttenburgh, December 19, 2015 at 11:50 am
" it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries"

It's okay to bullshit if the Culturally Superior Westerner ™ is dissing with libelious claims Inferior Non-Westerner. See, who needs any proof that "Putin kills journalists"? No one! Not even trump or their auditory – They Know It For Fact ™.

P.S. "Ignorance is Strength"

[Dec 21, 2015] Journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure but the best journalists choose faction that actually embraces reality

"... Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. ..."
"... Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come! ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Sy Hersh's latest via M of A:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm
Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad's cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.
Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm
I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

It's an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

My suggestion: don't get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

It's worth remembering that Hersh's articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

Given that it's axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

I especially like the sign off:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

* Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to "own" the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone "right round the horn" – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

Tim Owen, December 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Of course it's worth noting that Hersh had to revert to publishing this "intimate" conversation between American power structures in a foreign publication. What does that tell you about the "freedom index"? Samizdat here we come!

[Dec 20, 2015] Michael Hudson The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia

Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is ..."
"... KILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy ..."
"... What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts. ..."
"... After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20. [8] ..."
"... The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests. [10] ..."
"... China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion. ..."
"... It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us". ..."
"... what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war? ..."
December 18, 2015 | naked capitalism

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is KILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy

The nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists seems to be coming true: foreign economic independence from U.S. control. Instead of privatizing and neoliberalizing the world under U.S.-centered financial planning and ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration on the basis of Russian oil and tax exports and Chinese financing. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank programs that favor U.S. suppliers, banks and bondholders (with the United States holding unique veto power).

Russia's 2013 loan to Ukraine, made at the request of Ukraine's elected pro-Russian government, demonstrated the benefits of mutual trade and investment relations between the two countries. As Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov points out, Ukraine's "international reserves were barely enough to cover three months' imports, and no other creditor was prepared to lend on terms acceptable to Kiev. Yet Russia provided $3 billion of much-needed funding at a 5 per cent interest rate, when Ukraine's bonds were yielding nearly 12 per cent."[1]

What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts.

On December 3 (one week before the IMF changed its rules so as to hurt Russia), Prime Minister Putin proposed that Russia "and other Eurasian Economic Union countries should kick-off consultations with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible economic partnership."[2] Russia also is seeking to build pipelines to Europe through friendly instead of U.S.-backed countries.

Moving to denominate their trade and investment in their own currencies instead of dollars, China and Russia are creating a geopolitical system free from U.S. control. After U.S. officials threatened to derange Russia's banking linkages by cutting it off from the SWIFT interbank clearing system, China accelerated its creation of the alternative China International Payments System (CIPS), with its own credit card system to protect Eurasian economies from the shrill threats made by U.S. unilateralists.

Russia and China are simply doing what the United States has long done: using trade and credit linkages to cement their geopolitical diplomacy. This tectonic geopolitical shift is a Copernican threat to New Cold War ideology: Instead of the world economy revolving around the United States (the Ptolemaic idea of America as "the indispensible nation"), it may revolve around Eurasia. As long as the global financial papacy remains grounded in Washington at the offices of the IMF and World Bank, such a shift in the center of gravity will be fought with all the power of the American Century (indeed, American Millennium) inquisition.

Imagine the following scenario five years from now. China will have spent half a decade building high-speed railroads, ports power systems and other construction for Asian and African countries, enabling them to grow and export more. These exports will be coming on line to repay the infrastructure loans. Also, suppose that Russia has been supplying the oil and gas energy needed for these projects.

To U.S. neocons this specter of AIIB government-to-government lending and investment creates fear of a world independent of U.S. control. Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries. There would be less need for foreign government to finance budget shortfalls by selling off their key public infrastructure privatizing their economies. Instead of dismantling public spending, the AIIB and a broader Eurasian economic union would do what the United States itself practices, and seek self-sufficiency in basic needs such as food, technology, banking, credit creation and monetary policy.

With this prospect in mind, suppose an American diplomat meets with the leaders of debtors to China, Russia and the AIIB and makes the following proposal: "Now that you've got your increased production in place, why repay? We'll make you rich if you stiff our New Cold War adversaries and turn to the West. We and our European allies will help you assign the infrastructure to yourselves and your supporters, and give these assets market value by selling shares in New York and London. Then, you can spend your surpluses in the West."

How can China or Russia collect in such a situation? They can sue. But what court will recognize their claim – that is, what court that the West would pay attention to?

That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year. The looming conflict was made immediate by Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default. U.S. lobbyists have just changed the IMF rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to enforce payment of their loans.

The IMF's Role as Enforcer of Inter-Government Debts

When it comes down to enforcing nations to pay inter-government debts, the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club hold the main leverage. As coordinator of central bank "stabilization" loans (the neoliberal euphemism for imposing austerity and destabilizing debtor economies, Greece-style), the IMF is able to withhold not only its own credit but also that of governments and global banks participating when debtor countries need refinancing. Countries that do not agree to privatize their infrastructure and sell it to Western buyers are threatened with sanctions, backed by U.S.-sponsored "regime change" and "democracy promotion" Maidan-style.

This was the setting on December 8, when Chief IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice announced: "The IMF's Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors." The creditor leverage that the IMF has used is that if a nation is in financial arrears to any government, it cannot qualify for an IMF loan – and hence, for packages involving other governments. This has been the system by which the dollarized global financial system has worked for half a century. The beneficiaries have been creditors in US dollars.

In this U.S.-centered worldview, China and Russia loom as the great potential adversaries – defined as independent power centers from the United States as they create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an alternative to NATO, and the AIIB as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank tandem. The very name, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, implies that transportation systems and other infrastructure will be financed by governments, not relinquished into private hands to become rent-extracting opportunities financed by U.S.-centered bank credit to turn the rent into a flow of interest payments.

The focus on a mixed public/private economy sets the AIIB at odds with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its aim of relinquishing government planning power to the financial and corporate sector for their own short-term gains, and above all the aim of blocking government's money-creating power and financial regulation. Chief Nomura economist Richard Koo, explained the logic of viewing the AIIB as a threat to the US-controlled IMF: "If the IMF's rival is heavily under China's influence, countries receiving its support will rebuild their economies under what is effectively Chinese guidance, increasing the likelihood they will fall directly or indirectly under that country's influence."[3]

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov accused the IMF decision of being "hasty and biased."[4] But it had been discussed all year long, calculating a range of scenarios for a long-term sea change in international law. The aim of this change is to isolate not only Russia, but even more China in its role as creditor to African countries and prospective AIIB borrowers. U.S. officials walked into the IMF headquarters in Washington with the legal equivalent of financial suicide vests, having decided that the time had come to derail Russia's ability to collect on its sovereign loan to Ukraine, and of even larger import, China's plan for a New Silk Road integrating a Eurasian economy independent of U.S. financial and trade control. Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the NATO-oriented Atlantic Council, points out:

The IMF staff started contemplating a rule change in the spring of 2013 because nontraditional creditors, such as China, had started providing developing countries with large loans. One issue was that these loans were issued on conditions out of line with IMF practice. China wasn't a member of the Paris Club, where loan restructuring is usually discussed, so it was time to update the rules.

The IMF intended to adopt a new policy in the spring of 2016, but the dispute over Russia's $3 billion loan to Ukraine has accelerated an otherwise slow decision-making process.[5]

The Wall Street Journal concurred that the underlying motivation for changing the IMF's rules was the threat that Chinese lending would provide an alternative to IMF loans and its demands for austerity. "IMF-watchers said the fund was originally thinking of ensuring China wouldn't be able to foil IMF lending to member countries seeking bailouts as Beijing ramped up loans to developing economies around the world."[6] In short, U.S. strategists have designed a policy to block trade and financial agreements organized outside of U.S. control and that of the IMF and World Bank in which it holds unique veto power.

The plan is simple enough. Trade follows finance, and the creditor usually calls the tune. That is how the United States has used the Dollar Standard to steer Third World trade and investment since World War II along lines benefiting the U.S. economy.

The cement of trade credit and bank lending is the ability of creditors to collect on the international debts being negotiated. That is why the United States and other creditor nations have used the IMF as an intermediary to act as "honest broker" for loan consortia. ("Honest broker" means in practice being subject to U.S. veto power.) To enforce its financial leverage, the IMF has long followed the rule that it will not sponsor any loan agreement or refinancing for governments that are in default of debts owed to other governments. However, as the afore-mentioned Aslund explains, the IMF could easily

change its practice of not lending into [countries in official] arrears … because it is not incorporated into the IMF Articles of Agreement, that is, the IMF statutes. The IMF Executive Board can decide to change this policy with a simple board majority. The IMF has lent to Afghanistan, Georgia, and Iraq in the midst of war, and Russia has no veto right, holding only 2.39 percent of the votes in the IMF. When the IMF has lent to Georgia and Ukraine, the other members of its Executive Board have overruled Russia.[7]

After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20.[8]

Inasmuch as Ukraine's official debt to Russia's sovereign debt fund was not to the U.S. Government, the IMF announced its rules change as a "clarification." Its rule that no country can borrow if it is in default to (or not seriously negotiating with) a foreign government was created in the post-1945 world, and has governed the past seventy years in which the United States Government, Treasury officials and/or U.S. bank consortia have been party to nearly every international bailout or major loan agreement. What the IMF rule really meant was that it would not provide credit to countries in arrears specifically to the U.S. Government, not those of Russia or China.

Mikhail Delyagin, Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, understood the IMF's double standard clearly enough: "The Fund will give Kiev a new loan tranche on one condition that Ukraine should not pay Russia a dollar under its $3 billion debt. Legally, everything will be formalized correctly but they will oblige Ukraine to pay only to western creditors for political reasons."[9] It remains up to the IMF board – and in the end, its managing director – whether or not to deem a country creditworthy. The U.S. representative naturally has always blocked any leaders not beholden to the United States.

The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests.[10]

IMF executive board member Otaviano Canuto, representing Brazil, noted that the logic that "conditions on IMF lending to a country that fell behind on payments [was to] make sure it kept negotiating in good faith to reach agreement with creditors."[11] Dropping this condition, he said, would open the door for other countries to insist on a similar waiver and avoid making serious and sincere efforts to reach payment agreement with creditor governments.

A more binding IMF rule is that it cannot lend to countries at war or use IMF credit to engage in warfare. Article I of its 1944-45 founding charter ban the fund from lending to a member state engaged in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes in general. But when IMF head Lagarde made the last IMF loan to Ukraine, in spring 2015, she made a token gesture of stating that she hoped there would be peace. But President Porochenko immediately announced that he would step up the civil war with the Russian-speaking population in the eastern Donbass region.

The problem is that the Donbass is where most Ukrainian exports were made, mainly to Russia. That market is being lost by the junta's belligerence toward Russia. This should have blocked Ukraine from receiving IMF aid. Withholding IMF credit could have been a lever to force peace and adherence to the Minsk agreements, but U.S. diplomatic pressure led that opportunity to be rejected.

The most important IMF condition being violated is that continued warfare with the East prevents a realistic prospect of Ukraine paying back new loans. Aslund himself points to the internal contradictions at work: Ukraine has achieved budget balance because the inflation and steep currency depreciation has drastically eroded its pension costs. The resulting lower value of pension benefits has led to growing opposition to Ukraine's post-Maidan junta. "Leading representatives from President Petro Poroshenko's Bloc are insisting on massive tax cuts, but no more expenditure cuts; that would cause a vast budget deficit that the IMF assesses at 9-10 percent of GDP, that could not possibly be financed."[12] So how can the IMF's austerity budget be followed without a political backlash?

The IMF thus is breaking four rules: Not lending to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan breaks the "No More Argentinas" rule adopted after the IMF's disastrous 2001 loan. Not lending to countries that refuse in good faith to negotiate with their official creditors goes against the IMF's role as the major tool of the global creditors' cartel. And the IMF is now lending to a borrower at war, indeed one that is destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally, the IMF is lending to a country that has little likelihood of refuse carrying out the IMF's notorious austerity "conditionalities" on its population – without putting down democratic opposition in a totalitarian manner. Instead of being treated as an outcast from the international financial system, Ukraine is being welcomed and financed.

The upshot – and new basic guideline for IMF lending – is to create a new Iron Curtain splitting the world into pro-U.S. economies going neoliberal, and all other economies, including those seeking to maintain public investment in infrastructure, progressive taxation and what used to be viewed as progressive capitalism. Russia and China may lend as much as they want to other governments, but there is no international vehicle to help secure their ability to be paid back under what until now has passed for international law. Having refused to roll back its own or ECB financial claims on Greece, the IMF is quite willing to see repudiation of official debts owed to Russia, China or other countries not on the list approved by the U.S. neocons who wield veto power in the IMF, World Bank and similar global economic institutions now drawn into the U.S. orbit. Changing its rules to clear the path for the IMF to make loans to Ukraine and other governments in default of debts owed to official lenders is rightly seen as an escalation of America's New Cold War against Russia and also its anti-China strategy.

Timing is everything in such ploys. Georgetown University Law professor and Treasury consultant Anna Gelpern warned that before the "IMF staff and executive board [had] enough time to change the policy on arrears to official creditors," Russia might use "its notorious debt/GDP clause to accelerate the bonds at any time before December, or simply gum up the process of reforming the IMF's arrears policy."[13] According to this clause, if Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP, Russia's government would have the right to demand immediate payment. But no doubt anticipating the bitter fight to come over its attempts to collect on its loan, President Putin patiently refrained from exercising this option. He is playing the long game, bending over backward to accommodate Ukraine rather than behaving "odiously."

A more pressing reason deterring the United States from pressing earlier to change IMF rules was that a waiver for Ukraine would have opened the legal floodgates for Greece to ask for a similar waiver on having to pay the "troika" – the European Central Bank (ECB), EU commission and the IMF itself – for the post-2010 loans that have pushed it into a worse depression than the 1930s. "Imagine the Greek government had insisted that EU institutions accept the same haircut as the country's private creditors," Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov asked. "The reaction in European capitals would have been frosty. Yet this is the position now taken by Kiev with respect to Ukraine's $3 billion eurobond held by Russia."[14]

Only after Greece capitulated to eurozone austerity was the path clear for U.S. officials to change the IMF rules in their fight to isolate Russia. But their tactical victory has come at the cost of changing the IMF's rules and those of the global financial system irreversibly. Other countries henceforth may reject conditionalities, as Ukraine has done, and ask for write-downs on foreign official debts.

That was the great fear of neoliberal U.S. and Eurozone strategists last summer, after all. The reason for smashing Greece's economy was to deter Podemos in Spain and similar movements in Italy and Portugal from pursuing national prosperity instead of eurozone austerity. Opening the door to such resistance by Ukraine is the blowback of America's tactic to make a short-term financial hit on Russia while its balance of payments is down as a result of collapsing oil and gas prices.

The consequences go far beyond just the IMF. The fabric of international law itself is being torn apart. Every action has a reaction in the Newtonian world of geopolitics. It may not be a bad thing, to be sure, for the post-1945 global order to be broken apart by U.S. tactics against Russia, if that is the catalyst driving other countries to defend their own economies in the legal and political spheres. It has been U.S. neoliberals themselves who have catalyzed the emerging independent Eurasian bloc.

Countering Russia's Ability to Collect in Britain's Law Courts

Over the past year the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have discussed ploys to block Russia from collecting under British law, where its loans to Ukraine are registered. Reviewing the repertory of legal excuses Ukraine might use to avoid paying Russia, Prof. Gelpern noted that it might declare the debt "odious," made under duress or corruptly. In a paper for the Peterson Institute of International Economics (the banking lobby in Washington) she suggested that Britain should deny Russia the use of its courts as an additional sanction reinforcing the financial, energy, and trade sanctions to those passed against Russia after Crimea voted to join it as protection against the ethnic cleansing from the Right Sector, Azov Battalion and other paramilitary groups descending on the region.[15]

A kindred ploy might be for Ukraine to countersue Russia for reparations for "invading" it, for saving Crimea and the Donbass region from the Right Sector's attempt to take over the country. Such a ploy would seem to have little chance of success in international courts (without showing them to be simply arms of NATO New Cold War politics), but it might delay Russia' ability to collect by tying the loan up in a long nuisance lawsuit.

To claim that Ukraine's debt to Russia was "odious" or otherwise illegitimate, "President Petro Poroshenko said the money was intended to ensure Yanukovych's loyalty to Moscow, and called the payment a 'bribe,' according to an interview with Bloomberg in June this year."[16] The legal and moral problem with such arguments is that they would apply equally to IMF and US loans. Claiming that Russia's loan is "odious" is that this would open the floodgates for other countries to repudiate debts taken on by dictatorships supported by IMF and U.S. lenders, headed by the many dictatorships supported by U.S. diplomacy.

The blowback from the U.S. multi-front attempt to nullify Ukraine's debt may be used to annul or at least write down the destructive IMF loans made on the condition that borrowers accept privatizations favoring U.S., German and other NATO-country investors, undertake austerity programs, and buy weapons systems such as the German submarines that Greece borrowed to pay for. As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted: "This reform, which they are now trying to implement, designed to suit Ukraine only, could plant a time bomb under all other IMF programs." It certainly showed the extent to which the IMF is subordinate to U.S. aggressive New Cold Warriors: "Essentially, this reform boils down to the following: since Ukraine is politically important – and it is only important because it is opposed to Russia – the IMF is ready to do for Ukraine everything it has not done for anyone else, and the situation that should 100 percent mean a default will be seen as a situation enabling the IMF to finance Ukraine."[17]

Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) accused the United States of playing "the role of the main violin in the IMF while the role of the second violin is played by the European Union. These are two basic sponsors of the Maidan – the symbol of a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014."[18]

Putin's Counter-Strategy and the Blowback on U.S.-European and Global Relations

As noted above, having anticipated that Ukraine would seek reasons to not pay the Russian loan, President Putin carefully refrained from exercising Russia's right to demand immediate payment when Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP. In November he offered to defer payment if the United States, Europe and international banks underwrote the obligation. Indeed, he even "proposed better conditions for this restructuring than those the International Monetary Fund requested of us." He offered "to accept a deeper restructuring with no payment this year – a payment of $1 billion next year, $1 billion in 2017, and $1 billion in 2018." If the IMF, the United States and European Union "are sure that Ukraine's solvency will grow," then they should "see no risk in providing guarantees for this credit." Accordingly, he concluded "We have asked for such guarantees either from the United States government, the European Union, or one of the big international financial institutions." [19]

The implication, Putin pointed out, was that "If they cannot provide guarantees, this means that they do not believe in the Ukrainian economy's future." One professor pointed out that this proposal was in line with the fact that, "Ukraine has already received a sovereign loan guarantee from the United States for a previous bond issue." Why couldn't the United States, Eurozone or leading commercial banks provide a similar guarantee of Ukraine's debt to Russia – or better yet, simply lend it the money to turn it into a loan to the IMF or US lenders?[20]

But the IMF, European Union and the United States refused to back up their happy (but nonsensical) forecasts of Ukrainian solvency with actual guarantees. Foreign Minister Lavrov made clear just what that rejection meant: "By having refused to guarantee Ukraine's debt as part of Russia's proposal to restructure it, the United States effectively admitted the absence of prospects of restoring its solvency. … By officially rejecting the proposed scheme, the United States thereby subscribed to not seeing any prospects of Ukraine restoring its solvency."[21]

In an even more exasperated tone, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev explained to Russia's television audience: "I have a feeling that they won't give us the money back because they are crooks. They refuse to return our money and our Western partners not only refuse to help, but they also make it difficult for us."[22] Adding that "the international financial system is unjustly structured," he promised to "go to court. We'll push for default on the loan and we'll push for default on all Ukrainian debts."

The basis for Russia's legal claim, he explained was that the loan

was a request from the Ukrainian Government to the Russian Government. If two governments reach an agreement this is obviously a sovereign loan…. Surprisingly, however, international financial organisations started saying that this is not exactly a sovereign loan. This is utter bull. Evidently, it's just an absolutely brazen, cynical lie. … This seriously erodes trust in IMF decisions. I believe that now there will be a lot of pleas from different borrower states to the IMF to grant them the same terms as Ukraine. How will the IMF possibly refuse them?

And there the matter stands. As President Putin remarked regarding America's support of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other ISIS allies in Syria, "Do you have any idea of what you have done?"

The Blowback

Few have calculated the degree to which America's New Cold War with Russia is creating a reaction that is tearing up the world's linkages put in place since World War II. Beyond pulling the IMF and World Bank tightly into U.S. unilateralist geopolitics, how long will Western Europe be willing to forego its trade and investment interest with Russia? Germany, Italy and France already are feeling the strains. If and when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.

The oil and pipeline war designed to bypass Russian energy exports has engulfed the Near East in anarchy for over a decade. It is flooding Europe with refugees, and also spreading terrorism to America. In the Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015, the leading issue was safety from Islamic jihadists. Yet no candidate thought to explain the source of this terrorism in America's alliance with Wahabist Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and hence with Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daish as a means of destabilizing secular regimes seeking independence from U.S. control.

As its allies in this New Cold War, the United States has chosen fundamentalist jihadist religion against secular regimes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and earlier in Afghanistan and Turkey. Going back to the original sin of CIA hubris – overthrowing the secular Iranian Prime Minister leader Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 – American foreign policy has been based on the assumption that secular regimes tend to be nationalist and resist privatization and neoliberal austerity.

Based on this fatal long-term assumption, U.S. Cold Warriors have aligned themselves not only against secular regimes, but against democratic regimes where these seek to promote their own prosperity and economic independence, and to resist neoliberalism in favor of maintaining their traditional mixed public/private economy.

This is the back story of the U.S. fight to control the rest of the world. Tearing apart the IMF's rules is only the most recent chapter. The broad drive against Russia, China and their prospective Eurasian allies has deteriorated into tactics without a realistic understanding of how they are bringing about precisely the kind of world they are seeking to prevent – a multilateral world.

Arena by arena, the core values of what used to be American and European social democratic ideology are being uprooted. The Enlightenment's ideals of secular democracy and the rule of international law applied equally to all nations, classical free market theory (of markets free from unearned income and rent extraction by special vested interests), and public investment in infrastructure to hold down the cost of living and doing business are to be sacrificed to a militant U.S. unilateralism as "the indispensible nation." Standing above the rule of law and national interests, American neocons proclaim that their nation's destiny is to wage war to prevent foreign secular democracy from acting in ways other than submission to U.S. diplomacy. In practice, this means favoring special U.S. financial and corporate interests that control American foreign policy.

This is not how the Enlightenment was supposed to turn out. Classical industrial capitalism a century ago was expected to evolve into an economy of abundance. Instead, we have Pentagon capitalism, finance capitalism deteriorating into a polarized rentier economy, and old-fashioned imperialism.

The Dollar Bloc's Financial Iron Curtain

By treating Ukraine's nullification of its official debt to Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund as the new norm, the IMF has blessed its default on its bond payment to Russia. President Putin and foreign minister Lavrov have said that they will sue in British courts. But does any court exist in the West not under the thumb of U.S. veto?

What are China and Russia to do, faced with the IMF serving as a kangaroo court whose judgments are subject to U.S. veto power? To protect their autonomy and self-determination, they have created alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, NATO and behind it, the dollar standard.

America's recent New Cold War maneuvering has shown that the two Bretton Woods institutions are unreformable. It is easier to create new institutions such as the A.I.I.B. than to retrofit old and ill-designed ones burdened with the legacy of their vested founding interests. It is easier to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization than to surrender to threats from NATO.

U.S. geostrategists seem to have imagined that if they exclude Russia, China and other SCO and Eurasian countries from the U.S.-based financial and trade system, these countries will find themselves in the same economic box as Cuba, Iran and other countries have been isolated by sanctions. The aim is to make countries choose between impoverishment from such exclusion, or acquiescing in U.S. neoliberal drives to financialize their economies and impose austerity on their government sector and labor.

What is lacking from such calculations is the idea of critical mass. The United States may use the IMF and World Bank as levers to exclude countries not in the U.S. orbit from participating in the global trade and financial system, and it may arm-twist Europe to impose trade and financial sanctions on Russia. But this action produces an equal and opposite reaction. That is the eternal Newtonian law of geopolitics. The indicated countermeasure is simply for other countries to create their own international financial organization as an alternative to the IMF, their own "aid" lending institution to juxtapose to the U.S.-centered World Bank.

All this requires an international court to handle disputes that is free from U.S. arm-twisting to turn international law into a kangaroo court following the dictates of Washington. The Eurasian Economic Union now has its own court to adjudicate disputes. It may provide an alternative Judge Griesa's New York federal court ruling in favor of vulture funds derailing Argentina's debt negotiations and excluding it from foreign financial markets. If the London Court of International Arbitration (under whose rules Russia's bonds issued to Ukraine are registered) permits frivolous legal claims (called barratry in English) such as President Poroshenko has threatened in Ukrainian Parliament, it too will become a victim of geopolitical obsolescence.

The more nakedly self-serving and geopolitical U.S. policy is – in backing radical Islamic fundamentalist outgrowths of Al Qaeda throughout the Near East, right-wing nationalist governments in Ukraine and the Baltics – the greater the catalytic pressure is growing for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, AIIB and related Eurasian institutions to break free of the post-1945 Bretton Woods system run by the U.S. State, Defense and Treasury Departments and NATO superstructure.

The question now is whether Russia and China can hold onto the BRICS and India. So as Paul Craig Roberts recently summarized my ideas along these lines, we are back with George Orwell's 1984 global fracture between Oceanea (the United States, Britain and its northern European NATO allies) vs. Eurasia.

... .... ....

RabidGandhi December 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

My issue with Hudson is that he tends to paint things in a "good guys/bad guys" dichotomy viz. the IMF vs. the AIIB. Personally, I think it's quite positive that the international sovereign finance institutions will now be more international and less unipolar, but his scenario where

Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries.

is rather pie-in-the sky. What reason do we have to believe that concentrated Chinese capital would somehow be more benevolent than our current overlords? Oh because AIIB has the word "infrastructure" in its title (just as the Interamerican Development Bank is all about development) /sarc.

Furthermore, if US planners had half a clue about economics, they would be jumping for joy that the AIIB and the CIPS will finally help release them (eventually) from the burden of having the USD as the global reserve currency, thus relieving the US of the albatross of having to ship its internal demand to China and other net exporters.

All in all, yes AIIB should be positive, but as Hudson himself points out, this is not so much about economics as it is geopolitics. The world should tread with the utmost caution.

Dino Reno December 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

I think his main point is not so much about economics or geopolitics, it's about the rule of law, specifically international law and how it applies to the debt collection brokered between counties.

China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion.

Even if they come up with a lending facility, the West will thwart their ability to collect on those debts at every turn by simply declaring those debts null and void and extending new funds using the infrastructure build by the bad (Russian/Chinese) debt as collateral. The thirst for power and profit will always be with us, but now it will not be tempered by any international order under the rule of law.

Nick December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

China is learning the hard way how the game is played. For example, they're discovering that much of the tens of billions in no-strings attached loans given to Africa will not provide the returns initially thought (even accounting for massive corruption on all sides), which is why they have been reduced for the first time in a decade this past year.

Alejandro December 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

Don't see how "economics" and "social" can be de-linked from "politics"…understanding the limits of "local" may provide an awareness of the "quid pro quo" of extending, direction of extension, and what defines (in/inter) "dependency"…how sacrifice is "shared" or imposed, and how "prosperity" is concentrated or distributed…

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL December 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us".

It's like a playground with one big bully and lots of kids running scared, now a second bully appears and they all have to ask themselves whether Bully #2 will be nicer to them, in this case it appears Bully #2 is saying he won't tell them how to run their lives or steal their lunch money.

Post-comet in 2000 when everything started going to hell the worst casualty has been the rule of law, from hanging chads through to the Patriot Act, death by a thousand cuts of the Constitution, unprosecuted war crimes, unprosecuted financial crimes, and now the very fabric of international law being rent apart. I'm reminded of the Hunter Thompson scene where he has an expired driver's license and a cop pulls him over, he has two choices, hand over the license and get busted, or drive away and get busted… so he comes up with a third choice: he blows his nose all over the license and hands it over to the cop. The equivalent of Bully #1 taking the only soccer ball on the playground and kicking it over the fence so the game is screwed up for everybody, Pepe's "Empire of Chaos" indeed.

global123 December 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

stellar article michael hudson

1)Western economies depend on ocean transport…if chinese or ruskies destroy it, USA-EU will be bankrupt in weeks..USA-EU are consumers and not producers..their exports to rest of world are tiny..So,their position is very weak at this point
2)The asian countries like china-india will be forced to join hands under joint attack by US financial system and islamic jihadists..Russia and china,former enemies,are now friends…who could have imagines it?
Russo-chinese-iranian alliance is huge failure of US foreign policies
3)Using islamic terrorists and islamic countries like turkey-saudi arabia-pakistan-indonesia-egypt is not going to work for USA because muslims think USA as enemy no.1…
4)A military superiority can not guarantee permanent -everlasting victory against too many opponents
What i see here is USA has made entire islamic world their enemy,alongwith china and russia
In case of real war,USA position will be very weak

camelotkidd December 18, 2015 at 9:49 am

This is an amazing article. Bravo!
Now it's becoming clear just what Margaret Thatcher meant when she told everyone that there was no alternative to neoliberalism.

Steve H. December 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

Thank you for continuing to mark the historical specifics of the finance/legal wing of geopolitical conflict, and the perverse failings of Full Spectrum Dominance.

The Oceana/Eurasia dichotomy is a dangerous frame of reference. It essentially contrasts the transport efficiencies of water to the solid defensive capacity of the frozen steppes. But when things get bloody, they usually crack along language lines. Not only as a proxy for migrations of the gene, but also world-views. How horse-people see things, what metaphors they use, are very different than how cow-people categorize the world.

This highlights that Russia is continuing to operate within the language and legal framework of the Indo-European languages. In other words (!), it is a fight between the U.S. and Russia for European alliances. If this is the case, then the alliance of NATO with Turkic and Arabic lines is of convenience, in that they are not partners but proxies. Europe is faced with the habit of the U.S. in saying, Let's you and him fight. But there's an oceans difference between the U.S. and European interests.

It also means that Russia and China are being pushed together by western exclusion, like drops of oil on the water. I maintain that Russia has doubled down on global warming, to open up northern sea routes and make the steppes arable. China is already a sea-power, but its massive population will need lebensraum as the fossil-fuel support for the energy needs of megapoli decay. The mountains are a formidable barrier for them to take the steppes by force.

The question for the rest of the world then becomes, who do you want to have as a friend in a hundred years. Do you bet on the Wizards of Wall Street, with their Magic Money Wand of Fiat? Or do you think Russia will ground-n-pound the fairy dust into the mud?

SocietalIllusions December 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war?

The game of brinksmanship continues…

Jim Haygood December 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

'The Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration.'

Whereas the U.S. is 'investing' in new military bases to cement U.S. global domination.

Guess which model actually benefits local living standards, and 'wins hearts and minds'?

Global domination as a policy goal bankrupted the USSR. It's not working for the USSA either, as the U.S. middle class (once the envy of the world) visibly sinks into pauperization.

Thus the veracity of Michael Hudson's conclusion that 'when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.'

Steven December 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm

I get the same thrill reading Hudson the religiously devout must experience reading their bibles or Korans – a glimpse of 'truth' as best it can be known. My first encounter was this interview in Counterpunch: An Interview with Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism That led directly to "Super Imperialism" (and just about every book since its publication). After reading it, I was left with the uneasy feeling that no good would come from an international monetary system that allowed any one nation to pay its way in the world by creating money 'out of thin air' i.e. as sovereign and private debt or, almost the same thing, Federal Reserve Notes.

The race to the bottom of off-shored jobs and industries freed from all environmental restrictions, AKA 'globalization', had started to really kick in but it was just before Operation Iraqi Liberation (get it?). Fundamentally, it wasn't war for oil, of course, but a war to preserve the Dollar Standard. Recycling petrodollars bought a little time after the 1971 collapse of Bretton Woods. But with the world's treasuries filling up with US dollars and debt, the product of the Congressional-military-industrial-complex running wild and more recently the U.S. 0.01% successfully evading almost all forms of taxation, some kind of control more basic than controlling the world's access to money (which basically means credit) was required.

When people like Alan Greenspan (pretend to) come clean, you really want to look twice:

THOUGH it was not understood a century ago, and though as yet the applications of the knowledge to the economics of life are not generally realized, life in its physical aspect is fundamentally a struggle for energy, in which discovery after discovery brings life into new relations with the original source.

Frederick Soddy, WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT, 2nd edition, p. 49
The world can live without American dollars, especially these days when the U.S. no longer makes much the world needs or can afford but most obviously because it already possesses more of them than can ever be redeemed ('debt that can't be repaid and won't be') What it can't live without is ENERGY.

So long as most of that energy needs to be pumped out of the ground, the nation that ultimately controls access to the pumps – or to the distribution networks required to deliver it to the ultimate user – controls the world. This is most likely why Reagan promptly dismantled Jimmy Carter's White House solar panels. It is why the US and its European vassals have been dragging their feet for a half-century on the development of renewable energy sources and the electrification of transportation. It is why the banks and Wall Street will stand solidly behind the various electrical utilities efforts to discourage the development of any alternative energy sources from which their executives and shareholders can not extract the last pint of blood or has Hudson more politely calls it 'economic rent'.

P.S. Hudson seems to have a dangerous monopoly on economic truth these days. Is there anyone else who even comes close?

[Dec 19, 2015] Russia opens black box of jet downed by Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back ..."
"... Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists. ..."
"... Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them. ..."
news.yahoo.com

Mister 2 hours ago 0

[The air force commander said 14 countries had been invited to monitor the (Russian) investigation but only China and Britain had accepted the official offer]

Shameful.

Shelly Winters 1 day ago 5

Not sure what information this "black box" contains, but CVR's and FDR's in most all aircraft (especially commercial jetliners) records only what the flight crew says in the cockpit and what operational parameters the aircraft experienced i.e. throttle settings, aileron positions, pitch, etc. It's questionable if the downed fighter aircraft's actual flight path would be stored internally in any such device, especially a fighter aircraft operating in hostile airspace. This data the Russians claim to have, if it really exists, could be certainly manipulated. The only true data for flight path would be a ground radar tape pulled from two different locations in the area.

James

I said it before, I believe the radar map the Turks showed with the paths was correct. And here are the military, but also their Religious reasons.

"War of the maps: Turkey released a map showing where Russia violated its airspace, and Russia countered"

/finance[dot]yahoo[dot]com/news/war-maps-turkey-released-map-210422386.html

You can see there is a very narrow strip of Turkish territory, about a mile wide, protruding deep into the Syrian territory. I don't know exactly the frequency of the sweep of the Turkish radar, but still, looking at the distances between dots, you can figure out the speed. The time to cross the Turkish strip must have been no longer than 20seconds, my initial estimate was 8, the Turks later said 17, but that's not important. The Russian plane is seen to make a wide circle near the Syrian border, flying much below it's maximum speed, probably looking for terrorist bases and convoys, and which circles crossed that limb. It was flying slow and probably low, and in circles, to get a good look. During the next cycle, I do believe the Turks warned it while flying over Syria, 10 times during 5' not to cross that 1 mile strip again. The Russian Su-24 bomber is seen heading for the strip the second time. Notice the Su-24 is a bomber not a dog-fighter like the F-16 and it's older. And there were two F-16's. The Turkish map shows only one path though. But the Russian maps shows only one too! On the Turkish map though, the F-16 is seen lurking in the air, and at some point accelerated sharply, approaching very close and very fast, probably in full afterburner, which is specifically reserved for attack.

I believe it was not there on patrol, but specifically to shoot the Russian plane down and come back. At (probably) the same time, the Russian path is seen with a very sharp small quirk. A sort of a mini-loop. I am sure they were trying to avoid incoming missiles. Their plane got hit, and it is seen trying to accelerate, probably to flee, and then the record ends.

HOWEVER ----------------- Although I believe the Turkish map, I still think the Turks proved themselves on the side of the terrorists.

After all, if the Russian plane was trying to get rid of the terrorists at the Turkish border, and no HONEST state wants terrorists at it's border, and the Russians were trying to do the "dirty job" of getting rid of them, Turkey should have been glad the Russians are helping them. But the fact they shot the Russian plane down, proves Turkey is harboring and abetting terrorists, if not recruits and send them itself.

Crossing that strip of Turkish territory by a friendly plane should not have been reason for shooting it down, only a PRETEXT. That may be the reason why the plane was shot down, because the Russians were not expecting the Turks to shoot at them.

So the Turks are not technically lying, but they ARE! The Russians probably did go through that miserable strip, and that's the technical truth. But Turkey is defending terrorists, and claiming it is not, that's the lie!

There are very sharp Religious reasons why they should do that, and still show the correct map. INTERESTING.. Ever heard of Tawriyya? Let me explain it for you in short. The Koran forbids a Muslim to lie, under penalty of the white-hot fires of Hell. But.. We already know if he becomes a Martyr, all his sins including lies will be forgotten.

But.. for a lie, you will be forgotten, if it's technically, a truth. What does that mean? Say, a Muslim has a $100 bill in his pocket. Somebody comes and asks him for a nickel. He will say: I don't have a nickel in my pockets! That's Tawriya, and Allah will have no reason to send him to Hell, because indeed he does not have a nickel in his pockets! That's a technical truth.

Erdogan, if he were asked "Are the terrorists working for you"? He could answer "Not a single terrorist is working for me". Indeed. Not one, but thousands. Allah won't punish him for that.

He could be asked: "Why did you shoot the plane down"? and he could answer "It was flying over our territory". He will not mention the reason was to protect his terrorists and their oil convoys. That's "Kitman". Saying half the truth. Allah won't punish him for that either.

As for lying to the Infidels, Allah won't punish him if he does it out of fear of the Infidels. Yes, but Islam is at perpetual war with the Infidels, until they either convert or disappear from the face of the Earth by any means, so orders Allah. So being at war with ANY infidel, a Muslim can lie to an Infidel all day and all night long! BUT THEY ARE ALWAYS AT WAR WITH ALL INFIDELS, UNTIL THERE ARE NO MORE INFIDELS! SO ORDERS ALLAH! DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THAT MEANS?

BUT THE TOUGHEST OF ALL IS THE "MURUNA" DOCTRINE. That literally explains terrorism. If you get to understand, you will be very surprised, of how you didn't know it.

If you want to find what terrorism is, and why Erdogan himself, said "There is no moderate and extremist Islam. There is only Islam". And he knew what he was talking about, learn more. So find the MURUNA concept or doctrine. You can find a better explanation here:

You can look on Google for this: "Knowing Four Arabic Words May Save Our Civilization from Islamic Takeover"

And save it before it disappears.

Remember, you won't win any battle not knowing your enemy first.

BTW, did you know where the expression "the writing is on the wall" comes from? I's origin is also explained there.

[Dec 19, 2015] Turkey Blasts Breakthrough UN Resolution On Syria It Lacks Perspective. Assad Must Go!

Notable quotes:
"... "Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well." ..."
"... Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin ..."
"... The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line. " Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that. ..."
Dec 19, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Following June elections in which AKP lost its absolute parliamentary majority thanks in part to a stronger than expected showing at the polls by the pro-Kurdish HDP, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan began to lose his mind.

The vote put in jeopardy Erdogan's bid to effectively rewrite the country's constitution on the way to consolidating his power in an executive presidency. That decisively undesirable outcome could not stand and so Erdogan did what any respectable autocrat would do: he nullified the election. First, the President undermined the coalition building process so he could call for new elections. Next, he fanned the flames of civil war and reignited a long-simmering conflict with the PKK. The idea was to scare the electorate into believing that a "strong" AKP government was the only antidote to domestic and international terror. Finally, Erdogan cracked down on the press and anyone else critical of his rule. AKP was also suspected of covertly backing attacks on HDP offices and newspapers. Some (i.e. the PKK) went so far as to suggest that Erdogan secretly worked with Sunni extremists to orchestrate suicide bombings - in other words, there's speculation Erdogan terrorized his own people.

Sure enough, AKP had a better showing at re-do elections last month, but by that point, Erdogan was on the fast track to dictatorial delirium. On November 24, he shot down a Russian fighter jet near the border with Syria in the first such direct military confrontation between Russia and a NATO member in at least six decades. And the madness didn't stop there. After Putin and the Russian MoD laid out their case against Ankara's role in financing Islamic State via Turkey's complicity in the group's lucrative oil trafficking business, Turkey sent hundreds of troops and around two dozen tanks to Bashiqa in Iraq which is right on the crude smuggling route. The deployment infuriated Baghdad and after Turkey refused to pull the troops out, Iraq went to the UN Security Council. Subsequently, Turkish troops were "attacked" by Islamic State.

The Turks claim that Iraq invited them in the past, a contention Baghdad vehemently denies. Thanks to Barzani and the Kurds, Ankara gets to claim that at least someone welcomes the Turkish troop presence (remember, despite Erdogan's hatred of the PKK and the YPG, Turkey is friendly with Erbil, which relies on Turkey to get some 630,000 b/d of what is technically illegal crude to market).

Well, for anyone who thought Turkey might be set to bow to international pressure by moving its troops north and thus back towards the Turkey-Iraq border, think again because on Saturday, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu was out with a series of declarations that seem to suggest Turkey is going full-belligerent-retard as Erdogan scrambles to preserve the "Assad must go" narrative on the way to securing whatever Ankara's interests are in both Iraq and Syria.

First, Davutoglu said that the provision of training to the Peshmerga and Mosul militiamen is "in line with a request from Iraq authorities and as such, the mission in Iraq will continue "until Mosul is freed" from ISIS.

Ok, so two things there. The deployment is not "in line with a request from Iraq." At this point, Turkey's position has moved from comically absurd to maddeningly obstinate. How many times does Baghdad have to say that Turkey isn't invited before NATO forces Turkey to drop the "they told us we could be here" line? Further, the idea that Turkey will stay until Mosul "is liberated" from ISIS, means Erdogan plans to remain in Iraq indefinitely. As we've documented on several occasions, an operation to retake Mosul is for all intents and purposes a pipe dream and if Turkey intends to wait it out, the troops and tanks could be there for years.

Next, Davutoglu claims that the Islamic State attacks on Turkish positions in Bashiqa prove Turkey "is right." "Right" about what, it's not clear, but what's interesting is that the attacks came just as ISIS launched its first major offensive in northern Iraq since July in a move that US officials say was likely designed to disrupt preparations for an assault on Mosul. The point: all of this is rather conveniently timed.

Davutoglu then slammed a UN Security Council resolution agreed in New York on Friday. The meeting of foreign ministers was tipped by John Kerry in Moscow on Tuesday and when discussions ended, diplomats adopted a resolution which purports to draw a road map for ending the war in Syria. As WSJ notes, the resolution "left unresolved divisions among world powers on key issues in the conflict."

Which "key issues", you ask? Well, the only ones that matter - namely, i) the fate of Bashar al-Assad and ii) which groups should be recognized as "terrorists" and which should be awarded the "moderate opposition" badge.

"Both issues were left out of the resolution after an hourslong meeting of foreign ministers in New York on Friday failed to reach a compromise and at one point verged on collapse," WSJ goes on the recount, adding that "Russian and Iranian diplomats said the question of Mr. Assad wasn't discussed on Friday because neither of their countries would accept a deal that calls for Mr. Assad's exit, even at the end of a political transition period."

As we've said on too many occasions to count, Syria is absolutely critical for Tehran when it comes to preserving Iranian influence and ensuring that the so-called "Shiite crescent" doesn't wane. For Russia, this is a chance to supplant the US as Mid-East superpower puppet master and Moscow isn't about to see it slip away by agreeing to a resolution that makes Assad's ouster a foregone conclusion.

For Turkey, the absence of a decision on Assad's future is maddening. The Security Council resolution "lacks realistic perspective," Davutoglu said on Saturday, before adding that the "Syria crisis can only be solved if Bashar al-Assad leaves power."

Consider that, and consider the fact that, as we reported yesterday, Ankara is now establishing a military base in Qatar in order that the two country's might work more closely on tackling "common enemies."

What we're beginning to see here is the formation of three alliances in the Mid-East: 1) Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq; 2) Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar; 3) Britain, France, and Germany. The first alliance is pro-Assad, anti-terror. The second is anti-Assad, pro-Sunni extremist. The third is anti-Assad (although less vehemently so), anti-terror (conspiracy theories aside). Note that we've left the US out. Why? Because Washington is now stuck. The US wants desperately to maintain coordination with Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha, but between stepped up media coverage of Saudi Arabia's role in underwriting extremism (via the promotion of Wahhabism) and hightened scrutiny on Erdogan's role in financing terrorists, the position is becoming increasingly untenable. But aligning solely with the UK, France, and Germany entails adopting a more conciliatory approach to Assad - just ask Berlin which, as we reported on Friday, is now working with Assad's intelligence police and may soon establish a base in Damascus.

With that in mind, we'll close with the following from Obama, which underscores the extent to which the US is now thoroughly confused as to what to do next:

"Now, is there a way of us constructing a bridge, creating a political transition, that allows those who are allied with Assad right now, allows the Russians, allows the Iranians to ensure that their equities are respected, that minorities like the Alawites are not crushed or retribution is not the order of the day? I think that's going to be very important as well."

JustObserving

First try the sarin gas supplying war criminal, Erdogan

Turkey supplied the sarin that killed over 1300 Syrians in Ghouta to try to get the Nobel Prize Winner to bomb Assad into oblivion

Seymour Hersh Links Turkey to Benghazi, Syria and Sarin

The assessment of the Defense Intelligence Agency is that the sarin was supplied by Turkey to elements in Ghouta with the intent of "push[ing] Obama over the red line." Intercepted transmissions from Turkish operators in the aftermath of the attack are jubilant, and the success of their covert mission must have seemed well in hand. Obama's implicit call to war in the coming month was proof of that.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/05/06/seymour-hersh-links-turke...

WTFRLY

White House, Media Silent One Year After Murder of US Reporter Who Exposed Western Links to ISIS October 20, 2015

Turkey killed and American reporter to protect the lies. British reporter Jackie Sutton was found dead a year to the day in Istanbul airport...

DeadFred
There aren't that many Turkish troops in Iraq, they can be removed with Iraqi Army and Shiite militia ground troops. The Russian can fly CAP but they shouldn't be involved beyond that. The purpose of Erdogan's insanities is to goad Putin into doing something that will bring NATO against him. He's been wise enough to avoid that so far. The Western economies are a gnats eyelash from collapse so all he needs to so is wait. Maybe selling a few shares of SPY at the right time would help or giving a few billion to some untracable players who call for delivery on their gold futures. I hope he's patient, the end-game is upon us but the fewer nukes that get used the better.
two hoots

Israel, where are you in all of this? Oh, see below:

Forget Qatar/Russia pipelines.

Israel/Turkey/US/NATO connection found here: "That would allow Turkey to reduce its energy dependence on Russia and open up a new market for Israeli and U.S. developers of a new natural gas project off the Israeli coast." (WSJ)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-turkey-poised-to-renew-diplomatic-relations-1450438539

Nat Gas in Israel waters: "Israel has proposed that EU countries invest in a multi-billion euro pipeline to carry its natural gas to the continent, noting that the supply from Israel would reduce Europe's current dependence on natural gas from Russia." (Start Up-Israel)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-pitches-massive-natural-gas-pipeline-plan-to-europe/

It could be a whole new NG game? And what thinks Russia/Qatar in all of this?

[Dec 19, 2015] The Exception

Notable quotes:
"... "Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt, and that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous Carly won the sound bite of the century award with that one! ..."
"... I voted for this turd because you Rightwingnut Fuckheads gave me the option of McCain the first time and Romney the second time. ..."
Zero Hedge

FireBrander

I expect the lies....but the level of lies when it comes to "fighting ISIS" is off-the-fucking-charts!...and no one calls him on it!

