Afrin Update – TTG


It’s damned difficult to figure out what’s happening with Operation Olive Branch since both, or I should say all, sides are expending considerable energy in controlling the narrative. In other words we are wading through a pond of bullshit.

The Turks and their FSA allies appear to have made slow progress into Afrin over the last few days. The YPG has also been able to launch a few successful counterattacks, but the weight of Turkish air and artillery strikes will inevitably take its toll. One YPG action I found significant was an attack at Daret Izza in the southwest corner of Afrin Canton. This is close to the a main Turkish entry point into Idlib Canton and the location of a Turkish military base. Time will tell if this is a forlorn hope or not.


The most significant development is the widening of the Turkish attacks beyond Afrin to the rest of the Turkish-Rojava border. Several of these artillery and air strikes are quite close to the CJTF-OIR bases near Qamishli and Kobani. Turkish troops and armor are also massing along this border. My guess is that Turkey’s ambition extends far beyond Afrin. Militarily that makes sense, but it definitely increases the pucker factor among all the players. All this while the CENTCOM Commander, General Votel, was visiting Raqqa telling the world the US was going to be in Syria for the forseeable future. Well, what are you going to do now, Ranger?


Here’s a few excerpts from the coverage of the developing situation.



On January 22, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) opened a new front against Kurdish militias east of Afrin and captured Birsaya Mount. This mount overlooks the town of Sharanli and the northeastern flank of Afrin. However, by the evening Turkey-led forces retreated from it after the FSA had abandoned its positions due to a YPG counter-attack.

On January 23, the TAF and the FSA launched another advance on Birsaya Mount. If they are able to secure it, Turkish forces will likely advance on Sharanli and then make an attempt to link with its positions in Ash Shaykh Khurus where they had achieved notable progress.

According to Turkish media, 6,400 service members are involved in Ankara’s military operation in Afrin.  (SouthFront)


BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 A.M.) [23 Jan] – Minutes ago, the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) launched a surprise assault on the rebel stronghold of Daret ‘Izza in west Aleppo.

According to a local report from Aleppo, the YPG forces attacked Daret ‘Izza from its western axis, capturing a number of points near the Sama’an Castle. Intense clashes are still ongoing at the moment, as the YPG remains on the offensive in Daret ‘Izza.

The YPG offensive at Daret ‘Izza comes just hours after the Turkish-led Euphrates Shield forces attempted to capture the historical Mount Simeon, which is located northwest of the rebel stronghold.  (Al Masdar News)


BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:20 A.M.) [24 Jan] – The Turkish Army and their rebel allies launched another big assault in the Afrin Canton, Tuesday, targeting the northern part of this important region in northern Aleppo. According to pro-opposition media, the Turkish Army and their allies began the day by recapturing the town of Adamanli and its surrounding hilltops.

Following the capture of Adamanli, the Turkish Army and their allies managed to capture town of ‘Umar Ushagi near the Rajou axis in the northern part of the Afrin Canton. The Turkish Armed Forces would end the day by recapturing the strategic mountaintop of Jabal Barsaya after a fierce battle with the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG).  (Al Masdar News)


This entry was posted in Borg Wars, Syria, TTG, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to Afrin Update – TTG

  1. LG says:

    YPG fighters that leave ISIS operations for Afrin will lose US support: Pentagon
    By Leith Aboufadel – 24/01/20188
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 A.M.) – Any YPG fighter that leaves the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in order to participate in the Afrin operations will lose U.S. backing, the Pentagon told Turkish state owned Anadolu News Agency on Tuesday.
    “If they [U.S.-backed forces under the SDF] carry out military operations of any kind that are not specifically focused on ISIS they will not have coalition support,” according to Pentagon spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway in reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.
    “Let’s say for example, a unit of YPG says, ‘Hey, we’ll no longer fight ISIS and we are going to support our brothers in Afrin.’” then they are on their own, he said. “They are not our partners anymore.”
    Turkey launched a massive offensive in the Afrin Canton this past weekend, targeting the large pocket controlled by the YPG forces.

  2. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    We feel that this kurdish/izzie issue is an existential threat to us. The operations have full support of the Turkish population; those of us who are willing to fight and die or send our kin to fight and die, if need be. It has nothing to do with “ottoman expansion”.
    The USA has to decide what, if anything, is important to her interests in ME. Does she have a consistent, well-articulated, realistic goal?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  3. Jack says:

    The USA has to decide what, if anything, is important to her interests in ME. Does she have a consistent, well-articulated, realistic goal?
    Simple answer. No. Never has at least for the past 50 years.

  4. LG says:
    Breaking: according to @AlMayadeenNews
    Kurdish official in Afrin say they welcome the Syrian Army in Afrin region and that Syrian government was never an enemy to them

  5. LG says:

    After sending thousands of soldiers to the Idlib front, it appears the Syrian Army is going to halt operations in favor of a ceasefire ahead of the scheduled Sochi peace conference.
    Please note: nothing has been confirmed yet.

  6. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Why is it an existential threat? Will Turkey cease to exist if they succeed?
    I really dont understand the existential part.

  7. IZ,
    ‘Does she have a consistent, well-articulated, realistic goal?’
    Of course she doesn’t.
    What one has to face up to is quite how stupid the people running things are, both in the United States and Britain – I won’t attempt to speak for the rest of Europe.
    For me, the saga of the dossier and Christopher Steele has been rather like the moment in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ when the figure behind the curtain appears.
    There is a type about which I know quite a lot, some of it from my own direct experience and that of other family members: superannuated Oxford and Cambridge student politicians.
    (Another example is our embarrassment of a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.)
    Well, I can assure everyone here that anyone in American intelligence or law enforcement who has taken or takes anything produced by Steele seriously has either to be a complete cretin, a crook, or – commonly the most economical explanation – some combination of both.
    On both sides of the Atlantic, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  8. Lincolnite says:

    My intuitive thought is that CENTCOM is simply going to exchange its accommodation with the YPG for another accommodation with a Turkish occupation force. With Erdogan it remains uncertain as to who is going to be left without a chair to sit on.

  9. walter says:

    Ishmael, would u b willing to describe in detail what the Kurds do inside Turkey and outside Turkey that the Turkish population object to. With little to no information on this conflict, I have always assumed that the Kurds just want more autonomy to speak their language, govern themselves, decide and choose how they want to live … which doesnt seem like a bad thing to me. Could u explain why the Turkish people are against the Kurds having more autonomy and are in favor of military intervention against the Kurds?

  10. walter says:

    Jack and David H, I don’t understand why u say US has no clear goal. I believe their goals have been clear: in short, Israel and oil. Help Israel in whatever ways possible (defeat Hezbollah, Syria, Iran…any group that is a potential threat to Israel); protect our interests in keeping the oil flowing to us. The unstated, but probably more important third interest, is the perpetuate the business model that keeps all the players paid, fat and happy: to keep the jobs and money flowing to the participants involved in goals 1 and 2: military, security, engineering and construction contractors, politicians, corporations, US armed and intelligence forces.
    There is no money in peace. These are self-perpetuating financial systems (self-licking ice cream cones).
    This system cares nothing about the people, democracy, freedom, saving people from gas attacks…these are the platitudes/propaganda that sell the wars to the American people “He gassed his own people”; “Arab Spring”; “democracy”; “they hate our freedom”; “..Islamic radicalism” “terrorism”
    There are some participants involved in which money is not the primary consideration…the jewish and christian zionists who for religious reasons support this Middle East policy…but these guys are greasing the wheels with money and propaganda.
    The strategies and tactics to achieve the goals have been confused, illogical, inept….but I believe the over arching goals are pretty clear. Furthermore, there has been no accountability or punishments for the failures…this foreign policy system is largely unaccountable and unrestricted by any financial or political constraints.
    My opinon

  11. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    This is a complex issue. If you really wish to understand the problem, please investigate why Patrick Bahzad, in a recent thread, described the kurds as: “ The eternal losers of the Middle East “.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  12. Peter AU says:

    I would think orders would have to come from the President for centcom to back the Kurds against Turkey, as that is a political rather than military decision. Be interesting to know Trump’s orders to centcom if any.
    Perhaps Trump has given no orders and is letting centcom stew in the mess they have created?
    AMN also reported rumors SAA have pulled their people from the Turk/FSA – Mabij frontline.
    My initial thought when the Turkish operation began was that Russia and Syria may well have agreed to Turkey pushing Kurds back into their original enclaves, which would mean the Turk main attacks being around the Tall Rifat and Manbij areas.
    Syian civil war maps have been showing most of the fighting taking place along the Azaz/Mare frontline, but other maps and reports are showing a different picture.

