Erdogan wants a proxy war with the US?


"Turkey-backed forces will move toward the northern Syrian town of Manbij after completing their operation in al-Bab as originally planned, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

In a news conference in Ankara before embarking on an official visit to Pakistan, Erdogan also said the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia – which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization – should be moved out to the east of the Euphrates river.

Erdogan also ruled out any chance of cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the Syrian Kurdish militia."  Reuters



Turkish Air Force aircraft are now supposedly bombing SDF irregulars (including the YPG Kurds).  These forces are closely advised and accompanied by USSF (Green Berets). These Turkish Air Force bombs and rockets are probably provided by the United States since Turkey is still a member state of NATO.  Where else would they get aerial ordnance?  Is there a 500 lb.  bomb factory somewhere in Turkey?  Trump went to JB Andrews to receive the dead body of the SEAL who died in Yemen.  This experience of the result of actual war seems to have affected the CinC.  If the Turks keep bombing the SDF and seriously attempt to move their Syrian proxies toward Manbij there are likely to be quite a few more American bodies for him and Ivanka to meet at Andrews.  I think TTG will agree with me that our GB brothers are likely to die at the sides of those they now see as comrades. 

What would be the result of a Turkish/US proxy war in NE Syria?  IMO such a war would lead to the exit of Turkey from NATO, a cessation of Turkish inclusion in NATO contingency plans and a departure of the US and its nuclear weapons from Incirlik AFB at Adana in Turkey. 

Does Erdogan really want that?  Perhaps he does.  He has shown every symptom of neo-Ottoman and Islamist thinking until now.  Why not this?    A crucial moment in the history of US-Turkish relations has arrived.

BTW, with regard to the reconnaissance operation in Yemen in which SCPO Owens died; a reconnaissance in which you lose men is NOT a failure unless the reconnaissance mission is not accomplished.   pl

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55 Responses to Erdogan wants a proxy war with the US?

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    That is just a public pose by him; hoping to fool Russian and Iranian leaders.
    He is, in my opinion, on script with the rest of Fortress West – Wound-Iran-In-Syria.
    I suppose the idea is that after Iran’s wings are clipped, Gulfies will reimburse him – as well as EU.

  2. Rd says:

    “What would be the result of a Turkish/US proxy war in NE Syria? ”
    On the other hand; every one concerned with terrorism and safety of troops, should help this legislation pass
    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists

  3. There are several photos of a group of four Special Forces models of the HMMWV with up-armor kits installed. They appear new and one has what appears to be an air movement manifest marker still attached. Normally four of these vehicles are manned by one SFOD-A. Two vehicles fly American flags. Several YPG soldiers and at least one Toyota technical are also in the photos. My guess is this is a new team brought in to reinforce the MMC. This is in addition to those GB brethren already embedded with the MMC and YPG. I agree that these GB brothers are willing to die at the sides of those they now see as comrades. Before that, they will make the Turks and the FSA jihadis pay dearly.
    Now we will see what Trump and his administration are made up. It’s time to nut up or shut up.

  4. BraveNewWorld says:

    Right now the US and Russia view Erdogan as a useful idiot. When that changes and they both view him as just an idiot…

  5. Liza says:

    Col. Lang:
    Erdogan may be preparing to leave NATO. Erdogan and Putin are scheduled to meet soon to discuss the purchase of an S-400 system. It’s difficult to imagine that Putin would sell this system if Turkey remained in NATO.

  6. Stumpy says:

    The Syrian war imo has featured a certain tolerance for slop, i.e. Turkey shoots down Russian fighter, US attacks Syrian troops at Deir Ezzor, Russian aircraft attack Kurdish fighters near Aleppo, etc.
    The Turks don’t have the best track record of taking and holding ground, thus the notion of taking Manbij has an element of doubt. Turkey adjusts expectations under pressure to get something out of this clusterf*.
    The threshold at which US decides to back its friends and save our SF by fire support is likely determined by tactical necessity on the ground, correct? How far will Erdogan go to save face if more flag-draped coffins return to Andrews due to Turkish-supported fire?

