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Week Eighteen of the Russian Intervention in Syria: A Dramatic Escalation Appears Imminent
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The situation in Syria has reached a watershed moment and a dramatic escalation of the war appears imminent. Let’s look again at how we reached this point.

During the first phase of the operation, the Syrian armed forces were unable to achieve an immediate strategic success. This is rather unsurprising. It is important to remember here that during the first weeks of the operation the Russian did not provide close air support to the Syrians. Instead, they chose to systematically degrade the entire Daesh (Note: I refer to *all* terrorist in Syria as “Daesh”) infrastructure including command posts, communication nodes, oil dumps, ammo dumps, supply routes, etc. This was important work, but it did not have an immediate impact upon the Syrian military. Then the Russians turned to two important tasks: to push back Daesh in the Latakia province and to hit the illegal oil trade between Daesh and Turkey. The first goal was needed for the protection of the Russian task force and the second one hit the Daesh finances. Then the Russians seriously turned to providing close air support. Not only that, but the Russians got directly involved with the ground operation.

The second phase was introduced gradually, without much fanfare, but it made a big difference on the ground: the Russians and Syrians began to closely work together and they soon honed their collaboration to a quantitatively new level which allowed the Syrian commanders to use Russian firepower with great effectiveness. Furthermore, the Russians began providing modern equipment to the Syrians, including T-90 tanks, modern artillery systems, counter-battery radars, night vision gear, etc. Finally, according to various Russian reports, Russian special operations teams (mostly Chechens) were also engaged in key locations, including deep in the rear of Daesh. As a result, the Syrian military for the first time went from achieving tactical successes to operational victories: for the first time the Syrian began to liberate key towns of strategic importance.

Finally, the Russians unleashed a fantastically intense firepower on Daesh along crucial sectors of the front. In northern Homs, the Russians bombed a sector for 36 hours in a row. According to the latest briefing of the Russian Defense Ministry, just between February 4th and February 11th, the Russian aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic performed 510 combat sorties and engaged 1,888 terrorists targets. That kind of ferocious pounding did produce the expected effect and the Syrian military began slowly moving along the Turkish-Syrian border while, at the same time, threatening the Daesh forces still deployed inside the northern part of Aleppo. In doing so, the Russians and Syrian threatened to cut off the vital resupply route linking Daesh to Turkey. According to Russian sources, Daesh forces were so demoralized that they forced the local people to flee towards the Turkish border and attempted to hide inside this movement of internally displaced civilians.

This strategic Russian and Syrian victory meant that all the nations supporting Daesh, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the USA were facing a complete collapse of their efforts to overthrow Assad and to break-up Syria and turn part of it into a “Jihadistan”. The Americans could not admit this, of course; as for the Saudis, their threats to invade Syria were rather laughable. Which left the main role to Erdogan who was more than happy to provide the West with yet another maniacal ally willing to act in a completely irresponsible way just to deny the “other side” anything looking like a victory.

Erdogan seems to be contemplating two options. The first one is a ground operation into Syria aimed at restoring the supply lines of Daesh and at preventing the Syrian military from controlling the border. Here is a good illustration (taken from a SouthFront video) of what this would look like:

Credit: SouthFront

Credit: SouthFront

According to various reports, Erdogan has 18,000 soldiers supported by aircraft, armor and artillery poised along the border to execute such an invasion.

The second plan is even simpler, at least in theory: to create a no-fly zone over all of Syria. Erdogan personally mentioned this option several times, the latest one on Thursday the 11th.

Needless to say, both plans are absolutely illegal under international law and would constitute an act of aggression, the “supreme international crime” according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, because “it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Not that this would deter a megalomaniac like Erdogan.

Erdogan, and his backers in the West, will, of course, claim that a humanitarian disaster, or even a genocide, is taking place in Aleppo, that there is a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) and that no UNSC is needed to take such clearly “humanitarian” action. It would be “Sarajevo v2” or “Kosovo v2” all over again. The western media is now actively busy demonizing Putin, and just recently has offered the following topics to ponder to those poor souls who still listen to it:

  1. Putin ‘probably’ ordered the murder of Litvinenko.
  2. Putin ordered the murder of Litvinenko because Litvinenko was about to reveal that Putin was a pedophile (seriously, I kid you not – check for yourself!).
  3. WWIII could start by Russia invading Latvia.
  4. According to the US Treasury, Putin is a corrupt man.
  5. According to George Soros, Putin wants the “disintegration of the EU” and Russia is a bigger threat than the Jihadis.
  6. Russia is so scary that the Pentagon wants to quadruple the money for the defense of Europe.
  7. The Putin is strengthening ISIS in Syria and causing a wave of refugees.

There is no need to continue the list – you get the idea. It is really Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya all over again, with the exact same “humanitarian crocodile tears” and the exact same rational for an illegal aggression. And instead of Sarajavo “martyr city besieged by Serbian butchers” we would now have Aleppo “martyr city besieged by Syrian butchers”. I even expect a series of false flags inside Aleppo next “proving” that “the world” “must act” to “prevent a genocide”.

The big difference, of course, is that Yugoslavia, Serbia, Iraq and Libya were all almost defenseless against the AngloZionist Empire. Not so Russia.

In purely military terms, Russia has taken a number of crucial steps: she declared a large scale “verification” of the “combat readiness” of the Southern and Central military districts. In practical terms, this means that all the Russian forces are on high alert, especially the AeroSpace forces, the Airborne Forces, the Military Transportation Aviation forces and, of course, all the Russian forces in Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet. The first practical effect of such “exercises” is not only to make a lot of forces immediately available, but it is also to make them very difficult to track. This not only protects the mobilized forces, but also makes it very hard for the enemy to figure out what exactly they are doing. There are also report that Russian Airborne Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft – A-50M – are now regularly flying over Syria. In other words, Russia has taken the preparations needed to go to war with Turkey.

Needless to say, the Turks and the Saudis have also announced joint military exercises. They have even announced that Saudi aircraft will conduct airstrikes from the Incirlik air base in support of an invasion of Syria.

At the same time, the Russians have also launched a peace initiative centered around a general ceasefire starting on March 1st or even, according to the latest leaks, on February 15th. The goal is is transparent: to break the Turkish momentum towards an invasion of Syria. It is obvious that Russian diplomats are doing everything they can to avert a war with Turkey.

Here again I have to repeat what I have said already a million times in the past: the small Russian contingent in Syria is in a very precarious position: far away from Russia and very close (45km) to Turkey. Not only that, but the Turks have over 200 combat aircraft ready to attack, whereas the Russians probably has less than 20 SU-30/35/34s in total. Yes, these are very advanced aircraft, of the 4++ generation, and they will be supported by S-400 systems, but the force ratio remains a terrible 1:10.

Russia does, however, have one big advantage over Turkey: Russia has plenty of long-range bombers, armed with gravity bombs and cruise missiles, capable of striking the Turks anywhere, in Syria and in Turkey proper. In fact, Russia even has the capability to strike at Turkish airfields, something which the Turks cannot prevent and something which they cannot retaliate in kind for. The big risk for Russia, at this point, would be that NATO would interpret this as a Russian “aggression” against a member-state, especially if the (in)famous Incirlik air base is hit.

Erdogan also has to consider another real risk: that, while undoubtedly proficient, the Turkish forces might not be a match for the battle-hardened Kurds and Syrians, especially if the latter are supported by Iranian and Hezbollah forces. The Turks have a checkered record against the Kurds whom they typically do overwhelm with firepower and numbers, but whom they never succeeded in neutralizing, subduing or eliminating. Finally, there is the possibility that Russians might have to use their ground forces, especially if the task force in Khmeimim is really threatened.

In this regard, let me immediately say that the projection of, say, an airborne force so far from the Russian border to protect a small contingent like the one in Khmeimim is not something the Airborne Forces are designed for, at least not “by the book”. Still, in theory, if faced with a possible attack on the Russian personnel in Khmeimin, the Russians could decide to land a regimental-size airborne force, around 1,200 men, fully mechanized, with armor and artillery. This force could be supplemented by a Naval Infantry battalion with up to another 600 men. This might not seem like much in comparison to the alleged 18,000 men Erdogan has massed at the border, but keep in mind that only a part of these 18,000 would be available for any ground attack on Khmeimin and that the Russian Airborne forces can turn even a much larger force into hamburger meat (for a look at modern Russian Airborne forces please see here). Frankly, I don’t see the Turks trying to overrun Khmeimin, but any substantial Turkish ground operation will make such a scenario at least possible and Russian commanders will not have the luxury of assuming that Erdogan is sane, not after the shooting down of the SU-24. After that the Russians simply have to assume the worst.

What is clear is that in any war between Russia and Turkey NATO will have to make a key decision: is the alliance prepared to go to war with a nuclear power like Russia to protect a lunatic like Erdogan? It is hard to imagine the US/NATO doing something so crazy but, unfortunately, wars always have the potential to very rapidly get out of control. Modern military theory has developed many excellent models of escalation but, unfortunately, no good model of how de-escalation could happen (at least not that I am aware of). How does one de-escalate without appearing to be surrendering or at least admitting to being the weaker side?

The current situation is full of dangerous and unstable asymmetries: the Russian task force in Syria is small and isolated and it cannot protect Syria from NATO or even from Turkey, but in the case of a full-scale war between Russia and Turkey, Turkey has no chance of winning, none at all. In a conventional war opposing NATO and Russia I personally don’t see either side losing (whatever ‘losing’ and ‘winning’ mean in this context) without engaging nuclear weapons first. This suggests to me that the US cannot allow Erdogan to attack the Russian task force in Syria, not during a ground invasion and, even less so, during an attempt to establish a no-fly zone.

The problem for the USA is that it has no good option to achieve its overriding goal in Syria: to “prevent Russia from winning”. In the delusional minds of the AngloZionist rulers, Russia is just a “regional power” which cannot be allowed to defy the “indispensable nation”. And yet, Russia is doing exactly that both in Syria and in the Ukraine and Obama’s entire Russia policy is in shambles. Can he afford to appear so weak in an election year? Can the US “deep state” let the Empire be humiliated and its weakness exposed?

