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.


Closing Thought–21Mar18

Okay the newest situation in the White House is the story that Trump has forced everyone working there into signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)…..

Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post wrote:

I haven’t been able to lay hands on the final agreement, but I do have a copy of a draft, and it is a doozy. It would expose violators to penalties of $10 million, payable to the federal government, for each and any unauthorized revelation of “confidential” information, defined as “all nonpublic information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties in the service of the United States Government on White House staff,” including “communications . . . with members of the press” and “with employees of federal, state, and local governments.” The $10 million figure, I suspect, was watered down in the final version, because the people to whom I have spoken do not remember that jaw-dropping sum.

It would prohibit revelation of this confidential information in any form — including, get this, “the publication of works of fiction that contain any mention of the operations of the White House, federal agencies, foreign governments, or other entities interacting with the United States Government that is based on confidential information.”

There is a sort of problem with this NDA thing……

The Trump NDA for White House staff is not enforceable because White House staff do not work for the president. White House staff work for the federal government. Trump does not have the power to implement a non-disclosure agreement on employees of the federal government because it is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Any former senior Trump White House staffer is free to say whatever they want.


They would not feel the need to try and force people to sign a NDA if they had any idea how to vet the people that work for him.

This is what you get when amateurs are trying to pretend that they know how to govern….so far they have fucked up just about everything they have tried.

Sorry but those in the White House owe their loyalty to the country and Constitution and not to some wannabe demi-god.

That is my Hump Day posts……thanx for stopping by your visits are much appreciated….TTFN…..chuq

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.

A Ticking Time Bomb

Surely the myopic population of this country can remember back to 2008, right?  I know it is a stretch for most so-called conservs to think back that far….

2008?  Mindless drones that was the year of the Wall Street meltdown lead by the illegal practices of our biggest banks….does it ring any bells in that thick skull now?

Guess what?  The Trumpian bullshit is about to set the wheels of yet another meltdown in motion…..

The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Wednesday designed to ease bank rules that were enacted to prevent a relapse of the 2008 financial crisis that caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and homes. The Senate voted 67-31 for a bill from Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho that would dial back portions of the law known as Dodd-Frank, the AP reports. The legislation would increase the threshold at which banks are considered so big and plugged into the financial grid that if one were to fail it would cause major havoc. Those banks are subject to stricter capital and planning requirements.

“The bill provides much-needed relief from the Dodd-Frank Act for thousands of community banks and credit unions, and will spur lending and economic growth without creating risks to the financial system,” the White House said in a statement after the vote. Republicans unanimously supported the bill, while Democrats splintered into two camps. One included several senators from rural states who worked out the compromise with Crapo. The other, led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, said the bill catered too much to the banks that contributed to the financial crisis and would increase the likelihood of future taxpayer bailouts. (President Trump complained that Dodd-Frank made it hard for friends to borrow money.)

It is amazing how when Repubs are in charge they kill regulation and then things go to shit and a Dem usually has to clean up their economic messes…..looks like that trend will not end with this president…who is still dick deep in the financial world and I am guessing that this will benefit him and his buds on Wall Street.

This is why Democrats have a problem with message…..

Bought and paid for by Wall Street…..TRAITORS!

Do The Same Thing Over And Over

Most of us know the quote by Einstein…..it is a profound quote….it can be applied to just about everything the US does on the world stage.

As a student of war I visit many sites, even some neocon and pro war sites….it helps me get a perspective on the subject….that is to look at both sides of the subject…..

In 2001 Bush proclaimed the War on Terror, although we have been fighting terror heavily ever since the USS Cole and the embassy bombings of the late 1990’s….but with all our resources we are not making much headway….why is that?

Today, we struck back,” the president said after the United States conducted a military strike against terrorists and their sanctuary. But which president? George W. Bush, who declared war on terrorism after the 9/11 attacks? Barack Obama, who subsequently took charge of that war? Or Donald J. Trump, who carries the mantle today?

Really, it could have been any of the three—but it was none of them. President Bill Clinton uttered those words on August 20, 1998.

Clinton made the statement after ordering a military strike against al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and the al-Shifa pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Sudan in response to two, nearly simultaneous terrorist attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed twelve Americans (and more than two hundred others). With a foreshadowing of the future to come, Operation Infinite Reach could be seen as the counterterrorism strike that started it all.


Part of the problem is that Bill Clinton was a wimp.  He had major terrorists in his sights but failed to act.

Plus our “leaders” are not keeping up with the times….most are working off definitions from 1970….I hate to be the one that pisses on their parade but the world has changed and so has the definition of terrorism and terrorist.

Until they get a grip on that one simple problem they will continue to use outdated tactics that will do more harm than good.

Why not look at Afghanistan?

Data the Pentagon issued last year to spotlight the success of operations against militant groups in Afghanistan were inaccurate, raising questions about the real progress of the secretive counterterrorism campaign being conducted by the U.S. and Afghan military.

Key figures in the by-the-numbers look at U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism missions in the second half of 2017, which have been published by prominent news outlets, were wrong, defense officials confirmed after Stars and Stripes pointed out discrepancies. The incorrect data — including a breakdown of independent and joint raids and a body count of enemy fighters — were released in an unclassified December report to Congress titled “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan.


Our efforts are not doing the job they were intended to do….we are sadly spinning our wheels…….

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?