  7. mike says:

    Let’s hope that Erdogan’s bombast is to his base for the coming referendum. But the man thinks he is the reincarnation of Suleiman the Magnificent, so who knows whether he will pull the trigger. He has probably been watching too many Turkish historical soap operas about the Ottomans. There is a biopic film about him titled “Reis”, which translates to “the chief” in english.
    Plus Putin would love to see Turkey out of NATO and the removal of NATO aircraft from Incirlik. So who knows if there are subtle wedge issues being exploited in the press?

  8. mike says:

    The Al-Sanadid depicted in the blood red shield icon, top right on your graphic are an interesting group. They are an Arab militia from the Shammar tribe. They are very anti-Wahhabi and anti-Saudi. Originally from the southern Arabian Peninsula, some came north to Syria in the 18th century, some others in the early 20th century when Ibn Saud and his Wahhabi’s restored his family’s rule.
    The Sanadid forces come primarily from northeastern Syria and number 4 to 5000 fighters. They are neither for nor against Assad. The Shammar have had a long relationship with the Syrian Kurds. They were the only Arab tribe to refuse to fight against Kurds who were protesting during the 2004 Qamishli riots.
    What does their Arabic script insignia say on the shield?

  9. Gabriel says:

    Posting a remarkable expose [expose”>]>expose (clearly by current or former officer) on the accelerating degringolade of the Turkish Armed Forces.

    Images flooding the social media depicts a very gloomy picture of the Turkish Military. Unfiltered pictures remind not of the Army of Ataturk, the modernizing force and the guardian of the Republic, but that of Ottoman Era bandit-militia, the Bashibozouk.
    Apparently, without an efficient leadership in the forced absence of the Officer Corps, uncontrolled soldiers started to behave as they wish and with no code of ethics. What makes the matter worse is the complete lack of a STRATCOM policy or oversight on the dissemination of information in the public domain. As Generals seem to be busy with building their political connections, the prospect for theTurkish Military looks very grim, to say the least.
    No need for long sentences and fancy intros: Alarm bells are ringing for Turkish Military. Images flooding the social media show a Military in disarray; replete with indiscipline, insubordination showing signs of severe lack of oversight and as a result, demonstrating unacceptable forms of conduct. Apparently they also lack even a basic STRATCOM capacity to manage the image of the Turkish Military. This is a very slippery slope, the end of which leads to nothing short of military disaster on a biblical scale and/or accusations in the ICC. I hope this piece serves as a way belated wake up call for military authorities and they get their act together.
    Take a look at this video for example:Who are these guys? Who is the leader of these bandits? What kind of a commander lets his subordinates to shoot aimlessly in a combat zone on this scale? And more worryingly, how can troops be allowed to salute with ultra-nationalist greywolf sign and shout slogans? This is not the only video. Political and/or xenophobic messages, salutes are all over the social media.(Here, here) One wonders, whether they have started allowing-or even promoting- neo-fascist tendencies as well? Have they not learned their lessons from all this FETO debacle? On top of debates about the politicization of the military, clashing cliques (pro-Russian vs. pro-Erdogan Islamists), this addition of ultra-nationalist flavor is very bad. Last thing we need is proxies of a ultra-nationalist (at times racist) political party in uniform, swinging their weapons, chanting racist slogans, drawing racist graffiti in operational areas.

    From having studied Argentine Army in Falklands in some detail, I’ve have always been a bit skeptical of the assumption “conscripts + COIN = military ineffectiveness” (they can and did in Falklands, but via more subtle mechanisms than is usually understood) but this (plus the scale of the ongoing purges [ goes well beyond anything I’ve seen. It’d take a Malaparte or Celine to do it justice.
    For what it’s worth, I think “FSA” numbers are being underreported, and what Turkey plans is to use Ahrar as Sham [always its principal client among the jihadi groups) as the infantry while they supply air and artillery support (tanks seem to being used to shell from a distance–those early losses (href=’] seem to have made someone much more cautions).
    [Literal PS–just saw this]: On the other hand, (announcement by SDF Manbij Military Council–it’s official).