The latest news strongly suggests to me that the White House has taken the decision to let Turkey and Saudi Arabia invade Syria. Turkish officials are openly saying that an invasion is imminent and that the goal of such an invasion would be to reverse the Syrian army gains along the boder and near Aleppo. The latest reports are also suggesting that the Turks have begun shelling Aleppo. None of that could be happening without the full support of CENTCOM and the White House.

The Empire has apparently concluded that Daesh is not strong enough to overthrow Assad, at least not when the Russian AeroSpace forces are supporting him, so it will now unleash the Turks and the Saudis in the hope of changing the outcome of this war or, if that is not possible, to carve up Syria into ‘zones of responsibility” – all under the pretext of fighting Daesh, of course.

The Russian task force in Syria is about to be very seriously challenged and I don’t see how it could deal with this new threat by itself. I very much hope that I am wrong here, but I have do admit that a *real* Russian intervention in Syria might happen after all, with MiG-31s and all. In fact, in the next few days, we are probably going to witness a dramatic escalation of the conflict in Syria.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Syria, Turkey 
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  1. Smitty says:

    I think any “peace deal” will end with the US taking in thousands of ISIS supporters, let’s hope for a fight to the last man.

  2. On your analysis it would appear to follow that, if Turkey invaded Syria so as to attack Russian forces – as it would have to within hours because Russia would make sure it happened through air strikes in the invaders to start with – Russia would take a leaf out of the Israeli playbook and launch devastating attacks on Turkish airfields and aircraft, with some attacks too on massed tanks, selected ships and railways. Two days of this and they could agree to the ceasefire being insisted on by the UNSC. As such a cease fire would also apply to the Turkish invasion it is hard to see that as anything but a gain for Russia, Assad and Iran.

    And if even I can see this as at least a quite likely scenario isn’t the US going to warn Erdogan off an invasion.

    • Replies: @krollchem
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I hope the Russians give Erdogen and his psycho allies the pasting they’ ve been asking for for a long time.

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Karl
  4. If the people of the West have any brains at all then now is the time for days and weeks of general strikes along with massive anti-war protests. Now is not the time to rally round the flag or join in an orgy of jingoistic flag waving. Block strategic intersections with pedestrians, stall cars wherever and stay away from work. Send a clear message that support for more wars is not forthcoming.

  5. Are the neocons who control both duopoly parties in America brazen enough gamblers to risk World War Three?


    Their calculation is that Russia will not use nuclear weapons, and that the calculus of power in a conventional world war, as destructive as that will be, will continue to never have any cost to the U.S. homeland and can therefore be described as winnable. As before, all the destruction will be in Europe and near-Europe, leaving the “arsenal of democracy” untouched and in a better position competitively than even its allies.

    Look at how the refugee crisis roils European allies, while the U.S. policies that created it next to them have no repercussions in America, which simply closes itself off by means of its vast Homeland Security control apparatus. That is the expression in practice of the U.S. State Department’s European representative Victoria Nuland, “F— the E.U.”

    Overseas wars have always been financial victories regardless of outcome, for the wealthy who buy U.S. policy. The smart money is on them, except for Donald Trump’s.

    • Replies: @Carigrad
    , @Kiza
  6. I very much hope that I am wrong here.

    Do not worry, you are wrong all the time. I am surprised that you have not seen these developments in your deep “analysis” before. All that talk about quick victory. The Turks have no intention of going to war with Russia. All they and their allies have to do is create conditions which will make it impossible for Assad to regain control of Syria, conditions which will result in Russians loosing the fight because they have neither the stomach nor the resources to go to war with NATO. Putin has manifested that many times. “Smart” Putin has made another miscalculation. The result of his loosing in Syria will be another blow to his rapidly diminishing popularity which will only make the final overthrow that much easier. I feel sorry for Russians but they have only themselves to blame.

    • Disagree: Vendetta
  7. Randal says:

    Still, in theory, if faced with a possible attack on the Russian personnel in Khmeimin, the Russians could decide to land a regimental-size airborne force, around 1,200 men, fully mechanized, with armor and artillery.

    It’s unlikely the Turks could get anywhere near Khmeimim on the ground, short of WW3 with full US support. The Syrian army with Russian backing, plus Russian-supplied Kurdish and probably Iranian/Hezbollah forces on the ground, would be more than sufficient to halt any Turkish advance without effective close air support, which probably won’t be available because Russian air defences will shoot down any Turkish planes carrying it out, and the Turks know it. The Turks can’t suppress Russian air defences pre-emptively, because that would certainly mean war with Russia and no justification for NATO support.

    If Turkey tries a limited advance into northern Syria, it seems to me the most likely Russian response would be to let the aforementioned forces deal with it (though doubtless Russian forces will contribute as well on a deniable basis), and let the Turks get butchered trying to hold the ground they take in the initial advance, whilst protesting to the max and gaining massive propaganda benefits from Turkish aggression.

    It’s a fraught, massively dangerous and hugely complicated situation, but that seems to me the most likely way it could go.

    The caveat is that if the US has decided to try to wage a war against Russia over Syria and hope escalation to a wider war can be prevented, then all bets are off. But that would be incredibly rash, and doesn’t seem to sit well with the current US commander in chief’s personality.

  8. Kiza says:

    Excellent analysis Saker, not a word of criticism from me one of your regular critics (lol).

    Let me support your conclusion that the war is imminent with the analysis of the Western MSM – there is a very strong emphasis on:
    1) “the Russians do not bomb Daesh then only the ‘moderate’ rebels”, and
    2) “the Russians are killing many civilians”.
    Obviously, these two will be used as a justification for the Turkish-Saudi attack on Syria and the Russians stationed there. By monitoring the Western (Anglo-Zionist) MSM for the bull which they flog in preparation of what they intend to do, I have managed to predict actions fairly reliably.

    Furthermore, even has published a pro-Turkish propaganda piece, by a supposedly a “Russian” girl who questioned why a Russian pilot died in Syria.

    But sincerely the best news from your article is that A50M are finally flying over Syria, which is the best way to prevent a surprise US/Turkish attack which killed the Russian pilot.

    The Anglo-Zionist empire must win in Syria, its winning defined as divided Syria. Otherwise, many of its “allies” could get ideas of leaving the alliance, for example some Eastern European members of NATO. They joined because Anglo-Zionist empire was the only racket in the town. With resurgent Russia, they could get ideas of asking protection from Russia, just like Syria did.

    Besides, the West is drowning in debt and is desperate to have a war to repudiate debts, internal and external.

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @Kiza
  9. Avery says:

    {….by a supposedly a “Russian” girl …}

    Right: supposedly “Russian”.
    Even if she was born one, she went over to the other (non-Russian) side long ago.

    • Replies: @5371
  10. It’s time for Iran to turn up the heat in Yemen, and perhaps among Saudi Shiites, too.

  11. KA [AKA "Carthage"] says:

    Russia would be forced to attack Turkey if Turkey does attack Syria .But then the events wont follow the favored scripts .NATO will make big threat and Russia would would come to the table .NATO wont attack Russia .Turkey will be the sacrifical lamb again. Russia would have the satisfaction of eliminating Turkey without gaining much in Syria .Syria will enter a low energy civil war . Golan Heights will be incorporated without much resistance from anybody including Russia. Turkey is the red flag that is being waved to lure the bull .The red flag will be left to be trampled .

    • Replies: @Ahmed
    , @Karl
  12. Kiza says:

    Of course, expect the US and UK etc, the Anglo-Zionist empire, to be asking for “a cessation of hostilities and return back to negotiations”, all the while pulling the string of the moronic Turks and Saudis to go to war. Moronic, because they will pay a very heavy price for being the puppets of the Anglo-Zionist empire. The US is in the election year and it will not engage the Russians directly.

    I almost cannot believe that the Saudis will give S400 a test, that is give it some nice target practice on modern Western jets, probably flown by British mercenary pilots. But I hope there is a sufficient number of missiles for the S400 in Syria, for both Turkish and Saudi planes.

    If “Saudi troops” get involved in the invasion on Syria, they will probably consist of the Columbian and other mercenaries, as in Yemen.

    Naturally, also expect a few false flags, probably against Aleppo civilians, which will be blamed on the SAA, Iranian Army and the Russians, but you mentioned this yourself Saker.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  13. How hard would it be to torch the Saudi oil fields? Russia could use a spike in oil prices. And North American frackers could resume poisoning the ground water.

    Would the United States give us nuclear winter? U.S. foreign policy is in the hands of psychotic murderers. So yes.

    How does China figure in this. Would China stand by and watch the west destroy Russia? Wouldn’t China be next? How hard would it be for China to land half a million grunts in Syria? Or rather what’s left of Syria.

    • Replies: @Randal
  14. geokat62 says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    The result of his loosing in Syria will be another blow to his rapidly diminishing popularity

    Any evidence to support this claim?

    Here are the latest stats according to a recently published article in the Economist:

    But after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, those ratings soared to nearly 90% and have not come back to earth since. Even a recession, falling real wages and rampant inflation have barely dented Mr Putin’s numbers. For his fans, Mr Putin’s shock-resistant ratings serve as proof of his righteousness.

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  15. 5371 says:

    I think we need to update R2P to R2KT – responsibility to kill Turks.

  16. 5371 says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    Surely a lavishly funded bot like you can afford to learn how to spell “losing”.

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  17. @geokat62

    You have selected a quote that suits your believe but the article as a whole only confirms my claim. Why didn’t you quote something from the end of the article? Statistics and graphs notwithstanding the best information comes from the people on the street and the mood is getting ugly. You seem to be forgetting that when it comes to people manipulation the West has a lot of experience. Putin is just a greenhorn trying to play poker with old hands.

    • Replies: @geokat62
    , @Seamus Padraig
  18. Randal says:

    How hard would it be for China to land half a million grunts in Syria?

    Very hard, especially if they wanted to actually supply them and have them actually do anything there. Impossible, if the Yanks decided to stop them.

    China is still a long way from being able to intervene militarily in the ME effectively.

    • Agree: Regnum Nostrum
  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If Mercenaries wore the black mask and cried ” Jihad”, we would be attacking Colimbia for harboring terrorist . We may not go that far at this time .
    But who knees what kind of propaganda could be twisted into what type of aims.

