Who is diddling who in Syria just now?


(editorial comment)

The SAA is allowing surrendered  jihadis from the fighting around Damascus to be bused up to Idlib to join the intra-rebel war there.  Is this mere cleverness like the German infection of Russia with Bolsheviks in 1917 or is it an indication that the SAG believes/understands that there is a deal between Russia and Turkey over a de facto partition of NW Syria in which Turkey has been allowed a sector which  includes some or all of Idlib Province? pl




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47 Responses to Who is diddling who in Syria just now?

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: Deal or not, maybe the SAA wants to ensure that any “humanitarian” military strikes ordered to appease our odious R2P crowd land far from Damascus.

  2. Peter AU says:

    Is the Turk move on Afrin a preemptive move by Turkey, Russia, Iran and perhaps Syria, to ensure US Kurdistan never reaches the sea? An image search for Kurdistan show many maps that have Kurdistan running through Afrin, and through Turkeys Hatay province to the Mediterranean.

  3. Annem says:

    And who is carrying it out? The UN! THEY should be trying to get the civilians used as human shields out of there.

  4. Emad says:

    It’a bit of both. The SAG is betting that it can have Russia improve the SAA to a point where it can take on both Jihadis and Turks in Idlib. Russia can then say that it can’t bring Assad to heel, and wriggle out of “the deal” with Turks, if it so chooses.
    What I can’t figure out is whether Putin agreed to such a deal, because he thinks the SAG can’t restore sovereignty over all of Syria even with Russia’s help, or because he thinks this is a necessary condition for removing Turkey from the Western orbit.

  5. JPB says:

    I opt for the stoking-up-the-intra-rebel-war theory. Any fighting between anti-Assad factions in Idlib is good for the SAA and the Syrian government.
    As for any Russian/Turkish deals about NW Syria, I do not see any such deals as by Putin as being permanent. It may be true that getting Turkey out of NATO is more important to Russia than preserving Syrian borders. However, such a deal, if permanent, would cost Russian foreign policy with Iran and Syria dearly. IMHO Putin and Lavrov are playing with Erdogan. They will do some serious arm twisting to remove him, but probably not until they help Assad reduce other rebel pockets – Mukhayyam al-Yarmuk south of Damascus; the Dumayr and Jayrud/al-Muadamiyyah pockets northwest of Ghouta; the al-Rastan pocket north of Homs City; and the Daraa/Quneira pockets in the south. All those rebels will eventually be given the choice of dying in place or moving to Idlib.

  6. JohnsonR says:

    I agree with the suggestion that stoking up intra-rebel fighting seems the most plausible reason for this, especially as it would seem to be strengthening the less pro–Turkish side in Idlib.
    Not sure about the idea that the Russians will do any “serious arm twisting” later, though. Nobody has yet suggested any plausible reason to me as to why either Russia or Iran should feel strongly about Turkey occupying some of northern Syria, provided it is not actively destabilising the Assad government.
    Seems to me the pressing issue for both Russia and Iran, now that the survival of the Syrian government has been more or less assured (bar a direct US intervention against it), will be how to get the US out of northern and eastern Syria. Together with, for Iran, Israel and its ongoing menaces against Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
    How are either of those issues advanced by getting into a confrontation with Turkey, and thereby encouraging that country to downplay its issues with the US and their Kurdish proxies? Seems to me both Russia and Iran would want to maximise the latter, as quite a high priority.