  13. walter says:

    OK, will check it out…however, my understanding of them being “losers” is not that they have any particular moral failing or unjust desires..its just that they are geographically surrounded by more powerful governments that prevent them from achieving the autonomy they want…Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria…they don’t have the power to achieve their reasonable desires…just like the Palestinians..the native American indians, the Hawaiians….go down the list of weak but nice humans who just been militarily defeated by stronger power. Im sure a student of history would just call this the never-ending story of human history…the weak against the strong. But it seems that we earthlings should be more able to solve problem without violence….like Assad seems to have done reasonably well with Syrian Kurds…giving them some autonomy in exchange for inclusion in the national government.

  14. aleksandar says:

    But Afrin is in Syria. You’re just invaders.
    Oh and all the German were behind Hitler about the Sudete Invasion!
    It was also a ” existential threat “.

  15. Barbara Ann says:


    My guess is that Turkey’s ambition extends far beyond Afrin.

    Erdogan and Çavuşoğlu have made no secret of the fact that Olive Branch will extend along the whole “terror corridor” as they refer to the YPG-held areas in Northern Syria. The ultimatum to cease support for the YPG equates to an ultimatum for the US to leave NE Syria and the hyperbole is being dialed up:
    “The north of the Aleppo-Mosul line is a region that must be considered entirely security-based for our country. No organization or foreign country’s presence can be allowed in this zone”
    Could an ‘agreement’ for the US to vacate the area IFO TSK be forthcoming soon?

  16. Jony Kanuck says:

    Thanx for digging: Fog of war seems very thick in Afrin. So far, I’ve found Al Masdar good for news & Al Monitor good for analysis. I wonder if the Syrian Observatory might be good in this case because they have no dog in the fight? I think Erdo might be on the horns of dilemma: If the Kurds are indeed mostly holding the line on the border, he will have to deploy major firepower & Turkish infantry to break through. That means Turkish casualties & ugly pictures of dead civilians. Not good for next year’s Pres election & lots of international pressure now. But, if he went after Manbij, the US Military would probably melt away. Nato shooting at nato is a foreign policy debacle…

  17. Meanwhile, Israel, taking advantage of the chaos, seeks to seize more Syrian territory – indeed, whole provinces…
    Israel’s “Safe Zone” Is Creeping Farther Into Syria
    The plan includes seizing at least 40 kilometers beyond the Golan Heights.
    “We want to get to a point where there is no Iranian influence in Syria, and this is being done in a combined military and diplomatic effort.” A zone of that size would stretch across both the Quneitra and Daraa provinces.
    According to Syrian opposition commanders based in Jordan, who have been privy to the details of the de-escalation deal, the Israelis made it clear that even 40 kilometers would not be enough.
    “They basically want Hezbollah and Iran to be pushed as far back as Hama,” said one commander based in Amman, who asked not to be named because of the delicacy of the issue.
    End Quote
    Allegedly both Russia and the US refused to assist Israel in this effort, but Israel is doing it anyway. I’ve little doubt that the US has no interest in preventing them, as this increases the partition of Syria, which is clearly part of the US goals in Syria.

  18. Russia has deployed four more units of S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Syria.
    Russia Deploys New Units of S-400 Air Defenses to Syria (Video)
    This is interesting because of the recent drone attacks on Russian facilities inside Syria. But the S-400 is not intended to shoot down drones. That is a function of the Pantsir AA system…
    Russia Has the Perfect Weapon to Crush Drone Swarm Attacks
    So is Russia possibly intending to use these new S-400s against Turkish aircraft if Turkey gets out of line? Or the US? Or Israel?

  19. Lemur says:

    Turkey brought the Kurdish situation it now faces upon itself by contributing to the destabilization of Ba’athist Syria, and facilitating the regime change efforts of other powers hostile to Assad and Iran. Perhaps its Turkey that lacks ‘consistent’ goals? (US goals are very consistent from the point of view of what the borg wants and cares about)

  20. blue peacock says:

    There is now a possibility that the Steele dossier was actually a product of the FBI/DOJ collaboration with Fusion GPS and that Christopher Steele and GCHQ were brought in to provide cover and “legitimacy”.
    We’ll know more when Rep. Nunes’ summary memo get’s declassified and released. It seems that there will be other memos to follow as explained by Rep. Jordan in an interview.
    IMO, this is way bigger than what we believe today. There are far too many linkages among the Obama White House, top officials at the FBI, DOJ and the IC as well as the media in building and fanning the Russiagate narrative and the law enforcement “investigation” to frame Trump. The scale of this conspiracy is staggering.