>The USA/NATO Created ISIS.

>The USA/NATO is using ISIS to oust ASSAD because he's too friendly with Russia/Iran.

>The USA/NATO FUNDS ISIS via Turkey.

Obama: "ISIS is a seriously threat, they are contained and we will destroy ISIS"

Bill Clintons' mouth has got to be gaping; and I'm sure thoroughly impressed that Obama could tell a whopper like that without question...NOT ONE REPUBLICAN at the debate even called Obama on ISIS!

Neil Patrick Harris

You gotta wonder how much money they promised him when he leaves office.

Peter Pan

Unfortunately Obama is beyond being a threat. He ( and whoever is pulling on his strings) is an actual attack on America.

FireBrander

"Our government has become incompetent, unresponsive, corrupt, and that incompetence, ineptitude, lack of accountability is now dangerous" Carly won the sound bite of the century award with that one!

..and the new budget bill will fully fund ALL OF IT's desires....

FireBrander

I voted for "this turd" because you Rightwingnut Fuckheads gave me the option of McCain the first time and Romney the second time.

You're welcome for my vote saving you from those fuckheads...McCain would have nuked the planet by now and Romney would have handed the country to his VC friends and you'd be living in a "dorm" putting together iPhones.

Romney criticised Obama in one of the debates because "The number of battleships in our fleet is the lowest since the 50's"...battleships? Romney, you stupid fuck, it's 20xx you moron...battleships are pretty irrelevent in today's "theater of war"...Obama held it together and replied, I give the Admirals EVERYTHING THEY ASK FOR...and Romney dropped it.

Great ZH piece on Romney; what a piece of shit:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-17/rip-truman-show-bubble-finance-...

[Dec 17, 2015] The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory

Notable quotes:
"... It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported . Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act. ..."
February 15, 2015 | readersupportednews.org

The actually "incontrovertible" facts about the Ukraine crisis are these: The destabilization of President Viktor Yanukovych's elected government began in November 2013 when Yanukovych balked at a proposed association agreement promoted by the European Union. He sought more time after the sticker shock of learning from Kiev economic experts that the deal would cost Ukraine $160 billion in lost revenue by cutting trade with Russia.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported. Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act.

Yanukovych's decision to postpone action on the EU association prompted angry demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan square, largely from western Ukrainians who were hoping for visa-free travel to the EU and other benefits from closer ties. Putin had no role in those protests – and it's insane to think that he did.

In February 2014, the protests grew more and more violent as neo-Nazi and other militias organized in the western city of Lviv and these 100-man units known as "sotins" were dispatched daily to provide the muscle for the anti-Yanukovych uprising that was taking shape. It is frankly nutty to suggest that Putin was organizing these militias. [See Consortiumnews.com's "When Is a Putsch a Putsch."]

Evidence of Coup Plotting

By contrast, there is substantial evidence that senior U.S. officials were pushing for a "regime change" in Kiev, including an intercepted phone call and various public statements.

In December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations." In early February, she discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. "Yats is the guy," she declared, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Who's Telling the Big Lie on Ukraine?"]

The Maidan uprising gained momentum on Feb. 20, 2014, when snipers around the square opened fire on police and protesters touching off a violent clash that left scores of people dead, both police and protesters. After the sniper fire and a police retreat - carrying their wounded - the demonstrators surged forward and some police apparently reacted with return fire of their own.

But the growing evidence indicates that the initial sniper fire originated from locations controlled by the Right Sektor, extremists associated with the Maidan's neo-Nazi "self-defense" commandant Andriy Parubiy. Though the current Ukrainian government has dragged its feet on an investigation, independent field reports, including a new one from BBC, indicate that the snipers were associated with the protesters, not the Yanukovych government as was widely reported in the U.S. media a year ago.

The worsening violence led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries. He accepted reduced powers and agreed to early elections so he could be voted out of office. Yet, rather than permit that political settlement to go forward, neo-Nazis and other Maidan forces overran government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

The U.S. State Department quickly deemed this coup regime "legitimate" and Nuland's choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as Prime Minister, with Parubiy put in charge of national security.

In other words, there is plenty of evidence that the Ukraine crisis was started by the EU through its mishandling of the association agreement, then was heated up by the U.S. government through the work of Nuland, Pyatt and other officials, and then was brought to a boil by neo-Nazis and other extremists who executed the coup.

[Dec 17, 2015] A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

Notable quotes:
"... The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington. ..."
December 16, 2015 | consortiumnews.com

A Blind Eye Toward Turkey's Crimes

To make the story even more compelling, an opposition leader braves the wrath of the autocrat by seeking to expose these intelligence schemes, including the cover-up of key evidence. The autocrat's government then seeks to prosecute the critic for "treason."

But the problem with this story, as far as the American government and press are concerned, is that the autocratic leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in charge of Turkey, a NATO ally and his hated neighbor is the much demonized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Major U.S. news outlets and political leaders also bought into the sarin deception and simply can't afford to admit that they once again misled the American people on a matter of war.

The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other "respectable" sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful "group think" across Official Washington.

Though a few independent media outlets, including Consortiumnews.com, challenged the rush to judgment and noted the lack of evidence regarding Assad's guilt, those doubts were brushed aside. (In an article on Aug. 30, 2013, I described the administration's "Government Assessment" blaming Assad as a "dodgy dossier," which offered not a single piece of verifiable proof.)

However, as with the "certainty" about Iraq's WMD a decade earlier, Every Important Person shared the Assad-did-it "group think." That meant - as far as Official Washington was concerned - that Assad had crossed President Barack Obama's "red line" against using chemical weapons. A massive U.S. retaliatory bombing strike was considered just days away.

... ... ...

But the "group think" was resistant to all empirical evidence. It was so powerful that even when the Turkish plot was uncovered by legendary investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, his usual publication, The New Yorker, refused to print it. Rebuffed in the United States – the land of freedom of the press – Hersh had to take the story to the London Review of Books to get it out in April 2014. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack?"]

... ... ...

In statements before parliament and to journalists, Erdem cited a derailed indictment that was begun by the General Prosecutor's Office in the southern Turkish city of Adana, with the criminal case number 2013/120.

Erdem said the prosecutor's office, using technical surveillance, discovered that an Al Qaeda jihadist named Hayyam Kasap acquired the sarin.

At the press conference, Erdem said, "Wiretapped phone conversations reveal the process of procuring the gas at specific addresses as well as the process of procuring the rockets that would fire the capsules containing the toxic gas. However, despite such solid evidence there has been no arrest in the case. Thirteen individuals were arrested during the first stage of the investigation but were later released, refuting government claims that it is fighting terrorism."

Erdem said the released operatives were allowed to cross the border into Syria and the criminal investigation was halted.

Another CHP deputy, Ali Şeker, added that the Turkish government misled the public by claiming Russia provided the sarin and that "Assad killed his people with sarin and that requires a U.S. military intervention in Syria."

Erdem's disclosures, which he repeated in a recent interview with RT, the Russian network, prompted the Ankara Prosecutor's Office to open an investigation into Erdem for treason. Erdem defended himself, saying the government's actions regarding the sarin case besmirched Turkey's international reputation. He added that he also has been receiving death threats.

"The paramilitary organization Ottoman Hearths is sharing my address [on Twitter] and plans a raid [on my house]. I am being targeted with death threats because I am patriotically opposed to something that tramples on my country's prestige," Erdem said.

[Dec 16, 2015] Cornering Russia, Risking World War III

Notable quotes:
"... "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89. ..."
"... "And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia. ..."
"... "TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct. ..."
"... "Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. … ..."
"... In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. ..."
"... Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically. ..."
"... unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world. ..."
"... Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless. ..."
"... As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures , in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war. ..."
"... Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear. ..."
"... In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war. ..."
Consortiumnews
Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia's genuine national interests, its "red lines," and the risk that "tough-guy-ism" can lead to nuclear war, as Alastair Crooke explains.

We all know the narrative in which we (the West) are seized. It is the narrative of the Cold War: America versus the "Evil Empire." And, as Professor Ira Chernus has written, since we are "human" and somehow they (the USSR or, now, ISIS) plainly are not, we must be their polar opposite in every way.

"If they are absolute evil, we must be the absolute opposite. It's the old apocalyptic tale: God's people versus Satan's. It ensures that we never have to admit to any meaningful connection with the enemy." It is the basis to America's and Europe's claim to exceptionalism and leadership.

And "buried in the assumption that the enemy is not in any sense human like us, is [an] absolution for whatever hand we may have had in sparking or contributing to evil's rise and spread. How could we have fertilized the soil of absolute evil or bear any responsibility for its successes? It's a basic postulate of wars against evil: God's people must be innocent," (and that the evil cannot be mediated, for how can one mediate with evil).

Westerners may generally think ourselves to be rationalist and (mostly) secular, but Christian modes of conceptualizing the world still permeate contemporary foreign policy.

It is this Cold War narrative of the Reagan era, with its correlates that America simply stared down the Soviet Empire through military and – as importantly – financial "pressures," whilst making no concessions to the enemy.

What is sometimes forgotten, is how the Bush neo-cons gave their "spin" to this narrative for the Middle East by casting Arab national secularists and Ba'athists as the offspring of "Satan": David Wurmser was advocating in 1996, "expediting the chaotic collapse" of secular-Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular. He concurred with King Hussein of Jordan that "the phenomenon of Baathism" was, from the very beginning, "an agent of foreign, namely Soviet policy."

Moreover, apart from being agents of socialism, these states opposed Israel, too. So, on the principle that if these were the enemy, then my enemy's enemy (the kings, Emirs and monarchs of the Middle East) became the Bush neo-cons friends. And they remain such today – however much their interests now diverge from those of the U.S.

The problem, as Professor Steve Cohen, the foremost Russia scholar in the U.S., laments, is that it is this narrative which has precluded America from ever concluding any real ability to find a mutually acceptable modus vivendi with Russia – which it sorely needs, if it is ever seriously to tackle the phenomenon of Wahhabist jihadism (or resolve the Syrian conflict).

What is more, the "Cold War narrative" simply does not reflect history, but rather the narrative effaces history: It looses for us the ability to really understand the demonized "calous tyrant" – be it (Russian) President Vladimir Putin or (Ba'athist) President Bashar al-Assad – because we simply ignore the actual history of how that state came to be what it is, and, our part in it becoming what it is.

Indeed the state, or its leaders, often are not what we think they are – at all. Cohen explains: "The chance for a durable Washington-Moscow strategic partnership was lost in the 1990 after the Soviet Union ended. Actually it began to be lost earlier, because it was [President Ronald] Reagan and [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev who gave us the opportunity for a strategic partnership between 1985-89.

"And it certainly ended under the Clinton Administration, and it didn't end in Moscow. It ended in Washington - it was squandered and lost in Washington. And it was lost so badly that today, and for at least the last several years (and I would argue since the Georgian war in 2008), we have literally been in a new Cold War with Russia.

"Many people in politics and in the media don't want to call it this, because if they admit, 'Yes, we are in a Cold War,' they would have to explain what they were doing during the past 20 years. So they instead say, 'No, it is not a Cold War.'

"Here is my next point. This new Cold War has all of the potential to be even more dangerous than the preceding 40-year Cold War, for several reasons. First of all, think about it. The epicentre of the earlier Cold War was in Berlin, not close to Russia. There was a vast buffer zone between Russia and the West in Eastern Europe.

"Today, the epicentre is in Ukraine, literally on Russia's borders. It was the Ukrainian conflict that set this off, and politically Ukraine remains a ticking time bomb. Today's confrontation is not only on Russia's borders, but it's in the heart of Russian-Ukrainian 'Slavic civilization.' This is a civil war as profound in some ways as was America's Civil War."

Cohen continued: "My next point: and still worse – You will remember that after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Washington and Moscow developed certain rules-of-mutual conduct. They saw how dangerously close they had come to a nuclear war, so they adopted "No-Nos,' whether they were encoded in treaties or in unofficial understandings. Each side knew where the other's red line was. Both sides tripped over them on occasion but immediately pulled back because there was a mutual understanding that there were red lines.

"TODAY THERE ARE NO RED LINES. One of the things that Putin and his predecessor President Medvedev keep saying to Washington is: You are crossing our Red Lines! And Washington said, and continues to say, 'You don't have any red lines. We have red lines and we can have all the bases we want around your borders, but you can't have bases in Canada or Mexico. Your red lines don't exist.' This clearly illustrates that today there are no mutual rules of conduct.

"Another important point: Today there is absolutely no organized anti-Cold War or Pro-Detente political force or movement in the United States at all –– not in our political parties, not in the White House, not in the State Department, not in the mainstream media, not in the universities or the think tanks. … None of this exists today. …

"My next point is a question: Who is responsible for this new Cold War? I don't ask this question because I want to point a finger at anyone. The position of the current American political media establishment is that this new Cold War is all Putin's fault – all of it, everything. We in America didn't do anything wrong. At every stage, we were virtuous and wise and Putin was aggressive and a bad man. And therefore, what's to rethink? Putin has to do all of the rethinking, not us."

These two narratives, the Cold War narrative, and the neocons' subsequent "spin" on it: i.e. Bill Kristol's formulation (in 2002) that precisely because of its Cold War "victory," America could, and must, become the "benevolent global hegemon," guaranteeing and sustaining the new American-authored global order – an "omelette that cannot be made without breaking eggs" – converge and conflate in Syria, in the persons of President Assad and President Putin.

President Obama is no neocon, but he is constrained by the global hegemon legacy, which he must either sustain, or be labeled as the arch facilitator of America's decline. And the President is also surrounded by R2P ("responsibility-to-protect") proselytizers, such as Samantha Power, who seem to have convinced the President that "the tyrant" Assad's ouster would puncture and collapse the Wahhabist jihadist balloon, allowing "moderate" jihadists such as Ahrar al-Sham to finish off the deflated fragments of the punctured ISIS balloon.

In practice, President Assad's imposed ouster precisely will empower ISIS, rather than implode it, and the consequences will ripple across the Middle East – and beyond. President Obama privately may understand the nature and dangers of the Wahhabist cultural revolution, but seems to adhere to the conviction that everything will change if only President Assad steps down. The Gulf States said the same about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. He has gone (for now), but what changed? ISIS got stronger.

Of course if we think of ISIS as evil, for evil's sake, bent on mindless, whimsical slaughter, "what a foolish task it obviously [would be] to think about the enemy's actual motives. After all, to do so would be to treat them as humans, with human purposes arising out of history. It would smack of sympathy for the devil. Of course," Professor Chernus continues, "this means that, whatever we might think of their actions, we generally ignore a wealth of evidence that the Islamic State's fighters couldn't be more human or have more comprehensible motivations."

Indeed, ISIS and the other Caliphate forces have very clear human motivations and clearly articulated political objectives, and none of these is in any way consistent with the type of Syrian State that America says it wants for Syria. This precisely reflects the danger of becoming hostage to a certain narrative, rather than being willing to examine the prevailing conceptual framework more critically.

America lies far away from Syria and the Middle East, and as Professor Stephen Cohen notes, "unfortunately, today's reports seem to indicate that the White House and State Department are thinking primarily how to counter Russia's actions in Syria. They are worried, it was reported, that Russia is diminishing America's leadership in the world."

It is a meme of perpetual national insecurity, of perpetual fears about America's standing and of challenges to its standing, Professor Chernus suggests.

But Europe is not "far away"; it lies on Syria's doorstep. It is also neighbor to Russia. And in this connection, it is worth pondering Professor Cohen's last point: Washington's disinclination to permit Russia any enhancement to its standing in Europe, or in the non-West, through its initiative strategically to defeat Wahhabist jihadism in Syria, is not only to play with fire in the Middle East. It is playing with a fire of even greater danger: to do both at the same time seems extraordinarily reckless.

Cohen again:

"The false idea [has taken root] that the nuclear threat ended with the Soviet Union: In fact, the threat became more diverse and difficult. This is something the political elite forgot. It was another disservice of the Clinton Administration (and to a certain extent the first President Bush in his re-election campaign) saying that the nuclear dangers of the preceding Cold War era no longer existed after 1991. The reality is that the threat grew, whether by inattention or accident, and is now more dangerous than ever."

As Europe becomes accomplice in raising the various pressures on Russia in Syria – economically through sanctions and other financial measures, in Ukraine and Crimea, and in beckoning Montenegro, Georgia and the Baltic towards NATO – we should perhaps contemplate the paradox that Russia's determination to try to avoid war is leading to war.

Russia's call to co-operate with Western states against the scourge of ISIS; its low-key and carefully crafted responses to such provocations as the ambush of its SU-24 bomber in Syria; and President Putin's calm rhetoric, are all being used by Washington and London to paint Russia as a "paper tiger," whom no one needs fear.

In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the "benevolent" hegemon, or to prepare for war.

Alastair Crooke is a British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. [This article also appeared at the Conflicts Forum's Web site and is republished with permission.]

[Dec 14, 2015] The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis

consortiumnews.com
anne,
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/12/12/blocking-democracy-as-syrias-solution/

December 12, 2015

Blocking Democracy as Syria's Solution By Robert Parry

The long-cherished neocon dream of "regime change" in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis – a ceasefire followed by elections in which President Assad could compete. The problem is there's no guarantee that Assad would lose and thus the dream might go unfulfilled.
By Robert Parry

The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Sunni "allies," including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don't want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of "regime change."

Some Syrian opposition forces, which were brought together under the auspices of the Saudi monarchy in Riyadh this past week, didn't even want the word "democracy" included in their joint statement. The New York Times reported on Friday, "Islamist delegates objected to using the word 'democracy' in the final statement, so the term 'democratic mechanism' was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting."

Even that was too much for Ahrar al-Sham, one of the principal jihadist groups fighting side-by-side with Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, the two key elements inside the Saudi-created Army of Conquest, which uses sophisticated U.S.-supplied TOW missiles to kill Syrian government troops.

Ahrar al-Sham announced its withdrawal from the Riyadh conference because the meeting didn't "confirm the Muslim identity of our people." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sought to maintain a secular government that protects the rights of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities, but Sunni militants have been fighting to overthrow him since 2011.

Despite Ahrar al-Sham's rejection of the Saudi-organized conference, all the opposition participants, including one from Ahrar al-Sham who apparently wasn't aware of his group's announcement, signed the agreement, the Times reported.

"All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down," wrote Times' correspondent Ben Hubbard.

But the prospects of Assad and his government just agreeing to cede power to the opposition remains highly unlikely. An obvious alternative – favored by Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – is to achieve a ceasefire and then have internationally supervised elections in which the Syrian people could choose their own leaders.

Although President Barack Obama insists Assad is hated by most Syrians – and if that's true, he would presumably lose any fair election – the U.S. position is to bar Assad from the ballot, thus ensuring "regime change" in Syria, a long-held goal of Official Washington's neoconservatives.

In other words, to fulfill the neocons' dream of Syrian "regime change," the Obama administration is continuing the bloody Syrian conflict which has killed a quarter million people, has created an opening for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists, and has driven millions of refugees into and through nearby countries, now destabilizing Europe and feeding xenophobia in the United States.

For his part, Assad called participants in the Saudi conference "terrorists" and rejected the idea of negotiating with them. "They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don't think anyone would accept in any country," Assad told Spanish journalists, as he repeated his position that many of the terrorists were backed by foreign governments and that he would only "deal with the real, patriotic national opposition."

Kinks in the Process

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Friday that he was in contact with senior Saudi officials and noted, "there are some questions and obviously a couple of – in our judgment – kinks to be worked out" though expressing confidence that the problems could be resolved.

A key problem appears to be that the Obama administration has so demonized Assad and so bought into the neocon goal of "regime change" that Obama doesn't feel that he can back down on his "Assad must go!" mantra. Yet, to force Assad out and bar him from running in an election means escalating the war by either further arming the Sunni jihadists or mounting a larger-scale invasion of Syria with the U.S. military confronting Syrian and now Russian forces to establish what is euphemistically called "a safe zone" inside Syria. A related "no-fly zone" would require destroying Syrian air defenses, now supplied by the Russians.

Obama has largely followed the first course of action, allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni "allies" to funnel U.S. weapons to jihadists, including Ahrar al-Sham which fights alongside Al Qaeda's Nusra Front as the two seek to transform Syria into a Islamic fundamentalist state, a goal shared by Al Qaeda's spinoff (and now rival), the Islamic State.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has termed Obama's choice of aiding the jihadists a "willful decision," even in the face of DIA warnings about the likely rise of the Islamic State and other extremists.

In August 2012, DIA described the danger in a classified report, which noted that "The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISI or ISIS and then the Islamic State] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The report also said that "If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria" and that "ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria."

Despite these risks, Obama continued to insist that "Assad must go!" and let his administration whip up a propaganda campaign around claims that Assad's forces launched a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Though many of the U.S. claims about that attack have since been discredited – and later evidence implicated radical jihadists (possibly collaborating with Turkish intelligence) trying to trick the U.S. military into intervening on their side – the Obama administration did not retract or clarify its initial claims.

By demonizing Assad – much like the demonization of Russian President Putin – Obama may feel that he is deploying "soft power" propaganda to put foreign adversaries on the defensive while also solidifying his political support inside hawkish U.S. opinion circles, but false narratives can take on a life of their own and make rational settlements difficult if not impossible....

ilsm -> anne...
The Syria terror consortium was in Riyadh checking in with their bankers. To the Sunni democracy is apostate anathema.
anne -> ilsm...
I understand the frustration and beyond, after all I read about Yemen being bombed with American bombs and target sightings and I cannot imagine the policy incentives driving us.

Nonetheless, the Yemen bombings go on day on day on day.

anne -> ilsm...
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen? Who could possibly ever understand, but our policy makers act as though they do.

[Dec 12, 2015] Guyenot Who are the Neocons

Notable quotes:
"... The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.) ..."
"... Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either. ..."
"... He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.) ..."
"... American Jewish Committee ..."
"... Contemporary Jewish Record ..."
"... If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying . And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren ..."
"... Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech. ..."
"... believes that Truth is harmful to the common man and the social order and should be reserved for superior minds. ..."
"... nations derive their strength from their myths , which are necessary for government and governance. ..."
"... national myths have no necessary relationship with historical reality: they are socio-cultural constructions that the State has a duty to disseminate . ..."
"... to be effective, any national myth must be based on a clear distinction between good and evil ; it derives its cohesive strength from the hatred of an enemy nation. ..."
"... deception is the norm in political life ..."
"... Office of Special Plans ..."
"... The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy. ..."
"... the "chosen people" myth (God likes us best, we are better than you) ..."
"... the Holy Land myth (one area of real estate is more holy than another) ..."
"... General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran". ..."
"... Among them are brilliant strategists ..."
"... They operate unrestrained by the most basic moral principles upon which civilization is founded. They are undisturbed by compassion for the suffering of others. ..."
"... They use consciously and skillfully use deception and "myth-making" to shape policy ..."
"... They have infiltrated the highest levels of banking, US military, NATO and US government. ..."
Peak Prosperity

Mememonkey pointed my to a 2013 essay by Laurent Guyenot, a French historian and writer on the deep state, that addresses the question of "Who Are The Neoconservatives." If you would like to know about that group that sends the US military into battle and tortures prisoners of war in out name, you need to know about these guys.

First, if you are Jewish, or are a GREEN Meme, please stop and take a deep breath. Please put on your thinking cap and don't react. We are NOT disrespecting a religion, spiritual practice or a culture. We are talking about a radical and very destructive group hidden within a culture and using that culture. Christianity has similar groups and movements--the Crusades, the KKK, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, etc.

My personal investment: This question has been a subject of intense interest for me since I became convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, that the Iraq war was waged for reasons entirely different from those publically stated. I have been horrified to see such a shadowy, powerful group operating from a profoundly "pre-moral" developmental level-i.e., not based in even the most rudimentary principles of morality foundational to civilization.

Who the hell are these people?!

Goyenot's main points (with a touch of personal editorializing):

1. The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.)

Neoconservativism is essentially a modern right wing Jewish version of Machiavelli's political strategy. What characterizes the neoconservative movement is therefore not as much Judaism as a religious tradition, but rather Judiasm as a political project, i.e. Zionism, by Machiavellian means.

This is not a religious movement though it may use religions words and vocabulary. It is a political and military movement. They are not concerned with being close to God. This is a movement to expand political and military power. Some are Christian and Mormon, culturally.

Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either.

He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.)

2. Most American Jews are overwhelmingly liberal and do NOT share the perspective of the radical Zionists.

The neoconservative movement, which is generally perceived as a radical (rather than "conservative") Republican right, is, in reality, an intellectual movement born in the late 1960s in the pages of the monthly magazine Commentary, a media arm of the American Jewish Committee, which had replaced the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1945. The Forward, the oldest American Jewish weekly, wrote in a January 6th, 2006 article signed Gal Beckerman: "If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying. And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren".

3. Intellectual Basis and Moral developmental level

Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech.

Other major points:

4. The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy.

[The]Pax Judaica will come only when "all the nations shall flow" to the Jerusalem temple, from where "shall go forth the law" (Isaiah 2:1-3). This vision of a new world order with Jerusalem at its center resonates within the Likudnik and neoconservative circles. At the Jerusalem Summit, held from October 12th to 14th, 2003 in the symbolically significant King David Hotel, an alliance was forged between Zionist Jews and Evangelical Christians around a "theopolitical" project, one that would consider Israel… "the key to the harmony of civilizations", replacing the United Nations that's become a "a tribalized confederation hijacked by Third World dictatorships": "Jerusalem's spiritual and historical importance endows it with a special authority to become a center of world's unity. [...] We believe that one of the objectives of Israel's divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets". Three acting Israeli ministers spoke at the summit, including Benjamin Netanyahu, and Richard Perle.

Jerusalem's dream empire is expected to come through the nightmare of world war. The prophet Zechariah, often cited on Zionist forums, predicted that the Lord will fight "all nations" allied against Israel. In a single day, the whole earth will become a desert, with the exception of Jerusalem, who "shall remain aloft upon its site" (14:10).

With more than 50 millions members, Christians United for Israel is a major political force in the U.S.. Its Chairman, pastor John Haggee, declared: "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West, [...] a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ".

And Guyenot concludes:

Is it possible that this biblical dream, mixed with the neo-Machiavellianism of Leo Strauss and the militarism of Likud, is what is quietly animating an exceptionally determined and organized ultra-Zionist clan? General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran".

Is it just a coincidence that the "seven nations" doomed to be destroyed by Israel form part of the biblical myths? …[W]hen Yahweh will deliver Israel "seven nations greater and mightier than yourself […] you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them."

My summary:

[Dec 11, 2015] How Far Can The Syria Conflict Spiral Out Of Control

Notable quotes:
"... By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... • How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically ..."
"... • The fallout effects for countries caught in between ..."
"... • What Russia wants ..."
"... • What Turkey wants ..."
"... • What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves ..."
"... • Why ISIS can't be controlled ..."
"... • How Shi'ite radical groups differ ..."
"... • Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena ..."
"... • Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons ..."
"... Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise… ..."
"... "Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors." ..."
"... ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past. ..."
"... Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance. ..."
"... The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants. ..."
"... Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus. ..."
"... Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.) ..."
"... It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power. ..."
"... Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs. ..."
"... I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud. ..."
"... The interest must be paid… ..."
"... I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage. ..."
"... From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war. ..."
naked capitalism

By James Stafford, Editor in Chief of OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice

...No one can fight a war without oil, according to Robert Bensh, partner and managing director of Pelicourt LLC oil and gas company. But while the politically unhinged are coming out the woodwork, the more important aspects of this story remain elusive to the public. Is the dangerously unspoken theory that ISIS is a bulwark against Iran what's keeping the West from tackling the Islamic State wholeheartedly on its territory?

... ... ...

In an exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, Bensh discusses:

• How far the Russia-Turkey spat can go economically
• The fallout effects for countries caught in between
• What Russia wants
• What Turkey wants
• What other geopolitical purposes ISIS serves
• Why ISIS can't be controlled
• How Shi'ite radical groups differ
• Why we're looking at a possible remapping of a significant part of the energy arena
• Why we shouldn't listen to billionaire buffoons

... ... ...

Robert Bensh: Russia and Turkey have a great deal of economic interdependence, and nowhere more than in the energy sector. There has been no talk of cutting Russian gas to Turkey, and I don't see how Russia can afford this right now. Turkey is not only a significant customer for Russia, but it's also a key gas-transit point.

James Stafford: So what does Turkey want?

Robert Bensh: The better question is: "What does Erdogan want?" You know, Putin's probably not too far off in his statement referring to Erdogan's loss of "mind and reason". Erdogan has been going down this path little by little for some time and it's no secret that he has some megalomaniacal tendencies that grow more and more out of control every year. It would seem that he has dreams of a return of the Ottoman Empire-and that ISIS could be a logical ally to that end. Of course, ISIS is not likely looking to be beholden to another Ottoman Empire controlling a greater Sunni-Arab dominion. Many, many Turks fail to share this dream with their leader, and his ambitions will also be his eventual downfall unfortunately.

For the Turkish regime, there is also the idea that ISIS will ostensibly give them more power against the rise of the Kurds, both in southeastern Turkey and in northern Syria. It will even raise the Turks' status in the face of the Saudis whose oil wealth has make them more powerful than the Turks in many ways.

Jim McKay

Yves: I think your "quibble" is… indeed minor.

Larger picture of what's really going on with Turkey's intentions driven by Ergodan, Bensh's correct description of Ergo's character and flaws, and less explicitly stated US (he says "west") 1/2 ass efforts to defeat IS despite US leaders (from WH to Congress) emphatic claims otherwise…

These are realities. Whatever small portion of US electorate reads here, at least a few are being introduced to this. We are heading into another election with… in my view, more deeply entrenched public opinions on this based on lies, then maybe any time I recall my entire life. It's just, the game is bigger now with more potential for longer lasting catastrophe if we don't find a way to right our ship.

I appreciate this article… it's on the right track. Only other thing I'd mention: amidst all this, we've had recent international climate meetings with little progress. Clearly, this is bigger problem for entire planet that nobody will escape. I'm stuck by Bensh's comments on protecting their investments (oil) and how the various players he mentions all make decisions based on… oil. It over rides, it seems…everything else that matters.

The planet needs to get behind renewables, and develop them… fast. It's not so hard to see how doing so would change these other geo-political games forever.

financial matters

I think taking the 'businessman' look at this is not a bad way to look at it. As Adam Hanieh has pointed out

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/isis-syria-iraq-war-al-qaeda-arab-spring/

"Coupled with unparalleled levels of socioeconomic insecurity, Sunni marginalization produced a real social base whose attraction to ISIS goes beyond religious or ideological factors."

and also

"ISIS may project a utopic promise of stability and prosperity, but this is far from the reality on the ground. We can be absolutely certain that it will experience its own internal revolts, as similarly declarative examples of Islamic "states" have faced in the past.

Despite all the setbacks of the last few years, the potential growth of a genuinely left alternative has not been extinguished and, most importantly, has never been more necessary."

--

William Polk echoes this idea of the importance of a non-military and non-police response.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/falling-into-the-isis-trap/

"–The results of insurgency are described in my book Violent Politics. There I have shown that in a variety of societies over the last two centuries in various parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, guerrillas have nearly always accomplished their objectives despite even the most draconian counterinsurgency tactics."

His point being that dealing with the fundamental socioeconomic imbalances/repression can be more effective.

Eureka Springs

Interesting to me as much for what is not considered by oil businessmen.

A few quick points:

cassandra

…and

Brooklin Bridge

This is a good interview. Along with other posts on the subject, this is bringing a little clarity to why there is no clarity.

participant-observer-observed

Hmmm. No mention of Saudi and others in the dynamic…

for more details, read above with Escobar's Pipelineistan,
here c/o Tom Dispatch.

Jack Heape

Thanks for that link. Escobar always has some good insights. I also suggest Juan Cole. He recently had a good piece on President Erdogan.

camelotkidd

Pepe Escobar has been all over the back story of what he calls pipelineistan– http://counterpunch.org/2015/12/08/syria-ultimate-pipelineistan-war /

"Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance.

The "Assad must go" obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the "4+1" alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants.

Thus Washington's strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus."

participant-observer-observed

Yes, thanks for that most recent Escobar piece at Counterpunch; the one i linked above is already old but still interesting.

The regime change recipe of DC has already been tried and has failed in Iraq, Libya, etc., no one can fathom any improvements replacing Assad + Isis with Isis alone, aka rag tag coalitions of jihadis! Even Saudis can hardly wish for it.

ChrisFromGeorgia

Based on reported facts on the ground (well, reported by non-US media that is) the SAA is making slow but steady progress in retaking key towns and the highway between Aleppo and Damascus. No doubt Russian air and logistical support has made a difference.

If things keep going this way, Assad will likely regain the upper hand and the Saudi/US sponsored jihadis will be confined to the eastern part of the country. It's looking like Washington will have to make a choice – accept Assad as the legitimate ruler (for now) or continue to provoke the situation with guerrilla tactics. We know from history that there is precedent for long wars against legitimate governments that displease Washington (see Daniel Ortega, Sandanistas.) My guess is they go this route and hope to eventually install a stooge.

Of course Turkey is the wild card – Erdogan is increasingly looking like he might be the spark that sets off a much larger conflict. To answer the question, I think there are a lot of really bad scenarios that could happen here, and they are a lot closer than people think (Turkey shutting down the Bosphorus, for starters.)

Steven

It is way past time for the arrogant stupidity of Washington's neoconservatives to be exposed and for them to at a minimum be removed from the levers of power – if not tried for crimes against humanity. And that includes Obama if he is really one of them, i.e. if he believes in anything but the politics of power.

This 'Arrogance of Power' has characterized US foreign policy making since the end of WWII. The U.N. was sold to the public as an arrangement for collective security so the U.S. would not have to 'make the world safe for democracy' (sic) a third time. It has been in reality nothing more than a tool for the pursuit of (perceived) US interests, promptly discarded when the principles in its charter became inconvenient.

Short of initiating the world's Mutually Assured Destruction, the U.S. is running out of options – in Syria and around the world. It may be too late for the U.S. to get serious about collective security, to tell the world 'this time we really mean it'. Having squandered economic and "too good to waste" military power in a successive string of needless wars, it may no longer be possible to convince especially those who hold the levers of power in Russia and China that we are serious about collective security and willing to accept a multi-polar world.

Specifically with respect to Syria, it looks like about the best the 'West' (i.e. the US and its vassals) can hope for is some pipeline arrangement providing Europe with an alternative, a competing supplier for its energy needs. In exchange, the 'West' can agree to end its economic war against Russia, Iran et.al and get back to the business of business, i.e. exporting something other than debt and bombs.

kgw

I remember reading years ago that the rise of the AKP, and the rising standard of living with it, was fueled directly by a large stream of cash that was funneled from the House of Saud.

The interest must be paid…

susan the other

This was really to the point, without actually making it. One thing is becoming clear – the oil wars are distilling down to natural advantage. It currently belongs to SA – but the future looks like it prefers to use Levant & east Mediterranean oil because it will be easier to pipe to southern Europe. And maybe cleaner? So everybody and their dog is fighting for access to it.

It explains Netanyahu's trip to Moscow & the French clearly in league with Russia for achieving access to this resource (why else?). And it is partly being driven by decisions to leave current oil reserves in the ground. As Palast said it is a "war for no oil."

Which in turn makes sense of Kerry's admonishing the Senate about the Iran deal – that if they want to continue to be oil brokers (petrodollar brokers) they have to come to terms with Iran because there are plenty of other nations who can step up; and of course we want our EU cousins to get a cut of Levant oil, and etc. And Russia is clearly protecting its oil interests. I wonder how long this feeding frenzy will continue.

Horatio Parker

I think the waffling on ISIS is due to their location among Sunnis. The US would like to win Sunnis over, so they're cautious about bombing, which of course is to ISIS' advantage.

tgs

From where I sit, the Syria conflict is an important part of a much larger one – between the 'West' and Russia. Things have been heating up again in the Ukraine. Biden gave a speech there just a couple of days ago in which he insisted that 'NATO would not rest until Crimea was returned to the Ukraine.' That's not going to happen without a war.

[Dec 09, 2015] Declassified CIA Manual Shows How US Uses Bureaucracy to Destabilize Governments

www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Jake Anderson via TheAntiMedia.org,

When most people think of CIA sabotage, they think of coups, assassinations, proxy wars, armed rebel groups, and even false flags - not strategic stupidity and purposeful bureaucratic ineptitude. However, according to a declassified document from 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later became the CIA, used and trained a curious breed of "citizen-saboteurs" in occupied nations like Norway and France.

The World War II-era document, called Simple Sabotage Field Manual, outlines ways in which operatives can disrupt and demoralize enemy administrators and police forces. The first section of the document, which can be read in its entirety here, addresses "Organizations and Conferences" - and how to turn them into a "dysfunctional mess":

On its official webpage, the CIA boasts about finding innovative ways to bring about sabotage, calling their tactics for destabilization "surprisingly relevant." While they admit that some of the ideas may seem a bit outdated, they claim that "Together they are a reminder of how easily productivity and order can be undermined."

In a second section targeted at manager-saboteurs, the guide lists the following tactical moves:

Finally, the guide presents protocol for how saboteur-employees can disrupt enemy operations, too:

The CIA is proud of its Kafkaesque field manual and evidently still views it as an unorthodox but effective form of destabilizing enemy operations around the world. Of course, so too might an anarchist or revolutionary look at such tactics and view them in the context of disrupting certain domestic power structures, many of which are already built like a bureaucratic house of cards.

It seems if any country should refrain from showcasing how easy it is to disrupt inefficient federal agencies, however, it would be the United States.

[Dec 07, 2015] Did Erdogan Commit Political Suicide Shahir ShahidSaless

www.huffingtonpost.com
Erdogan, desperate and angry over his losing battle to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, ordered the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet. Erdogan has been actively pursuing the ouster of Assad since 2012, but Russia's recent intervention in Syria, in alliance with Iran and its highly ideologically and politically motivated proxies, has resulted in a serious setback for Erdogan's plans.

Putin's determination to destroy Turkey's proxies at the Syrian borders and to thwart Erdogan's plan to create a no-fly/buffer zone in the area has derailed Erdogan's plans for Syria. Erdogan hoped to use the buffer zone as an operational hub aimed at bringing down President Assad.

Russian attacks on Turkmen-dominated areas in Bayirbucak, where the Russian plane was downed, would also inflict serious collateral damage to Turkey. The Turkish government regards the area in north-west Syria, presently under the control of the Bayirbucak Turkmens, as an important buffer zone preventing the territorial expansion of Syria's Kurdish-minority militias, whom it regards as terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Erdogan's objective in shooting down the plane was to provoke Russia into a harsh response. He hoped the response would bring Russia into conflict with the whole of NATO, which would help reverse Turkey's declining fortunes in the Syrian war.

Erdogan's calculations went terribly wrong. Following the incident, Turkey requested an emergency meeting with NATO members. Contrary to Erdogan's expectations, although, members did not support Russia, neither did they wholeheartedly support Turkey. Many members questioned Turkey's action and, according to Reuters, "expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace." In a clear indication of the suspicion among NATO members regarding Turkey's real intention behind its adventurism, some diplomats told Reuters, "There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents."

Not only didn't Cold War II happen, French President Francois Hollande, who promised "merciless" revenge in the aftermath of Paris attacks, met with Putin and they agreed to form an alliance against Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Syria. The outcome of such an alliance is that the "Assad must go" mantra will be overshadowed by the war against Daesh--something that Erdogan hated to occur. Erdogan's plan to bring the West and Russia into conflict became even more unattainable when France's move was followed by Britain and then Germany.

Turkey also lost significant room to maneuver in the post-shootdown of the Russian fighter jet. Russia, by deploying the powerful S-400 surface-to-air missile system in Hmeymim airbase near Latakia, sent a strong signal to Turkey--a de facto no-fly zone already in effect south of the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russia also sent Turkey and NATO a clear message by arming its fighter jets with air-to-air missiles. On November 30, the Russian Air Force announced that "today, for the first time ‪Su34‬ fighter-bombers departed for combat sorties with air-to-air short- and medium-range missiles.... The usage of such weaponry is necessary for providing security of the aircraft of the Russian" air force, the announcement read. ‬‬‬

Moscow also authorized numerous economic sanctions against Ankara ranging from tourism to agricultural products as well as sanctions on energy and construction projects.

Erdogan took a conciliatory stance after the incident. In a speech in Ankara, he said, "We are strategic partners ... 'Joint projects may be halted, ties could be cut'? Are such approaches fitting for politicians?" Erdogan even requested a meeting with Putin while both leaders were in Paris for the COP21 climate change conference on November 30, but Putin rejected the request.

Russians launched a heavy campaign to damage Erdogan's credibility and reputation. Vladimir Putin and numerous other Russian politicians leveled accusations regarding Turkey's sponsorship and cooperation with ISIS as well as allegations of buying oil smuggled by ISIS.

On November 30, on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris, Putin stated, "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale." He even went further to say, "We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers."

In response, Erdogan said he will resign as the country's president if Russia provides evidence that implicates Turkey in any oil trade with ISIS.

Later, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said, "We have repeatedly publicly stated that oil from the IS-controlled territories is transported abroad, particularly to Turkey. The facts that substantiate these claims will be formally presented in the UN in particular, and to all parties concerned."

Then on December 2, the Russian Defense Ministry held a briefing concerning ISIS funding. During the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, satellite images, and videos, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said, "According to our data, the top political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family - is involved in this criminal business."

Antonov added, "In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president's son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business."

On December 3, without mentioning specifics, Putin declared there was more evidence to come. "We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling," he said. "But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime ... are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

At this point, it is apparent that Putin's ultimate objective is to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him to severely damage Erdogan's name and trustworthiness, both domestically and internationally, or, even better, bring him and his regime down as a perceived power behind the extremists and the anti-Assad forces in Syria. This is in line with Russia's plan for realizing its strategic objectives in Syria.

[Dec 06, 2015] With allies like Turkey, who needs enemies

Notable quotes:
"... Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story. ..."
"... "If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook. ..."
"... The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest. ..."
"... The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4. ..."
www.dailykos.com

Turkey has sent 2,000 troops into Iraq without getting permission from Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has demanded they withdraw, calling it a "hostile act", but Ankara has decided to ignore Baghdad's wishes.

This is only the latest act that undermines the wisdom of having Turkey as a military ally.

Turkey and the U.S. State Department scoffed when Russia accused the Turkish government of being involved with smuggling ISIS oil. However, after Moscow presented convincing proof of Turkey's involvement, the Obama Administration changed its story.

While the US has long hyped the problem of ISIS oil smuggling, the recent Russian Defense Ministry presentation, showing significant evidence of Turkey being involved in buying ISIS oil and taking it to refineries run by the Turkish government, has changed their tune.
After a previous denial of the allegation against Turkey, the US is now admitting that the oil is ending up smuggled into Turkey, but insists it is "of no significance" because so much of the oil produced in ISIS-controlled parts of Syria is consumed inside Syria.
"The amount of oil being smuggled is extremely low and has decreased over time," claimed US special envoy Amos Hochstein, a stunning admission which suggests the US was well aware of oil smuggling into Turkey even before the Russian evidence.

Just in case we don't want to believe the Russian videos, Moscow has a solution.

"If the American colleagues are not satisfied with those ones, they should watch videos gained by their own UAVs," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Facebook.

The ever-changing political spin in Washington to avoid admitting the obvious looks increasingly dishonest.

With the U.S. government knowing about Turkey's government involvement (Russia's photos show ISIS oil smuggling trucks passing through border crossings without stopping), it begs the question of what our objectives actually are?

gjohnsit

Erdogan Moves To Annex Mosul

Should Mosul be cleared of the Islamic State the Turkish heavy weapons will make it possible for Turkey to claim the city unless the Iraqi government will use all its power to fight that claim. Should the city stay in the hands of the Islamic State Turkey will make a deal with it and act as its protector. It will benefit from the oil around Mosul which will be transferred through north Iraq to Turkey and from there sold on the world markets. In short: This is an effort to seize Iraq's northern oil fields.

That is the plan but it is a risky one. Turkey did not ask for permission to invade Iraq and did not inform the Iraqi government.

The Turks claim that they were invited by the Kurds:

Turkey will have a permanent military base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul as the Turkish forces in the region training the Peshmerga forces have been reinforced, Hürriyet reported.

The deal regarding the base was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, during the latter's visit to northern Iraq on Nov. 4.

There are two problems with this. First: Massoud Barzani is no longer president of the KRG. His mandate ran out and the parliament refused to prolong it. Second: Mosul and its Bashiqa area are not part of the KRG. Barzani making a deal about it is like him making a deal about Paris.

mookins

Al-masdar news-feed-thing had guncam footage of a night attack, by frogfoots with their cannons, on an ISIS truck park. Magnified view at first so you could see they were full-sized like semi's; and no casual agglomeration, these were parked efficiently in a herringbone pattern, at least 400 and I think closer to a thousand. At the film's end the whole thing is just large, neat rectangles of brightness.

So little did ISIS have to fear from an American-coalition airstrike that they had it set up like this. And now these White House statements that it was no big deal.

And Europe sees all this on the news, the ISIS we didn't fight, the flood of refugees that resulted, and sees Russia and Iran being the good guys.

I read where Putin was worried, called Merkel and Hollande to see if they were still on board with 'Minsk 2', the current ceasefire agreement in Ukraine, and they said yes they were. He was worried because Ukraine's President had said he rejected it and the U.S. had said we support that, we reject it too.

We've lost Europe. World getting better fast.

MrWebster, Dec 06 · 04:28:32 PM

Your observations are right on, but only if you assume that thee enemy is IS and Al Queda in Syria. At this point, I don't believe it is. Assad/Russians are perceived as the bigger and more important enemy for the Obama administration and the neocons to focus on. In this case, what Turkey is doing is acceptable-they are enabling opposition forces to Assad/Russians. Heck, when the Russians started bombing, the Al Nusrat Front (Al Queda in Syria) was magically transformed by the administration and the mass media into "rebels", "moderate rebels", "insurgents", "opposition".

native -> MrWebster

I wonder who gets to claim Mosel, after all the dust settles? Abadi seems to have lost all control over his nominal countrymen in the north. But will the Iraqi Kurds side with Turkey, and against their brethren just across the border?

[Dec 06, 2015] US elite strategy toward Russia is replica of UK strategy a century before

Notable quotes:
"... The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience... ..."
"... Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence ..."
russia-insider.com

merchantsofmenace

The relationship between Russia and Western Europe's far right may be a marriage of convenience...

Closer ties with rising political parties in the EU will give Putin more leverage against NATO. For its part, the European right sees the Russian leader as a staunch defender of national sovereignty and conservative values who has challenged US influence...

https://medium.com/the-eastern-project/greece-s-nazi-problem-continues-5b92ca57dc6d#.kfiaixvdm 1

YoringeTBE -> merchantsofmenace
russia-insider.com

Stratfor Chairman Straight-Talking: US Policy Is Driven by Imperative to Stop Coalition between Germany and Russia

George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of Stratfor, or what is called by many "private/shadow CIA" for its well known connections and close cooperation with the CIA, gave a very interesting speech to the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs on subject Europe: Destined for Conflict? in February of this year.

[Dec 06, 2015] More Planes Than Targets Why the Air War on ISIS Will Fail

www.counterpunch.org
Even if Britain's role is symbolic at this stage, it has joined a very real war against an enemy of great ferocity and experience, not least of air attacks. The highly informed Turkish military analystMetin Gurcan, writing on Al-Monitor website, says that air strikes may have been effective against Isis communications and training facilities, but adds that "it is extraordinary that there is not a single [Isis] control facility that has been hit by allied air strikes".