  20. @5371

    Is this the best reaction you can offer Mr.Infallible ? Anyway I am glad that even as an individual with limited intelligence you still understood what I really meant. For your benefit I will try to avoid such mistakes but cannot promise 100% success because English is not my first language. You remind me of a certain blogger called Xymphora. Like you he is incapable of having an original thought so all he does is linking articles of other people and adding would be sophisticated comments that rarely exceed two sentences. Something that you are doing here.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  21. geokat62 says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    Statistics and graphs notwithstanding the best information comes from the people on the street and the mood is getting ugly.

    So you admit your statement that “The result of his loosing in Syria will be another blow to his rapidly diminishing popularity…” was based on nothing more than your personal opinion. I normally take no issue with this, provided people make it clear that is exactly what they’re doing… rather than giving the impression they are making a factual statement.

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  22. @geokat62

    My statement is based on facts some of them provided by the very article you have recommended. Take it or leave it because I am not in a contest of popularity, righteousness or infallibility.

    • Replies: @tbraton
    , @annamaria
  23. geokat62 says:

    My statement is based on facts some of them provided by the very article you have recommended.

    and a previous comment of yours:

    Why didn’t you quote something from the end of the article?

    You must be referring to these passages:

    Nonetheless, discontent and dissent is starting to well up among Russians…
    But Russians are more likely to blame the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, or local officials than Mr Putin, in keeping with the age-old Russian political myth of the good tsar betrayed by evil boyars. Yet as parliamentary elections loom this autumn, Mr Putin has been quietly distancing himself from his party, United Russia, which enjoys considerably less support than he does. But eventually, the frustration may even begin to catch up with Mr Putin too.

    As the Economist makes clear, after establishing the fact that Putin has “shock-resistant ratings” of close to 90%, they go on to speculate that they could decline in the future. So your statement “The result of his loosing in Syria will be another blow to his rapidly diminishing popularity…” was not based on facts, it was based on pure speculation. See the difference?

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  24. @geokat62

    Twenty-six percent of respondents in the Levada Center study said they were afraid to answer questions while 49 percent of respondents said that Russians in general were reluctant to answer questions when approached by people conducting polls. When it comes to speaking with work colleagues about politics and current events, 23 percent of respondents said they felt uncomfortable while 17 percent said they were uncomfortable discussing these issues with their families. When asked why people were reluctant to share their views and beliefs, 56 percent of respondents answered that they feared retribution.

    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
    , @Thirdeye
  25. tbraton says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    Speaking of facts, Regnum Nostrum, have you figured out how old you are yet?

  26. @Regnum Nostrum

    Statistics and graphs notwithstanding the best information comes from the people on the street and the mood is getting ugly.

    The plural of anecdote is not data, Regnum. It’s easy to cherry-pick interview subjects to get the result you want, but the polling on Russian attitudes towards Putin has been very consistent–and consistently positive.

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  27. @Regnum Nostrum

    English is not my first language.

    What exactly is your first language, Regnum? Ukrainian perhaps?

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  28. KA says:

    “Why has this fact been kept sub rosa? One wonders. Why did Cheney telephone Woodward and blast him for revealing it in the book, before hanging up on him? What is going on behind the scenes? Rest assured, something rotten.

    Kissinger grabbed the opportunity thrown at him by Neocon. He advised the destruction of Iraq when he got that opportunity though the Cheney gang .

    Now looking at the donors and to advisors of Clinton and of GOP gangs,it is premature to suggest that Russia would be allowed to keep the gains . Neither will be Syrian people. They are the cannon fodders and these Syrians will not be allowed to escape the fate of Iraq or Yemen or Somalia. The corrupt leaders of Saudi will do anything to stay in opulence and power . Erdogan will do same to finance his family .
    American and British media will make sure that Saudis continue to be portrayed as moderate nation . Erdogan will continue to be portrayed as the new Kemal Ataturk.

  29. @Seamus Padraig

    My first language is Czech, my second English, followed by Italian and a smattering of German.

  30. @Seamus Padraig

    This is getting tiresome. Get back to me in a month.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  31. @Regnum Nostrum

    A link to the International Business Times, a website run by a bunch of end of times Christian nut jobs. How telling.

  32. Sean says:

    Israel could have toppled Assad with a flick of their eyebrow with a Golan build up. It hasn’t.

    Israel has no motive to assist either side to final victory because Israel wants the civil war in Syria to go on forever, and possibly involve Jordan.

    Only non Arabs like Assad. This is an Arab war against a foreign backed minority regime in one Arab state that is slaughtering its own population and will never be accepted as the government by most Syrians. Assad is blaming his troubles on the west and forcing millions of his own people to flee as refugees, to the west.

  33. Art says:

    I cannot see Obama and Kerry letting an all-out war happen. Kerry just made an important speech in the EU talking about a Syria cease fire. At the end of the speech he said that Assad had to go – but must of the speech was about fighting ISIS.

    If Obama lets this happen – he will go down in history a totally incompetent boob. He must know that.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  34. krollchem says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Russia cannot do preemptive attacks like Israel does because Turkey in a member of NATO. Such an attack would trigger Article 5 of the NATO treaty requiring all other NATO member to come to the aid of Turkey. Ultimately, the Russian forces in Syria would be facing destruction, forcing Russia to use tactical nuclear weapons against Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian, UK and US invaders. This would likely trigger full scale nuclear war.

    Like you I am hopeful that Obama would order Turkey to back off. I am however afraid that Saudi Arabia has the same fanatic ideology of ISIS and Turkey is currently run by the Muslim Brotherhood. If you recall, the Brotherhood is the nut cases that El Sisi deposed in Egypt.

    Lets keep our fingers crossed…

    • Replies: @annamaria
  35. Dear Saker,

    your list is not complete:

    8. Russia is affected by the isolation and evidently under pressure, so Putin sent Patriarch Kirill to meet Pope Francis in Cuba.

    Seriously, this has already appeared in the West…

    When I first heard of the breakthrough, I was wondering how long it would take before someone started twisting it…

  36. Anyone else here recall the Saker asserting this circumstance of Russian involvement in Syria was little more than a media fiction when disparaging zerohedge pointing to the initial stages of Russian hands on this conflict?


    If zerohedge was wrong in the small details, they got it right in the big picture whereas the Saker called it entirely wrong.

    It’s easy to rewrite the story to suit oneself as events develop but not very honest. Insofar as today’s information from the Saker, identical material has been out there for months already; the Saker’s reloaded old news:

    “Needless to say, the Turks and the Saudis have also announced joint military exercises. They have even announced that Saudi aircraft will conduct airstrikes from the Incirlik air base in support of an invasion of Syria”

    From nearly a year ago:

    ^ “How we get there obviously is a source of extraordinary challenge, and we shared ideas in terms of how that can be accomplished” -Obama speaking to exactly what the Saudis and Turks are up to today with preparing for incursion into Syria.

    The Saker:

    “What is clear is that in any war between Russia and Turkey NATO will have to make a key decision: is the alliance prepared to go to war with a nuclear power like Russia to protect a lunatic like Erdogan? It is hard to imagine the US/NATO doing something so crazy but, unfortunately, wars always have the potential to very rapidly get out of control”

    What is clear (to anyone who pays attention to what NATO has actually been up to) is NATO, run by lunatics like Breedlove and Stoltenberg, is itching for a fight with Russia, only they need a door opened to make it permissible politically. If you give close attention to NATO Supreme Commander Breedlove’s statements, it’s clear he’s not a rational man, he sees Russians everywhere Erdogan sees Gulen; i.e. under his bed, behind every door, in every closet and out every window, behind every tree:

    ^ Breedlove’s Russians

    ^ Erdogan’s Gulen

    Insofar as the ‘third party’ players (energy corporations, armaments mafia and other ‘businesses’ that actually direct the action, where corporations and intelligence are fused) stake in the fight, here’s compendium of several criminally insane actors, it’s quite eye-opening:


  37. @Sean

    If Israel attempted yet another war of aggression, it would become the target of probably all its Muslim neighbours, near and far ones.

    Because that is apparently the nature of the Arabs. They hate the Jews even more than each other… and would even stop killing each other and unite in their efforts against the Jews.

    Hell, Israel could not even defeat Hizballah just across the border!

    And Israel actually prefers Syria under Bashar Hafez al-Assad, because that is the known known, unlike the Sunni terrorists, who are known unknowns.

    Most Syrians accept Bashar Hafez al-Assad in his struggle against a foreign-backed (and Fashington hand-picked) minority regime, whose Western-recognized representatives, who have not been in Syria for decades, but who have allied themselves with U.N.-designated terrorist organizations — you know, all those moderate heart-eaters, head-choppers, etc., who have been terrorizing Syria with full Western support, including money, arms, training and official cover from the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization minions and its Gulf goons.

    • Replies: @Randal
    , @Cracker
  38. @Sean

    ” Only non Arabs like Assad. ”

    If that is so then why are the Shiites and Christian Arabs supporting Assad. Even many Sunni Syrians support Assad.

    • Replies: @Sean
  39. Randal says:

    Because that is apparently the nature of the Arabs. They hate the Jews even more than each other… and would even stop killing each other and unite in their efforts against the Jews.

    This is clearly untrue, given the history of the past half century, when one Arab state after another has sold out the cause of Arab resistance to the expansionist settler colonial state dumped in their midst.

    And Israel actually prefers Syria under Bashar Hafez al-Assad

    This is also clearly untrue. Certainly Israel has tried very hard to pretend this is the case, but we have known for certain that it is not the case since Israel’s US tools AIPAC went “all out” to try to get the US to destroy the government of Syria and open the country up fully to jihadists as it had previously done for Iraq and for Libya.

    AIPAC to go all-out on Syria

    They failed, as an almost unprecedented popular revolt forced sanity on the Washington regime despite Israel’s best efforts.

    It’s clear that Israel is happy to see sunni jihadism promoted if by doing so it can achieve regime change in Syria and break the connecting link between Iran and Hezbollah. And indeed it makes sense when you read it from their pov which is concerned overwhelmingly with enhancing their regional power. The simple fact is the sunni jihadists will never get across the Golan, will never ally with Hezbollah, and if ensconced in Damascus will just provide even stronger material to scaremonger money and military backing out of the US.

  40. annamaria says:

    “For more than 40 years, Turkey has been a quiet custodian of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons.”
    “Turkey still hosts these U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on its territory…”
    We live in the interesting time when Israel has to face a danger of nuclear conflict because of the ziocons’ machinations in the Middle East.
    Great job, the Kagans/Kristols/Perles clan!

