What Is Turkey’s Aspirations?

Now that ISIS has been handed their butts Turkey has expanded their use of force in Syria and Iraq….most of the violence is aimed squarely at the Kurds in the region.

Understandable since Turkey has had a hard on for the Kurds in the region for several decades…..but beneath the obvious I have seen some opinions that Turkey is trying to bring back their glory days of the Ottoman Empire and their attacks on the Kurds is to remove any opposition that might interfere with their plans.

A European think tank, Geopolitical Futures has issued a paper on Turkey’s Middle East aspirations…..

The central question in Turkey’s invasion of Afrin has been whether it is a limited operation that will stop in northwestern Syria, or the first stage of what will become deeper Turkish involvement in the Middle East. Given that Turkey is intent on clearing the threat from its border, and that Kurdish forces extend far beyond the northwestern enclave of Afrin, there’s little reason to think that Turkey will stop after subduing Afrin.

There is, however, another threat that is forcing Turkey to take foreign military action: Iran. One of Turkey’s greatest historical adversaries, Iran has emerged from the Syria conflict in a relatively powerful position. One aspect of its qualified success has been the ability of the Bashar Assad regime, with Iran’s backing, to hold onto power and reconquer much of the territory it had lost in the civil war. Turkey sees a pro-Iran, Assad-led Syria on its border as a direct threat, which is why it looked the other way earlier in the war when Islamic State recruits crossed the border from Turkey to fight Assad.


Keep in mind that Turkey is also attacking the Kurds in Iraq…..now this is a NATO country, Turkey, and their violence against another country is a violation that could force the rest of NATO into a conflict they may not want.

All this brings into being a new term….Neo-Ottomanism

Neo-Ottomanism has been used to describe Turkish foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party which took power in 2002 under Erdoğan, who subsequently became Prime Minister. Neo-Ottomanism is a dramatic shift from the traditional Turkish foreign policy of the Kemalist ideology, which emphasized looking westward towards Europe with the goal of avoiding the instability and sectarianism of the Middle East. The shift away from this concept in Turkish foreign policy under Turgut Özal‘s government has been described as the first step towards neo-Ottomanism

The Ottoman Empire was an influential global power which, at its peak, controlled the Balkans, most of the modern-day Middle East, most of coastal North Africa (at least nominally), and the Caucasus. Neo-Ottomanist foreign policy encourages increased engagement in these regions as part of Turkey’s growing regional influence.


With some analysis one can see the possibility that Turkey is trying to relive the glory days of the Ottomans……slowly but steady……this will not benefit the world.


No Atheists In The Trenches

Once again the old professor will throw some history your way…..

There is a saying about atheists and foxholes…..we are remembering World War One, 1914-1918 and the world that the war created.  The war helped make America the world power it was to become……

World War One had some of the most horrific battles of the modern age……battles where hundreds of thousands are killed and as many are maimed……

The are ten battles that would make a devout person question their beliefs……

World War I is responsible for destroying Christianity as a moral order. Christianity survives today, of course, and even thrives in parts of the world, but it does so in the West as a form of resistance or as a reprieve from the day-to-day grind of life in secular democracies. This was not always the case. What is now known as Europe was once referred to as “Christendom” due to the fact that Europeans by and large operated under a Christian moral order.

This is a tough sell, but look at the Middle East. Today, the Middle East is often referred to as the “Muslim World” and Middle Eastern states are commonly known as Muslim states. Prior to World War I, this was also the case with European countries. This understanding, of Europe as Christendom, became weaker as the 18th and 19th centuries progressed, but large swaths of the world still thought of Europe as Christendom and many foreign affairs conducted by European governments were viewed through the lens of Christianity up until the end of World War I. Christianity enjoyed a cultural prominence in European societies, even the secular ones, that controlled the moral order of European thought and action. Christianity was hegemonic in Europe.