This is not for lack of trying and shows that talk of destroying Isis command and control centres in Raqqa is wishful thinking, given that 2,934 American air strikes in Syria have failed to do so over the last 14 months.

Air strikes have had an impact on Isis's tactics and casualty rate, above all when they are used in close co-operation with a well-organised ground force like the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Isis may have lost as many as 2,200 fighters at Kobani which is a small and closely packed city. On the other hand, the length of time it took to drive Isis out of it with 700 air strikes demonstrated their fighters' willingness to die.

Many Isis commanders reportedly regard their tactics at Kobani as a mistake which cost the group too many casualties and which it should not repeat. To do so it sacrificed two of its most important military assets which are mobility and surprise. This does not mean that it will not fight to the last bullet for cities like Raqqa and Mosul, but it did not do so for Tikrit and Sinjar where it used snipers, booby traps and IEDs, but did not commit large detachments of troops.

Isis has modified its tactics to take account of the continuing risk of air strikes. It now has a decentralised command structure, with tactical decisions being taken by leaders of small units of eight to 10 men, whose overall mission is determined from the centre – but not how it should be accomplished. This limits the ability of its opponents to monitor its communications.

Its forces assemble swiftly and attack soon afterwards with multiple diversionary operations, as was seen when Mosul was captured in June 2014 and again when they took Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, this May.

They had been fighting their way into Baiji refinery, but this turned out to be a diversion and Isis units pulled back from there as soon as Ramadi fell.

Isis's approach is to use a mixture of conventional, guerrilla and terrorist tactics, none unique in themselves, but they have never been used before in combination. Air strikes mean that it is less able to use captured tanks or big concentrations of vehicles packed with fighters. Instead it uses IEDs, booby traps, snipers and mortar teams in even greater numbers.

Public martyrdom as an expression of religious faith is such a central part of its ideology that it can deploy suicide bombers on foot or in vehicles in great numbers to destroy fortifications and demoralize the enemy. Some 28 suicide bombers were reportedly used in the final stages of the battle for Ramadi. Psychological warfare has always been an important element of Isis's tactical armory. It has sought to terrify opposition forces by showing videos in which captured Iraqi or Syrian soldiers are filmed being ritually decapitated or shot in the head.

Sometimes, the families of Syrian soldiers get a phone call from their son's mobile with a picture of his body with his severed head on his chest. Mass killings of prisoners have taken place after all Isis's victories (the al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front, does the same thing).

Heavy air attack will increase Isis's losses and it will be more difficult to bring in foreign volunteers through Turkey because most of the border is now closed. But Isis rules an area with a population of at least six million and conscripts all young men, who often want to become fighters because there is no other employment. Isis may have a fighting force of 100,000 men, as is strongly suggested by the very long front lines it holds and its ability to make multiple attacks simultaneously. Whatever Britain's role, we will be fighting a formidable military machine.

[Dec 04, 2015] The Neoconservative Movement is Trotskyism

"... Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy. ..."
"... Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back. ..."
"... These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather…they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement. ..."
"... As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world. ..."
"... In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies-policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had. ..."
"... For example, when two top AIPAC officials-Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman-were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them. ..."
"... Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel. ..."
January 22, 2013 | Veterans Today

Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy.

We have to keep in mind that America and much of the Western world were scared to death of Bolshevism and Trotskyism in the 1920s and early 30s because of its subversive activity.

Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back.

These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather…they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement.

... ... ...

As it turns out, neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute are largely extensions of Trotskyism with respect to foreign policy. Other think tanks such as the Bradley Foundation were overtaken by the neoconservative machine back in 1984.

Some of those double agents have been known to have worked with Likud-supporting Jewish groups such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization which has been known to have "co-opted" several "non-Jewish defense experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired general Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq."

Philo-Semitic scholars Stephen Halper of Cambridge University and Jonathan Clarke of the CATO Institute agree that the neoconservative agendas "have taken American international relations on an unfortunate detour," which is another way of saying that this revolutionary movement is not what the Founding Fathers signed up for, who all maintained that the United States would serve the American people best by not entangling herself in alliances with foreign entities.

As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world.

Moreover, former secretary of defense Robert Gates made it clear to the United States that the Israelis do not and should not have a monopoly on the American interests in the Middle East. For that, he was chastised by neoconservative Elliott Abrams.

In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies-policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had.

... ... ...

Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel.

The FBI has numerous documents tracing Israel's espionage in the U.S., but no one has come forward and declared it explicitly in the media because most political pundits value mammon over truth.

For example, when two top AIPAC officials-Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman-were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them.

In the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage," Israel is a major country that pops up quite often. This is widely known among CIA and FBI agents and U.S. officials for years.

One former U.S. intelligence official declared, "There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States. Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States.

They undertake a wide range of technical operations and human operations. People here as liaisons… aggressively pursue classified intelligence from people. The denials are laughable."

[Dec 04, 2015] Turkish Stream is now officially cancelled. All the eggs are now in the same basket: Nord Stream II.

Notable quotes:
"... "Firstly, Ukraine is an energy-deficient country and the tendency we observe today will continue and develop: gas production in Ukraine will decline and consumption will grow. We proceed from the assumption that the Ukrainian economy will develop successfully. The present-day level of gas consumption clearly shows that Ukraine has not solved all of its economic problems. In this regard, gas supplies to Ukraine will increase in the medium and long term. Secondly, if a merger takes place, we will load Ukraine's gas transmission system to the extent possible and it surely means additional income that is significant for the Ukrainian budget. At the same time, if the Ukrainian gas transmission system is loaded with some 95 billion cubic meters of gas per year, we know well that it may deliver 120 and even 125 billion cubic meters with a particular level of investments in modernization and reconstruction, of course. And if small investments are made in new compressor stations and pipeline loops, we may probably speak of 140 billion cubic meters of gas. However, we realize that European gas consumption will grow. According to our estimates, gas demand in Europe may grow up to 130-140 billion cubic meters of gas by the turn of 2020." ..."
"... Remember the story with biogas, wonderful – 20 per cent by 2020, and mass media start writing that it will enable escaping from dependence on Russia. Then we find out that biogas is there, together with food supply problems, etc. Then we observed the European Union's wonderful program – "20-20-20". I think, there's no need of deciphering it – everyone knows about it. And again mass media say that it will enable reducing dependence on Gazprom and Russia. The same thing is with shale gas. First, no one will cope with shale gas transportation, because it is too expensive, add transport – and it is already a business with no prospects. I have a plea for mass media – would you please stop frightening Europe, stop frightening everyone around with Russia and Gazprom. For Europe it is a real blessing that it has such a powerful neighbor with such conventional gas reserves. Exploration of non-conventionals [N.B.: Non-conventional energy resources] may end with no results, as experience of certain countries shows. So let's live in peace and friendship and contribute to strengthening Russia's contacts and ties with the European Union and Ukraine . ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
karl1haushofer, December 3, 2015 at 9:42 am
Turkish Stream is now officially cancelled. All the eggs are now in the same basket: Nord Stream II. Hopefully the US/UK/Baltics/Poland front will not be able to stop it. Because otherwise Russia is stuck with Ukraine as a transit country.
marknesop, December 3, 2015 at 10:45 am
Well, I don't think they want to stop it. They want the gas the same as before – they just want it on their own terms. Brussels wants to exercise control over whose gas goes through the pipeline, so that if they are have a "spat" with Russia, they can stop orders of Russian gas and bring some at-this-moment-unknown supplier's gas through the same pipeline, probably Azerbaijan.

Read this 2011 press conference with Gazprom; I found it while looking for a layman's explanation of what the Third Energy Package actually entails. Because it appears what is most unappealing to it from Gazprom's point of view is that it limits vital investment in gas futures, considering it would substantially restrict long-term contracts. They could be happy with you today, buying off your competitors tomorrow. According to Brussels, that's healthy competition which ensures the customer gets the best price, while Gazprom naturally prefers to deal in long-term contracts which lock the customer in, although they are usually willing to talk out a deal if it looks like the customer is really unhappy because unhappy customers are bad for business, even in the gas industry.

Right away, you notice that Europe accepts long-term contracts, but nonetheless takes the position that long-term capacity supply orders upset the market. As Gazprom correctly points out, these two views cannot reasonably coexist.

In 2011, Gazprom was still considering a joint venture with NaftoGaz Ukraine, and intended to actually increase gas transit through Ukraine while simultaneously building South Stream. They were also considering a merger, and Miller said if that came about, Ukrainian gas consumers would pay the same prices as Russia. Look how far they are away from that now – funny old world, innit? Here was Miller's vision, at the time, for a Gazprom-NaftoGaz merger:

"Firstly, Ukraine is an energy-deficient country and the tendency we observe today will continue and develop: gas production in Ukraine will decline and consumption will grow. We proceed from the assumption that the Ukrainian economy will develop successfully. The present-day level of gas consumption clearly shows that Ukraine has not solved all of its economic problems. In this regard, gas supplies to Ukraine will increase in the medium and long term.
Secondly, if a merger takes place, we will load Ukraine's gas transmission system to the extent possible and it surely means additional income that is significant for the Ukrainian budget. At the same time, if the Ukrainian gas transmission system is loaded with some 95 billion cubic meters of gas per year, we know well that it may deliver 120 and even 125 billion cubic meters with a particular level of investments in modernization and reconstruction, of course. And if small investments are made in new compressor stations and pipeline loops, we may probably speak of 140 billion cubic meters of gas. However, we realize that European gas consumption will grow. According to our estimates, gas demand in Europe may grow up to 130-140 billion cubic meters of gas by the turn of 2020."

You can see, I'm sure, why Brussels didn't like it. Under the Third Energy Package, the operator of the gas transit system will be elected by the European Union on a tender basis. You can see, I'm sure, why Gazprom didn't like that. If the merger between Gazprom and NaftoGaz Ukraine had come about, Ukrainians would have paid Russian domestic prices, in a word, forever.

What Europe's position boils down to is it wants a system whereby its suppliers do not own anything of the transit system, and the operator could be anyone depending on who sucks up to Europe the most, so that it can make its suppliers fight with one another and be assured of the cheapest prices. Until that magical sugar-daddy supplier appears that can provide steady and sustained competition to Russia, Europe is not in a very good bargaining position. But you bet that would change fast if the western alliance could get rid of Assad, partition Syria and get a Qatari gas pipeline laid across it.

Here's a poignant reminder of what might have been, which serves to point up who are the real troublemakers:

"Remember the story with biogas, wonderful – 20 per cent by 2020, and mass media start writing that it will enable escaping from dependence on Russia. Then we find out that biogas is there, together with food supply problems, etc. Then we observed the European Union's wonderful program – "20-20-20". I think, there's no need of deciphering it – everyone knows about it. And again mass media say that it will enable reducing dependence on Gazprom and Russia. The same thing is with shale gas. First, no one will cope with shale gas transportation, because it is too expensive, add transport – and it is already a business with no prospects. I have a plea for mass media – would you please stop frightening Europe, stop frightening everyone around with Russia and Gazprom. For Europe it is a real blessing that it has such a powerful neighbor with such conventional gas reserves. Exploration of non-conventionals [N.B.: Non-conventional energy resources] may end with no results, as experience of certain countries shows. So let's live in peace and friendship and contribute to strengthening Russia's contacts and ties with the European Union and Ukraine."

kirill , December 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm
See above. It is time for Russia to lay down the law. Russia can go without the $25 billion per year of lost revenues. But whole EU economies will crash into epic depressions without this energy supply. In other words, the EU is looking at TRILLIONS of DOLLARS in economic damage. The Brussels Uncle Scam cocksuckers will have to justify their actions. Russia does not have to since it is the vendor. If you are not happy, then shop the fuck elsewhere, idiots.

[Dec 03, 2015] It's a pretty tough situation for Putin

Recently annonced: Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline
marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile, December 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

Just announced:

Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline

Earlier, during his address to the nation, the Evil One questioned the sanity of the Turkish political leadership, stressing that Russia is nor criticising the Turkish nation for the recent downturn in Russo-Turksh relationships.

marknesop, December 3, 2015 at 7:37 am

Washington will be delighted, as it was one of the hoped-for consequences of the major downturn in relations. Hoped for by Washington and Brussels, I mean. Brussels will now ramp up its rhetoric against Nord Stream II, and if the coalition building it have not got all their ducks in a row the EC will be all too ready to put a stop to it. The objective will be leaving Russia no option but to continue transit through Ukraine, because the transit fees are vital to its solvency. The EU can't afford to give it $2 Billion a year for nothing for as far as the eye can see.

kirill, December 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

As I posted elsewhere, Russia needs to make a formal announcement that the transit of gas via Ukraine will stop at the end of 2016 regardless of the state of alternative routes. Brussels can then go and eat shit.

likbez, December 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm

It's a pretty tough situation for Putin. No friends anywhere. Everybody want a peace of Russia economically or otherwise. The situation reminds me a Russian cruiser Varyag at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay with the Japanese squadron of Admiral Uriu.

Fledging political alliance of Turkey and Ukraine is not a very good development. Also while economic sanctions are not that damaging to Russia per se as they are for Turkey, they still increase isolation of Russia. Exactly what the USA wanted from the very beginning.

So this whole incident with shooting down Russian Su-24 looks like another victory of the US diplomacy in its efforts to isolate Russia. And it might well be a plot similar to MH17 plot, if you wish. It does not matter if Erdogan acted on his own initiative or with gentle encouragement. The net result is the same.

Also a new Saudi leadership is a pretty impulsive and aggressive folk. And the are definitely adamantly anti-Russian.

[Dec 03, 2015] Who are those moderate rebels in Syria

marknesop.wordpress.com
yalensis, December 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

You are burying the lede, which is Congressman Ed Royce's not-so veiled threat against Russia:

"I think what Vladimir Putin should think on, for a minute, is the fact that Moscow itself IS a target. The attack on the Metro-Liner from Russia over Egypt clearly is another message from ISIS. So, at this point what we would like to see is a recalibration on the part of the Russian military. So that instead of attacking the Free Syrian Army and the more secular Syrian forces, they should begin to attack ISIS. So far we haven't seen that."

Translation from American B.S. into plain talk:
"Putin: Stop attacking our guys, we know they are ISIS but we have to pretend they're not. If you keep attacking them, we'll have them commit ever more terror attacks against the Russian people."

marknesop , December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The USA is perhaps the worst choice on the planet to ask who is a "moderate rebel" and who is ISIS, as witnessed by their sad-sack training plan for moderate rebels which produced 5 or so whom they say are reliable after spending $500 Million. Obviously they trained many more than 5, but they have no idea where those people or their equipment are now. The real hot button in that article is the mention of General Steven Groves and his operation to "oversee the suppression of assessments showing the war on a perilous trajectory." That's what the American intelligence organs do now – blow smoke up people's asses so they can't see reality.

[Dec 03, 2015] Germany Rebukes Its Own Intelligence Agency for Criticizing Saudi Policy

Notable quotes:
"... "The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled " Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long. ..."
"... Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats. ..."
"... Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths. ..."
"... In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy. ..."
"... The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region." ..."
"... In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said. ..."
"... "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region." ..."
The New York Times

The intelligence agency's memo risked playing havoc with Berlin's efforts to show solidarity with France in its military campaign against the Islamic State and to push forward the tentative talks on how to end the Syrian civil war. The Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, is due to vote on Friday on whether to send reconnaissance planes, midair fueling capacity and a frigate to the Middle East to support the French.

The memo was sent to selected German journalists on Wednesday. In it, the foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, offered an unusually frank assessment of recent Saudi policy.

"The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, which was titled "Saudi Arabia - Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation" and was one and a half pages long.

The memo said that King Salman and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman were trying to build reputations as leaders of the Arab world.

Since taking the throne early this year, King Salman has invested great power in Prince Mohammed, making him defense minister and deputy crown prince and giving him oversight of oil and economic policy. The sudden prominence of such a young and untested prince - he is believed to be about 30, and had little public profile before his father became king - has worried some Saudis and foreign diplomats.

Prince Mohammed is seen as a driving force behind the Saudi military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which human rights groups say has caused thousands of civilian deaths.

... ... ...

In its memo, the BND said that Saudi rivalry with Iran for supremacy in the Middle East, as well as Saudi dependency on the United States, were the main drivers of Saudi foreign policy.

The Saudi-Iranian rivalry plays out throughout the region, the memo said, most recently and strikingly in the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. There, it said, "Saudi Arabia wants to prove that it is ready to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks in order not to fall into a disadvantageous position in the region."

In Syria, Saudi Arabia's aim was always to oust President Bashar al-Assad, and that has not changed, the memo said.

But it suggested that the recent shift in Saudi leadership has added new factors in the Middle East. "The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observed, adding, "That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region."

[Dec 03, 2015] Murder And Mayhem In The Middle East

Notable quotes:
"... Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATOs bombing raid. Further, you wont be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission. ..."
"... Gaddafis killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay. ..."
"... While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare. ..."
"... It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning. ..."
"... Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African states descent into anarchy. ..."
"... All sides in Libyas multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report. ..."
"... Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance , the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said. ..."
"... The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said. ..."
Dec 1, 2015 | Safehaven.com

Why it matters to those living in the West

To understand what's happening in Syria right now, you have to understand the tactics and motivations of the US and NATO -- parties sharing interwoven aims and goals in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region.

While the populations of Europe and the US are fed raw propaganda about the regional aims involved, the reality is far different.

Where the propaganda claims that various bad dictators have to be taken out, or that democracy is the goal, neither have anything at all to do with what's actually happening or has happened in the region.

For starters, we all know that if oil fields were not at stake then the West would care much much less about MENA affairs.

But a lot of outside interests do care. And their aims certainly and largely include controlling the region's critical energy resources. There's a lot of concern over whether Russia or China will instead come to dominate these last, best oil reserves on the planet.

Further, we can dispense with the idea that the US and NATO have any interest at all in human rights in this story. If they did, then they'd at least have to admit that their strategies and tactics have unleashed immeasurable suffering, as well as created the conditions for lots more. But it would be silly to try and argue about or understand regional motivations through the lenses of human rights or civilian freedoms -- as neither applies here.

Divide And Conquer

Instead, the policies in the MENA region are rooted in fracturing the region so that it will be easier to control.

That's a very old tactic; first utilized to a great extent by Britain starting back in the 1700s.

Divide and conquer. There's a reason that's a well-worn catch phrase: it's hundreds of years old.

But to get a handle on the level of depravity involved, I think it useful to examine what happened in Libya in 2011 when NATO took out Muamar Gaddafi and left the country a broken shell -- as was intended.

I cannot really give you a good reason for NATO involving itself in taking out Gaddafi. I only have bad ones.

The official reason was that after the Arab Spring uprising in Libya in early 2011 (with plenty of evidence of Western influences in fanning those flames) things got ugly and protesters were shot. This allowed the UN to declare that it needed to protect civilians, and the ICC to charge Gaddafi with crimes against humanity, declaring that he needed to stand trial.

Here's how it went down:

On 27 June, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, head of state security, for charges concerning crimes against humanity.[268] Libyan officials rejected the ICC, claiming that it had "no legitimacy whatsoever" and highlighting that "all of its activities are directed at African leaders".[269]

That month, Amnesty International published their findings, in which they asserted that many of the accusations of mass human rights abuses made against Gaddafist forces lacked credible evidence, and were instead fabrications of the rebel forces which had been readily adopted by the western media.

Source

After the ICC's indictment, it was a hop, skip and a jump to declaring a NATO-enforced 'no fly zone' over Libya to protect civilians.

From there it was just a straight jump to NATO actively shooting anything related to the Gaddafi government. NATO had thereby chosen sides and was directly supporting the rebellion.

The pattern in play here is always the same: cherry-picked events are used as a pretext to support the side seeking to topple the existing government and thereby leave a sectarian wasteland to flourish in the inevitable power vacuum.

If you are like most people in the West, you know almost nothing of any of this context. It's not well reported. And Libya is rarely in the news even though it's going through increasingly desperate times.

I found a speech given by Gaddafi a few months before he was killed to be especially compelling and revealing. I will reproduce it in its entirety here:

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Source

Gaddafi's great crime seems to be giving away too much oil wealth to his people. Was he a strongman? Yes, but you have to be to rule in that region right now. Was he the worst strong man? No, not by a long shot.

As bad as he was, at least he didn't kill a million Iraqis on trumped up charges of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Nor was he chopping off 50 heads per week and stoning females for adultery as is the case with Saudi Arabia right now.

But again, whether he killed protestors or not, or committed war crimes or not, is irrelevant to the power structure. What mattered was that he had locked out Western interests, and instead used his country's oil wealth to provide free or extremely cheap health care, education and housing to a wide swath of Libyans.

So let's cut to the murder scene. Here's how it went down:

At around 08:30 local time on 20 October, Gaddafi, his army chief Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, his security chief Mansour Dhao, and a group of loyalists attempted to escape in a convoy of 75 vehicles.[7][8] A Royal Air Force reconnaissance aircraft spotted the convoy moving at high speed, after NATO forces intercepted a satellite phone call made by Gaddafi.[9]

NATO aircraft then fired on 11 of the vehicles, destroying one. A U.S. Predator drone operated from a base near Las Vegas[8] fired the first missiles at the convoy, hitting its target about 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of Sirte. Moments later, French Air Force Rafale fighter jets continued the bombing.[10]

The NATO bombing immobilized much of the convoy and killed dozens of loyalist fighters. Following the first strike, some 20 vehicles broke away from the main group and continued moving south. A second NATO airstrike damaged or destroyed 10 of these vehicles. According to the Financial Times, Free Libya units on the ground also struck the convoy.[11]

According to their statement, NATO was not aware at the time of the strike that Gaddafi was in the convoy. NATO stated that in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1973, it does not target individuals but only military assets that pose a threat. NATO later learned, "from open sources and Allied intelligence," that Gaddafi was in the convoy and that the strike likely contributed to his capture.[11]

Source

To believe NATO, it had no idea Gaddafi was in that convoy (honest!), but just managed to have a Predator drone handy as well as a large number of jets armed for ground targets (not anti-aircraft missiles, as a no-fly zone might imply). It merely struck all of these vehicles over and over again in their quest to kill everyone on board because they were "military assets that posed a threat."

Because you live in the real world, you know that NATO knew exactly where Gaddafi was at all times and that he was in that convoy attempting to escape NATO's bombing raid. Further, you won't be surprised to learn that many of these vehicles were pickup trucks that really posed no military threat to NATO. The point was to kill Gaddafi, and numerous resources were brought to bear on that mission.

Gaddafi's killing was the assassination of a foreign leader by Western interests. In this case, Gaddafi was just yet another target in a long line of leaders that attempted to keep those same interests at bay.

After NATO was finished making a mess of Libya by taking out Gaddafi and leaving a right proper mess of a power vacuum, it simply departed -- leaving the country to fend for itself. Libya descended, of course, into an outright civil war and has remained ever since a hotbed of sectarian violence and increasing ISIS control and presence.

If NATO/US had to follow the Pier I rule of "you break it, you buy it" they would still be in Libya offering money and assistance as the country settles down and begins the long process of rebuilding.

But no such luck. That's absolutely not how they operate. It's disaster capitalism in action. The idea is to break things apart and then make money off of the pieces. It's not to help people.

Otherwise, how do we explain these images?

While imperfect by many standards, all of these countries were stable and increasingly prosperous before outside interests came in and turned them into a living nightmare.

It is this context that explains why such reactionary and violent groups as ISIS arose. They are the natural response of violated people seeking to assert some control over lives that otherwise have no hope and even less meaning.

I'm not justifying ISIS; only explaining the context that led to its rise.

Speaking of which, let's turn back to Libya:

ISIS is tightening its grip in Libya

Nov 15, 2015

GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have consolidated control over central Libya, carrying out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said on Monday in a further illustration of the North African state's descent into anarchy.

All sides in Libya's multiple armed conflicts are committing breaches of international law that may amount to war crimes, including abductions, torture and the killing of civilians, according to a U.N. report.

Islamic State (IS) has gained control over swathes of territory, "committing gross abuses including public summary executions of individuals based on their religion or political allegiance", the joint report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said.

The U.N. had documented IS executions in their stronghold city of Sirte, in central Libya along the Mediterranean coast, and in Derna to the east, from which they were later ousted by local militias. Victims included Egyptian Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans and a South Sudanese, the report said.

Some were accused of "treason", others of same-sex relations, but none were given due legal process, according to the report, which covered the year through October.

Four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is locked in a conflict between two rival governments - an official one in the east and a self-declared one controlling the capital Tripoli - and the many armed factions that back them.

Source

After that atrocious summary, how bad does life under Gaddafi sound now? Again, he was targeted for execution by Western interests and the resulting mess is of little surprise to anybody with even modest curiosity about how violent overthrows tend to work out in the MENA region.

But where is the UN security council denouncing the war crimes? And where is the ICC leveling crimes against humanity charges? Nowhere. There's no more Western political interest in Libya now that it has been broken apart.

As they say in the military: once is bad luck, twice is a coincidence, but three times is enemy action. This pattern of eliminating "a very bad man" and leaving the country in a complete mess has happened three times of late, with Syria targeted to be the fourth. So enemy action it is.

ISIS and other extreme jihadist groups arose because of brutal conditions that made such harsh interpretations of ancient religious texts make sense by comparison. When you have nothing left to believe in, one's belief system can compensate by becoming rather inflexible.

I know I have greatly simplified a terribly complex dynamic, but -- speaking of beliefs -- I don't believe that terrorists are born, I believe they are raised. When one has nothing left to lose, then anything becomes possible, including strapping on a suicide belt and flicking the switch.

What I am saying is that this is not a battle between Christians and Muslims, nor is it a battle between good and evil, both characterizations that I've read recently in great abundance. That's all nonsense for the masses.

This is about resources and true wealth that is being siphoned from the people who have had the misfortune to be born on top of it, and towards other regions with greater power and reach.

There's nothing different in what I am reading today from what the British redcoats did in India from the late 1700's throughout the 1800's. Their military might assured that the East India Tea Company could continue to extract resources from the locals.

At the time the locals were called heathens, implying they were subhuman and therefore could be safely dispatched. Now they are called terrorists -- same thing. Dehumanize your foe to help rationalize one's behaviors. It's a tried and true practice of war propaganda.


How This Affects You

While we might be tempted to sit in our Western environs, secure in the idea that at least we aren't 'over there' where all the bad things are happening, it would be a mistake to think that this turmoil will not impact you.

I'm not talking about the ultra-remote chance of being a victim of blow-back terrorism either. I am referring to the idea that it would be a mistake to think that any government(s) that think nothing of ruining entire MENA countries will hesitate to throw anybody else under the bus that gets in their way.

Ben Bernanke gave no thought to throwing granny under the bus in order to help the big banks get even bigger. He willingly and knowing transferred over a trillion dollars away from savers and handed it to the big banks.

Similarly, we shouldn't expect enlightened behavior to emerge from the shadows of leadership once things get even dicer on the world stage. In fact, we should expect the opposite.

It would be a mistake to think that powers in charge would not turn their malign intent inwards toward their own populace if/when necessary. Today it's Syria, yesterday it was Libya, but tomorrow it might be us.

The people of France recently got a small taste of the horror that has been visited upon the people of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. And while I have no interest in seeing any more violence anywhere, perhaps the people of France will finally begin to ask what happened and why. I don't mean the fine details of the night of the massacre, but how it came to be considered a 'thing to do' at all by the people who did it. (For those unaware, France has been particularly involved for years in fomenting revolt within Syria)


Conclusion

My intention in stringing these dots together is so that we can have an informed discussion about what's happening in Syria and the Middle East at large. I am not at all interested in trying to understand events through the framing lenses of religion and/or 'terrorism', both of which are tools of distraction in my experience.

Instead, I want to understand the power dynamics at play. And to try to peel back the layers, to understand why the powers that be consider this region so important at this moment in history.

I think they know as well as we do that the shale oil revolution is not a revolution at all but a retirement party for an oil industry that has given us everything we hold economically dear but is on its last legs.

I think that the power structures of the next twenty years are going to be utterly shaped by energy - who has it, who needs it and who's controlling it.

Saudi Arabia is acting increasingly desperate here and I think we know why. They have a saying there: "My father rode a camel, I drove a car, my son flies a jet and his son will ride a camel."

They know as well as anyone that their oil wealth will run out someday; and so, too, will the West's interest in them. With no giant military to protect them, the royalty in Saudi Arabia should have some serious concerns about the future.

Heck, it's even worse than that:

Saudi Wells Running Dry -- of Water -- Spell End of Desert Wheat

Nov 3, 2015

Saudi Arabia became a net exporter of wheat in 1984 from producing almost none in the 1970s. The self-sufficiency program became a victim of its own success, however, as it quickly depleted aquifers that haven't been filled since the last Ice Age.

In an unexpected U-turn, the government said in 2008 it was phasing out the policy, reducing purchases of domestic wheat each year by 12.5 percent and bridging the gap progressively with imports.

The last official local harvest occurred in May, although the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that a small crop of about metric 30,000 tons for traditional specialty bakery products will "prevail" in 2016. At its peak in 1992, Saudi Arabia produced 4.1 million tons of wheat and was one of the world's top 10 wheat exporters.


Source

The Saudis did something very unwise - they pumped an aquifer filled over 10,000 years ago and used it to grow wheat in the desert. Now their wells are running dry and they have no more water.

And yet their population is expanding rapidly even as their oil fields deplete. There's a very bad intersection for Saudi Arabia, and the rulers know it.

It helps to explain their recent actions of lashing out against long-standing regional foes and helps to explain the increasing desperation of their moves to help destabilize (and even bomb) their neighbors.

My point here is that as resources become tight, the ruling powers can be expected to act in increasingly desperate ways. This is a tenet of the Long Emergency of which James Kunstler wrote.

The only response that makes any sense to me, at the individual level, is to reduce your needs and increase your resilience.

This is something we cover in great detail in our new book, Prosper!: How To Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting, so I won't go into all the details here. Instead, my goal is to help cast a clarifying light on recent events and add some necessary detail that can help us more fully appreciate what's happening around the world and why taking prudent preparations today is becoming increasingly urgent.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS Oil Plot Thickens Turkish MP Has Evidence Erdogans Son-In-Law Involved In Illegal Crude Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik ). ..."
"... There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this companys records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak. ..."
"... Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week , namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if theres a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogans BMZ Group. ..."
"... Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogans masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland? ..."
"... Maybe Erdogan will come up with a massive distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not. ..."
Zero Hedge
... ... ...

Underscoring that contention is CHP lawmaker Eren Erdem who says he, like Moscow, will soon provide proof of Erdogan's role in the smuggling of Islamic State oil. "I have been able to establish that there is a very high probability that Berat Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil by the Daesh terrorists," Erdem said at a press conference on Thursday (see more from Sputnik).

Berat Albayrak is Erodan's son-in-law and is Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Erdem isn't the only person to mention Albayrak this week. Recall that in his opening remarks at the dramatic Russian MoD presentation on Wednesday Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov said the following:

"No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!"

"There is one company, headquartered in Erbil, which in 2012 acquired oil tankers, and which is currently being bombarded by Russian aircraft," Erdem said. "I am now studying this company's records. It has partners in Turkey, and I am checking them for links to Albayrak."

Note that this is entirely consistent with what we said last week, namely that in some cases, ISIS takes advantage of the Kurdish oil transport routes, connections, and infrastructure in Turkey. It will certainly be interesting to see if there's a connection between Albayrak, the energy ministry, and Bilal Erdogan's BMZ Group.

If you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he doesn't take kindly to this kind of thing and as Erdem goes on to account, he's already been the subject of a smear campaign:

"Today, the Takvim newspaper called me an American puppet, an Israeli agent, a supporter of the [Kurdish] PKK, and the instigator of a coup…all in the same sentence. I am inclined to view this attack on me as an attempt to belittle my significance, to attack my reputation in the eyes in the public, given that my investigation is a real threat to the government. Such a sharply negative reaction suggests that my assumptions are fair, and I am moving in the right direction to find the truth."

The lawmaker says that type of attack has "only convinced [him] further on the need to carry this investigation through to the end."

In the meantime, we can only hope that, for the sake of exposing the truth, "the end" doesn't end up being a Turkish jail cell, or worse for Erdem.

Troll Magnet

Do they make nail guns in Turkey?

Truther

Yep, with top brands for JPM, Goldman, RBS, WF, CITI and Deutche. They even self point at you too.

Baby Bladeface

Many loose ends now for Erdogan popping up. How long he can play whack-a-mole until one illuminates paper trail implication between ISIS and Erdogan's masters like McCain, Graham, Nuland?

o r c k

Maybe Erdogan will come up with a "massive" distraction that makes oil-thievery insignificant. Hope not.

Anonymous User

The shit is hitting the fan for the turks

GhostOfDiogenes

Go figure huh?

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/israel-main-buyer-isis-oil-report/...

[Dec 03, 2015] On That Video Where Some Egyptians Allegedly Say Obama Is Insane And On Drugs And Should Be Removed From Office

EconoSpeak

An old and close, but very conservative and increasingly out of touch with reality friend of mine posted a video some days ago on Facebook. He indicated that he thought it was both funny and also insightful. It seemed highly suspicious to me, so I googled it and found that the person who uploaded it onto you tube stated in the comments on it that it is a spoof. Here is a link that discusses why it is known it is a spoof as well as linking to the video itself and its comments. It has reportedly been widely distributed on the internet by many conservatives who think it is for real, and when I pointed out it is a spoof, my friend defriended me from Facebook. I am frustrated.

So, for those who do not view it, it purports to show a talk show in Egypt where a brief clip of Obama speaking last May to graduating military officers about how climate change is and will be a serious national security issue, something the Pentagon has claimed. He did not say it was the most serious such issue, and at least in the clip he said nothing about Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, although of course he has said a lot about it and not only has US drones attacking it but reportedly we have "boots on the ground" now against them in the form of some Special Ops.

So, the video then goes back to the supposed talk show where they are speaking in Arabic with English subtitles. According to these subtitels, which are partly accurate translations but also wildly inaccurate in many places (my Arabic is good enough that I have parsed out what is what there) the host asks, "Is he insane?" A guest suggests he is on drugs. Another claims he just does what Michelle says and that his biceps are small. Finally a supposed retired general pounds the table and denounces him over Libya policy (that part is for real, although his name is never mentioned) and suggests that Americans should act to remove him from office. Again, conservative commentators have found hilarious and very insightful, with this even holding among commenters to the video aware that it is a mistranslated spoof. Bring these guys on more. Obviously they would be big hits on Fox News.

So, I would like to simply comment further on why Egyptians would be especially upset about Libya, but that them being so against the US is somewhat hypocritical (I also note that there is reason to believe that the supposed general is not a general). Of course Libya is just to the west of Egypt with its eastern portion (Cyrenaica under Rome) often ruled by whomever was ruling Egypt at various times in the past. So there is a strong cultural-historical connection. It is understandable that they would take Libyan matters seriously, and indeed things in Libya have turned into a big mess.

However, the move to bring in outside powers to intervene against Qaddafi in 2011 was instigated by an Egyptian, Abu Moussa. This was right after Mubarak had fallen in the face of massive demonstrations in Egypt. Moussa was both leader of the Arab League and wanting to run for President of Egypt. He got nowhere with the latter, but he did get somewhere with getting
the rest of the world to intervene in Libya. He got the Arab League to support such an intervention, with that move going to the UN Security Council and convincing Russia and China to abstain on the anti-Qaddafi measure. Putin has since complained that those who intervened, UK and France most vigorously with US "leading from behind" on the effort.went beyond the UN mandate. But in any case, Qaddafi was overthrown, not to be replaced by any stable or central power, with Libya an ongoing mess that has remained fragmented since, especially between its historically separate eastern and western parts, something I have posted on here previously.

So, that went badly, but Egyptians blaming the US for this seems to me to be a bit much, pretty hypocritical. It happens to be a fact that the US and Obama are now very unpopular in Egypt. I looked at a poll from a few months ago, and the only nations where the US and Obama were viewed less favorably (although a few not polled such as North Korea) were in order: Russia, Palestinian Territories, Belarus, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan, with me suspecting there is now a more favorable view in Iran since the culmination of the nuclear deal. I can appreciate that many Egyptians are frustrated that the US supported an election process that did not give them Moussa or El-Baradei, but the Muslim Brotherhood, who proceeded to behave badly, leading to them being overthrown by an new military dictatorship with a democratic veneer, basically a new improved version of the Mubarak regime, with the US supporting it, if somewhat reluctantly.

Yes, this is all pretty depressing, but I must say that ultimately the Egyptians are responsible for what has gone down in their own nation. And even if those Egyptian commentators, whoever they actually are, are as angry about Obama as they are depicted as being, the fact is that Obama is still more popular there than was George W. Bush at the same time in his presidency, something all these US conservatives so enamored of this bizarre video seem to conveniently forget.

Addenda, 5:10 PM:

1) The people on that video come across almost like The Three Stooges, which highlights the comedic aspect that even fans of Obama are supposed to appreciate, although it does not add to the credibility of the remarks of those so carrying on like a bunch of clowns.

2) Another reason Egyptians may be especially upset about the situation in Libya is that indeed Daesh has a foothold in a port city not too far from the Egyptian border in Surt, as reported as the top story today in the NY Times.

3) Arguably once the rest of the world got in, the big problem was a failure to follow through with aiding establishing a central unified government, although that was always going to be a problem, something not recognized by all too many involved, including Abu Moussa. As it was once his proposal got going, it was then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton who was the main person leading the charge for the US to get in over the reluctance of Obama. This was probably her biggest mistake in all this, even though most Republicans think the irrelevant sideshow of the unfortunate incident in Benghazi is the big deal.

4) Needless to say, Republican views at the time of the intervention were just completely incoherent, as symbolized at one point by Senator Lindsey Graham, who within the space of a single sentence simultaneously argued for the US to do nothing and also to go in full force with the proverbial "boots on the ground."

Further Addendum, 7:10 PM:

One of the pieces of evidence given that supposedly shows that the video is a spoof is that the supposed retired Brigadier General Mahmoud Mansour cannot be found if one googles his name, except in connection with this video. There are some other Egyptians named Mansour who show up, but this guy does not. However, it occurs to me that he might be for real, but simply obscure. After all, Brigadier is the lowest rank of General, one star, with Majors being two star, Lieutenants being three star (even though Majors are above Lieutenants), and with four and five star not having any other rank assigned to them. Furthermore, Egypt has a large military that has run the country for decades, so there may well be a lot of these Brigadier Generals, with many of them amounting to nothing. So, if he is for real, his claim to fame will be from jumping up and down, pounding on a table and calling for the overthrow of the POTUS.

Barkley Rosser

[Dec 03, 2015] The history of the Arab conquest of Byzantium is purposefully ignored

economistsview.typepad.com
Syaloch said in reply to anne...,

Yep. I sometimes think that the history of the Arab conquest of East Roman (Byzantine) provinces is purposefully ignored because it doesn't fit into a Western narrative of what Arab Muslim peoples are like.

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements we see today are actually a fairly recent invention -- Wahhabism for example originated in the 18th century. And their rise to dominance is largely due to meddling by Western governments, which backed these groups to prevent Soviet expansion into the Middle East and southern Asia and to undermine nationalist movements that might oppose Western interests.

[Dec 03, 2015] ISIS oil hub with 3000 parked oil trucks escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition

marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Here's the evidence that the USA rejects. I particularly enjoyed the satellite imagery of the "ISIS oil hub", at which were parked 3,000 oil trucks. Apparently it escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition. Does it seem realistic that a country which was offered a major and legitimate pipeline deal would rather move its oil around in thousands of tanker trucks? If the oil trucking business were benefiting Assad's regime, don't you think ISIS would have blown it sky-high by now? It's in a region they control and apparently in the middle of open ground, completely unguarded.

The battle lines have been drawn in yet another field of conflict – Russia aims to take down Erdogan, and Washington aims to keep him in his position. It remains to be seen just how embarrassing that will become.

marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm
Moscow is not backing away at all from accusations that Erdogan's family is personally involved in receiving and trafficking in ISIS oil. In a phenomenon pointed out by others of late, Yahoo comments are now overwhelmingly supportive of Russia on these issues. Not only that, mainstream news are picking up the accusation rapidly. The USA may reject Russia's evidence, but we knew they would do that anyway – the USA would reject a signed confession by Erdogan if they got it from Russia. I don't know why Moscow even bothers to show evidence to the Americans, it would do far better to approach Europeans – especially Germany and France – with its proof. If it could convince Germany, the USA would look a lot more foolish if it said it was all more Russian propaganda and lies.

The USA will shield Erdogan for so long as it can, because his country is in a tremendous strategic position and is studded with NATO military installations. Washington certainly does not want to be confronted with a leadership transition it cannot micromanage. It might throw Erdogan under the bus, but not until it has identified and groomed a successor.

It is also significant that rather than groveling for mercy, Russia continues to attack the alliance's credibility, and it is scoring hits.

Patient Observer, December 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm
The comment with the most "likes" on a yahoo article on Russian claiming that Turkey is buying ISIS oil (lost the link):
" 542 – likes
First it does not require a high school education to understand in order for ISIS to sell any oil from captured oil fields and or refineries it must have buyers of said oil. Our govt claims to watch everyone and know everything yet with all their tax payer space observations, massive fleet of drones to track ants in the sand they cannot figure out where all the oil goes to fund ISIS?
Our govt is intentionally not stopping this oil from being sold and our leaders aware of this need to be exposed then put on trial then executed. In fact political figures in our country need to be facing firing squads monthly until they tell the truth and serve just our citizens. This in turn makes for a huge employment opportunity both in firing squads and new politicians."
marknesop, December 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
The European Union voted to give itself permission to buy oil from "Syrian rebels" to help them overthrow Assad. The only stipulations of who could not benefit from it were "regime-associated" individuals and companies. The agency that must be consulted – the Syrian National Coalition – is based in Turkey and its president is chummy with Erdogan. Come on. Washington is ready to indict and convict Moscow on a hell of a lot less evidence than this on any day you care to name.
et Al, December 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Neuters: Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-idUKL8N13R2KV2015120

…U.S. officials say coalition air strikes have destroyed hundreds of IS oil trucks while the Russian campaign has mainly targeted opponents of the Syrian government who are not from Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

"The irony of the Russians raising this concern is that there's plenty of evidence to indicate that the largest consumer of ISIL oil is actually Bashar al-Assad and his regime, a regime that only remains in place because it is being propped up by the Russians," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The State Department's Toner said U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who were involved in smuggling it across the frontier into Turkey…

…The ministry said the Western route took oil produced at fields near the Syrian city of Raqqa to the settlement of Azaz on the border with Turkey.

From there the columns of tanker trucks pass through the Turkish town of Reyhanli, the ministry said, citing what it said were satellite pictures of hundreds of such trucks moving through the border crossing without obstruction.

"There is no inspection of the vehicles carried out … on the Turkish side," said Rudskoy.

Some of the smuggled cargoes go to the Turkish domestic market, while some is exported via the Turkish Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Dortyol, the ministry said.

Another main route for smuggled oil, according to the ministry, runs from Deir Ez-zour in Syria to the Syrian border crossing at Al-Qamishli. It said the trucks then took the crude for refining at the Turkish city of Batman….

…The defence ministry officials said the information they released on Wednesday was only part of the evidence they have in their possession, and that they would be releasing further intelligence in the next days and weeks.
####

I can't wait for that twitter evidence from the State Department and the Pentagon. It should be devastating.

[Dec 03, 2015] Why did Turkey shoot down the Russian Soukhoï 24

Notable quotes:
"... It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria. ..."
"... Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists. ..."
"... In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November. ..."
www.voltairenet.org

At the end of the Turkish civil war, Turkey threatened to invade Syria with the help of NATO if it continued to offer asylum to the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcallan. President Hafez el-Assad thus asked Öcallan to find another refuge, and was obliged to conclude an oral agreement with Turkey. It was agreed that the Turkish army would be allowed to penetrate Syrian territory, within a limit of 8 kilometres, in order to ensure that the PKK could not fire mortars from Syria.

Since the beginning of the current aggression against Syria, the Turkish army has used and abused this privilege - no longer to prevent attacks by the PKK, but to set up training camps for jihadists.

In October 2015, when the Russian military campaign was just starting, and Salih Muslim was beginning the operation of forced Kurdisation of Northern Syria, the famous Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, announced via Twitter that Turkey was preparing the destruction of a Russian aircraft. This occurred on the 24th November.

From the perspective of the Third Syrian War [1], the attack was designed to send a message to Russia in order to scare it into defending only Damascus and Lattakia, leaving the rest of the country in the hands of Turkey and its allies.

Technically, the aerial defence of Turkey, like that of all NATO members, is co-ordinated by the CAOC in Torrejón (Spain). The chief of the Turkish air force, General Abidin Ünal, should therefore have given advance warning of his decision to CAOC commander General Rubén García Servert. We do not know if he did so [2]. In any case, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that he himself had validated the order to destroy the Russian plane.

The Russian chief of staff had provided NATO with the flight plans of their aircraft in advance, so that neither the Alliance nor Turkey could ignore the fact that the plane was Russian, despite Turkish allegations to the contrary. Besides this, a NATO AWACS had taken off beforehand from the Greek base in Aktion (close to Preveza) in order to survey the area [3].

The Russian army bombarded the Sultan Abdülhamid Brigade – from the name of the last Ottoman sultan, infamous for organising the massacre of Oriental Christians. Since the beginning of the war against Syria, the Turkish secret services have never stopped supplying weapons to the Turkmen militias in Northern Syria, and overseeing their operations. The Turkish Press has documented the transfer of at least 2,000 truck-loads of weapons and ammunition - which President Erdoğan has admitted [4] – the majority of which was immediately distributed to Al-Qaïda by the Turkmen militias. In particular, in 2011, these militias dismantled the 80,000 factories in Aleppo, the Syrian economic capital, and sent the machine tools to Turkey [5]. So, contrary to Turkish allegations, the Russian bombing was not intended to target the Turkmen, but effectively to destroy a terrorist group guilty of organised pillage, according to the definition in international conventions [6]. The Russian bombardment had provoked the flight of 1,500 civilians and caused vigourous protests by Turkey [7], which addressed a letter to the Security Council [8].

The Turkish – not Syrian – jihadist, member of the Grey Woves, Alparslan Çelik, is commander of the Turkmen militias in Syria.

The main leader of the Turkmen militias in Syria is Alparslan Çelik, a member of the Grey Wolves, the Turkish neo-fascist party, which is historically linked to the NATO secret services [9]. He claims to have given the order to kill the Russian pilots as they parachuted down [10].

The Russian plane which was shot down only entered Turkish air-space for 17 seconds, and was hit after it was already in Syrian air-space. However, since Turkey considered that it had annexed the 8-kilometre corridor which it was authorised to enter according to the agreement with ex-President Hafez el-Assad, it may have believed that the intrusion lasted longer. In any case, in order to shoot down the Sukhoï 24, the Turkish fighter had to enter Syrian air-space for 40 seconds [11].

The Russians had taken no particular measures to protect their bombers, considering that Turkey is an official participant in the fight against terrorist organisations. And an intrusion lasting only a few seconds has never been considered as a " threat to national security " " particularly since Turkey had been informed of the flight plan, and also that it regularly violates the air-space of other states, such as Cyprus.

Immediately solicited by Turkey, NATO called a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which was unable to issue a resolution, but did its best by asking for a reading of a brief declaration by their General Secretary which called for ... de-escalation -- [12]. Various sources reported profound disagreement within the Council [13].

The official Saudi Press published an audio recording of an appeal by Turkish military air controllers to the Russian plane warning it against an entry into Turkish air-space [14]. Several AKP politicians commented on this recording and denounced the risks taken by the Russian army. However, the Russian military has denied the authenticity of the recording, and has proved that it is a fake. The Turkish government then denied any implication in the publishing of the recording.