  21. SteLe says:

    Some comments, thoughts and observations, and quite many of them. I think of SST as one of the only placed to discuss those issues in depth, and would be happy to share this.
    Even though this may be my first time post as a now yearlong reader and observer.
    As a German growing up with Kurds and Turks, i understand the “Kurdish Question” is a Gordian knot, and the hate that has build up in centuries leaves no room to compromise for either side.
    So i dont see neither side in a black/white view.. All sides are unable to look beyond their own view, and see escalating to an absolute and total “solution” as the only way.
    An “Endlösung” to once and finally end the Kurdish uprising for the Turkmen side, and an “Endlösung” for the Kurdish side in having a full national state.
    For everyone familiar with the European and especially German History of the 19th and 20th century, the parallels are obvious.
    Every side sees it only as the sole victim, and uses this as justification for even the most cruel violence.
    My Problem is with all this; again as a German; that Erdogan has build up militias similar to those the Nazis had in our darkest days.
    With that i mean the Takfiris of FSA and HTS/Al Qaida, and also the “Grey wolf” fascists (You can see the “Hitlergruß” equivalent greeting of soldiers that take part in Afrin Offensive on recent pics even).
    Meaning totalitarian ideology’s, that accept no other view besides them, and have no remorse or restraint what so ever in using force and violence against anyone else.
    You see, to me this is historically a pretty familiar concept.
    Meanwhile the Turkish military openly lied and said, they would be fighting ISIS in Afrin, even when everyone knows, that there are none in Afrin, expect maybe for some underground sleeper cells (like there are in Turkey and here in EU).
    Another thing is: It is also clear for everyone who wants to know it, that Turkey was the main hub for all terrorists/takfiri supply’s and ISIS oil trade, not by accident, but by decisions from the very top of the gov., meaning Erdogan, with the MIT following orders.
    Of course this was part of a wider NATO strategy, with all major NATO country’s involved.
    Think about this: If NATO+Erdogan+Saudis and other Arab country’s would have not waged regime change on Syria, and arming ISIS and other Takfiri, the Kurds would have never had the chance, to become YPG/SDF, and occupy northern Syria.
    It was the Regime change by Takfiri operation guys like Erdogan and Countrys like Turkey started, that made this whole mess possible.
    The NATO okayed Turkish supply and support via MIT let ISIS wage a genocidal war against the Kurds in northern Syria.
    If the Russians wouldnt have provided them with the first weapons, ISIS would likely have succeeded in Kobane etc., and many Turkish ultra nationalists and fascists couldnt have been happier.
    The then-successful defense legitimized the PKK elements, like in Iraq, where the NATO and turkish supported Peshmerga ran away (and there are also evidence of deals with ISIS), while the PKK was the only effective counter force.
    And now that Erdogan has crippled your otherwise powerful military so badly, that they got humiliated before the whole world when they could only claim victory in Al-Bab after they had made a deal with ISIS..
    It isnt even sure, that the current operation will be a success, even if you pay 1000s of FSA takrifi mercs to die for your country.
    Anyway, This could well end with a disaster, when the Kurds accept Syrias demands and make a deal with the Syrian state, and thus being under the umbrella and protection of the russians.
    Expect Putin to play his hand like the fox he is. I bet he is aiming just exactly for this scenario.
    So 1) If you are willing to die or send your kin to die, you should know, that you or your kin will die for a lie, and for a mess those same politicians have created, who you are now dying for 2) Most deaths on Turkish side are Takfiri mercs, for not actually truly risking Turkish lives.
    The ONLY one that benefits from this operation, is Erdogan.
    Now that he got humiliated at the last referendum, and only survived due to the votes of EU and German citizens which were allowed to keep their Turkish passports as second citizenship, and massive voter fraud in the mostly Kurdish parts of southern turkey, where Turkish citizens of Kurdish identity were violently blocked from putting in their vote, this war is the only thing to save him.
    The old and proven tactic, of uniting a country behind a politician by war.
    Now that the opposition partys are getting traction, and gain momentum, this was the only effective move he got left.
    And for this goal, to stay at the power, he needs people that are willing to give their live for this own benefit, and even see that as a good thing, a patriotic act, while in fact its just someone wasting his life as a pawn for a power hungry psychopath.
    Additionally, this operation will in the long term not solve anything.
    The “Kurdish Question/Issue” cant be solved by force and violence. The only way to do that, would be a plain and simple genocide with millions slaughtered from child to grand parents.
    I know this is the wet dream of many Turkish nationalists, grey wolf fascists, and Takfiri.
    But i dont believe it the the true aim and desire for the majority of the Turkish population (meaning also non turkmen citizens, opposed to what you seem to mean, when you say that “everyone” is standing behind this operation).
    Or not?
    Again, the parallels to the European and German history are apparent.
    And while i dont believe in a scenario in the proportions of the crimes of my country taking place in this conflict, it will lead to another civil war, and small to medium scale genocide, like on Armenians.
    Like back then 100 years ago, with German (and now NATO) weapons and support. But now on both sides. A sick joke of history.
    Do I expect this to take place now? No. But for decades and centuries to come, it will lead to it, step by step. Until it explodes into EVERYONES face.
    If not both sides start to see compromise as the only solution, despite all what happened.
    And that is really unlikely. On both sides. Sadly.

  22. VietnamVet says:

    Syria is a very murky and dangerous place and is ignored by corporate media except for propaganda mentioning Syria’s use of chlorine gas or white helmets saving war victims. Maybe we should just admit that mankind cannot get along. If looked at as a religious war between the major Abrahamic religions and their offshoots, the conflict will go on forever until everyone on the losing side is dead unless secular governments supersede the ethnic tribes and secure peace through strong borders and political inclusion.
    As IZ hints, Turkey has taken on the job of the protector of the Arab Sunnis; just as the American Empire is the protectorate of the Jews. The danger is a world war due to stupidity, ignorance and hubris of which there is plenty in CENTCOM and in the Washington DC hierarchy.
    Meanwhile the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    SteLe and Lemur:
    Erdogan has been the single Turkish leader since before Ataturk who moved closest to the Kurds; this is undeniable.
    Syria, under Assads, served as a sanctuary for Illegal Kurdish Fighters – for decades.
    When Ocalan was surrendered to Turkish Government by SAR under threat of invasion, a new chapter began for Kurds in Turkey. That chapter ended when a number of Kurds, under the name of PKK, resumed their military activities in Diyarbkar – they used a bombing in Turkey where Kurds were murdered as an excuse.
    Both internationally and domestically, legitimacy and force go together.
    Either the Turkish Republic – under the Erdogan or not – is the Legitimate Authority or not.
    If it is, PKK must be destroyed.
    If it is not, then who or what is the Legitimate Authority in Anatolia?
    Certainly not the Bundestag or US Congress.
    If by “Autonomy” is meant Self-Rule, the way Germany is, that is not possible within the constitutional as well as customary structures of the governance of Turkey; which, like France, has been a centralized state for centuries.
    If by “Autonomy” is meant a Medieval Fiefdom of Kurds, by Kurds, for Kurds – that will not happen – Turks (sunni or Alevi) will unite to destroy such a formation – over and over and over again as decades and centuries come and go.
    It is undoubtedly true that the Persian New Year – Noruz – was suppressed in Turkey for many decades. But that has not been the case for many years now. I am unaware of status of Kurdish language and music in Turkey.
    But in Iran, where Kurdish language books are published, the language has a number of university level courses, and Kurdish music and musicians are routinely broadcast by state television and radio, and Noruz is a non-issue – still remain Kurdish Iranians that pine for independence or who take to the mountains to wage a senseless and a hopeless war against the Iranian state.
    In both Iran and in Turkey, that only leaves a number of dead young men and women whose lost lives cannot be in any way shape or form be deemed to have not been an utter loss.
    This pinning for their own state – wil remain an emotional cause for Kurds and they will kill and die for it – just like the Sikhs did for a while until crushed by Indian Army. And just like the case of Sikhs, the issue is not amenable to compromise.
    Now – about you people in European Union:
    Why don’t you put your own words into practice:
    When will we see a united and independent Ireland?
    When will Italy let go of Tyrol and surrender it back to Austria?
    When will Spain grant full and complete independence to Catalonia and Basque country?
    When will Hungarians in Romania be granted the right to secede and join their brethren in Hungary?
    I think that at the present time, you in Europe and in North America are making things worse by indulging Kurds in their fantasies, using them, and then discarding them; leaving more dead.
    You could write to Herren Merkel or the CDU leaders and ask them to please oppose these policies that use Kurds as a wedge – in the name of Christ and Humanity – but I suppose that is too much to ask.

  24. Kooshy says:

    I undestand IZ and IMO he is right as to say is an existential threat to Turkey’ integrity. Like in Iraq, it starts with minor autonomy rights, then comes to have own security forces, then controlling our own borders, finally people are asking for referendum to determine thier own destiny (BS) chopping off part of a country by salami sliding technique. Believe me people of ME are not as dumb as western media portrays. Look what happened to Iraq if it wasn’t for Iran Iraq had lost her Kurdistan it’s oil and more. Once you have an autonomous (you read US controlled Kurdish army ) in southern Turkey, next comes Turkey’ Kurds asking for autonomy from central goverment and eventually indeoendance or joining other Kurdistan’s. Would you allow that for Texas or Arizona if Russian wanted to train a border patrol to keep the
    Mexicans away from crossing to Texas?

  25. GeneO says:

    SteLe –
    Well said. I hope this is not your last post here.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If Turkey creates prefectures and grants them federal rights, Kurds will still not like it because then they still won’t have their own country@!