  7. outthere says:

    Off topic, but perhaps well worth it
    RI has published to complete transcript of the Putin interviews by Megyn Kelly. Worthy full read. Putin covers so much ground, far more than you ever saw/heard from NBC which drastically edited the interviews for USA consumption. Kelly repeatedly interrupts and attempts “gotcha”, and reveals herself as arrogant stupid american.
    here’s a taste – but you really have to read it all for yourself
    re USA ditching the ABM treaty, Kelly says the reason was 911
    > Megyn Kelly: Again, it was in the wake of 9/11, just to make it clear. 9/11 happened on September 11, 2001, and the United States was reassessing its security posture in the world for good reason, wouldn’t you admit?
    > Vladimir Putin: No, not for good reason.This is complete nonsense. Because the missile defence system protects from the kind of ballistic missiles that no terrorists have in their arsenal. This is an explanation for the housewives watching your programme. But if these housewives can hear what I am saying, if you show it to them and they hear me, they will understand that 9/11 and the missile defence system are completely unrelated. To defend themselves from terrorist attacks, the major powers must join their efforts against the terrorists rather than create threats for each other.
    re: interference in USA elections by Yevgeny Prigozhin
    > To claim otherwise makes no sense. Will anyone believe that Russia, a country located thousands of kilometres away, could use two or three Russians, as you have said, and whom I do not know, to meddle in the elections and influence their outcome? Don’t you think that it sounds ridiculous?
    > Megyn Kelly: Now you are talking about causation. But I am still on whether you did it. And it is not true that you do not know the individuals who were accused of conducting this. One of your good friends is actually accused of helping conduct this. His name is Yevgeny Prigozhin. Do you know him?
    > Vladimir Putin: I know this man, but he is not a friend of mine. This is just twisting the facts. There is such a businessman; he works in the restaurant business or something. But he is not a state official; we have nothing to do with him.
    > Megyn Kelly: After you heard about him being indicted, did you pick up the phone and call him?
    > Vladimir Putin: Certainly not.I have plenty of other things to worry about.
    > Megyn Kelly: He is your friend. He has been indicted.
    > Vladimir Putin: Did you hear what I just said? He is not my friend. I know him, but he is not a friend of mine. Was I not clear? There are many people like that. There are 146 million people in Russia. That is less than in the US, but it is still a lot.
    > Megyn Kelly: He is a prominent businessman.
    > Vladimir Putin: A prominent businessman? So what? There are many prominent people in Russia. He is not a state official, he does not work for the government; he is an individual, a businessman.
    > Megyn Kelly: Some people say his real job is to do your dirty work.
    > Vladimir Putin: Who are those people? And what dirty work? I do not do any dirty work. Everything I do is in plain view. This is your prerogative; some people in your country enjoy doing dirty work. You think we do the same. That is not true.
    > Megyn Kelly: It is a) the fact that you know him, you admit that. He is a prominent Russian businessman. And he is specifically accused of running this operation; b) this is the same man who has been accused of sending Russian mercenaries into Syria and they attacked a compound held by American back militia. This guy gets around.
    > Vladimir Putin: You know, this man could have a wide range of interests, including, for example, an interest in the Syrian fuel and energy complex. But we do not support him in any way. We do not get in his way but we do not support him either. It is his own personal initiative.
    > Megyn Kelly: That is my question to you. That is my question to you. Why, why would you interfere in our election time and time again? And why would not you, for that matter? Let me put it to you that way. You have spent a day, every time I have seen you, in St Petersburg, in Moscow and now here in Kaliningrad, telling me that America has interfered in Russia’s electoral process and that Russia has a robust cyber warfare arsenal. And yet you want us to believe that you did not deploy it. Do you understand how implausible that seems, sir?
    > Vladimir Putin: That does not seem implausible to me at all, because we do not have such a goal, to interfere. We do not see what we have to gain by interfering. There is no such goal. Let us suppose this was our goal. Why, just for the sake of it? What is the goal?
    > Megyn Kelly: Creating chaos. That is the goal.
    > Vladimir Putin: Listen to me. Not long ago President Trump said something absolutely correct. He said that if Russia’s goal was to sow chaos, it has succeeded. But it is not the result of Russian interference, but your political system, the internal struggle, the disorder and division. Russia has nothing to do with it whatsoever. Get your own affairs in order first. And the way the question is framed, as I mentioned – that you can interfere anywhere because you bring democracy, but we cannot – is what causes conflicts. You have to show your partners respect, and they will respect you.
    re usa sanctions
    > Megyn Kelly: One of the questions that our audiences have is how do we walk this back? How do we get to the place where these two great nations are less adversaries and something closer to allies, which we clearly are not right now. Do you agree we are not?
    > Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately, we are not. But we were not the ones who made the US our adversary. It was the US, the US Congress, who called Russia its adversary. Why did you do that? Did Russia impose sanctions on the United States? No, it was the US that imposed sanctions on us.
    > Megyn Kelly: You know why.
    > Vladimir Putin: No, I do not. Can I ask you a different question? Why did you encourage the government coup in Ukraine? Why did you do that? The US directly acknowledged spending billions of dollars to this end. This was openly acknowledged by US officials. Why do they support government coups and armed fighting in other countries? Why has the US deployed missile systems along our borders?
    > Listen, Russia and the US should sit down and talk it over in order to get things straight. I have the impression that this is what the current President wants, but he is prevented from doing it by some forces. But we are ready to discuss any matter, be it missile-related issues, cyberspace or counterterrorism efforts. We are ready to do it any moment. But the US should also be ready. The time will come when the political elite in the US will be pushed by public opinion to move in this direction. We will be ready the instant our partners are ready.
    much more here, including chemical attacks in syria:

  8. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re:#2 “Is the Turk move on Afrin a preemptive move by Turkey, Russia, Iran and perhaps Syria, to ensure US Kurdistan never reaches the sea?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  9. JamesT says:

    Getting these jihadis moved to Idlib will at least deprive them of their human shields.

  10. Bill Herschel says:

    Slightly off topic…
    I would be really interested in SST conducting a gedanken experiment with its correspondents that would choose/ create answers to a variant of the Evangelical question, “WWJD?”, namely What Would Putin Do?
    I’m interested in this, because I think the entire question, “Did Russia influence the Presidential election?” completely misses the point and ultimately is irrelevant in itself. The relevant question is “Why would Russia influence the election?”
    Certainly, without the slightest question, Russia would have a motive to influence the election if it owned Donald Trump. But it’s pointless to engage in a round robin about whether or not that is true. On the other hand, if Russia/Putin *did* own Donald Trump, what would Donald Trump do? What would Putin have him do? Obviously, you have to make some assumptions about what Putin wants for the U.S., but the recent historical record indicates to me that what Putin wants for the U.S. is for it to degenerate into anarchy and obscurity. We’ve attempted to screw him and his country with such malice and intensity that he must see us as existential threat.
    Now, to be of any use, there should be an entire list of Trump’s actions… 20, 30… with the question, “Is this what Putin would have ordered him to do and why?”
    Personally, I have trouble finding a single thing Trump has done that could not have been ordered from Moscow. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem, meeting Kim, erecting tariffs, etc. All exactly what Putin/Russia would want him to do. Domestically, supporting the most divisive candidates he can find (Alabama, Arizona…) etc. What is interesting is that if Putin does *not* own him, if Trump spent his time in Moscow reading the great books, it is amazing that he could be acting in a way that fully supports Putin.
    So there can be no confusion, I am a Russophile. An excellent case can be made that Russia won WWII. That by itself is enough to support the country. But it goes on and on. Up to and including Russia’s support for Syrian sovereignty against Saudi terrorists.

  11. paul says:

    >Is this mere cleverness like the German infection of Russia with Bolsheviks in 1917
    Well hope it does not work out as well as it did for the germans.

  12. Laguerre says:

    I doubt very much that Asad would agree to give any territory to Turkey permanently, and I don’t see why the Russians would betray him.
    The Turkish offensive is basically anti-Kurd. Anger that the US proposed a 30,000 self-defence force. A viable Kurdish militarised state is unacceptable. That’s enough to explain what has happened.