  41. annamaria says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    “My statement is based on facts” in the same breath with “statistics and graphs notwithstanding?”
    Could you make a choice?

  42. annamaria says:

    Israel is gambling on Turkey restrain. Let see how well the Dragons teeth are going to spring up very close to the warmongers.

  43. annamaria says:

    “Assad had to go,” because the Ziocons told Kerry so. Sigh.

  44. annamaria says:

    The US have a rather small window of opportunity left for reigning in the many apprentices involved in implementation of the ziocons’ geopolitical plans:

    • Replies: @krollchem
  45. Cracker says:

    Because that is apparently the nature of the Arabs. They hate the Jews even more than each other… and would even stop killing each other and unite in their efforts against the Jews.

    It is the other way around. They hate the Jews for sure, but each other even more. In all those wars against Israel, they just screwed each other over.

  46. It smells like a bluff to me, ahead of a face saving negotiated settlement.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  47. Wally says:

    The US and the NATO/AngloZionists will blink. NATO Treaty with Turkey or not.

    The above mentioned have a distinct aversion to casualties. The Russians, much less.

    Russia has it with the immoral machinations of ‘the west’, it’s drawn a line in the sand on this one, no mas.

    If the US NATO/AZ were to feel the flow of their own blood along with a few fighter jets & tanks it’s game over.

    Simply look at the US & Israeli losses against ragtag forces they have engaged, the Zionists & their proxies run like dogs with their tails between their legs.

    Turkey with or without NATO has no chance against Russia.

    Watch and see.

    As the expression goes:

    ‘Putin is playing chess while Obama plays checkers.’

    • Replies: @monkey
  48. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Russia will have to use tactical nukes against Turkey. Yahoo!

  49. krollchem says:

    Thanks for making me smile.

    As much as I would wish the Turkey is continuing to stir the pot and openly sending Turkic fighters to stop the advances of the Kurd and Syrian forces. The following reports that a Turkish special forces commander was captured inside Syria and that many other Turkish Special Forces are enbedded with Al Qaeda:
    MORE FIGHTING As Saudis and Turks Attack Syria

    From French sources:

    L’armée turque bombarde des positions kurdes en Syrie

    La France et les Etats-Unis condamnent les bombardements turcs en Syrie

  50. I really wish the Saker would stop using AngloZionist. I know what it means, but a lot of people I repost this to will look at that and think “anti-semite,” decreasing its effectiveness. Semantics counts.

    • Replies: @Art
  51. @Regnum Nostrum

    You are truly off base with this nostrum. Putin has pulled the fat out of the fire too often now for anyone to talk about all of his miscalculations. The only party miscalculating for the last 15 years has been the US, and badly!

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
  52. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Are the Kurds and Assad’s Syrian armee allies? The Russians can bomb the zio Turkish proxy armee in Syria (ISIS and “moderate rebels”), but afterwards one need to have full control over the border region with Turkey, to prevent a second ISIS proxy war with zio Turkey. An alliance with the Kurds, even an independent Kurdistan, would be strategic for Assad. After all, ISIS and the so called “moderate” rebels attacked Assad and the Kurds, and the enemy of your enemy is your friend. An alliance with the Iraqi armee is also possible. Zio Nato will probably choose zio Turkey’s side.

  53. primate says:

    I don’t think that the Turks or the Saudis are going to invade. If you are going to invade, you would just do it. Instead, They are talking endlessly about it. The Saudis have made a ‘final’ decision to invade. When one is making these kinds of talks, there is a big chance that they are just talks.

    I think without the support from the West, the Turks will not dare to go postal like this. They have to assess the chances of them winning. I don’t see the U.S. making any sort of move to put their troops on the line.

  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    If he is indeed “wrong all the time” then could you please site one or two instances so that we can all appreciate your remarkably insightful analysis. And while we’re at it can you learn how to spell “losing”. When you use the word “loosing” in that context you come across as either a third grader or a complete moron. I’m guessing the latter, you worthless incompetent troll.

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  55. Ahmed says:

    Very interesting and very thoughtful! I am afraid that is plan in the works here. I hope the Turks wake up before it is too late, and avoid falling into this dangerous trap.

  56. monkey says:

    Chess has rules. Believe it or not, but the smarter person always wins at checkers

  57. Karl says:

    >>> I hope the Russians give Erdogen and his psycho allies the pasting they’ ve been asking for for a long time.

    Putin is more rational than you. He doesn’t make military decisions based on juvenile emotions.

    If I had to guess, Putin will NOT target anything inside Turkey itself.

    It might be more “efficient” to do so, but much more dangerous to do so.

    He can chew up Turkish forces inside Syria proper. The Israelis and the Greeks will give whatever tiny informal help they can afford to. Neither has any favors owed to Ottoman islamists.

    The Israelis are would be quite ok with selling their natural gas to Turkey – the closest cash customer. But, they don’t NEED to do so.

    No one can show me any Hebrew statements by the Israeli Establishment, expressing a desire for Assad to disappear. Israel gets more headaches from UK leftists, than from anyone in the Assad camp.

    “AngloZionist”….. No wonder Putin hasn’t paid any consulting fees to Saker. Putin spends more time talking to Bibi & Ya’alon than to Saker.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @geokat62
  58. Karl says:

    >> Golan Heights will be incorporated without much resistance from anybody including Russia

    great prediction….. of something was finalized – what? 25 years ago.

    Putin’s only concern with the Golan, is if the kibbutzim there, will give him a break on credit terms – to try to get SOME apples into Moscow supermarkets without delivering a dollar denominated Irrevocable Letter of Credit. Maybe Bibi offered some help there in exchange for whatever little favor Bibi needed.

    I don’t claim to know the details of how that has worked out, as I don’t get breakfast at small town diners in Ramat ha-Golan very often. If you really want to know, go there and do that. Senior-citizen kibbutzniks can get quite gossipy about money. What else can they talk about…… it’s not like the Palestinians have learn any new tricks since 1947, is it?

  59. annamaria says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    “All they and their allies have to do is create conditions which will make it impossible for Assad to regain control of Syria…”
    Why? What is the purpose of the scandalous use of ISIS by the NATO and kingdoms to oust the elected president of a sovereign nation? It is known that there are tree states that are ready to dismember Syria in agreement with their messianic vision of Ottoman Empire, Greater Israel, and Pure Islam. You are free to refute the fact that the millions of Syrian civilians have been suffering (and many died) because of implementation of the aggressive geopolitics plans by the US (Israel), Turkey, and Middle Eastern monarchies.

  60. annamaria says:

    For the Israeli government, Russia is worse than ISIS:
    Yadlin, a “longtime military leader in the Israeli government:” “In any case, Israel must gear up for active efforts to topple Assad, based on the understanding that beyond the moral imperative, Assad’s ouster will lead to a strategic loss for Iran and Hizbollah in the bleeding Syrian state.”
    Take a note of “moral imperative” in the Yadlin’ discourse. Disgusting.

    • Replies: @This Is Our Home
  61. @Anonymous

    I would love to but I only know how to cite a paragraph not how to site one. Can you elaborate?

    • Replies: @tbraton
  62. geokat62 says:

    No one can show me any Hebrew statements by the Israeli Establishment, expressing a desire for Assad to disappear.

    Why the Hebrew qualifier, Karl? Are you suggesting that Isareli officials make different statements in English than they do in Hebrew?

    Israeli Officials: We’d Prefer Al-Qaeda-Run Syria to an Assad Victory

    Israeli officials are voicing their concern over Bashar al-Assad’s recent advances in his country’s civil war, Israeli Army Radio reported.

    According to Israel Hayom, senior Israeli officials were quoted as saying that “al-Qaeda control over Syria would be preferable to a victory by Assad over the rebels.”

    Officials believe that an Assad victory would strengthen Iran, as a weakened Syrian regime would become more reliant on the Islamic Republic. The Iran-Hezbollah-Syria axis would thus become an even greater threat to Israel, the officials said.

    “Assad is now Iran,” the officials said, according to Israel Hayom. “Any of these groups would be less problematic for Israel than an Assad regime that is a puppet of Iran,” the officials were quoted as saying.

    • Replies: @This Is Our Home
  63. @Regnum Nostrum

    This is getting tiresome. Get back to me in a month.

    Poor Regnum is pooped! All these facts and logic are hurting his head.

  64. Art says:
    @Jim Mooney

    I really wish the Saker would stop using AngloZionist. I know what it means, but a lot of people I repost this to will look at that and think “anti-semite,” decreasing its effectiveness. Semantics counts.

    “Anti-Semite” perish the thought — Oh NO.

    Is it not time for people to hear the truth of Zionist Jew warmongering and coercion of the West?

    Buck up boy — find the courage to tell the truth!

    • Replies: @tbraton
  65. annamaria says:

    “Gulf states seek nukes against Iran, had secret contacts with Tel Aviv – Israeli defense chief”
    So, why there is no peace in the Middle East?

  66. annamaria says:

    More on the same: “The Russians have airdropped supplies into Dier az Zor which are distributed to civilians by the SAA. You won’t hear about this in the MSM.” The presstitutes are not allowed to step outside the prescribed perimeter.

    • Replies: @Sean
  67. Sean says:

    Assad had a huge security apparatus and armed forces with heavy weapons; the rebels were winning because they had the numbers.The only Sunni population who are allies of Assad are the western tribes who are a backward minority of Sunnis. The mass of the Sunnis (ie most of the total Syrian population) are dead against Assad. He was losing in Aleppo the largest city in Syria, which precipitated the Russian intervention.

    Many of the educated Syrians fleeing to Germany are from Aleppo, these are the people Assad is making life intolerable for by blowing up civilian infrastructure in areas where Assad has been kicked out.

    Syrian Christians may fear Sunni rule, but Christians are not fighting for Assad In significant numbers. The Syrian Shiites neither. Even the Alawites are sick of being cannon fodder. Syrians are being killed by Assad’s foreign allies; namely; the Russians and Iranians. It is a civil war but geopolitical once you get outside Syria.