  27. rams says:

    “I have always assumed that the Kurds just want more autonomy to speak their language, govern themselves, decide and choose how they want to live”
    Yes they probably do, but so does every other ethnic group in the world, and if they all had their way, the world would end up with 1000+ countries and 99% of them would be ungovernable and unstable.
    Think of it this way: how quickly do you think the US could have collapsed in a civil war after the 2016 election had Hillary spoken Spanish and Trump in German during the election?
    The concept of multi-language, multi-cultural society is a liberal fantasy. It doesn’t work in real life. Also, it is more common for a culturally backwards ethnic group to demand autonomy and independence from a relatively advanced host society. This power disparity creates even more problems and headaches for both nations post-break off. (recent example: Sudan)
    I think the critical point for us to consider is that any instability created in ME (even if it is done because of good intentions based on liberal fantasy) would simply create more refugees, and we all know where they all head to: our nations!!!

  28. outthere says:

    who’s on first?
    the White House disavowed a plan by the American military to create a Kurdish-led force in northeastern Syria, which Turkey has vehemently opposed. Turkey, which considers the Kurdish militia a terrorist organization, fears the plan would cement a Kurdish enclave along its southern frontier.
    That plan, a senior administration official said Tuesday, originated with midlevel military planners in the field, and was never seriously debated, or even formally introduced, at senior levels in the White House or the National Security Council.
    The official, who spoke to reporters on condition that he not be identified, also said that the United States had no connection to the Kurds in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, where the Turkish military has launched an invasion in recent days.

  29. elaine says:
    “True, Afrin is small…but it is where multinational plans are being squashed”
    Editorials like this along with the recent friendship agreement between China, Russia & Turkey lead me to believe the Kurds aren’t the only ones gettin’ played

  30. GeneO says:

    I recall that awhile back a Turkish newspaper, one of the AKP party’s propaganda outlets, published a piece saying Turkey could conquer all of Europe in just three days. It was back when the EU halted the entry of Turkey into the EU because of the post-coup purges in Turkey circa late 2016, and because of the human rights violations and ethnic cleansing in SE Turkey.
    So at that time they were bragging three days to conquer Europe. But now they are stuck after four days against Afrin. They take a village or two or three, but can’t seem to hold them against YPG counterattack.
    If they want to take Afrin they are going to have to commit significant elements of the Turkish Army, instead of FSA and HTS jihadis supported by Turkish tanks, arty, and air. Those tanks need infantry support, and so far they are not getting much of it from the head-choppers and liver-eaters. Plus the mountains of Afrin are not ideal terrain for armor. Perhaps Erdogan should have brought back some of the purged colonels and generals to run this operation for him.

  31. kooshy says:

    You know and I know this BS “The official, who spoke to reporters on condition that he not be identified,”
    the minute some (junior or a spokesperson)official who is speaking to fix a policy leak or FU and don’t want to be identified , you should know the fuckup has happened and was decided at a higher level than his.

  32. kooshy says:

    “Meanwhile the Turkish military openly lied and said, they would be fighting ISIS in Afrin, ”
    wow, I didn’t know that, that liying they must have learned from their NATO partners which includes the Germans. Did US lie saying they came to Syria fighting ISIS now they want to stay to confront Iran as long as it takes? In wars everybody lies, that is what is making it fogy, you must have missed reading TTG’ first paragraph “In other words we are wading through a pond of bullshit.” happy wading

  33. C.Bridge says:

    Did the SAR surrender him or kick him out?I’m astounded the YPG trusts the US.

  34. OIFVet says:

    I can see the Kurdish issue being an existential threat to Turkey. But I also see Turkish school books continuing to include maps that show large territories in the Balkans, the ME, and the Caucuses, as “Turkish vilayets.” People like you and others who worship Ataturk may not be Neo-Ottomanists, but I can’t say that about the people in charge of your government. As long as Erdogan is in power, your neighbors will distrust you. It’s as simple as that, komshu.

  35. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Perhaps Erdogan should have brought back some of the purged colonels and generals to run this operation for him.”
    He did. He had to.
    re: If they want to take Afrin they are going to have to commit significant elements of the Turkish Army.. We know this, and we will do it if needed. Given that this kurdish mess was caused by tayyip, and everyone in Turkey, including those who voted for him, know it, all casualties will be laid at his door, and most of the dead will be from his voters. He is trapped.
    re:one of the AKP party’s propaganda outlets, published a piece saying Turkey could conquer all of Europe in just three days
    Sure, and National Inquirer has posted testimonials from folks kidnapped by Martians; The New York Times wrote about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and CNN has been broadcasting non-stop about the Russian perversion of US elections. The distribution of idiots is quite uniform.
    To all bleeding hearts:
    Turks do not need any lectures about “human rights”. A while back JDLedell wrote that most izzies regard the Palestinians as domestic animals. No one, as far as I can remember, was aghast. No lurkers surfaced to take him to task. If you belong to a country who supports the izzies and do not fight against that first, spare us the platitudes; you have no credibility.
    If you are fighting for the Borg, or wish the tools of the Borg success, fine. That is your right. It is our right to disagree w/ whatever means we have, despite the tayyip that rules us. If you feel very strongly about the issue, suit up and come on down to Afrin. We will have a shivaree.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US, Australia, and Canda are vast and severly underpopulated countrirs. Surely they can find it in their bleeding hearts to give a very small portion of their land to the Democratic and Secular and Popular and Socialist Republic of Kurditan.
    Even Germany, with its under populated East, can chip in.

  37. Henshaw says:

    Sounds like he’s trying to offer a way out for the USA, so the present Administration could execute a quick 180 degree turn and explain it by blaming the mess left by Obama & co.
    Also, I’d welcome some clarification from Erdoğan as to who he thinks the rightful owners of Manbij actually are.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The rightful owner would be the Great King, the founding King having been Dul Qarnain, prophet of God, per the Quran, and known to history as Cyrus the Great.

  39. kooshy says:

    by “Republic of Kurdistan” you really mean Khanate of Kurdistan or Khanate of Barazanies, this western countries they know very well what is going on here, HR, and the rest of the narrative BS is just standard leapservice for balkanization of western Asia, “A Clean Break” A New Strategy for “Securing the Realm” it is now catching up with our east of bosphorus NATO alley. IZ welcome back to Asia
    ” In call, Trump issues stern warning to Turkey over Syria operation”

  40. GeneO says:

    There are already close to a million Kurds In Germany.
    Not too many here in the States. Maybe less than 40K, and good citizens. We should have more of them. You should spend a day or two in Nashville’s Little Kurdistan. Newroz Market serves the best Middle Eastern food in America.

  41. outthere says:

    you say
    “When Ocalan was surrendered to Turkish Government by SAR under threat of invasion, a new chapter began for Kurds in Turkey.”
    The LAT and NYT report that Ocalan was captured in Kenya where he was seeking refuge in the Greek embassy, and that USA tracked him on behalf of Turkey.

  42. kooshy says:

    Many years back (early 80s) my company was printing for Turkish consulate in LA, assistant consul a very nice guy in his 30s named Sardar, use to come, and make print orders, mostly for very fancy invitations or greeting cards for consulate events. Sardar, in past had served in Turkish consulate in Tabriz, Iran. He called Iran and Iranians as Asian/ ME people and considered Turkey as western or European country, his reason was, otherwise Turkey wouldn’t have been invited to NATO, that is the reason I wrote welcome back to ASIA.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My mistake, thank you. But it was SAR that enabled his capture. Why didn’t the Bleeding Hearts in Italy give him sanctuary.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Good. When will Germany give those Kurds their own country? Or at least a Free City of their own?