  10. Pundita says:

    BREAKING: Kurdish-led SDF to handover huge section of territory to SAA
    By Andrew Illingworth
    AMN March 2
    “The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are to hand over a massive section of their territory west of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army in order to create a buffer zone against the Turkish Army and Turkey-led forces in northern Syria. The map above is an initial estimate of the area which will be handed over to pro-government forces and not official.

  11. turcopolier says:

    If the Turkish military is in such pitiful condition Erdogan can blame himself for purging the officer corps repeatedly in fear of a rebellion. pl

  12. Henshaw says:

    Interesting implications from several angles, particularly if it allowed SDF resources to be redirected towards Raqqa.

  13. turcopolier says:

    “Rais” (ra-ees) is an Arabic loan word in Turkish. It obviously means “boss,” “chief,” etc. It also forms compound words as in “rais al-jumhuriyet” means “presidentt of the republic.” You can fins thd term in any Arabic newspaper. I don’t read Turkish. pl

  14. turcopolier says:

    None of the “slop” ever surprises me. It is in the nature of war that there is “slop.” This reminds me of a civilian colleague in DIA who expressed surprise that weapons and other equipment do not function as advertised by manufacturers. I laughed more than I should have. pl

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for the link.
    Whomever aspires to partition Syria, will have to actually pay for the sustenance of that population which it controls. Will Fortress West pay for “Northern Syria” that is going to be occupied by Turkey indefinitely?
    Fortress West does pay for the Occupation of West Bank as well as Afghanistan – without a doubt. Will they add Northern Syria to it?
    I do not think so.
    Or is that supposed to come from the Gulfies?
    Doubtful for long period of time.
    In an analogous situation, Russia is now paying for Eastern oblasts of Ukraine.

  16. b says:

    Current news from Yemen says that there is -right now- a large raid ongoing today by U.S. forces against yet unknown targets. Allegedly in multiple locations, with air support and some sea landing.
    On the earlier raid:
    According to local sources in Yemen the SEAL raiders did not enter any homes and seized no equipment from homes. The raid was targeted, said other reports, at an AQ bigwig who, it turned out, wasn’t there. That makes a lot more sense than the supposed “intelligence” raid.
    Early eye witness accounts also claimed that two men were abducted by U.S. forces though I did not see any follow ups of that assertion. The clan that was raided was known be in the pay of the Saudis and was known to be al-Qaeda affiliated. The Yemeni proxy president Hadi was allegedly informed about the mission. Maybe someone around him warned the target?
    AQ in Yemen is now a proxy of the Saudis. There is a lot of fighting between the UAE, which had elements taking part in the SEAL raid, and the Saudis. This is a violent competition over port and pipeline rights.
    The SEAL raid was a SWAT raid against some Saudi asset. It was blown early on but instead to retreat and try gain later the SEALs unleashed hell on everyone around them. A stupid overreacting but consistent with the behavior of this unit in other missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The SEALs should be urged to find back to their original missions. Their troops have degraded into overhyped shooter/killer gangs. That is far away from their original and more cautious profile.

  17. b says:

    The only issue uniting Russia and U.S. in Syria now is fighting Erdogan and his proxies.
    Somewhat ironic …

  18. Ghostship says:

    From further down in the same article:
    “To reach these objectives [the defense of Manbij] we have transferred, after reaching a new alliance with Russia, the defence of the line to the west of Manbij – where the villages between us and the gang groups [FSA, Ahrar al-Sham] affiliated to the Turkish army are – to Syrian state forces.”
    So the Kurds were talking to Moscow. Have the full un-redacted transcripts of Flynn’s conversation with the “Russian Ambassador” been published? I don’t think so. So perhaps Syria and destroying ISIS is what Flynn was discussing and sanctions were just a misdirection if indeed they were discussed, and that’s why Flynn had to go for the time being.

