Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Today's Links

 "...the most serious threat to the existence of Turkey, as we know it, is Erdoğan himself. The president's uncontrollable need to remain the chief political protagonist in Turkish politics is the strongest driving force propelling Turkey toward ethnic and sectarian crises, something the nation cannot endure."  Lebanonization in Turkey, Abdullah Bozkurt, Today's Zaman

1--Turkey in Turkish Stream talks with Russia: Minister

2--Obama authorizes escalation of US war against Syria, wsws 

3--The problem is Erdogan  Survey: Turks want formation of coalition gov’t, view Erdoğan as major hurdle, Today's zaman

A full 70.2 percent of respondents expressed their desire for the formation of a coalition government, an increase from the 53.6 percent who expressed the same in a previous survey by the company before the June 7 election.
The survey found that 66 percent of those who voted for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the June 7 election are also in favor of a coalition government and want Erdoğan and interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to increase their efforts to that end.
When asked which factor has contributed to the failure of the formation of coalition government, 56.8 percent said Erdoğan was the biggest hurdle to the emergence of a coalition.

Following the June 7 general election in which no single party received enough seats in Parliament to form a government, Erdoğan has been criticized for conducting a strategy aimed at preventing the formation of a coalition government.
Speaking to journalists on Friday on his way back to Turkey from a visit to China, President Erdoğan said a coalition government would not bring the country any benefit. “However, it is possible to form a minority government that would bring Turkey to a snap election,” he said. Erdoğan also told reporters in İstanbul on July 24 that if no parties are able to form a coalition, the country would then hold another general election within 90 days.

Atmosphere of chaos benefits AK Party...

When asked whether the AK Party was successful in solving the problems of the country and in governing the country, 70.9 percent of those surveyed responded negatively.
Citizens are also concerned about their security in the country, with 85.5 percent of respondents saying security along Turkey's borders was not under control.
A full 84.2 percent also stated their opposition to a military campaign against Syria, deeming such an operation unnecessary.
When it comes to the economic well-being of the citizens, the survey reveals major dissatisfaction by citizens over their financial statuses, with 67.4 percent of respondents saying they have a hard time making ends meet. Furthermore, 21.2 percent stated they were unemployed.

Of those surveyed, 61.8 percent believe their economic status will improve if a coalition government is formed.
The respondents were also disgruntled with the extensive powers of the president, stating their preference for a president with more limited powers. A total of 67.2 percent of respondents said the government should be more independent from the president when making decisions.
Erdoğan is also seen as more authoritarian and oppressive by citizens. Of those surveyed, 66.1 percent said Erdoğan acts as a one-man show and adopts a harsh discourse in politics, with 67.6 percent qualifying Erdoğan as becoming more authoritarian and oppressive.
Since his presidential term began last August, Erdoğan has filed 718 lawsuits on charges of insulting the president against journalists and other people over news reports as well as their social media posts.
The record number of legal proceedings against dissidents is considered a new method of intimidating political opponents who do not share the government's views

4---‘US air cover to Syrian rebels could be game-changer

If the US puts its weight behind the Pentagon-trained rebels in their fight against the Assad government would neutralize the only advantage the Syrian Army has over the rebels, i.e. an air force, journalist and political commentator Alaa Ibrahim told RT.
Barack Obama has given authorization for US planes to bomb Syria to help defend anti-government rebels. Theoretically, the new rules of engagement could even allow troops loyal to President Bashar Assad to be directly targeted. ...

If the USA puts its weight behind the rebels, even as they say now, a small rebel force they have trained and better to fight [Islamic State or IS, formerly ISIS or] ISIL- if they put this weight behind the rebels and their fight against the government of President Assad, this could be very dangerous for the Syrian Army, because the main advantage it has over rebels right now is having an air force and once this advantage is neutralized- all odds are on the table and there would be little [that] Syrian Army has to offer in confronting these rebel groups, as the rebels are more capable of providing a higher number of fighters because of the ongoing influx of foreign fighters crossing in from the Turkey into Syria to join in the fight against the Syrian government.