  45. outthere says:

    ” But it was SAR that enabled his capture”
    the article i linked says nothing about SAR participation in capture of Ocalan, so I do not comprehend your statement
    quite explicit, it was Turkish commandos in Kenya with USA intelligence, support and intimidation of other nations

  46. Annem says:

    When the Turkish Republic was established on the remains of Ottoman territory following WWI it was a repudiation of the multi-ethnic/multi-religious empire in favor of a strictly ethno-sectarian homogeneous Hanafi Sunni Muslim population. This is the cornerstone of nationalism and any challenge is considered to be treachery.
    Any Muslims who were of other ethnic roots were expected to adopt turkish language and culture. [The 20% of the population belonging to the Alevi faith were able to deal with this due to the stringent laicism of the political culture and constitution. Most of the Muslim refugees that had arrived from the Balkans and Russia went along with this and other local groups were forced to. The Kurds, about 20% of the population, did not and the government used sticks more than carrots in a region left highly undeveloped and poor in efforts to assimilate them.
    After early uprisings that were brutally repressed, use of their language was banned in public and all symbols of their culture, music, literature, etc. were suppressed. In the 1970s, the modern insurgency, the PKK launched attacks on GOT facilities across the country and a civil war went on in high or low gear for decades. The PKK was outlawed as a terrorist organization and the US went along with the designation.
    Reasonable Turks and Kurds admit that the battle can’t be won militarily but the political barriers to a true settlement are enormous given that any concessions to the Kurds has challenged the very foundations of patriotism.
    Yes, Erdo did begin steps to end the conflict and allowed, not just for Kurds, but for other religious and ethnic minorities concessions regarding their communal rights. When, however, he figured out that he needed the ultra-nationalists on his side to implement his autocracy he not only abandoned the process, but provoked renewed conflict and terrible repression of Kurdish population centers as well as destroying cultural and artistic forms of expression. The very progressive pro-Kurdish HD Party which brought into the parliament the most diverse set of MPs in the history of the Republic, including more women than ever, Ezidis, Christians, and a Mhalmi, religious and secular alike and representing the LGBT community. Moreover, the party gained considerable support from Turks, especially laborers who have seen their earnings declines and work conditions increasingly dangerous. All this has been gutted and its leaders imprisoned.
    It is worth mentioning that since Erdo has dropped his mask, the country’s Christians, essentially treated as foreigners with limited rights since the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne have also seen the positive moves made early on in the AKP rule restricted. Church property and even historical churches have been taken over by the government and right now, the Sultan has made clear that the next Armenian Patriarch will be his choice despite church traditions. They want their lackey in place.
    As for Syria, the Ottoman era Kurds who found themselves on this side of the armistice line under the French mandate were joined later by Anatolian Kurds fleeing Turkey following the failed revolts. Independent Syria defined itself as an Arab country and gave little or no space for the many ethnic communities in the country. Angry at Kurdish resistance to some of these controls, the Baathists stripped a significant portion of its Kurdish population of citizenship, making them stateless. This was done in no consistent manner and they were totally disenfranchised from any rights, either to land, jobs, marriage to citizens, travel documents, or social benefits.
    It has only been since the outbreak of this civil war that the Assad regime promised that he would restore citizenship to a portion of these Kurds if they supported the government. Since then, the regime has also made noises about some level of decentralized government as yet undefined. The Kurds have been careful to avoid for the most part, conflict between themselves and the SAG, so it is not impossible that they could side with the regime if they feel betrayed by their current sponsors.

  47. outthere says:

    ” Church property and even historical churches have been taken over by the government and right now, the Sultan has made clear that the next Armenian Patriarch will be his choice despite church traditions. They want their lackey in place.”
    Exactly what Chinese govt did to Tibetan buddhists – chose Panchen lama of its own, rejected choice of buddhists. Dalai lama says he is the last, there will be no other.

  48. confusedponderer says:

    interesting points, but Merkel is a lady, not a man – a ‘Herr Merkel’. Since she is married it would be better to call her ‘Mrs. Merkel’.

  49. GeneO says:

    Ishmael –
    I’m 75, my suiting up days are long behind me.
    Regarding the uniformity of the distribution of idiots, I agree with you 100%.
    I do have a few questions, I hope I am not showing my own idiocy:
    1] Long term what does Erdogan gain by taking Afrin? Sooner or later he will be arm twisted by Russia to give it back to Syria. Same with the Euphrates Shield area he has occupied, and the same for northern Idlib province. How will it sit with the average Turk in the street to give back land that Turkish soldiers died for?
    2] Will Erdogan go ahead with his threat to go against Manbij next? By doing so he risks retaliation if US service members there are killed or wounded. If he does backtrack on his threat to Manbij, how does he square that with his voters.
    3] I never understood the Erdogan talking point about keeping the Syrian Kurds from reaching the sea. Can you explain that for me? To get to the Mediterranean the YPG would have to take a large corridor through either Turkish Hatay (not going to happen) or through the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Latakia province (no way that Assad or Putin is going to let that happen).

  50. Castellio says:

    Clear post. Many thanks.

  51. C.Bridge says:

    No it wasn’t.Answer your own question.

  52. ISL says:

    In your response to GeneO, you forgot to mention: What is wrong with sending the FSA and HTS as shock troops? Make excellent sense militarily to me.
    I think the whole purpose of the Olive Branch is to get the US to blink (and bugger out). Without real US support (as opposed to promises and a few weapons), the Kurds will settle for a lousy deal with the Syrian gov’t rather than the decent deal they could have had last week with the Syrian govt, before they decided to place their trust in the U.S. and its trivial number of advisors.
    An inability to learn from (recent) history is the Kurdish tragedy (in the Greek tragedy sense). The US has a long history of abandoning Kurds (and other minorities, and allies) when they are no longer convenient or useful or become bothersome.
    Sorry to the world, the US has interests not friends. And so do all other countries. Sadly, US interests are developed by multiple entities that neither talk nor listen to each other, and in many cases, believe they create reality…. This has been described aptly as not-agreement-capable.

  53. LeaNder says:

    .like Assad seems to have done reasonably well with Syrian Kurds
    Walter, if you look closer into the Turkish-Syrian context, ignore for a while that the Kurds in Iraq already had their autonomy …, you’ll stumble across an older history related to the Kurds between Turkey and Syria. Turkey has the highest percentage of Kurds of any of these states. And Kurdish fighters often used Syria as retreat in early times.
    IZ has a Turkish army background.
    You could of course also go back and check the history of Kurdish failed attempts to get their own state post WWI. This always concerns several states now, and several States or mandated areas then.

  54. JohnB says:

    Erdogan has been walking a bit of tightrope. Is he a “Nationalist” or an “Islamist” so far he is been able to convince both sides that he is their man” The time is coming where he has to decide which one he is!
    OT – I think its becoming clear that if Trump tweets support for anything the Western MsM will immediately drop it as a story or take the opposite view.
    The recent events in Iran have reflected it. Trump supports the demonstrators against the Iranian Govt and the Media either dropped the story or in fact made out the protesters were small in number or dominated by hardliners/conservatives. I even heard one CNN journalist talk about the restraint shown by the Iranian Govt. Now that’s a first.
    Maybe Trump should shower the White Helmets with praise and invite them to the WH. I suspect that cause of action would see those boys consigned to the dustbin of history very quickly.

  55. LeaNder says:

    2) Most deaths on Turkish side are Takfiri mercs, for not actually truly risking Turkish lives.
    I noticed that. News images? Thanks, the curious 66+ international coalition seemed a strange attempt at disinformation from early on. Libya? Arab partners? Multilateral US action vs unilateral? Would be interesting to either look at the censored documents or read what scholars write in 100 years from now.

