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Putin’s Revenge? the Fight for the Border
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“We have received additional information confirming that the oil controlled by Islamic State militants (ISIS) enters Turkish territory on an industrial scale. We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure the security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers.”

–Russian President Vladimir Putin, Paris, 11-30-15

On Monday, the remains of Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov were flown to Moscow where he was met by the Russian Minister of Defense, the Head of the Russian Airforce, family members and a full military drill team. Peshkov will be buried with honors and receive the Russian Federation’s highest award, the Medal of Valor, for his service in fighting US-backed terrorist groups in Syria. Peshkov’s Su-24 was ambushed last Tuesday by a Turkish F-16 when he allegedly drifted into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds.

The surprise attack, which was not preceded by any warning, forced the pilot to eject after which he was he was shot and killed while descending in his parachute. The anti-regime militant who claims to have killed Peshkov, is a Turkish ultra-nationalist named, Alparslan Celik, who is a leader in The Grey Wolves, a terrorist organization that has “carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.” Celik’s group of “moderate” jihadis is one of many disparate militias that are supported by both the US and Turkey in their effort to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad and splinter the country into smaller parts.

The downing of the Su-24 has not triggered the knee-jerk reaction from Moscow that many had expected. Instead, it has focused Putin’s attention on his ultimate goal of defeating terrorism in Syria and maintaining the sovereign integrity of the state. Putin has boosted Russia’s military presence to 69 Sukhoi fighter jets, 160 bombers, as well as submarines and warships located in the Mediterranean Sea. He has also deployed the S-400 anti-aircraft defense system to Latakia and ordered the Moskva guided missile cruiser to remain within firing distance off the coast of Syria. The downing of the Russian warplane has only intensified Putin’s determination to seal the northern border, defeat the terrorists and win the war in Syria. This is clearly not the reaction Washington was hoping for.

In candid remarks to the Russian media, Putin implicated the US in the downing of the Su-24 stating that the US military was briefed on the warplane’s flight path and then immediately passed along that information to Turkey. Here’s what he said:

“We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.”

Putin’s damning remarks have not appeared in any of the western media. The censorship of this information is similar to the blackout of comments Putin made just two weeks earlier at the G-20 summit where he announced that “40 countries” are financing ISIS including members of the G-20. Here’s an except of Putin’s bombshell announcement:

“I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists.

“I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products. The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon,” Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems.” (Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members, RT)

Don’t look for this story in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post. You won’t find it. It’s not in the interest of the major media to publish information that suggests that Washington and its allies are providing material support for terrorist organizations.

It’s clear that Russia’s bombardment of jihadi groups operating near the Turkish-Syrian border has Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan worried. Erdogan has long hoped that the area would be turned into a Safe Zone where Sunni militants– committed to removing Assad from power– could receive weapons and other support from their sponsors while coming and going as they pleased. The Russian-led coalition’s attempt to retake the area and seal the border to stop the flow of terrorists from Turkey, is probably what precipitated the attack on the Russian warplane. It was a desperate attempt to wave-off the Russian offensive and reverse the course of the war which has turned decisively in Assad’s favor. As for the militant groups that are operating in this area, analyst Pepe Escobar sums it up like this in a recent post at Sputnik News:

“The Su-24s were actually after Chechens and Uzbeks — plus a few Uyghurs — smuggled in with fake Turkish passports (Chinese intel is also on it), all of these operating in tandem with a nasty bunch of Turkish Islamo-fascists. Most of these goons transit back and forth between the CIA-weaponized Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat al-Nusra. These were the goons who machine-gunned the Russian pilots as they parachuted down after the hit on the Su-24….

