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.


Syria–What To Do?

We don’t hear much about our war in Syria these days…we are too busy watching the revolving door of the Trump White House to be bothered with the armed conflicts of the Middle East.

Let me catch you up a bit….recently the US attacked a position in Syria that killed many Russian citizens, some say they were mercenaries, but that matters not….this situation could explode in our face…..

Recent escalations in Syria, including the US strike on pro-regime forces in Deir ez-Zor — which killed Russian combatants — is raising speculation about potential fallout from Moscow’s strategy in Syria and possible escalation between the Russian and American militaries.

The strike occurred Feb. 7, yet the exact number of Russians killed in the fight with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has ranged in various news sources from 10 to 200 soldiers and mercenaries in Russia’s employ. The number of US airstrikes also has remained as a matter of speculation.

If we are not careful we could stumble our way into another war…..

One of the interesting aspects of the Trump era is the extent to which our political culture is obsessing over marginalia while truly significant events transpire largely out of sight and out of mind. For example, late last year the Iraqi government announced the defeat of the ISIS caliphate within Iraqi borders — a significant moment, no doubt — but that same day Donald Trump got in a Twitter spat with the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel over the crowd size at a Pensacola rally. Guess which event got more coverage?

Part of this dynamic, of course, is the president’s fault. He should have trumpeted the allied victory and charted the road ahead. The caliphate was in ruins, but ISIS still exists. Where do we go from here? And part of this is the media’s fault. It’s just easier to follow the president’s lead. After all, that’s where the clicks are. It’s harder to look at the world and discern which stories truly matter.


While the US and Russia are facing off…..a game of who will blink first…..silently ISIS is making a comeback (and you thought it was over)……

Abu Fadi, was killed 10 days ago in a fight with Isis in eastern Syria when the vehicle he was in was hit by a heat-seeking missile. “He was driving a bulldozer which was building an earth rampart when Isis hit it with a missile we call a ‘fuzia’,” said Baran Omari, the commander of his unit in the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Isis attacked us in the village of Bagin in Deir Ezzor province [in eastern Syria],” he explained, adding that his men had been able to kill those who fired the missile. He described Khalaf, who was about 50 when he died, as a very brave man because he had the peculiarly dangerous job of constructing tactical earth fortifications in the middle of battles.


While the different armies are all battling one enemy or another…..Turkey vs Kurds, US vs whoever they can drone attack, Russia vs the “other guys” and Syria fights everyone…..the country is not bad enough the Trump WH is considering expanding the US footprint in Syria……

The White House is said to be considering a new round of military action against the Syrian government sometime soon, with recent media reports of chlorine gas exposure in Eastern Ghouta serving as a pretext for the attacks.

President Trump has requested the Pentagon to provide him various options for such a military attack, nominally to “punish the Assad government” over the unproven allegations of chlorine gas attacks.

That would be the second time in less than a year this has happened, as in April, 2017 the US fired a flurry of 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base, which at the time they said was over claims of chlorine gas attacks as well.


There was never any concrete proof of the allegations which served as a basis for the April attacks, which means that while there’s no solid evidence for these new allegations, that is unlikely to be an obstacle to a new US attack.

There were reports as recently as Friday that the Trump Administration wanted such attacks to be “equal to or greater than the one used last year,” and while that’s clearly not set in stone, such an attack is likely to further cement the US as being in open warfare against the Syrian government.

Do we really need another enemy?  Do we really need yet another war?

Does the US really need to stay in Syria?

It is difficult to overstate how chaotic, violent, and intractable the situation in Syria has become. Regional powers such as the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran, and Turkey—along with hundreds of rebel groups—employ armed forces or violent militia in search of competing objectives. But not every intractable situation demands the blood of our servicemembers and treasure of our taxpayers be spent trying to solve it.

In this cesspool of violence—before creeping into full-blown occupation and nation-building, a proven no-win situation for the U.S.—Washington should immediately redeploy U.S. Forces to higher priority missions actually related to our core interests.


The US needs to just do what it needs to do…..pull the troops out and save lives.

Closing Thought–02Mar18

Could This Be A Step Closer?

Recently in Syria the US engaged some hostiles in Syria and those troops were Russian in origin…..some say mercenaries but they were Russian citizens……

France 24 published an interview last week with a man it described as a Russian paramilitary chief who provides Russian citizens access to mercenary work in Syria in which he said his countrymen had been galvanized by reports that they were taking an embarrassing loss to US forces.

“Each week I receive five or six new requests,” the man said. “Some call me by phone; others come to see me.”

He said that about 100 people in Russia’s Yekaterinburg region, where he is based, were “planning to go to Syria.”

The man said that after reports that US forces earlier this month crushed an advance of fighters loyal to the Syrian government — troops said to have contained hundreds of Russians — he had seen a change in the volunteers.