  19. kooshy says:

    As a Persian proverb goes “here are two words (cents) from the mother of the bride” in this case the WP editorial board and Fred Haitt. Dear colonel’ pilgrims, IMO, nothing has changed, Borg has won once again. As the other Fred, Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son use to say, holding his hand on his heart “Elizabeth honey I am coming to join you, this is the big one” Colonel sorry for lengthy paste up.
    “The U.S. should use its leverage on Syria”
    “Ms. Haley, who lunched with Mr. Trump and Vice President Pence the day before the Security Council’s meeting, insisted on a vote so that the Putin and Xi Jinping regimes were forced to go on the record. Then she bluntly called them out. “It’s a sad day on the Security Council,” she said. “When members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people, the world is definitely a more dangerous place.”
    “The ambassador’s forceful diplomacy was useful for more than sending the message that the Trump administration will be, like all U.S. administrations before it, ready to oppose war crimes. We hope it also is meant to put Mr. Putin on notice that Mr. Trump’s stated willingness to join with him in fighting the Islamic State will not extend to tolerating gross human rights violations or propping up the blood-soaked Assad dictatorship. An alliance with Russia that abetted such actions would only discredit the United States, including with its major allies in the Middle East; the chief beneficiary would be Iran, which has made the Assad regime its puppet and which has the largest interest in sustaining it.”

  20. LondonBob says:

    Be interesting who suggested that and at what level it was improved, very smart, bodes well for future cooperation. Allowing Erdogan to play Russia and the US off against each other benefits neither party. Putin has clearly shown how to handle Erdogan, I should hope Trump has watched and learned, even if Frau Merkel hasn’t.

  21. LondonBob says:

    So Haley’s idea, or whoever feeds her her ideas. A meaningless resolution that would have no effect. Trump must move cautiously, especially until he can consolidate his position with the 2018 midterms. Look how carefully phrased Trump’s comments on foreign policy were in his address, although I thought the message was clear enough. Change would always be slow and largely occur below the surface, but change is coming.

  22. mike says:

    That was a good move. Before that you had three different armies within hand grenade range of each other, which was a disaster waiting to happen.
    Now, to take Manbij, Erdogan is faced with either taking on the SAA to the west of Manbij, or the US to the north of Manbij.
    The big question in my mind is when and how the Syrian regime will push the Turks completely out of northern Aleppo province and send them back behind their own borders? Will the Turks go peacefully? The Iraqis face the same situation with Turkish bases in northern Iraq.
    But that probably will not happen until Daesh an al-Qaeda are defeated.

  23. mike says:

    Prior to the handover, the SDF beat off an attack west of Manbij. They are reporting they killed 12 Ahrar Al-Sham fighters, injured 30 Others, captured 2 Turks and seized 3 armoured vehicles. ACV-15s maybe?

  24. Gabriel says:

    Damn, having brackets at the end of links made them useless. Sorry people.
    Main article, which strongly recommended is here
    A second piece that I think is also important in showing how (a) the purges are targeting junior officers and even senior enlisted personnel and (b) they are ongoing and happening in small batches, here

  25. LG says:

    الصناديد al sanadid

  26. Chris Chuba says:

    Yeah, a resolution about two alleged chlorine gas attacks that killed maybe 5 people in a civil war where even the U.N. acknowledges that the rebels were shelling civilian areas and using civilians as human shields.
    If we were not living in Bizzaro Earth, a more proper use of the UN would have been for Russia and the U.S. to be forming resolutions and sanctions against Turkey and the Gulf states for giving massive amount of material support for rebels intent on toppling the standing govt. These actions are a blatant violation of the U.N. charter quoted below.

    U.N. charter, article 2
    “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”

    Had the U.S. and Russia been working together in the Security Council we could have produced massive pressure on Turkey and the Gulf states to cease and desist their meddling in Syria. So while we sneer at Russia using their veto power, we were the obstructionists who sheltered the real criminal states.