President Putin qualified the destruction of the Soukhoï 24 as a " knife in the back ". He publicly questioned the rôle of Ankara in the financing of Daesh, particularly because of the free transit of stolen petrol across Turkey. The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked the 4.5 million Russians who had planned to travel to Turkey to cancel their trip, and has restored entry visas for Turkish nationals. By decree, the Kremlin has forbidden all new contracts between Russian persons or organisations and Turkish persons or organisations, including the employment of personnel, the import/export of merchandise, and tourism [15].

[Dec 03, 2015] Putin says Turkey 'will regret' shooting down of Russian bomber

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey will regret "more than once" about its shooting down of a Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 3.

President Vladimir Putin said Turkey's shooting down of a Russian military jet was a "war crime" and that the Kremlin would punish Ankara with additional sanctions, signaling fallout from the incident would be long-lasting and serious.

Putin, who made the comments during his annual state of the nation speech to his country's political elite on Dec. 3, said Russia would not forget the Nov. 24 incident and that he continued to regard it as a terrible betrayal.

"We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling [with Turkey]," said Putin, after asking for a moment's silence for the two Russian servicemen killed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and for Russian victims of terrorism.

"But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime, the murder of our people, that they are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken."

Turkey would have cause to regret its actions "more than once," he said, promising Russia's retaliatory actions would be neither hysterical nor dangerous.

In his aggressive remarks unusual in diplomatic tongue, Putin said "it appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment."

Putin said Moscow's anger over the incident was directed "at particular individuals" and not at the Turkish people.

[Dec 03, 2015] Tomgram Andrew Bacevich, An Invitation to Collective Suicide

Notable quotes:
"... Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco (" clash of civilizations ") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. ..."
"... Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what? Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it , "We came, we saw, he died." End of story. In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval. ..."
"... Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists. ..."
"... Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. ..."
"... True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality. ..."
"... Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker. ..."
"... American Interest ..."
"... Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness. ..."
"... With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process." ..."
"... Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths. ..."
"... In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action. ..."
"... At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon. ..."
"... In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far. ..."
"... In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year. ..."
"... Andrew J. Bacevich, a ..."
"... , is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of ..."
"... , among other works. His new book, ..."
"... is due out in April 2016. ..."
"... on Twitter and join us on Facebook . Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's ..."
"... , and Tom Engelhardts latest book, ..."
Dec 03, 2015 | TomDispatch

Let's consider the two parties in Washington. I'm not referring to the Republican and Democratic ones, but our capital's war parties (there being no peace party, of course). They might be labeled the More War Party and the Much (or Much, Much) More War Party. Headed by President Obama, the first is distinctly a minority grouping. In a capital city in which, post-Paris, war seems to be the order of the day, it's the party of relative restraint, as the president has clearly grasped the obvious: for the last 14 years, the more wholeheartedly the U.S. has gone into any situation in the Greater Middle East, militarily speaking, the worse it has turned out.

Having promised to get us out of two wars and being essentially assured of leaving us in at least three (and various other conflicts on the side), he insists that a new invasion or even a large-scale infusion of American troops, aka "boots on the ground," in Syria or Iraq is a no-go for him. The code word he uses for his version of more war -- since less war is simply not an option on that "table" in Washington where all options are evidently kept -- is "intensification." Once upon a time, it might have been called "escalation" or "mission creep." The president has pledged to merely "intensify" the war he's launched, however reluctantly, in Syria and the one he's re-launched in Iraq. This seems to mean more of exactly what he's already ordered into the fray: more air power, more special forces boots more or less on the ground in Syria, more special ops raiders sent into Iraq, and perhaps more military advisers ever nearer to the action in that country as well. This is as close as you're likely to get in present-day America, at least in official circles, to an antiwar position.

In the Much (or Much, Much) More War party, Republicans and Democrats alike are explicitly or implicitly criticizing the president for his "weak" policies and for "leading from behind" against the Islamic State. They propose solutions ranging from instituting "no-fly zones" in northern Syria to truly intensifying U.S. air strikes, to sending in local forces backed and led by American special operators (à la Afghanistan 2001), to sending in far more American troops, to simply putting masses of American boots on the ground and storming the Islamic State's capital, Raqqa. After fourteen years in which so many similar "solutions" have been tried and in the end failed miserably in the Greater Middle East or North Africa, all of it, as if brand new, is once again on that table in Washington.

Aside from long-shots Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, any candidate likely to enter the Oval Office in January 2017 will be committed to some version of much-more war, including obviously Donald Trump, Marco ("clash of civilizations") Rubio, and Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a hawkish speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on her version of war policy against the Islamic State. Given that stark reality, this is a perfect moment to explore what much-more war (call it, in fact, "World War IV") might actually mean and how it might play out in our world -- and TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich is the perfect person to do it. Tom

Beyond ISIS: The Folly of World War IV
By Andrew J. Bacevich

Assume that the hawks get their way -- that the United States does whatever it takes militarily to confront and destroy ISIS. Then what?

Answering that question requires taking seriously the outcomes of other recent U.S. interventions in the Greater Middle East. In 1991, when the first President Bush ejected Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait, Americans rejoiced, believing that they had won a decisive victory. A decade later, the younger Bush seemingly outdid his father by toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and then making short work of Saddam himself -- a liberation twofer achieved in less time than it takes Americans to choose a president. After the passage of another decade, Barack Obama got into the liberation act, overthrowing the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in what appeared to be a tidy air intervention with a clean outcome. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably put it, "We came, we saw, he died." End of story.

In fact, subsequent events in each case mocked early claims of success or outright victory. Unanticipated consequences and complications abounded. "Liberation" turned out to be a prelude to chronic violence and upheaval.

Indeed, the very existence of the Islamic State (ISIS) today renders a definitive verdict on the Iraq wars over which the Presidents Bush presided, each abetted by a Democratic successor. A de facto collaboration of four successive administrations succeeded in reducing Iraq to what it is today: a dysfunctional quasi-state unable to control its borders or territory while serving as a magnet and inspiration for terrorists.

The United States bears a profound moral responsibility for having made such a hash of things there. Were it not for the reckless American decision to invade and occupy a nation that, whatever its crimes, had nothing to do with 9/11, the Islamic State would not exist. Per the famous Pottery Barn Rule attributed to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, having smashed Iraq to bits a decade ago, we can now hardly deny owning ISIS.

That the United States possesses sufficient military power to make short work of that "caliphate" is also the case. True, in both Syria and Iraq the Islamic State has demonstrated a disturbing ability to capture and hold large stretches of desert, along with several population centers. It has, however, achieved these successes against poorly motivated local forces of, at best, indifferent quality.

In that regard, the glibly bellicose editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol, is surely correct in suggesting that a well-armed contingent of 50,000 U.S. troops, supported by ample quantities of air power, would make mincemeat of ISIS in a toe-to-toe contest. Liberation of the various ISIS strongholds like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Palmyra and Raqqa, its "capital," in Syria would undoubtedly follow in short order.

In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, the American mood is strongly trending in favor of this sort of escalation. Just about anyone who is anyone -- the current occupant of the Oval Office partially excepted -- favors intensifying the U.S. military campaign against ISIS. And why not? What could possibly go wrong? As Kristol puts it, "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there."

It's an alluring prospect. In the face of a sustained assault by the greatest military the world has ever seen, ISIS foolishly (and therefore improbably) chooses to make an Alamo-like stand. Whammo! We win. They lose. Mission accomplished.

Of course, that phrase recalls the euphoric early reactions to Operations Desert Storm in 1991, Enduring Freedom in 2001, Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and Odyssey Dawn, the Libyan intervention of 2011. Time and again the unanticipated side effects of U.S. military action turned out to be very bad indeed. In Kabul, Baghdad, or Tripoli, the Alamo fell, but the enemy dispersed or reinvented itself and the conflict continued. Assurances offered by Kristol that this time things will surely be different deserve to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Pass the whole shaker.

Embracing Generational War

Why this repeated disparity between perceived and actual outcomes? Why have apparent battlefield successes led so regularly to more violence and disorder? Before following Kristol's counsel, Americans would do well to reflect on these questions.

Cue Professor Eliot A. Cohen. Shortly after 9/11, Cohen, one of this country's preeminent military thinkers, characterized the conflict on which the United States was then embarking as "World War IV." (In this formulation, the Cold War becomes World War III.) Other than in certain neoconservative quarters, the depiction did not catch on. Yet nearly a decade-and-a-half later, the Johns Hopkins professor and former State Department official is sticking to his guns. In an essay penned for the American Interest following the recent Paris attacks, he returns to his theme. "It was World War IV in 2001," Cohen insists. "It is World War IV today." And to our considerable benefit he spells out at least some of the implications of casting the conflict in such expansive and evocative terms.

Now I happen to think that equating our present predicament in the Islamic world with the immensely destructive conflicts of the prior century is dead wrong. Yet it's a proposition that Americans at this juncture should contemplate with the utmost seriousness.

In the United States today, confusion about what war itself signifies is widespread. Through misuse, misapplication, and above all misremembering, we have distorted the term almost beyond recognition. As one consequence, talk of war comes too easily off the tongues of the unknowing.

Not so with Cohen. When it comes to war, he has no illusions. Addressing that subject, he illuminates it, enabling us to see what war entails. So in advocating World War IV, he performs a great service, even if perhaps not the one he intends.

What will distinguish the war that Cohen deems essential? "Begin with endurance," he writes. "This war will probably go on for the rest of my life, and well into my children's." Although American political leaders seem reluctant "to explain just how high the stakes are," Cohen lays them out in direct, unvarnished language. At issue, he insists, is the American way of life itself, not simply "in the sense of rock concerts and alcohol in restaurants, but the more fundamental rights of freedom of speech and religion, the equality of women, and, most essentially, the freedom from fear and freedom to think."

With so much on the line, Cohen derides the Obama administration's tendency to rely on "therapeutic bombing, which will temporarily relieve the itch, but leave the wounds suppurating." The time for such half-measures has long since passed. Defeating the Islamic State and "kindred movements" will require the U.S. to "kill a great many people." To that end Washington needs "a long-range plan not to 'contain' but to crush" the enemy. Even with such a plan, victory will be a long way off and will require "a long, bloody, and costly process."

Cohen's candor and specificity, as bracing as they are rare, should command our respect. If World War IV describes what we are in for, then eliminating ISIS might figure as a near-term imperative, but it can hardly define the endgame. Beyond ISIS loom all those continually evolving "kindred movements" to which the United States will have to attend before it can declare the war itself well and truly won.

To send just tens of thousands of U.S. troops to clean up Syria and Iraq, as William Kristol and others propose, offers at best a recipe for winning a single campaign. Winning the larger war would involve far more arduous exertions. This Cohen understands, accepts, and urges others to acknowledge.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. For at least the past 35 years -- that is, since well before 9/11 -- the United States has been "at war" in various quarters of the Islamic world. At no point has it demonstrated the will or the ability to finish the job. Washington's approach has been akin to treating cancer with a little bit of chemo one year and a one-shot course of radiation the next. Such gross malpractice aptly describes U.S. military policy throughout the Greater Middle East across several decades.

While there may be many reasons why the Iraq War of 2003 to 2011 and the still longer Afghanistan War yielded such disappointing results, Washington's timidity in conducting those campaigns deserves pride of place. That most Americans might bridle at the term "timidity" reflects the extent to which they have deluded themselves regarding the reality of war.

In comparison to Vietnam, for example, Washington's approach to waging its two principal post-9/11 campaigns was positively half-hearted. With the nation as a whole adhering to peacetime routines, Washington neither sent enough troops nor stayed anywhere near long enough to finish the job. Yes, we killed many tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, but if winning World War IV requires, as Cohen writes, that we "break the back" of the enemy, then we obviously didn't kill nearly enough.

Nor were Americans sufficiently willing to die for the cause. In South Vietnam, 58,000 G.I.s died in a futile effort to enable that country to survive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, where the stakes were presumably much higher, we pulled the plug after fewer than 7,000 deaths.

Americans would be foolish to listen to those like William Kristol who, even today, peddle illusions about war being neat and easy. They would do well instead to heed Cohen, who knows that war is hard and ugly.

What Would World War IV Look Like?

Yet when specifying the practical implications of generational war, Cohen is less forthcoming. From his perspective, this fourth iteration of existential armed conflict in a single century is not going well. But apart from greater resolve and bloody-mindedness, what will it take to get things on the right track?

As a thought experiment, let's answer that question by treating it with the urgency that Cohen believes it deserves. After 9/11, certain U.S. officials thundered about "taking the gloves off." In practice, however, with the notable exception of policies permitting torture and imprisonment without due process, the gloves stayed on. Take Cohen's conception of World War IV at face value and that will have to change.

For starters, the country would have to move to something like a war footing, enabling Washington to raise a lot more troops and spend a lot more money over a very long period of time. Although long since banished from the nation's political lexicon, the M-word -- mobilization -- would make a comeback. Prosecuting a generational war, after all, is going to require the commitment of generations.

Furthermore, if winning World War IV means crushing the enemy, as Cohen emphasizes, then ensuring that the enemy, once crushed, cannot recover would be hardly less important. And that requirement would prohibit U.S. forces from simply walking away from a particular fight even -- or especially -- when it might appear won.

At the present moment, defeating the Islamic State ranks as Washington's number one priority. With the Pentagon already claiming a body count of 20,000 ISIS fighters without notable effect, this campaign won't end anytime soon. But even assuming an eventually positive outcome, the task of maintaining order and stability in areas that ISIS now controls will remain. Indeed, that task will persist until the conditions giving rise to entities like ISIS are eliminated. Don't expect French President François Hollande or British Prime Minister David Cameron to sign up for that thankless job. U.S. forces will own it. Packing up and leaving the scene won't be an option.

How long would those forces have to stay? Extrapolating from recent U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, something on the order of a quarter-century seems like a plausible approximation. So should our 45th president opt for a boots-on-the-ground solution to ISIS, as might well be the case, the privilege of welcoming the troops home could belong to the 48th or 49th occupant of the White House.

In the meantime, U.S. forces would have to deal with the various and sundry "kindred movements" that are already cropping up like crabgrass in country after country. Afghanistan -- still? again? -- would head the list of places requiring U.S. military attention. But other prospective locales would include such hotbeds of Islamist activity as Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, and Yemen, along with several West African countries increasingly beset with insurgencies. Unless Egyptian, Pakistani, and Saudi security forces demonstrate the ability (not to mention the will) to suppress the violent radicals in their midst, one or more of those countries could also become the scene of significant U.S. military action.

Effective prosecution of World War IV, in other words, would require the Pentagon to plan for each of these contingencies, while mustering the assets needed for implementation. Allies might kick in token assistance -- tokenism is all they have to offer -- but the United States will necessarily carry most of the load.

What Would World War IV Cost?

During World War III (aka the Cold War), the Pentagon maintained a force structure ostensibly adequate to the simultaneous prosecution of two and a half wars. This meant having the wherewithal to defend Europe and the Pacific from communist aggression while still leaving something for the unexpected. World War IV campaigns are unlikely to entail anything on the scale of the Warsaw Pact attacking Western Europe or North Korea invading the South. Still, the range of plausible scenarios will require that U.S. forces be able to take on militant organizations C and D even while guarding against the resurgence of organizations A and B in altogether different geographic locations.

Even though Washington may try whenever possible to avoid large-scale ground combat, relying on air power (including drones) and elite Special Operations forces to do the actual killing, post-conflict pacification promises to be a manpower intensive activity. Certainly, this ranks as one of the most obvious lessons to emerge from World War IV's preliminary phases: when the initial fight ends, the real work begins.

U.S. forces committed to asserting control over Iraq after the invasion of 2003 topped out at roughly 180,000. In Afghanistan, during the Obama presidency, the presence peaked at 110,000. In a historical context, these are not especially large numbers. At the height of the Vietnam War, for example, U.S. troop strength in Southeast Asia exceeded 500,000.

In hindsight, the Army general who, before the invasion of 2003, publicly suggested that pacifying postwar Iraq would require "several hundred thousand troops" had it right. A similar estimate applies to Afghanistan. In other words, those two occupations together could easily have absorbed 600,000 to 800,000 troops on an ongoing basis. Given the Pentagon's standard three-to-one rotation policy, which assumes that for every unit in-country, a second is just back, and a third is preparing to deploy, you're talking about a minimum requirement of between 1.8 and 2.4 million troops to sustain just two medium-sized campaigns -- a figure that wouldn't include some number of additional troops kept in reserve for the unexpected.

In other words, waging World War IV would require at least a five-fold increase in the current size of the U.S. Army -- and not as an emergency measure but a permanent one. Such numbers may appear large, but as Cohen would be the first to point out, they are actually modest when compared to previous world wars. In 1968, in the middle of World War III, the Army had more than 1.5 million active duty soldiers on its rolls -- this at a time when the total American population was less than two-thirds what it is today and when gender discrimination largely excluded women from military service. If it chose to do so, the United States today could easily field an army of two million or more soldiers.

Whether it could also retain the current model of an all-volunteer force is another matter. Recruiters would certainly face considerable challenges, even if Congress enhanced the material inducements for service, which since 9/11 have already included a succession of generous increases in military pay. A loosening of immigration policy, granting a few hundred thousand foreigners citizenship in return for successfully completing a term of enlistment might help. In all likelihood, however, as with all three previous world wars, waging World War IV would oblige the United States to revive the draft, a prospect as likely to be well-received as a flood of brown and black immigrant enlistees. In short, going all out to create the forces needed to win World War IV would confront Americans with uncomfortable choices.

The budgetary implications of expanding U.S. forces while conducting a perpetual round of what the Pentagon calls "overseas contingency operations" would also loom large. Precisely how much money an essentially global conflict projected to extend well into the latter half of the century would require is difficult to gauge. As a starting point, given the increased number of active duty forces, tripling the present Defense Department budget of more than $600 billion might serve as a reasonable guess.

At first glance, $1.8 trillion annually is a stupefyingly large figure. To make it somewhat more palatable, a proponent of World War IV might put that number in historical perspective. During the first phases of World War III, for example, the United States routinely allocated 10% or more of total gross domestic product (GDP) for national security. With that GDP today exceeding $17 trillion, apportioning 10% to the Pentagon would give those charged with managing World War IV a nice sum to work with and no doubt to build upon.

Of course, that money would have to come from somewhere. For several years during the last decade, sustaining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed the federal deficit above a trillion dollars. As one consequence, the total national debt now exceeds annual GDP, having tripled since 9/11. How much additional debt the United States can accrue without doing permanent damage to the economy is a question of more than academic interest.

To avoid having World War IV produce an endless string of unacceptably large deficits, ratcheting up military spending would undoubtedly require either substantial tax increases or significant cuts in non-military spending, including big-ticket programs like Medicare and social security -- precisely those, that is, which members of the middle class hold most dear.

In other words, funding World War IV while maintaining a semblance of fiscal responsibility would entail the kind of trade-offs that political leaders are loathe to make. Today, neither party appears up to taking on such challenges. That the demands of waging protracted war will persuade them to rise above their partisan differences seems unlikely. It sure hasn't so far.

The Folly of World War IV

In his essay, Cohen writes, "we need to stop the circumlocutions." Of those who would bear the direct burden of his world war, he says, "we must start telling them the truth." He's right, even if he himself is largely silent about what the conduct of World War IV is likely to exact from the average citizen.

As the United States enters a presidential election year, plain talk about the prospects of our ongoing military engagement in the Islamic world should be the order of the day. The pretense that either dropping a few more bombs or invading one or two more countries will yield a conclusive outcome amounts to more than an evasion. It is an outright lie.

As Cohen knows, winning World War IV would require dropping many, many more bombs and invading, and then occupying for years to come, many more countries. After all, it's not just ISIS that Washington will have to deal with, but also its affiliates, offshoots, wannabes, and the successors almost surely waiting in the wings. And don't forget al-Qaeda.

Cohen believes that we have no alternative. Either we get serious about fighting World War IV the way it needs to be fought or darkness will envelop the land. He is undeterred by the evidence that the more deeply we insert our soldiers into the Greater Middle East the more concerted the resistance they face; that the more militants we kill the more we seem to create; that the inevitable, if unintended, killing of innocents only serves to strengthen the hand of the extremists. As he sees it, with everything we believe in riding on the outcome, we have no choice but to press on.

While listening carefully to Cohen's call to arms, Americans should reflect on its implications. Wars change countries and people. Embracing his prescription for World War IV would change the United States in fundamental ways. It would radically expand the scope and reach of the national security state, which, of course, includes agencies beyond the military itself. It would divert vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes. It would make the militarization of the American way of life, a legacy of prior world wars, irreversible. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it would also compromise American freedom in the name of protecting it. The nation that decades from now might celebrate VT Day -- victory over terrorism -- will have become a different place, materially, politically, culturally, and morally.

In my view, Cohen's World War IV is an invitation to collective suicide. Arguing that no alternative exists to open-ended war represents not hard-nosed realism, but the abdication of statecraft. Yet here's the ultimate irony: even without the name, the United States has already embarked upon something akin to a world war, which now extends into the far reaches of the Islamic world and spreads further year by year.

Incrementally, bit by bit, this nameless war has already expanded the scope and reach of the national security apparatus. It is diverting vast quantities of wealth to nonproductive purposes even as it normalizes the continuing militarization of the American way of life. By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it is undermining American freedom in the name of protecting it, and doing so right before our eyes.

Cohen rightly decries the rudderless character of the policies that have guided the (mis)conduct of that war thus far. For that critique we owe him a considerable debt. But the real problem is the war itself and the conviction that only through war can America remain America.

For a rich and powerful nation to conclude that it has no choice but to engage in quasi-permanent armed conflict in the far reaches of the planet represents the height of folly. Power confers choice. As citizens, we must resist with all our might arguments that deny the existence of choice. Whether advanced forthrightly by Cohen or fecklessly by the militarily ignorant, such claims will only perpetuate the folly that has already lasted far too long.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, among other works. His new book, America's War for the Greater Middle East (Random House), is due out in April 2016.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse's Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Andrew J. Bacevich

[Dec 02, 2015] BOMBSHELL Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

Looks like Obama revenge to Putin for entering Syria...
Notable quotes:
"... The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2s onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers. ..."
"... This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator. ..."
"... Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it cant be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well. ..."
"... The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriots air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system. ..."
"... Of course. A pair of F-16CJs flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target. ..."
"... The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turks self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2s fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team. ..."
russia-insider.com

A Russian military expert and columnist of the journal Arsenal of the Fatherland explains the details of the downing of the bomber and why not all went smoothly in an interview to the news agency Regnum

How did it all happen?

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2's onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers.

That is, to determine how defenseless was our plane?

As it turns out, yes. As we know, the Su-24M2 was returning from its mission, and its flight computer was operating in "navigation" mode in tandem with the GLONASS [Russian GPS system.] It was returning to base and was not preparing for action. The whole time, the E-3s were transferring detailed information about the Su-24M2 to a pair of Turkish F-16CJ's. This plane [the F-16CJ] had been specifically built for Turkey. Its distinctive feature is a computer that controls a new, AN/APG-68 radar system, and which fulfills the role of a copilot-navigator.

But this information is obviously not enough to precision-strike a small target. Was something else used?

Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars. The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it can't be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well.

The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation: A pair of E-3s plus the Patriot's air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system.

Besides which, the E-3s provided guidance as to the location of our plane in the air; they determined its route, speed, and the status of its weapons control systems; and the Patriot's air defense radar together with the MENTOR spy satellite provided telemetry on the SU-24M2's movement relative to the ground surface-that is, it provided a precise prediction as to where our plane would be visible relative to the mountainous terrain.

So it turns out that the Turkish fighters knew with absolutely certainty where to wait in ambush for our plane?

Of course. A pair of F-16CJ's flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber. Besides which, the AN/APG-68 onboard radar of the fighter which launched the missile, was working in "target illumination" mode. That is, it turned on at the moment of launch, and turned off as soon as the missile definitively locked on to its target.

Did our pilots have a chance to save their plane?

No. The Su-24M2 crew's probability of escaping destruction was equal to zero…

…Turkey does not have its own capabilities for such a detailed and very precise operation. And don't forget about the second E-3, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The whole scenario was very fast-moving, lasting just seconds.

Did it really happen that smoothly?

The Turks nonetheless committed one mistake, which led to their provocation not quite working out. The F-16CJ went out on its interception two minutes late, when the Su-24M2 had already left the disputed 68-kilometer zone in the north of Syria [this may be referring to the Turk's self-styled no-fly-zone against Assad]; to leave it required at most 1.5 minutes. But the "kill" command to the F-16CJ had not been revoked; thus the missile launch was carried out a bit further than the intended point. This is confirmed by the fact that the [Turkish TV] footage of the Su-24M2's fall was planned to be filmed from both Syrian territory and Turkish territory; however, the "Syrian footage" is more detailed. It appears that this saved our navigator. He was able to go into the woods and wait for a rescue team.

[Dec 02, 2015] Russia Presents Detailed Evidence Of ISIS-Turkey Oil Trade

Notable quotes:
"... Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogans pronouncement is that were talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever step down is patently absurd. ..."
"... Whats critical is that the world gets the truth about whos financing and facilitating Raqqas Rockefellers. If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. ..."
"... In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkeys government. He also says Erdogan wouldnt resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogans lovely family oil business. Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to get involved and help Russia expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing. ..."
"... I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what theyre doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed. ..."
"... No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business! ..."
"... National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the little people dont do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then theres no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. ..."
"... The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they dont like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isnt going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events. ..."
"... Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State -- OASIS. It certainly is if youre a terrorist rebel or well-connected oil pimp... ..."
"... The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheneys pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end. ..."
"... Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that Chinas overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward. ..."
"... As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogans Maltese-flagged neutral tankers carrying ISIS crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tankers subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power. ..."
"... A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year. ..."
"... It was Turkeys national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. ..."
"... Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units. ..."
"... Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkeys pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The trucks manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The videos release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the papers journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization. ..."
"... According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. ..."
Zero Hedge
On Monday, Turkey's sultan President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said something funny. In the wake of Vladimir Putin's contention that Russia has additional proof of Turkey's participation in Islamic State's illicit crude trade, Erdogan said he would resign if anyone could prove the accusations.

Now obviously, conclusive evidence that Ankara is knowingly facilitating the sale of ISIS crude will probably be hard to come by, at least in the short-term, but the silly thing about Erdogan's pronouncement is that we're talking about a man who was willing to plunge his country into civil war over a few lost seats in Parliament. The idea that he would ever "step down" is patently absurd.

But that's not what's important. What's critical is that the world gets the truth about who's financing and facilitating "Raqqa's Rockefellers." If a NATO member is supporting this, and if the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks for 14 months as part of an understanding with Erdogan, well then we have a problem. For those who need a review, see the following four pieces:

Unfortunately for Ankara, The Kremlin is on a mission to blow this story wide open now that Turkey has apparently decided it's ok to shoot down Russian fighter jets. On Wednesday, we get the latest from Russia, where the Defense Ministry has just finished a briefing on the Islamic State oil trade. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Turkey may be in trouble.

First, here's the bullet point summary via Reuters:

That's the Cliff's Notes version and the full statement from Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov is below. Let us be the first to tell you, Antonov did not hold back.

In the opening address, the Deputy says the ISIS oil trade reaches the highest levels of Turkey's government. He also says Erdogan wouldn't resign if his face was smeared with stolen Syrian oil. Antonov then blasts Ankara for arresting journalists and mocks Erdogan's "lovely family oil business." Antonov even calls on the journalists of the world to "get involved" and help Russia "expose and destroy the sources of terrorist financing."

"Today, we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region," Antonov continues, setting up a lengthy presentation in which the MoD shows photos of oil trucks, videos of airstrikes and maps detailing the trafficking of stolen oil. The clip is presented here with an English voice-over. Enjoy.

... ... ...

Oh, and for good measure, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy says the US is not bombing ISIS oil trucks.

ISIS OIL logistics hub, over 3,000 TRUCKS, travelling between Iraq & TURKEY & US can't seem to find this???
BS pic.twitter.com/TNBa7CD9F0

- WowWow (@wowscasino) December 2, 2015

* * *

Full statement from Anatoly Antonov (translated)

At a briefing for the media, "the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the fight against international terrorism. The new data "

International terrorism - is the main threat of our time. This threat is not illusory but real, and many countries, primarily Russia, knows this firsthand. The notorious "Is Islamic state" - the absolute leader of the terrorist international. This is a rearing monster of international terrorism can be countered. And you can win. Over the past two months, Aerospace Russian forces is clearly demonstrated.

We are firmly convinced that victory over LIH need to deliver a powerful and devastating blow to the sources of its funding, as repeatedly mentioned by President Vladimir Putin. Terrorism has no money - is a beast without teeth. Oil revenues are a major source of terrorist activity in Syria. They earn about $ 2 billion. Dollars annually, spending this money on hiring fighters around the world, providing them with weapons, equipment and weapons. That's why so LIH protects thieves oil infrastructure in Syria and Iraq.

The main consumer of stolen from legitimate owners - Syria and Iraq - the oil is Turkey. According to the data entered in this criminal business involved the highest political leadership of the country - President Erdogan and his family.

We have repeatedly talked about the dangers of flirting with terrorists. It's like that stokes. The fire from one country can spill over to others. This situation we are seeing in the Middle East. Today, we present only part of the facts, confirming that the region has a team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from the neighbors.

This oil in large numbers on an industrial scale, for the living pipelines from thousands of oil tankers entering the territory of Turkey. We are absolutely convinced today present you the hard facts about what the final destination of the stolen oil - Turkey. There is a large number of media representatives, and Our briefing will see more of your colleagues. In this regard, I would like to say the following. We know and appreciate the work of journalists. We know that in the journalistic community, many courageous, fearless people honestly do its job. Today, we have clearly shown you how the illegal trade in oil, the result of which - the financing of terrorism. Provided concrete evidence that, in our opinion, may be the subject of investigative journalism.

We are confident that the truth with your help will, will find its way. We know the price to Erdogan. He has already been caught in a lie again Turkish journalists who opened Turkey delivery of arms and ammunition to militants under the guise of humanitarian convoys. For this imprisoned journalists.

Do not resign Turkish leaders, particularly Mr. Erdogan, and did not recognize, even if their faces will be smeared by oil thieves. I might be too harsh, but at the hands of the Turkish military killed our comrades. The cynicism of the Turkish leadership is unlimited. Look what they're doing ?! Climbed to a foreign country, it shamelessly robbed. And if the owners interfere, then they have to be addressed.

I stress that Erdogan's resignation is not our goal. It is - it is the people of Turkey. Our goal and the goal to which we urge you, ladies and gentlemen, - joint action to block the sources of funding for terrorism. We will continue to provide evidence of robbery by Turkey of its neighbors. Maybe I'll be too straightforward, but the control of these thieves in business can be entrusted only to the most close people.

No one in the West, I wonder, does not cause the issue that the son of the President of Turkey is the leader of one of the largest energy companies, and son-in-appointed Minister of Energy? What a brilliant family business!

This, in general, may elsewhere? Well, once again, of course, such cases can not be charging anyone, only the closest people. Votes this fact in the Western media we do not see much, but it sure can not hide the truth. Yes, of course, dirty petrodollars will work. I am sure that there are now discussions about the fact that everything you see here, - falsification. Well. If it did not - let be allowed in those places that we showed journalists.

It is obvious that today the publicity was devoted only part of the information about the monstrous crimes of the Turkish elites who directly finance international terrorism. We believe that any sane journalist should fight this plague of the XXI century. The world experience has repeatedly argued that the objective journalism is able to be an effective and formidable tool in the fight against various financial corruption schemes. We invite colleagues to investigative journalism on the disclosure of financial schemes and supplies oil from the terrorists to the consumers. Especially since the oil produced in the controlled militants territories in transit through Turkish ports shipped to other regions. For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Russia will continue to disclose new evidence on the supply of terrorists oil to foreign countries and to talk about the conduct of aerospace forces of Russia operations in Syria.Let's unite our efforts. We will destroy the sources of financing of terrorism in Syria, as you get involved in the kind of work abroad. "

Latina Lover

Doesn't matter what evidence Putin offers, the USSA Minion Mainstream Media liars will bury, distort or outright lie to defend Turkey. If Putin wanted any media play, he should photoshop the detailed evidence on a picture of Kim Kardasians ass.

The good news is that the Turks will figure it out, along with the rest of the world.

The9thDoctor

The main difference between al-CIAduh and CIsisA is that even the dumbest of the dumb have figured out that ISIL is controlled and equipped by Western Intelligence.

two hoots

John Kerry can explain this....to his own satisfaction.

Gaius Frakkin' ...

I've already seen more evidence for ISIS-Turkey oil trading than Saddam's WMDs... still waiting for that BTW.

farflungstar

NATO cunts supporting terrorists deserve whatever they get.

There was a lull when the Russians made their entrance into Syria, as Thinktank Land had to recalibrate their bullshit and get on message for the sheep. A couple weeks later the AmeriKans are crying crocodile tears over civilians and Russia killing kinder, gentler terrorists rather than ISIS.

LOL AmeriKans concerned over civilian casualties.

Kirk2NCC1701

And yet, we are still suppose to "Support Our Troops"

If they had 'truth in advertising', they'd call it "Support Our Storm-Troopers", to serve the Empire

Wise up, people. We have a MERCENARY ARMY -- by Definition.

MERCENARY =

a. You Volunteered 1,

b. You are getting Paid,

c. You have a Contract (with or w/o a Retirement Package)

d. After said Contract has expired, and if Released from further Duty (at sole discretion of Employer), you may enter a new Contract with a private 'security firm', i.e. "Mercs R US", or retire to pursue other activities (work for Gov.US, or one of its para-Gov units known as NGOs). In some cases, you may be so disillusioned or burned out, that you actually join the private sector. In some rare cases, assuming you haven't killed yourself, you may actually have become an open or closet anti-war activist. Which makes you a Born-Again Citizen, and a genuine Hero. If you are married with children, you are a mutha-facking hero, aka... 'Dad'.

[1] It matters not/naught if you're a well-meaning 'Patriot' (10%), a Economic Desperado (85%) or a Closet Psycho (5%). They'll take you even if you're not a US Citizen. In which case, you can become one after a mere 2 years, and in the Naturalization Process their Look-back Window is literally 2 years. I know this for fact. If you want to challenge me on this, you'll have to put your money where your mouth is, and pony up some serious Cash/BTC

McMolotov

For people of a certain age, "Russia is evil" is their default setting. They literally had that message pounded into their brains for decades, and unless they frequent alternative media sites, it's hard to overcome.

I see it with my parents. I can talk to them about this stuff for a few hours and gradually get them to see glimmers of the truth, but they usually completely revert to their normal thinking by the next time I see them. It doesn't help that they have Fox News on all the time.

rwe2late

UndergroundPost

Su-24 you say?

There is fair certainty that the SU-24 was hit (inside Syria) by radar-guided missiles(s) fired by the Turk jets,

and the missiles were guided and the SU-24 targeted by airborne US AWACS.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

The Chief

Im not sure which is worse, domestic frackers and their rape of the the american consumer and retiree with ridiculous oil and gas prices, junk bond sales to pensioners, etc, or ISIS. ISIS, in my view is no threat at all. These are contractors working for deep state functionaries intent on a long-term rape of the global population...but really, just hoodlums intent on taking a vig from illegal oil sales. Just ask Bush, Cheney, and now the democratic machine. New guys at the trough.

Frackers, however, are scum of the fucking earth. The business doesnt work unless oil prices are high. Fuck that. They pay their bills with a junk bond ponzi.

As for frackers themselves...its a tiny fraction of the workforce. Go be auto mechanics or go back to selling meth, fuckers.

847328_3527

Canada could take 50,000 refugees by end of 2016

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/governor-general-urges-support-fo...

The Canadian Gubmint will need to cut benefits to its citizens for the benefit of newcomers just as Barry wants to cut SS for Senior Americans so he can import thousands more.

"Yes we can!"

kralizec

Must be Vlad is daring the Turk to invoke Artcile 21 of Montreux: Erdogan has a trump card against Putin that would transform the Syrian war

You have to admire their bold manner, they are fearless.

They love warning NATO to back off. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-warns-nato-montenegro-invite-111359017.html

But who doesn't? They are a paper tiger, seems pointless to join them.

They get to build on newly seized territory ala China. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-building-military-bases-islands-claimed-jap...

The annexation of Crimea and Donbas is secure. Oil, gas and currency deals with China, India...nuclear deals with Iran.

And nobody is stopping him. Who can? That Muzzie faggot pretender in Washington? The toothless NATO police? The bed-wetting Euro's submitting to Islam?

Ha!

It is a de facto Russian/Chinese world now. Most still have no clue. The kabuki is so strong, the illusion of states and freedom and wealth...all an illusion.

Pah, who cares? Put on the DWTS, snort some lines and pop the bubbly! All is well!

Life of Illusion

Kralizec, you need to complete the illusion......wheres the oil goes when in Turkey.....

http://www.invest.gov.tr/en-US/infocenter/news/Pages/210714-goldman-sachs-buys-turkish-petkim-aegean-port.aspx

Goldman Sachs buys into Turkish Petkim's Aegean port 21.07.2014

Hurriyet Daily News – Global leader US investment firm Goldman Sachs has become a partner in Turkey's largest integrated port, operated by petrochemicals maker Petkim, in a deal that will boost Petkim's plans to develop the port as the largest in the Aegean region.

Petkim announced that it has reached a preliminary agreement to sell its 30 percent stake in Petkim Limanc?l?k (Petlim) for USD 250 million, after months of talks beginning in February of this year.

Petkim and Petlim are controlled by the Turkish branch of Azeri energy giant SOCAR. Petlim was founded to run the financial operations of Petkim's port in the Alia?a district of the Aegean province of ?zmir.

"For one of the world's biggest investors to become a partner in our port company means approval of the value and finance of our project," SOCAR Turkey President Kenan Yavuz said, speaking after a ceremony to mark the signing of the deal

Urban Redneck

The yahoos at Yahoo!News should really stick to message boards and perhaps one day expand to fringe blogging (if they can ever pull their heads of their asses). Neither the Russians nor the Turks are interested in seeing the Straights closed.

The purpose of the Montreaux Convention is to prevent another Russo-Turkish war by guaranteeing Russia (and other States that border the Black Sea) will have full military and commercial access to the Straights, while foreign powers will have only limited access. In return for providing this guarantee Turkey was allowed to build fortification to support its obligations under the treaty, while maintaining Turkey's natural right to self defense.

Any attempt by Turkey to prevent Russian access to the Straights, is an act of blockade, and invites either a blockade of Turkish ports (and pipelines) on the Mediterranean, if not another Russo Turkish war. Closing the Straights is simply not some trump card, and even the Sultan of Ankara isn't dumb enough to view such an action as a step towards extending his grip on power.

moonshadow

Putin with "checkmate". Erdogan can only flip the board over and walk away muttering to the int'l crowd somethin bout "Putin...cheater". Great article, Antonov's comments priceless, and video worth a smirk a minute

Noplebian

The NATO led escalation and it's push towards WW3, continues unabated……

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

JustObserving

Will Erdogan resign?

How about detailed evidence on the shooting of the Russian jet?
BOMBSHELL: Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance

A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task-determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the "victim."

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/bombshell-turkish-attack-russian-s...

JustObserving

Erdogan and his oil-smuggling son, Bilal, will be welcomed as heroes in Neocon-controlled Washington. Argentina and Paraguay are now for minor criminals only.


Calmyourself

Erdogan you Islamist bastard Ataturk is laughing at you from beyond the grave, GTFO

edit: why the hell has no one dropped cluster munitions on that truck park? US has been there a year and just missed it? Apparently Obama's (Stalin's) purge of the military has been quite successful because none of them have any balls.

RockySpears

Because cluster bombs are illegal. Not that this is exactly what they were designed for, but people cried about the little bomblets that failed to go off and were subsequently "ploughed" up by civilian farmers.

War is bad, but sometimes it is made worse by the intention to do good.

Same as Chemical weapons, for the most part, they kill no one, they just incapacitate. And anyway, why is a 1,000lb of TNT NOT chemical?

Calmyourself

Only against civilians and nobody signed on anyway.

"During Desert Storm US Marines used the weapon extensively, dropping 15,828 of the 27,987 total Rockeyes against armor, artillery, and personnel targets. The remainder were dropped by Air Force (5,346) and Navy (6,813) aircraft.[1]"

Chairman

2003-2006: United States and allies attacked Iraq with 13,000 cluster munitions, containing two million submunitions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. At multiple times, coalition forces used cluster munitions in residential areas, and the country remains among the most contaminated by this day, bomblets posing a threat to both US military personnel in the area, and local civilians.

When these weapons were fired on Baghdad on April 7, 2003 many of the bomblets failed to explode on impact. Afterward, some of them exploded when touched by civilians. USA Today reported that "the Pentagon presented a misleading picture during the war of the extent to which cluster weapons were being used and of the civilian casualties they were causing." On April 26, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the US had caused only one civilian casualty.

margincall575

Follow up

Breaking: Did the US and Saudis use AWACS to help target the SU-24?
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/12/01/breaking-did-the-us-and-saudis-u...

zeroboris

I used to read the soviet newspaper Pravda and am reading modern western media. And know what? Pravda was many times more truthful. Many of us, Russians, didn't understand this in soviet times (we had no access to western papers). But now I can tell this without any doubt. Most of modern Russian papers are less truthful too.


ThanksChump

I'd be surprised if the WPost ignores this. They did cover the Iraqi claim that the US is backing ISIS.

Paveway IV

National intelligence agencies watch Facebook, Twitter, Google and other search engines to see if they have to do damage control. If a few sites come out with articles implicating Bilal but the 'little people' don't do many searches for him or re-tweet links, then there's no reason to react. They simply ignore the story. If they notice enough little people start Googling Bilial and illegal oil sales or retweeting damaging articles, then they let the boss know. The U.S. MSM is ordered to send out a few stories quoting each other to spin it one way or another.

The government defines the narrative, and MSM stenographers fill in the pieces. Facebook, Twitter and Google are checked to see if they had the desired effect. They can also use a bit more direct techniques like massaging the Google search result rankings or blowing away Facebook and Twitter accounts they don't like. Israel is insane about collecting this data from Americans and reacting. Uncle Sugar isn't going to cough up that free $3 billion a year handout to them if the people are in the streets with pitchforks and torches. They are especially interested in de-ranking Google results that make Israel look bad, and promoting sites that deliver the message they want. Google is the worst search engine to look for Israeli current events.

You'll notice none of the MSM ISIS oil sales articles will mention U.S. stooge Barzani's involvement, and they for damn sure won't mention Israel as a destination for much of the stolen oil. They'll simply steer the narrative to focus on Turkish oil sales, and somehow blame it on Assad.

krispkritter

Obama Administration Supporting Islamic State --> OASIS. It certainly is if you're a terrorist 'rebel' or well-connected oil pimp...

ThanksChump

Occam's Razor.

The US made a deal with OPEC: the US would help to remove Assad, and in return, OPEC would dump oil to weaken Russia and Iran, fulfilling PNAC/Cheney's pet dream of consolidating the remaining oil reserves under US-friendly control. ISIS was a tool to that end.

That's the easy obvious part.

Less obvious is the tie to Ukraine. Ukraine should have been "converted" after Assad was driven out, and not before. This has me confused. Was it only a mistake in timing?

Now that the cat is out of the bag, now that China's overdue correction has been triggered, now that Brazil and Canada know who is largely responsible for their collapsing economies, now that Europe knows why they are overrun by refugees, I wonder how friendly those countries will be moving forward.

Mike Masr

https://www.rt.com/news/324252-russian-military-news-briefing/

US pal and NATO ally Turkey

SoDamnMad

I' m watching the rebroadcast live right now. Video of all these trucks. Damn good video and stills. Gee, why can't the USSA produce these(oh yeah, the MSM isn't allowed to show the truth. Better to show some college campus protest rather than the truth about whose side is really trying to stop terrorism.) Maybe our reconaissence equipment isn't as good as Russian equipment and our satelittes can't find the Turkish-Syrian border. Never seen so many trucks back to back, even on the Jersey Turnpike or the Long Beach Freeway before a holiday when the economy was good.s a lot of bucks going into Erdogan son's pocket (and Israel's)

fel.temp.reparatio

Erdogan: "So what if the MIT trucks were filled with weapons?"

Yttrium Gold Nitrogen

Statements available in English here:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/news/more.htm?id=12070726@cmsArticle

Duc888

....another interesting point here...

http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/11/26/raqqas-rockefellers...

"The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation.

The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets."

no1wonder

Official media release (and speech translation into English) by Russia's Defense Ministry:

http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/brief.htm

cn13

This story is finally hitting the MSM in the U.S. after being reported here for the past week. The powers to be must have needed time to get their lies straight. Anyway, check out the comment section on Yahoo regarding this story. It is almost 100% pro-Russian and anti-NATO/U.S.

I have never seen anything like this before.

The U.S. public has lost total confidence in the government. They are finally catching on to the lies and deceit of those in power.

http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-proof-turkey-main-consumer-islamic-state-124337872.html

MadVladtheconquerer

Looks like Putin is simply trying to maintain what little remains of the status quo in Syria:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-russia-fighting-isil-or-occupying-sy...

gregga777

As I read it, according to traditional international law, the Russian Federation may legally seize Erdogan's Maltese-flagged "neutral" tankers carrying ISIS' crude oil, because that crude oil constitutes a significant portion of ISIS' war making potential, that tanker then effectively constituting an enemy merchant vessel, with the tanker's subsequent condemnation in Russian prize courts, as the capturing belligerent power.

I hope that the Russian Federation's Navy seizes all of Erdogan's tankers, bankrupting Erdogan's company. Let them then sit in port for the next several years awaiting disposition in a Russian prize court.

dot_bust

Then there's this rather enlightening bit of information:

ISIS Colonel was Trained By Blackwater and U.S. State Department for 11 Years

A former police commander from Tajikistan was featured in an ISIS video recently where he admitted he was trained by the U.S. State Department and former military contractor Blackwater all the way up until last year.

http://theantimedia.org/isis-colonel-trained-by-blackwater-and-us-state-...

Amun

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-turkey-20151201-stor...

"It was Turkey's national intelligence agency, known as MIT, that first organized Syrian military defectors into Western-backed groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

Free Syrian Army factions still convene on Turkish soil in the Joint Operations Center, a CIA-led intelligence hub that gives vetted rebels training as well as U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles used to destroy Syrian army tanks and armored units.

Islamist groups, however, have benefited from Turkey's pro-opposition policy as well. In May, the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published video from 2014 showing customs agents impounding a truck owned by the MIT. The truck's manifest said it was carrying humanitarian assistance for Syrians. Instead it was bearing a cache of ammunition and shells the newspaper said were destined for Islamist rebels. The video's release caused a furor. Erdogan vowed to prosecute Cumhuriyet, a threat he carried out Friday when authorities arrested two of the paper's journalists on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization.

Turkish assistance has been instrumental in empowering the Army of Conquest, a loose coalition of hard-line Islamist factions including Al Nusra Front, which seized control of Idlib province in March in an offensive backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Economic ties also have been forged between Turkey and rebel factions.

According to a 2015 United Nations study, two border crossings controlled by a faction of the Army of Conquest handle more than 300 trucks a day, a figure that exceeds prewar levels. The traffic yields an estimated $660,000 a day. "

[Dec 01, 2015] US Intervention Before And After

Zero Hedge
WhackoWarner

Before death in Libya....Ghadaffi's crime was in "not playing along and selling out". Kinda like Iraq and all. They all should just hand over everything and say thanks...but they did not . There is disinfo on both sides, But the "madman" and people who actually live there never seem to make the NYTimes.