Turkey, for all practical purposes, has been a handy, sprawling Salafi-jihadi Infrastructure and Logistics Center; it offers everything from porous borders enabling countless jihadi return tickets from Syria to Europe, facilitated by corrupt police, to a convenient crossroads for all kinds of smuggling and a hefty money laundering ops.” (Sultan Erdogan’s War on…Russia, Pepe Escobar, Sputnik)

Escobar sums up Ankara’s role in Syria as succinctly as anyone. Erdogan has been ISIS best friend, of that, there is little doubt. The problem that Turkey faces now is that the Russian-led coalition is rapidly destroying the infrastructure that provides funding for ISIS, (oil refineries, fields and transport) while gradually retaking territory that was formally-controlled by the many anti-regime or al Qaida-linked groups in the north, west and central parts of the country. In the last few days alone, Russia and Co. have concluded the encirclement of Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, vaporized a convoy of over 500 oil trucks in the vicinity of Raqqa, and intensified their bombing in the Turkmen Mountains, the Kurdish Mountains, and the Prophet Jonah Mountains. The coalition has moved as far north as Azaz along the Turkish border and recaptured the strategic Aleppo-Raqqa highway which completely cuts off ISIS supply-route from the east in Raqqa. All of the recent progress comes in the wake of the retaking of the strategic Kuweris Airbase which was the tipping point in the 4 and a half year-long conflict. Now the Russian coalition has focused on closing the border, a move that will sever vital supply-lines to pro-Turkish militias operating in Syria and force the terrorists to either flee or surrender. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized this point last week saying, “We are convinced that by blocking the border we will in many respects solve the tasks to eradicate terrorism on Syrian soil.”

Keep in mind, that Erdogan is not the only one with designs on the so-called “Afrin-Jarabulus corridor” east of the Euphrates. Powerful politicians in the US, including John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and others, have all alluded to this area as the most suitable location for a no-fly zone. And, despite the fact that Obama refuses to send US ground forces to fight in Syria, he has continued to fuel the conflict in other less conspicuous ways. Just last Wednesday, under the cover of the Thanksgiving holiday when the media was preoccupied with other matters, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 which provides another $800 million in aid to armed extremists in Syria and Ukraine. The NDAA, which effectively prevents the closing down of US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), reflects Obama’s determination to continue Washington’s vicious policy in Syria which has resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 and the displacement of 11 million more.

This helps to explain why the Russian offensive has set alarms off in Washington; it’s because the US plan to establish a permanent staging ground for terrorists in N Syria is quickly going up in smoke.

Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, Toni Cartalucci explains exactly what’s at stake for the warring parties in a brilliant piece at Global Research titled “‘Humanitarian Supplies” for the Islamic State (ISIS): NATO’s Terror Convoys Halted at Syrian Border”. Here’s an excerpt:

“Russia’s increased activity along the Syrian-Turkish border signifies the closing phases of the Syrian conflict. With Syrian and Kurdish forces holding the border east of the Euphrates, the Afrin-Jarabulus corridor is the only remaining conduit for supplies bound for terrorists in Syria to pass…..When this corridor is closed and supplies cut off, ISIS, Nusra, and all associated NATO-backed factions will atrophy and die as the Syrian military restores order across the country…

With that support being cut off and the prospect of these militants being eradicated, the true sponsors behind this conflict are moving more directly and overtly to salvage their failed conspiracy against the Syrian state. What we see emerging is what was suspected and even obvious all along – a proxy war started by, and fought for Western hegemonic ambitions in the region, intentionally feeding the forces of extremism, not fighting them.” (Humanitarian Supplies for the Islamic State (ISIS): NATO’s Terror Convoys Halted at Syrian Border, Global Research)

Seen in this light, Obama’s recent request for Turkey to deploy “30,000 (troops) to seal the border on the Turkish side”, (See: Wall Street Journal) should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Clearly, Washington has not relented in its “Assad must go” policy at all, in fact, Obama reiterated that mantra less than a week ago. That means the Obama crew may be hoping that Turkish ground forces can succeed where his jihadi proxies failed, that is, that the 30,000 troops will be used to clear and hold a 60×20-mile stretch of Syrian territory that can be used as the proposed safe zone. All Turkey would need is a pretext to invade and a little bit of air cover from the USAF. It wouldn’t be the first time a false flag was used to start a war.

