Monday, November 30, 2015

Today's Links

1--Analysis: Oil and gas pipelines in the Middle East

2--Russia plane entered Israel control zone from Syria: minister

3--Kerry's doomed Syria peace talks: Michael O'Hanlon
4--US-Turkey Edging Up to Syrian Border. Pretext to Invade, Establish ISIS “Safe Haven” in Northern Syria?
Turkey relies on Russia for almost 65 percent of its energy imports. In 2010, the two countries signed an agreement under which Russia’s Rosatom will construct Turkey’s first nuclear power station at Akkuyu.
Russian gas makes up for about 43 percent of the Turkish market. Last year, Russia supplied 27.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to the country, primarily through the Blue Stream pipeline that passes across the Black Sea. The two countries agreed to increase the supplies of the Russian gas to 30 billion bcm due to Turkey’s growing energy demand, especially in the winter months.

5--Main challenge in Turkey-Russia axis

 Russia is apparently concerned about Turkey's future bearing, given the heavy emphasis on ideological zealotry and hardline political Islamist narrative in populist policies pursued by the current leadership. It fears the spillover impact from the Turkish Islamists' meddlesome policies in the region and beyond that are generously sponsored by state resources. Moscow remains edgy about this activism reaching out deep into Russian heartland and encircling its hinterland in Central Asia. It may be the tip of the iceberg, but the likelihood of the return of battle-hardened foreign fighters who went from Russia to Syria facilitated by Turkish brokers remains a scary specter for Moscow elites.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks a day after the plane incident might shed further light on the fundamental problem that complicates Turkey's ties with its giant neighbor to the north. He told reporters: "The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday [the Su-24 incident], the problem is much deeper. We see -- and not only we, I assure you that the entire world sees that -- that the current leadership of Turkey has been for a number of years pursuing a purposeful policy of support and the Islamization of the country." He immediately added that Islam was a great world religion, one of the traditional religions, including in Russia. "We ourselves support Islam and will continue doing so, but the point at issue is the support of a more radical branch. And that in itself creates a very unfavorable environment, the atmosphere that one cannot see at first sight," Putin said.

6--US urges Turkey to close off its Syrian border to ISIS - media 

In July, President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed in principle about a ground operation in Syria. It was understood that the forces on the ground would be Turkish-backed rebel groups consisting of Syrian Arabs and Turkmens, while the US would provide air support to the operation. Ankara also expected the US Air Force to maintain a no-fly zone over northern Syria, to protect rebels from the Syrian Air Force.
However, once Russia moved in and began a counter-terrorist operation of its own in Syria in late September, the US-Turkey plan to conduct a ground operation with rebel forces was scrapped.
After the attack of a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on a Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday, the Russian task force in Syria was enhanced with S-400 Triumph long-distance air defense complexes that cover most of Syria’s territory

Under the joint operation that U.S. and Turkish leaders agreed in principle in July, the ground operation on Syrian soil against Islamic State militants would be spearheaded by Turkish-backed rebel groups made up of Syrian Arab and Turkmen fighters, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.
But U.S. officials say many of the rebel groups whom Turkey and the U.S. were counting on to take part in the ground offensive have moved south to help defend the rebel stronghold of Aleppo against the Assad regime’s new Russia-backed offensive.
The Turkmen forces also have come under pressure by Russian airstrikes that have displaced thousands of Turkmen civilians in recent weeks. Mr. Erdogan warned Russia to stop the attacks in the days leading up to the Turkish military shootdown of a Russian warplane along the Syrian border.

Noting that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had basically confirmed the political nature of the decision, when he noted following the attack that he had "personally given the instructions to the General Staff," to deal with violations in a harsh manner, Kivanc added that "the fact that immediately following the incident, Ankara rushed to NATO, instead of establishing direct contact with Moscow, leads one to agree with the skeptical approach of the American Lieutenant General."

Read more:

9--"Erdoğan picks up a new contract from the West..."

10--Putin: "The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday [the Su-24 incident], the problem is much deeper. We see -- and not only we, I assure you that the entire world sees that -- that the current leadership of Turkey has been for a number of years pursuing a purposeful policy of support and the Islamization of the country." He immediately added that Islam was a great world religion, one of the traditional religions, including in Russia. "We ourselves support Islam and will continue doing so, but the point at issue is the support of a more radical branch. And that in itself creates a very unfavorable environment, the atmosphere that one cannot see at first sight," Putin said.

11--Main challenge in Turkey-Russia axis

Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks a day after the plane incident might shed further light on the fundamental problem that complicates Turkey's ties with its giant neighbor to the north. He told reporters: "The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday [the Su-24 incident], the problem is much deeper. We see -- and not only we, I assure you that the entire world sees that -- that the current leadership of Turkey has been for a number of years pursuing a purposeful policy of support and the Islamization of the country." He immediately added that Islam was a great world religion, one of the traditional religions, including in Russia. "We ourselves support Islam and will continue doing so, but the point at issue is the support of a more radical branch. And that in itself creates a very unfavorable environment, the atmosphere that one cannot see at first sight," Putin said.

Putin's blunt remarks explain the real story behind Russian maneuvering with respect to Turkey against the background of the downing of the Su-24. Real or not, it also feeds into the widely circulated Russian conspiracy that the West, primarily the US, is using the political Islamist network to weaken and eventually destabilize Russia. It also exposes the main challenge Turkey has been facing on the domestic and foreign policy front, which is its ideological zealotry in advancing a political Islamist discourse that at times borders radicalism and extremism. Frankly, this new shift has neither served the interests of Turkey nor has it benefited Turkey's allies and partners. The problems Ankara started to experience with some of the countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf, the Balkans and Central Asian republics have a lot to do with these ideological leanings in Turkish foreign policy that amounted to blatant interference in the domestic affairs of other countries....

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's harsh response to Putin's remarks cited above indicates that the current leadership in Ankara will continue to stick to this flawed policy. He said, “The Syrian issue is a fundamental matter for us just like Iraq, Egypt, the Balkans, Crimea and the Caucasus.” Recalling their Ottoman past, the Turkish president noted that the Middle East and North Africa are an inseparable part of Turkey. Perhaps Erdoğan and his Islamists do not realize it but no country in Turkey's immediate neighborhood and beyond wants this sort of reaching out that is tantamount to open interference into their internal matters....