"For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Kirk2NCC1701
"they hate us for our freedoms"

No, "They hate us for our freebombs" that we keep delivering.

Suppose you lived in a town that was run by a ruthless Mafioso boss. Sure he was ruthless to troublemakers and dissenters, but if you went about your business (and paid your taxes/respects to him), life was simple but livable, and crime was negligible.

Now imagine that a crime Overlord came from another country and decided to wreck the town, just to remove your Mafioso Don. In the process, your neighborhood and house were destroyed, and you lost friends and family.

Now tell me that YOU would not make it YOUR life's mission to bring these War Criminals to justice -- by any and all means necessary. And tell me that these same Criminals could not have foreseen all this. Now say it again - but with a straight face. I dare you. I fucking double-dare you!

Max Cynical
US exceptionalism!
GhostOfDiogenes
The worst one, besides Iraq, is Libya.

The infrastructure we destroyed there is unimaginable.

Sure Iraq was hit the worst, and much has been lost there....but Libya was a modern arab oasis of a country in the middle of nothing.

We destroyed in a few days what took decades to build.

This is why I am not proud of my country, nor my military.

In fact, I would like to see Nuremberg type trials for 'merican military leaders and concentration gulags for the rest of enlisted. Just like they did to Germany.

Its only proper.

GhostOfDiogenes
The USA did this murder of Libya and giving ownership to the people who did '911'? What a joke. http://youtu.be/aJURNC0e6Ek
Bastiat
Libya under Ghadaffi: universal free college education, free healthcare, free electricity. interest free loans. A very bad example of how a nation's wealth is to be distributed!
CHoward
The average American has NO idea how much damage is being done in this world - all in the name of Democracy. Unbelivable and truly pathetic. Yet - most sheeple still believe ISIS and others hate us because of our "freedoms" and i-pods. What bullshit.
Bioscale
Czech public tv published a long interview in English with Asad, it was filmed in Damascus some days ago.Very unusual thing, actually. Terrorism being transported by US, Turkey and France to Syria is being openly debated. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/svet/1628712-asad-pro-ct-rebelove-jsou-...

Overfed

Compare and contrast Assad, giving an interview very well in a second language, with O'bomb-a, who can't even speak to school children without a teleprompter. Sad.

Razor_Edge

Along with President Putin, Dr al Assad is consistently the most sane, rational and clearly honest speaker on the tragedy of Syria. By contrast, our satanic western leaders simply lie outrageously at all times. How do we know? Their lips are moving. They also say the most absurd things.

We in the west may think that at the end of the day, it's not going to harm us, so why discomfort ourselves by taking on our own elites and bringing them down. But I believe that an horrific future awaits us, one we richly deserve, because we did not shout stop at this ocean of evil bloodshed being spilt in our names. We pay the taxes that pay for it, or at least in my countrys case, (traditional policy of military neutrality), we facilitate the slaughter (troop transports through Shannon airport), or fail to speak out for fear it may impact FDI into Ireland, (largest recipient of US FDI in the world).

We are our brothers keepers, and we are all one. It is those who seek to separate us to facilitate their evil and psychopathic lust for power and money, who would have us beieve that "the other" is evil. Are we really so simple minded or riven by fear that we cannot see through the curtain of the real Axis of Evil?

Demdere

Israeli-neocon strategy is to have the world's economy collapse at the point of maximum war and political chaos.

Then they can escape to Paraguay. Sure as hell, if they stay here, we are going to hang them all. Treasonous criminals for the 9/11 false flag operation.

By 2015, every military and intelligence service and all the think tanks have looked at 9/11 carefully. Anyone who looks at the evidence sees that it was a false flag operation, the buildings were destroyed via explosives, the planes and evil Arab Muslims were show. Those agencies reported to their civilian leaders, and their civilian leaders spread the information through their societies.

So all of the politically aware people in the world, including here at home, KNOW that 9/11 was a false flag operation, or know that they must not look at the evidence. Currently, anyone who disagrees in MSM is treated as invisible, and I know of no prominent bloggers who have even done the bits of extention of 'what it must mean' that I have done.

But it certainly means high levels of distrust for the US and for Israel. It seems to me that World Domination is not possible, because the world won't let you, and the means of opposition are only limited by the imaginations of the most creative, intelligent and knowledgable people. We don't have any of those on our side any more.

L Bean

In their farcical quest to emulate the Roman empire...

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant - Tacitus

They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

[Nov 30, 2015] The Spanish General could give the order to shoot down Russian su-

This is not very probably hypothesis, but if this is true then it was NATO organized provocation...
"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.
Notable quotes:
"... There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo". ..."

"All the airspace in southern Europe from the Azores to the Eastern border of Turkey (Syria, Iraq, Iran) controlled by the radars mounted on towers airbase in Torrejon near Madrid. Command there 57-year-old General Ruben Garcia Servert. The final decision in the center of the Combined Air Operations takes it.

There is, of course, is an option that responsibility for the attack on "Drying" took over the Turkish General 62-year-old Abidin Unal, but in this case, a high-ranking Spanish military became the main witness giving orders. "If you want to shoot down the aircraft of the enemy, I is the person taking final decision" is a quote from an interview Garcia of Servert given in January of this year to the newspaper "El Mundo".

Who actually gave the order to shoot down the su-24, still we do not know. But do know that the recent crash of the UAV happened at the command of a Turkish General unknown, what was not slow to inform the military. In October two cases of violation by Russian planes of air space of Turkey Abidin conceded right to make the final decision to the Spaniard".

[Nov 30, 2015] Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The Arrogance, Hubris, Stupidity Of The US Government

Notable quotes:
"... No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter). ..."
"... And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians. ..."
"... Read more here and listen to the full interview... ..."
Zero Hedge

On the heels of the Chinese stock market plunging 5.5%, continued turmoil in the Middle East and the price of gold hitting 5 year lows, former U.S. Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told Eric King of King World News that Putin and the Russians are now dominating in Syria and the Middle East as the West destroys itself.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: "It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia's favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, 'Thank you very much. You've done us a huge favor. (Laughter). We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot. That was only two deaths for winning a war."…

"So that looks to me like the most likely outcome. The unintended consequence of this are so positive for Russia that it's got Washington quaking and Europe wondering about the idiocy of being in NATO."

Eric King: "What I'm hearing from you Russia is dominating in Syria. The Russians have completely taken over and there's really nothing Washington can do."

Paul Craig Roberts: "No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS. We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) - everybody knows that. Just the other day the former head the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that 'Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.' (Laughter).

And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia's side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft. They don't believe (the West's) story at all. So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government. They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians.

This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe.

This is all because those Europeans were stupid enough to enable our wars. Now the political parties in Europe are under tremendous pressure from these refugees and the populations who object to them, and from the rising dissident parties who are saying, 'Look at what these people who you trusted have done. They've changed your country. It's not Germany anymore - it's Syria.' (Laughter).

This is a disaster. Only the stupid Americans could have produced such a disaster. Does Putin need to do anything? We're doing it all for him. So he doesn't need to do anything. He's not going to attack anybody. What does he need to attack anybody for? The idiot Americans are destroying themselves and their allies. This is an amazing fiasco."

Read more here and listen to the full interview...

Chupacabra-322

"This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth. Those people don't have any sense at all. Just look at what they've done. In 14 years they've destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people. And where are those displaced people? They are overrunning Europe."

So true, it must be repeated.

chubbar

It's so incompetent it is looking deliberate.

KingFiat

King World News always says the price of gold is going to the moon tomorrow when the financial system collapses. After a while you realize no real news comes from there, and ignore them.

Not the same for Paul Craig Roberts, And I am glad to read his insights here, even if originated from KWN.

CaptainDanite

There is no denying that the KWN site is hokey, and that Eric King has a limited repertoire of "stunning" adjectives, and that the frequent employment of bold red and blue fonts can be annoying, etc., etc. However, the simple fact remains that he CONSISTENTLY conducts well-directed and well-edited interviews with some of the most respected voices in the alternative media arena. I routinely look forward to his interviews with Nomi Prins, Eric Sprott, Ronald Stoeferle, and Bill Fleckenstein -- among many, many others. At least KWN is not entirely inundated with ads like ZH is, nor is the mobile version of the site repeatedly susceptible to adware browser hijacks like ZH's mobile version is.

Furthermore, while I frequently find points of disagreement with Paul Craig Roberts, this most recent interview is PCR at his ever-loving best; it strikes to the heart of the matter of the increasingly frightening conflict brewing between the US, NATO, and the Russians. I highly recommend this interview to everyone out there who is starting to get very uncomfortable about the foreign policy incompetence of the Obama administration as it appears to be deliberately steering us into the maw of WWIII.

Lore

PATHOCRACY

"The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors: 1) normal human ignorance and weakness and 2) the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals. The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis. That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

The presence of such 'disease' on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section of this website. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath's influence, the greater harm done. Thus any group of humans can be infected or 'ponerized' by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations. The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called 'pathocracy'.

Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes

"If the many managerial positions are assumed by individuals deprived of sufficient abilities to feel and understand the majority of other people, and who also exhibit deficiencies in technical imagination and practical skills - (faculties indispensable for governing economic and political matters) - this then results in an exceptionally serious crisis in all areas, both within the country in question and with regard to international relations. Within, the situation becomes unbearable even for those citizens who were able to feather their nest into a relatively comfortable modus vivendi. Outside, other societies start to feel the pathological quality of the phenomenon quite distinctly. Such a state of affairs cannot last long. One must then be prepared for ever more rapid changes, and also behave with great circumspection." (2nd. ed., p. 140)

LetThemEatRand

It's long by today's standards, but another great PCR link for those who are interested. Intelligent and thoughtful debate where the two participants actually allow each other to make their points. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/11/25/pcr-debates-the-intelligent-a...

Killdo

this is a pretty good book on how to spot psychos and prevent being screwed over by them:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767915828?keywords=the%20sociopath%20n...

I've read about 10 books on the subject and I find this one very intresting, well written and based on realaity (I think the author is a prof frm harvard).

It really helped me connect the dots while I lived in LA (according to the author one of 3 world'scapitals of psychopathy together with London and NY)

[Nov 30, 2015] Erdogan Says Will Resign If Oil Purchases From ISIS Proven After Putin Says Has More Proof

Notable quotes:
"... "There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq." ..."
Nov 30, 2015 | Zero Hedge
"I've shown photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products," Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Antalya. Putin was of course referencing Islamic State's illicit and highly lucrative oil trade, the ins and outs of which we've documented extensively over the past two weeks:

Turkey's move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 warplane near the Syrian border afforded the Russian President all the motivation and PR cover he needed to expose Ankara's alleged role in the trafficking of illegal crude from Iraq and Syria and in the aftermath of last Tuesday's "incident," Putin lambasted Erdogan. "Oil from Islamic State is being shipped to Turkey," Putin said while in Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah. In case that wasn't clear enough, Putin added this: "Islamic State gets cash by selling oil to Turkey."

To be sure, it's impossible to track the path ISIS oil takes from extraction to market with any degree of precision. That said, it seems that Islamic State takes advantage of the same network of smugglers, traders, and shipping companies that the KRG uses to transport Kurdish crude from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. From there, the oil makes its way to Israel and other markets (depending on which story you believe) and if anyone needs to be thrown off the trail along the way, there's a ship-to-ship transfer trick that can be executed off the coast of Malta. The maneuver allegedly makes the cargoes more difficult to track.

Some believe Erdogan's son Bilal - who owns a marine transport company called BMZ Group - is heavily involved in the trafficking of Kurdish and ISIS crude. Most of the ships BMZ owns are Malta-flagged.

In light of the above, some have speculated that Turkey shot down the Su-24 in retaliation for Russia's bombing campaign that recently has destroyed over 1,000 ISIS oil trucks. Here's what Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoub said on Friday:

"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well."

Al-Zoub isn't alone in his suspicions. In an interview with RT, Iraqi MP and former national security adviser, Mowaffak al Rubaie - who personally led Saddam to the gallows - said ISIS is selling around $100 million of stolen crude each month in Turkey. Here are some excerpts:

"In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell ... $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ...[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price."

"Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market."

"Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it's operation," he added. "Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate."

"There isn't a shadow of a doubt that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations. The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus."

"There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey. They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq."

"There is no terrorist organization which can stand alone, without a neighboring country helping it – in this case Turkey."

That's pretty unequivocal. But it gets better.

On Monday, Putin was back at it, saying that Russia has obtained new information that further implicates Turkey in the Islamic State oil trade. "At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale," Putin said on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris. "We have traced some located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them."

"We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil's delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers," he added, taking it up another notch still.

As for Erdogan, well, he "can't accept" the accusations which he calls "not moral":

LATEST - Erdo?an: Russia's claim that Turkey bought oil from Daesh is not 'moral', such claims have to be proved pic.twitter.com/PZka8MwzpL

- DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) November 30, 2015

Hilariously, the man who just finished starting a civil war just so he could regain a few lost seats in Parliament and who would just as soon throw you in jail as look at you if he thinks you might be a threat to his government, now says he will resign if Putin (or anyone else) can present "proof": "We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we'll consider [it]."

Hold your breath on that.

And so, the Turkey connection has been exposed and in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately for Ankara, Erdogan can't arrest Vladimir Putin like he can award winning journalists and honest police officers who, like Moscow, want to see the flow of money and weapons to Sunni militants in Syria cut off.

The real question is how NATO will react now that Turkey is quickly becoming a liability. Furthermore, you can be sure that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (who are all heavily invested in the Sunni extremist cause in Syria), are getting nervous. No one wants to see this blown wide open as that would mean the Western public getting wise to the fact that it is indeed anti-ISIS coalition governments that are funding and arming not only ISIS, but also al-Nusra and every other rebel group fighting to wrest control of the country from Assad. Worse, if it gets out that the reason the US has refrained from bombing ISIS oil trucks until now is due to the fact that Ankara and Washington had an understanding when it comes to the flow of illicit crude to Cehyan, the American public may just insist on indicting "some folks."

Remember, when it comes to criminal conspiracies, the guy who gets caught first usually ends up getting cut loose. It will be interesing to see if Erdogan starts to get the cold shoulder from Ankara's "allies" going forward.

[Nov 30, 2015] Russia Bans Soros Foundation As A Threat To National Security And Constitutional Order Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... "A lot of what we do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA" Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy. Although it promotes itself as a "non-governmental organization", NED receives at least 90% of its funding from the US Congress, earmarked to USAID. ..."
"... Around that time, Soros Foundation 'appeared' in our country and started usual advertising and promises how they will give money to 'promising' projects made by young people. Of course, we had an amazing thing (it was really hard to make a printed computer magazine while having civil war and sanctions, heh) and were certain that we would easily qualify for grant. We got rejected. A guy printing black and white A4 pamphlet saying shit about government got the money. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
AlaricBalth

"A lot of what we do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA" Alan Weinstein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy. Although it promotes itself as a "non-governmental organization", NED receives at least 90% of its funding from the US Congress, earmarked to USAID.

JRobby

Maybe the USSA will do the same with "The Council On Foriegn Relations"??

What would we call it when a controlling faction of the USSA Government outlawed itself and declared itself a threat to national security and Constitutional order?

Schizophrenia?

Government need...

That's an organization that needs to go. I know some of its membership in NYC. . . It's not evil, per se, but it places self-enrichment above ethics. That, and since they all have fancy degress and like to pass their resumes around the table, they naturally believe they know better than the little people what's best for the little peons.

nmewn

"In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia's Constitutional order and national security. They added that the Justice Ministry would be duly informed about these conclusions and would add the two groups to Russia's list of undesirable foreign organizations."

Yet here, somehow, he is still a major donor to the National Socialist Democrat Party and BlackLiesMatter.

The world, as I once knew it, has been completely turned upside down...lol.

#SafePlace!

/////

Now wut little trolls...how could that possibly offend you? I mean outside of me being absolutely correct about this worthless POS all these years ;-)

conscious being

I'm suprised it took this long.

Quinvarius

Looks like buying Russian politicians is not so easy. The West however is is craven and corrupt. This is huge set back for Obama's transvestite, looter, gay, racist agenda of destroying civilization.

blentus

So, there I was, 18 years old, and living in a shitty civil war torn country. Not giving a fuck about anything, me and few of my friends managed to print a computer magazine and keep it going for a while. It was impossible to make money with it, and we never did it for the money anyway. It was a good 'distraction' from everything around us, and it also helped other curious kids. This was before Internet became popular/accessible, so good information was not so easy to obtain.

Around that time, Soros Foundation 'appeared' in our country and started usual advertising and promises how they will give money to 'promising' projects made by young people. Of course, we had an amazing thing (it was really hard to make a printed computer magazine while having civil war and sanctions, heh) and were certain that we would easily qualify for grant.

We got rejected. A guy printing black and white A4 pamphlet saying shit about government got the money.

I was lucky enough to learn early how these pieces of shit work.

Every time I hear phrase 'NGO' my brain simply translates it to 'cunts'. Can't help it.

smacker

Something tells me that some very smart people in Moscow have been carefully studying who is creating all this global unrest.

Russia's actions to kick out "Soros Open Society" and the "US National Endowment for Democracy" - neither of which have anything to do with what their names suggest - is to prevent Russia becoming another victim.


[Nov 29, 2015] Turkish militants kill russian pilot while he is decending

yudenich.ru

watch-v=tiR8E-SwVeI

Terrorism is typically ideologically driven and as such has no nationality. But this case looks like an e4xception: Turkish media machine has already asssigned this crime to certain mythical "Syrian Turkomans".

But in reality this looks like Grey Wolfs not "Turkomans", and their leader is a Turkish neo-fascist Alpaslan Celik - son of the mayor of a small Turkish town. Golden youth so to speak.

http://ntv.livejournal.com/426110.html?mode=reply#add_comment

So, all those dances over the body of pilot are very similar to explosions in Suruç and Ankara.

[Nov 29, 2015] Turkey hands over body of Russian pilot to Russia

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Turkey has initiated the process to hand over the body of a Russian pilot to Moscow after his jet was shot down by Turkey, a day before a United Nations climate conference starts in Paris that could bring a "saddened" Turkish president and his Russian counterpart together.

In a press briefing held at Ankara's airport prior to his departure for a EU-Turkey Summit in Brussels on Nov. 29, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the body of Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov, who died after his plane was downed by Turkish F-16s on Nov. 24 when it reportedly breached Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, had been taken by Turkey and would be sent to Russia on its request.

[Nov 29, 2015] How ISIS is financed

Notable quotes:
"... Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated. ..."
"... The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel. ..."
"... Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity. ..."
"... Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Javier, 11/14/2015 at 11:03 am

OFM,

This article in Spanish from one of the main journals explains how ISIS is financing. Their main source of income is oil sales, but they also resource to taxes to the population, sales of antiquities, bank raids, appropriation of part of Iraq salaries to government employees in occupied areas that are still being paid, extortion to businesses, appropriation of part of crops, ransoms and slave sales. Some of the magnitudes are estimated.

The income from oil is estimated at 1.5 million dollars per day from 34-40,000 barrels per day at 20-35 $ per barrel.

Their main expense is calculated at 10 million dollars per month (0.33 mill $/day) in salaries. They pay almost a fifth of their income in salaries, and that is one of the reasons of their popularity.

http://www.elmundo.es/papel/historias/2015/11/11/56422776268e3efc608b45e5.html

Recently the international coalition, with France taking a very active role, has started bombing their oil facilities, thus attacking the jugular of ISIS. They must be desperate because they see no way of protecting their oil financing from air attacks. After a very long time of successes, ISIS is now having problems to hold its ground in parts of Syria and Kurdistan.

I have family in Paris. My niece, her husband and all his family are in Paris. None of them was present in the attacks, but we are all shocked by the magnitude.

Caelan MacIntyre, 11/13/2015 at 8:02 pm

"Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians.

The term was first used in 1989 by a team of American analysts, including William S. Lind,[citation needed] to describe warfare's return to a decentralized form. In terms of generational modern warfare, the fourth generation signifies the nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces , returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times." ~ Wikipedia

Ironically, much of it is and will be the result of the nation states' monopolies on violence enacted.

[Nov 29, 2015] Top U.S. Air Defense Commander Turkey's Shootdown of Russian Jet "Had to Be PRE-PLANNED"

See also Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria
Notable quotes:
"... Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't ..."
"... As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkeys version of events, it does not appear that there was any necessity for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet. ..."
"... From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here. ..."
Zero Hedge
In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls "bear penetrations") than anyone else in the world.

So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet.

Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn't threatening Turkey, and that Turkey's shoot down of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned", as the jet wasn't in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

McInerney is right … especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

... ... ...

International law expert Francis Boyle - Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 – said by email:

The Russian bombing of Syria is technically legal because they have the explicit permission of the Syrian government, but of course Putin will ultimately act in accord with his interests, not what is best for the Syrian people.

***

As the International Court of Justice ruled in the seminal Nicaragua case (1986), any use of force even in alleged self-defense must also fulfill the basic customary international law requirements of (1) necessity and (2) proportionality. Even accepting the government of Turkey's version of events, it does not appear that there was any "necessity" for Turkey to destroy the Russian jet.

Washington's Blog asked Boyle whether this is analogous to the "use of force" by someone with a gun who claims he was threatened by someone else. He answered affirmatively, explaining:

Necessity and Proportionality are each separate requirements for the use of force in self-defense.

From another [International Court of Justice] case, the basic test for "necessity" is that the necessity of self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. Clearly, that was not the case here.

[Nov 28, 2015] Russias Intervention in Syria and What Washington Should Do

Standard neocon drivel... Standard Republican hawk mentality (he is a junior senator from Arkansas). The only interesting detail is that this guy was both in 1977.
Notable quotes:
"... In Syria, Putin professes that he wants to fight ISIS, but this is mere posturing. Even with new Russian strikes on ISIS-controlled areas in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks and the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, Russian forces have trained the large majority of its bombs on coalition-backed opposition fighters. Putin has also explicitly stated that he wants to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which directly contrasts with stated U.S. policy. Turkey, a NATO ally, has suffered repeated violations of its airspace as Russia pursues its offensive against Syrian opposition forces. ..."
"... Putin is very consciously challenging the United States and the U.S.-led international order, and is now waging a proxy war against it. It is well past time for the West to recognize his challenge, rise up to it, and move to win the proxy war ..."
Nov 28, 2015 | Foreign Affairs
he attacks by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Paris have forced a major rethinking of U.S. strategy in the Syrian conflict. A part of that rethinking must be U.S. President Barack Obama's unwise decision to treat Russia as a legitimate partner in negotiations over Syria's future.

At the G-20 meeting in Turkey this week, Russia quickly offered itself as a key partner in the fight against ISIS and the stabilization of Syria, and Obama again expressed his willingness to entertain that notion.

This is a grave mistake. Rather than being a constructive partner, President Vladimir Putin's Russia has been engaged in a proxy war against the United States in Syria, despite Obama's protestations to the contrary. And when an enemy wages war against the United States, it does not get to choose whether it is at war; its only choice is to win or lose. Right now, the United States is losing the proxy war in Syria-and a wider competition for regional influence-against Russia. And it will continue to do so without a dramatic shift in policy to confront Russian aggression.

A PROXY WAR AND THE WIDER STRUGGLE

In Syria, Putin professes that he wants to fight ISIS, but this is mere posturing. Even with new Russian strikes on ISIS-controlled areas in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks and the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, Russian forces have trained the large majority of its bombs on coalition-backed opposition fighters. Putin has also explicitly stated that he wants to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which directly contrasts with stated U.S. policy. Turkey, a NATO ally, has suffered repeated violations of its airspace as Russia pursues its offensive against Syrian opposition forces.

Russia is engaged in a shooting war against the United States' clients to undermine U.S. policy. If that's not a proxy war, what is?

But this proxy war is only the most recent and dramatic front in a wider competition between the United States and Russia. Ukrainians overthrew former President Viktor Yushchenko, who was aligned with Putin, in 2013 and sought to reorient their country toward the West. In short order, Russia invaded Crimea-which it still illegally occupies-and fomented the ongoing civil war in the Donbass. Likewise, Russia illegally occupies the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in Georgia, one of the most pro-Western countries in Eastern Europe. In fact, Russia has continued to seize more Georgian territory in recent months.

Russia also continues a campaign of provocations against NATO allies in northern and Eastern Europe, threatening their air and naval boundaries and putting civil aviation at risk. Meanwhile, Central and Eastern European countries-who suffered under Soviet domination-report that Russian propaganda in traditional and social media has become pervasive.

Russia has become so emboldened that it does not even demur from direct provocations against the United States. Last month, Russian ships and submarines operated near U.S. undersea data cables and Russian bombers buzzed the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, forcing it to scramble for fighters. And last week, it was revealed by Russian media-perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not-that the Russian military is developing an unmanned underwater vehicle capable of carrying nuclear payloads that is invulnerable to interception. A nuclear attack on U.S. port cities is the only reasonable rationale for such a weapon.

... ... ...

Finally, assertive diplomacy must be a part of U.S. policy toward Russia. The Department of State should create a new "country-at-risk" designation that would entitle nations under threat from external destabilization to a basket of U.S. and NATO assistance programs, including the intelligence assistance described above. This basket of assistance could also include programs aimed at helping these nations diversify their industrial bases and their sources of energy to be less dependent on trade with Russia. The overall effect of the new designation would signal increased commitment from the United States, and indicate to Putin that any escalation by Russia would automatically invite greater Western engagement.

The United States should also energize its public diplomacy and information strategies. It could take the lead in funding translation services to make Western media available in Russia. The United States needn't create content. Unlike in Russia, robust debate and diverse viewpoints already exist in U.S. media. The United States simply needs to ensure that this content is disseminated widely in Russia and Eastern Europe to provide a counter-narrative to Russian-controlled media and an example to the Russian people of what free media looks like.

... ... ...

Putin is very consciously challenging the United States and the U.S.-led international order, and is now waging a proxy war against it. It is well past time for the West to recognize his challenge, rise up to it, and move to win the proxy war. Otherwise, Washington may find itself in a genuine war against a nuclear peer

Tom Cotton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Bryant "Tom" Cotton[1] (born May 13, 1977) is an American politician who is the junior United States Senator from Arkansas. A member of the Republican Party, Cotton has been serving in the Senate since January 3, 2015.

[Nov 28, 2015] An Invisible US Hand Leading to War Turkey's Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

www.counterpunch.org

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let's start with one almost certain assumption - an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey's action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey's vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

... ... ...

Russia - knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region - could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

... ... ...


It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Nov 28, 2015] Violence Erupts In Turkey After Prominent Lawyer Is Assassinated On Live TV

Notable quotes:
"... While Erdogan is indeed a nasty piece of work, it does seem like someone IS trying to topple him and destablize Turkey. As a vassal, he doesnt quite know his place and had actually contemplate joining the East as shown by Blue Stream and negotiations to purchase Chinese Red Flag missile system. ..."
"... Quite possilbly being encoraged to shoot down the Russian fighter and led to believe NATO would back him up. Once relationship with Russia is being torn and completely isolated in teh world by having his relationship with ISIS exposed, Turkey is ready for destablisation and eventual carved-up. Its no wonder the western press has only good things to say about the Kurds. ..."
"... Reminds me of Iraq/Kuwait. ..."
"... The only regional power counter to Iran on the ground is Turkey, so now you will see that place put through the wringer as well. Population is around 75 million, so its heavy density, old culture, access to NATO and western security interests and all the other trappings compel Turkey to fill the vacuum to be created in Syria. ..."
"... The arrival of the Russians in Syria seems to have awoken NATO. NATO has started its response to Russia and will penalize it for the support for the Assad government. ..."
"... We know that Turknam commander Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province. He is a member of the Grey Wolves. ..."
"... We know that use of the BGM-71 TOW missiles – which cost $50,000 a piece – is up over 850% in October with the American-made weapons responsible for the destruction of scores of Syrian army tanks. These are being passed through Turkey. ..."
"... They dont share our values Maybe not your values but certainly Washingtons values ..."
"... the bigger question is why is there even a NATO at all? The big bad Soviet Union Warsaw Pact are long gone. Truth is NATO now is the Atlanticists + some puppet regimes in eastern Europe/Turkey. ..."
"... It is obvious the west is trying to stretch Russia via Ukraine and Syria and now Turkey; the further you stretch an any, the more difficult it is to focus on the bigger picture. China better step up to the Russian plate and soon if anyone expects to reign in the NATO terrorists. ..."
"... Seems like everything in the Middle East is going tribal, sectarian, and vigilante. Bad day for established government and power for the people in a general sense ..."
Zero Hedge
Dame Ednas Possum

I read the UK's weekend FT (Financial Times) over lunch. There was no mention whatsoever of the Russian bomber being shot down several days ago.

This paper supposedly prides itself on objective analysis of important events.

Not one single mention of this blatant, premeditated act of war.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot?

No mention of Turkey's active support of Isis.

No mention of the oil sales or the arms supplies.

The mainstream media is complicit in the crimes.

Pathetic, piece of shit shill presstitutes.

trader1

Dame,

Last updated: November 24, 2015 6:44 pm
Turkey shoots down Russian fighter jet on Syrian border
FT reporters

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d2b1abb0-9287-11e5-94e6-c5413829caa5.html

Optimusprime

And I have friends--staunch "progressives"--who think reading FT and The Economist (both Rothschild organs) somehow keeps one realistically abreast of the news.

Killdo

you are right - FT is pathetic - I stopped reading it about 6 months ago after many years. Even their best books of they year section is not that good any more.

I've noticed the Guardian is pretty anti-Russian (but comments are almost like ZH)

fleur de lis

Ergodan is giving us a real time profile of the typical violent psychopath dragging entire nations into a ditch. It is rare that they spin out of control in public so badly. The Matrix must be furious. He wrecked their little scheme and gave the Russians the upper hand.

Psychopaths are everywhere at the helms of power, destroying entire social structures, looting resources, triggering wars and leaving a trail of bloodshed to keep the NWO in control.

But these things must be done quietly. The target populations must not be alerted that they are being terrorized and robbed. They might catch on and revolt.

That is why NATO is so angry with him -- they don't care about the Russian jet or the murders of the pilot and the marine. It's just that Ergodan made such an absolute mess of it. Maybe it was being planned along those lines anyway but he got out in front and did things his way, thus overplaying his hand and NATO's.

By becoming the biggest loose cannon on Earth he has attracted the negative attention of his handlers. He will be reprimanded in no uncertain terms.

Fractal Parasite

Well, the Erdogan regime has scored so many own goals lately, it's hard not to imagine that he is being purposefully chucked under the bus.

rwe2late

A familiar road travelled often. Erdogan strives to retain power by a crackdown on domestic dissent coupled with expansionist war abroad.

Major US news media champion for Turk-run "safe zone" inside Syria. Turk troops as well as operatives have already invaded Syria.

Turk media has proclaimed: "Aleppo to become the 82nd province of Turkey"

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/09/18775960.php

US about to back escalated Turk invasion/annexation of Northern Syria??

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-turkey-edging-up-to-syrian-border-pretex...

To Hell In A Handbasket

Turkey invented the DEEP STATE. Everything is fucked and our generation will be officially be viewed as fucking USELESS, as it was on our watch that tyranny and plutocracy made a come back. How many good men and women around the world have died standing up to political bullying and the plebs have stood by and did nothing?

Cindy6

While Erdogan is indeed a nasty piece of work, it does seem like someone IS trying to topple him and destablize Turkey. As a vassal, he doesn't quite know his place and had actually contemplate joining the East as shown by Blue Stream and negotiations to purchase Chinese Red Flag missile system.

Quite possilbly being encoraged to shoot down the Russian fighter and led to believe NATO would back him up. Once relationship with Russia is being torn and completely isolated in teh world by having his relationship with ISIS exposed, Turkey is ready for destablisation and eventual carved-up. It's no wonder the western press has only good things to say about the Kurds.

Reminds me of Iraq/Kuwait.

If he has any brain cell left, he should immediately patch up relationship with Russia and China. Else he's toast and Eurasia having another failed state.

Parrotile

Well, it seems that Erdogan may NOT have any functioning brain cells left - russia-turkey-war-of-words-escalates.

So we have:

  1. Shootdown of Russian aircraft in Syrian airspace;
  2. "Pretence" that the aircraft "violated" Turkish airspace for a few seconds (this is the same Turkey that regards 2000 violations of Greek airspace to be perfectly OK;
  3. Support of oil smuggling – let's be honest, oil THEFT, by a known terrorist group (and we know who is a direct beneficiary from this trade – "Keep it in the Family".)

This being an Aussie MSM publication, notice that none of the above points have been mentioned even in passing. Got to keep feeding the masses "Government Approved" information, lest that might have ideas of their own . . . .

Linoleum Blownapart

In my mind, there's a difference between an ongoing feud with tension and jabs, vs. an all-out fist fight to the death.

Events so far have been isolated enough that diplomats can still sit around the table and talk. Personally, I'm not calling WW3 until U.S. and Russia have severed diplomatic relations, which they haven't at all:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/16/g20-barack-obama-and-vladim...

bankonzhongguo

The only regional power counter to Iran on the ground is Turkey, so now you will see that place put through the wringer as well. Population is around 75 million, so its heavy density, old culture, access to NATO and western security interests and all the other trappings compel Turkey to fill the vacuum to be created in Syria.

That's a tall order to fill, but one easily paid for using the same model in Saudi and Egypt over the decades.

Good time to be in the black markets in Turkey witness all the refugees in the pipeline to Berlin and Washington.

Not sure of what kind of Alevi-Sufi capacity Quds has in the east, but given how the Sons of Noah operate in Chechnya who knows what the future holds.

atthelake

www.kingworldnews.com has some good tapes, including Paul Craig Roberts on Russia and Turkey.

SgtShaftoe

Agreed, I just got done listening to the PCR piece about an hour ago. It was very good analysis.

Ms No

People will start disappearing in mass and they will find them 15 years down the road in mass graves. This is a pattern which is constant throughout history any time there is a military dicatorship or tyranny of whatever variety... and yes they will likely be tortured. This is right out of the CIAs South America playbook. Same MO every time with only slight variations.

Moccasin

Things are moving quickly, what's next is what's important. Each criminal act inside a NATO country is used by NATO to its advantage in the escalation of war in Syria. With emphasis on Turkey where its most recent criminal activities appear premeditated. NATO is rushing to war in Syria after the recent criminal act in Paris. The arrival of the Russians in Syria seems to have awoken NATO. NATO has started its response to Russia and will penalize it for the support for the Assad government.

The criminal act in Turkey, the assassination of a "Prominent Kurdish Lawyer" is just another move that will be used to justify more war. The slippery slope of war is getting steep. I will expect Turkish ground troops to arrive in Syria soon to create a 'buffer zone' and that slice of dirt will be the ground where the Turks will put the Kurds backs to the wall again. What's next is what is important. War Pigs!

flapdoodle

I suspect the problem for Turkey invading Syria is that Putin told Erdogan that anything that crosses into Syrian territory near Latakia will have the shit bombed out of it.

The US and NATO is trying desperatly to put in ground troops (hence the Paris false flag to try to get the French (NATO) in, but I still think Turkey (also NATO) is reluctant to do this openly), and they may succeed in getting troops into Eastern Syria, but Putin, with SAA, Quds, and Hezbullah, has the advantage in Western Syria and will make a move there very difficult for NATO. If Western Syria was a crucial part of the Zionazi gameplan, they better come up with something else quick. Putin has reached the high ground first.

The fact that Turkey has grounded their flights into Syria is telling. They don't know what the fuck to do.

Its quite possible that Putin maneuvered the Turks into downing the Su-24. or at least set up the environment propitious to its occurring - unfortunately for Turkey.

Putin really knows his judo and used his opponents own move against him. The S-400 timing was just right, and the downing gave Russians the perfect excuse to smash the hell out of the Turkey/Syria border.

Whatever happened to Turkey's vaunted 5mi exclusion zone at the border??? Its gone, baby, gone...

GreatUncle

Think most people know what Erdogan is about ...

Cynically the US pipes up condemming the killing but support Erdogan. US foreign policy is a fucking shambles ain't that the truth. So once again Turkey shows it should never be allowed to join the EU because it does not support human rights.

2 pillars of the EU are already crumbling, the euro and the schengen agreement, then allowing Turkey into the EU club you just dismantled a 3rd pillar and the EHCR.

So which supporting pillar of the EU crumbles next then ? Or alternatively you might want to consider the Lisbon Treaty a worthless piece of paper.

debtor of last ...

So the gas pipeline from Quatar stops at the Syrian-Turkish border. For now.

Dutch Geert Wilders (our Marine le Pen) called Erdogan a madman, about 3 years back. But he's raciss of course....

green dragon

We know that Turknam commander Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province. He is a member of the Grey Wolves.

We know that use of the BGM-71 TOW missiles – which cost $50,000 a piece – is up over 850% in October with the American-made weapons responsible for the destruction of scores of Syrian army tanks. These are being passed through Turkey.

We know that Turkey has focused their bombing efforts on Kurdish sites.

We know that so called nice Terrorists supported by Turkey seized Kurds from buses travelling from the town of Afrin to the city of Aleppo.

We know that Erdogan's government is planned to place reporters who exposed weapons in Aid shipments from Turkey in jail.

We know much but do nothing!

I-am-not-one-of-them

they won't denounce their own foreign policy, they want that policy to succeed

you seem to think criminals should have a concience or morals

smacker

Westerners should boycott all travel and tourism to Turkey. Too much civil unrest, cold blooded street assassinations, riots, police violence etc. "Turkey has become a terrorist country and is unsafe"

Dark Daze

Why are the Turks in NATO? They don't deserve to be. They don't share our values, our traditions, our religion or our style of government. They are nothing more than evil, back stabbing, slimey bags of Sunni shit, and always have been. And now that Erdogan is becoming a dictator things are only going to get worse. I would not support my government sending one soldier, one plane or one ship to defend those animals. Let the Russians have at them I say.

Omen IV -> Dark Daze

"They don't share our values" Maybe not your values but certainly Washington's values

ross81 -> Dark Daze

the bigger question is why is there even a NATO at all? The "big bad" Soviet Union & Warsaw Pact are long gone. Truth is NATO now is the Atlanticists + some puppet regimes in eastern Europe/Turkey. They want the entire Middle East and wont tolerate a Russian or BRICS influence there at all. Good to see though that the Shiite Bloc are tired of all this fucking chaos & mayhem and are joining the Russian side.

Joe Plane

The Warsaw pact was created after NATO and as a counter act.

Don't know how many people know this but in 1954 the USSR, Belorussia and Ukraine (the latter two being seperate members of the UN) applied for membership in NATO. And were rejected.

Crocodile

It is obvious the west is trying to stretch Russia via Ukraine and Syria and now Turkey; the further you stretch an any, the more difficult it is to focus on the bigger picture. China better step up to the Russian plate and soon if anyone expects to reign in the NATO terrorists.

... ... ...

farflungstar

Kurdistan is being groomed to be israel's latest manufactured ally in the region - they've been stroking the Kurds for quite some time.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article189385.html

I wonder just how willing Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey (nations with significant Kurdish pops.) are going to be to cede territory to what will be an israeli ally - a little? not too much? not at all?

Eventually they may have no choice.

nah

Seems like everything in the Middle East is going tribal, sectarian, and vigilante. Bad day for established government and power for the people in a general sense


[Nov 28, 2015] Remaking the Middle East: How the US Grew Tired and Less Relevant

Notable quotes:
"... In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology , according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times . Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths? ..."
"... comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently. ..."
"... In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion. ..."
"... In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era. ..."
"... The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. ..."
"... The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956. ..."
"... It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold. ..."
November 14, 2015 | original.antiwar.com
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is often perceived as one of the "good ones" – the less hawkish of top American officials, who does not simply promote and defend his country's military adventurism but reaches out to others, beyond polarizing rhetoric.

His unremitting efforts culminated partly in the Iran nuclear framework agreement in April, followed by a final deal, a few months later. Now, he is reportedly hard at work again to find some sort of consensus on a way out of the Syria war, a multi-party conflict that has killed over 300,000 people. His admirers see him as the diplomatic executor of a malleable and friendly US foreign policy agenda under President Obama.

In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology, according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times. Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths?

If one is to fairly examine US foreign policies in the Middle East, for example, comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently.

In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion.

Obama has even gone a step further when he recently decided to keep thousands of US troops in Afghanistan well into 2017, thus breaking US commitment to withdraw next year. 2017 is Obama's last year in office, and the decision is partly motivated by his administration's concern that future turmoil in that country could cost his Democratic Party heavily in the upcoming presidential elections.

In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era.

Nevertheless, much has changed as well, simply because American ambitions to police the world, politics and the excess of $600 billion a year US defense budget are not the only variables that control events in the Middle East and everywhere else. There are other undercurrents that cannot be wished away, and they too can dictate US foreign policy outlooks and behavior.

Indeed, an American decline has been noted for many years, and Middle Eastern nations have been more aware of this decline than others. One could even argue that the W. Bush administration's rush for war in Iraq in 2003 in an attempt at controlling the region's resources, was a belated effort at staving off that unmistakable decay – whether in US ability to regulate rising global contenders or in its overall share of global economy.

The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. That misconception carries on to this day, where military spending is already accounting for about 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, itself nearly a third of the country's overall budget.

However, those who are blaming Obama for failing to leverage US military strength for political currency refuse to accept that Obama's behavior hardly reflects a lack of appetite for war, but a pragmatic response to a situation that has largely spun out of US control.

The so-called "Arab Spring", for example, was a major defining factor in the changes of US fortunes. And it all came at a particularly interesting time.

First, the Iraq war has destroyed whatever little credibility the US had in the region, a sentiment that also reverberated around the world.

Second, it was becoming clear that the US foreign policy in Central and South America – an obstinate continuation of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which laid the groundwork for US domination of that region – has also been challenged by more assertive leaders, armed with democratic initiatives, not military coups.

Third, China's more forceful politics, at least around its immediate regional surroundings, signaled that the US traditional hegemony over most of East and South East Asia are also facing fierce competition.

Not only many Asian and other countries have flocked to China, lured by its constantly growing and seemingly more solid economic performance, if compared to the US, but others are also flocking to Russia, which is filling a political and, as of late, military vacuum left open.

The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956.

The region's historians must fully understand the repercussions of all of these factors, and that simply analyzing the US decline based on the performance of individuals – Condoleezza Rice's hawkishness vs. John Kerry's supposed sane diplomacy – is a trivial approach to understanding current shifts in global powers.

It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold.

For now, the Middle East will continue to pass through this incredibly difficult and violent transition, for which the US is partly responsible.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press).

[Nov 28, 2015] Turkey's Erdogan Expresses Regret Over Russian Plane Downing

He already flip-flopped his reaction on staged by his government ambush several times. This is probably not the last.
www.huffingtonpost.com

Turkey (AP) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the incident and wished it hadn't occurred.

It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday's incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey's airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

"We are truly saddened by this incident," Erdogan said. "We wish it hadn't happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn't occur again."

Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Erdogan said neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to "saddening consequences."

He renewed a call for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.

[Nov 28, 2015] ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal Raqqas Rockefellers, Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection

Notable quotes:
"... "All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well. ..."
"... "First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price. ..."
"... According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only once or twice because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries - where the oil gains a semi-legitimate status - for $30 to $35 a barrel. ..."
"... The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally, added the European oil official. ..."
"... Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel, said the industry official. ..."
Zero Hedge
One person who definitely thinks the Erdogans are trafficking in ISIS oil is Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi who said the following on Friday:

"All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company's nerves. They're importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts as well."

And then there's Iraq's former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie who posted the following to his Facebook page on Saturday:

"First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price."

Meanwhile, the US is preparing for an all-out ISIS oil propaganda war. As WSJ reported on Wednesday, "the Treasury [has] accused a Syrian-born businessman, George Haswani, who his a dual Syrian-Russian citizen, of using his firm, HESCO Engineering and Construction Co., for facilitating oil trades between the Assad regime and Islamic State." Why Assad would buy oil from a group that uses the cash at its disposal to wage war against Damascus is an open question especially when one considers that Assad's closest allies (Russia and Iran) are major oil producers. Of course between all the shady middlemen and double dealing, there's really no telling.

Ultimately we'll probably never know the whole story, but what we do know (and again, most of the evidence is either circumstantial, anecdotal, of largely qualitative) seems to suggest that in addition to providing guns and money to the FSA and al-Nusra, Turkey may well be responsible for facilitating Islamic State's $400+ million per year oil enterprise. And as for end customers, consider the following bit from Al-Araby al-Jadeed:

According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only "once or twice" because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries - where the oil "gains a semi-legitimate status" - for $30 to $35 a barrel.

"The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally," added the European oil official.

"Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel," said the industry official.

Finally, you'll note that this is all an effort to answer what we called "the most important question about ISIS that no one is asking" - namely, "who are the middlemen?" As we noted more than a week ago, "we do know who they may be: the same names that were quite prominent in the market in September when Glencore had its first, and certainly not last, near death experience: the Glencores, the Vitols, the Trafiguras, the Nobels, the Mercurias of the world." Consider that, and consider what Reuters says about the trade in illicit KRG oil: "Market sources have said several trading houses including Trafigura and Vitol have dealt with Kurdish oil. Both Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment on their role in oil sales."

Similarly, FT notes that "both Vitol and Trafigura had paid the KRG in advance for the oil, under so-called 'pre-pay' deals, helping Erbil to bridge its budget gaps."

Indeed, when Kurdistan went looking for an advisor to assist in the effort to circumvent Baghdad, the KRG chose "Murtaza Lakhani, who worked for Glencore in Iraq in the 2000s, to assist finding ships."

"He knew exactly who would and who wouldn't deal with us. He opened the doors to us and identified willing shipping companies to work with us," Ashti Hawrami (quoted above) said.

Indeed. And given everything said above about the commingling of illegal KRG crude and illicit ISIS oil shipments, it's probably a foregone conclusion that these same firms are assisting in transport arrangements for Islamic State

Noplebian

Interesting, but not surprising......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

Occident Mortal

Outstanding work. And Raqqafellers will stick.

I pointed to these assholes yesterday...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-27/how-turkey-exports-isis-oil-wor...

quintago

Right after 9/11, the Israelis swept in and starting building links with the Kurds. Google it. They are using the Kurds as a destabilizer and as a source for oil. Ashkelon and Haifa moving oil to europe is their grand dream.

BuddyEffed

If there has been ship to ship transfers I bet someone, and maybe several recon capable countries have spy photos. That could be part of the over the top game here. Let's bargain or we will release photos.

BuddyEffed

This just in : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/erdogan-russian-plane-downing_5659bd...
Erdogan expressing regrets for the downed plane. Also probably regretting ZH analysis.

I'm guessing the photos of the ship to ship transfers won't be released at this time.

jefferson32

Once again Meyssan's analysis proves extremely accurate. In July 2014, he writes:

On June 20, Israel bought the oil that the local Kurdish government had stolen in Kirkuk despite the international opinion voiced by the Iraqi federal government. The transit of the oil had been facilitated by the ISIL which controls the pipeline and Turkey which allowed the goods to be loaded onto a tanker at the port of Ceyhan.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article184669.html

jefferson32

To understand how Turkey can, on one hand, cooperate with the Kurds in northern Irak - and enable their oil commerce - and, on the other hand, be fighting Kurds in Syria (and Turkey itself), it is important to realize these two populations, although both ethnically kurdish, have little in common.

For starters, they don't speak the same language, and killed each other throughout the Cold War.

Nowadays, the Iraki Kurds are pro-West and lead by Barzani (admitedly a Mossad agent put in place by the Americans and British). The Syrian Kurds are aligned with Iran and Russia.

Thierry Meyssan's exposé is much better than mine:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article189385.html

Paveway IV

Half of all Turks live under the poverty line. A quarter of those live underneath the starvation line = eat from dumpsters. Erdogan and his crime family live in a three-quarters of a billion dollar palace.