The bottom line is this: Putin had better move quickly before Washington and Ankara get their ducks in a row and begin to mobilize. The time to seize the border is now.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Russia, Syria, Turkey 
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  1. I do not think Obama wants terrorists in Syria, I think he is incompetent.

    • Replies: @Randal
    , @Quartermaster
  2. Randal says:
    @Positive Dennis

    Nobody (except the terrorists) wants terrorists in Syria as a final objective. Obama, Erdogan, the Gulf sunni islamist US protectorates, the US’s European satellite states, and Israel think they can use terrorists to destroy the existing government of Syria, and they variously either do not particularly care what replaces it or they think they will be able to control what replaces it.

  3. Rehmat says:

    Only some naïve will believe that Vladimir Putin and his former KGB buddies intend to fight terrorism in foreign countries while creating most terrorism and wars against Muslim minority in Russia. Syria is a victim of the US-Russia-Israel geopolitical tussle.

    “I have been a combat soldier and have covered twelve high intensity wars from the front, but I have never seen anything that equals the heroism and boundless courage of the Chechen Mujahideen, who have no formal military training, have no heavy weapons and are even short of anti-tank rockets. There is almost no medicine or morphine for their wounded and no shelter from massive Russian bombardment which includes banned fuel air explosives, toxic gas and napalm. If taken alive by Russian they will be tortured first and then executed,” – Eric Margolis, a Canadian columnist and broadcaster.

    Russia has three major reasons to carry-out the genocide of Chechen Muslims. First is the region has significant amount of oil and gas reserves. As part of USSR – Chechnya used to supply the entire Russian needs of oil and gas. Second is that if Chechnya, one of its 19 autonomous republics, is allowed to separate from Russia – it would encourage the people of other republics to follow Chechnya’s lead – and could result Moscow losing 25% of its current ‘holdings’. Third, and Moscow’s real fear – is establishment of an Islamic State on its borders. It was the same fear which gave the West the reasons to carry-out Muslim Holocaust in both Bosnia and Kosova.

    https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/putins-revenge-the-fight-for-the-border/

    • Replies: @attonn
    , @Dicentim
  4. Svigor says:

    A bit of information on the founder of GlobalResearch.ca:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Chossudovsky

    Your general 9/11 Truther type stuff.

    ***

    No word on whether Russia is going to continue providing flight plans to NATO?

    The downing of the Su-24 has not triggered the knee-jerk reaction from Moscow that many had expected.

    Why would they expect anything rash? The Russians can bide their time and respond when they choose. If something blows up or someone gets killed the next day, everyone is free to assume it was the Russian revenge. When something blows up or someone gets killed six months or a year later, well, that’s different, right? It took the Russians a while to hunt down and punish all those Chechen terrorists, but the got them all eventually.

    In candid remarks to the Russian media, Putin implicated the US in the downing of the Su-24 stating that the US military was briefed on the warplane’s flight path and then immediately passed along that information to Turkey. Here’s what he said:

    “We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.”

    This seems kind of silly, from where I’m sitting. The whole point was for the USG to share the flight paths with NATO allies, correct? Sharing that data with Turkey would seem like precisely the point, given the area of Russian operations.

    Don’t control their allies? What does that even mean? Should we have controlled the Turks more like the Russians have controlled the Ukrainians? You don’t “control” allies, silly Russian.

    As for Turkey allowing Jihadis to crawl all over their borders, well, Russia should stop sharing flight data (duh), obviate all data previously shared, and start treating the Turkish border as the joke the Turks seem to treat it as; bomb militants inside Turkey, too, until the Turks clean up their act. Or, if they want to be diplomatic about it, create a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border and bomb anyone and anything entering it unless explicitly approved in advance by Russia.

  5. Svigor says:

    “I have been a combat soldier and have covered twelve high intensity wars from the front, but I have never seen anything that equals the heroism and boundless courage of the Chechen Mujahideen, who have no formal military training, have no heavy weapons and are even short of anti-tank rockets. There is almost no medicine or morphine for their wounded and no shelter from massive Russian bombardment which includes banned fuel air explosives, toxic gas and napalm. If taken alive by Russian they will be tortured first and then executed,” – Eric Margolis, a Canadian columnist and broadcaster.