  56. Barbara Ann says:

    Welcome to SST @SteLe
    Re “The old and proven tactic, of uniting a country behind a politician by war.”
    The FT agrees and suspect Erdogan will use the wave of nationalist fervor to try and win an early election

  57. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re:”When the Turkish Republic was established on the remains of Ottoman territory following WWI it was a repudiation of the multi-ethnic/multi-religious empire in favor of a strictly ethno-sectarian homogeneous Hanafi Sunni Muslim population. This is the cornerstone of nationalism”
    Three questions:
    1-Who “established” the Turkish Republic?
    2-Can you explain how nationalism can be based on “religion”?
    3-If it was based on “religion”, then why do the islamists hate Ataturk and his Republic?
    re:After early uprisings that were brutally repressed, use of their language was banned in public and all symbols of their culture, music, literature, etc. were suppressed
    Two questions:
    1-Can you give examples of the past of this rich culture? Their alphabet, the nations they formed, etc?
    2-The Turkish Republic had very limited resources after the long wars which established it. Could it pay attention to all the “multi-cultural” nonsense which hastened the demise of the Ottoman Empire?
    BTW, do you know how many kurdish “cultures” there were? Do you know how they get along?
    re:The very progressive pro-Kurdish HD Party which brought into the parliament the most diverse set of MPs in the history of the Republic, including more women than ever, Ezidis, Christians, and a Mhalmi, religious and secular alike and representing the LGBT community.
    Two questions, a few points:
    1-How many “yezidis” live in the Turkish Republic?
    2-Did the HDP parliamentarians take part in attacks on security forces?
    i-tayyip was using these “progressives” as useful idiots in consolidating his rule, as they were using him. Both sides were against the secular nationalists. At the end, tayyip came on top and eliminated them. Good riddance.
    ii-The majority of Turks do not care a tinker’s dam about homosexuals, pseudo-liberals, progressives or others of that ilk. We will be happy to send them all to you; might be they will all join ANTIFA, vote for Hillary and put her over the top. Aquarius will reign.
    AKP and tayyip were a color revolution, in keeping with the Yinon Plan and PNAC. the kurds are a part of the izzie plan to keep ME fractionated. Any “analysis” which does not take these documented facts into consideration is incomplete.
    Please suit up and come on down. Plenty of western volunteers in the PKK ranks. It is fun to walk the walk along w/ talking the talk.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  58. LeaNder says:

    Not your mistake, Babak. I think, Syria stopped to protect him at one point. Thus you basically are correct. …

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This is a fine summary but whitewashes Kurdish parties of their own responsibility in all of this.
    For example, HD was undermined by the resumption of the war – not a conflict, war – by PKK. Did DH leaders wink and nod to PKK leaders? I wonder.
    Again, AKP was the party that established the primacy of Civilian control over the Military in the Turkish Republic.
    AKP and Erdogan moved Turkey forward; if the West cared about Turkey, Christians and others, it would have helped foster and build upon “No Problems with Neighbor’s” policy – but that was not to be. It was more important to wreck Syria to contain Iran – Christians and Yazidis be damned.
    Erdogan acted like a good man servant to his betters in NATO, until he did not. You cannot hide the responsibility of the Olympians in all of this.

  60. paul says:

    2-Can you explain how nationalism can be based on “religion”?
    allow me to jump in if i may.
    the treaty of Westphalia, the starting point of modern nationalism was not a separation of church and state, but its complete linking.
    we have come to take the term secularism as the absence of religion, but it really meant what we mean when we talk about secular dictators in the middle east, that is “anti-clericalism”
    the french revolution as well was a deeply religious conflict,
    and coming to a much closer case, greece, during the partition of Greece and turkey, the exchange of peoples between the two new states was based on only religion. so people who were greek in language were not included in the greek nationalism,
    there are many other examples but the homogeneity in many European countries leads to obscure the deep religious rouots to all modern nationalism
    p.s. sorry for the scattershot response, this thread is why i love Sic Senper Tyrannis, and now i used up my whole break reading and following up info, so maybe tonight ill find some source to my arguments.

  61. LeaNder says:

    in hindsight, as German ;), I would like to amend this:
    see LeaNder @60, gotta get out of here: note to myself.
    vs unilateral?
    unilateral “cum” willing partners?