  68. Sean says:

    Since they arrived the Russians have killed more Syrian civilians than ISIS. Russia says it is hitting ISIS and al Nusra not the FSA,but this is a lie

    The Russians themselves say they want an agreement with the FSA but actually they are bombing the FSA and the civilians infrastructure in areas the FSA controls, and ISIS is moving into those areas, which are getting very close to Jordan.

    Assad is saying “it’s me or ISIS and disaster for all neighbouring states’. It’s looking good for Israel , which may get the option to expel the Palestinians in a ME Thirty Years War.
    With so many interests, native and foreign, involved, a way out does not seem in sight. Nor can the outcome be foreseen any more than that of the Thirty Years’ War could be four years after the beginning of the conflict, i.e. 1622. In fact there is good reason to believe that the hostilities have just begun. Additional players such as Lebanon and Jordan may well be drawn in. That in turn will almost certainly bring in Israel as well. Some right-wing Israelis, including several ministers, actually dream of such a scenario. They hope that the fall of the Hashemite Dynasty and the disintegration of Jordan will provide them with an opportunity to repeat the events of 1948 by throwing the Palestinians out of the West Bank and into Jordan.

    That, however, is Zukunftsmusik, future music as the Germans say. As of the present, the greatest losers are going to be Syria and Iraq. Neither really exists any longer as organized entities, and neither seems to have a future as such an entity.

  69. @annamaria

    For the Israeli government, Russia is worse than ISIS:

    Yadlin, a “longtime military leader in the Israeli government:” “In any case, Israel must gear up for active efforts to topple Assad, based on the understanding that beyond the moral imperative, Assad’s ouster will lead to a strategic loss for Iran and Hizbollah in the bleeding Syrian state.”
    Take a note of “moral imperative” in the Yadlin’ discourse. Disgusting

    You guys are oh so sceptical…until you are not.

    • Replies: @Sean
  70. @geokat62

    Why the Hebrew qualifier, Karl? Are you suggesting that Isareli officials make different statements in English than they do in Hebrew?

    If Jeb Bush is smart enough to know when to do this I can only assume the Israelis are

    • Replies: @geokat62
  71. geokat62 says:
    @This Is Our Home

    If Jeb Bush is smart enough to know when to do this I can only assume the Israelis are

    Jeb smart? You must be referring to his Israel first handlers.

  72. annamaria says:

    Ash Carter lectures on the “wrong” Russians and “wrong” president of Syria. Quite an audacious approach by a willing collaborator with the terrorists-supporting Middle Eastern monarchies.

    Carter about Russians : “…they have become a participant in the civil war in Syria, which needs to end, by backing the regime and fueling the civil war.” – So Mr. Carter is saying that Daesh and other “moderate” terrorists (armed by the US and Turkey) are the peaceful party innocent of the civil war? What about the sovereign state of Syria? Russian are in Syria on the invitation of the current government of Syria, while the US, Turkey (a NATO member), and Saudi and Qatar princes did not receive such invitation. What this coalition of the willing has been doing in the sovereign state of Syria?

    Carter: “… we are determined, in our campaign to defeat ISIL militarily — and we’ll do that. I’m confident we’ll do that. The Russians are not helping in that regard, but we’ll do it anyway.” – According to Mr. Carter, the US had been very “confident” in the “campaign to defeat ISIL militarily” but for some reason could not do that for almost five years. Then the Russians arrived and showed how to run the “campaign to defeat ISIL militarily” but this is terribly irritating for Mr. Carter. Funny Mr. Carter – if the “defeat ISIL militarily” is the main purpose of the US, then why Mr. Carter is so unhappy?

    Carter: “We continue to want to take it in the right direction: namely, one in which there is a political transition that provides a government for the Syrian people in the future that does not have Bashar Assad as part of it…” – Wow. Another democracy on the march ziocon style. How does Mr. Carter know that the Syrian people do not want a government with Bashar Assad as part of it? Did he learn that from his ziocon masters or what? What if a democratic elections show that the majority of Syrians want Bashar Assad as their president?

    • Replies: @geokat62
  73. geokat62 says:

    How does Mr. Carter know that the Syrian people do not want a government with Bashar Assad as part of it? Did he learn that from his ziocon masters or what?

    Why, he spoke to “the people on the streets” of Damascus, of course, because that’s where “the best information comes from”… and according to Mr. Carter “the mood is getting ugly.”

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
  74. I wonder if the Turks aren’t simply engaged in an intensified version of their November 2015 air ambush against Russian forces. Pretty clearly the Turks are trying to induce the Russians to make a faux pas that can be leveraged to internationalize the Russian-Turkish imbroglio. They failed with the air ambush because the Russians refused to take the bait. Now, perhaps, they are upping the provocation quotient in order to obtain a Russian response. Fire large quantities of artillery into Syria and move Turkish ground forces south of the border and you face Russia with a quandary: either strike Turkish forces directly or maybe allow recent gains to be reversed.

    But what are the Turks really trying to achieve by inducing a Russian response against their provocations. I would hypothesize that Erdogan wants any use of Russian weaponry against any Turkish target in order to invoke Article 21 of the Montreux Convention. This 1936 treaty created a legal framework to govern the transit of the Turkish Straits–the Dardanelles and Bosporus–by commercial and naval shipping and the rights of Turkey to defend them.

    Articles 20 and 21:

    Article 20: “In time of war, Turkey being belligerent, the provisions of Articles 10 to 18 shall not be applicable; the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish Government.”

    Article 21: “Should Turkey consider herself to be threatened with imminent danger of war she shall have the right to apply the provisions of Article 20 of the present Convention.

    “Vessels which have passed through the Straits before Turkey has made use of the powers conferred upon her by tbe preceding paragraph, and which thus find themselves separated from their bases, may return thereto. It is, however, understood that Turkey may deny this right to vessels of war belonging to the State whose attitude has given rise to the application of the present Article.

    “Should the Turkish Government make use of the powers conferred by the first paragraph of the present Article, a notification to that effect shall be addressed to the High Contracting Parties and to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

    “If the Council of the League of Nations decide by a majority of two-thirds that the measures thus taken by Turkey are not justified, and if such should also be the opiniontdf the majority of the High Contracting Parties signatories to the present Convention, the Turkish Government undertakes to discontinue the measures in question as also any measures which may have been taken under Article 6 of the present Convention.”

    So, by articles 20 and 21, if Turkey should “consider herself to be threatened with imminent danger of war,” then “the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish Government.” In other words, if Turkey can induce a Russian response of any kind, it would have a pretext for closing the straits–the vital artery of Russian logistical support to its campaign in Syria–to Russian naval shipping, including transports shipping supplies, weapons and spares. This would likely place Russian in Zugschwang.

    If Turkey can generate a pretext to close the straits, Russia must either suffer a grievous blow to its strategy in Syria or forcibly re-open the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Such a move would transform the murky maneuvering in and around Syria into a much simpler Straits Crisis and probably win NATO support.

    So my theory is that what Turkey is desperately trying to do is provoke Russia until Russia does something that can be liberally interpreted as justifying the closure of the straits to the Russians. The Russians understand this, which explains why they were so careful not to respond to the November air ambush, but of course that incident had no impact on the larger operational situation in Syria. The movement of Turkish ground forces into Syria to re-open the supply lines to the Jihadists would be an entirely different matter.

    How will the Russians avoid the trap this time? And if this is what Turkey is actually attempting, is the US a silent partner in the endeavor?

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  75. Yevardian says:

    I’ll wait for Akarlin’s take on this.
    Hyperbole aside, I think Turkey and Russia will simply amp-up funding for Kavkaz Mahometerrorism and Kurdish Nationalism respectively.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  76. Thirdeye says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    From Wikipedia:

    Experts of the Levada-Center are constant members in conferences and round table discussions such as the Liberal Mission Foundation (Фонд «Либеральная миссия»), the Carnegie Moscow Center, The Gorbachev Foundation, Memorial, Public Lectures of Project (Публичные лекции Полит.ру), the Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences (Московская высшая школа социальных и экономических наук), the Public Center of A.D. Sakharov (Общественный центр им. А. Д. Сахарова) and Khodorkovsky Readings (Ходорковские чтения).

    The Levada-Center is included in the list of independent analytical centers of Europe, published by Freedom House.

    In collaboration with the Levada-Center, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty weekly broadcasts the show Public Opinion

    I thought the name “Levada Center” rang a bell. You’ll have to do better than some criminal oligarch kissing, State Department funded propaganda mill if you want your arguments to carry any weight.

  77. @Yevardian

    “Amping-up funding for Kavkaz Mahometerrorism” doesn’t get Turkey out of the jam it’s in in Syria. The question is, what path is Erdogan charting to resolve that problem on terms he can accept.

  78. “Not that this would deter a megalomaniac like Erdogan.”

    Nothing deterred the megalomaniac Putin in Ukraine.

    Putin accidently is doing the best thing that could be done in Syria, no matter his aggression in Ukraine. Even blind pigs find truffles now and again.

  79. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Even blind pigs find truffles now and again.

    If you can’t get the proverb correct how can we believe you have anything else correct.

    Hint, for those who don’t think, pigs find truffles with their noses not their eyes.

    To understand the world you actually have to know how things really work.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  80. RobinG says:
    @The most deplorable one

    Actually, Q did get the proverb correct; it’s the proverb that is illogical. But no matter, it still makes its point…like when Kramer falls down and muddies his pants, “the very pants he was going to return..”

    The irony is, Q is one such blind pig who occasionally stumbles on the truth. (Of course, he’s more of a broken clock.)

  81. Thirdeye says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    I’m thinking along pretty much those same lines, only hustling NATO Article 5. Turkey’s dilemma is that unless actual fighting on Turkish territory is involved, the case for invoking Article 5 is pretty thin. Their recent bombardment of Kurdish YPG forces was IMO a major mistake. If anything, it drove YPG towards closer co-operation with the Syrian government and left the US scrambling to maintain some leverage with the Kurds. Turkey cannot cross the northern border of Syria without occupying Kurdish territory, whether presently under control of the Kurds or the Islamists. If the US hopes to maintain some relationship with the Kurds, they would have little option but to pressure Turkey to abandon such an operation.

    The position of Turkish-supported Islamists north of Aleppo is collapsing. Some of the saner opposition forces in that area are switching to the Kurdish side. There is no longer a contact line between Syrian government forces and Turkish-supported Islamists in that area. Once Azaz falls, it’s game over for the Turkish-supported Islamists north of Aleppo.