Turkey's role in facilitating the sale of Islamic State oil has been the subject of some debate for quite a while. From "NATO is harbouring the Islamic State: Why France’s brave new war on ISIS is a sick joke, and an insult to the victims of the Paris attacks", by Nafeez Ahmed:
"Turkey has played a key role in facilitating the life-blood of ISIS’ expansion: black market oil sales. Senior political and intelligence sources in Turkey and Iraq confirm that Turkish authorities have actively facilitated ISIS oil sales through the country. Last summer, Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, an MP from the main opposition, the Republican People’s Party, estimated the quantity of ISIS oil sales in Turkey at about $800 million—that was over a year ago. By now, this implies that Turkey has facilitated over $1 billion worth of black market ISIS oil sales to date."
Here's what former CHP lawmaker Ali Ediboglu said last year:
“$800 million worth of oil that ISIS obtained from regions it occupied this year [the Rumeilan oil fields in northern Syria — and most recently Mosul] is being sold in Turkey. They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep. They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800 million.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Today's Links

1---Turkey, US, Syrian ISIS-Free Safe Zone: Turkmen Brigades Move Into Syria, Al-Nusra Moves Out, Soldiers Say (Safe zone is already being imposed)

Turkish officials acknowledged the beginning of the military operation when Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu said Tuesday that the U.S. and Turkey had finalized details on the safe zone. Members of the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants who try to infiltrate the safe-zone will immediately be "neutralized by both Turkish and US military forces," the statement said.
Although Turkmen fighters have been seen entering Syria to establish the safe zone, no U.S. forces have taken part in the mission so far. About six U.S. F-16 fighter jets arrived Sunday at the Incirlik air base in eastern Turkey, but had not yet been deployed in airstrikes.
"At first everyone thought the tanks were filled with Turkish soldiers, but it was the Turkmen," one of the rebel fighters said.
The soldiers, interviewed Tuesday by IBTimes, were trained in Turkey and are in one of the biggest moderate-opposition rebel coalitions in the country. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are in combat. Shifting alliances among rebel groups in the country have left them fearing retribution if they identified themselves on the record. One of the soldiers, a commander, recently attended talks with the Turkish government in the capital city of Ankara regarding the Turkish-U.S. plan to create a safe zone in the northern part of the country. ...

Until now, it has been unclear which Syrian rebel factions would participate on the monitoring team, but both sources interviewed said the Turkmen force, which consists of some soldiers from previously established rebel groups in nearby Aleppo, would lead the fight. Other rebel groups would follow, they said.
Rebel groups in the northern part of Syria are interested in joining the team monitoring the safe zone because they see it as a chance to garner valuable cash and weapons...

Fight For Land, Power
While many rebel leaders used to fall under one umbrella group, the Free Syrian Army, they recently separated into two groups and were duking it out for land and power. Among them are the hard-line Islamist fighters with known battlefield strength, but with an extremist Muslim ideology, as well as the more moderate groups known for their popularity among the people of Aleppo, who, while still devoutly Muslim, do not want the implementation of Shariah law, or conservative Islamic regulations, in the post-war era.
Finding a rebel force with a common ideology and strategy to carry out the monitoring of the buffer zone will be difficult, rebels in Aleppo recently told IBTimes. The weapons, they said, will end up falling into the hands of groups that have different ideologies and goals

2--(archive) Ash Carter Sails Through Senate Armed Services Committee

I reject the notion that Russia should be afforded a ‘sphere of influence,’” Carter said. “If confirmed, I will continue to encourage U.S. partners, such as Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, to build their security capacity and military interoperability with NATO

3--Russia plane downing planned provocation: Lavrov

“We have serious doubts that this act was unintentional. It looks very much like a pre-planned provocation,” Lavrov told a press conference in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Wednesday.
He said it is “no secret” that terrorist groups are using the Turkish territory in their operations against the government of Syria.

4--Turkish jets gave us no warning before shooting’ – rescued pilot of downed Russian Su-24

5--U.S. SecDef Ashton Carter Implies Russia & China Are Enemies of U.S.

Russia appears intent to play spoiler by flouting these principles and the international community. Meanwhile, China is a rising power, and growing more ambitious in its objectives and capabilities. Of course, neither Russia nor China can overturn that order, given its resilience and staying power. But both present different challenges for it.

6--The 39-year-old airman, who won the Top Navigator award at Russia’s biggest military flying competition last year, says he will ask to return to front-line service as soon as he is declared fit.
I must ‘pay back’ the debt for my captain,” said Murakhtin.
The navigator of the Russian Su-24 shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Tuesday insists that his plane did not cross into Turkey’s airspace, and says he was given no visual or radio warning before being fired at.
It’s impossible that we violated their airspace even for a second,” Konstantin Murakhtin told RT and other Russian media. “We were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters in completely clear weather, and I had total control of our flight path throughout.”
In actual fact, there were no warnings at all. Neither through the radio, nor visually, so we did not at any point adjust our course. You need to understand the difference in speed between a tactical bomber like a Su-24, and that of the F16. If they wanted to warn us, they could have sat on our wing,” said Murakhtin, who is currently recuperating at Russia’s airbase in Latakia, northern Syria.
As it was, the missile hit the back of our plane out of nowhere. We didn’t even have time to make an evasive maneuver

7--Cartalucci:  Russia Continues Toward the Finish Line 

In recent weeks with Russian air support, Syrian troops have retaken large swaths of territory from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist fighters. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory.
From there, Syrian troops would move north, into the very “safe zone” the US and its Turkish partners have long-sought but have so far failed to establish within Syria’s borders. This “safe zone” includes a region of northern Syrian stretching from Jarabulus near the west bank of the Euphrates to Afrin and Ad Dana approximately 90-100 kilometers west.

Once Syrian troops retake this territory, the prospect of the West ever making an incursion into Syria, holding territory, or compromising Syria’s territorial integrity would be lost forever. Western ambitions toward regime change in Damascus would be indefinitely suspended.
The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria’s borders. Turkey’s provocation is just such a measure...