I can see where this war would test a person’s religious beliefs……the amount of dead after each battle would make a sane person question their beliefs and their faith.

On The Road To Central Asia

I was curious over the weekend and looked up the visits of all time in my WP stats….well it seems that I have 4 countries that have not visited IST…….Central African Republic, Chad, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

A few years ago I did a report for a local businessman on Central Asia for he was thinking of doing business in the region.  Since that report I keep an eye on Central Asia in case my businessman needs an update to the report I prepared for him.

In a recent report in the International Crisis Group Tajikistan was the subject of said report……

The Tajik government’s control of its eastern territory, Gorno-Badakhshan, is tenuous at best. Irregulars loyal to local powerbrokers known as the Authorities have clashed with government forces in the past and may do so again if challenged. China has a growing security presence in the region.

Gorno-Badakhshan sits at the nexus of security problems including Uighur unrest in China’s Xinjiang region; Afghanistan’s war and opium trafficking; and jihadists’ potential return from Iraq and Syria to China, Central Asia or Russia. A rocky transition when President Emomali Rahmon steps down could provoke further instability in the region.


On another report by ICG the idea of weaponization of water was covered…….this could boil over into a war and keep in mind that Afghanistan is close by and will be effected by any water programs and if Afghanistan is effected then the US troops will be pulled into the conflict.

On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It will be the four leaders’ first summit in nearly a decade. A top agenda item will likely be the precious water resources the countries must share in this vast region.

Water has been at the heart of recurrent disputes among the four states since the demise of the Soviet Union. At root, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are short on water, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan short on electricity. The tension has been sharpest in the densely populated Ferghana Valley, where Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan converge. The latter two states accused their larger Uzbek neighbour of guzzling river water to irrigate vast cotton fields; Uzbekistan, for its part, bitterly fought Kyrgyz and Tajik plans to build dams upstream. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also argued over the hydropower projects, which Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan needed to keep the lights on. At various times, shared resources have been used as a political tool – Uzbekistan by switching off power grids, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by threatening to block the downstream flow of water.


I m always on the lookout for a situation that could become more than an irritant…..GOD knows the US does NOT need another armed conflict to fight or pay for……

Closing Thought–20Mar18

15 years ago we went to war with Saddam in Iraq and after winning the war we fucked up the peace and allowed the insurgency turn into ISIS and as they say the rest is history.

I have been a critic of our policies about the Middle East….but I will put my opinions aside and let some other opinions come to the forefront…..

The Cipher Brief asked its experts in the intelligence, diplomatic and military to assess the war’s impact. Their conversations are adapted for print below.

Rob Richer, former chief of CIA’s clandestine operations in the Middle East and South Asia, during the Iraq war

In the most basic of assessments, we accomplished our tactical goal of removing Saddam from power. In retrospect, and based on the comments of senior Iraqi officials from Saddam’s regime, the United Nations sanctions were being felt and, in their words, capitulation to full UN inspections and other International demands was not far away.


Then there is “Curveball” the intel asset that was used to start and justify the invasion of Iraq……

As US secretary of state, Colin Powell gathered his notes in front of the United Nations security council, the man watching — Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known to the west’s intelligence services as “Curveball” — had more than an inkling of what was to come. He was, after all, Powell’s main source, a man his German handlers had feted as a new “Deep throat” — an agent so pivotal that he could bring down a government.

As Curveball watched Powell make the US case to invade Iraq, he was hiding an admission that he has not made until now: that nearly every word he had told his interrogators from Germany’s secret service, the BND, was a lie.


15 years and NO end in sight…..

We were always caught in the middle. We still are. As a young man, a new lieutenant, and a true believer, I once led a US Army scout platoon just south of Baghdad. It was autumn 2006, and my platoon patrolled – mainly aimlessly – through the streets and surrounding fields of Salman Pak. To our north lay the vast Shia heartland of East Baghdad, to our south and east, the disgruntled and recently disempowered Sunnis of the rural hinterlands. Both sides executed teenagers caught on the wrong side of town, leaving the bodies for us to find. Each side sought to win American favor; both ation of Iraqried to kill us.