The Kurds have it worse, from Be Very Worried About Barzani Family Power Struggle

"...Masud Barzani is president and lives in a palace complex in a resort inherited from Saddam Hussein. His nephew, Nechirvan Barzani, is prime minister. His uncle, Hoshyar Zebari, was Iraq's foreign minister and is now finance minister. Masud's eldest son, Masrour Barzani, leads the intelligence service; and his second son Mansour is a general, as is Masud's brother Wajy. Barzani's nephew Sirwan owns the regional cell phone company which, while purchased with public money, remains a private holding. Barzani's sons are frequently in Washington D.C. They have their wives give birth in Sibley Hospital in order to ensure the next generation has American citizenship, and Masrour Barzani acquired an $11 million mansion in McLean, Virginia. Hanging out in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, some of Masoud Barzani's daughters-in-law have, according to Kurdish circles, been known to introduce themselves as "Princesses of Kurdistan" as they visit high-end shops accompanied by their own rather unnecessary (while in the United States) security details..."

Kurds hate Barzani - he's in power because Israel and the U.S. back him. Time to strip the Barzani babies of their U.S. citizenship and bar their entire clan from ever setting foot on U.S. soil for the rest of their lives.

Everything the U.S. touches turns to shit. Every country we have anything to do with is ruled by psychopathic, money-grubbing gangsters. Every country we "freedomize and liberate" ends up knee-deep in the blood of their own citizens while the wars have turned out to be neocon chickenhawks grudge against a leader they don't like.

When Syria and Iraq have been sufficiently destroyed, U.S. and U.K. oil companies will own the oil and gas production destined for the EU or Israel. The U.S. will continue to turn a blind eye to the tin-pot dictators they have empowered and made profanely rich while their 'little people' eat out of garbage cans. If those peons rise up to kick the dictator's asses (Erdogan, Barzani, and whoever is in charge if the Iraqi hell-hole of death), then we will be there with weapons, armor, aircraft and troops to kill those dumpster-diving terrorists.

If we don't like the Saddam Husseins or Bashar al-Assads of the world, WHY THE FUCK DO WE KEEP MAKING MORE OF THEM?


Paveway IV

The Tylers do a good job of showing the trail of breadcrumbs in these oil operations. If you need a PowerPoint deck and streaming video of Israeli brokers negotiating legally-questionable and terrorist-supporting stolen oil purchases and scans of bill-of-sales from ISIS from Erdogan's son, then you're probably on the wrong site.

There are plenty of accounts of Israel buying Kurdish oil directly, or acting as a middleman for EU sales. Any Israeli brokers can legally claim ignorance of the source of the oil, but everyone involved knows exactly where some it comes from and why it's so cheap. The legality of ANY Kurdish oil sales are still in legal limbo - the U.S. courts won't permit its import. The fact that a substantial quantitiy of Kurdish (or Turkish terminal spot sales of 'Kurdish') oil is in fact ISIS oil stolen in Syria and Iraq really isn't a secret to anybody. To show what is (or should be) obvious to a reasonably intelligent person is not the same thing as concrete proof with a documented legal trail. Israel probably regrets the ISIS connection, but ISIS won't be around forever. Israel plans on buying oil from the Kurds for a long, LONG time, so I don't expect them to ask too many questions now.

We're talking a few Israeli brokers and refinery buyers, not ten million Israelis conspiring to buy and sell ISIS oil. If it wasn't Israeli oil dealers, it would be someone else.

Urban Redneck

It's not tenuous, it's politely phrased, but there are actually a lot more people and institutions involved. The physical oil trade is a black art, and all the practitioners know each other, and as many times as a title to cargo may trade hands at sea, ONE party is responsible for legitimizing black market product (after which it can be traded more freely). Unfortunately, the simplest and least bloody solution is unlikely at this point, international sanctions on Turkey and an embargo on all oil from Ceyhan not originating from the Baku pipeline.

Lurk Skywatcher

Why Assad would buy oil from a group that uses the cash at its disposal to wage war against Damascus is an open question especially when one considers that Assad's closest allies (Russia and Iran) are major oil producers.

Only an open question for trolls and dullards. Syria has lost a lot of its oil infrastructure, and it needs oil to operate. The Assad government probably isn't buying directly, but unscrupulous middlemen will try to make a profit no matter what their nationality.

Watch how the MSM will pump the US version, and ignore the Russian version, of who benefits from ISIS oil sales... it fits their agenda like a glove.

Kayman

Perversely Obama was correct in saying ISIS is the JV team. A small cog in a very illegal, immoral but lucrative trade in stolen oil. A lot of dirty money to pass around, deposit in Swiss bank accounts in Potus' name, or members of the family, Congress vendors, etc.

If the U.S. and Nato wanted to- they could strangle the neck of the ISIS chicken by cutting off all oil going through Turkey and all newbie ISIS recuits and arms heading back into Raqqa.

But there is too much dirty money being made by the real players in the game. Can't have a peace settlement with dirty hands in the game. I now wonder if the ISIS internet recruitment videos are being made in Turkey, Israel or Hollywood.

Neochrome

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b8234932-719b-11e5-ad6d-f4ed76f0900a.html#axzz...

According to this it is Syrian REBELS who are dependent on ISIS oil, it would also partially explain why is US unhappy with turn of events. It is safe to say that the line between ISIS and "rebels" is practically non-existent:

"It's a situation that makes you laugh and cry," said one Syrian rebel commander in Aleppo, who buys diesel from Isis areas even as his forces fight the group on the front lines. "But we have no other choice, and we are a poor man's revolution. Is anyone else offering to give us fuel?"

Indeed, diesel and petrol produced in Isis areas are not only consumed in territory the group controls but in areas that are technically at war with it, such as Syria's rebel-held north: the region is dependent on the jihadis' fuel for its survival.

"At any moment, the diesel can be cut. No diesel - Isis knows our life is completely dead," says one oil trader who comes from rebel-held Aleppo each week to buy fuel and spoke to the Financial Times by telephone.

Palladin

According to this article the US destroyed 116 oil trucks, and the Russians destroyed another 500. I don't know how many barrels of oil that is but that has to make a real mess with all that oil leaking all over the place.

Where are all the Envrionmentlists wringing their Dawn covered hands over all of this. Probably no Seagulls were harmed, but still somebody has to clean up the mess.

And it seems to me the MSM should be paying more attention to this "Envrrionmental Disaster" like they love to do whenever an offshore oil rig spills any amount of oil.

Kayman

Palladin

Obama couldn't risk killing "innocent" truck drivers- a direct acknowledgement that everyone but the public knew Turkey was the oil conduit. Now you are offering him the opportunity to stop incinerating the trucks for environmental reasons- you ought to be on Obama's staff.

I-am-not-one-of-them's picture

the US used Russian footage of destroying 116 oil trucks as proof. I doubt they did, it's their mercenaries and their operation

that's why nothing happened in the 2 years they pretended to destroy ISIS and Russia has immediate success, one is genuine and the other is fake

harleyjohn45

This article says 1300 transports have been destroyed. I read an article that ISIS is using smaller trucks as tankers now, instead of 36,000 liters to 9000 liters per load. Soon they will be carrying oil in 5 gallon buckets.

Noplebian

This just about sums up the whole ISIS situation......

http://beforeitsnews.com/global-unrest/2015/11/cowardly-isiss-terrorist-...

Perfecthedge

This is outstanding, investigative journalism. Not the trash that we get from CNN, Fox and the BBC.

I just checked Trafigura.com and whenever I see a corporation talking about "ethics and transparency" (on their home page). I get suspicious. I am sure KPMG or whatever hooker-accounting firm is auditing this firm, is doing a fine job.

On another side note, Paypal thinks I am a terrorist and money-laundering criminal, because I wanted to transfer 20 Euros from my Bank account to my Paypal, to buy swimwear on Ebay.

FUCK THEM. FUCK THEM HARD IN THE ASSHOLE.

Herdee

Americans need to look at the world through different perspectives.Use alternative media and open up your minds:

http://russia-insider.com/en

Teh Finn

Russian media claims the men are "ISIS leaders who it is [thought] participated in massacres in Syria's Homs and Rojava, the Kurdish name for Syrian Kurdistan or Western Kurdistan."

How do you say "Chris Matthews" in Rus?

PoasterToaster

The other unasked question is, "After they trade the oil for money, who the hell is selling them all the weaponry?".

smacker

"[...] the trucks that haul oil north just might have, maybe, a teensy-weensy, tiny, itsy-bitsy chance of carrying weapons back from Turkey."

I think you're right. Recall that convoy Russian jets bombed yesterday which ended up in flames.

Erdogan bellyached about it in a press interview claiming it was "humanitarian aid" (ho-ho). Too bad. Video pix showed the trucks had crates of shells and other weaponry. Some of the shells appeared to have Ukraine/Cyrillic markings on them.

green dragon

Veterens Today makes a case that

[Turkey did this all during the Bush era, having cut a deal with US "manager" Paul Bremmer, a deal VT insiders helped manage for Bremmer and that I was witness to personally.

The game involved playing Baghdad against Erbil and bleeding off oil revenues from the Kirkuk Oil Fields, largest oil reserves in the world, as they moved by pipeline through Kurdistan and into Turkey. There they were offloaded onto American tankers in the Mediterranean where these huge ships, largest in the world, were filled with oil but it was never recorded and the oil never paid for.

Turkey got their cut, certain Turkish naval officers became fabulously wealthy while the Bush cabal poured billions into their Cayman offshore accounts managed by Bain Capital.]

[Nov 28, 2015] John Helmer The Classic Rules for Combatting Turkish Aggression

Even if it was some forces not controlled by Erdogan committed this ambush, his reaction was a typical reaction of ultranationalist, panturkist. All this talk about out turkish brothers is just a smoke screen for territorial and regional ambitions of Erdogan government. He is becoming kind of Saudi Arabia Nop.1 but without oil. and that spell trobles for the edonomy and his regime.
Notable quotes:
"... To me Erdogan and his government more and more look like members of Grey Wolf organization, a copycat of Ukrainian Svoboda with the same level of ultra-nationalism and neofascism in their brains. ..."
"... Has anyone considered the possibility this was not Erdogan's decision – perhaps his son's oil partners in ISIS had the right connections in the Turkish military, or suppose Uncle Sam just directed Erdogan to ratchet it up or watch his career dissolved by that same military, or maybe something worse, for males. ..."
"... It's not like going after Syria was Erdogan's idea – he'd had good relations with Assad for years ..."
naked capitalism
... Igor Sechin, the former deputy to President Vladimir Putin, was a leading advocate of forgetting Russia's historical lessons for dealing with the Turks, and disdaining to learn new ones. Putin was reluctant to learn them until yesterday.

Here they are:

1. Turkey never makes a military move without getting Pentagon approval first. In order for yesterday's shoot-down of the Su-24 to take place as it did, a battery of signals intelligence and other electronic warfare means would have been deployed by a joint US-Turkish command unit, giving the Turkish F-16 pilot confidence he was taking the Russian pilot unprepared. It was not, as the Turkish Government has announced, "an automatic response to our airspace being violated" because the airspace was Syrian, unilaterally claimed by the Turks to be their "exclusion zone". Neither was it, as Putin has announced, a "stab in the back" from the Turks. Nor was it, as Putin added, "despite the agreement we have signed with our American partners to prevent air incidents". What happened was full frontal – it was because of the agreement the Turks have with the US military command. Nor can Putin have been genuinely surprised that "instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident." Had Putin said he suspected that Turkey turned to "its NATO partners" before the "incident", he would have been closer to the truth.

2. Aggression by Turkey and the US can be defeated by a smaller force, but it must be in constant readiness, employing every form of early warning and disguising its force by surprise. Putin has said the Russian Su-24 was struck by a missile fired by a Turkish F-16 when the Russian aircraft was one kilometre inside the Syrian side of the border. That being true, Russian air defence support for the fighter must have been tracking the Turkish aircraft from the second it started its take-off roll. It ought to have tracked its course upward, and monitored its missile-arming electronics and such fire orders as came from elsewhere. The Russian warning and control operators and the Su-24 crew should have detected the hostile fire-radar, and had the option to jam it. If none of these things was done on the Russian side, alerting the Su-24 crew to their peril, the Russian forces weren't ready, and the Su-24 was taken by surprise. The consequences cannot be explained by the commander-in-chief telling a visitor – the King of Jordan pretending to call the Russian president his "brother": "we will never turn a blind eye to such crimes as the one that was committed today." Blind is the word for it – before, not after.

THE RUSSIAN SU-24 FLIGHT PATH – TURKISH, BBC VERSION

SU-24-FLIGHT-PATH-

THE RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY VERSION

RDMmap

Source: http://sputniknews.com/military/20151124/1030695406/mod-su-24-flight-path.html

3. In western Europe, in the Balkans, and in the Middle East the Turks have no durable friend or ally. For Russian strategy not to be ambushed by the Turks, it must have strong allies like Iran, weak ones like Cyprus and Serbia, and vacillating ones like the Bulgarians, and listen to their experience of warfighting with the Turks. It is a waste of breath to try reassuring Ankara that Russia's "plane and our pilots were in no way a threat to the Turkish Republic in any way." That's because the Turks know we know they are threatening, as well as financing the break-up of the Russian Caucasus. It's because they know Russia is committed to blocking Turkish expansion, and to protecting Shiite Iraq and the Kurds from Turkish attack. If these aren't the new strategic commitments, then Russia should hasten to withdraw its forces before it falls into more bloody ambushes. If they are the new commitments, then the consequences are as obvious as they are immediate.

All Russians are now at risk if they travel to Turkey, so President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's exclusion zone should stop all Russian flights and all Russian nationals from entering the country.

Time, too, for the Turks to warm their houses and cook their dinners with someone else's gas.

liberal, November 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

IMHO Turkey didn't consult with the US first. It smells of a stupidity that Ergodan would commit.

I mean, here's the idiot who apparently didn't game out the overthrow of Assad, and the likely impact it would have on the Kurds.

timbers, November 26, 2015 at 10:33 am

Great article. It's implication of how Russia should respond might be:

Russia should concentrate on protecting it's fighters near Turkish border and be prepared to protect and respond to head off Turkish aggression, and not directly escalate militarily but instead stay focused on it's original mission.

Putin's past behavior may suggest he will choose a good course not unlike the above, weather he knows of the lesson Helmer describes, or not. Putin is not rash, realizes that while Russia is powerful and has options it is not the only powerful nation and faces constraints as well (if only the US did, too), considers before he moves. Hopefully this will keep him focused on what he wants to achieve in Syria and not get side tracked with Turkey even if it makes him look "weak" in the media. Read that Putin is looking at sealing the Syrian-Turkish border, which would freeze out the biggest influx of trouble makers in Syria. Am thinking Putin should slowly move to freeze out all Western access to Syrian airspace, perhaps with the much discussed S-400's and another methods.

Positioning more defensive missiles, jet fighter escorts, and using the radar warning Helmer discusses to deter and preemptively defend against Turkey repeating this incident, is the best corse IMO. It appears Russia is doing at least some of these things from what I'm reading.

mike, November 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Fair enough assessment; I would not expect a second Russian plan to be shot down! Your right Putin is not rash!

kl, November 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

The West forgot Turkey. We forgot something it never did, that its main role is ultra-nationalism and ripping off the West.
Apparently, Russians forgot this too. As a Russian passport offers few travel opportunities, Turkey and Egypt are prime destinations. I see Russian women suck up to Turkish and other middle Eastern men regularly. It's sad and shows a complete lack of understanding of the Turkish aggression, including enslaving slaves not that any centuries ago (officially) and the extant burgeoning sex slave trade (unofficially) today.

al apaka, November 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

uhhh regarding Russian passports, that is just plain wrong. go to Asia sometime. or Africa.
the rest of your screed is sad, you've obviously got issues with swarthy folks, me senses projection in your focus on Russian women…lose your wife to a raghead, did you?

digi_owl, November 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Turkey has always been a wild card in NATO. Heck, the reason they are a member at all is that USA needed a standing ground army near the USSR that was not made up of US troops. And turkey had the biggest such after WW2 (and still has the biggest one next to USA within NATO). Their physical location also provided a "second front" deterrent to a land war in Europe.

Then again while a land war was perhaps a risk during Stalin, afterwards it was more about having a buffer between Russia and Germany than anything else. the Soviet leadership was more worried about a offense from USA than planning some kind of grand takeover of Europe.

kj1313, November 26, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Tbh Turkey is the one country where I would have trusted the military to depose the tin pot dictator.

Jon, November 27, 2015 at 8:33 am

Turkey is no longer the solid Nato member and unflinching US ally that it was during the Cold War, or indeed even 15 years ago. The AKP government has new friends in the World and is happy play its cards against the EU and US when it chooses.

Most like this move was part of Turkey's soft-on-ISIS/hard-on-PKK-and-other-Kurds playbook and most unlikely to be cleared with the US – though of course playing the Nato membership card after the event makes sense.

Mustafa, November 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Whenever Russian and Turks are fighting our enemies win. When they come together the history is changing its direction. This the a lesson from the history. There is a saying in Russian " The Russian-Turkish war from 1877 is a war where we have lost 100 million golden rubles and 100.000 lives and won nothing." Turkey have lost the Balkans and Cyprus in this very same war. But Atatürk and Lenin made it differently and the course of the history has changed. The battle in Galipoli where Atatürk defeated the super powers at that time the British and French and opened the door for the success of the Soviet revolution in 1917. Then Lenin gave his hand to Atatürk in 1920 and opened the door for the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. This was the end of British and French dominance in the east. Putin and Erdogan have to learn from the history…

likbez, November 27, 2015 at 11:16 pm

To me Erdogan and his government more and more look like members of Grey Wolf organization, a copycat of Ukrainian Svoboda with the same level of ultra-nationalism and neofascism in their brains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Wolves_(organization)

Looks like in several countries we are returning to 1930th. Talleyrand complain about the restoration of the monarchy "These people have learned nothing and for­gotten nothing" is perfectly applicable to nationalism Renaissance we experience today. It this an allergic reaction on neoliberalism or may be nationalism is once in a century epidemics that hit mankind to regulate its numbers is unclear to me.

The sad side of this incident is that will damage Russia economically by increasing economic isolation. So the winner of Peace Nobel Price and all neocons around him got a good Thanksgiving present. Or, from another point of view, Putin's decision to save Alawite community from extermination by Islamic radicals backfired. No good deed is left unpunished in high politics.

Fiver, November 28, 2015 at 4:47 am

Has anyone considered the possibility this was not Erdogan's decision – perhaps his son's oil partners in ISIS had the right connections in the Turkish military, or suppose Uncle Sam just directed Erdogan to ratchet it up or watch his career dissolved by that same military, or maybe something worse, for males.

It's not like going after Syria was Erdogan's idea – he'd had good relations with Assad for years, but he (and everyone else outside and in) was relentlessly pushed from the 'west' (yes, no capital 'W' earned this century) even as the European portion of it again failed to open for Turkey – the big payoff of Admission to the EU/EZ that is just recently promised yet anew for Turkey, but with events will recede again as the ink dries. So Erdogan cast his lot with Uncle re the 'Arab Regime Change Spring' and like the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, GCC et al, Erdogan took deeply of the sort of Kool Aid that makes bad ideas look good – and so Erdogan got religion in both supporting ISIS by enabling ISIS oil operations and trade in Syria and profiting from it, even while assuring the west it was taking the fight to ISIS.

This is what they call a 'fluid' situation, and I can well imagine other events that place one or more other allied leaders in even worse political jams. The collateral damage this confrontation has already inflicted is stupendous, and being borne by all the wrong people. I'm sure this will give Erdogan plenty of future reasons for him want to flip back to a more pro-Syria, or pro-Russia footing. Or more.

[Nov 28, 2015] Who is buying ISILs oil

Al Jazeera English
On the face of it, it looks like any state-run oil industry. Engineers, managers and traders all help extract, refine and distribute oil, which makes its way across Syria and Iraq, as well as overseas. But this is no state-run company. This is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) lifeline - a business that provides the armed group with more revenue than any other source.

Oil helps to fund its war in Syria and Iraq, as well as to provide electricity to the 10 million people living under ISIL control. But despite the oil trade being targeted by the US-led coalition against ISIL, the business continues to thrive. And many people are increasingly asking why.

Russia has accused Turkey of buying oil from the armed group. Ankara in turn threw this allegation back at Moscow because of Russian support for Bashar al-Assad, who is also accused of buying oil from ISIL.

And to complicate matters, ISIL oil is also being sold to other rebel groups in Syria, most of whom are opposed to ISIL but have no alternative sources of fuel.

So, who are the individuals and groups involved in refining and selling ISIL's oil? And where does that oil end up?

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/11/buying-isil-oil-151127173736852.html

Presenter: Hazem Sika

Guests:

Shwan Zulal - Managing Director of Carduchi Consulting

Carole Nakhle - Director of Crystol Energy

Afshin Shahi - Director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam

[Nov 28, 2015] Jonathan Marshall

Nov 27, 2015 | The Scott Horton Show

Jonathan Marshall, an independent researcher living in San Anselmo, California, discusses the Obama administration's failure to broker a peace deal in Syria due to its neocon-like focus on regime change.

[Nov 28, 2015] Shooting down the Russian jet a symptom of Turkey's central malaise - GÜVEN SAK

Notable quotes:
"... President Recep Tayyip Erdo an has said he would do it again if he could go back, but he also said we might have reacted differently had we known that the unidentified aircraft was Russian. I'm not sure which statement to believe. ..."
"... In Turkish, we sometimes say "I am telling this to my daughter with the hope that my daughter-in-law will get the message." People in this part of the world communicate obliquely. What is Turkey's overriding concern in Syria? It is keeping the PKK/PYD in check, plain and simple. ..."
"... Thanks to the civil war, the PYD has in some ways surpassed Öcalan's dreams. It has become a governing institution of the Syrian Kurds, and the YPG, its armed wing, has become the main instrument of the Western coalition against ISIL. That means Turkey cannot fight it directly. Meanwhile, Turkey's reconciliation process with its own Kurdish population has come to an abrupt halt. Why? Because the civil war in Syria shifted the balance of power in the Kurds' favor. ..."
www.hurriyetdailynews.com

The million dollar question is: Why did Turkey do it? The Russians were violating Turkish airspace on an almost daily basis. Did it feel like it had to make good on its threats for earlier violations? Why now?

Since the start of this war in Syria, Turkey has wanted to be taken seriously. Syria shot down a Turkish plane in 2012, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took Turkish Consulate staff in Mosul hostage for months, and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) is steadily gaining ground with Western backing. Russia's blatant disregard for Ankara's concerns was only the straw that broke the camel's back. The Turkish leadership felt it necessary to show it means business, and shooting down a Russian plane, they thought, might have been a way to show that. But was it the right move? President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he would do it again if he could go back, but he also said we might have reacted differently had we known that the unidentified aircraft was Russian. I'm not sure which statement to believe.

In Turkish, we sometimes say "I am telling this to my daughter with the hope that my daughter-in-law will get the message." People in this part of the world communicate obliquely. What is Turkey's overriding concern in Syria? It is keeping the PKK/PYD in check, plain and simple. Turks are obsessed with this, to the extent that talking about fighting ISIS makes them uncomfortable, not necessarily because they like the group, but because they don't want to overshadow the threat of the PYD. They have not forgotten that the PYD was established by Abdullah Öcalan during his exile as a small Syrian arm of his operations. Thanks to the civil war, the PYD has in some ways surpassed Öcalan's dreams. It has become a governing institution of the Syrian Kurds, and the YPG, its armed wing, has become the main instrument of the Western coalition against ISIL. That means Turkey cannot fight it directly. Meanwhile, Turkey's reconciliation process with its own Kurdish population has come to an abrupt halt. Why? Because the civil war in Syria shifted the balance of power in the Kurds' favor.

Why did Turkey down that Su-24? Because it needed its Western allies to know that it means business, even if it won't hit PYD bases directly. That would not normally be a problem, but the range of responses from Ankara shows that it was not a very calculated step. Rather, it was a product of our tangled feelings toward Kurdish politics, which manifested obliquely in the debris of that plane. Similar to the Mavi Marmara incident, the episode will probably be useful in domestic politics but it will end up disproportionately hurting Turkey's foreign policy.

Ankara must learn to measure its actions based on realities out there on the ground, not its emotional and ideological echo chamber at home. In the case of Syria, this means facing up to our feelings about the Kurds, at home and across the border, once and for all.

[Nov 28, 2015] Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

Notable quotes:
"... It's no secret by now that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are funding Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq ..."
"... Frida Ghitis says the Syrian conflict "pitted moderates against extremists, and then extremists against ultra-extremists." http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/opinions/ghitis-russia-jet-shot-down/index.html So I suppose the United States is now on the side of the "extremists." We certainly would never approve of backing the "ultra-extremists," the way our allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia do. ..."
"... Not Turkmen commander-Turkish ..."
"... So Putin may have to put some of his other goals in the region on the back burner in order to actually wage war on ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups. ..."
"... Putin is right in saying that Turkey, a NATO member, is backing ISIS, not only financially but militarily. For Turkey their main interest is in Syrian Kurds not getting organized, armed, and in control of their own territory. When Turkey says they are fighting ISIS, they are dropping most of the bombs on Syrian Kurds. And they have never respected Iraq borders when attacking Iraqi Kurds. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia is also supporting ISIS, not only because they also defend an extremist Sunni Islam as Wahabbist Saudi Arabia, but also because it is part of their proxy wars against Shia Iran, and Syria is one of the Shia States with Sunni majority. Saudi Arabia is probably the biggest supporter of Islamic terrorism. ..."
"... Holland stupidly wants to march on ISIS, but nobody else wants to put troops on the ground. The only ones with troops on the ground fighting ISIS are Syrian army and Kurds. The latter ones are unacceptable to Turkey, so the former ones might become our new ally. ..."
"... Alawites, the core of the Syrian army, are paying a very high price for the war. About a third of their manpower has died in the 5 year war. They only keep fighting because they know they face extermination if they lose the war, whether from Syrian Sunnies or from ISIS. ..."
"... who want higher oil prices might have had their wish granted today after the downing of the russian SU-24 inside syria from a turkish F-16 (you will hear loads of shit in CnnAbcFoxNbcNewYotkTimes…please feel free to complete the alphabet soup here …they are all the SAME! that it was in turkish air space but THAT IS A LIE!!!!) ..."
"... It is your right to believe that Erdogan/Turkey -and they alone- are "brave" enough to shoot down a Russian aircraft while flying OUTSIDE their territory; It is your right to believe that Maidan/Kiev protests and the ousting of Yanukovich happened/grew genuinely from the Ukrainian people; It is your right to believe that the pro-russian rebels shut down the MH17 in Ukraine; It is your right to believe that our army and air force cannot destroy a bunch of white-basketball-shoe-wearing-mid-eval -lunatics after a year of bombing campaign and that we cannot disrupt their tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of barrels of oil per day production/selling which brings them millions of dollars per day in hard currency (…yet somehow russians did it in a month); It is your right to believe that russians are threatening Europe even though we are expanding NATO right at their borders; It is your right to believe that a bunch of illiterate, ugly, smelly morons with rusted AK-47 can defeat France and Belgium; It is your right to believe that: "…they hate us for our freedoms…" and "…our troops are fighting over there to keep us safe over here…" and other "lovely" narratives as such. It is your right! ..."
"... Are you absolutely sure of that? The Russians are saying that's not true, that the plane never entered Turkish air space. Russia's side is presented in this video: https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/ ..."
"... If a person is indeed on a truth-finding mission, is it not incumbent upon that person to listen to what all sides have to say, and then make up one's mind based on the evidence which is presented? ..."
"... RT, for instance, has a short clip of an interview with retired U.S. Airforce general Thomas McInery where he asserts that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned." ..."
"... If what General McInery says is correct - that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned" - then there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity. ..."
"... Well as far as I am concerned, President Obama circling the wagons around Turkey hardly qualifies him as being one the brightest lights on the Christmas tree. Obama is attempting to defend the indefensible. Why do you believe that is? ..."
"... It is clear that this was an hostile deliberate act by Turkey against Russia regardless of where that plane was at the moment. Where the plane was is only relevant to see if it was legal or illegal, but the deliberate hostile act remains either case. ..."
"... Turkey doesn't like the way Russia is helping the Syrian government, but they just proved to NATO that they are unreliable and more a liability than a trustworthy ally. This is how wars start, by unjustified escalation. ..."
"... If one watches the RT video I linked above, Erdogan can be heard saying exactly that same thing back in 2012 after Syria shot down a Turkish jet because of an air space violation. Here's what Erdogan said then: ..."
"... But whether the US might have given the green light for such an act, and the potential reasons for such a thing. Well, now that's interesting, despite Ron's insistence that it's absolutely untenable position. I say, very tenable for a country that has invaded and overthrown dozens of governments in just my short lifetime. ..."
"... personally think Ves' comment below about Turkey's desperation about losing their proxies is probably closer to the mark though. I've seen over the past couple decades Turkey has seen itself as a regional player linking the middle east and Europe and global economic hub. ..."
"... Hey Petro, yeah, just on the face of it I didn't see your comment as being that outlandish. the united states has a very very very long history of making moves that seem quite "beyond the pale" ..."
"... To say, if he did, that the US directly said, "shoot a plane down ASAP" is probably unlikely. But Turkey, a member of NATO, might be a little hesitant to take such an action unless it felt that the United States had its back. Now Turkey has been a bit "rogue" in recent years – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/turkey-denies-agreement-open-air-bases-us-isis . I mean the final answer is really above my pay grade, but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation and I'm beginning to agree with wimbi – can we go back to how much drag there would be on a bomber if it lost its tail section? ..."
"... That Turks are so desperate to stop their proxies in Syria being annihilated within next few months? Shooting down Russian plane is what desperate party does in order to change war dynamics on the ground. ..."
"... Unlike US, Russia is very active attacking oil trucks that smuggle ISIS oil to Turkey. Those trucks belong to a shipping company BMZ that belongs to the son of Erdogan. Russia is causing a personal economic loss to the Erdogan family. ..."
"... The international coalition against Syria and Russia is beginning to crack on the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS. Turkey doesn't want that to happen. This explains the shooting of the plane and the rushed going of Turkey to NATO to ask for support. It is intended to dynamite any possibility of understanding between US-lead coalition in Syria and Russia against ISIS. Obama has his hands tied, as he needs to use his base in Turkey. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Glenn Stehle, 11/24/2015 at 5:34 pm

Opening up natural gas supplies to Turkey and Europe which are not controlled by Russia and its allies? This requires a pipeline across Syria but Assad nixed the deal.

No wonder Saudi Prince…told President Vladmir Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be "completely" in Saudi Arabia's hands and will "not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports", according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.

THE GUARDIAN, "Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern"

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

Jimmy, 11/24/2015 at 7:55 pm

Something tells me Putin is gonna turn up the dial on Turkeys little Kurdish problem. Putin has a lot of levers to choose from in dealing with Turkey. Whilst Russia does need Turkey perhaps more than Turkey needs Russia they certainly don't need Erdogan.

Watcher, 11/24/2015 at 5:18 pm

btw given these short time periods quoted, you also have to add the seconds req'd for all these alleged warnings.

ZH commenters are saying Turkish PM's son is the primary recipient of ISIS oil flowing thru Turkey. That was motivation, allegedly. Shrug.

I can say one thing for sure, no way in hell there were 10 warnings of this jet in the time frame available.

Jimmy, 11/24/2015 at 8:00 pm

Russia seems to be getting in the way of the Turkish Presidents family business of smuggling ISIS oil. FOX missed it.

http://olympia.gr/2015/11/24/erdogans-son-bilal-erdogan-smuggles-illegal-isiss-oil-russianplane-syria/

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 7:18 am

It's no secret by now that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are funding Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq:

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad's regime that includes al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria….

The decision by the two leading allies of the West to back a group in which al-Nusra plays a leading role has alarmed Western governments and is at odds with the US, which is firmly opposed to arming and funding jihadist extremists in Syria's long-running civil war.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-crisis-turkey-and-saudi-arabia-shock-western-countries-by-supporting-anti-assad-jihadists-10242747.html

Frida Ghitis says the Syrian conflict "pitted moderates against extremists, and then extremists against ultra-extremists." http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/opinions/ghitis-russia-jet-shot-down/index.html

So I suppose the United States is now on the side of the "extremists." We certainly would never approve of backing the "ultra-extremists," the way our allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia do.

twocats,11/25/2015 at 9:28 pm

I thought Russia and US both agreed to start bombing oil shipments. Of course, the US didn't WANT to do that as it weakens their proxy allies. It's an a great game of thrones episode that's for sure.

Opritov Alexandr, 11/25/2015 at 9:25 am

"A Turkmen commander said they shot the pilots."
--–
Not Turkmen commander-Turkish : http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/2491068.html#comments

twocats,11/25/2015 at 9:23 pm

I'm calling "completely irrelevant due to the fact that it's irrelevant". Is Turkey at war with Russia? Are they in a direct conflict in any way really? Does ISIS have bombers? So there's absolutely positively no way they could have "mistaken" the bomber for something else. And unless they are ready to declare war directly with Russia, the attack is on the verge of insanity.

I know sovereignty is important and all, and they could certainly buzz and even fire "shots across the bow" pretty easily. If we are disputing between 19 and 10 seconds of air space violations, we are idiots. Geeky idiots, but idiots nonethe less.

Fernando Leanme, 11/26/2015 at 5:06 am

The Turks were defending Turkmen on the Syrian side. Erdogan said so. The Russians may sit down with turkey and concede a portion of Latakia to Turkey. The excuse will be the fact that it's populated by Turkmen. If Turkey agrees and redraws the border it will be huge win for Russia. It will give them the precedent to justify taking over the Crimea and the Donbas.

Glenn Stehle says: 11/25/2015 at 6:49 am

Germany apparently has come to a similar conclusion.

German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said:

This incident shows for the first time that we are to dealing with an actor who is unpredictable according to statements from various parts of the region – that is not Russia, that is Turkey.

https://www.rt.com/news/323240-russia-turkey-warplane-downed/

NATO, however, has closed ranks with Turkey. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance backs Ankara:

We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally.

https://www.rt.com/news/323240-russia-turkey-warplane-downed/

Obama joined NATO in closing ranks with Turkey:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/plane-shootdown-could-lead-to-nato-conflict-with-russia/

and

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/hollande-and-obama-address-isis-threat/

The MSM talking heads are also swinging into action to defend Turkey, arguing that even if the Russian jet was not shot down over Turkey (something an anonymous Pentagon official told Reuters is the case, since video evidence makes further denials by Anakra and Washington unplausible) then Russia still had it coming. Nick Burns, former National Security Council Director for Russian Affairs, charged:

There's an important principle at stake here… Every nation has a right to protect its own borders. And President Obama sided with the Turks today in saying that they have that right. It was a gross violation of international law for the Russians to even fly close to that border…

The Russians may have thought that the Turks weren't serious but they found out today they were.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/analysis-of-russian-plane-shootdown/

This incident should shed light on the fact that neither the great powers (like the US, France or Russia) nor the regional players (like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Iran) are participating in this conflict to fight a common enemy, ISIS. They are there for other reasons.

Russia, however, is in a tough spot. Pepe Escobar, for instance, noted in Asia Times that Russia has eight times the Islamic extremists living on its soil as does France:

Bajolet tells us that at least 500 French jihadis from "Syraq" might present a threat; compare it with 4,000 in respect to Russia (and that explains Putin's determination to go after all shades of jihadism).
http://www.sott.net/article/306819-Pepe-Escobar-Paris-terror-attacks-who-profits

So Putin may have to put some of his other goals in the region on the back burner in order to actually wage war on ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 7:37 am

Glenn,

It is a very complex issue as every player has different interests. Putin is right in saying that Turkey, a NATO member, is backing ISIS, not only financially but militarily. For Turkey their main interest is in Syrian Kurds not getting organized, armed, and in control of their own territory. When Turkey says they are fighting ISIS, they are dropping most of the bombs on Syrian Kurds. And they have never respected Iraq borders when attacking Iraqi Kurds.

Saudi Arabia is also supporting ISIS, not only because they also defend an extremist Sunni Islam as Wahabbist Saudi Arabia, but also because it is part of their proxy wars against Shia Iran, and Syria is one of the Shia States with Sunni majority. Saudi Arabia is probably the biggest supporter of Islamic terrorism.

The Alawites of Syria (including the al-Assad family) are also happy that ISIS is in Syria. Without them they have no chance of keeping power, but in a three sides war with one of them being unacceptable to Occident, they are no longer looking so bad.

Syrian opposition is the big loser here. They are bombed by Turkey and Russia (different targets) and attacked on land by Alawites and ISIS as each one wants to expand first at their expense.

This is why refugees are coming out in droves now as the war is getting much worse.

Turkey feels pretty safe. NATO has no choice but to close ranks, and the European Union is paying big money to Turkey to keep a lid on the refugee problem, as Spain does with Morocco.

Holland stupidly wants to march on ISIS, but nobody else wants to put troops on the ground. The only ones with troops on the ground fighting ISIS are Syrian army and Kurds. The latter ones are unacceptable to Turkey, so the former ones might become our new ally.

Alawites, the core of the Syrian army, are paying a very high price for the war. About a third of their manpower has died in the 5 year war. They only keep fighting because they know they face extermination if they lose the war, whether from Syrian Sunnies or from ISIS.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 8:40 am

Javier,
You got all ingredients right but all your conclusions are not correct.

Paulo, 11/26/2015 at 10:33 am

I wonder what Obama will say about the right of a country to shoot down an aircraft for airspace violation….when one of theirs gets shot down over the Spratleys by China?

Petro, 11/24/2015 at 4:04 pm

A bit off topic Ron, but maybe not by much:

-Shallow Sand et al.

who want higher oil prices might have had their wish granted today after the downing of the russian SU-24 inside syria from a turkish F-16 (you will hear loads of shit in CnnAbcFoxNbcNewYotkTimes…please feel free to complete the alphabet soup here …they are all the SAME! that it was in turkish air space but THAT IS A LIE!!!!)

Let us ALL hope and pray that Putin does not take this at face value (Act of WAR!….which indeed is….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC)….for if He does, oil prices are going to be the last thing we have to worry about, dear Shallow Sand!!!!

Be well,

Petro

P.S.: sorry for the off topic comment Ron and thank you for the post!

Ron Patterson , 11/24/2015 at 5:17 pm

(Act of WAR!….which indeed is….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC)…

Petro, that that the shooting down of this Russian plane was probably ordered by the President, or the Pentagon, is the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this blog. Any goddamn fool with half a brain would know better than that.

Sorry for the strong language but when someone posts something so utterly stupid just to take a swipe at our President, or government, really pisses me off.

That being said, I agree that Turkey shooting down that Russian plane was a very stupid and dangerous thing for Turkey to do. But to say such action was ordered by the US is beyond belief.

Petro, 11/24/2015 at 10:45 pm

Dear Ron,

First, I would like to apologize for being caught in your "cross-hairs" as the result of my unorthodox comment. It will not happen again!

Second, I genuinely respect the tremendous amount of time and information with which you so generously enable all of us frequenting this great forum each and every week! As I have mentioned on numerous comments of mine here, I feel lucky and empowered every time I read one of your well written "mind-teasers".
I truly do!
-For those reasons (and a couple of others) I will not engage on answering:
"…is the most ignorant thing I have ever read on this blog. Any goddamn fool with half a brain would know better than that…."
and
"…when someone posts something so utterly stupid…".

I would sincerely hope however, that in this forum we refrain from using word concoctions such as : "goddamn fool", "utterly stupid", "most ignorant thing I have ever read" aimed at the PERSONAL level – even when scientifically and logically (with regard to this blog) they are "deserved"

– i.e. when Peter writes "If 2015 is the peak Oil year, then it is the $45 per barrel peak.

This should give people pause for thought. How on earth can we really be at peak oil, with prices this low. We cannot."

-or RDG writes "Peak Oil is irrelevant because the world's methane potential is underestimated…"

-or Arceus writes"I suspect if the Saudis could double their production to 20 million boepd they could almost double their market share. The only downside would be oil would likely be selling at 20 dollars per barrel."

-to which you (to my delight-I might add) replied:

"That's the funniest thing I have read in weeks."

It is your right to believe that Erdogan/Turkey -and they alone- are "brave" enough to shoot down a Russian aircraft while flying OUTSIDE their territory;
It is your right to believe that Maidan/Kiev protests and the ousting of Yanukovich happened/grew genuinely from the Ukrainian people;
It is your right to believe that the pro-russian rebels shut down the MH17 in Ukraine;
It is your right to believe that our army and air force cannot destroy a bunch of white-basketball-shoe-wearing-mid-eval -lunatics after a year of bombing campaign and that we cannot disrupt their tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of barrels of oil per day production/selling which brings them millions of dollars per day in hard currency (…yet somehow russians did it in a month);
It is your right to believe that russians are threatening Europe even though we are expanding NATO right at their borders;
It is your right to believe that a bunch of illiterate, ugly, smelly morons with rusted AK-47 can defeat France and Belgium;
It is your right to believe that: "…they hate us for our freedoms…" and "…our troops are fighting over there to keep us safe over here…" and other "lovely" narratives as such.
It is your right!

What I am trying to suggest however, is that there is quite a bit of very logical and credible evidence that points to other versions of the "truth".
…and NO!
I do not follow idiots akin to Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh…, nor do I wear a tin foil hat.
You say: "…our President, or government…"
I say that the LAST president to be considered truly OURS was JFK.
How did we go from Jefferson/Adams/Payne/…..JFK to ReaganBushClintonBushWO and worse- seriously considering idiots like TrumpHillarious – is beyond me and only Heavens know (I guess A.Bartlet applies even with regard to "worse" and "worse-er" and "worse-rer-rer" people).
What is really done in our name and with our money dear Ron, shall give a "heart attack" to us all …very soon.

In any case, I tried to follow up with Shallow since he was worried about oil prices and I have replied to him (and others) about that on several previous comments.

Again, I apologize for my unorthodox comment and for any unintentional insult.

Be well,

Petro

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 6:59 am

Petro, I stand by my comment. The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds. If you think someone in Washington said "shoot the goddamn thing down" then you are a fool.

There was not time to notify anyone except Turkish officials on the ground. Turkey does not take orders from Washington.

Nothing else going on in France, Belgium or anywhere else had anything to do with what I wrote or what I was replying to. You simply saw an opportunity to blame the US government for something they very obviously had nothing to do with. I would have agreed with everything you wrote in that one post had you not took the opportunity to blame it on Washington. If you are going to post on this blog then you have the obligation to use a little common sense.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 8:39 am

Ron Patterson said:

The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds.

Are you absolutely sure of that? The Russians are saying that's not true, that the plane never entered Turkish air space. Russia's side is presented in this video: https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/

If a person is indeed on a truth-finding mission, is it not incumbent upon that person to listen to what all sides have to say, and then make up one's mind based on the evidence which is presented?

RT, for instance, has a short clip of an interview with retired U.S. Airforce general Thomas McInery where he asserts that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned."

One could probably do no better than to heed the advice which Thomas Jefferson gave his nephew in a letter dated August 10, 1787:

[S]hake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear….

Caelan MacIntyre, 11/25/2015 at 8:52 am

The Fog of War

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 8:59 am

Hey, that was not my point. My point was that the shoot down was not ordered by the US Government in Washington.

Shooting down that Russian warplane was an extremely stupid thing for Turkey to do. But what is even more stupid is to say that the shoot down was ordered by Washington.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 11:37 am

Ron,

I was referring to your argument:

The plane was in Turkish air space for seconds. If you think someone in Washington said "shoot the goddamn thing down" then you are a fool.

If what General McInery says is correct - that the downing of the Russian jet "had to be pre-planned" - then there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity.

I have a feeling like these cat-and-mouse games between pilots probably go on continuously during conflict situations. However, I have no experience in these matters, and oddly enough, the only fighter pilot I've ever known in my entire life was transgendered:

I also worked for "T" vets inclusion in GLBVA during those years and VA support of "T" vets (which finally happened recently) – I'm a retired USAF Major and Command Pilot. During the '90s I was a rather prolific writer; although, quite a bit of it is probably lost to transgender antiquity. I've been lecturing on gender, gender roles, and the "T" topic at Trinity University for the past 16 years.

http://research.cristanwilliams.com/2012/03/09/tere-fredrickson-interview/

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 12:08 pm

there was plenty of time for Anakra to get Washington's approval before the pre-planned attack occurred. I'm not saying that this happened, only that it is not outside the realm of possiblity.

Goddammit, will the stupid shit never stop. It is just down in the dirt stupid to suggest that the President would want such a thing. It could lead to the break-up of NATO. Also, the very idea that Turkey would cot-tow to Washington's wishes is also stupid.

To shoot this plane down was the stupidest thing Turkey could possibly do. But a lot stupider things have been done by Middle East Islamic rulers causing things to get a lot worse. But to suggest that our President is just as stupid is beyond the pale. Can you guys just not use a little common sense?

To suggest that Washington was behind this smacks of a conspiracy theory. I think all conspiracy theorists have a screw loose.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 4:06 pm

Ron,

Well as far as I am concerned, President Obama circling the wagons around Turkey hardly qualifies him as being one the brightest lights on the Christmas tree. Obama is attempting to defend the indefensible. Why do you believe that is?

And you don't believe that reinforces the appearance of impropriety, of him being complicit in Turkey's shooting down the plane? Talk about bad optics!

Mark Ames minces no words:

Russia will just have to play and replay the shooting down of its jet, and the Syrian rebels gloating over the dead pilots, to see Putin's already sky-high popularity ratings push even higher….

Point being: this is working out wonderfully for Putin.

In fact, if there's any conspiracy I can make sense of with what's gone on over the past year and a half, it's that anti-Russia neocons and their pals have been doing everything possible to increase Putin's popularity and power at home, in order to build him up as an even more plausible villain over here. Or maybe they're straight-up Putin moles. But that of course gives everyone, especially these idiots, too much credit.

https://pando.com/2015/11/24/turkey-shoots-down-russian-plane-wars-have-funny-way-taking-life-their-own/eba0108e463df65f823e3f435b3eead1d41c6e25/

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 5:05 pm

Glenn, the idea that Obama ordered the shooting down the Russian plane is pure ignorance, stupidity gone to seed. I will not lower myself by arguing such an utterly stupid scenario.

One more point. This is not a conspiracy theory website. We do not discuss conspiracy theories here.

Bye now.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:08 am

What if this conversation happened:

Turkey, "A lot of recent missions by Russia has put them very close to our borders if not outright in our airspace. What do you want us to do."

White House, "You have the right to defend the sovereignty of your airspace by any means you deem necessary. We feel that Russia is being very reckless in their choice of targets and are endangering stability in the area."

NATO, "You do realize that if Turkey provokes Russia it could draw us directly into the conflict."

White House, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

I mean, if you can't see some version of the above dialogue happening then all I can say to you that you'll understand is, "God Bless America, the greatest country that ever existed."

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 9:09 am

Glenn,

Does it really matter? There is international consensus that planes are not shot down for briefly entering foreign airspace without permit when the nations are not belligerent. Airspace is not clearly delimited up in the air and pilots are often too busy to check.

It is clear that this was an hostile deliberate act by Turkey against Russia regardless of where that plane was at the moment. Where the plane was is only relevant to see if it was legal or illegal, but the deliberate hostile act remains either case.

To me it looks like the Russian plane was flying in circles and was passing over a small tip (~2 km wide) of Turkish territory each time. This was used as an excuse to shoot down the plane in what cannot be claimed as a self-defense act, but clearly a hostile warning.