    Yes, when Chechens capture Russians, it’s all flowers and teddy bears.

    My favorite Chechen heroism is when they kidnap hundreds of schoolchildren, use them as human shields, and then machine-gun them.

  6. @Positive Dennis

    I don’t think Obama is incompetent. Duplicitous, yes, but not incompetent. he knows what he’s doing in Syria and it isn’t good for the US. The good of the US, however, is quite far down on his list, if it’s there at all.

  7. attonn says:
    @Rehmat

    Nonsense. Chechen population in Russia is one of the fastest-growing. Something we can’t say about Christians in Turkey, who are pretty much eradicated. And, of course, if Russians were doing to Muslims what Muslims are doing to Christians in majority-Muslim countries, we’d be hearing about hundreds of dead Muslims in Russia every day (which we don’t). Muslims are a genocidal sect, they have proven it for more than a millennia.

  8. I don’t think Putin should get distracted. The best solution is winning the war. He can then deal with Erdogan and Nato from a position of strength. Russia could make port of call at one of the new Chinese islands. It will annoy Washington and show some solidarity with China in a non-commital way. Maybe have Putin take a tour, do a walk around, kick a few tires.

    Meanwhile, Larov should make claims at the UN against ISIS for damages involving the downing of the Russian airliner. Similarly, he should present Erdogan with a bill for the lost bomber and pilots.

    In fact, Assad should start allowing claims against ISIS and other “rebels” for casualties and losses involved the war. His supporters should get first crack at the spoils. The Russians should also get some compensation.

    I haven’t heard about Russian drones in Syria yet. Russian and Iran should be battle testing their drones under war time conditions. For missions that are too sensitive, they could transfer some drones to the Syrian army and let them operate them.

    Putin was close to 90% approval before the bomber went down. I wonder what it is now?

  9. Dicentim says:
    @Rehmat

    Some interesting insights. Please, tell us more about that Muslim Holocaust carried out by the West in both Bosnia and Kosovo. I have great interest interest in all things related to the Holocausts. I am planning to take a tour, visit Auschwitz and Babi Yar and would also like to go to the other places in the Balkans too. Which do you suggest? Should I visit Chechnya too? I didn’t know that it is suffering a genocide. The population seems to be growing fast but that might be media propaganda.

    Does Chechnya really produce so much oil and gas? You wrote that as part of the USSR, Chechnya used to supply the entir Russian needs in oil and gas. That is fascinating. I really didn’t know that. What is the exact percentage of Chechen oil compared to the whole Soviet and current Russian productions? I thought that there was at least a little oil and gas in oher parts of the country. Is it propaganda? Why do the Russians complain so much about having to support Chechnya financially?

    Please tell us more about the separatist ambitions in the other eighteen republics. I read a lot about those republics and am most interested in the Komis, Karelians, Chuvash, Ossetians, Tuvans, Bashkirs, Tatars and Kalmyks. I am surprised that when all of these want to leave, South Ossetians and Abkhaz want to join.

    So would an Islamic state in Chechnya be a good thing? How about in Syria and the Levant? I thought that it is not a very good thing. Didn’t the Chechens actually have an Islamic state of sorts between the two wars? I thought that they kind of were involved in kidnappings and hostage takings,malso that they tried to expand into neighbouring republics and got invaded. They say that many Chechens are with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Is that true? Are they trying to liberate all the countries. I don’t know whether I would like to be liberated. Do the people of Chechnya really want to be liberated by that Islamic State? And isn’t the current local Chechen government kind of Islamic? I mean, I see that Kadyrov guy wearing that little hat and opening mosques and all, but again, all that might be media propaganda.

  10. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    Get a load of this Zionist pile of garbage.

    http://omeleto.com/218209/

  11. The bottom line is this: Putin had better move quickly before Washington and Ankara get their ducks in a row and begin to mobilize. The time to seize the border is now.

    oh man. and if russia doesn’t back down = WWIII spark?

    at least 50% of my bucket list got cleared.

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