5--Endless War: US Training New 'Monsters' in Ukraine
6--Yemen: Under-reporting of war deaths – or genocide?7--The Cruel And Aimless War On Yemen

8--Russian Airborne Troops chief says paratroopers ready to help Syria in combating terrorism
Russian Airborne Troops are ready to assist Syria in countering terrorists, if such a task is set by Russia’s leaders, commander of the Airborne Troops Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Of course we will execute the decisions set forth by the country’s leadership, if there is a task at hand," Shamanov said, in response to a Syrian reporter’s question about the readiness of the Russian Airborne Troops to render assistance to Syria’s government in its battle against terrorism.
Shamanov noted that Russia and Syria have "long-term good relations." "Many Syrian experts, including military, received education in the Soviet Union and in Russia," Shamanov added

9--Lebanonization in Turkey

As the violence surges in Turkey, perhaps deliberately provoked by beleaguered political Islamists who are struggling to stay in power ahead of a likely snap election, the country's embattled president seems to have given an extra nudge to stoking fears about a Lebanonization of Turkish politics, something he has been trying hard to accomplish since the 2013 anti-government protests related to Gezi Park in order to survive political and legal challenges.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dumped the settlement talks with Kurds in a snap by abandoning the peace process altogether when he realized it was not working in his favor. His dream of becoming an all-powerful executive president was dashed by the popularity of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the June general election. The commanders of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), seen as affiliated with the HDP and apparently concerned about their future in the face of consolidation in Kurdish politics, have seized the opportunity presented by Erdoğan to reclaim their weakened strength. The patting on the back of hard-core militants who were apparently encouraged to resort to violence by Erdoğan-directed undercover intelligence agents helped escalate the clashes a great deal....

Taken aback by this blow for a while, the president is perhaps now flexing his muscles in the face of growing resistance to his authority and wants to send a stern message that he is still the man who is calling the shots. I believe this high-stakes game is the last act Erdoğan will play before the nation fully realizes that the most serious threat to the existence of Turkey, as we know it, is Erdoğan himself. The president's uncontrollable need to remain the chief political protagonist in Turkish politics is the strongest driving force propelling Turkey toward ethnic and sectarian crises, something the nation cannot endure.

(Erdogans) popularity has plunged and the negative perception of him has increased amid open interference in politics and lavish spending on his costly new palace. He is disliked by the majority of Turks, despised by the opposition and even distrusted by political figures within his former party. The business community, civil society groups and the middle class do not trust what they perceive as a double-dealing president who is always hungry for more power

10--Going to war to crush Demirtaş? , Amanda paul

the main aim of Turkey's new ISIL policy has less to do with ISIL, and more to do with political power. The success of Selahattin Demirtaş' Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the June 7 parliamentary elections, with the party passing Turkey's high 10 percent electoral threshold to enter Parliament, was bad news for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It prevented the AKP from forming a fourth single-party government while also crushing Erdoğan's dream of creating an executive presidency that would have given him unprecedented powers. So Erdoğan had to recalculate.

Turkey still has no new government. Coalition talks have yet to produce a deal. If they do not, there will be early elections. For the AKP to stand a chance of returning to single-party governance they need to remove the main obstacle -- Demirtaş. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Demirtaş has been explicitly accused of being in cahoots with the upsurge of violence by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). While the AKP has done more to seek a solution to the Kurdish problem than any other government, ultimately it seems the settlement process has become hostage to a struggle for political power that is apparently more important than Turkey's security and stability...

The PKK blamed the Turkish government and its ISIL policy for the recent terrorist attack in Suruç, leading to the PKK killing two police officers. Erdoğan is trying to pin all of this violence on Demirtaş. For the PKK too, the demise of Demirtaş would not be a bad thing because the PKK has been losing its position in the Kurdish question to the HDP...