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Zero chance of that.
    Erdogan and indeed the Turkish people do not have it in themselves to break with the Western Fortress and in that manner to face the proverbial “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.
    In fact, I cannot think of a single country in Europe either which would be willing to stand on her own two feet in a like manner.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It is bombast, I agree.
    There is very old Turkish movie that presents a little bit of the reality of Turkey called “Yol” – worth watching.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    By that time in 2018, he may not be able to get the deal that he could have in 2017. I think it is supreme folly for him to move cautiously now – he has to move rapidly and decisively if he wants to get traction.
    Like my grand-mother used to say: “By next year, who be alive, who be dead?”

  30. mike says:

    the brave?

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That seems to be the case – according to this piece from Al Ahram:

  32. Laguerre says:

    My impression is that Turkish ambitions in Syria are now reduced to blocking the Kurds, that is blocking the Rojavans from joining with Afrin. That has succeeded. It’s Erdogan’s obsession, the Kurds.
    Given the purges and confusion in the Turkish army, not much more can be hoped for. Erdogan may be irrational, but going further is not a vital interest. Unless there is some secret agreement with Saudi to rescue Da’ish. That last seems beyond what the Turks can do.

  33. turcopolier says:

    LG According to my friend Amatzia Baram (I think of myself as his tudent in all things Iraqi)the Shammar drifted north following the herds for many centuries. In the course of that journey some clans were absorbed along the fringes by Shia missionaries from the Hawza in Iraq and some remained steadfast in Sunni allegiance. pl

  34. Daniel says:

    Reis means the same thing in Turkish, but is old-fashioned and has a very distinctly Ottoman flavor. They use ‘Cumhurbaşkan’ for President.

  35. Kooshy says:

    Yes I agree Babak, I don’t know if president Trump was, is, serious in changeing US foreign policy on Russia, which IMO that is more important for world peace than all other world issues since the world at curent is in a stalemate, but if he was genuine on changing/ reconciling US’, Russian policy, he, by now knows he is getting castrated on all sides but mostly by his own party. Yes that’s where we are today , where curent AG and a former US senator is regranting for talking to Russia’ US ambassador, after this can anybody dare to talk to any foreign ambassadors without vetting it with the Borg.

  36. Kooshy says:

    In Iran they use same as colonel mentioned Ra-ees-e-jumhore, which usually is an elected job and not a divine god like job like a shah or sultan

  37. Kooshy says:

    Mike I don’t think the Syrian want to send Turks back this soon, IMO it’s better to contain and keep them close rather than have them go back and make more trouble elsewhere. Without Russian or US cooperation Turkey can’t do much, IMO in the Syrian regional theatre of war, due to numerous reasons, Turkey is the most venerable. I don’t see Turkey can get out of this hole Erdo dogged easy, too many issues for one mishap

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In US, they are reprising the situation during the Iranian Revolution; use any contact with US officials to smear their political opponents and discredit them.
    I wrote before on this forum that US and Iran have a great deal in common.

  39. Brad says:
    Assad makes it plain that Trump must recognize Syria’s Sovereignty.
    Since elected, …Trump has gone 180 on everything he promised during the
    Election run up.
    The Deep State wants to partition Syria. …especially control the Euphrates,
    The dams…
    Israel has water worries, ….one ponders if grabbing Syria’s lands is for
    Israel to have water pipeline thru Jordan.

  40. kooshy says:

    Yes IMO, there is no change in US foreign policy with regard to Russia, Iran, Syria , if it was, by now we understand US president Trump, has no power to change it.

  41. mike says:

    Thanks for the tip.

  42. LeaNder says:

    Don’t worry. Lot’s of people do that. Consider it a test if someone is really interested. 😉

  43. Kunuri says:

    Its “Reis-i Cumhur” Albayim, I remember the term from newspapers of my childhood, but I think it has dispensed with since the mid sixties from the official lexicon, as well as daily Turkish.
    On a funny side, today I saw a poster of the movie “Reis”, with a full head shot of the actor playing Erdogan, right next to a referendum poster of Erdogan himself, same angle, same lighting, same full head shot. I leave pleasure of the irony rush to the respected audience.