Until then, Russia’s best bet is to simply continue winning the war. Taking the Jarabulus-Afrin corridor and fortifying it against NATO incursions while cutting off ISIS and other terrorist factions deeper within Syria would be perhaps the worst of all possible retaliations. With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes’ efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region.

On April 12, just four days later, the US ship inexplicably left the area of the Crimean waters of the Black Sea for a port in NATO-member Romania. From there it left the Black Sea entirely. A report on April 30, 2014 in Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta Online titled, “What Frightened the American Destroyer,” stated that while the USS Donald Cook was near Crimean (Russian by that time) waters, a Russian Su-24 Frontal Aviation bomber conducted a flyby of the destroyer.
The Rossiyskaya Gazeta went on to write that the Russian SU-24 “did not have bombs or missiles onboard. One canister with the Khibin electronic warfare complex was suspended under the fuselage.” As it got close to the US destroyer, the Khibins turned off the USS Donald Cook’s “radar, combat control circuits, and data transmission system – in short, they turned off the entire Aegis just like we turn off a television by pressing the button on the control panel. After this, the Su-24 simulated a missile launch at the blind and deaf ship. Later, it happened once again, and again – a total of 12 times.”
While the US Army denied the incident as Russian propaganda, the fact is that USS Donald Cook never approached Russian Black Sea waters again. Nor did NATO ships that replaced it in the Black Sea. ...

A second highly-advanced new Russian military technology that’s raising more than eyebrows in US Defense Secretary ‘Ash’ Carter’s Pentagon is Russia’s new Bumblebee which Russia’s military classifies as a flamethrower. In reality it is a highly advanced thermobaric weapon which launches a warhead that uses a combination of an explosive charge and highly combustible fuel. When the rocket reaches the target, the fuel is dispersed in a cloud that is then detonated by the explosive charge. US Military experts recently asked by the US scientific and engineering magazine Popular Mechanics to evaluate the Bumblebee stated that, “the resulting explosion is devastating, radiating a shockwave and fireball up to six or seven meters in diameter.” The US experts noted that the Bumblebee is “especially useful against troops in bunkers, trenches, and even armored vehicles, as the dispersing gas can enter small spaces and allow the fireball to expand inside. Thermobarics are particularly devastating to buildings — a thermobaric round entering a structure can literally blow up the building from within withoverpressure.”...

We don’t go into yet another new highly secret Russian military technology recently subject of a Russian TV report beyond a brief mention, as little is known. It is indicative of what is being developed as Russia prepares for the unthinkable from Washington. The “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” is a new Russian nuclear submarine weapons system designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems, while causing heavy damage to “important economic facilities” along the enemy’s coastal regions.

Reportedly the Status-6 will cause what the Russian military terms, “assured unacceptable damage” to an adversary force. They state that its detonation “in the area of the enemy coast” (say, New York or Boston or Washington?) would result in “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that the region would not be used for “military, economic, business or other activity for a long time.” Status-6 reportedly is a massive torpedo, designated as a “self-propelled underwater vehicle.” It has a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers and can operate at a depth of up to 1,000 meters. At a November 10 meeting with the Russian military chiefs, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would counter NATO’s US-led missile shield program through “new strike systems capable of penetrating any missile defenses.” Presumably he was referring to Status-6.
US Defense Secretary Carter declared on November 8 in a speech that Russia and China are challenging “American pre-eminence” and Washington’s so-called “stewardship of the world order.” Carter added that, “Most disturbing is Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling,” which in his view, “raises questions about Russian leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons…”

9---Sultan Erdogan's War on...Russia

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

Turkey, for all practical purposes, has been a handy, sprawling Salafi-jihadi Infrastructure and Logistics Center; it offers everything from porous borders enabling countless jihadi return tickets from Syria to Europe, facilitated by corrupt police, to a convenient crossroads for all kinds of smuggling and a hefty money laundering ops.

So Ankara, with a missile, thought it might completely change the narrative.
Hardly. Just follow the money. Even in the US and Europe the Turkish game is becoming increasingly transparent. A research paper at Columbia University details at least a fraction of the multiple instances of collusion between Turkey and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
Bilal Erdogan, the Sultan's son, is a major profiteer of illegal trading of stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil. Imagine his terror after Putin revealed to G-20 leaders in Antalya — Turkish territory! — how Russian intel has identified most of the mobster maze of connections pointing directly to ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

10--It was an ambush "Must read" summary of recent events in syria

All this provides that yesterday's incident in which Turkey shot down a Russian jet was not a case of an ordinary airspace violation but a deliberate act to take down a Russian plane. The surviving co-pilot of the Russian jet insists that it neither flew through Turkish airspace nor was warned of an imminent attack. As I wrote yesterday:
This then was not legitimate air-defense but an ambush.....

The attack on the Russian plane was preconceived on November 22 when a security summit was held with the Turkish government under Prime Minister Davutoğlu and the Turkish Armed Forces. Davutoğlu personally gave the order to shoot down Russian planes. This, Turkey says, was necessary to stop Russian bombing of "Turkmen" in north Syria's Latakia near the Turkish border.
Many of the "Syrian Turkmen" fighting against the Syrian people are from Central Asia and part of the terrorist groups of Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar Al Shams, Jabhat Ansar Ad Din and Ahrar al Shams. Uighurs smuggled in from China and fighting under the "Turkistan Islamist Party" label even advertise their ‘little jihadists’ children training camps in the area. The few real Syrian Turkmen work, as even the BBC admits, together with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Their leader and spokesman, one Alparslan Celik, is a Turkish citizen from Elazığ.
The Turkish claim of defending "Turkmen" in Syria is a sham. It is defending mostly foreign Islamist terrorists.
Whoever planned the ambush on the Russian jet miscalculated the reaction. NATO will not come to Turkey's help over this or the next such incident. NATO countries know that the Russian plane was hit within Syria. Russia will not be scared into drawing back. Instead it massively increased the bombing of targets in that area:
At least 12 air strikes hit Latakia's northern countryside as pro-government forces clashed with fighters from al Qaeda's Nusra Front and Turkmen insurgents in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman areas, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean were also hitting the area, as well as heavy artillery shelling.
Russian jets also bombed insurgency supply trucks (video) in al-Qaeda controlled Azaz, north of Aleppo and just some 2 kilometers from the Turkish border. That is another big FU to Erdogan....