  62. blue peacock,
    I went down with a ‘lergy’ at New Year so I am getting up to speed on this, but a lot of leads are being opened up by Simpson’s testimony.
    For some time I have thought that the first memo at least was as you say. Although one has to be cautious about making confident assertions, the contents look to me like pure fabrication, a panicky response designed to legitimise a FISA application or applications in a hurry, in the hope/expectation that they would make it possible to obtain usable compromising material.
    The designation format it used, with the heading ‘Company Intelligence Report 2016/080’, does not look to me what one would expect from a well-run private security company submitting material to a client.
    It looks much more like what one would expect, if indeed a collaboration between Fusion and FBI/DOJ people resulted in an hastily drafted document, and they wanted to make it look as though it was supplied by an outside consultant. The question of whether that should be Fusion or someone else could possibly left open at the outset, but the fact that it was necessary to claim sources in Moscow pointed to Steele, a long-term ‘partner in crime’ of the whole group.
    The obvious implausibility of the numbering of the documents got those who had produced the dossier into trouble later. The gaps would only make sense if the sequence included memoranda sent to other clients about other matters. But, again, a well-run private security company would not mix up work for different clients in this way.
    The second memorandum also seems to me likely to have come out of a Fusion/FBI collaboration. However, I am not persuaded it is simply fiction, not least because it directly contradicts the accounts then being provided by Dmitri Alperovitch of ‘Crowdstrike’ and the former GCHQ person Matt Tait of how the documents from the DNC got to ‘WikiLeaks.’
    It may be relevant that the FSB’s Center for Information Security is the point of contact for the FBI for cyber-security matters. I have yet to be persuaded that the arrests for treason of two probably key personnel at the Center, Colonel Sergei Mikhailov and Major Dmitri Dokuchaev, are to be taken at face value.
    This is all the more so as the lawyer for another possible dossier source who was accused along with the pair, the head of the department of the investigation of computer incidents at Kaspersky Lab, Ruslan Stoyanov, turned out to be Alexander Gusak – who played a key role in the Litvinenko mystery and was one of the targets of the Berezovsky ‘StratCom’ machine.
    The memorandum reads to me like what might emerge, if people Mikhailov, Dokuchaev and Stoyanov were feeding their FBI contacts a deliberate mixture of accurate information and garbage, which was then fed to people like Strzok.
    This might account for the apparently suicidal way in which whoever published the dossier failed to redact the name of Aleksej Gubarev and his company in the final memorandum – an omission which I find really puzzling.
    A trap could have been set, into which the targets fell hook, line and sinker, with whoever was responsible for the decision to publish taking it for granted that there was enough truth in the claims to inhibit Gubarev from legal action.
    The sources are said to have explained that ‘FSB often uses coercion and blackmail to recruit most capable cyber operatives in Russia into its state-sponsored programmes.’ In general, coercion and blackmail have some limitations as means of recruiting people to do top secret work, as for obvious reasons their discretion cannot be taken for granted.
    However, the case of Dokuchaev – who started out stealing credit card numbers and was then recruited by the FSB – looks to me the kind of circumstances in which it might make very good sense to recruit someone with a criminal past, and in which you might have no reason to distrust them: ‘We could send you to prison, but you could have a lot of fun serving the Motherland.’
    Precisely the kind of criminal I think the FSB would be unlikely to recruit would be the figure linked in the final memorandum with Gubarev – Sevastyan Kaptsugovich, who had apparently been sentenced in 2013 to 18 years in a penal colony for operating a network of child porn websites.
    Linking him and Gubarev looks to me like the kind of joke which might be concocted by people who thought they were dealing with pompous asses (as they were), and calculated that these could be played for suckers, so some of them would have to end up having to defend preposterous accusations in court.
    (I imagine the prospect of Steele having to face a court he might not be able to rig would give Alexander Gusak a source of great amusement.)
    The fact that Dokuchaev’s background has been exploited to accuse him of being instrumental in the theft of data from half a billion Yahoo users reinforces my suspicions. This looks to me like what would be liable to happen, if people had been tricked and were livid about it.
    (Likewise, some of the animus behind the ludicrous accusations against Andrei Lugovoi of pioneering nuclear terrorism may have reflected anger at his real offence: being used by the Russian security services in what was I think was a successful operation to split away Berezovsky’s long-standing partner Patarkatsishvili.)
    As to the putting of Mogilevich and the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’ centre stage by Simpson and others, I would recommend as a good source the relevant entries on the ‘Violent Non-State Actors Database’ kept by the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, although they need to be supplemented with other material.
    (See )
    Briefly, that individual and that organisation have been a staple resource for a whole range of people in ‘StratCom’ activities, going back a long way. These include accusations against Putin and the FSB of attempting to equip Al Qaeda with a ‘mini nuclear bomb.’
    One of the reasons why the victors in the ‘Orange Revolution’ lost power was that Yanukovych was not the only one against whom the Mogilevich card could be used – Tymoshenko and Yushchenko played it against each other.
    In addition, such accusations featured in the ‘StratCom’ used against Khodorkovsky and his close associate Alexander Khonankyin, and were also deployed by the former FBI agent Robert Levinson in preventing the INS, in collaboration with the Russians, securing the latter’s extradition.
    The likelihood is that the operation to launder looted assets out of Russia in which Konanykhin played a central role was done with the connivance of elements in the CIA. The certainty is that Levinson’s disappearance on the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 resulted from his involvement in an operation run by elements in the CIA – one Anne Jablonski looks to have been a crucial figure.
    If one puts this together with the evidence about his involvement with the ‘StratCom’ group centred around Berezovsky, in particular Litvinenko and Yuri Shvets, and knows something about what they were up to, two things appear quite probable.
    The likely goal of Levinson’s mission was to make credible claims about the supply from Russia of nuclear materials and components to Iran, so as to incriminate the leaderships of both countries, and in particular provide a possible ‘casus belli’ against the latter.
    This would have been a natural priority for people like him and Jablonski, in the period which ended up with the destruction of the case for immediate war on Iran when the November 2007 NIE painted a very much more sanguine view of that country’s nuclear programme than the May 2005 Intelligence Community Estimate.
    What I think likely is that the dual role of elements in the FBI, in which involvement in quite proper investigations of criminal organisations and activities is mixed with using material so gained for ‘StratCom’ in support of very questionable foreign policy agendas, goes back a long way.
    A crucial question now is in making sense of the way that the ‘Mogilevich/Solntsevskaya’ card has been played by Simpson both against Trump and to demolish the ‘StratCom’ of Bill Browder against Putin.
    This is all the more so if one thinks as I do, that Russian claims that MI6 and the CIA used Browder to recruit Alexei Navalny as an agent for ‘régime change’, and in bogus ‘StratCom’ designed to create a pretext for sanctions, may contain quite a lot of truth.
    It is of interest that an American Russianist called Ed Baumgartner, who runs with his partners a company called ‘Edward Austin’ in London, was involved in both investigations. His ‘tweets’ are worth a look – the man is pretty bonkers, as well as nasty. I think a lot of these people may be. What his ‘tweets’ also suggest to me is that they may be running scared.
    I devoutly hope so.
    (See .)

  63. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Sorry mate, but this is the same lame argumentation Romania/Spain etc uses to refrain from giving at least some autonomy to their minorities.
    Make ur country a place where all people feel better than anywhere else.
    As simple as that. The people would feel better there. Like the azeris in Iran.

  64. Annem says:

    Erdo cannot afford to abandon one of the two pillars of his constituency. He got his referendum [barely] through an alliance between the his AK Party and the ultra-nationalist MHP, which is not inhospitable to Islamists. There is no real contradiction between them unless you mean by nationalists, the CH Party, who are the loyalists to the Ataturkist ideology, which is nationalist, but also statist and strictly secular.
    He Sultan’s potential competition for the elections next year is growing. Now there is the new “Good Party” led by a former female minister of the interior from pre-AKP days which is a break away from the geriatric leadership of the ultra-nationalist MHP. If she stands for election, the CH Party, the Ataturkists, have promised to back her because they don’t have anyone that could compete.
    Meanwhile, a ghost from the past, one of the original AKP founders and their first president, one of the many old guard, pre-autocracy, is rumored that Abdullah Gul may enter the race as well. He offers hope to the people who were originally attracted to the principles of he AKP but have been put off by all the corruption and other dubious things to do with Erdo and group nowadays see him as the original, along with all the technocrats that were his followers.
    For Erdo it is all more than assuming legally all the extra dictatorial powers he granted the president through the referendum that he is already using. If he loses, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for all the corrupt and illegal things he has done. Remember his family were Zarrab’s partners and that is just a part of all the scandals revealed in 2013 and for which he purged the police, prosecutors and judges, paving the way for full-on autocracy.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Azeris created Modern Iran, of course they feel good there.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You keep on trying to make this about Erdogan, that is no longer the case. Even anti-Erdogan and anti-AKP Turks are now supporting the destruction of any Kurdish Military formations in Northern Syria. The West has lost Turks.

  67. SmoothieX12 says:

    The West has lost Turks.
    I wouldn’t rush to such a conclusion. Erdogan is in many respects a lose cannon and initial enthusiasm for war is a hard thing to sustain. I don’t know Turkey really that well at all but it is still not-Western country to start with and Turkey’s value for Europe and US was her NATO membership and Erdogan is not intent on leaving this organization even despite some dramatic gestures.

  68. SmoothieX12 says:

    Azeris created Modern Iran, of course they feel good there.
    Yet, Azerbaijani diaspora in Russia is also very significant. In fact, it is largest apart from Iran’s native Azeri population. Most talented and educated of them still prefer Russia for obvious reasons. Merchants too. There is even an anecdote about it in Russia about last island of resistance in Moscow against Chinese invasion being Azeris defending their last bazaar to the last drop of blood.

  69. Kooshy says:

    No body said it’s not the same argument, you asked why is it an existential threat and I explained that was the argument obviously or what you want hear. Nevertheless it may to the way you want and start the process of Salami slicing and it may not. My heat is it’s not good going to happen this not Romania or Spain.

  70. Kooshy says:

    Exactly and the other guy asks why is it an existential threat to Turkey and when explained why, he changes the question with his own desired readout. If you already know the answers why do you need ask?

  71. outthere says:

    I had never heard of Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, evidently a woman with a masters degree from USC. She writes here about the 1981 Algiers Accords between USA and Iran, and says USA has consistently violated them ever since.
    This week marks the 37th anniversary of a pledge made by the United States in 1981: “The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran’s internal affairs.”
    This week also marks 37 continuous years of the United States failing to uphold its pledge: the 1981 Algiers Accords.