  13. turcopolier says:

    Yes, they don’t want a Kurdish state but they mostly dream of empire. Are you a political science type? pl

  14. different clue says:

    What a wonderful partner Erdostan would be to have in your orbit.

  15. Barbara Ann says:

    It is doubtless in Russia’s interests to reassure Assad that they will support his desire to retake all of Syria. However, if the SAG does not appreciate its position wrt Russia’s strategic priorities in the war, it is deluding itself. Getting the US out is priority #1 and I expect any deal Russia may have with Turkey re Idlib will be contingent on its support in achieving this goal. Russia may not want to go to war with Turkey over Idlib, but it could continue to provide all kinds of support to the SAA once they return to that front – and they still control the airspace.
    For its part, Russia is likely realistic about the probability of being able to prize Turkey out of NATO – i.e. near zero, unless Erdogan actually believes his own rhetoric and really is crazy. To envision Turkey’s fate outside of NATO, he need only look across the Black Sea. But Idlib & more may be on offer, if Turkey were to make good on its threats to continue Olive Branch east of the Euphrates.
    Ultimately, I think it comes down to which side Erdogan judges he can get the best deal from. Yesterday Çavuşoğlu announced he had done a deal with US re Manbij & the East – details unspecified. If all Erdogan really wants it something he can win the election with, I’m sure the US can come up with something appropriate – like disarming the Kurds (at least until after the election..). If he really is serious about destroying the Kurdish threat, he’s gonna have to take on the US (before he leaves, or is thrown out of NATO) & pray they blink. Given that he is a politician and not, in fact, a warrior Sultan who has earned the epithet ‘Magnificent’ – my money would be on the former outcome being more likely; he’ll settle for Afrin & live to conquer another day.

  16. Barbara Ann says:

    Why does Turkey not invade Russia – in order to preempt Kurdistan’s access to the Pacific. Erdogan has invaded Syria because his ancestors once rode there and because he can.

  17. Laguerre says:

    The Ghouta battle is nearly finished, for the same reasons as Aleppo collapsed quickly – although I didn’t understand it at the time. The jihadis are mainly rural Sunnis, urban Sunnis for the most part support Asad. In the modern Middle Eastern context, city-fights, fighting from building to building, are the most viable defence tactic. However, in this case, the defending jihadis, being rural, are antipathetic to the local urban population, which is unlikely to support them. We’ve already seen demonstrations against the jihadis in Ghouta towns.

  18. Yeah, Right says:

    Isn’t the simplest answer the most likely?
    As in: given the choice between (a) reducing East Ghouta to rubble in order to kill the jihadis therein or (b) giving them the option of taking a bus to Idlib that Assad has chosen option (b).
    After all, East Ghouta is an outer suburb of Damascus. Maybe Assad just doesn’t want to see his fellow civilians killed in street fighting when there is another way…..

  19. Laguerre says:

    “Are you a political science type?”
    You know what I am because you googled me in the past: a professor of Islamic Archaeology, but ME politics was an alternative career which I didn’t follow in the end.
    I don’t think that Turkish dreams of empire mean very much. The Ottoman empire was openly multi-cultural, modern Turkey is not. Trying to integrate completely non-Turkish lands into Turkey would be an agony. I’m sure Erdogan has advisors telling him that. Turkey has no need of additional, potentially rebellious lands, which will only cost the Turkish state a fortune.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t remember anything about you other than that you were sure the SAA no longer existed a few years ago. Your prognosis of what the Turks want is far too intellectualized. men don’t fight for rational reasons. pl

  21. turcopolier says:

    Whenever you win a battle the ignorant always say it was an easy victory. pl

  22. JPB says:

    Peter AU –
    Assad and the Syrian people are the ones that want Hatay Province back within the boundaries of Syria, not the Kurds. Syrian maps that are drawn up by the Syrian Government show both Hatay and and the Golan as being part of Syria, occupied but still considered part of Syria.
    The gift of Hatay to the Turks by the French in the 1930s in order to keep Turkey from allying with the Nazis was never accepted by Syria.
    There was never a significant population of Kurds or Turks in Hatay. It was mainly Alawites, Armenians, and Syriacs. The cry of “Antioch we are coming for you!” can still be heard among Syrian Alawites in Latakia Province. Syrian Kurds have no intention of taking Hatay. And even if a few dreamers think of a Kurdish port they have no resources to take one and no ally that would help them do so.