    Even if there is aerial confrontation between Turkey and either Syria or Russia, the case for invoking Article 5 would be weak as we saw with the Su-24 incident. Military logic would indicate attacking the Khmeimim airbase if Turkey wished to sustain such a confrontation, but such aggression would clearly put the case for invoking Article 5 beyond the pale. IMO NATO would either have to stand down or face an internal rift.

    KSA might be hoping to put their intervention under the NATO umbrella by deploying fighters to Incirlik. They apparently haven’t figured that in the event of aerial confrontation all of their aerial assets would be fair game for a Russian response. That would be yet another disaster for KSA’s campaign in Yemen.

    The complications that closing the Bosporus would present for Russia would be considerable but not insurmountable. The Khmeimim and Latakia bases are supplied by air transport. If Erdogan is thinking of Article 21 as some sort of ultimate trump card he’s thinking way out of date. And that’s not even considering the potential role of Iran in an end run around the Bosporus.

  82. @Thirdeye

    KSA might be hoping to put their intervention under the NATO umbrella by deploying fighters to Incirlik. They apparently haven’t figured that in the event of aerial confrontation all of their aerial assets would be fair game for a Russian response.

    These ‘Saudi’ soldiers are really a bunch of Colombian and Somali mercenaries. From Riyadh’s point of view, they’re completely expendable anyway.

    If Erdogan is thinking of Article 21 as some sort of ultimate trump card he’s thinking way out of date. And that’s not even considering the potential role of Iran in an end run around the Bosporus.

    And he’s also forgetting that Russia could simply declare support for an independent Kurdistan and then pump the PKK full of weapons and aid. That’s bring an end to the ‘neo-Ottoman’ Empire in a hurry!

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  83. Art says:

    It is hard to believe that Obama and the EU (NATO) are giving Erdogan a free hand to start a war with Russia. That would be completely irresponsible.

    But it does appear that they are doing a false flag operation – they are screaming and pounding their chests against ISIS, but are letting Turkey supply ISIS with recruits and money from oil. All to the benefit of Israel.

    Those are the undeniable facts — oh the evil that the Jew do!

  84. @Thirdeye

    I think your point about alternate supply routes deserves to be analyzed in depth, which I am ill-equipped to do. But we do need to keep a few things in mind: First, at the US’s behest, Bulgaria has already in effect shut its airspace to Russia military aircraft (by demanding that they land for inspection and that they not carry military items.)

    That means that the only air corridor to Syria is the Caspian-Iran-Iraq route. I can’t say for sure, but I think that given the limits on Russian strategic airlift, that an attempt to support Russian operations in Syria solely by air would prove infeasible.

    When you consider the need for barrier and construction material, munitions, armored vehicles, etc for both the Russian effort and the much more extensive Syrian military operations, I doubt that Russia could pull it off using just airlift. Sealift is very important–and very likely utterly critical.

    So I don’t think that a plan to create a pretext to cut Russia’s sealift corridor is necessarily out of date at all, though I would defer to a military logistical expert, if he could make a persuasive case to the contrary.

    Another point: Turkey does not want a war with Russia. What Erdogan wants is to disrupt Russia military success in Syria. Inducing a small-scale Russian response to one of his provocations would be just what the doctor ordered, as ANY response that Turkey could half-way document would be enough to proceed under Article 21 of the Montreux Convention (MC). Of course, it’s tremendously risky, but Erdogan is demonstrably desperate. That is why Seamus Padraig’s objection about the Kurds doesn’t strike me as a guarantee that Erdogan would not close the Straits. If he can get rid of the Russians, I think he thinks he can deal with the Kurds–PKK or any others–as the situation dictates. But getting rid of the Russians is the long pole in the tent.

    On 7 December last, the Turkish foreign minister raised a ruckus over a supposed Russian sailor wielding a MANPADS system on the deck of a Russian supply ship transiting the Bosporus as a supposed violation of the MC. It may well have been a photoshop job, but it shows that the Turkish leadership is thinking about the MC and how to use it against Putin.

    As you say, it’s hard for Turkey to create a viable pretext for the invocation of the NATO charter, so why not go for something more indirect like the Straits. All Erdogan needs is any Russian response to any Turkish provocation. But Putin is clearly onto this gambit, which is why the Turks are forced to up the ante, as they continue to seek the much-needed Russian response to invoke Article 21.

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @krollchem
  85. Thirdeye says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    I was referring to airplanes. It seems there’s been some backwalking on the part of KSA as well. They’ve only committed to four. It looks to me like the most likely result will be a lot of noise about a token effort, then screaming about how the US isn’t leading the charge.

  86. Kiza says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Inducing a small-scale Russian response to one of his provocations would be just what the doctor ordered, as ANY response that Turkey could half-way document would be enough to proceed under Article 21 of the Montreux Convention (MC)

    I mentioned a couple of times a false-flag. The Turks are not smart enough to “elicit a response from Russia”, plus they like do things their own usual and sleazy way.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  87. @Kiza

    “The Turks are not smart enough to ‘elicit a response from Russia’”

    Well hopefully you are correct. Putin understands what Erdogan is up to, so that’s grounds for optimism, and he didn’t come close to falling into the trap after the November air ambush.

    Yes, a false flag is possible, but it will not be easy to create a minimally convincing false flag–which would involve simulating a Russian air strike on a Turkish target–in this situation.

    • Replies: @Kiza
  88. Kiza says:
    @Oscar Peterson


    As to false flags, the Turks are not amateurs as many think, then probably among the most frequent users. First, back about 18 months ago they prepared an attack on some important Turkish historic monument (of some Pasha), but the plot got leaked by the Turkish opposition. Second, according to Saymour Hersh, it was the Turkish MIT which supplied Sarin gas for the false-flag attack on Syrian Ghouta by the Turkish agents and proxies in Syria, which should have dragged Obama into attacking the Syrian Government. Third, the bombing of a Kurdish political rally in Istanbul just before the last election with more than 100 people killed, organized by MIT but blamed by Erdogan on ISIS and so on and so on.

    The Turks are probably the most frequent users of the false-flag in its broad meaning, it is the Turkish way of war. They always blame someone else for the atrocities that they do.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
    , @krollchem
  89. tbraton says:
    @Buck Dodgers Superstar

    “It smells like a bluff to me”

    I agree. The blonde sitting in for Megyn Kelly this week had two guests on Monday night, both with military backgrounds but one a Trump supporter and the other not. The one who was not a Trump supporter was urging that the U.S. send in troops to eliminate ISIS, and he was speaking of 250,000 U.S. troops. That is not going to happen. I don’t think the American public would put up with that for an instant. All the Republican candidates have spoken out in opposition to putting American troops on the ground, and Trump’s outspoken attack in the debate the other night IN SOUTH CAROLINA on the Iraq War and Jeb!!! and Jeb!!!’s brother indicates that he is going to make opposition to foreign wars in the Middle East a central part of his campaign. I thought he would exercise restraint until after the SC primary, but obviously his advisers felt confident that his stance won’t hurt his chances in SC. So far, the polls seem to indicate that they were right.

    Of course, nothing matched the incoherence of John Kasich, the candidate who finished a surprising second to Trump in NH. He was on one of the Sunday talk shows, and he stated on the one hand that the U.S. should not be involved in another country’s civil war, which indicates that even he gets the message, but then turned around and talked about our supporting the “rebels” who are fighting to overthrow Assad. The disconnect was stunning. It’s sort of like Bernie Sanders (and Carly Fiorina, when she was a candidate) bemoaning the dire condition of the American working class (dropping wages, lack of jobs, drugs) and refusing to acknowledge the effect of mass immigration in producing those conditions. Mindless.

  90. tbraton says:

    “Jim Mooney” only started posting on this past December and has only posted 11 times. In fact, in his second post, he made the same point about “AngloZionist.” The giveaway is the non-Zionist name (“Jim Mooney”–suggesting Irish?) and the fact that Wizard of Ooze “agreed” with his post. I am always suspicious of posts that Wizard of Ooze agrees with or responds to in a friendly way.

  91. tbraton says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    While you are at it, can you tell me approximately how old you are? I know there is great strain on your brain trying to tell the difference between “cite” and “site,” but you can merely check your driver’s license for your birthdate.

  92. @Kiza

    Of those three false flags you discuss, the one I am most familiar with is the sarin business. Agree that the likelihood of a false flag there is extremely high–almost certain really. The notion that Assad was employing sarin gas just east of the capital on the day that OPCW inspectors were transiting through Damascus was absurd from the moment it was first promoted.

    But employing a false flag in this case will be much harder. The difficulty of a false flag simulating a Russian attack on Turkey was probably what led the Turks to employ the November air ambush, which tried to achieve the same end as a false flag but did not technically meet the definition of one. It was a lure or trap rather than a false flag. I think that’s what the Turks are angling for again. But they are forced to be more provocative, that is, they are forced to do something that actually threatens to affect–or seems to threaten to affect–the operational situation in Syria, since Russia didn’t bite at the air ambush, which had no operational impact.

    My view is that Israel is the preeminent user of the false flag (e.g. the ludicrous claims in 2012 that Iran was conducting terror operations simultaneously in Dehli, Bangkok, and Tbilisi.) They are also well practiced in the technique of publicly re-assigning responsibility for real attacks against them from the real perpetrators to groups that, in their view constitute a greater strategic threat for propaganda purposes (e.g., blaming the 1990s Argentina bombings and the 2012 Burgas Bulgaria bombing on Hezbollah.) But I take your point about Turkey.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  93. annamaria says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Let’s hope that among the huge numbers of the former soviets in Israel there are some sane and intelligent persons (unlike the dumbed-down and pampered Israel-firsters in the US/UK), which would make it difficult for the ziocons to do a cooperative false flag operation with Turkey.

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @NoseytheDuke
  94. Kiza says:

    Excellent point, Israel in the shadow of Turkey organizing an anti-Russian false-flag. As Ron Unz said, control of media is the key ingredient of a false flags, and the Zionists control almost all Western MSM.

    I know that ex-Russian emigres would be inclined to prevent Israeli participation, but are they influential enough inside Mossad? Also, there is big money in Golan Heights oil, the prize may be too tempting.