  72. LeaNder says:

    the french revolution as well was a deeply religious conflict,
    Explain. Would you please, paul? Why do you call it “deeply religious”.
    You don’t have slightly delayed equal rights in mind? Enlightenment vs religion? The Fifth Estate? Church possessions?
    I ask since it reminds of a book by “a friend” I had to, admittedly, read on Microfiche. Which I find very strenuous, thus I may not have paid the enough attention…. Religion, Nation, State.
    I didn’t know about religion in the Turkish-Greece inhabitants exchange. Or was it only one way? That’s true.

  73. JPB says:

    Long time lurker, first time commenting.
    The Izzies supported Barzani’s father Mustafa against the Iraqi government for decades. Menachim Begin admitted that long ago. And probably they have also supported the son against Sadaam. I have no doubt they are or were also supporting Kurdish militant groups in Iran, if so it was most likely the KDP-I.
    The PKK though is a different story. Israel always tried to maintain good relations with Turkey, because back in 1949 Turkey was the first Muslim majority country to formally recognize Israel as a State. There are statues and memorials to Ataturk in Beersheba and Yehud. The Turkish Air Force uses Israeeli made Heron UAVs. Israeli operators used ground surveillance systems, both infrared and visible-light, on the Herons to find PKK mountain bases for the Turkish Army and trained TAF operators in their use. In the 1990s Mossad and MIT started cooperating on strategic intelligence. Turkey helped Mossad to spy on Iran. And it was Mossad in 1999 that tracked Ocalan to Kenya so that the MIT could capture him.
    There is hostility in Israel against the PKK. There are several reasons. The PKK supported the Palestinians during the Izzie invasion of Lebanon in 1982, eleven PKK fighters were KIA by the IDF. You have to wonder how many of the 600 plus Israeli dead and 3000 plus wounded were due to the PKK. The Syrian Army and the PLO got the credit but they were not alone. Another reason is the good relationship that the PKK had with Hafez Assad, and also with the Iranians. A third reason is the 1999 attack on the Israeli consulate in Berlin by PKK supporters with iron bars where they took an Israeli staff member hostage – plus the hundreds of protests by Kurds around the world against other Israeli consulates and embassies – all in protest against Mossad involvement in taking down Ocalan.

  74. outthere says:

    You say
    ” it was Mossad in 1999 that tracked Ocalan to Kenya so that the MIT could capture him.”
    Yesterday’s nyt says not, says it was usa, and quotes usa officials bragging about it, did you read it?

  75. JPB says:

    The NYT? You gotta be kidding me, right? But then they may be right that the US was also involved. If so the original tip was passed to the US from Tel Aviv.

  76. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re:1] Long term what does Erdogan gain by taking Afrin? Sooner or later he will be arm twisted by Russia to give it back to Syria. Same with the Euphrates Shield area he has occupied, and the same for northern Idlib province. How will it sit with the average Turk in the street to give back land that Turkish soldiers died for?
    Had the kurds who took over Afrin-it was not 100% kurdish to begin with at all, despite the BS we are served-, gave up their arms and turned the area over to the SAA, this whole operation would not have happened. the kurds are now trying to get SAA (or someone) to pull their chestnuts out of the fire ( ). The SAA is happy to see them roast. Again, the TSK is not in Afrin for land annexation-we are simply stopping the formation of an izzie-Borg sponsored kurdish state. BTW, the banners carried by the demonstrators in that link is quite instructive. Tells you who we are eliminating.
    2-re: Will Erdogan go ahead with his threat to go against Manbij next? By doing so he risks retaliation if US service members there are killed or wounded. If he does backtrack on his threat to Manbij, how does he square that with his voters.
    The de-facto state in Manjib will be rolled back. It might be rolled back through a grand bargain between the US and Russians, or between all parties, but the kurds and their women warriors will again learn the truth in the old ME maxim: “You cannot consummate your marriage with someone else’s tool”. If tayyip loses face and loses the election, one way or the other, some of us will be very happy. Cannot happen soon enough.
    As far as the “Mediterranean corridor”, just look at some of the kurdish maps on the Web. There is a link somewhere in this thread. If they remain land-locked, any “state” they might form will not be viable-they are completely surrounded by populations who detest them.
    Patrick Bahzad had posted on the Kurdish issue several years past. Do look it up and read it. The issues are far more complicated than they look.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  77. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Interesting. Another “Long time lurker, first time commenting“. One wonders why.
    JPB; you were rather selective in what you wrote:
    You just stopped your “narrative” several decades ago and did not provide a reference. Is it because your “reference” was written by an unbiased analyst named Ofra Bengio from Tel Aviv?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  78. Barbara Ann says:

    Pentagon: “We’re not in a crisis, Turkey is an ally, and we’re going to work with them”
    Do they read the Turkish press?
    “..the U.S. is now the closest, greatest and most open threat for Turkey. It is an enemy country.”
    “The İncirlik Base must be shut down immediately”

  79. JPB says:

    Yes I dealt mainly with the history. But as you know Erdogan and Bibi had a reconciliation in June 2016 after the rift in their relations due to the Gaza Flotilla raid. Or maybe you and most Turks were never informed of that. Did your MSM ever print Erdogan’s approval of that agreement and the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations?
    I don’t know of Bengio, but thanks for the link. I was not aware of Ocalan’s anti-semitic statements that Bengio quotes. It does not appear to be all propaganda as there are many Arabic and Turkish press citations, plus from the west including Seymour Hersh. But I think Bengio is wrong about PJAK. I believe it was much more likely to be the Iranian branch of the KDP.
    And there was never need for me to use a source from Tel Aviv. It was an open secret that Ocalan lived in a Damascus villa for over a decade. Same for the fact that Hafez Assad established PKK training camps in the Bekaa Valley. 10,000 PKK fighters went through that camp. If you want references, just google “ocalan damascus”, or “PKK Bekaa”, or check the Wikipedia entry for “1982 Lebanon War” in regards to the PKK fighting alongside the PLO against the IDF. This is not and never has been a big secret.

  80. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Dude, no need to get personnal.
    Multiethnical states with opressed minorities fall apart. As simple as that. Hungarian Kingdom is a good example. If some of your minorities want to seccede they will. Some will not.

  81. Kooshy says:

    “Multiethnical states with opressed minorities fall apart.” Yes that’s is a problem, but, you and we all know, the most oppressed people in any multiethnic state in Middle East are the Arabs of apartheid state of Israel, I am sure what you describe is the eventuality of the Israel project.

  82. Tom says:

    I quote you: “If tayyip loses face and loses the election, one way or the other, some of us will be very happy. Cannot happen soon enough.” It is all very complicated. I thought Erdogan was the first Turkish politician – apart from Öcal – who made some real steps towards reconciliation with the Kurds. I also believe the PKK is no less to blame for the flame up in the Southeast as Erdogan. In fact I think in many ways Erdogan has been pushed into a corner. The West never gave him the chance that he – in my eyes – would have deserved. I further believe Turkey has no choice but to intervene in Afrim. The US needlessly inflamed the situation by offering the YPG (PKK) statehoood in all but name.

  83. turcopolier says:

    Israeli citizenship held by Palestinian Arabs is a farce. They are not treated as fellow Israelis anywhere in any way. I have personally seen this in action many times. They are treated in much the same way that Blacks were treated in the US South at the height of Jim Crow. Druze, Chechens and other Circassians who sided with Israel from the beginning ARE treated as equals by the Israeli Jews. pl

  84. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, thank you, I have been told by Israeli migrants in LA (who work work in construction sub contracting) that the Ethiopian black Jews whom they call Kushi whom mostly are doing the hard labor jobs in Israel are even treated worst and more racially .

Comments are closed.