But there is also a bigger game going on and it is likely that Erdogan has a new contract and Obama's backing for this escalation. James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the U.S. military, was in Ankara when the incident happened. The cooperation between U.S. and Turkish military and especially the air forces is quite tight. It is hard to believe that there was no communication about what was prepared to happen....

The Obama administration is also preparing to install the Turkish dream of a "safe zone" between Aleppo and the Turkish border north of it.
Among several coalition priorities in Syria, the United States has begun a series of airstrikes in an area known as the “Mar’a line,” named for a town north of Aleppo in the northwest. There, a 60-mile stretch to the Euphrates River in the east is the only remaining part of the Syria-Turkey border under Islamic State control. The administration had delayed beginning operations in the area because U.S. aircraft were needed in operations farther east, and it has been uncertain that local opposition forces­ would be able to hold the territory if it could be cleared with airstrikes...

Obama, in my conclusion, still wants to drag NATO into Syria and wants to assemble enough forces "against ISIS" to be able to overwhelm the Syrian government and its Russian protectors. If that does not work he at least hopes to give Russia the Afghanistan like "quagmire" in Syria he and other U.S. officials promised. The again increasing tensions with U.S. proxy Ukraine only help in that regard.
But there is even more to that plan. Just by chance (not) the NYT op-ed pages launch a trial balloon today for the creation of a Sunni state in east Syria and west Iraq. But that (Islamic) State is already there and the "containment" strategy Obama practices towards it guarantees that it will fester.

11--Abdullah Bozkurt@abdbozkurt 6 hours ago
PM says he gave orders personally to Gen. chief of staff about shooting down intruding jets from
journalist Todays zaman

12--Mr. Obama complained that Russian airstrikes against moderate opposition groups in Syria were bolstering the Assad government instead of trying to destroy the Islamic State....
Turkey has the right to defend its territory, Mr. Obama said, but he urged both sides to talk to make sure they figure out what happened and “discourage any kind of escalation.”...

Washington is not interested in getting deeper into Syria with ground troops or having a conflict with Russia. So cautious are the NATO countries about Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which calls for mutual self-defense, that when Mr. Hollande declared “war” on the Islamic State after the Paris attacks, he invoked the European Union’s toothless Lisbon Treaty and sidestepped NATO. Mr. Hollande was also, French officials have said, eager not to offend Mr. Putin by making Syria a NATO issue.

12--John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State

(US boots on the ground needed for Sunni stan and Syrian surge)

Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.

The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces.

This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib....

Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan.

13---Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet and the danger of world war

Obama then bluntly warned Russia not to attack Islamist opposition militias in western Syria that are supported by NATO: “I do think that this points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border, and they are going after a moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries. And if Russia is directing its energies towards Daesh and ISIL, some of those conflicts, or potentials for mistakes or escalation, are less likely to occur.”

After Obama spoke, former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns again made clear that the Turkish government had acted as a proxy for Washington by shooting down the Russian plane. He told PBS News that US officials were considering declaring a no-fly-zone in the Syrian-Turkish border area. This would mean shooting down Russian fighters overflying the area in order to protect the Islamist opposition forces—that is, doing precisely what Turkey did.

3. The comments of Obama and Burns underscore the fraud of Washington’s claims to be waging a “war on terror” aimed at the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia. While claiming to oppose Islamist terrorism, Washington is in fact protecting Islamist militias in the Lattakia mountain areas that include the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front, as well as Chechen Islamist fighters. On the pretext of fighting ISIS, Washington is in fact recklessly pursuing its geopolitical ambitions, which in the Middle East currently center on removing Assad from power.

14--Time for Russian ground troops?

The key question is whether this unjustified attack on the RuAF plane operating in Syrian airspace will be the incident that causes Russia to provide additional support to its air operations in support of Syrian sovereign rights of self defense in the form of introduction of ground forces. Such ground forces could now justifiably be deployed directly along the Syrian-Turkish border, at a minimum against the Turkmen Brigade which just butchered two RuAF servicemen, but perhaps more expansively along larger swaths of the open border and thereby help close off not only the NATO-ISIS arms supply lines (the reporting of which cost Serena Shim her life) but also the Erdogan family’s illicit enterprise of shipping and selling ISIS oil supplies in western oil markets.

15--James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the American military meets erdogan on day Russian warplane shot down

On a day the president and his protégé prime minister were discussing a new cabinet list and Ankara was hosting James Winnefeld, the deputy chief of General Staff of the American military, and preparing to host Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, news broke out that Turkey had downed a Russian jet fighter that it said violated its airspace.

16--Russia is our friend says Turkish PM

“Russia is our friend and neighbor. Our bilateral communication channels are open. But our security, as for every friendly country, should be based on the principle of respect under international law. It’s normal to protect our national airspace,” Davutoğlu said, addressing party members in parliament.


Erdoğan tacitly acknowledges claim MİT transported arms to Syria
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday seemingly validated claims previously made by critics who alleged that the Turkish government was sending weapon-filled trucks to radical groups in Syria by sarcastically asking, “So what if the MİT [National Intelligence Organization] trucks were filled with weapons?”

Speaking at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in İstanbul, Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Turkey favors “peace, dialogue and diplomacy.” The president said the Russian jet was fired upon while in Turkish airspace but crashed inside Syria, although he said parts of it landed in Turkey and injured two Turkish citizens.
"We have no intention of escalating this incident. We are only defending our own security and the rights of our brothers," Erdoğan said, adding Turkey's policy in Syria would not change. "We will continue our humanitarian efforts on both sides of the [Syrian] border. We are determined to take all necessary measures to prevent a new wave of migration," he added
Putin on Wednesday accused Turkey's political leaders of encouraging the “Islamization of Turkish society,” something he described as a deeper problem than the downing of the jet..
Davutoğlu also tried to reduce tensions with Moscow, saying on Wednesday that Russia is Turkey's friend and neighbor and he insisted that relations cannot be “sacrificed over accidents of communication.” Davutoğlu told his party's lawmakers on Wednesday Turkey did not know the nationality of the plane that was brought down on Tuesday until Moscow announced that it was Russian.