  44. Fred says:

    Yep, issuing that travel ban was a 180 on what he promised.

  45. LG says:

    They are from noble Yemeni lineage certainly, particularly of Hatim tai and Adi bin hatim, who was both a companion of the prophet saw and a partisan of Ali as.

  46. kooshy says:

    In Iran, unofficially, informally and mostly around supporters and or people with respect for the leader of revolution Ayatollah Khamenei they call him Agha, which means sir, this is since many Iranians especially in older generation they use Agha to call or refer to their dads, fathers. So Agha means Sir but it also is used to mean Dad, father like figure.

  47. Pundita says:

    The Turkish economic miracle is over. The question is the extent to which the economy is in trouble. If Erdogan’s government is in dire financial straits, it’s possible his “Stalinesque” purge of the country’s security forces (and government officials and state-financed teachers) would simply be a way to unload a great many salaries the government can no longer afford to pay.
    From that angle the “coup” attempt (whether staged by Erdogan or not) would have provided a face-saving rationale for the sackings that deflected attention from the true state of the government’s finances.
    I don’t know whether Turkish military and officials are paid pensions but if so, firings based on disloyalty would allow the government to cancel the pensions. And any hirings since the purge could be made at a much lower salary than the pre-purge employees were paid.
    Of course the above line of reasoning is speculative. But if it pans out then the famous “Golden Parachute” ploy to eject mid-level private sector employees whose annual raises and bonuses make them richer than CEOs would be joined by the Erdogan Golden Parachute — golden because at least you survive the parachute drop.

  48. mike says:

    I believe you may have some good insight there, Pundita.
    Probably that is why Erdogan is depending on his bashibazouks in Syria. He must be able to get them for pennies on the dollar compared to uniformed TSK.

  49. Kunuri says:

    Yes indeed, also in Turkey “Lord”, as the keeper of the realm in medieval times, or the elder head of any clan, as in rural land owner mainly in South Eastern Anatolia or as in prison, the head honcho. Also, head of any profession or guild, or in Ottoman times, elder leader of a court function, like the royal stables, or the kitchens or the royal guard.

  50. Laguerre says:

    The partition of Syria remains as unlikely as it ever was. Asad talks about reuniting Syria, and he is right. The Kurds will end up making a deal with Asad. Reducing ISIS and Nusra will take time, but it will happen.

  51. Pundita says:

    Uh oh.
    “Syrian Kurds cede buffer as Turkish-backed FSA advances on Manbij”
    From the report:
    Another [question] is why the SDF’s top ally, the United States, has remained silent in the face of Turkish and regime advances. There may be several reasons. For one, Turkey has always made it clear that it will not tolerate any YPG advances west of the Euphrates River, where Manbij lies. The YPG and its political affiliates were supposed to leave once the town was fully freed. The United States offered guarantees to that effect. But the Syrian Kurds did not leave, and the Manbij Military Council is widely viewed as a YPG front.
    Nicholas Heras, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, believes the United States will stay out of the Turkish-Kurdish tussle over Manbij. This is because “the United States is not invested in a permanent SDF presence in Manbij and it will not want Manbij to be the cause of a war between the SDF and Turkey that would prevent the counter-IS campaign of achieving its true objective: the defeat of IS in Raqqa and throughout eastern Syria,” he told Al-Monitor in an interview.
    But where are the Americans? Didn’t we descend on Manbij to keep the Turks out? Where is the base we set up flying the American flag and stocked with “heavy weaponry” and “armored vehicles” (vehicles, not tanks; that was my mistake)
    [banging her head on the keyboard] I give up. I don’t want to watch this TV channel anymore.