Turkey doesn't like the way Russia is helping the Syrian government, but they just proved to NATO that they are unreliable and more a liability than a trustworthy ally. This is how wars start, by unjustified escalation.

Ron Patterson, 11/25/2015 at 9:26 am

This time I agree 100% with Javier's assessment of the situation.

Glenn Stehle, 11/25/2015 at 11:02 am

Javier said:

There is international consensus that planes are not shot down for briefly entering foreign airspace without permit when the nations are not belligerent. Airspace is not clearly delimited up in the air and pilots are often too busy to check.

If one watches the RT video I linked above, Erdogan can be heard saying exactly that same thing back in 2012 after Syria shot down a Turkish jet because of an air space violation. Here's what Erdogan said then:

A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack.

https://www.rt.com/news/323369-turkey-downed-russian-jet/

Now, however, the Ministry of Truth in Washington, Anakra and Brussels is saying just the opposite.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 11:06 am

Blowback. Sinking fast due to their own narrative.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 11:56 am

Hahahaaa, that's a good one.

Politicians, or the art of defending one thing and the opposite without any blush.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:02 am

fuck an A glen, you're back to the minutiae of that!! stop derailing these conversations about whether or not the plane was in airspace of turkey. I mean really does it matter?! 1km, 40 km, I don't know, irrelevant.

But whether the US might have given the green light for such an act, and the potential reasons for such a thing. Well, now that's interesting, despite Ron's insistence that it's absolutely untenable position. I say, very tenable for a country that has invaded and overthrown dozens of governments in just my short lifetime.

I personally think Ves' comment below about Turkey's desperation about losing their proxies is probably closer to the mark though. I've seen over the past couple decades Turkey has seen itself as a regional player linking the middle east and Europe and global economic hub.

Or it could just be the pilot took the wrong pills getting into the cockpit.

Petreo, 11/25/2015 at 11:04 pm

"If you are going to post on this blog then you have the obligation to use a little common sense."

Dear Ron,
I clearly was!
Not just a little, but a lot of common sense.
In my comment to Shallow I wrote: "…sorry for the off topic comment Ron…"
In my second comment to you I wrote: "…First, I would like to apologize for being caught in your "cross-hairs" as the result of my unorthodox comment.
It will not happen again!…"

I did that, for I did not want to remind you of our first exchange on this site -in which you got a taste of how good I am at "shooting back" (just as Erdogan shall taste how good Putin is at shooting back …very soon!)
-Yet, you continued with your hysterical, inflammatory bursting!
I am not certain what pricked your "bubble" -holiday shopping not going well, perhaps – my condolences!
In any event, you GROSSLY misunderstood and misrepresented what I wrote.
Nowhere did I write that: " …ourPresident ordered: shoot the goddamn thing down…" – as you so eloquently put it.
Let me repeat to you what I wrote (short term amnesia – especially when one is enraged – is a bitch!):
"….probably ordered by your and my tax dollars in DC…".

-What I was trying to convey (obviously fruitlessly!) was that even though Erdogan/Turks pulled the trigger (or maybe you prefer: "pushed the button") and shot the SU24 down, our un-Kosherly dumb (at the very best!) policies for the last 15 years (and maybe longer!) in the region (and wider), have GREATLY empowered "Erdogan" types.
Key word is "at the very best" here, for there is unmistakable and unambiguous evidence to suggest the other extreme of that spectrum (hint: intent)!

-Whether you consider a senior senator (i.e.McCain) posing with known international criminal be-headers, or viceSercretaryOfState (i.e.V.Nuland) hand picking puppets for the head of KievGovrmt after orchestrating, directing and financing a CLASSIC "coup d'etat" to overthrow the previous govmt there, part of ourGovrmt, or NOT – is your business.
However, that does not give you the moral and social (let alone the common sense one!) right to engage in hysterical, inflammatory and wildly accusational burstings against somebody – even on your blog site!
If that is your idea of patriotism, you surely missed it!

-Yes!
It was theTurks who shot down theRussian aircraft – not us!
But to put it in a historical context, SIMPLER for you to understand:
it was NOT Great Britain, France and US (among others) that in 1933 made Adolf Hitler Reich Chancellor;
it was the Germans – whether they be German elites, or German plebes!

Behavior(s) and decisions by political and economical/financial leaders in those Countries however, GREATLY facilitated Hitler's ascend to power!
In December 1938, less than 10 months before starting the carnage that killed 100 million people worldwide , Hitler was Time Magazine's "Man of the Year".

I would strongly suggest to you sources other than NYT and Fox for your world news updates – you would be enlightened!
If you do not want me to comment here and this is personal, be a man and say so without wild explosions of nastiness!
We are all adults here (one can only hope!) and can take it.
And stop throwing the "conspiracy" label around, as well!
Makes you sound very foolish and brainwashed.

-Have a good Thanksgiving tomorrow and maybe/hopefully by Friday feel more relaxed…

Be well,

Petro

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:50 am

Hey Petro, yeah, just on the face of it I didn't see your comment as being that outlandish. the united states has a very very very long history of making moves that seem quite "beyond the pale"

http://www.amazon.com/KILLING-HOPE-William-Blum/dp/B007K517VE

in this specific case, ron's point that this move seems really really stupid does ring true for me. but i think we need to wait a little longer and see how it plays out to know for sure.

Ron Patterson, 11/26/2015 at 8:00 am

Back in 2010 I was living in Pensacola, FL. Right after the Deep Water Horizon disaster everyone was pointing the finger, blaming somebody. And there was a lot of blame to go around but I met several folks here that blamed Obama. Yes, they said, Obama planned and ordered the whole disaster. Just why he would order such a thing no one seemed to know. A few came up with a reason, but no one had the same reason as the other nut cases.

I see the same thing in almost every other disaster throughout the world, "Obama planned and ordered the whole disaster". So whenever I see someone blaming Obama, or Washington, for this or that disaster, it really pisses me off.

And like the other nut cases that blamed Obama for the Macondo disaster, they cannot come up with a reason that Obama would do such a thing, but he is the US president and they hate everything that comes out of Washington so he must have been somehow responsible.

Some people never ever miss a chance to blame Obama, or Washington, for some evil act especially when it cannot be proven otherwise.

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 11:45 am

Yep I'll definitely give you the anti-Washington, and vehement anti-Obama thing (gotta be a lot of rascism wrapped up in that). But I'm assuming you are aware of the fairly well known shenanigans of the United States in terms of intervening and influencing countries in order to make terrible terrible things happen:

1) training Saddam to help overthrow Qasim which led to, well Saddam
2) overhthrowing Mossadeg to install Shah which led to Iranian Revolution
3) giving Saddam chemical weapons to kill 100s thousands of Iranians
4) training Al-Qaeda to fight Russia in Afghanistan, and latter trained again to fight in Kosovo
5) Backed wahabi tribe of Saud and backed their play for power in Arabian penninsula which led to of course Saudi Arabia, despised totalitarian regime which regularly beheads and then crucifies people.

i mean i could go on for hours. so the idea that United States hinted to Turkey that it wouldn't be upset if it 1) defended its border, 2) defended Turkmen majority cities on Syrian side (thanks Fernando), these are not such crazy notions. (see article from oriental review – http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/25/whys-the-us-hanging-turkey-out-to-dry/)

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 12:00 pm

and just for giggles here is a more direct corollary

http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/09/wikileaks-april-glaspie-and-saddam-hussein/

Petro's post was a little long and poorly written so i didn't read it all and he may have been overstating it.

To say, if he did, that the US directly said, "shoot a plane down ASAP" is probably unlikely. But Turkey, a member of NATO, might be a little hesitant to take such an action unless it felt that the United States had its back. Now Turkey has been a bit "rogue" in recent years – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/turkey-denies-agreement-open-air-bases-us-isis. I mean the final answer is really above my pay grade, but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation and I'm beginning to agree with wimbi – can we go back to how much drag there would be on a bomber if it lost its tail section?

Ron Patterson, 11/26/2015 at 12:05 pm

but I think you are beginning to see that there are a lot of moving parts to this equation

I am beginning to see there is a lot of bullshit in this equation and it is getting deeper and deeper. As I said, it is very easy to throw out bullshit when it cannot be proven otherwise. You can seem like a master of knowledge when all you really are is a master of bullshit.

Reply

AlexS, 11/25/2015 at 7:37 am

Russian jet hit inside Syria after incursion into Turkey: U.S. official

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/25/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-impact-idUSKBN0TE04M20151125

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said that assessment was based on detection of the heat signature of the jet.
---------------

Russia to move S-400 air defense system to Syria - defense minister

http://tass.ru/en/defense/839109

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. Russia will move its air defense system S-400 Triumf to the Hmeimim air base in Syria, accommodating its air and space group, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
The Russian General Staff has warned that Russia will be destroying all potentially dangerous targets over Syria and moved towards the Syrian shores its guided missile cruiser The Moskva armed with the Fort system (the sea-launched equivalent of S-300).
-----------------–
Second pilot of downed Su-24 jet safe, brought to Russian base - Russian defense minister

http://tass.ru/en/defense/839080

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. The second pilot of the Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey has been rescued by the Russian and Syrian forces and is safe and sound, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
"The operation ended successfully. The pilot has been taken to our base. Safe and sound," Shoigu said.
He said the rescue operation lasted for 12 hours.
-------------------–

Turkey's Erdogan says does not want escalation after Russian jet downed

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/25/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-erdogan-idUSKBN0TE0QT20151125

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey did not want any escalation after it shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, saying it had simply acted to defend its own security and the "rights of our brothers" in Syria.
But while neither side has shown any interest in a military escalation, Russia has made clear it will exact economic revenge through trade and tourism. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that important joint projects could be canceled and Turkish firms could lose Russian market share.
Increased tensions could have significant economic and political repercussions which are in neither Moscow nor Ankara's interests, analysts warned. But both Putin and Erdogan are strong-willed leaders ill-disposed to being challenged.

"If Erdogan becomes involved a cycle of violence, FDI (foreign direct investment), tourism, and relations with the EU and U.S. will all be in jeopardy," risk analysis firm Eurasia Group said in a note.
"Our bet is that the episode will not escalate … National interest will probably prevail over emotion, but given the players, that's not a sure bet."
Turkey imports almost all of its energy from Russia, including 60 percent of its gas and 35 percent of its oil. Russia's state Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) is due to build Turkey's first nuclear power station, a $20 billion project, while plans are on the table for a gas pipeline from Russia known as TurkStream.
Turkish building and beverage companies also have significant interests in Russia.
Shares in Enka Insaat, which has construction projects in Russia and two power plants in Turkey using Russian gas, fell for a second day on Wednesday. Brewer Anadolu Efes, which has six breweries in Russia and controls around 14 percent of the market, also saw its shares fall on Tuesday.
Russians are second only to Germans in terms of the numbers visiting Turkey, bringing in an estimated $4 billion a year in tourism revenues. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday advised them not to visit and one of Russia's largest tour operators to the country said it would temporarily suspend sales of trips.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 8:52 am

Interesting, Alex,

Turkish might have built themselves a no-fly zone at their Syrian border. Russians have Syrian permit to fly their space, while Turkish have not. After what has happened any Turkish plane over Syrian space can be considered a dangerous target by the Russians and shot down.

I don't understand Turkish actions. If it was a military decision from some commander, they should have tried to apologize, and not run to NATO for cover. If it was a presidential decision, I fail to see what good can come from it for Turkey.

Anyway, I hope those Russian tourists going to Egypt or Turkey can find some solace in Spain [grin].

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 11:18 am

Javier: " I don't understand Turkish actions."

It is very obvious what they want. They want NATO boots on the ground. Do you want to go? Do you know any of Germans that want to go? Greeks, Italians? There are no takers in Europe. Even Obama is not biting.

Javier, 11/25/2015 at 12:13 pm

I've never been in favor of bombing other countries, much less of sending troops.

NATO is a defensive pact in theory. I could understand NATO troops in Turkey if invaded by Russia, but not NATO troops in Syria because Turkey shoots down Russian planes. And I don't believe Turkey is trying to trigger a Russian aggression. Too much to lose.

Your words still don't make sense to me.

Ves, 11/25/2015 at 12:23 pm

What part does not make sense?

That Turks are so desperate to stop their proxies in Syria being annihilated within next few months? Shooting down Russian plane is what desperate party does in order to change war dynamics on the ground.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 5:10 am

Found a much better explanation than yours over at Euan Mearn's blog in a Syrian drought article in the comments.

Unlike US, Russia is very active attacking oil trucks that smuggle ISIS oil to Turkey. Those trucks belong to a shipping company BMZ that belongs to the son of Erdogan. Russia is causing a personal economic loss to the Erdogan family.

The international coalition against Syria and Russia is beginning to crack on the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS. Turkey doesn't want that to happen.

This explains the shooting of the plane and the rushed going of Turkey to NATO to ask for support. It is intended to dynamite any possibility of understanding between US-lead coalition in Syria and Russia against ISIS. Obama has his hands tied, as he needs to use his base in Turkey.

Putin is probably too smart to respond. He'll find another way. Perhaps supporting Kurds.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 8:22 am

Javier,
Drought? So we have all armadas of the world, including Lichenstain's one plane, circling Middle East for the last 30 years because of – drought??!!!
No wonder you believe that one of the stated EU goals is for everybody to hold hands and sing Kumbaya at Eurovison contest. Javier, it's always having been delusions of power, control and mucho dinero that caused the conflict- not drought.

Glenn Stehle, 11/26/2015 at 10:27 am

https://twitter.com/ijattala/status/669389283225026560?refsrc=email&s=11

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 10:54 am

Glenn,
that is exactly what explained to Javier. Cutting the oil line for the finance of the Turkish proxies. Once the money line is cut even the proxies don't fight for free.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 11:33 am

Ves

Did I say anything about drought being related to the conflict?
I just pointed where I got the information.

You seem to like to engage in straw man arguments. Please continue, don't let yourself be bothered by reality.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 1:48 pm

Javier said: "Found a much better explanation than yours over at Euan Mearn's blog in a Syrian drought article "

I am sorry but I don't know who is Euarn Mearn's and what Syrian drought article has to do with all this. Leave a link or something.

Javier, 11/26/2015 at 2:06 pm

Ves,

Euan Mearns is a frequent visitor and commenter in this blog. He was also a frequent contributor of The Oil Drumm. He has a very good blog on Energy and also some Climate. If you just google his name you get there. The link to the article is this:
http://euanmearns.com/drought-climate-war-terrorism-and-syria/
The information I posted was in one of the comments.
The article actually argues against the climate change-Syrian war-ISIS connection that has appeared in some media.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Javier. Okey with that little bit of info from you I know what to expect when I click on that link. I will read it.

You have to understand that I limit my reading to only few limited sources just not to corrupt my mind. You see there are expert internet oil "analysts" who claim that US is oil exporter so there are very dangerous stuff out there in cyber space.

Ves, 11/26/2015 at 9:33 pm

Javier,
I agree with article but I am floored that he actually spent all that energy debunking that nonsense that drought caused all this. Who armed all these people, who financed illegal oil operations, where thousands oil tankers are from, why after 4 years of civil war refugees just suddenly start flowing to Europe this summer, so someone let them purposely go, who is blackmailing Europe?

twocats, 11/26/2015 at 2:59 am

the most ignorant, craziest, stupidest, outrageously reasonably explained plausible fitting into global and regional goals possible thing that's ever been said on this blog:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-25/guest-post-why-us-hanging-turkey-out-dry

[Nov 28, 2015] Experts Turkey might be tried for financing ISIL, arms trafficking

www.todayszaman.com
Russia's pledge to take the issue of Turkey's alleged financing of terrorist factions within Syria -- such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- to the United Nations after Turkey recently shot down its jet, has stirred speculation that Turkey could be tried in international courts.

Tensions between Turkey and Russia have been running amok over the past few days, as on Tuesday NATO's second largest army the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) downed a Russian Su-24 jet near the Syrian border, after repeatedly warning it over airspace violations.

Moscow blames Turkey and has set about bolstering its military presence in the region, dispatching several S-400 air defense systems to bolster its Khmeimim air base in Syria's Latakia province. The Kremlin is also determined to punish its one-time friend with economic sanctions such as refusing to buy poultry from Turkey and ordering Russian tourists not to visit the country.

However, the biggest damage Turkey may incur in the fallout of the fallen jet may come after the statements made by Russian leaders, which claim that they will take the issue of ISIL's financial avenues to the UN Security Council -- and that may cause Turkey a much-unneeded headache.

President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the jet a stab in the back administered by "the accomplices of terrorists," referring to Turkey and ISIL.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Putin, when he said on Wednesday that the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted the oil infrastructure used by ISIL.

More importantly, Lavrov alleged that Turkey benefited from the oil trade and said Russia will ask the UN Security Council to examine information on how terrorists are financed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defied those claims on Thursday saying, "Those who claim we [AK Party] have brought petrol from Daesh [the Arabic term for ISIL], are required to prove their claims, otherwise I will call them [Russian leaders] slanderers."

This is not the first time Turkey has been accused of intermediating ISIL's oil. In July a senior Western official claimed that information gathered at the compound of Abu Sayyaf, ISIL's officer responsible for oil smuggling operations, pointed to high-level contacts between Turkish officials and high-ranking ISIL members, according to a report by the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

Turkey, which only started to take an active part in the international coalition against ISIL, reluctantly, and after two years, has also been accused of turning a blind eye to the crossing of militants into Syria to join ISIL, if not openly facilitating militants' border crossings to join ISIL in Syria.

While giving voice to veiled criticisms of Turkey's dubious dealings with ISIL, Western officials had refrained, until very recently, from directly critiquing Turkish authorities. Russia's recent disclosures indicate that Turkey may be the target of international scrutiny.

Law professor gives al-Bashir example, says trial of Turkey ruler may be possible in future

Günal Kurşun, a professor of criminal law and the president of the Association for Human Rights Agenda, maintained that the current administration could only be tried in international tribunals if and when a new administration comes along and wants to clear the name of the country.

Kurşun gave the example of Omar al-Bashir, the internationally ostracized leader of Sudan, who is currently being tried on 10 counts of crime, including five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide according to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The law professor added that even though the legal aspects of Turkey's rulers such as Erdoğan being tried in the ICC may not be certain, the political ramifications will be far reaching, even as far as to confine the rulers within Turkey by way of entry restrictions to other countries.

He explained to Today's Zaman that there are three parties that can bring up a court case in the ICC against an individual.

To begin with, the prosecutor of the ICC can initiate an investigation, as can a state party to the Rome statute and also the UN Security Council (UNSC) may refer investigations to the ICC, acting to address a threat to international peace and security.

There are four instances where individuals can be tried at the ICC. Those are on charges of genocide, aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Kurşun said it is possible for the UNSC to ascertain Turkey as aiding ISIL, which is held as an international terrorist organization, but added that without the cooperation of the member state, not much could be done in terms of the investigation.

Erdoğan's tacit acknowledgment of weapons filled trucks en-route Syria

Also, the question of whether President Erdoğan should be tried at the (ICC) as an individual stemming from allegations that he had knowledge of, if not actively facilitated, the transfer of weapons-filled trucks to radical groups in Syria, claimed by many to be ISIL.

The issue of Turkey's transportation of arms to Syria came to the fore early in 2014, when an anonymous tip led to the search of a number of trucks on the suspicion of weapons smuggling. It was later discovered that the vehicles where actually en route to Syria and belonged to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The first stop-and-search took place in Hatay province on Jan. 1, 2014. Another anonymous tip led to three more trucks being intercepted in Turkey's southern Adana province on Jan. 19, 2014.

Erdoğan who was prime minister at the time, said in a TV program immediately after the search of the trucks became public that they were carrying aid supplies to Turkmens in Syria. On the program, Erdoğan appeared to be particularly angry with the prosecutor for having demanded the search of the trucks to be recorded on video and described the search as "treason."

However, Syrian-Turkmen Assembly Vice Chairman Hussein al-Abdullah said in January 2014 no trucks carrying aid had arrived from Turkey.

Then, this Tuesday, Erdoğan seemingly validated claims that the Turkish government was sending weapon-filled trucks to radical groups in Syria by sarcastically asking, "So what if MİT trucks were filled with weapons?"

Speaking to a room full of teachers on Tuesday gathered for Teachers' Day, Erdoğan said, "You know of the treason regarding MİT trucks, don't you? So what if there were weapons in them? I believe that our people will not forgive those who sabotaged this support."

In May, Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) said in an election rally in the run up to the June 7 general election; "They [the AK Party and Erdoğan] have committed many crimes. They have committed grave sins domestically and internationally, and now there is the possibility that they may be tried at the ICC."

Former ECtHR judge says US-Nicaragua case sets precedent

Rıza Türmen, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and one of Turkey's leading expert in international law, told Today's Zaman that a powerful country like the United States was in the past tried and found guilty by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of aiding and abetting militants in the Central American country of Nicaragua, and that Turkey is no exception.

In 1984, the hitherto relatively unknown country of Nicaragua took the US to the ICJ on the ground that it was responsible for illegal military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua between 1981 and 1984.

In April 1981, US terminated aid to Nicaragua and in September 1981, according to Nicaragua, the United States "decided to plan and undertake activities directed against Nicaragua."

The armed opposition to the new Nicaraguan government was mainly conducted by the Fuerza Democratica Nicaragüense (FDN) and Alianza Revolucionaria Democratica (ARDE). Initial US support to these groups fighting against the Nicaraguan government (called "contras") was covert.

"Turkey does not have the right to intervene in the affairs of another state. However, if the trucks of weapons may be true, as the President [Erdoğan] said, then Turkey will have intervened in the internal affairs of another country," Türmen said.

He added that the UN Security Council is able to initiate the investigations at the ICC, which tries individuals who are charged with committing crime against humanity rather than countries, such as the example with Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

The former judge did note however that Turkey does not recognize the ICC and that it was very unlikely for Erdoğan to be tried there, but added that even being uttered in the same breath as such allegations would be enough to tarnish the reputation of any leader in the international forum.

Professor: Erdoğan hoped to lead bloc of countries from Tunisia to Syria

According to Baskın Oran, a professor at Ankara University's Faculty of Political Sciences, Erdoğan hoped, after the Arab Spring revolts began in 2011, to lead a bloc of countries, ranging from Tunisia to Syria, all headed by Islamist Muslim Brotherhood governments.

Oran wrote in a June article that when Erdoğan saw "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was blocking this dream; [he] gave orders that arms were to be sent to opposition forces in Syria with the intent of helping to topple Assad."

Oran stated that in sending those weapons, the Erdoğan government clearly violated the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution 2,625 made on Oct. 24, 1970.

Resolution 2,625 clearly reads that "no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State."

Hariri Tribunal set up UN Security Council serves as reminder

In 2005 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1,595, to establish a commission to assist Lebanese authorities in their investigation of the assassination of former Prime Minister Refik Hariri in Beirut, which took place on Feb. 14, 2005.

Under the resolution, the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was formed and investigated the assassination for four years, but was later superseded by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), also referred to as the Hariri Tribunal, in March 2009.

The United Nations investigation initially implicated high-level Lebanese and Syrian security officers in Hariri's killing, according to the online news portal gulfnews.com. Arrest warrants were issued by the tribunal, demanding the arrests of four Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists.

[Nov 28, 2015] The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4-10)

therealnews.com
JAY: It's crazy. There's an interview with Lyndon Johnson near the end of his presidency in the Vietnam War, and he's asked, why do you keep continuing this? What is this about? And he actually, apparently, pulls down his fly and brings out his organ--as this is how it's described by one of his biographers--and he says, this is what it's about.

KIRIAKOU: I believe that story.

JAY: At the time, how much do you understand that's what it's about, that it's just a pissing match?

KIRIAKOU: I did understand it, and I grew frustrated with it. I grew frustrated with American policy toward Iraq and decided I've got to do something completely different. And that's when I began looking for new job.

JAY: Within the CIA

KIRIAKOU: Within the CIA

JAY: And you go to Greece.

KIRIAKOU: Well, there was a position advertised that called for either a Greek or Arabic speaker. And it turned out that at the time--.

JAY: You know what? I'm sorry. I want to go back to where you said you can believe the Johnson story.

Alright. So you're a professional analyst. You're analyzing what's going on in Iraq, what should be done. I mean, it sounds like you're coming to the conclusion, like, all of this is unnecessary in terms of real U.S. national interest. You're saying this is essentially a pissing match. I mean, and I don't think we should make that too banal. What I mean by that: it isn't just a personality thing. I think ingrained in U.S. foreign policy is this, that we must make everyone believe we are stronger than they are. And it's sort of like a loan shark. I said this in another interview. If you let someone get away with not paying back their interest that week, then everyone else isn't going to pay back. That's the theory. So you've got to break some knees, and if somebody's really defiant, for that, for its own sake, you have to prove you can put that person in their place.

But, as an analyst, you can see this isn't good foreign policy.

KIRIAKOU: No, it was quite bad foreign policy. It was a waste of resources and people were getting killed. But at the same time, it goes beyond the president and the State Department and the Defense Department. You have congressional leaders hammering the president for being weak on Iraq and to bomb more and to fight harder and to make sure that Saddam is humiliated. And so you have this spiral of bad policy that you just can't get out of.

JAY: And how much do you think that for certain sectors of the economy--'cause it's certainly not true for all of the economy, but if you're in fossil fuels or if you're in military production and associated high tech, war's damn good for business.

KIRIAKOU: It is good for business. And when you think about it, though, if we--. Look at it this way. We bought much, much more Libyan oil than we ever bought Iraqi oil. Iraqi oil mostly went to Europe. And when Libya collapsed and their oil industry came to a screeching halt, it had virtually no effect on our own economy. Virtually none. So did we really need to hammer the Iraqis like this over more than a decade to protect the oil? We really didn't need the oil anyway.

JAY: But by fossil fuel I mean as long as there's conflict, the price of oil's high.

KIRIAKOU: Mhm. It stays high.

JAY: We know big oil companies make more money the higher the price of oil.

KIRIAKOU: That's right.

JAY: People selling arms, the more stuff you blow up, the more stuff you've got to buy to replace it, and the more threat of conflict, the more--.

KIRIAKOU: Right. It's good for business.

JAY: How much do you think that drives U.S. foreign policy?

KIRIAKOU: I think that's an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. I really do. You know, we've got not just arms manufacturers, but now we have drone manufacturers, for example, that are having to compete against Israeli drones and Chinese drones and Russian drones. So we need for there to be conflicts so we can sell our drones. It's the same with aircraft. You know, Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers would go under if we couldn't sell F-15s and F-16s and F-whatever they are, 23s, the new ones that are coming out, both for our own military and for foreign militaries. So war is good for business.

JAY: I mean, if you're thinking of the current situation, the more potential conflict there is between the Saudis and the Iranians, that's a gold mine If you're selling arms.

KIRIAKOU: Especially when the Saudis have a bottomless pit of money that they can dip into. The same with the Qataris and the Emiratis. It's very lucrative for us to be in the Gulf.

JAY: Now, let's go back. As you're leaving, you go back to Arlington. You're back on the Iraq file. You're starting to see how crazy all this stuff is. Are you starting to question now? KIRIAKOU: Yeah, now I'm starting to get frustrated. This policy is broken, it's not working, and there's no hope of changing it. So I decided to do something completely different. JAY: Okay. KIRIAKOU: And that was operations. JAY: So--oh. Now you're going to leave analysis go to operations. Now, this to me sounds a little contradictory. You're starting to see the pattern of some of the underlining rot of the policy, but now you're going to go over to operations, where some of the dark stuff gets done. KIRIAKOU: Yeah, but some of the dark stuff was meant to save and to protect American lives, and that's really what I wanted to focus on. I ended up going to Greece and spending two years in Greece. And my job in Greece was to try to disrupt terrorist attacks committed by a group that was called Revolutionary Organization 17 November. 17 November had murdered the CIA station chief in Athens in 1975. They murdered two defense attaches. They had shot and severely wounded several embassy officers. And they murdered an American Air Force technical sergeant who was just--the poor guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And they had murdered almost two dozen Greek nationals as well, important people--cabinet ministers, the heads of the central bank, university professors, prominent business leaders. And I thought, this is something I could sink my teeth into. JAY: But when you decide to join ops, you don't know that's where you're going. KIRIAKOU: Oh, yeah. JAY: You do? KIRIAKOU: Oh, yeah. JAY: Oh, you know it's Greece. KIRIAKOU: I applied specifically for that job. JAY: And what's the training? KIRIAKOU: It was all of the traditional operational training at--. JAY: Tradecraft they call it. Is that right? KIRIAKOU: Tradecraft, right,-- JAY: Yeah. KIRIAKOU: --at a facility they call "the Farm", which is located south of here. JAY: And how long is the training? KIRIAKOU: Well, because I was midcareer, I didn't have to go through what they called CIA 101. So I went straight into the shooting and the car crashing and the explosives training. And that lasted four and a half months.

[Nov 27, 2015] Russia continues to block Turkish goods amid lingering jet crisis

www.todayszaman.com
Trucks carrying Turkish products on international routes have been facing numerous obstacles encouraged by Russia over the four days since Turkey shot down a Russian jet, and many drivers are waiting in long lines to enter Russia at border crossings in Ukraine and Georgia.

"Earlier, Russian custom officials used to take samples from each truck and let them cross the border but now they have halted all entrances saying that they need to check the whole load even though no inspection has been underway since Tuesday," said Fatih Şener, the executive president of the İstanbul-based International Transporters' Association (UND).

Turkish and international media reported after the outbreak of the crisis that Russia immediately launched economic retaliatory steps on its southern border after Turkey's military shot down a Russian fighter near the country's Syrian border. Official statements from Russia revealed that joint economic projects had been placed under risk while many Turkey-bound tourism ventures were cancelled. Amid such restrictions, product transporters have been complaining of the new barriers they have been facing for the past three days. On Friday, Turkish lira hit 2.9345 versus the US dollar, its lowest since Oct. 29.

"I need to underline that barriers are being imposed not only on Turkish trucks but also on Bulgarians and others that carry Turkish products to Russia," Şener added.

Explaining that most of the trucks were loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, Şener said exported machinery products that had been on their way to Russia, were also hampered.

But the Kremlin has said it will not impose official sanctions on Turkish products, a statement that Şener said the UND was pinning all its hopes on, adding that he hopes the barriers will not be here to stay in the long-term.

Tension threatens $1 bln worth in produce exports


Of the $2.3 billion in fresh fruit and vegetable exports of Turkey in 2014, Russia-bound sales made up 40 percent of the total, or roughly $1 billion. Turkey mostly exports tomatoes, citrus fruits, grapes, pomegranates and cherries to its northern neighbor.

"I don't want to predict disaster but the situation is very gloomy," Hasan Yılmaz, the head of Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Exporter Unions told the Cihan news agency.

Cihan also reported on Friday that exporters of produce in the southern province of Antalya, who conducted sales worth around $350 million to Russia in 2014, resorted to releasing their goods on the domestic market.

Necati Zengin, a representative at the Antalya-based Kalyoncu Group, a giant exporter company that used to send around a hundred truckloads of produce to Russia via its seven to eight freighters before the crisis, reportedly said all his trucks are now waiting idle at Russian borders. "It is hard to calculate the losses given that a truck is loaded with some $45,000 worth of goods a day," Zengin said.

[Nov 27, 2015] James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the US military, was in Ankara when the incident occurred

marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, November 25, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Great post up at Moon of Alabama on the possibility of American involvement in this caper – James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the U.S. military, was in Ankara when the incident occurred. Although it appeared yesterday to have been Erdogan acting on his own, who knows? If he was persuaded into it, you can chalk up another country that will be an avowed enemy of the USA before a year is out, because it is the Turks who will pay for it in lost revenue and economic reprisals. I agree with a lot of B's conclusions as well.

yalensis, November 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

Of course Americans were involved – duh!

Americans played on Erdogan's Islamist streak and flattered the regional ambitions of this "sick man of Europe".
Under Erdie's incompetent rule, Turkey has become just another two-bit goon to put into play against Russia.
Americans sub-contracted out to Erdogan, to control other Turk-based "goon franchises" such as Djemiliev's fake "Crimean Tatars", Chechen "Caliphate" types such as Osmaev, some Azerbaijani types, and obviously the "Turkmen" sub-brigades of ISIS.
Erdogan is the designated "Team Leader" for all of these dubious elements.
Erdogan himself reports back to the "big guy", shown here pardoning a Turkey owned by a certain Dr. Jihad. Coincidence? I think not!

kirill, November 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for the link and great post! Outside of science and other non-politicized parts of academia, all these academics are regime bootlicks. One such "academic" is Nina Khruscheva. They all spew intellectually insulting drivel.

ucgsblog, November 26, 2015 at 1:35 am

Beautiful article Mark! I completely agree with it. Of note:

1. The Turkmen on the Syrian side of the border, who enjoy Erdogan's protection and intervention, machine-gunned the Russian fighter's pilot and navigator while they were hanging in their parachutes, falling from the sky. Is that a war crime? You bet it is.
2. This knee-jerk defense of a lying shitbag like Erdogan is why Russians are grim and filled with resolve.
3. Lavrov likely does have a point, and the Turks were probably lying in ambush for a Russian plane.
4. [The] official response from Washington was that Turkey has a right to defend its territory and its air space, and President Obama blamed the incident on "an ongoing problem with Russian operations near the Turkish border."

These are the reasons why Russia is going to overreact. Add to this that the EU, at the behest of Obama, the only political national leader who didn't offer condolences to Russia after ISIS bombed a Russian civilian plane, imposed sanctions on Russia over an accidental shooting, that Erdogan's been excessively aggressive, and that Russia is just sick and tired of being treated without any respect by the same elites that back Erdogan, it's no surprise that Erdogan will be hit hard from all directions. The economic damages from the tourism market alone is going to be at least $9 billion. Turkish Stream is probably going to be cancelled, as will generous loans. I'm surprised that there's no official break off in relations just yet, but I think that's also coming. And if Erdogan goes into Syria, well, then it gets interesting.

[Nov 27, 2015] Syrian Turkmen commander who killed Russian pilot turns out to be Turkish ultranationalist

RT News
A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.

Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.

READ MORE: Russian Su-24 pilots shot dead while parachuting over Syria - Turkmen militia

Celik came under spotlight after he announced that as the two Russian pilots descended by parachute after the Su-24 jet was downed by Turkish military, both were shot dead by Turkmen forces on Tuesday.

A graphic video posted earlier on social media purported to show a Russian pilot lying on the ground surrounded by a group of armed militants.

[Nov 27, 2015] Turkish F-16 attacked Russian Su-24 without warning, both were above Syria – commander

Notable quotes:
"... "unprecedented backstab." ..."
"... Both aircraft remained in the area for 34 minutes. During this time there was no contact between the crews of the Russian bombers and the Turkish military authorities or warplanes. ..."
"... Commander Bondarev noted that a pair of Turkish F-16Cs had been in the area close to the attack zone for more than an hour prior to the attack, which explains their presence in the area. The time needed to get the aircraft ready at the Diyarbak r airfield and travel to the attack zone is an estimated 46 minutes. ..."
"... One of Turkish F-16Cs stopped its maneuvers and began to approach the Su-24M bomber about 100 seconds before the Russian aircraft came closest to the Turkish border, which also confirms the attack was pre-planned, Commander Bondarev stressed. ..."
"... The chief of Russia's Air Force also called attention to the readiness of the Turkish media, which released a professionally-made video of the incident recorded from an area controlled by extremists a mere 1.5 hours after the Su-24 was downed. ..."
"... The Turkish military not only violated all international laws on protecting national borders, but never delivered an apology for the incident or offered any help in the search and rescue operation for the Su-24 crew. ..."
"... "more than massive, devastating" ..."
Nov 27 , 2015 | RT News
Get short URL A Turkish fighter jet launched a missile at a Russian bomber on Tuesday well ahead of the Su-24 approaching the Turkish border, the chief of Russia's Air Force said. The bomber remained on Turkish radars for 34 minutes and never received any warnings. TrendsSu-24 downing

The attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber was intentional and had been planned in advance, Viktor Bondarev, the chief of Russia's Air Force, announced Friday, calling the incident an "unprecedented backstab."

The commander shared with the media previously unknown details of what happened on Tuesday.

On November 24, a pair of Russian Sukhoi Su-24 tactical bombers took off from Khmeimim airbase in Latakia at 06:15 GMT, with an assignment to carry out airstrikes in the vicinity of the settlements of Kepir, Mortlu and Zahia, all in the north of Syria. Each bomber was carrying four OFAB-250 high-explosive fragmentation bombs.

Ten minutes later, the bombers entered the range of Turkish radars and took positions in the target area, patrolling airspace at predetermined heights of 5,800 meters and 5,650 meters respectively.

Both aircraft remained in the area for 34 minutes. During this time there was no contact between the crews of the Russian bombers and the Turkish military authorities or warplanes.

Some 20 minutes after arriving at the designated area, the crews received the coordinates of groups of terrorists in the region. After making a first run, the bombers performed a maneuver and then delivered a second strike.

Immediately after that, the bomber crewed by Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov and Captain Konstantin Murakhtin was attacked by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet operating from the Diyarbakır airfield in Turkey.

Read more FSA video claims Russian-made helicopter hit with US-made TOW missile near Su-24 crash site

To attack the Russian bomber with a close-range air-to-air missile, the Turkish fighter jet had to enter Syrian airspace, where it remained for about 40 seconds. Having launched its missile from a distance of 5-7 kilometers, the F-16 immediately turned towards the Turkish border, simultaneously dropping its altitude sharply, thus disappearing from the range of Russian radars at the Khmeimim airbase.

The Turkish fighter moved two kilometers into Syrian airspace while the Russian bomber at no stage violated Turkish airspace, Bondarev stressed.

The crew of the second Su-24M had a clear view of the moment the missile was fired from the Turkish F-16, and reported this to base.

Commander Bondarev noted that a pair of Turkish F-16Cs had been in the area close to the attack zone for more than an hour prior to the attack, which explains their presence in the area. The time needed to get the aircraft ready at the Diyarbakır airfield and travel to the attack zone is an estimated 46 minutes.

One of Turkish F-16Cs stopped its maneuvers and began to approach the Su-24M bomber about 100 seconds before the Russian aircraft came closest to the Turkish border, which also confirms the attack was pre-planned, Commander Bondarev stressed.

The chief of Russia's Air Force also called attention to the readiness of the Turkish media, which released a professionally-made video of the incident recorded from an area controlled by extremists a mere 1.5 hours after the Su-24 was downed.

Commander Bondarev also mentioned the memorandum of understanding regarding the campaign in Syria, signed by Moscow and Washington on October 26. In accordance with this agreement, the Russian side informed its American counterparts about the mission of the two bombers in the north of Syria on November 24, including the zones and heights of operation.

Read more A Russian Aerospace Defense Force jet bombs Islamic State facilities in Syria © Terrorists in Su-24 search operation area killed - Russian Defense Ministry

Taking this into account, the Turkish authorities' statement on not knowing which aircraft were operating in the area raises eyebrows, Bondarev said.

The Turkish military not only violated all international laws on protecting national borders, but never delivered an apology for the incident or offered any help in the search and rescue operation for the Su-24 crew.

The Su-24's pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov, was shot dead by militants while parachuting to the ground, having ejected from the stricken aircraft. His partner, navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, survived being shot at while parachuting and managed to stay alive on the ground in an area full of terrorists.

The rescue operation took several hours and eventually recovered Murakhtin, although one Russian Marine in the team was killed when the rescue helicopter was destroyed by a US-made tank missile launched by the extremists – an incident they filmed and published online.

Commander Bondarev specifically stressed that the Russian pilot who survived the attack was actively looked for not only by the jihadists, but also by a number of unidentified and technically well-equipped groups.

After Captain Murakhtin was rescued, the Russian Air Force delivered "more than massive, devastating" airstrikes against the militants in the region where the operation had been taking place, Bondarev reported.

[Nov 27, 2015] Putin Hard to imagine Turkish gov't unaware of oil supplies from ISIL

Notable quotes:
"... He also said that the shooting down by Turkey of a Russian jet was an act of betrayal by a country Russia considered to be its friend. ..."
www.todayszaman.com

It is hard to imagine that the Turkish government is unaware of oil supplies to Turkey from areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday after talks with French leader Francois Hollande.

Putin used the opportunity of the joint news conference with Hollande to repeat his accusations against Turkey of turning a blind eye to oil smuggling by ISIL. He said it was "theoretically possible" that Ankara was unaware of oil supplies entering its territory from ISIL-controlled areas of Syria but added that this was hard to imagine.

He also said that the shooting down by Turkey of a Russian jet was an act of betrayal by a country Russia considered to be its friend.

[Nov 27, 2015] Russian economic retaliation rains down on Turkey as tension lingers

Notable quotes:
"... Turkeys economy will grow only under 3 percent this year, below the governments target, weighed down by political uncertainty at home and conflict in the Middle East. ..."
"... There are also a whole range of deals, investments and commercial relationships that could be threatened in the fallout from the downing of the Russian jet. ..."
"... Tourism is already being hit. After Russian officials on Tuesday advised holidaymakers against traveling to Turkish resorts ..."
www.todayszaman.com
Moscow made public a series of economic retaliation steps against Turkey on Thursday, after efforts to defuse tensions between Ankara and Moscow over the downing of a Russian jet fighter on Tuesday failed to pay off.

Russia said on Thursday it may impose various economic restrictions on Turkey, including measures to restrict the planned TurkStream gas pipeline, ending cooperation in building Turkey's first nuclear plant and limiting civilian flights to and from Turkey. Such moves would heap serious pain on either Turkey or Russia, both of which are already struggling economically, experts agree.

Russia said on Thursday it would be looking to cut economic ties with Turkey and scrap investment projects in a matter of days in the aftermath of the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane. The televised statement by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came a day after Russian media reported hundreds of trucks bringing Turkish goods stranded at the border. Medvedev ordered the Russian government to draw up measures that would include freezing some joint investment projects with Turkey, in retaliation for the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey. He also told a meeting of Cabinet ministers on Thursday that the measures would include restrictions on food imports from Turkey.

Shortly after Medvedev, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday that the restrictions against Ankara may include the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which is currently under construction in the southern province of Mersin in Turkey. He said the restrictions, drawn up in retaliation for the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, may also include limits to civil flights to and from Turkey and a halt to preparations for a Free Trade Zone. Moscow will also halt the creation of a single Turkish-Russian investment fund, Ulyukayev added. Meanwhile, cooperation between Russia and Turkey in tourism will "obviously" be halted, the head of Russia's tourism agency, Rostourism, said on Thursday, the Interfax news agency reported. Separately on Thursday, local authorities in Crimea also said a dozen of planned Turkish investment projects in the region were cancelled.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, however, on Thursday dismissed as "emotional" and "unfitting of politicians" the suggestions that projects with Russia could be canceled.

Turkish stocks fell more than 2 percent while the lira weakened to above 2.9 against the US dollar on Thursday.

Crackdown on Turkish food imports

Russia has increased checks on food and agriculture imports from Turkey, its Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday, in the first public move to curb trade in a dispute with Ankara for downing a Russian fighter jet.

The government told food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor to increase controls after Agriculture Ministry research showed about 15 percent of agriculture imports from Turkey did not meet regulations, the ministry said.

Rosselkhoznadzor normally only checks some food deliveries. The decision to start checking all supplies from Turkey means that while imports will continue, they could be significantly delayed. Moscow often uses Rosselkhoznadzor regulations in diplomatic spats, imposing bans on imports of certain products, citing health reasons. Officials deny the agency's actions are politically driven.

Moscow banned most Western food imports in 2014 when Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday the government was not planning to impose any embargo on Turkish imports. Turkey accounts for about 4 percent of Russia's total food imports, supplying mainly fruits, nuts and vegetables. Agricultural and food product imports from Turkey were worth $1 billion in the first 10 months of 2015, according to customs data. But 20 percent of Russia's vegetables come from Turkey.

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said any shortfall could be made up with supplies from Iran, Morocco, Israel and Azerbaijan. Citrus imports could come from South Africa, Morocco, China and other countries if necessary, he said in a statement. Russia's biggest food retailer Magnit said it was still buying fruits and vegetables from Turkey and declined to provide further comment. Food retailer Dixy said it would do its best to find other suppliers if needed.

Russian retailers were forced to find new suppliers in 2014 after Russia banned most Western food imports.

Fragile economies

Russia's economy will shrink around 4 percent this year from the combined effects of the low oil price and sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian state-owned bank VTB, told reporters at a forum in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg that politics and economics should be kept separate. "I would not be inclined to whip up the situation right now," he said, adding: "I think that one has to approach this very calmly. There are always negative events going on in the world."

Meanwhile, Turkey's economy will grow only under 3 percent this year, below the government's target, weighed down by political uncertainty at home and conflict in the Middle East. "Erdoğan is a tough character, and quite emotional, and if Russia pushes too far in terms of retaliatory action, I think there will inevitably be a counter reaction from Turkey [like] tit-for-tat trade sanctions," Nomura strategist Timothy Ash wrote in a note. "But I think there is also a clear understanding that any such action is damaging for both sides, and unwelcome."

There are also a whole range of deals, investments and commercial relationships that could be threatened in the fallout from the downing of the Russian jet.

Russia's state Atomic Energy Corporation, known as Rosatom, is due to build Turkey's first nuclear power station, a $20 billion project. Rosatom said it has no comment on the issue.

Shares in Turkish firm Enka İnşaat, which has construction projects in Russia and two power plants in Turkey using Russian gas, fell for a second day on Wednesday. Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes, which has six breweries in Russia and controls around 14 percent of the market, also saw its shares fall on Tuesday.

Tourism is already being hit. After Russian officials on Tuesday advised holidaymakers against traveling to Turkish resorts, at least two large Russian tour operators said they would stop selling packages to Turkey. Russians are second only to Germans in terms of the numbers visiting Turkey, bringing in an estimated $4 billion a year in tourism revenues.

[Nov 27, 2015] Kremlin Cutting Economic Links With the Turks

Notable quotes:
"... Oh, Turkey is in a lot of trouble, but this country essentially committed succeed de and I cannot fathom the lack of decent press coverage on that fact. First, Turkey's account of a 17 second overflight of Turkish airspace is mathematically impossible. Worse, Russian, in an attempt to cooperate with the Obama White House, released details of the flight path of that Russian plane to the Turks. Someone in the US government told Turkey exactly when and where that plane would be and Turkey, shot it down for them. WikiLeaks attributes this madness directly to Obama. ..."
"... Claiming Russia gave flight information to the US and therefore Turkey (isn't this a real coalition, he asks, mockingly?) further exacerbates one tension in this complex matrix of relations. ..."
"... President Bush said Saddam must go! That led to a catastrophe in Iraq with unfathomable losses on all sides. President Obama said Assad must go! Now we another catastrophe evolving in Syria and it's neighbors. ..."
"... This superficial assessment of things fails to capture the great gravity of the current situation caused by Turkey's foolish crime. ..."
"... It also reveals that Turkey sides with the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, the same ones who blew up a filled Russian plane just a few weeks ago. ..."
"... The decision to down the Russian plane regardless of whether it was in Turkish airspace for 20 seconds or not, was a major error on the part of Erdogan. He is rapidly losing what few friends in the West and the Middle East he may ever have had. The Turks were doing OK before this guy came on the scene. ..."
"... Obama was in Turkey one week before this incident. His remarks following the incident implicitly threatened Russia with more of the same. It is unlikely that Erdogan would have taken such a step without the support of his buddy Obama. ..."
"... Erdogan is trying to calm the storm and hold France 24 television: "We might have been able to prevent this violation of our airspace differently." ..."
"... Perhaps he realises that Ankara might have over-reacted. Turkish airforce could have fired warning shots, without hitting the plane. It was essential to remind Russia of violating Turkish air-space, although Russian planes are not a direct threat to Turkey. ..."
"... Turkey staged a provocation with full knowledge of where and when this Russian airplane will be. And after that NATO fully supported their member. I wonder why Russia sees NATO as threat. The message is loud and clear - NATO countries may provoke Russia under the protection of the allies. ..."
Nov 27, 2015 | www.nytimes.com
The New York Times

"One gets the impression that the Turkish leaders are deliberately leading Russian-Turkish relations into a gridlock," Mr. Putin said, adding later in the day: "Turkey was our friend, almost an ally, and it is a shame that this was destroyed in such a foolish manner."