  95. annamaria says:

    Noble minds care about the survival of humankind. The US/UK ziocons have lost connection to reality because of unaccountability – the law of cause and effect was eliminated, re political decisions, for the upper echelon. In contrast, the educated and rational Israelis have a clear understanding of the steps leading to abyss. In very simple terms, if the ziocons could not be able to reign in their obnoxious tendencies to have everything for the expense of everybody in the Middle East, that could bring Israel to a brink of extinction. Something like doing Purim to their own.

  96. @annamaria

    Right on cue comes the Ankara bombing. All that is being sought here is an excuse for Turkey to enter Syria and “going after the “terrorists” is the reason du jour, this is easily sold to the masses too.

    How will they be stopped? Whilst Russia has legal authority from Assad the propaganda machine has done its best to delegitimise his claim to his position. We’ve been in the economic/propaganda phase of WWIII for a while now so when will the trigger be pulled and to what degree are the masses responsible for not seeing what is going on under their noses?

  97. krollchem says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    I would agree that the US and the rest of NATO would ideally want Turkey to provoke Russia into attacking Turkish forces in Turkey so that Turkey could close the Turkish Straits to Russian ships.

    I doubt that Russia will fall for this as there are enough targets in Syria for Russian planes to bomb. The recent Saudi air strikes in Syria (probably with accompanying US planes) suggests a possible dangerous situation where US planes would escort Turkish planes bombing in Syria leading to Russia attacking the Turkish planes and perhaps also accidentally downing a US plane.

    Barring this US/Turkish trick, the Turks may still close the Straits and they already stated they do not recognize the UNSC vote to demand the Turkish government stop shelling in Syria against the Kurds and Syrian Army positions.

    In this case Russia and Iran can cut off natural gas and vehicle fuel to Turkey and effectively shut down almost half of the Turkish economy. Granted Turkey gets about 50% of its energy from hydroelectric generation but it is situated mostly in the south away from European Turkey.

    IMO Erdogan is trying to run Turkey as a family enterprise much like Milosovic was doing in the FRY. In both cases, the real masters are the external players who push the pawns. It is a shame that the little people will continue to suffer.

    Somehow the West will find a way to prevent a Shia and Kurdish border with Turkey. The dance will continue….

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  98. krollchem says:

    The car bombing of two military buses in Ankara may just be the incident that Turkey can use to enter Syria. The Turks appear to be blaming the attack on a Syrian YPG militant in an English language twitter account:

    Ankara bomber is Salih Necar, a Syrian Kurd and YPG militant.

    The source appears to be a story in the Turkish language daily Sozcu:

    Rough Google translation is:
    28 people lost their lives in terrorist attacks governing Kurdish nationality Syrian citizens PYD / YPG militant was learned that Saleh Nec.

    Ankara, 28 hours after the incident the person’s terrorist credentials of an explosion that cost the lives of fingerprints has been reached. According to the information; terrorist PKK’s Syrian wing of the PYD / YPG militant Kurdish nationality Syrian citizen was learned that Saleh Nec. Necare Saleh was born in 1992 that is reported to be 24 years old.

    It is hard to believe that the fingerprints could have been taken from the bomber inside the car!

    This will be the excuse for Turkish army full scale attack into Syria on the YPG and their Arab Army supporters!

  99. @Kiza

    Hi Kiza

    Two links pretty much summarize Turkey’s role.

    At Today’s Zaman:

    Erdogan is jailing pretty much everyone who doesn’t overlook his crimes, one of the Turkish MPs has since been charged with treason for speaking with press on the matter of it was Turkey’s MIT supplied the sarin chemicals to al Nusra in Syria that were used to kill over 1,400 people in August 2103 (blamed on Assad by Obama, Cameron, et al.)

    And at Jihad Watch:

    The Jihad Watch piece is linked to open source throughout, very well done.

    Btw (this will no doubt please any number of hasbara and other ‘people’ I’ve offended) .. I’m dropping off the grid in a few weeks, so taking opportunity to say farewell and I appreciate yours, and some of the others’ inputs, on my way out of the game:


    • Replies: @Kiza
  100. @krollchem

    I don’t think it’s a requirement that the hypothetical Russian response to the hypothetical Turkish provocation take place on Turkish soil. That may be a requirement for invocation of the NATO charter but not for invocation of the Montreux Convention.

    Of course, Erdogan must make the Russian response seem to be the real issue rather than his provocation in order to win backing, but once the issue shifts from Syria to the Straits, any Russian threat to re-open the Straits forcibly would almost certainly generate full NATO backing for Turkey anyway. The issue for Erdogan is to get the Russians to shoot at something Turkish. That will probably be enough to do the trick. But the only real hope for this is if Turkey can threaten to threaten the operational gains that Russian-Syrian forces have made which means re-opening the supply lines from Turkey to the jihadists. How to accomplish this without making Turkey appear to be the real aggressor is Erdogan’s real problem.

    The full array of costs to Turkey such as energy flows definitely deserves to be analyzed. But given the gas glut and the interests of other regional players in thwarting Russian strategy, I think perhaps Qatar, Saudi and/or Israel might find a way to fill Turkish energy needs in extremis.

    • Agree: Kiza
    • Replies: @krollchem
  101. Kiza says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Ronald, this is not good news that you will go off I have no doubt that most positive commenters (non-Hasbara etc) would agree that you are one of the top three posters here. I can only hope that your situation will change and that you will come back. Also, I wish we could have met and become personal friends, maybe our paths will cross one day. I will keep reading your blog, if you continue adding to it.

    The links you quoted are great I am going through them now.

    Thanks again and sincere best wishes for whatever new thing you will be doing!

  102. Kiza says:
    @Fran Macadam

    I have to agree with Fran, although I usually do not agree with her posts. But this one is quite true. The Ziocons are looking for a modus which would allow them to affect a war which would not escalate to nuclear and thus cost US. But unlike Fran, I think that the millions of refugees in Europe already is the case of “a nuclear war in the social and cultural area”. As many Europeans know, even before this latest controlled invasion of refugees, some European countries already had some very politically powerful Muslim minorities, such as the Turks in Germany, the Albanians in Switzerland, a numerous but less powerful Pakis in Britain and so on. These constituencies were not powerful enough to rule the country, but they were powerful enough to sway the politicians on matters not contrary to the majority’s direct interest. In other words, they are the third power fiddle in their countries: Zionists first then the indigenous, so called, Christians, then they. With the new influx, the European country will be Muslim and Muslim laws may become the laws of the land, including chador wearing (I must admit that I would love to see some feminists forced to wear chador, sorry but I am not PC). The new voters may even give the Euro-Zionists a few kicks in the behind.

    Therefore, one form of a tactical nuclear war in Europe has already begun.

    As to Donald Trump, he appears to be the only non-Zionist candidate. But, it will be plata o plomo for him as for everybody else. Maybe every US century needs a Kennedy or two. Any change is extremely difficult, do not be a big optimist.

  103. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    If I think back, it is interesting that the Russians adopted the Christie suspension when building their T34 and they were in advance of the stodgy Americans.

    Sure, they eventually replaced the Christie suspension with torsion bar suspension copied from the Germans but the T34 was superior to German tanks. It was only German genetics that allowed them to perform at twice the level of the Russians.

    Fast forward to today and it seems that the Russians have weapons that work while the US has weapons that cost lots of money and requires IQs much greater tha African Americans to operate.

  104. krollchem says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Turkey has no significant sources for Natural Gas within the next year or two! Natural gas supplies for Turkey are as follows:

    Turkey’s receives 27% of its natural gas from Russia via the Transbalkan pipeline. The remaining natural gas supply comes from Russia-Bluestream (30%), Iran (20%), Azerbajan (10%), Algeria and Nigeria (10%, as LNG), Qatar (2% as LNG), and internal production (1%). Of this total Russia supplies about 30 BCM/year.

    Iran has recently rejected Turkey’s request for an increase in natural gas supplies to make up for this potential Russian gas loss. Furthermore, occasional disruptions of Iranian natural gas flow occur in winter due to harsh winter conditions in Iran and high gas consumption rates in the northern parts of the country. Meanwhile, Iran is building natural gas pipelines to Iraq and Oman to supply their natural gas needs.

    The planned Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) from Azerbajan through Turkey will not be completed before 2018 and would only initially supply 6 BCM of natural gas to Turkey. The current Azerbaijan pipeline cannot supply additional gas, especially in winter.

    Turkey, in panic mode, has just signed a contract with Qatar to supply natural gas, however due to a lack of terminal offloading/storage (total maximum annual capacity of 14 BCM) in Turkey it would be impossible to put most of the gas into Turkey’s gas network.

    While Iraqi Kurdistan is building a natural gas pipeline to Turkey it will not be ready this year, even if the Kurdish PKK no longer attack Kurdish gas and oil pipelines in Turkey.

    Given that Turkey has in the past consumed up to 7 BCM of natural gas per month in Winter the potential loss of 14 BCM from the Transbalkan pipeline will cripple the economy in Winter and cause social unrest that can only be blamed on Turkey and Ukraine and by extension the US and EU states. On top of this, Turkey has declared that it will reduce imports of Russian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for vehicles by 25% in 2016. Turkey currently uses LPG to fuel 37% of its vehicles. Turkey somehow expects to make this up with LPG imported from the US sometime in the future!

    Turkey’s natural gas storage would only last about 14 days under the best conditions and with El Nino persisting into late Spring the cold weather in Turkey would drain the supplies much faster.

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  105. @krollchem

    Very thorough analysis. Thanks!

    It’s interesting that given the risk to its energy supplies, Turkey was willing to employ the transparently staged air ambush in late November with the cold of winter immediately approaching. Do you view the shoot-down of the Su-24 as something else?

    I guess the question becomes under what circumstances would Russia cut off gas supplies to Turkey. If Turkey closed the Straits under the provisions of the MC, would that trigger a Russian cut-off of gas?

    I take your point about the inadequacy of Turkish gas infrastructure even without a supply disruption. Qatari gas is more expensive than Russian gas. No TANAP until 2018. And no existing pipeline to Israeli gas fields.

    But if Erdogan is not willing to risk the energy cut-off, then what is his strategy? What was the November air ambush supposed to accomplish?

  106. Avery says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Agree it is a good analysis by [krollchem].

    Don’t have any inside info, but Russians do not operate that way, i.e cutting off natural gas supply.