  52. Pundita says:

    Well, Turkey’s economy is not in good shape, that’s for sure.
    “Why 2017 doesn’t bode well for Turkey’s economy”
    “Youth unemployment poses latest danger to Turkey”
    As to the political situation:
    “Will Erdogan postpone upcoming referendum?” (March 2)
    Turkey is moving to the polls [on April 16] under unprecedented waves of crackdown that saw more than 110,000 people purged, sacked or detained, with around 44,000 put behind bars, including co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and many prominent journalists and opinion makers in the country. Any semblance of dissent against Erdogan is under threat of being severely punished. He characterizes anybody who announces or may think of casting a “no” vote as a villain, traitor and terrorist. A state of emergency is in force and will remain in place on election day.
    Despite all the prerequisites for “yes” that are in place, the air in Turkey indicates that “no” has a real chance to prevail. The reason is presumably because the “yes” camp seems to have formidable cracks.
    There are widely circulated rumors that if Erdogan feels that a “yes” vote won’t be secured April 16, he might invent a reason to call off the vote. And what could be that reason? Nobody is certain. But with a reputation of making quick decisions and an ability to move swiftly, Erdogan could take steps that could postpone the date of the vote. Situations in Syria or Iraq may present some pretexts for dramatic military adventures Erdogan and his loyalists in the high echelons of the Turkish state might initiate.
    For that, Erdogan needs a docile and loyal army chief: Akar. However, Akar has become a magnet for attracting mounting criticism from within and outside of the military. The lifting of the headscarf ban for female personnel of the armed forces two weeks ago seemed to serve as the last straw for many in the military ranks already heavily burdened since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. The headscarf move drew harsh criticism from staunchly secularist military circles who have been allied with Erdogan against the Gulenists for some time.
    Headscarfs as the last straw for the military? How odd if that really turns out to be the case.

  53. Gabriel says:

    Thanks LeaNder! I know that standards pretty high (thank God) in the SST comments-section, so I get a little hysterical about making mistakes here.

  54. Pundita says:

    Light at the end of the tunnel? Two reports March 4:
    “US Air Force aids Syrian Army, Russian military liberate Palmyra”
    By Leith Fadel, AMN
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – For the first time during this six year long Syrian Conflict, the U.S. and Russian air forces coordinated to aid the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in their quest to liberate Palmyra (Tadmur) from the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.
    U.S. warplanes conducted several raids over the eastern countryside of Palmyra these past two weeks, hitting a large number of Islamic State targets along the Sukhanah-Palmyra Road.
    These airstrikes by the U.S. Air Force in east Palmyra helped the Syrian Arab Army and Russian military retake the city by cutting off their vital supply route.
    Both the Russian and U.S. commands have yet to comment on their coordination above the skies of ancient Palmyra; however, there has been some acknowledgement from local activists on both sides.
    “Pentagon: US Operations in Syria Unaffected as Russia Moves Convoys to Manbij”
    Sputnik – 5:47
    The Russian military has informed the United States about moving convoys to Syria’s Manbij, and US operations in the area remain unaffected, US Department of Defense spokesperson Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Friday.
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —The Russian General Staff said Friday Russia’s center for the reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria has sent the first food and medical supplies convoy to Manbij.
    “We were aware of this. The Russian government has informed us of it as well,” Davis told reporters. “It has not changed anything we are doing.”
    Davis said the United States has noticed and observed these humanitarian convoys moving into the area. He claimed that they have also brought “some armored equipment” with them.
    The spokesperson underscored that the United States wants to see all parties on the ground in Manbij to continue focus on fighting the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia).
    [final paragraphs summarize start of the war and Russian entry]

  55. mike says:

    Pundita –
    Last I heard the American tripwire is/was north of Manbij City along the Sajur River to warn off a Turkish Army incursion coming down through Jarabulus. I would opine that there are also some American training instructors in or around Manbij city itself drilling MMC recruits.
    To the west, my understanding is that the SDF has retaken the area advance from the Turkish bashibazouks and sent them packing without American or SAA help.
    Not sure when the Syrian Border Guard troops will move up to blocking positions to the west of Manbij. Perhaps it is ongoing now with the convoy you mentioned, but I understood that was humanitarian in nature.
    Some accounts claim that four SAA were taken captive by Erdogan’s proxies in that area.

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