18---What does Ankara want in Syria?---Must Read" Turkey's changing dynamic

There seem to be two main elements that have shaped the current position: A future of Syria without President Bashar al-Assad and the prevention of a “Kurdish belt” along the Turkish-Syrian border, which until recently included helping al-Nusra which, Ankara hoped, would be instrumental in establishing a “Sunni-based opposition buffer zone” -- a base to bring down the regime in Damascus

The reality today is clashing severely with this position.

Furthermore, the recent downing incident added to the problems developing in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's relations with Russia, which seen from today's perspective are far broader than only the severe differences on Syria. There are earlier moves by Moscow, such as the Georgian crisis and the annexation of Crimea. Ankara's increased dependency on Russian energy, with the addition of awarding the contract for Turkey's nuclear plant to Moscow, and its hallucination that existed until recently of becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) display a series of erratic decisions on the part of Turkey.

As a result, Turkey -- which seems to have wasted opportunities to become a key player in deconflicting the Syrian theater -- is emerging as the most swiftly weakening player in the current multi-dimensional chess game....

 I would argue that the downing of the plane should push Ankara and Moscow to brush aside their sharp differences and do the same.

19---NATO will never want to engage in war against Syria over Turkmens. ...
The Western powers are not against a Kurdish autonomous region in Syria anyway. So the AKP is alone in this fight. From now on, what the Russians will do is stay away from Turkish air space, which will probably make the AKP leaders heroes at home, thanks to their media, but Russia will never allow Turkey to help the Syrian opposition or the Turkmens. What a misery for the Syrian opposition, the Turkmens and the AKP! The AKP is now allowed by both NATO and Russia to wage war against ISIL. Again, what a misery for the AKP!

Turkey has become a sort of satellite state of Russia from the energy perspective. Turkish industry and Turkish households now rely on natural gas, and Turkey gets this from Russia and Iran. The genius AKP increased Turkey's heavy reliance on Russia for energy by giving nuclear plant tenders to the Russians. What strategic depth!

20--arm the kurds

The main reason is that Russia cannot afford to stop selling natural gas to Turkey, its second largest customer, particularly at a time when low energy prices are putting pressure on the future of the Russian economy. The fact that Gazprom declared there will be no interruption in the flow of natural gas only hours after the downing of the Russian jet was very telling. However, the limits of compartmentalization will also be tested in areas such as energy infrastructure cooperation, construction tenders, tourism and financial interaction. Even in these areas, the impact of this latest crisis may prove short-lived.

21--Face the Bear

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other prominent members of the top echelons of the Russian state mechanism sent harsh messages to Turkey, making clear that Turkish-Russian relations would be severely affected. Putin used the term “stab in the back” and accused Turkey of being an accomplice of the terrorists, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He even hinted Russia has documents substantiating the involvement of some Turkish officials in oil trade with ISIL.

Medvedev said the Russian government will consider scrapping some important projects they are undertaking or planning to undertake in Turkey. The Akkuyu nuclear energy power plant and the Turkish Stream projects are the first to come to mind. Medvedev said Turkish companies doing business with or operating in Russia will lose ground and may face barriers. Poultry imports from Turkey may end by January of next year. Lavrov warned Russian citizens to cancel their trips to Turkey, promising a hard hit to Turkey's tourism business. Some even suggested cutting natural gas sales to Turkey, but I don't think this may be put into action since it would have equally high costs for the Russians, too

22--"Must, must, must read"  Erdoğan picks up a new contract from the West...

The protective sort of rhetoric we're hearing from Obama with regard to these groups shows us that Turkey was not the main planner of this latest operation....

What's more, the near perfection of the messages given by Ankara to the global public the moment Turkey brought down the Russian jet show us that this was no last-minute operation, and that the scenario as a whole had been well thought out. Think about this: The plane goes down and immediately Ankara is able to show the entire world the maps showing the route flown by the plane. Then we hear the audio tapes of the Turkish pilots warning the Russian planes; the voices are so clear and audible, it's as though they had been taped in a studio beforehand. After this, we hear statements from Western pilots and soldiers -- in this case, American and Dutch -- noting that they, too, had clearly heard the Turkish pilots warning the Russian plane.

Let us first make this clear: The decision to down the Russian plane was not one Turkey made alone. If it were, the reactions from various Western capitals would be different than what we are hearing now. It's clear now that Turkey -- more specifically, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan -- has picked up a new contract with the West, and that the downing of the Russian jet is just the first stage of this contract.

So what makes this all so clear now? A few essential signals. The first is the process of preparing domestic public opinion, which we have witnessed in recent days. The second is the statement made by US President Barack Obama after the plane came down. The third is the public statements we now hear coming from high-level offices in Turkey.

Let's start with the first signal, though. A project -- one which always seems to work with the Turkish public -- was implemented by Ankara in the weeks preceding the plane incident. A loud media fuss was made over the “massacres being carried out against the Turkmens” in Syria. For those familiar with Turkish state traditions, it was definitely not a fuss to be ignored. In Turkey, whenever there is a stir made over Turks or Turkmens being harmed (or being in harm's way) abroad, it always means that a military operation is soon to come. This is actually a strategy that's been in place since the 1950s, when the whole campaign aimed at raising awareness of Cyprus started. Likewise, we've seen the Turkmen population of northern Iraq used the same way that the Turkmens of Syria have now been used. And recalling the Sept. 6-7, 1955 pogrom, it was the same thing, with the Turkish population in Thessaloniki being used. In nearly all of these situations, there have been deep state operations.

In fact, I began to get suspicious about all the news being broadcast regarding massacres against Turkmens in Syria some time ago, which is why I wrote this on my Twitter account back on Nov. 20:
“When there is TURKMEN DRAMA news in Turkey, it means society is being prepared for something. They're going to put our military into Syria, which is why all the news about Turkmen Mountain is quite suspicious.”

Just four days after this tweet of mine, the Russian plane was brought down. It's clear now that Turks were being prepared for something like this. Which means, in this case, the bringing down of the Russian plane was not an act committed in the heat of the moment, but a planned operation.
But does this mean it's an operation Turkey carried out alone, or with the backing of a network of Western countries?