    Why do it? Makes no sense, even if an all out war breaks out between Russia and Turkey.
    Which, btw, is very, very unlikely and would be a very short thing.
    If it happens at all.

    Russia wants to be known as a reliable supplier of natural gas, come Hell or high water.
    Russia wants all its customers to be secure in the knowledge that as long as they pay, they will get gas: no politics involves. Just business.
    Why give an excuse to your customers try to find alternative suppliers?
    Russia even tried to work with anti-Russian neo-Nazi Kiev leaders, until they refused to pay for gas they were getting.

    Russia gets hard currency from Turkey in exchange for a commodity that Russia has plenty of.
    Hard currency will be used to replenish the reserves, and also will be used to gradually wean Russian economy’s relatively high dependence on hydrocarbon sales.
    Russia is already causing a lot of economic hardship to Turkey by closing off its markets to Turkey, and asking Russians not to vacation there……
    The tourism industry which catered to Russians in Turkey has already collapsed.
    Something like 1,300 hotels have been put up for sale after Russians stopped going there.
    Turks are already losing $billions in Russian business.
    And it will get worse, until Turkey cries uncle and apologizes for the Su-24 shootdown.
    Which Russia demands, and which Turks will not do (in my opinion).

    Hypothetically, in case of war, if Russia were to cut off the gas, only the ordinary people of Turkey would suffer, not the military: Turks would not blame their government {..cause social unrest that can only be blamed on Turkey ..}. Turks would blame anyone but their own: Russians, Kurds, Jews, US, Christian conspiracy, Zionist conspiracy,…you name it.

  107. annamaria says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    “What was the November air ambush supposed to accomplish?”
    Just some suggestions: The air ambush could have been
    1. A trial balloon to illustrate Ash Carter’ warning re the RF entering into fight with ISIS (the latter has been a useful tool for the US/Israel geopolitical games in the Middle East)
    2. The air ambush was a US-initiated provocation, whereas Turkey was used as a patsy for creating more tension in Syria and Middle East. Moreover, the ambush has ruined the mutually beneficial cooperation, including plans to build a Russian pipeline that would run through Turkey. Here is a chronology of the US involvement into preventing the construction of new pipelines that would supply Europe with energy:
    First was cancellation of the South Stream (that could be immensely beneficial for Bulgaria). Then was elimination of the plans for the Turkish Stream (because of the air ambush). Currently, the US’ presstituting “think tanks” (and their midget-followers in Europe) are squealing about the “immorality” of building the Russian Nord Stream. In this case the Russian “immorality” would be produced by the loss of revenues for some East European states that are currently collecting money for gas transit. In particular, the US want Russia to continue paying transit fees to Ukraine, which would save some US-taxpaeyrs money on propping up the Kiev regime.
    Mr. Erdogan (of Georgian-Turkish stock) has been led to believe that he was an important player alongside the big boys, the US & UK. The poor chap is going to learn the same lesson that was given to other “important players” like Saddam, Quadaffi, and Assad. The psychopaths, that have thoroughly infested the US “deciders” club, are very good at manipulating the willing believers in their own greatness.

  108. krollchem says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    The most humane solution would be for ALL the Sunni Muslim religious leaders to condemn ISIS and promote and provide air support for Sunni forces to eliminate them and setup moderate Sunni regions in federation with Syria and Iraq, respectively.

    The West and the Gulf states would also have to provide several trillion in upfront funds for a third party to rebuild Syria and Iraq (Libya too?). To prevent corruption, unwelcome Crusader Army involvement and to provide for efficient reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure the only choice would be the Chinese army and construction teams.

    Equal volumes of gas from the two competing pipeline from the Pars field would ensure that all sides economically benefit.

    Turkey would have to cull their ISIS and Al Qaeda militias in Turkey and provide autonomy to ethnic minorities Shia, Kurdish etc in Southern and Eastern Turkey as part of a revised federal state.

    The same system would be applied in Syria and the Israeli occupied Golan heights would have to be returned to Syria.

    A regional agreement on water resources of the rivers flowing out of Turkey into Syria and Iraq would have to be created and monitored by the UN.

    This idealistic solution is noting more than pipe dream as the psychopaths that run the world prefer option B (hell). Sorry.

  109. Krollchem says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    I view the world from the angle of globalism strategy of control of resources, trade routes, and movement of labor forces to meet the needs of the “Masters of the Universe”. See also: General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

    I have been tracking energy geopolitics since the Balkan wars over control of Caspian oil and the Black sea trade route via the Balkans. Up to now the Putin and his advisers have been running circles around Richard Morningstar, the US go to man on energy geopolitics:

    I therefore view the Syrian war as being fueled by the need for the Gulf states to build the Qatar-Turkey gas pipelines through Saudi Arabia-Syria-Turkey-EU
    and the proposed Arab gas pipeline Egypt-Jordan-Syria-Turkey-EU

    The Syrian government chose rather to support the proposed Iran-Syria Islamic pipeline to tap into the South Pars gas field.

    The West and their oil rich states saw regime change in Syria as an economic necessity to move their energy to market. This effort was enhanced via a food production crisis in Syria caused by:
    (1) A diversion of Euphrates river water by Turkey for massive agricultural projects

    (2) A La Nino drought between 2006 and 2011 in Southern Turkey, Syria and Jordan
    (3) Failure of the Syrian government to invest in modern irrigation practices to conserve water
    (4) Worn out, saline/sodic soils from thousands of years of agricultural production.

    These factors made it easy for the CIA to create a rebellion on the ground and ultimately a full-scale civil war.

    With Russia’s involvement to provide air cover for the Syrian troops and their Iranian, Kurdish, and Iranian allies the grand plan has been destroyed. It is now a matter of time before the Salafist terrorists are crushed and the survivors forced to flee to Turkey, Jordan or Saudi Arabia.

    If ISIS and Al Qaeda are defeated than several million more Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria will face revenge attacks and abuse by the Shia militias

    Many of these refugees will flee from Syria and Iraq to Turkey, as the UN has cut aid to refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. This is already causing economic stress within Turkey and will ultimately cause a flood of refugees into the EU.

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
  110. Kiza says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Please let me try to answer your question – what was Turkey trying to achieve by ambushing the Russian bomber?

    My main theory, and I repeat theory, was that this was not organized by the Turks, then by the US and Israel. The US generals have been described as Downtown Abbey generals:, but this is much worse in countries like Turkey, Egypt etc There, the generals virtually own the soldiers, pilots, airports and planes under their command. My theory is that some Turkish airforce general, possibly even the head of the air-force, was bribed/blackmailed by US+Israel to perform this ambush. Erdogan would never admit that he was not in control, so his statements are not carrying much weight. He firstly claimed he ordered it, then later he blamed his chief of the airforce: But his confused initial reaction suggests that he did not order this.

    Some of the reasons why US+ Israel would have organized this shoot-down:
    1) to make Russia and Turkey enemies and thus increase the level of damage to the Russian economy, that is the effect of the sanctions: the damage appears to be about $15B per annum in lost bilateral trade,
    2) to embarrass Putin in the Russians’ eyes as a loser, which is a similar to the reason of the MetroJet bombing – to increase the cost to Russia of resisting US + Israel in Syria
    3) to get Russia to support the Kurds instead of the US doing this and making the Turks unhappy
    4) to create another active front for Russia, in addition to Ukraine and so on.
    The ultimate goal is, of course, to financially exhaust Russia and do government change.

    Turkey lost much more than it gained by shooting down only one plane. Therefore, this action would not make sense even for the half-mad Erdogan. Cui Bono is the most reliable way of looking at every crime.

  111. schmenz says:

    I am wondering why we have not seen of late any comments by that interesting commentator, Rurik. I always enjoyed his thoughtful remarks, and this article would have been normally sure to elicit a response from him.

    In any case, I hope he rejoins the discussions soon.

  112. Sean says:
    @This Is Our Home

    You misrepresent that Mondoweiss piece, which is titled “Israel isn’t worried about ISIS”. Israel can be openly worried about Iran, but it is really no military threat to Israel The serious threat t to israel is the literally growing one of the demographics ( ie Palestinians in the occupied territories). for Israel to survive as a Jewish state it must do something sooner or later.

    Both the US and Russia are backing the Kurds. Russia and Assad are the ones assisting ISIS by attacking the FSA rebels areas (Russia attacked a hospital and said it was American A10s that did it It is good that Russia is not fighting ISIS but blasting the FSA, who could not destabilize Jordan.

    The spread of the war into Jordan would let Israel expel the Palestinians and secure Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Israel is no different to the Kurds, who have an opportunity to win a Kurdish state.

    ISIS needs to stop pulling the Turks’ irons out the fire leave and the Kurds alone. If ISIS will concentrate on a Jordan -Syria-Iraq Sunni state, there may be an opportunity for a Jewish Israel (mandate plus the settlers in the occupied territories minus Palestinians) to be created. Israel must take the tough decision to transfer the Palestinians when the option to do it presents during a war with an ISIS state. It will require Israel to weather a storm of protest. and they may not have the guts but in the long term Israel cannot survive as it is with Palestinians within the borders being denied full rights for much longer. The Jewish diaspora if it tries to forbid a transfer option is ensuring Israel’s doom within a few decades.

    With Ethno-states in the Middle East including Israel, the issue of the non European immigrant communities in Europe can be dealt with without too much carping and canards about proto nazi policies from the Jewish diaspora, who will be busy defending Israel.

    • Replies: @geokat62
    , @Anonymous
  113. geokat62 says:

    Russia… are the ones assisting ISIS by attacking the FSA rebels areas… It is good that Russia is not fighting ISIS but blasting the FSA….

    You must be referring to the “four or five” of the first 54 U.S.trained moderate Syrian fighters [that have] remain[ed] in the fight against ISIS, according to General Lloyd Austin’s (the commander of U.S. Central Command leading the war on ISIS) testimony to Congress, right?

  114. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Would that require cooperation from or perhaps military invasion of the Middle East countries? If the various Middle Eastern countries refused to accept population transfers, the populations would have to be imposed on them by force via military invasion, or they’d have to be disposed of through some other means. The scale of it would probably result in major conflict and a breakdown of the international order, unless the disposal could be down in secret, which would be impossible these days with the internet and various communications technologies.

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