... ... ...

During a news conference with Mr. Hollande late Thursday, Mr. Putin suggested that the United States, an ally of Turkey, was responsible for the fate of its warplane, since Moscow had passed on information about where and when its bombers would fly.

"What did we give this information to the Americans for?" Mr. Putin asked, rhetorically, before adding: "We proceed from the assumption that it will never happen again. Otherwise we don't need any such cooperation with any country."

... ... ...

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, objected to the failure of Turkish or NATO officials to offer condolences over the two Russian military men who died after the plane was shot down. She also demanded an explanation from Turkey about the death of the pilot, who was killed after he parachuted from the plane. It is believed he was shot by Turkmen insurgents who live along the border on the Syrian side and who are supported by Ankara.

... ... ...

Hundreds of trucks bearing Turkish fruits, vegetables and other products were lining up at the Georgian border with Russia, Russian news media reported, as inspections slowed to a crawl and Russian officials suggested there might be a terrorist threat from the goods.

"This is only natural in light of Turkey's unpredictable actions," Dmitri S. Peskov, the presidential spokesman, told reporters.

jamil simaan, Boston

If you compare Russia as a whole today to a person reacting to unexpected slights and/or attacks from people they used to trust, I don't think its response would seem irrational. Russia will definitely take an economic hit for applying sanctions to Turkey, but who respects a person who always prioritizes making money over self-respect? The way Turkey took down this jet made it all but impossible for Russia not to respond very aggressively because the Russian military has quickly become a moral pillar of Russian society, where the economy is flagging and politics stagnant. What did they expect Russia to do, just take it?

No matter how you slice it, though, Turkey's behavior has been much much worse for Turkey than anybody else. The American perspective is pretty pragmatic, and I'm sure a lot of people in the Obama administration are thinking they'd be pretty angry, too, if that happened to the US. It appears that behind closed doors the American and NATO leadership is not happy with Turkey, especially Erdogan. It couldn't be clearer right now how little any other NATO country would like to go to war for Turkey, especially when it is doing stupid things like this.

Wandering Jew, Israel 1 hour ago

It was reckless and dangerous move on the part of Turkey as a member of NATO. There was no reason to escalate the already sensitive situation shooting down Russian plane that was no real threat for Turkey's security.
Erdogan is more dangerous as a partner than he is as an enemy.

ngop, halifax, canada 4 hours ago

Erdogan is hardly in a position to criticize Russia for violating Turkish airspace (for all of 20 seconds at most) when his forces routinely do much worse things in Syria. His unconscionable and indiscriminate bombing of Kurds, both in Turkey and Syria, as well as doing everything possible to dislodge Assad has the objective result of helping the Islamic State. And speaking of territorial integrity, let's not forget about the forty years of illegal Turkish occupation of Cypress. With friends like Erdogan and his Saudi mentors, we don't need any enemies.

courther, USA 3 hours ago

Can we bottom line this situation? Turkey has really messed up by not only shooting down the bomber but killing the Russian pilot while he was in his parachute floating to the ground. I guess the barbaric Turkmen didn't realize that they were violating the Geneva Convention when they shot the pilot.

The US has also messed up when Russia gave the US its flight plan for the bombers in which the US apparently shared with Turkey. Both the US and Turkey have now backed themselves into a corner with Russia in Syria.

Putin has ordered the S-400 anti-missile defense system to be located 30 miles from the border of Turkey. The S-400 is one of the most advanced anti-missile systems in the world. The US military doesn't have an answer for this powerful and precise anti-defense system. The system is designed to target and destroy 75 targets simultaneously. This include Tomahawks missiles, stealth fighter planes such as the F-22 and the F-35 fighter jets. The system is accurate and precise. It doesn't miss its target. It is fully effective within a 250 miles radius.

Here is where most of you missed the point. With this type of weapon Putin can establish a no-fly zone in Syria and any plane that violate Syrian airspace can be shot down and there is nothing NATO or the US can do because of international law. Russia is a legitimate ally to Syria and can act on Syria's behalf. Whoever let Turkey join NATO messed up.

Julien, Canada

Turkey Violated only Greek Airspace 2,244 Times Last Year!!! Not to mention vialation of other countries.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/24/turkey-violated-greek-airspace-2244-ti...

A formation of Turkish fighter jets violated Greek airspace a total of 20 times!!! in a sigle day engaging in dogfight with Greek defenders. Clear provocation.
http://www.businessinsider.com/turkish-and-greek-jets-engaged-in-dogfigh...

Moreover when Syrian air defence downed Turkish F-4 Phantom, as a reaction Erdogan said in 2012: "Brief Airspace Violations Can't Be Pretext for Attack".

I let you decide what you think about it.

Paul, Virginia 3 hours ago

Considering the facts that both the US and Russia are nuclear powers and that Turkey is a member of NATO requiring NATO to go to war if Turkey was attacked, Turkey's shooting down the Russian jet and calling for an emergency NATO meeting was at the height of irresponsibility and recklessness and stupidity. The tepid reaction from the US and NATO indicates that Turkey was acting alone or without explicit consent from NATO. Russia's reaction so far has been confined to trade and tourism but Russia will surely and shortly begin to take actions that will intimidate Turkey short of an outright military attack, which will again raise at worst verbal tension with NATO for NATO will not risk a war with Russia over Turkey's behavior. It's overdue for the US and NATO to assess and downgrade alliance with Turkey.

Simon, Tampa 3 hours ago

I just hope that Putin takes revenge on Turkey, the Saudis, and other Gulf States by having the FSB leak to the media all the evidence that they are the ones financially supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda. This will embarrass our government, the French and other European countries doing business with them as they support terrorists who kill their citizens. Hollande wants to stop ISIS, then he should do stop doing business with these countries and call for international sanctions against them until they stop their indefensible behavior.

Knorrfleat Wringbladt, Midwest 3 hours ago

Turkey is lying in their effort to support Daesh and appropriate Syian territory. As the conflict worsens Turkey hopes to gain through suppression of its own citizens (Kurds) as well as stealing resources from surrounding weakened states. The fact that their strategy may cause serious setbacks for Western Civilization is an added bonus.
The West is foolish to ally themselves with a nation that for thousands of years has been the pivot between east and west. Turkey has learned to play both sides against each other. We need to do an end run apology to Russia (on Turkeys behalf), severely sanction Turkey for their non cooperation or kick them out of NATO altogether. If we do nothing they will continue to undermine us.

Mike Brooks, Eugene, Oregon 5 hours ago

Oh, Turkey is in a lot of trouble, but this country essentially committed succeed de and I cannot fathom the lack of decent press coverage on that fact. First, Turkey's account of a 17 second overflight of Turkish airspace is mathematically impossible. Worse, Russian, in an attempt to cooperate with the Obama White House, released details of the flight path of that Russian plane to the Turks. Someone in the US government told Turkey exactly when and where that plane would be and Turkey, shot it down for them. WikiLeaks attributes this madness directly to Obama.

Hamid Varzi, Spain 3 hours ago

Let us view the world, for as second, from an Iranian and Russian perspective:

The U.S. directly caused the rise of Islamic Extremism with 60 years of oppressive geopolitical policies in the Middle East. The U.S.'s current allies in the "War on Terror" are Wahhabi-infested Saudi Arabia, Palestine-baiting Israel, increasingly regressive Turkey and Al Qaeda refuge Pakistan. (Instead of focusing on the 50 nuclear weapons that already exist in the nation that created and supported the Taleban, the U.S. is focused on the nuclear programme of Iran that helped it defeat the Taleban in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11!).

Having seen the disastrous results of removing Middle Eastern dictators in Iraq and Libya, the West has now decided to remove the dictator in Syria, but in the expectation of different results.

All the while, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey are laughing their heads off at the discomfort faced by Iran and Russia as a result of crashing oil prices, seemingly ignorant of the far greater threat to their own security posed by the so-called Islamic State. The West, like deer caught in the Saudi, Israeli and Turkish headlights, has become paralyzed and has become easy pickings for radical Islamists, as we saw recently and tragically in Paris.

The West must realize it has become the victim of its own policies: It must urgently reappraise its geopolitical strategies by tackling Islamic Extremism at the source.

Tom, Fl Retired Junk Man 3 hours ago

Turkey is way out of line with their actions, they should apologize immeadiately and never be so foolish as to play with people's lives as though they were chess pieces.
This is not a game, if you screw with Russia there will be a strong response, and it is so unneccesary.

The Obama administration has messed up this relationship with Russia, that stupid reset button that Hillary presented to the Russian's should be reset again.

You get a lot more of a result with honey than with vinegar, and don't forget " Bears like Honey ".

So leave that Russian Bear alone.


This is news? Eugene, OR

Ignore Putin's pleas of outrage in this instance. This is about something other than a lost Russian pilot.

It is all about driving a wedge among NATO members, most specifically France and others inclined to cooperate with Putin in Syria, both practically and in terms of optics, and Turkey.

European-Turkish relations were already strained (human rights, Turkey abetting fighters travelling to join Daesh, rifts over the Kurds, failure to make progress on EU membership, and on) and Putin, believing he is needed by the West newly-energized to attack Daesh, is pressing on the sore point. He knows, for instance, that Turkey is 1) absolutely committed to Assad succession and 2) unwilling to see anything that doesn't hurt the Kurds develop.

With France leading Europe closer to Putin, the previous Western insistence on Assad leaving is weakening (for better or worse), giving way to the desire for tighter coop with Russia. Putin is framing this diplomatically as the only "serious" way to combat Daesh, putting Europe and Turkey increasingly on opposite sides of the Assad question in the short-term.

Claiming Russia gave flight information to the US and therefore Turkey (isn't this a real coalition, he asks, mockingly?) further exacerbates one tension in this complex matrix of relations.

Unlike Republicans I do not see Putin as some master strategist but this play is reasonably smart if transparently obvious.

Concerned. Michigan 2 hours ago

Plain and simple.

The only way ISIS criminals can get in and out of Syria is through Turkey. Why is it so hard to see how complacent are the Turks in allowing free access for these thugs in and out of Syria? It is high time for the world to confront the obvious. The Saudis and Qataris with their financial might have lobbied the Turks and the rest of the world to allow this to go on. Isis existence depends on human flow and money supply from gulf Arab donors and its oil trade through the Turkish border, address these main issues and Isis will be easier to defeat....

Dr. MB, Irvine, CA 4 hours ago

In the land of the Great Atarturk, this gentleman Mr. Erdogan does not fit in! Nations suffer when cynical persons wiggle into power, Turkey will not be an exception, unfortunately!

Barrie F. Taylor, Miami, Florida 4 hours ago

I was born in 1939 and have always been optimistic that war would eventually disappear after WW2 as a method for resolution of disputes between humans. Also I never thought that a nuclear war was likely to happen. The current state of discord in the world is astounding when one considers what we know about our world and existence. Religion should have died out by now but there are still ignorant people who still believe in God and immortality! Warfare and violence only beget violence and warfare - that should clear to anyone. Clearly our educational systems have failed.
As for warfare, it is always the average people who pay the price not our "leaders" who keep well out of harms way. They no longer lead the cavalry charge.
The West should keep out of the Middle East and let them resolve their problems - we've already messed up the area with colonialism , and that includes the US. The most important problem is the is a real likelihood of nuclear conflict due the abundance of nuclear weapons in the region. Because of the lunacy of religion this is probably bound to happen sometime soon.

NY 4 hours ago

The only way to ease the tensions is that Erdogan offers an apology to the Russian people and pays for the damage of the fighter Jet and compensation to the Pilots family. Bar the above he and the Turks will pay a much bigger price.

I would not be surprised if a Turkish F-16 or two being shot down in the future. Erdogan do the smart thing go down on your knees and apologize.

Byron Jones, Memphis, Tennessee 4 hours ago

Points to ponder
1. The Russian jet was in Turkish airspace for a few seconds in face of Turkish allegations that the pilots were warned for several minutes in advance.
2. Why shoot down the jet when a strong, morally outraged response from the Turks would play better internationally?
3. Both Putin and Erdogan have problems at home and there is a long history of bad blood between the two countries.

Putin and Erdogan -- two bullies playing a dangerous game of chicken.

Sridhar Chilimuri, New York 2 hours ago

What a mess!

President Bush said Saddam must go! That led to a catastrophe in Iraq with unfathomable losses on all sides. President Obama said Assad must go! Now we another catastrophe evolving in Syria and it's neighbors.

There is lesson for us to learn. We or any other country should not be participating in leadership changes of other countries - let their people do it!

MN, New York 1 hour ago

Russia had a choice between Assad and Turkey and they chose Assad. They started bullying Turkey repeatedly since their campaign in Syria begun, they went as far as putting eight Turkish F-16s under radar lock by both MiG-29 and anti-aircraft missiles in October. They also specifically targeted Turkmen villages and Turkey backed rebels on Syrian-Turkish borders since October. The list of provocation goes on and on. The Russian ambassador was summoned by Turkey at least 5 times since Russia started its campaign in Syria. Turkey complained to UN more than one time too about Russia.

So if you think Russia has not been asking for this, you're wrong. It's exactly what Russia wants. The provocation started by Russia and Turkey was patient with Russia until they started to bomb the Turkmen. Despite Turkey's effort to de-escalate after the incident, Russia has cut economic ties and the Kremlin even rejected a request to Putin-Erdogan meeting in upcoming Paris convention. Russia continued their path of further provocation by intensifying air strikes on every single Syrian-Turkish border held by Syrian rebels and on Turkmen villages. They even started giving air support to Kurd's PYD in their new push against Syrian rebels.

Turkey on the other hand is under pressure to respond to Russia provocation especially by nationalists who voted to the AKP government for the first time instead of their preferred extreme nationalist MHP party.


ZHR, NYC 2 hours ago

Turkey is not very accurate. Last week Turkish nationalists -- no doubt at the behest of the Erdouan government--protested Russian air strikes in Syria in front of the Dutch Consulate. They got the wrong consulate.

In July, it was reported that Turkish "demonstrators angry about the Chinese government's treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority attacked a Chinese restaurant. It turned out to be owned by a Turk, and worse still the chef was in fact an Uighur Muslim."

Don't blame the Turks. They probably thought they were downing a Bulgarian plane or maybe one from Lichtenstein.


Syed Abbas, Dearborn MI 4 hours ago

What Russia could not do in 70 years, ISIL has done in 1. Break up NATO.

Now, it is France, Russia, Germany Iran against Turkey, US, and ISIL, a conflict that will go on for the rest of the century.

Today, it is not the end, but beginning of the end.


Buckeye, Ohio 1 hour ago

This superficial assessment of things fails to capture the great gravity of the current situation caused by Turkey's foolish crime. This is the first time in over 50 years in which a NATO force attacked and destroyed a Soviet/Russian military target with fatal consequences. This reckless military aggression by Turkey deserves the condemnation, to support, of the USA and all other NATO countries.

It also reveals that Turkey sides with the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, the same ones who blew up a filled Russian plane just a few weeks ago. The most rational outcome of this criminal act of war by Turkey is to expel it from NATO which needs to join the Syrian government in annihilating the Daesh terrorists, their roots and current sources of support. Tragically, rationality does not guide the US verbal war on the Daesh terrorists, who, like it, still has regime change in Syria as their irrational goal.

Kosovo, Louisville, KY 2 hours ago

I'm with the Russians, the Turks are double dealing. They support ISIS and are becoming more of an Islamic state themselves...

Simon Sez, Maryland 2 hours ago

Turkey is being relentlessly pulled deeper and deeper into the morass of Islamism from which there is no return.

Ironic that all that Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern, secular Turkey, fought for is now being undone by Erdogan, an Islamic dictator who will brook no dissent.

While Putin is no saint, quite the opposite, his response is less aggressive than it might be. Many Russian nationalists, and there are a lot of them, are loudly criticizing him for not responding more forcefully to the downing of the Russian plane and murder of one of the survivors.

Turkey is going to lose more than Russia from all of this.

The decision to down the Russian plane regardless of whether it was in Turkish airspace for 20 seconds or not, was a major error on the part of Erdogan. He is rapidly losing what few friends in the West and the Middle East he may ever have had. The Turks were doing OK before this guy came on the scene.

Moral of the story: Be careful when you tangle with the Russian Bear.

Especially, when it is wearing the mask of Putin.

Victor O, NYC 2 hours ago

Obama was in Turkey one week before this incident. His remarks following the incident implicitly threatened Russia with more of the same. It is unlikely that Erdogan would have taken such a step without the support of his buddy Obama.

Does the U.S. truly wish to be drawn into a showdown with Russia? While it may be true that Russia is outclassed when it comes to conventional arms, Russia will resort to nuclear weapons if sufficiently challenged. Putin does not see the world through rose-colored glasses, and does not see gay marriage and global warming as the seminal issues of our time.

FromBrooklyn, Europe 2 hours ago

Yes, and the US, Russia and Europe should cooperate without reviving cold-war posturing and work together to defeat ISIS. Turkey can't be trusted; the Erdogans are getting rich from illegal oil and covertly support the terrorists.

anthony weishar, Fairview Park, OH 2 hours ago

There is a glaring problem with the Turkish version of the incident. The pilots ejected and landed in Syria, where "terrorist" captured or killed them. The Turkish map is not valid. If the pilots did land in Turkey, that would mean Turkey is protecting ISIS members and Syrian rebels.

Nick Zucker, San Francisco, CA 1 hour ago @Tolga

Nice revisionism there. All meant to justify a bellicose Turkish military of course. And what about the disputed landbetwwen syria and turkey this article talks about?

Turkey is the only country that doesn't not respect Greek territorial integrity and the only country that recognizes the northern regime in Cyprus. Face it, in the absence of true democracy, Turkish politicians have been feeding Turks a steady diet of imagined external threats (really, from Greece?) to consolidate public opinion around nationalist sentiment.

j. von hettlingen, is a trusted commenter switzerland 4 hours ago

Erdogan is trying to calm the storm and hold France 24 television: "We might have been able to prevent this violation of our airspace differently."

Perhaps he realises that Ankara might have over-reacted. Turkish airforce could have fired warning shots, without hitting the plane. It was essential to remind Russia of violating Turkish air-space, although Russian planes are not a direct threat to Turkey.

But since Russia embarked on the intervention in Syria, its arbitrary shelling of Turkmens in Syria, who are Turkish allies and rebels, backed by the West and the Arabs, has set the cat among the pigeons.

The US stands by NATO, which defended Turkey's action, because nobody wants to upset Ankara and jeopardise its access to the vital Turkish airbase at Incirlik.
That the Kremlin is considering severe economic ties to Turkey may just be rhetoric for domestic consumption because the Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire had fought a series of wars in the 17th-19th century. In recent years Moscow's support for Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-controlled breakaway enclave in Azerbaijan, is a thorn in Ankara's side, because Azerbaijan and Turkey are seen as "one nation with two states. The annexation of Crimea has led to the marginalisation of the Tartars, a Turkic ethnic group, for whose wellbeing Ankara sees itself responsible.

Maxim, Canada, BC 2 hours ago

Please read what really happened:
https://www.rt.com/news/323651-turkey-su24-downing-syria/
Turkey staged a provocation with full knowledge of where and when this Russian airplane will be. And after that NATO "fully supported" their member. I wonder why Russia sees NATO as threat. The message is loud and clear - NATO countries may provoke Russia under the protection of the allies.

John Warnock, Thelma KY 2 hours ago

Webster can add a new definition to the dictionary for "Middle East"; Quagmire. We need to seriously weigh our long term strategic interests in regard to this region. Put rhetoric aside. Put the infatuation of some with the Holy Land aside. Keep our support for Israel in balance with our commitment to Human Rights.
Ultimately the Moslem Nations of the Middle East need to sort this mess out. The continued interjection of the USA, Russia and Europe only delays the sorting out that must come to pass.

This sorting out must neutralize ISIS and similar groups and probably result in new national boundaries and new nation states. So be it. ISIS is an idea, a terrible idea, not territory.

You cannot destroy it by bombing physical things. The Moslem world must sort it out; just as we have some adherents to various forms of fundamentalism in this country that we need to address. We attract the attention of ISIS because we are there and foolishly do things like maintain the prison at Guantanamo. We are not and should not consider ourselves the World's Cop!

Syed Abbas, Dearborn MI 5 hours ago

The world has decided Russia is clearly on the right on this one.

However, Putin should not punish Turkish (and Russian) people for the sins of Erdogan. Moral high ground is to protest, provide evidence, forgive, and forget, and move on.

Let the universe unfold as it should. Soon the sins of Erdogan will catch up with him.

[Nov 27, 2015] Putin Accuses Obama Of Leaking Flight Details To Turkey

Notable quotes:
"... which the US knew about well in advance, ..."
"... It looks like the shootdown was a planned ambush, and they were trying to capture a Russian pilot. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
This is what Putin said:

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

In other words, just like in the tragic bombing of the Kunduz hospital by US forces (which has now been attributed to human error), so this time the target was a Russian plane which the US knew about well in advance, was targeted however not by the US itself, but by a NATO and US-alliance member, Turkey.

strannick

America gave ISIS the TOW rocket that exploded Russia's helicopter on a search and rescue mission to save the remaining pilot.

America gave Turkey the co ordinates to shoot down the Russian bomber, so Turkeys corrupt leader could continue profiting from selling oil for ISIS to fund ISIS terrorism.

Putin's patience is what keeps the world from the brink of nuclear war.

God bless and keep Vladimir Putin.

America is a piece of shit nation with a piece of shit president .

America ruins the world to rule it.

God help us all.

turtle

U.S. knew Russian jet flight path: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/30212396/us-knew-flight-path-of-plane-downed...

HowdyDoody

The US says ISIS doesn't have an air force?

Is it April 1 already?

Turkey ,a prime supporter and enabler of ISS, just gagging to open a consulate for ISIS, shot down a Russian aircraft involved in attacking ISIS. That seems like an ISIS airforce attack to me, even if we ignore the fact that the USAF attacks Assad instead of ISIS etc.

socalbeach

Russian MOD briefing on the rescue of the navigator, and other subjects. Terrorists and "other mysterious groups" with "special purpose locators" to find the pilot were eliminated by Russian airstrikes and Syrian artillery. "Western" special forces maybe? It looks like the shootdown was a planned ambush, and they were trying to capture a Russian pilot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdtQpfwOoSg

Rakshas

I thought this one was funny as well.....

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/30178705/suspected-isis-recruiter-bombed-dur...

It's unclear when the footage was filmed, but video shows a man being hit by a strike.

The French launched airstrikes on Islamic State following the tragic Paris attacks, which killed 130 people, but it's unclear if they were responsible for this bomb.

France has since released video of their strikes against ISIS.

It's believed the video was filmed between November 15 and 17, it was uploaded to YouTube on November 18.

O Tempora O Morons

Directly from the troll house

Max Steel
I find it amusing when muritards can't use logic against facts and truth they conveniently
paint others as trolls ( Ever thought why West MSM never reported on CIA disinfo agent
and State Deptt of US trolls , do you think they don't exist? Ha! They do but western
censor media is not allowed to report it even rest Google browser being american will
flash non-usa troll msm articles first.

Western Media is a Troll Army

[Nov 27, 2015] Turkeys attack on Russian jet is foreign policy nightmare Austrian ex-chancellor

Notable quotes:
"... Turkey can do much more to fight ISIS, but they are concentrated to fight or to separate or to isolate the Turkish fighters. The Peshmerga, as you know, is a staunch ally against ISIL or ISIS, and Turkey could also do more to stop the influx of foreign recruits a route to Syria. You mentioned the oil smuggling... so I think, a lot can be done, also to stop refugees, uncontrolled flow of refugees from Turkey to Europe. So I think Turkey should do more and on the summit of the EU and Turkey, Im sure a lot of our member-states will ask Turkey to do much more. ..."
RT - SophieCo
Sophie Shevardnadze: Wolfgang Schussel former Chancellor and foreign minister of Austria, welcome to the show, it's really great to have you with us. Now, a NATO country, Turkey, has shot down a Russian bomber in Syria, claiming it strayed into Turkish airspace. When a Turkish plane was shot for violating Syrian airspace, mr. Erdogan dubbed it an "attack with no excuse" - now, when a Russian plane is shot by Turkey in similar circumstances, it's an "appropriate self-defence". How this ambiguous stance of a NATO member and an EU candidate is viewed in Europea? Why is Turkey changing its stance when it feels like it? What's European take on that?

Wolfgang Schussel: I think it's a nightmare incident, what happened a few days ago. This is exactly what some military experts warned about - there were repeated warning that there could be a clash between two nations in this already overcrowded Syrian sky. I think, what is needed is more cooperation and coordination. And, I think, the response of Turkey, even if there would be some incidents, let's say, for 2-5 seconds crossing a border land, it's not an appropriate reaction for that. So, I think, what is needed is a military coordination in this very disputed area.

SS: But also, the way we look at it, this incident with the fighter jet has only highlighted Turkey's dubious behaviour towards ISIS. I mean, the alleged buying of smuggled oil from terrorists, allowing militant movement back and forth over the border and attacking Kurds who are fighting ISIS. Why has this been tolerated by members of the anti-ISIS coalition for so long?

WS: I think it was criticised. Turkey can do much more to fight ISIS, but they are concentrated to fight or to separate or to isolate the Turkish fighters. The Peshmerga, as you know, is a staunch ally against ISIL or ISIS, and Turkey could also do more to stop the influx of foreign recruits a route to Syria. You mentioned the oil smuggling... so I think, a lot can be done, also to stop refugees, uncontrolled flow of refugees from Turkey to Europe. So I think Turkey should do more and on the summit of the EU and Turkey, I'm sure a lot of our member-states will ask Turkey to do much more.

SS: So you think on that summit Turkey is going to be asked by the allies to get its anti-terror act together? Because, "criticising" and actually pressuring Turkey to do this are two different things.

WS: Yeah, but you know, summit is a diplomatic effort to bring up different ideas and to coordinate the political actions, and I think it's an important meeting. I would not underestimate the impetus and a potential influx on the Turkish policy. I hope it will work.

SS: NATO said in October it is ready to defend Turkey against Russia. It now has taken a much more cautious tone. Why the change?

WS: It should not be, so to say, confrontation of NATO and Russia. I think what is needed is direct talks between Turkey and Russia and I hope, I got some information that there's an already planned meeting between Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Turkish foreign minister. They should discuss it, and, anyway, there is a strong need to coordinate military efforts. If Russia - and I would support it - would become a member of the coalition against ISIS and ISIL, there's a need to coordinate the actions, the moves, the targets, et cetera.

SS: Now, while the anti-terror campaign in Syria is ramping up, in Europe operations following the Paris attacks are also in full swing. All of Austria's neighbors - Italy, Hungary, Germany - they're on high terror alert in case of another attack. Why isn't Austria on such an alert? Is Austria confident it's safe, I mean, feeling no need to raise the threat level? Is Austria equipped to handle such a threat?

WS:I think, everybody is on alert and rightly so: because nobody can feel safe and secure or exempt from terror attacks from Al-Qaeda, Daesh, ISIL, ISIS - call it what you want. I think what we learned during the last years, months, or weeks or days is that nothing is guaranteed. We're fighting for our way of life, to entertain us, to love, to listen to music, to meet, to speak freely. This is an attack against all of us, an attack against our values. So I think we all have to be united and no one should think he or she is exempt from being a target of these terrorists. This is our common enemy, and we should also prioritise our action. In the moment, the most urgent priority is to fight against ISIS, and then the rest should be settled. Political, diplomatic effort to settle something, a diplomatic or political solution for Syria - that's for sure, this is needed, but now the most important priority is to fight the Islamic forces.

[Nov 27, 2015] If these other foreign goupes searching for pilot include Americans and that might be the reason that after the plane was shot down, Russia was slapped with additional sanctions

marknesop.wordpress.com

Erika, November 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

Russian Pilot Rescued by Iran's General Soleimani

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940905000553

I am wondering if these other foreign forces they refer to are Americans and perhaps be the reason that after the shooting of the plane, Russia ended up getting additional sanctions.

[Nov 27, 2015] Reckless Turkey

Interesting discussion, Opinion of Charles Shoebridge is quite interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia fighting ISIS, among other purposes, can divide NATO in Russia's interest. Downing of Russia fighter is to distract Russia focus under encouragement of U.S. Russia must not lose sight of the ball and fall into the trap by revenging Turkey. ..."
RT CrossTalk
And now for the consequences: In the wake of Turkey's intentional downing of a Russian military aircraft over Syrian airspace, the Russia-Turkey relationship is in steep decline. Ankara says it merely acted in self-defense, but it appears to be protecting Islamic State.

CrossTalking with Charles Shoebridge and Yenal Kucuker.

William Bellah

The bigger picture is at stake and it all depends on China. The bigger picture is world domination and Russia alone is not enough of a deterrent to stop the U.S. And NATO but with China onboard, backing Russia in Syria, it is a whole different ball game

George Rizk -> Yancey Tobias

Yancey Tobias

Kucuker: "Turkey misunderstood,..." ???? This is nonsense. In the ME, the role of Turkey is well understood. more...

You are correct. A couple of years ago, Egypt ousted a Muslim Brotherhood President, who had sent terrorist to Syria, and looked the other way as Islamists in Egypt torched 75 churches. Mr. Erdoghan at the UN podium chose to condemn Egypt's more than 30 millions revolution against the Muslim extremists. Erdoghan, has exposed himself as a supporter of Muslim extremism, barbarism right at the UN a couple of years ago, and the news are full of information about the terrorist training camps and arms smuggling from Turkey into Syria.

George Rizk

The way this issue should be framed is: gangs of savages have been armed and encouraged by Muslim Sunni fanatic countries to oust Assad. The savages behaved in extremely barbaric fashion, and went after European targets, which made the West repulsed by their actions. Nevertheless, no country had enough guts to send forces to support these barbarians.

Russia decided after four years of such devastation to fight them. Hence Russia is attempting to protect human kind from such subhuman gangs. Any one defending these subhumans is a supporter of forces of darkness. Tukey should be ousted from the UN, and NATO.

Chunde Shi

Russia fighting ISIS, among other purposes, can divide NATO in Russia's interest. Downing of Russia fighter is to distract Russia focus under encouragement of U.S. Russia must not lose sight of the ball and fall into the trap by revenging Turkey.

Vidas Jack

One i can say , Russia is not Great World Power as it was USSR, and that the reason how NATO took down Su-24 in the manner of engagement Russia to WW3.

[Nov 27, 2015] Turkish President Erdo an warns Russia not to play with fire

Notable quotes:
"... Erdo an also touched on the joint press conference held by Putin and French President François Hollande on Nov. 26, describing the former's comments as "unacceptable." Denying allegations that Turkey has been purchasing oil from ISIL, Erdo an said the oil trade between ISIL, Russia and the Syrian regime had been documented by the United States. ..."
www.hurriyetdailynews.com

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned Russia "not to play with fire" in the wake of a crisis between Ankara and Moscow following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin says 'those who have double standards on terrorism are playing with fire.' I totally agree with him," Erdoğan said Nov. 27 in the northern province of Bayburt.

"Indeed, supporting the [Bashar] al-Assad regime in Syria, which has killed 380,000 people, is playing with fire. Striking opposition groups that have international legitimacy with the excuse of fighting against Daesh [an acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL] is playing with fire. Using an incident in which Turkey's righteousness is accepted by the whole world as an excuse to torment our citizens who were in Russia to attend a fair is playing with fire. Irresponsibly hitting trucks in the region that are there for trade or humanitarian reasons is playing with fire. We sincerely advise Russia not to play with fire," he added.

Erdoğan also expressed his willingness to meet Putin during the upcoming climate change summit in Paris in order to find common ground and avoid a further escalation of tension.

"We are uncomfortable with efforts to take the dispute over the downed jet into other areas of relations. Let's not allow that to happen," he said, underlining that maintaining good relations was beneficial for both countries.

Claiming that Turkey's shooting down of the Russian jet was not "intentional" but simply a result of an automatic enforcement of rules of engagement, Erdoğan nevertheless argued that Turkey was right to do so.

"Turkey has proved its honesty" by releasing audio recordings of the warnings issued to the Russian pilots, he added.

Erdoğan also touched on the joint press conference held by Putin and French President François Hollande on Nov. 26, describing the former's comments as "unacceptable." Denying allegations that Turkey has been purchasing oil from ISIL, Erdoğan said the oil trade between ISIL, Russia and the Syrian regime had been documented by the United States.

[Nov 27, 2015] Turkish minister says trade retaliation by Russia will hurt its farmers

www.hurriyetdailynews.com

Any trade retaliation by Russia over Turkey's downing of a jet flying sorties in Syria would hurt Russian farmers more, Turkish Agriculture Minister Faruk Çelik said on Nov. 27, pointing to import-export figures.

Turkey has not yet received official notification of any embargo by Russia, Çelik also told reporters.

However, it would be wrong to let the tensions between Russia and Turkey impact farming, commercial and economic ties, he said.

Russia has increased checks on food and agriculture imports from Turkey, the Agriculture Ministry said on Nov. 26, in the first public move to curb trade in a dispute with Ankara for the downing a Russian fighter jet.

The Russian government told Russia's food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor to increase controls after agriculture ministry research showed about 15 percent of agriculture imports from Turkey did not meet regulations, the Russian ministry said.

Çelik said Turkey exports around $1.3 billion of agricultural goods to Russia and buys $.2.9 billion of agricultural products from Russia.

"Any trade retaliation move will hurt mainly Russian farmers, not Turkish farmers," he said.

[Nov 27, 2015] Suspiciously well-equipped group of militants was looking for a catapult of the Navigator the fallen in Syria bomber su-24,

Notable quotes:
"... Suspiciously "well-equipped" group of militants was looking for a catapult of the Navigator the fallen in Syria bomber su-24, RIA "Novosti". This was stated by the VC commander-in-chief Viktor Bondarev. ..."
"... According to the military, the pilot was serach by a few "well-equipped" armed groups. Their origin is unknown. ..."
www.gazeta.ru
Suspiciously "well-equipped" group of militants was looking for a catapult of the Navigator the fallen in Syria bomber su-24, RIA "Novosti". This was stated by the VC commander-in-chief Viktor Bondarev.

According to the military, the pilot was serach by a few "well-equipped" armed groups. Their origin is unknown.

November 24 in the Syrian province of Latakia has fallen downed Russian bomber su-24. This responsibility took on the Turkish authorities, accusing Russia of violating its airspace. Moscow claims that the plane was flying solely over the territory of Syria.

[Nov 27, 2015] Guest Post Why Is The US Hanging Turkey Out To Dry

Notable quotes:
"... It can safely be assumed that the US influenced Turkey into shooting down the Russian jet over Syrian airspace, predicting quite accurately that this would immediately lead to the deterioration of ties between the two states. An elementary forecast of the specific counter-measures that Russia may take stipulates that these will likely relate to the diplomatic, economic, and energy sectors, which is just what the US wants. ..."
"... Furthermore, Turkish Stream looks to be indefinitely put on hold, thus delaying Russia's game-changing pivot to the Balkans. ..."
Zero Hedge

Authored by Andrew Korybko via OrientalReview.com,

Turkey's shooting down of the Russian anti-ISIL aircraft was an unprecedentedly direct aggression against Moscow that trumps even the tense and hostile militarism of the Old Cold War era. The world stands on edge in the immediate aftermath of this attack, with tabloid-esque commentators warning that the beginning of World War III awaits. President Putin, for his part, has been much more measured in responding to the incident, but still couldn't contain his shock at having received this "stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists."

The question now comes down to how Russia will respond to what happened, but perhaps even more important for observers to ponder is why the US is unofficially distancing itself from its ally's aggression. Despite both NATO and Obama giving full backing to Turkey's fateful decision, Reuters has quoted an anonymous American military official that purposely leaked that the Russian plane was downed while over Syrian airspace, basing the assessment on heat signature detection. This raises questions about why the US is playing both sides of the fence – on one hand, publicly supporting Turkey, while on the other, strategically releasing information that conflicts with Turkey's official depiction of events.

The Setup:

This dichotomy is suggestive of a Machiavellian plan whereby the US manipulates both Turkey and Russia into behaving according to what it has already forecast as their most likely responses, knowing full well that these could be guided into supporting grander American strategic interests. For starters, the US likely intimated to Erdogan that not only does he have the 'legal' right to shoot down any Russian aircraft he chooses, but that the US would actually prefer for him to take this course of action sooner than later. This is reminiscently similar to how the US put Sakkashvili up to bombing Tskhinval and invading South Ossetia – it may not have directly issued an official, on-paper order for this to occur, but it left no ambiguity as to how it wanted its proxy to act in each situation.

According To Plan:

For the most part, this explains the public pronouncements of NATO and the US' support for Turkey's actions, and it also goes a long way in soothing Erdogan's nerves and reassuring him that he did the right thing. The predicted aftereffect of the plane's downing was an immediate deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations, with the full consequences potentially affecting the diplomatic, military, economic, and energy spheres. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled his upcoming trip to Turkey and advised Russian tourists to refrain from visiting the country due to the terrorism level being similar to Egypt's. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has spoken about the possibility of barring Turkish companies from the Russian market and cancelling planned nuclear and gas projects with the country.

All of these prospective actions are fully justifiable and grounded in the self-respect that Russia feels in not aiding what has proven itself to be a militantly hostile state no matter the economic stakes involved, but at the same time, one can't help but wonder whether this is exactly what the US wanted. There's no doubt that Russia would react this way, as even a cursory glance of its potential 'response toolkit' indicates that these are the most likely to be taken amidst any deterioration of relations. Therefore, it can't be discounted that the US put Erdogan up to shooting down the Russian jet precisely to provoke the predictable Russian response in threatening to cancel its forthcoming energy projects with Turkey, the core of the strategic partnership between the two. If this is the case, and it certainly seems likely, then it shows exactly how far the US is willing to go to make sure that Russian energy (and subsequently, all of the soft power and multipolar advantages that come with it) doesn't enter the Balkans through the Turkish Stream megaproject, likely because it understands the transformative impact that this would eventually have on the entire region.

The Curveball:

Thus far, everything seems reasonable and well within the realm of predictability, but the curveball comes with the Reuters revelation that an unnamed American military source is essentially saying that the Russian position is justified. Unexpectedly, it now seems as though the US is also playing to Russia's side to an extent, and this raises questions about what it really wants. After all, it's been proven beyond any doubt that American-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles were used to down the Russian rescue helicopter that attempted to retrieve the two pilots. With this indisputable evidence of indirect American aggression against Russia, it certainly is a curious fact that the US establishment would purposely leak a statement saying that the Turkey downed the Russian plane in Syrian airspace, and basically take Russia's side on this behind the scenes.

Playing The Kurdish Card:

Explaining this diplomatic twist requires knowledge about the popular response that Russian citizens and global supporters worldwide are requesting to Turkey's aggression. They quite reasonably propose that Russia intensify its arms shipments to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters, with the wink-and-a-nod approval that some of them would be siphoned off to the PKK and be used against the Turkish military. This is an effective and pragmatic plan, and in reality, it actually doesn't even require a policy shift from Moscow because support is already being rendered to some Kurdish groups as part of their joint cooperation in the anti-ISIL struggle. The Kurdish Insurgency hasn't gone away since Erdogan unwittingly unearthed it this summer as an electioneering tool, and the fact that it's still going strong even after the elections has scared him so much that he might have been the one who ordered the recent assassination attempt against pro-Kurdish HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas. Thus, if Russia chooses to inflict an asymmetrical response to Turkey by beefing up its indirect support for the PKK and other Turkish-based anti-government Kurds or disrupting Blue Stream gas supplies in order to provoke an intensified rebellion, then it could certainly inflict a heavy amount of strategic damage to Erdogan and increase the likelihood either of a military coup in Turkey (explained more in detail as part of a different article accessible here) and/or the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

That being said, the US has traditionally been the out-of-regional power that has the greatest interest in Kurdistan, seeing the possible state as a 'geopolitical Israel' from which it can simultaneously exert influence on the rump portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The strategic trajectory of a theorized Kurdish state has been complicated by the anti-ISIL campaign, however, since many Kurds have shown themselves to be pragmatic in cooperating with Russia and Iran against this shared threat. The positive multipolar cooperation that each of these countries has engaged in with the Kurds challenges the US' planned hegemony over them and their territory, and it thus means that any forthcoming independent Kurdish political entity could theoretically go either towards the multipolar or the unipolar camps. At this point in time, and given all of the dynamic military and diplomatic developments of the past couple of months, the loyalty of a future Kurdish state (no matter if its boundaries are confined only to present-day Turkey and/or Iraq) is totally up for grabs, and it's impossible to accurately forecast which way it will go.

The strategic ambiguity that this entails means a few things to the US and Russia. For the US, it indicates that the time is now for it to bunker down and support Kurdistan's independence before it loses the strategic initiative to Russia, which might be moving in this direction (whether formally or informally) out of grand geopolitical spite for Turkey. Moscow, as was just mentioned, seems inclined to hit Ankara where it hurts most, and that's through supporting the Kurdish Insurgency in one way or another. However, it's not yet known how far this would go, and whether Russia would pursue this strategy as a form of short-term vengeance or if it would resolutely go as far in recognizing Kurdish Independence if it could ever be de-facto actualized. Of course, Russia wouldn't do anything that could endanger the territorial integrity of its Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian allies, but if the Turkish-based Kurds contained their ambitions solely within the borders of Russia's historical rival, then it might be able to rectify itself with this reality, especially if they even refrain from legal independence and instead seek a sort of broadly de-facto independent federative or autonomous status within a unified Turkey (which could only realistically be brought about by an intensified insurgency and/or a coup in Ankara).

Joining Hands For Kurdistan:

Having explained all of this, it's now clear that a remarkable convergence of strategic interests has developed between the US and Russia focusing on Turkish-administered Kurdistan. Understanding the changing calculations that Russia may now be having towards this topic as a response to Turkey's aggression against it, one can't necessarily preclude the possibility that the Reuters leak was actually a strategic overture to Russia. Washington might be sending a signal that it wants to speak to Moscow about ways to cooperate in this regard, knowing that each of them possibly have an interest now in seeing the proto-state rise to the fore of the global arena. A shared understanding has likely developed by now that a New Cold War competition for Kurdistan's loyalty could be fought after the entity is legally formalized (whether as an independent state or a de-facto independent sub-state entity modeled off of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq), and that the two Great Powers need to put aside some of their differences in joining hands to see this happen first.

Such a strong signal could have been discretely and secretly communicated to Russia via secure diplomatic and intelligence channels, but the reason it was so publicly broadcast via Reuters, the global newswire service, is because the US also wants to send a signal to Turkey as well. Despite taking its side on the matter before the global eye, the US is also "stabbing its ally in the back", to channel President Putin, by purposely leaking the information that the Russian jet was shot down over Syrian airspace. It's not news that the US has been unhappy with Erdogan for not behaving more submissively in the past and refusing to blindly go along with the previous plans to invade Syria (rendered useless after Russia's anti-terrorist military intervention there), so it might be trying to convey the message it's had enough of his games and is now playing their own in return. Of course, the US has always been manipulating Turkey ever since it joined NATO and allowed the Americans to operate out of Incirlik airbase, but this time, the treachery is being taken to a higher level by implicitly throwing out suggestions to Russia, Turkey's new foe (and only because the US manipulated Turkey into taking aggressive action against it), that it might want to team up in undermining Ankara's control over its volatile southeast.

Concluding Thoughts:

It can safely be assumed that the US influenced Turkey into shooting down the Russian jet over Syrian airspace, predicting quite accurately that this would immediately lead to the deterioration of ties between the two states. An elementary forecast of the specific counter-measures that Russia may take stipulates that these will likely relate to the diplomatic, economic, and energy sectors, which is just what the US wants. Because of Turkey's aggression against Russia, the strategic partnership between the two is now broken (although not necessarily irreversibly), and Ankara has become the fourth and perhaps most geopolitically significant member of the anti-Russian Intermarum coalition. Furthermore, Turkish Stream looks to be indefinitely put on hold, thus delaying Russia's game-changing pivot to the Balkans. While the 'unintended' consequence of the crisis has been Russia's foreseeable and absolutely legitimate decision to deploy the S-400 SAM system to Syria, this in a way also plays to the manipulated Turkish-Russian rivalry that the US wanted to produce in order to solidify the completion of the Intermarum project and simultaneously counter Russia's growing influence in the Mideast.

The reaction that no one could have predicted, however, is the US purposely leaking comments to Reuters that support the Russian version of events, namely, that the anti-terrorist jet was shot down while flying over Syrian airspace. This completely conflicts with what the US and NATO have said in public, but it shows that the US has had enough time to game out the plane-shooting scenario well in advance, and that it's playing a sinister divide-and-conquer game against Turkey and Russia. Put in the position where its decision makers are scrambling for responses to the unprecedented aggression against them, Russia can now more easily be led into supporting the Kurdish struggle for sovereignty (whether formally independent or de-facto so) in Turkey, which coincides with one of the US' premier geopolitical projects.

From an American perspective, a divided Turkey is doubly useful for its grand strategic designs, as the large pro-NATO Turkish military would remain mostly intact, while the US could gain a major base for force projection (both hard and soft) right in between some of the most important states in the region. It can't, however, go fully forward with this project unless it has the support of the diplomatic leader of the multipolar world, Russia, otherwise Kurdistan will be just as illegitimate as Kosovo is and might not even come to geopolitical fruition if Moscow and Tehran work to stop it.

Seen from the Russian standpoint, the US' intimations actually seen quite attractive. An increase of Russian support to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters would be a plausibly deniable but strategically obvious way to funnel weapons and equipment to anti-Turkish PKK insurgents. Weakening Turkey from within would be a strong asymmetrical response to a country that has lately been a major thorn in Moscow's side, and it might create the conditions either for a military coup against Erdogan, a divide between him and Davutoglu (which could be used to Russia's diplomatic advantage so long as the constitution remains unchanged and Davutoglu legally remains more powerful than Erdogan), or a weakening of Erdogan and a tempering of his anti-Russian and anti-Syrian positions.

Importantly, the emergence of an independent or semi-independent Kurdish entity in Turkey could create a tempting piece of geopolitical real estate in the New Cold War, but of course, it would then be contested between the multipolar and unipolar worlds. Still, however, it would represent a positive multipolar development in the Mideast, since under the present state of affairs, the entirety of Turkish territory is under unipolar control. If a large chunk of it suddenly became the object of competition between both blocs, then it would definitely signify a strategic advancement at the expense of unipolarity. Of equal importance, this would also significantly impact on the Turkish state and whatever government is in power by that time, and it could possibly make it more amenable to returning to the previously pragmatic relationship with Russia and perhaps even resurrecting Turkish Stream.

Therefore, Russia surprisingly has nothing to lose and everything to gain by covertly supporting the Kurdish cause in Turkey, no matter if it's full-out independence or relatively more restrained autonomy, and even if this is objective is shared by the US and done in semi-coordination with it. Turkey would immediately be put on the defensive (although it could try desperately responding by supporting Tatar terrorists in Crimea), the multipolar world have a chance at competing for the loyalty of an ultra-strategically positioned entity, and the consequences that this has for the Turkish government (whether it remains the same or is changed via a [military] coup) could recreate the political conditions for Turkish Stream's feasibility.

Main_Sequence

The shooting down of the Russia's SU-24 that had allegedly cro