We see answers to this question in the statement made by Obama in the wake of the incident. While Obama warned both sides “not to increase the tension,” he only directly blamed Russia. He said that Russia claims to be bombing ISIL, but it is in fact bombing the opposition along the borders. The second half of this statement is crucial, as it marks the first time we've heard Obama mention Turkmen Mountain, in the north of Syria, and use protective language in talking about the groups there, while simultaneously blaming the Russians. But who are these groups that Obama is pushing to protect?

Well, there's al-Nusra, as well as Ahrar al-Sham and the Fatih brigades. Most of these are groups linked one way or another with al-Qaeda. The protective sort of rhetoric we're hearing from Obama with regard to these groups shows us that Turkey was not the main planner of this latest operation.
What's more, the near perfection of the messages given by Ankara to the global public the moment Turkey brought down the Russian jet show us that this was no last-minute operation, and that the scenario as a whole had been well thought out. Think about this: The plane goes down and immediately Ankara is able to show the entire world the maps showing the route flown by the plane. Then we hear the audio tapes of the Turkish pilots warning the Russian planes; the voices are so clear and audible, it's as though they had been taped in a studio beforehand. After this, we hear statements from Western pilots and soldiers -- in this case, American and Dutch -- noting that they, too, had clearly heard the Turkish pilots warning the Russian plane.

Clearly, it's all a well-rehearsed scenario. We've seen the downing of a Syrian helicopter and a plane in the past, not that long ago, but there was nothing like the map distribution and preparation of public opinion in advance we saw this time around.

 For those who know the normal speed of Turkish bureaucracy, it's obvious that unless this scenario was prepared in advance, there's no way the statements we've already heard -- and the reactions we've already seen -- would have come in such a timely fashion.
So, in the end, all this data points to just one possible conclusion, as I mentioned at the start: Erdoğan has picked up a new contract. Let's hope he's able to carry it through successfully.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Links

1---Russian Fighter Jet Posed No Threat to Turkey, So Why Shoot it Down?

2-- Pentagon Not Involved in Downing of Russian Su-24 Aircraft

“Our Turkish Allies informed us that their military aircraft shot down a Russian military aircraft near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace on Tuesday. At this time, we can confirm that US forces were not involved in this incident,” the official said. 

3--Russo-Syrian Forces Close to Cutting Off ISIL's Supply Routes From Turkey

"The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS [ISIL] from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory," Cartalucci narrates in his latest article for New Eastern Outlook.

He explains that from there, Syrian troops with Russian air support would move north, into the very "safe zone" which Washington and Ankara have planned to carve out of Syria. Cartalucci points out that the "safe zone" includes a northern Syria area stretching from Jarabulus to Afrin and Ad Dana.

If Syrian troops establish their control over this zone, the Western plan of taking and holding the territory (with the prospect of further Balkanization of the region) would fall apart at the seams. In light of this, the regime change project, harbored by the West since the very beginning of the Syrian unrest, would be "indefinitely suspended," Cartalucci underscores.

"The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria's borders. Turkey's provocation is just such a measure," he emphasizes.
"As in the game of chess, a player often seeks to provoke their opponent into a series of moves," Cartalucci notes.

Russo-Syrian victory would have far-reaching consequences for the region as a whole.
"With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes' efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region," Cartalucci underscores.

​He believes that it is the beginning of the end of the US-led unipolar global order.
The geopolitical analyst stresses that in a war emotions should be channeled by "superior strategic thinking" into a good plan which serves both short-term and long-term objectives. According to Cartalucci, the Russian leadership has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to take balanced strategic decisions.

4--US-Turkish Military Operation in N Syria Would be de Facto an Invasion

The US and Turkey have announced an operation aimed at maintaining control over the last 98 kilometers of the Turkish-Syrian border, between Jarabulus and Afrin; this area overlaps with the primary corridor through which Islamists, including ISIL and al-Nusra receive weapons and fighters, Tony Cartalucci underscores.

In contrast to its vows to "defeat ISIL," the actions of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition demonstrate a desire to preserve the terrorist group, Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci notes.
"Its [NATO's] feigned 'war on ISIS' helped open the door to the recent Russian military intervention. With Russia's entry into the war, the West can no longer afford to drag out its nonexistent operations against ISIS [ISIL], hoping for an opportunity to finally divide and destroy the country," Cartalucci writes in his recent piece for New Eastern Outlook.

Meanwhile, Russia and the Syrian Arab Army have almost sealed up the corridor themselves. In its turn NATO is at pains to implement a partial occupation of Syria. According to the analyst, the race is nearly over now.

Cartalucci points out that the terrorist attack in Paris has given NATO a "strong hand" and will most likely help the US and Turkey justify their upcoming military operation in northern Syria...

"All of the Paris attackers, likewise, passed through Turkey on their way to train, arm, and fight in Syria, and then through Turkey again on their way back to Europe. The tons of weapons and hundreds of fighters shipped covertly to Syria by the US in the Libyan terrorist capital of Benghazi also arrived first in Turkish ports before proceeding on, apparently with the knowledge and cooperation of the Turkish government," Cartalucci stresses.

According to Cartalucci, Western governments are "clearly responsible" for the rise of the Islamic State. The notorious Islamist group has emerged not just as a mere consequence of the West's action or inaction: the group has been created though the intentional effort of the Western political establishment. Western policymakers plan to use Islamists as a "formidable proxy army" in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, Cartalucci believes.

"ISIS [ISIL] is not only destined to divide and destroy Syria and Iraq. If the West has its way, the terrorist organization is destined to move into Iran, the Caucasus region of southern Russia, and Central Asia next," he predicts.

The idea to create an Islamist army is not a new one, Cartalucci remarks, referring to the US-Saudi collaboration with Islamic radicals in Afghanistan in the 1980s and British Empire's use of Wahhabi fanatics in its war against the Ottoman Empire over a century ago.
"When the West calls this a 'long war,' they mean it. And it will be longer still until the people of the West realize their governments aren't waging a 'War on Terror,' they are waging a 'War of Terror'," the geopolitical analyst emphasizes.

5---Obama supports Turkey after it shot down Russian jet

6--Financial parasitism and the destruction of democracy

7-First step for the safe zone in N. Syria: opposition groups take two Turkmen towns from DAESH
Syrian opposition groups supported by Turkish and US warplanes took control of two Turkmen towns in Northern Syria early Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.

