Friday, October 2, 2015

Today's Links

1--İncirlik base to increase capacity by 2,250 to accommodate new personnel
US builds "Patriot Town" in Turkey to bomb Syria

İncirlik Air Base in Adana province is planning to accommodate 2,250 additional military personnel with the transformation of a former tent city within the base.
A tent city within İncirlik has been undergoing reconstruction for modern prefabricated houses, which will host 2,250 US military personnel, the Doğan news agency reported on Friday.
During the Gulf War of 1991, a tent city was established to accommodate military personnel serving with Operation Provide Comfort (OPC) and was shut down with the end of the OPC.
On Aug. 20, work began to transform the site of the tent city into a new area named “Patriot Town.” After construction is completed, the İncirlik base will have the largest capacity among the US bases in Europe .

The area will feature a dining facilities, coffee shops, guest houses and a sports facility.
The expansion of the İncirlik base's capacity comes at a time when Russia has launched the biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades, by conducing air strikes against targets in Syria on Wednesday
On Wednesday President Vladimir Putin received approval from the Russian parliament to send Russian troops to Syria.
Moscow's intervention means the conflict in Syria has been transformed from a proxy war, in which outside powers were arming and training mostly Syrians to fight each other, into an international conflict in which the world's main military powers except China are directly involved in fighting.

2--Erdogans thugs attack journalist

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) confirmed on Friday that three of the four men who attacked Turkish journalist Ahmet Hakan were party members and that they have now been expelled.
"It has been determined that three of the attackers are registered members of our party, and a decision has been made to expel these three people," AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik said in a statement. Çelik denounced the attackers, saying they "subscribe to a mentality that is condemned by our party" and once again criticized the attack on Hakan

3--Russia crushes Turkey's plans in Syria

4--Survey: Turks lose hope

What about hopes for the future? In May, 28 percent of electors asserted that Turkey will be in a “much better” or “better” state in the near future. One cannot say there was widespread optimism on the eve of the June 7 election, but since then it has declined to 20 percent in September. I would like to note that these findings of the IPSOS surveys largely confirm the evolution of general confidence in the Turkish economy: The aggregate economic confidence index, which was already slightly decreasing, took a dive in September, shrinking by almost 17 percent. ...

If I have to express in one sentence the essential point of the IPSOS survey findings, I can say a large number of electors actually have no confidence in the existing political system.

5---Putin’s Plan: What Will Russia Bomb in Syria

By introducing Russian jets and air defense systems into the Syrian theatre, Putin has also created facts on the ground (or just above it) that will help forestall further action against Assad by the United States or its allies...

Will the Russian Air Force be able to make a difference on the ground?
Yes, probably, says David A. Deptula—and he should know. A retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant-general and air warfare theoretician, Deptula planned the American bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein’s army in 1991, when the U.S. and its allies—including, at the time, Syria—liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. Ten years later he oversaw the air war that toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
“With competent pilots and with an effective command and control process, the addition of these aircraft could prove very effective depending on the desired objectives for their use,” Deptula told the New York Times. Which begs the question, what are those objectives?

The news about a government offensive seems to be true, however, and reports indicate that it might be intended to relieve the Kweiris Airport, a small government-held pocket of land east of Aleppo that has long been under siege by the Islamic State....

Saving the Kweiris defenders would therefore provide both a political and a military boost for Assad, and it would help him clean up his frontlines in a crucial area of Syria.
Interestingly, an attack on the Kweiris pocket could also knock the Islamic State off balance in the Aleppo area, just as rebels north of the city are struggling to keep open their supply lines to Turkey against an Islamic State offensive. Coincidence or not, if Russia is involved, it would be an interesting first example of the potential interplay between offensives by Russian-backed army forces and U.S.-backed rebels.

The reports of Russian strikes near Kweiris remain unconfirmed for now. If they turn out to be true, it is possible that this will be a first area of focus. The Assad-Putin alliance could then try to change the balance of power in Aleppo. If they stick to Islamic State targets, instead of straying into battle with other rebels, a main ambition would probably be to push the jihadi group away from the government supply line between Aleppo and Hama in the south. The Assad-held areas of Aleppo are currently supplied by way of a hard-to-guard desert road that runs down through Sfeira, Khanaser, and Ithriya past the Ismaili-populated Salamiyeh area east of Hama. In the Salamiyeh area itself, the Islamic State has been nibbling away at the government’s perimeter defenses, but the desert road up to Aleppo has been a relatively tranquil front. Still, for Assad, the Islamic State’s presence just next to his Aleppo artery is a lethal threat....