Most Americans know now that they were lied to to gain support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq….after all that in what shape is the country?


How many young Americans need to die or be maimed before we call the situation and bring our troops home?

World War One–A ‘What If’

2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One, the Great War……come November the celebration on Veterans Day….eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…..

This war does not mean as much to Americans as it does to Europeans but the after effects were for everyone….it gave the US its standing as a world leader……but a what if here….Germany had won WW1….

People who see a divine hand or the iron laws of dialectical materialism at work in human affairs bridle at the question: “What if things had turned out differently?” To EH Carr, historian of Soviet Russia, to speak of what might have happened in history, as opposed to what did happen, was just a “parlour game”. To EP Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class, such counterfactual speculation was “unhistorical shit”.

Other historians have confessed to being more intrigued. “The historian must constantly put himself at a point in the past at which the known factors will seem to permit different outcomes,” wrote Johan Huizinga. It is important to recognise that, at any moment in history, there are real alternatives, argued Hugh Trevor-Roper.


These ‘what ifs’ are interesting…like what if the institute that Hitler had applied to had accepted his application….would WW2 have happened?  Or if a baseball team had signed Castro would he had lead the Cuban revolution?

‘What Ifs’ are fun for historians to play with….and fun for me to write about…..

Let’s Go To The Papers

I have been watching the news for 30 minutes and I am f*cking exhausted!

Nowadays when  you hear that people think about the newspapers…..but I am talking about something different.

For over a year there has been opposition to Trump as president…..many think he colluded, some think that he has committed a Constitutional violation of the emoluments clause…..others think that he is practicing despotism and even a load of nepotism…..and a few think that he should be arrested and tried as a criminal for his actions before, during and after his candidacy…..then not to slight his supporters there are those who would give him oral sex to keep him in power (Nunes, Jordan come to mind) and about 35% of the population think his doing good things for the country (I am not one of them).

I think he has committed treason by colluding with the Russians (you remember them those bad guys from the movies just a decade  ago) This man, Trump, does nothing that does not benefit him or his business….the country matters not to this d/bag.

Let’s say that all this investigation stuff finds the president guilty of something (you pick whatever crime pops your griddle)…can Trump be arrested and jailed?

Let’s look at the crimes through the prism of the Federalist Papers.  Paper number 69 written by Alexander Hamilton……..

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility,


So according to Federalist 69 sets forth the direction this would take…..the president cannot be jailed until he leaves office…..but read the whole paper…..

So if we live by the rule of law (which I am not positive that Trump would do) we have no choice but to wait until he is no longer in office before he can be put behind bars, if that is the consensus of the ruling.

25 Years Of Negotiations

We all know the back and forth of Trump and Kim….and in those months so much bullshit has been given ink on this subject……those of us that like diplomacy and those other dickheads that want to bomb everyone disagreeing with them into the Stone Age…..

All these people how many know the history of our negotiations with North Korea?  How Many?  (Pause to see if they let go of their wanker to read further)…….

Since I am some what of a student of foreign policy let me help…..

With the prospect of Donald Trump holding a summit with Kim Jong Un in the near future, it’s worth looking back at the history of American negotiations with North Korea over the past 25 years.

The conventional wisdom says that whenever any agreement has been reached, North Korea has cheated. But the reality is more complex. Not all negotiations have failed — and the collapse of agreements during that time has been as much the responsibility of Washington as of Pyongyang.

Start with the Agreed Framework of October 1994. North Korea agreed to freeze its reactor at Yongbyon. In return, the Clinton administration promised heavy fuel oil, support for the construction of proliferation-resistant light-water reactors, and a gradual overall improvement in relations.


This will go a long way to educate those fools that think they have all the damn answers…….at least it will help them if they are so inclined and most are not……