According to the security sources, 70 DAESH terrorists were killed in the offensive led by Turkmen opposition force Al-Sultan Murad Brigades. The operation was supported by six Turkish and five US warplanes.

According to the reports, Al-Sultan Murad Brigades cooperating with the Damascus Front advanced to the North of Aleppo, to the ground zero on the Turkey-Syria border. Infiltrating into Harcele and Delha towns, opposition forces defeated DAESH and took control of the two Turkmen-majority villages.

Six Turkish F-16s, four US F-15s and an AC-130 joined the offensive along with three drones.

Security sources added that this success in the fight against DAESH that can be defined as the first step for the creation of a DAESH-free zone in Northern Syria will further encourage opposition forces to fight DAESH terror and help ensure Turkey's border security.

Speaking about Turkey's stance on the recent developments in Northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a live broadcast on Wednesday that declaring no-fly and safe zones is crucial to resolve the Syrian Crisis. The president also added that the coalition forces are taking joint action against DAESH.

8---Watch Putin's angry response to Turkey shooting down a Russian plane
Does Turkey want Nato to serve the interests of ISIS?

9---Obama points finger at Russia over jet shoot-down by Turkey

10---NATO envoys urge Turkey to show restraint after Russian warplane downed

NATO ambassadors called on Ankara to show "cool-headedness" on Tuesday following an emergency meeting in Brussels, after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, diplomats said.Diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters that while none of the 28 NATO envoys defended Russia's actions, many expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace.
"There are other ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents," said one diplomat who declined to be named

Friday, November 20, 2015

Today's Links

1--Clinton backs no-fly zone

2--Syria’s Assad says Paris now “knows what Syria has lived for five years”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad  “France has now understands what Syria has been going through for the last five years.”

Hundreds of suicide bombings have been carried out in Syria. In February 2013, a series of bombings in the capital Damascus killed more than 80 and injured at least 250 others on February 21. A massive car bomb exploded close to the offices of the Syrian Ba'ath Party, killing 59 and injuring more than 200 others. Among the other most notorious suicide attacks carried out by Islamist forces are included the December 2011 Damascus bombing, killing 44 people and injuring 166, and the May 2012 Damascus attack that killed 55 and injured 400.

The hypocrisy of European politicians who shed crocodile tears for the victims in Paris of terrorist militias they helped create in Syria—but who view similar terrorist attacks in Syria as a legitimate tool of foreign policy—is sickening

“We had warned about what would happen in Europe, three years ago. We had said, 'Do not take what is happening in Syria lightly, it will be like an earthquake that will spread around the world.' Unfortunately, European officials did not listen to what we were saying! They thought that we were threatening them,” the Syrian president said.

3--The US neocon regime change obsession ended up bolstering Daesh’s reach in Syria.

The message comes with extra enticement; the $50 million bounty offered by the FSB for any information leading to the perpetrators of the Sinai tragedy.

Putin’s message instantly turned heavy metal in the form of a massive, impressive Russian barrage over 140 Caliphate targets, delivered via 34 air-launched cutting-edge cruise missiles and furious action by Tu-160, Tu-22, and the Tu-95MC ‘Bear’ strategic bombers. This was the first time the Russian long-range strategic bomber force has been deployed since the 1980s Afghan jihad.
And there’s more coming - to be stationed in Syria; an extra deployment of 25 strategic bombers, eight Su-34 ‘Fullback’ attack aircraft, and four Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighter jets

Oil tanker mystery solved

The tanker truck riddle

At the G-20 in Antalya, Putin had already, spectacularly, unveiled who contributes to Daesh’s financing – complete with “examples based on our data on the financing of different [Daesh] units by private individuals.”

The bombshell: Daesh’s cash, “as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them.” It doesn’t take a Caltech genius to figure out which members. They’d better take the “you can run but you can’t hide” message seriously.
Additionally, Putin debunked - graphically – to the whole G20 the myth of a Washington seriously engaged on the fight against Daesh: “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil.” He was referring to Daesh’s oil smuggling tanker truck fleet, which numbers over 1,000...

Aacting on Russian satellite intelligence, the Pentagon then miraculously managed to find tanker truck convoys stretching “beyond the horizon,” smuggling out stolen Syrian oil. And duly bombed 116 trucks. For the first time....
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh was born in an American prison. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim did time there, as well as Daesh’s previous number two, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, and most of all Daesh’s conceptualizer: Haji Bakr, a former colonel in Saddam Hussein’s Air Force.

Hardcore Salafi-jihadist meet former Ba’athist notables and find a common purpose; an offer the Pentagon could not refuse and in fact - willfully - let prosper. GWOT (the Global War on Terror), after all, is a Cheney-Rumsfeld-coined “Endless War”.

4--Obama says Assad must leave to end Syrian crisis

“We’ve been suffering from that (terrorism) for the past five years. We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai. Does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French?”...

The Syrian president was referring to the terrorist bombings in Beirut on November 12, when at least 43 people were killed and nearly 240 were injured.

Another bombing aboard a Russian plane on October 31 led to the aircraft’s crash and killed 244 people. Daesh claimed responsibility for both incidents.

US President Barack Obama has turned up his anti-Syrian rhetoric by saying President Bashar al-Assad must leave power in order to end the Arab country’s 5-year conflict.
"I do not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power," Obama said Thursday on the sidelines of a trade summit in Manila, Phillipines.

5--US Prepared to 'Do More on Ground' Against ISIL - Carter

The United States is ready to change tactics in the fight against the Islamic State terrorists that would include more ground engagement, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Thursday.
“We’re prepared to change the rules of engagement,” Carter said in an interview that aired on MSNBC. “The president [Barack Obama] has indicated he's prepared to do more, including on the ground.”...

On Monday, President Obama ruled out putting boots on the ground in Syria as part of an operation against ISIL. He argued that US military intervention would deliver only temporary results.


Syrian President Bashar Assad believes that by being passively supporting the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State terrorist groups, Turkey is playing a most destructive role in the Syrian crisis.