  23. JW says:

    And the (first part) of the video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mhi_AyQAyw
    I think the total video time is 2 hours, ie., more to come.

  24. outthere says:

    Barbara Ann, you say
    “It is doubtless in Russia’s interests to reassure Assad that they will support his desire to retake all of Syria”
    and Laguerre, you say
    “I doubt very much that Asad would agree to give any territory to Turkey permanently, and I don’t see why the Russians would betray him.”
    So both of you, please tell me when/where Putin ever said he supported Syria reclaiming ALL of its former territory.
    I have posted several times that Putin has never said any such, indeed he has said quite the opposite.
    I await your response, hopefully a quote from Putin (not some 3d hand analyst) that proves me wrong.

  25. JW says:

    Russia and Turkey have energy and pipeline deals which could be expected to include terms delineating Turkish limits of advance against Russian partners such as Syria and the Kurds. Assad would be aware of this and the fact that such terms have time limits and could regard Afrin and the Turkish psuedo-Ottoman presence as a later post-Idlib problem along with a Syrian/Russian limitation on Iranian use of Syria as a staging area further south.
    Now, preventing more MOUT-related destruction of Gouta while inducing the mutual attrition of Idlib non-SAA forces and easier SAA/Hezbollah kills on the jihadists/rebels in the more open terrain is a tactical opportunity not to be ignored. Here comes the bus.

  26. The simplest answer to me is that the SAA want any surrendered insurgents sent up to Idlib because 1) it’s easier than executing prisoners and being blamed for that, 2) it’s easier than trying to imprison them, and 3) if they’re in Idlib, they’re Turkey’s problem – until it’s time get rid of both Idlib and Turkey’s forces inside Syria.
    In other words, throw all the scum into Idlib and when the time comes to annihilate Idlib, they get everybody – jihadists and Turks.
    The problem remains: what to do about Turkey?
    I submit that the issue of Turkey inside Syria can only be resolved be diplomatic negotiations between Assad, Putin and Erdogan. Iran can be on Assad’s side but they really don’t have any say. The US doesn’t really have a say either.
    There is no military solution to forcing Turkey out of Syria. The SAA can’t do it without inviting even more Turkish troops into Syria. Iran and Hizballah can’t do it. Russia theoretically could do it, but it would destroy relations between Russia and Turkey and Putin won’t do that without serious reasons. The US won’t do it because it doesn’t mind Syria being broken up into pieces, regardless of what happens to the Kurds – unless Turkey actually attacks US forces which is extremely unlikely.

  27. elaine says:

    Laguerre, Interesting you mentioned archaeology; I saw a spot on CNN
    the other day showing only the “lion’s feet remain” of a 5,000 year old
    temple in Syria the Turks just blew to smithereens & I thought that looks
    like something ISIS would do. Now I’m wondering if the Syrians will try
    to destroy Gobekli Tepe in retaliation or if the Turks will destroy their
    own 9,000 year old archaeological site because it’s pre-Islamic.
    When ISIS destroyed much of Palmyra it played on tv for weeks & now the
    Turks destroying a 5,000 yr old temple in Syria barely gets any play. Any comment?

