Saturday, August 8, 2015

Today's Links

1--US, Russia reach deal for chemical weapons inspections in Syria


Available evidence points to the fact that claims about Assad’s chemical weapons usage by the Obama administration were transparent lies, aimed at justifying a massive escalation of the US regime change operations against Assad.
The August 21 sarin attacks, that became the focus of US war propaganda at the time, occurred in residential areas on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, only miles from the seat of the Syrian government, in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. No one has been able to provide a plausible reason why Syrian forces would execute such an operation, handing their adversaries an ideal pretext to invade.


Responsibility for the slaughter in Ghouta more likely rested with the US-backed militant groups that have taken over large areas of the country since 2011. These forces had everything to gain from a further escalation of US efforts to topple Assad.


Months before the Ghouta attacks, fighters with the Al Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda-linked group which has played the leading role in the US-backed insurgency against Assad, were caught transporting weaponized sarin poison gas. An investigation by the Associated Press concluded that the Ghouta incident resulted from chemical weapons transferred to Al Nusra by the Saudi intelligence bureau.
US Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh published a lengthy exposé in the London Review of Books detailing efforts by Turkey to stage a provocation to bring the US military directly into the civil war in Syria. The article described efforts by the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to assist Syrian “rebels” of the al-Nusra Front in staging the poison gas attack on Ghouta.


The Syrian government vehemently denies using the illegal weapons. The Assad government “has never used and will never use chemical weapons,” Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari insisted in response to the resolution Friday.


2---War poses risks to Turkish economy


,    Economic implications of recent developments are negative: We think: 1) the risks to the sovereign rating outlook have risen; 2) downside risks to growth are higher; 3) the perception of higher rising political/geopolitical risks could increase dollarization; and 4) corporate sector’s FX mismatches will be exposed


3---Taliban Bombings Pound Afghan Capital, at Least 40 Killed
4--Turkey cool toward Russia’s regional anti-ISIL alliance


The international community already conducts a battle against Daesh [ISIL]. Turkey is part of an international coalition and provides concrete support to these efforts. Apart from that, we don’t have any other methods or plan in our agenda concerning the struggle against Daesh,” Bilgiç said, speaking at a press conference on Aug.7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier expressed his country’s readiness to facilitate dialogue between countries in the region, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to join a regional anti-terror coalition.


5---West of the Euphrates


This fight for the west of the Euphrates has a big effect on post-election power plans. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's plan to inhibit coalition talks in order to give the green light for a snap election relied on the assumption that the PKK would escalate violence right across Turkey. The political strategy based on this plan collapsed, too. The heavy traffic of talks by Selahattin Demirtaş indicates that the initiative was transferred from the PKK leaders in the PKK camps located in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq to the HDP, and that the strategy for the east of the Euphrates will be conducted via the language of diplomacy, not through the weapons of warfare. Of course, the circumstances will be worse than those before July 15-20, when the PKK declared war. This also eliminates the circumstances designed to shape the preferences of the electorate that would bring the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to power as a single-party government.


That election will now be held in new circumstances, which include the fact that Erdoğan opted to force Turkey to hold an early election. Ongoing arbitrariness, tyranny and the insistence on an early election with high economic costs will only drag the AK Party's vote below its June 7 level. When you make a quick assessment, taking into consideration all the advantages or disadvantages, this is the conclusion you arrive at. This setting will not allow any party to secure enough seats in Parliament to form a single-party government


The fight is for the west of the Euphrates, but in the final analysis, this fight shapes the decision to hold an early election or to forge a coalition government. Conclusion: The acts of violence will diminish at least for several months and there will be no early election.


6--Erdoğan to risk economy for elections


However, the June 7 elections that resulted in the loss of the AKP majority in Parliament and thereby eliminated -- for the first time since 2002 -- the possibility of the AKP governing alone changed the calculations dramatically. The opposition dealt a serious blow to the AKP's seemingly thick armor and proved that the party can be beaten at the ballot box. Shaken by a bitter defeat, Erdoğan and his associates in the government now believe there is no need to adopt fiscal discipline and shy away from populist spending on the eve of elections. After all, if they were to lose, they would not mind leaving an economic wreck to the next government. If they were to win, the AKP will at least have a chance to gain more time to improve the economy by staying in the power


7--People now realize what is happening


The tactical game is to take Turkey to an early election that would pave the way for an authoritarian presidential system...


The confession by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan that the settlement process would not have been in tatters had plans for a presidential system not been aborted confirms the root cause of the ongoing turmoil.
To borrow from Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Altan Tan, this chaos plan was put forward because the goal of establishing a sultanate through a presidential system was undermined. The initial goal now is to ensure that the HDP will remain below the election threshold in an early election or that the party would take part in such an election without Selahattin Demirtaş.
....
According to a public poll conducted by the Gezici Research Company on July 25-26, an early election would not change the political landscape at all. In the poll, 61 percent of respondents believe that a coalition government would normalize Turkey. Only 10 percent believe that the AKP's settlement process has been successful. The voters responded to the most crucial question in the survey as follows: “What is the greatest obstacle before the formation of a government? Erdoğan (with 57 percent) was cited as the greatest obstacle, followed by the opposition (25 percent) and Davutoğlu (18 percent). Some 70 percent want a coalition government. It can also be argued that the vast majority of the people are opposed to a military operation in Syria -- a political move that the AKP insists it will make -- and 84 percent do not want a war with Syria. Some 70 percent of respondents believe that the government has been unsuccessful in resolving problems and governing the country well.


8--Self delusion


9--Turkey slows US attacks on ISIS


Ankara's recent announcement that it is now fully on board in the fight against ISIL has been broadly seen as a fig leaf to obtain US support to bomb the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and any other group it deems as having terrorist tendencies. Furthermore, given the urgency of the situation one would have thought that once Washington had the green light from Ankara it would have immediately started to launch bombing operations out of İncirlik. However, it seems that Turkey's unhappiness over Washington's cooperation with Syria's Kurds put a spanner in the works. There was seemingly a quarrel over who the manned aircraft and armed drones that will fly out of İncirlik would help support on the ground in Syria, because Turkey did not want them to help the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed branch of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara views as being the Syrian branch of the PKK.  While the US also views the PKK as a terrorist organization, it does not view the PYD as such. Furthermore, since the international operation against ISIL took off, the US has had increasingly close ties with the PYD


10--Donald Trump disinvited to speak at RedState event; Megyn Kelly invited



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