Option Two: The Islamic State East of Homs

Directly south of this region, there is another area where Assad is vulnerable to the Islamic State—the eastern Homs region. It is impossible to tell what Russian intentions are, but if we’re looking at likely places for Russian air support to Assad, the area between Homs and Palmyra must be close to the top of the list
The region also contains the Syrian government’s last remaining oil and gas fields, as well as the pipelines that come with them. The Syrian military air base known as T4, located in the middle of the desert west of Palmyra, has emerged as the anchoring point of government defensive positions shielding these fields against the Islamic State.....

All this makes the Homs-Palmyra region a particularly appealing target for Russian intervention:
  • First, it helps Assad stave off Islamic State attacks and could even enable his forces to recapture Palmyra and shorten the eastern front.
  • Second, it would publicly align Russia—and by extension Assad—with the United States and Europe in a joint struggle against the Islamic State. That’s exactly where Putin and Assad want to end up.
  • Third, it would help keep Syrian state institutions running and prevent a deepening of the humanitarian disaster in Syria. That’s a goal widely shared among the opposition’s Western allies, even though many rebels tend to view Assad as a greater evil than the Islamic State. If an air campaign in Palmyra helps drive a wedge into the opposition camp or among its backers, so much the better from the point of view of Putin and Assad....

Blowing Up Your Narrative

If at some point Putin decides to target other groups than the Islamic State, he’s not likely to stop at the Nusra Front. Whether right off the bat or after a while, he could easily widen the circle of attacks from al-Qaeda and start blasting away at every rebel group in Idlib, Hama, and Latakia under the pretext that they are either “terrorists” or “terrorist allies.” On the ground, things are obviously a bit more complex and, just as obviously, Putin knows that—but he has nothing to gain from acknowledging it.

To the contrary, the Kremlin has every reason to continue blurring the already indistinct dividing line between “extremist” and “moderate” rebels upon which Western states insist. Even though this neatly black and white categorization of Syria’s murky insurgency is at least partly fiction, it remains a politically indispensable formula for Western states that wish to arm anti-Assad forces. Which is precisely why erasing this distinction by extending airstrikes against all manners of rebels as part of an ostensibly anti-jihadi intervention, may turn out to be Putin’s long-term plan.

Blanket attacks on Syrian rebels on the pretext that they are all “al-Qaeda” would lead to much outraged commentary in the Western and Arab press. But to the Russian president it doesn’t matter if you think he’s Mad Vlad or Prudent Putin. He isn’t trying to win hearts and minds, least of all those of the Syrian rebels or their backers. Rather, he is trying to change the balance of power on the ground while firing missile after missile into the West’s political narrative.
Whatever one thinks of that, it is a big and bold idea of the sort that sometimes end up working.

6---Putin speaks: Who created Isis? "Must see"

7---Russia's Campaign To Snuff Off The CIA's Al-Qaeda Forces
The CIA mercenaries in Syria - 10,000 men trained, armed and paid under a secret program - are directly cooperating with al-Qaeda and the likewise terrorist Ahrar al Shams. The NYT finally acknowledges this in two pieces today. The first says:
The fighters advancing on that [northern] front were not from the Islamic State but from the Army of Conquest, a group that includes an affiliate of Al Qaeda known as the Nusra Front and other Islamist groups, including several more secular groups that have been covertly armed and trained by the United States.
A second piece on the Army of Conquest:
The alliance consists of a number of mostly Islamist factions, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate; Ahrar al-Sham, another large group; and more moderate rebel factions that have received covert arms support from the intelligence services of the United States and its allies.
8--Pepe Escobar, in the spaced-out ramble about Berlin referenced by Lone Wolf @20 above, does furnish a couple of links to keep ready-to-hand for the duration of the hellfire of propaganda storm issuing from Hell itself on the Potomac ...
2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”


Former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Says Rise of Islamic State Was “A Willful Decision”

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
Flynn: I think the administration.
Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

'Flynn' is former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn. There is no question where the center of the pro-terrorist coalition is. The only question is if all the junior devils will stay clinging to Beelzebub the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama, himself, or if they'll be made to answer the question : "do you realize, now, what you have done?".

The Iraqi Prime Minister welcomed Russia's involvement in the fight against ISIS.
"Well, of course it is beneficial," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with PBS. "Don't forget, Iraq was attacked from across the Syrian border into Iraq by Da'esh, by ISIL. And that cost us a lot of human costs in terms of people killed, people being kidnapped, people being enslaved, women, children."
For that reason, al-Abadi said, Iraq appreciated anyone willing to join the fight.
"Our message to the Russians -- I met with Putin -- please join this fight against Da'esh," he said, using another name for ISIS. "Da'esh is a dangerous terrorist organization, not only against Iraq, against Syria, against the whole region, against the whole world. It is time that we all join the same forces to fight Da'esh."
In his comments at the United Nations, Lavrov said that Russia had no plans to move its operations into Iraq.
"No we are not planning to expand our airstrikes to Iraq," he said. We are polite people -- we don't come if we are not invited."

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