  28. Jony Kanuck says:

    Busing salafist jihadis to Idlib?
    I think it’s prosaic concerns: Reducing SAA casualties, not wrecking anymore of very wrecked Syria & shutting down the operation sooner.
    On Afrin I take the Russian version that says Erdo was going after the Kurds one way or the other. They tried to tell the Kurds that the jig was up but the Kurds were & are in gwakalala land. The Turks have brought up their commandos & Gendarmeries for street fighting in Afrin City. Their pet jihadis have taken at least one Yazidi village & there are reports of Yazidis being dissapeared.

  29. LondonBob says:

    I assume the Russian and Turkish leadership came to agreement on the parameters of the Turkish operation in Afrin when the Russians greenlighted it. I still think the issue is more whether Turkey sticks to it than the nature of the agreement itself. I also reckon for the Syrian government time is on their side, they will reclaim terroritory that wishes to be reclaimed when they can.

  30. Barbara Ann says:

    I have similarly not seen any public statement from Putin along these lines. But what is said publicly does not alter the fact that it is in Russia’s interests to reassure its ally.
    I am not really interested in what Putin says publicly or privately to Assad, as I would not in either case expect him to explicitly reveal Russia’s exit strategy from the war – especially if that involves ‘abandoning’ parts of its ally’s territory. Whether or not Putin has given Assad assurances re Idlib, the reality is that Damascus would be wise to treat any such assurances with caution, in my view.

  31. Barbara Ann says:

    Afrin is all but gone, but I am not so sure the SAA won’t be able to recover Idlib in due course. If the SAA resumes its offensive in Idlib Erdogan must decide how much he wants it & what risk he is prepared to take to take it. Fighting the now highly capable, albeit smaller, SAG forces will not be like the resistance encountered in Afrin. Even if Russia does not provide air support, it may choose to deny the airspace to TAF. Surely Turkey would need to commit very significant regular forces to such a venture – and it should expect high casualties.
    Timing may be everything. A bloodbath in Idlib will not do Erdogan’s election chances any good. Afterwards, who knows what he’ll do.

  32. Emad says:

    Clue deary,
    My orbit is confined to NOVA and parts of the EU where Erdostan is clearly persona non grata.

  33. Peter AU says:

    In most of the deals where jihadists have been bussed off to Idlib, the families of the fighters generally move as well. I would guess many of the wives are just as fanatical as the men, so they would raise the boys to be just like their fathers. Better that they are moved out, which helps prevent longer term low level insurgency.
    As to Russia and possible partition of Syria, I see on the earlier Russian maps of the de-escalation zone that the occupied Golan is not separated from Syria by so much as a dotted line. Russia’s primary concern appears to be the internationally recognized borders rather than who has temporary occupation of various sections of Syria at any given moment.
    Putin’s stated aim in Syria is to end the fighting and bring about conditions for negotiations to take place. On the demarcation line between Turk/jihadist occupied Jarabulus area and SAA there has been no fighting other than a couple of very minor incidents.
    I would guess this is what Russia is aiming for with Idlib.

  34. Terry says:

    “The Ottoman empire was openly multi-cultural, modern Turkey is not”. Yes but isn’t a shift taking place away from Ataturk’s secularism? Erdogan has given plenty of evidence of his support for a form of religious multiculturalism, both inside and outside of Turkey.
    “A number of reforms and initiatives, undertaken by the Justice and Development Party (AKP or AK Party) governments in Turkey, widely known as Kurdish and Alevi ‘openings,’ and the less prominent non-Muslim (primarily Armenian and Jewish) openings, have puzzled scholars as to their causes, consequences, and limitations. In this article, I first briefly review four different kinds of analytical accounts that seek to explain the AK Party’s openings. Second, I introduce my argument that an Islamic conceptualization of a new religious-national identity is both the main motivation and the main limitation of these reformist initiatives. Third, I provide an analysis of critical speeches, official statements, and declarations by AK Party leaders, in particular by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the Kurdish, Alevi, and non-Muslim openings, demonstrating that they invoke overwhelmingly religious justifications.”
    and –
    “The AKP rose to power precisely because it was willing to challenge the traditional orthodoxy of what it meant to be a Turk. Over the past decade, the party has gained both praise and scorn for its efforts to reform the doctrinaire and heavy-handed versions of state secularism and Turkishness that long defined the Republic of Turkey. ”
    “Much has been made about how the AKP wants to replace an old-fashioned version of Turkish nationalism with that of a religious community built around the Muslim idea of the Ummah.”