“Now it’s more about getting revenge than it is about money,” he said.


The US is selling this attack as self-defense…….

U.S. Military Battle with Possible Russian Mercenaries: ‘Our Strikes Were Done out of Self-Defense’

The Pentagon is reiterating that a battle in Syria that allegedly left some number of Russian mercenaries dead was purely an act of self-defense on the part of U.S. forces. Indeed, the Pentagon still does not know exactly who it is that American forces targeted during their retaliatory strike on Feb. 7.


This could be a diplomatic nightmare but we will never know because we have very few diplomats left……could this spiral out of control of tit for tat attacks?

Keep in mind that the US and Russia and confronting each other in the Baltics, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe….would not take much for this to become a major international problem.

On to the weekend and some much needed enjoyment…..thanx guys….chuq

Iran In Syria

Syria has been in the news for bout 7 years now…..the war on ISIS was all consuming…then there were the various factions fighting this group or that….then there are the reports that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is on the ground in Syria in aid to the Assad regime.

Over the weekend I read a report that made me chuckle (not that the death and destruction in Syria is all that humorous….I chuckle at the balls of the US)……

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday called on Iran to withdraw its troops and allied militia from Syria.

“We are quite concerned about the recent incident involving Israel and Iranian assets inside of Syria. And I think this again illustrates why Iran’s presence in Syria is only destabilizing to the region,” Tillerson said during a press conference in Amman.

Speaking alongside Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, he added that “Iran needs to withdraw its military, its militia from Syria, and allow a hope for the peace process to take hold in Geneva.”

He added that the United States has a sophisticated plan for peace in the Middle East, which has been under development for several months and is now in advanced stages.


The chuckle is that the US tells Iran to remove its forces from Syria….while the US forces are free to stay…..Syria is a sovereign country and I do not recall Damascus inviting the US to station troops and fight within the borders of Syria.

So Iran must go but US is free to stay…..

Then there is Tillerson stating that the US has a sophisticated peace plan….seriously?

That will be news to the world if it were true…..my guess that it is bullsh*t……

I do enjoy amateurs like Tillerson attempting foreign policy….this is so much crap on a cracker……the US has not had a plan in 7 years so having one now is a bit of a stretch.

Can anyone guess the reaction of Iran to this situation?

Gas ‘Em, Dan-o

Since the Civil War began in Syria there have been report after report of gas attacks by the Syrian forces……reports and accusations but not one of the alleged attacks could be verified…..but Hell that never stopped the propaganda machine from accusing…..

After over 7 years of warfare not much has changed….the gas attack reports just keep flying off the printed page……just the other day….

 U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said on Saturday that public reports showed Syria was using chemical weapons and added that it was time for the international community to hold the Syrian government to account.

“Public accounts and photos clearly show that Assad’s chemical weapons use is continuing,” McMaster said at the annual Munich Security Conference.

“It is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions and support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he said, without specifying which public accounts or pictures he was referring to.

The US has repeatedly accused the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in its long-running civil war. Earlier this month, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the Syrian government had repeatedly used chlorine gas, but stressed that the U.S. did not have evidence of sarin gas use.

So far they are accusations with no proof…..

There was another alleged gas attack but this time the accusation is leveled at Turkey……

 Multiple reports emerged on Friday claiming that Turkish troops used shells containing poisonous gas in their attacks in Afrin, hitting the town of Aranda with such shells, and hospitalizing six civilians with breathing problems.

Details are still scant, and there are no details on what chemical they were exposed to, but similar accounts have been made by the Kurdish YPG, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the Syrian state media.

Such an incident is a potentially major deal, as Turkey isn’t known to have ever had chemical weapons in the first place, let alone to have any now. It’s possible, however, that certain chemicals they do have were deployed in a way inconsistent with international law.

Interesting not a word in the MSM about the Turkish accusation……we will ignore the possibility for they are an ally……

What makes Syrian newsworthy and Turkish not?

Easy answer…..propaganda.

Waiting For The Next Middle East War

Well according to some in DC (them not me) are claiming that the scourge of ISIS has been eliminated…. these fighters may be dying at an alarming rate but the problems in this region are far from settled…..far from.

ISIS is now mostly gone, but the Syria War is actually getting substantially worse, with a series of new conflicts starting to erupt on several different fronts, and threatening a new round of chaos.

For one the Turks have now taken exception to the Kurds in Northern Syria and gone to war against them (US allies I might add)…..then the US kills a bunch of Russians in an airstrike in Syria…..and now Israel wants to flex its puny muscle in the region by attacking position is Southern Syria…..then there was a oops!…..