6--Turkey is Playing the Worst Part of Syrian Crisis - Assad

Turkey is playing a most negative role in our crisis. That’s related directly to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan himself and [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu, because they both reflect the real ideology that they carry in their hearts, which is the Muslim Brotherhood ideology,” Assad said in an interview with the French newsmagazine Valeurs Actuelles on Thursday.

The Syrian leader emphasized that, compared to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Ankara was playing the most dangerous role in general, by giving all possible assistance to the terrorists

“Some countries support al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda, some other countries support ISIL, while Turkey supports both and other groups at the same time. They support them with, human resources. They support them with money, logistics, armaments, surveillance, information, and even the maneuvers of their military through their borders during the fights in Syria."

"Even the money that’s being collected from the rest of the world passes through Turkey, and the oil that ISIL sells is through Turkey, so Turkey is playing the worst part of our crisis,” Assad was quoted as saying by the Syrian news agency SANA

7---If The Economy Is Fine, Why Are So Many Hedge Funds, Energy Companies And Large Retailers Imploding?

The manufacturing numbers say that we are in a recession, the trade numbers say that we are in a recession, and the retail numbers say that we are in a recession

8---ISIS also has tons of U.S. weapons, vehicles and other military gear.

Toyota trucks aren’t all ISIS has managed to buy, capture or scavenge from us. In June, CNBC reported that so far we’ve accidentally furnished the Islamic State with at least $219.7 million worth of weapons, vehicles and other military supplies and gear — and that’s just the stuff we know about.
Based on various reports, CNBC came up with the following laundry list of supplies the U.S. has so kindly provided to ISIS so far.
  • 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles at $70,000 each: $16 million
  • 40 M1A1 Abram tanks at $4.3 million each: $172 million
  • 52 M198 Howitzer mobile gun systems at $527,337 each: $2.7 million
  • 74,000 Army machine guns at $4,000 each: $29 million
TOTAL: $219.7 MILLION in military weapons, vehicles, and other supplies and gear for ISIS.
How does the Islamic State get hold of all these U.S. weapons? We deliver them, either directly or through the tattered remnants of Iraq’s military.

9---Turkey sends in jets as Syria’s agony spills over every border

When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.
The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world

The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues that was thought to have flowed into Isis coffers over at least six months from late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders...

In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicions of an undeclared alliance have hardened. One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now “undeniable”.
“There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there,” the official told the Observer. “They are being analysed at the moment, but the links are already so clear that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara.”....

10--Putin Outed ISIS’s G20 Financiers — But Not a Single Western Media Outlet Has Reported It
A revealing silence from the “free” western press
complete media blackout

11--Turkey deported jihadist tied to Paris attacks in early 2015

12--More Mexicans leave than enter USA in historic shift
13--Gulf States Slip Out of War on ISIS

more important than the direct material impact is the symbolism of whether the United States does or does not have broad support and joint participation for what it is doing in Syria. The withdrawal of Arab air forces makes the U.S. role all the more lonely and conspicuous.
Participation of other Western powers already was lukewarm, and the U.S. role will get lonelier still with the promise by the new Trudeau government in Ottawa to end Canadian participation in military operations in Syria.

All of this makes the United States that much more of a salient target for anger over the no-good-solution Syria situation and for related reprisals, including those of the terrorist variety.
The Syrian case and especially adoption of the “Assad must go” standard is one of the latest examples of how the United States, through several presidential administrations, has repeatedly allowed itself to get sucked into other people’s quarrels in the Middle East...

(Pillar goes delusional) The United States does have an interest, from the standpoint of counterterrorism, mitigation of refugee flows, and regional stability, to be deeply involved in multilateral diplomacy aimed at de-escalating and eventually resolving the extremely complicated conflict in Syria. (Uh, yes, and the US also has pretty clear geopolitical ambitions, too, Paul)

14--Those Who Fuelled Extremism in Syria Now Mourn Paris Attack Victims

15---EU’s Deepening Ties With Russia Result of 'Putin’s Sophisticated Diplomacy'

16--Shoigu stressed that the number of aircraft taking part in the operation has been doubled, and now consists of 69 jets conducting 143 sorties on a daily basis.
The minister pointed out that Russia is focused on destroying the terrorists’ economic base, having targeted 15 oil storage and refinery facilities as well as 525 oil trucks.
“We stopped supplies of 60,000 tons of oil per day to the black market and terrorists are losing $1.5 million daily,” Shoigu said.
Russia has also destroyed 23 jihadists training camps, 19 plants producing explosives, 47 ammunition depots, as well as many other targets, according to the minister.

17---PBS NewsHour Uses Russian Airstrike Footage While Claiming U.S. Airstrike Successes

The U.S. military recently claimed to have hit Islamic State oil tankers in Syria. This only after Putin embarrassed Obama at the G-20 meeting in Turkey. Putin showed satellite pictures of ridiculous long tanker lines waiting for days and weeks to load oil from the Islamic State without any U.S. interference.

The U.S. then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers while the Russian air force claims to have hit 500. But there is an important difference between these claims. The Russians provided videos showing how their airstrikes hit at least two different very large oil tanker assemblies with hundreds of tankers in each. They also provided video of several hits on oil storage sites and refinery infrastructure.
I have found no video of U.S. hits on Islamic State oil tanker assemblies.
The U.S. PBS NewsHour did not find any either.

In their TV report yesterday about Islamic State financing and the claimed U.S. hits on oil trucks they used the videos Russia provided without revealing the source. You can see the Russian videos played within an interview with a U.S. military spokesperson at 2:22 min.

18--Research Paper: Is Turkey supporting ISIS?

19--US says want joint plan to get more arms to Syrian opposition

20--NATO is harbouring the Islamic State, Nafeez ahmed

Why France’s brave new war on ISIS is a sick joke, and an insult to the victims of the Paris attacks

21--Kuwait busts cell working to back, finance ISIS

Kuwaiti security authorities have busted an international cell led by a Lebanese man that was sending air defence systems and funds to ISIS, the interior ministry said Thursday.
The cell’s chief, who was not named, confessed that he raised funds and provided logistical support for the group, which has carried out deadly attacks in Lebanon and France in the past week, the ministry said.

22--Kuwait Disrupts Extremist Cell Supporting ISIS

23--Hitting the Islamic State’s Oil Isn’t Enough