  35. elaine says:

    Correction: The Telegraph & National Geographic have briefly reported
    on the Turk’s recent destruction of the neo-Hittite temple of Ain Dara &
    date that site @ 1,300 BCE. None the less UNESCO appears as a toothless
    tiger once again.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, vast number of relgious or semi-religious Sunni Turks have scant tlerance for their fellow Sunni Turks who are not religiously observant, let alone such heretics as the Alevi/Bektashi.

  37. kemerd says:

    my take is that they simply prefer to kill them somewhere else where there is not that much infrastructure or civilians friendly to the Syrian state. If they fight each other there, that would be a bonus.

  38. different clue says:

    Bill Herschel,
    ( reply to comment 11),
    Your theory of “how Trump does what Putin wants” seems too complex to me and also wrong about what Putin might want. Why would Putin want America to devolve into anarchy and decay? That would leave ten thousand big and little nukes loose and unwatched with various bad actors seeking to grab them and maybe use them for this or that reason.
    Also, Trump supported the “moderate Republican” all throughout the Alabama primary. He only supported Moore when the Alabama primary voters ( or whoever made that decision) picked Moore. At that point, Trump had to support Moore against Jones if Trump was to retain respected title as Head of the Republican Party.
    Saying that Russian destabilization is behind any of the turmoil here is just a cynical Democratic effort to re-brand McCarthyism and make it weaponisable and deployable in Democratic hands for Democratic benefit. The pro Globalist IC Borg also supports that effort to make McCarthyism a Democratic Party political weapons system.

  39. kemerd says:

    You seem to stop following what has been happening in Turkey since 2010. From that day on, AKP started to show their real colors as they considered they have reconciled power in the country.
    No, they are typical sunni extremists, some are more moderate in comparison to ISIS some are very similar to it. In general they are muslim brotherhood with some turkish colors.
    They now don’t allow any Alawi to hold any position of power in the country, they converted police force to its own military arm. And they are looking forward to the day to declare sheria law in the country. At least half of the population would resist. Very hard days ahead for Turkey, and possibly disintegration

  40. Terry says:

    I am not describing what I think, rather what others are reporting coming out of the AKP, Erdogan, and Turkey. Obviously you didn’t read the links as your “question” makes no sense in the context of my post.
    And you are assuming that I support what is happening in Turkey. I suggest you might also look into basic logic fallacies as your comment exhibits at least two.

  41. According to Wikipedia Turkish poll results, Erdogan still has a comfortable lead in the polls. And there are rumors he may call for an early election which would work in his favor. Any campaign in Idlib might not occur until after the elections in that case and it may be months after before such a campaign went badly for Turkey. Also keep in mind that the SAA may be more formidable than before and Turkey may not have fought a real army in years, but Turkey is still much more powerful than the SAA (without direct Russian air support.)
    So I suspect he’s not too worried about the results of the Afrin expedition. As for Idlib, I suspect he won’t try to engage SAA forces until they attack him – and Putin will try to prevent Assad from doing that before negotiations are tried.
    Much depends on the upcoming summit between Russia, Iran and Turkey where a new deal might be struck that saves face on all sides.
    The same situation exists for US forces in Syria. Despite being small in number – a couple thousand – they can call on the entire US/NATO assets in the region. And any attempt to remove them by force will result in exactly that war on Syria that the US has been trying to get started since it started. So there is no military solution to US forces in Syria, either. Unfortunately, diplomatic negotiations are unlikely to get anywhere either.