Israeli officials have been carrying out large-scale attacks against several military sites within Syria, claiming to have done major damage to Syria’s air defenses nationwide. The Israeli Air Force described the attack as the most significant attack on Syria since 1982.

But Syria’s air defenses were a bit more successful this time, and one of Israel’s F-16s managed to crash. Whether it was hit by an anti-aircraft missile or just took shrapnel damage, the warplane crashed in Israel, and one of the pilots was hurt.

Interestingly, almost all Israeli officials are presenting this to the public as an attack on Iran, as opposed to Syria, and are now calling all of the Syrian military bases that’ve been attacked are “Iranian bases.”

Some Israeli analysts are warning that this is a very dangerous rhetorical strategy, as Russian officials have been trying to calm the situation, and with Israel both continuing to escalate and making it about Iran, they may be pushing Russia into a more explicitly pro-Iran stance.


All this jockeying of troops has many asking the same question….is there a new war brewing in the Middle East?  Another question being asked is…..what the Hell is Israel up to?

Historically: Israel’s approach to the Syrian war has largely been a hands-off one, and the Washington Post sees what happened this weekend as an indication that it may be about to get off the bench. Israel and Syria share a border, but not allies—Israel has issues with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in addition to the Assad regime, but stayed largely uninvolved with the exception of small-scale, quietly carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons installations in Syria. But as the seven-year war moves toward its end, Israel is bristling at what it sees as an apparent effort by Iran to establish military bases within Syria.

  • What’s changed: ISIS, for one, observes the Post. “US- and Russian-backed forces had a common enemy” in ISIS, which has been defeated in the country. But rather than the temperature coming down, new conflicts are heating up. “Turkey, for example, recently launched its own offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria’s north, placing it in de facto opposition to the United States, which had allied itself with some Kurdish forces to defeat Islamic State forces.”
  • The likelihood things will escalate: Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Rory Jones sees the potential for “another front line in war-torn Syria.” He notes the last time Israel lost a fighter jet was more than three decades ago. Israel’s “strong reaction illustrates how the competing aims of Iran and Israel could lead to a war between the two Mideast powers—as Tehran increases its military presence in Syria, a move Israel has warned it won’t allow.”
  • Israel’s air prowess: The New York Times characterizes the downing of the F-16 (per the LA Times, from shrapnel, not a direct hit) as being viewed by Israel as “Saturday’s biggest surprise.” As Bashar al-Assad has gained strength, he has also in the last year been more willing and aggressive in using antiaircraft missiles against Israeli incursions into its airspace. But after so many decades unscathed, Israel had established itself as seemingly untouchable in the air. No more.

There are many thinking that Israel is lining up Lebanon for another incursion.  As always they accuse Iran of everything that will garner approval for any action they take.

But will Israel actually go to war with Syria or Israel?  I mean a declared war instead of across border raids that they are famous for committing.  They will continue to thump their chest in macho bravado as long as the US is kissing their ass.  I think in the long run that Israel would be alone and that will cool their jets (pun intended).

Israel is a regional bully….and you know what they say about bullies?

Syria Returns To The Front Page

Does anyone remember Syria?

I ask because we have troops fighting and dying in the country and there is NO interest by the media to cover.  Our troops deserve better.

But in case the reader has forgotten the armed conflict let me give them a reference for the education…..there is a beginning……

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.

In 2011, what became known as the Arab Spring revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


Now that article can bring the reader up to speed…..

Now that ISIS is on the run (so to speak) I ask the question along with others….why are we still there?

Congress refused to authorize American intervention in Syria in 2013. Still, we sent in Special Forces. Congress later authorized a smaller intervention against ISIS. The caliphate was smashed, after President Trump changed the rules of engagement, and the president claimed credit. Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, had crushed most of the rebel forces. All done, U.S. troops can come home, having not been authorized to carry out any other missions by the people through their representatives. Right?

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455770/syria-war-us-involvement-not-necessary

Assad, Russia, Turkey and the US all have had a hand in the total destruction of Syria all in the name of fighting terrorism…..

The Donald Trump administration is planning to install a 30,000 strong armed “security force” in northern Syria along the borders with Turkey and Iraq. This presumably will tie together and support the remaining rag-tags of allegedly pro-democracy rebels and will fit in with existing and proposed U.S. bases. The maneuver is part of a broader plan to restructure Syria to suit the usual crop of neocon geniuses in Washington that have slithered their way back into the White House and National Security Council, to include renewed demands that the country’s President Bashar al-Assad “must go,” reiterated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last Wednesday. He said “But let us be clear: The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge.” Tillerson also claimed that remaining in Syria would prevent Iran from “reinforcing” its position inside Syria and would enable the eventual ouster of al-Assad, but he has also denied that Washington was creating a border force at all, yet another indication of the dysfunction in the White House.


Making the world a safer place….one war at a time.