While fighting ISIL allows Turkey to go after the PKK and blame Demirtaş for the fallout, at the same time Ankara probably does want to shore up ties with the US due to concerns over the increasingly friendly cooperation between Washington and the PYD. Washington has included PYD fighters as spotters in its air campaign against ISIL, and a PYD official was invited to sit in the operations room in Arbil in northern Iraq. This worries Turkey. Ankara also continues to fear that the PYD's ultimate goal is to create an autonomous canton next to Turkey's border, which would be viewed as a threat to Turkey's national unity and that ever closer ties with Washington may facilitate.
Turkey's security is entering a period of high risk. Until recently Turkey has had a more or less “open door” policy with foreign fighters having easy access to Syria via Turkey. The Turkish authorities have allowed ISIL and other jihadist group insurgents to integrate themselves into Turkey's infrastructure. There are reportedly thousands of sleeping terrorist cells throughout the country. Again, until recently, the Turkish authorities hardly lifted a finger to close down the thousands of websites full of ISIL propaganda. Why did the Turkish authorities not take measures to crack down on ISIL earlier?

11--US Commits to Defend Tiny Group of Syria Rebels
           Military Support 'No Matter Whom They Come Up Against'

It’s not a lot of guys for the US military to protect, at least, as the Pentagon only managed to train 54 rebels in the first place, 18 of them were reported captured by al-Qaeda last week, and at least one has been reported to have been killed in fighting with al-Qaeda.
That’s roughly a third of the force gone already, so the suggestion that the NSF is somehow going to be a game-changer is just silly. That’s not stopping the Pentagon from making what could be a monumental military commitment in trying to keep what’s left of this faction from getting overrun in short order.
What’s left of the force has fled into Kurdish territory in the Aleppo Province for the time being. The plan beyond that is unclear, as wherever the group goes it will be dramatically outnumbered, and the heavy US commitment is likely to paint a major target on their backs.

12--Drones now in Turkey

For the first time, American forces are flying armed drones out of Turkey’s Incirlik air base in support of the U.S.-backed rebels battling the Islamic State in Syria.
The drones will operate mainly as a protective umbrella for the handful of Syrian fighters trained by U.S. forces to fight the militants, in effect giving the 60 or so guerrillas their own air support capability with American precision-guided missiles. The Pentagon has spent about $36 million on this first class of trainees — or about $600,000 each — as part of $500 million program that originally promised to have 5,000 fighters ready to go by the end of this year.
Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill have derided the number of fighters as woefully inadequate. Nonetheless, the White House has requested another $600 million to train Syrian forces in 2016.

A U.S. airstrike supporting the NSF on Friday illustrated this point. The NSF and allied rebels from the so-called 30th Division in northern Syria were attacked by the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, who were then hit by American warplanes. U.S. officials couldn’t confirm that this was the first time that al-Nusra Front fighters were targeted in the year-long bombing campaign, which has focused on the Islamic State.
The drone strikes come after a deeply embarrassing incident last week when a group of rebels who had gone through the training program were captured almost immediately upon entering the country by Nusra fighters. It is not clear precisely how many were captured, but U.S. defense officials insist that they were not part of the group of 60 NSF fighters sent into Syria.....

The strike on Friday came after months of hand-wringing by Pentagon and White House officials over what kind of protection the United States owes the NSF fighters — who have been trained in Turkey by U.S. special operations forces — once they have been sent back into Syria to fight.
U.S. pilots will be somewhat constrained in their support of the rebels, however. The overall policy to hit the Islamic State when and where the U.S.-led coalition finds them will remain in place. But pilots can only provide “defensive fire support” for the NSF after the group is attacked

1 comment:

  1. Russian president to Turkish ambassador: "tell your dictator President he can go to hell along with his ISIS terrorists, I will make Syria a 'Big Stalingrad' for him!"


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