  42. Terry says:

    On Erdogan, AKP, and religious multiculturalism. The Ottoman Empire was a multicultural society. Ataturk imposed a strict secular and Turkish identity on all citizens to forge a new nation and national identity.
    Religious minded Turks were suppressed. Kurds forbidden to use traditional names and language. Yet the multi ethnicities and religious beliefs still exist and it looks like Erdogan and the AKP are working to create a more unified society under the banner of sunni islam.
    The Alevis are a significant portion of Turkey’s population and suffer a lot of discrimination. If they get official recognition that is a big deal and fits into what I described above.
    Erdogan is using the frustration of long suppressed religious elements to make changes in Turkey and some of them justified – women that wear headscarves should be able to attend university. That was a good change. Forcing everyone too would be of course a bad thing to do.
    “The Alevi issue has been on the AK Party agenda for years and recently the government has taken a series of steps to understand and respond to Alevi identity-based concerns. Popularly known as the “Alevi opening” in 2010, the process is the first systematic effort to rectify the identity- based discontent of the Alevis. The government has been holding meetings with several Alevi associations to listen to their requests and note their proposals.
    The key point in the reform package will be the status of cemevis. Currently, cemevis are not officially acknowledged as a place of worship despite persistent demands by the country’s Alevi community to officially sanction them. However, the reform package will allow for cemevis to be recognized as places of worship. The reform package will likely also offer Alevi religious figures (dedes) a salary after they are officially certified as a “religious leader.” Moreover, the plan aims to get all Alevi and Bektashi associations and foundations affiliated with the Foundation of Hacı ”
    People think too much in abstracts as if all kurds are the same and all want their own country, or Turkey is a monolith of all Turks, or too often look at issues from only one perspective with little information.

  43. Fred says:

    “The Ottoman empire was openly multi-cultural, …”
    How did they treat the Christians, the Jews, the athiests?

  44. Terry says:

    Yes, whenever fanatics rule, of whatever ideology, they will use that power to advance their cause and anyone outside the group is an enemy. Partisans always place group identity and loyalty over morality and truth. It never ends well. Unfortunately sociopaths and their sycophants are drawn to and corrupt all movements.
    I know that these openings were earlier in Turkey,
    I am skeptical that any ideology can hold off partisanship especially one based on religious grounds. Even science, the gold standard for objectivity, is riddled with science partisans fighting new ideas and clueless about basic principles.
    Funny, somehow refuting Laguerre’s comment that Turkey is firmly secular and pointing out that it is heading in a sunni religious direction has so many thinking that I’m all for it.
    This article sums it up well, especially the final paragraph of why, even if revived once the external threats subside, that this unifying outreach under a sunni umbrella will fail –

  45. Sid Finster says:

    If Trump were really a “Siberian candidate” the last thing he would talk about on the campaign trail is better relations with Russia. Instead, he’d bloviate like McCain on steroids, then after he took office he and his minions would find or manufacture an excuse (“Russian aid in toppling international terrorist ring” or somesuch) to switch his position.
    Moreover, if Putin is this alleged genius, able to manipulate election results with nothing but FB posts, able to hack any computer (other than HRC’s homebrew server, of course) and responsible for everything bad that ever happens in America, why would he choose a puppet with so much publicly and obvious baggage as to be unblackmailable and uncontrollable, not to mention someone who is *almost* (but not quite) unelectable?
    You’d think Putin would want a candidate that looks too good to be true on the outside, and with some very serious weaknesses that nobody knows about for leverage.

  46. Sid Finster says:

    Oh, and the “Trump owes Russian banks bigly” crap – even if that were true (and I have seen zero evidence of it) – what are they going to do? Sue him? Threaten his life? Then what’s to prevent them from doing that right now?

  47. JPB says:

    Coalition brief to the Pentagon press corps tomorrow at eleven AM.
    Here is an older resume of MG White. He is currently commander of coalition land forces in Syria and Iraq.

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