Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Today's Links

"To be clear, we are not cooperating with Russia, and we are not letting Russia impact the pace or scope of our campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria."  Department of Defense  Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

1---Did Turks Vote to Become an Islamic State?, Eric Zuesse

what Erdoğan has been doing in Syria seems, on the basis of the evidence, unquestionably to indicate him to be a committed enemy of Russia, and thus an ally of the Sauds, Thanis, and America’s aristocracy.
As regards America’s aristocracy, they seem to prefer the Muslim Brotherhood and thus to be on the Qatari side of the anti-Russia alliance. In fact, the U.S. was condemnatory of al-Sisi for the vigor with which he banned the Muslim Brotherhood.
As happens in any alliance, there are points on each side where the participants have disagreements. But what unites the aristocracies in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Japan, most EU nations, and actually all nations that are allied with the United States (basically NATO and CENTCOM), is their war against Russia. Erdoğan’s electoral victory on November 1st solidifies not only Turkey’s Sunni Islamicism, but Turkey’s position as a key ally of the U.S. and enemy of Russia

Erdoğan started in politics in 1976, with the Islamist National Salvation Party. The military carried out a coup in 1980 to reassert Ataturk’s secular vision for the country. This ended that Party. Erdoğan and many of his colleagues then created the Islamist Welfare Party. In 1998, a Turkish court declared that Party to be inconsistent with Turkey’s non-sectarian Constitution, and therefore ruled the Party to be unconstitutional. Like many of his colleagues, Erdoğan was banned from participating in national elections, but he still could run for local offices. However, sensing the rising Islamist tide in his country, Erdoğan established in 2001 the new Justice and Development Party (AKP), and it won the parliamentary elections in a landslide in 2002. Erdoğan would have become Prime Minister, but a court ruled that the existing ban didn’t allow that.

During this time, Ataturk’s party, the Republican Peoples Party, was becoming weaker and weaker. In 2002, even they supported the right of Erdoğan to become Prime Minister. Erdoğan’s AKP party won the parliamentary elections in a landslide, and he became Prime Minister. Then, in 2014, he was elected Turkey’s President. 

Based on news-reports and wikileaks releases of diplomatic cables, Erdoğan sides with the Thanis of Qatar and not with the Sauds, in their specific preferences for whom the leaders of Syria should be. Erdoğan wants it to be the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Thanis likewise favor. Al-Monitor headline, “Erdogan’s Saudi Dilemma,” and reports that Erdoğan is dissatisfied with the Saudi King’s favoring other jihadists than the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, but that Erdoğan “incessantly blasts the West for supporting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,” whose militant secularism rejects all  jihadists, and therefore enrages Erdoğan. This news-report shows friction between Erdoğan and the Saudi King because the Sauds support instead Al Qaeda (called Al Nusra in Syria).

As a result of Erdoğan’s sweeping victory on 1 November 2015, he might now finally be able to establish the religious state that he has (if one is to judge by his background as cited here) been spending his entire political career to produce..... Winning back the parliamentary majority, the AK Party, however, seems to have failed to obtain the votes [50%+] that will enable it to amend the Constitution in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wishes to place a presidential system in Turkey by replacing ... the current parliamentary system, paving the way for a one-man rule.” Erdogan was less than 1% shy of passing the 50% threshold.

2--Syria army reopens road to govt.-held parts of Aleppo: State TV

3--Turkey may hold referendum on constitution changes: Erdogan aide
Erdogan now seeks absolute power

4--The anti empire report, Bill Blum

Are you confused by the Middle East? Here are some things you should know. (But you’ll probably still be confused.)

  • The US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or manpower.
  • The first example of this was in 1979 when the United States began covert operations in Afghanistan, six months before the Russians arrived, promoting Islamic fundamentalism across the southern tier of the Soviet Union against “godless communism”. All the al-Qaeda/Taliban shit then followed.
  • In addition to Afghanistan, the United States has provided support to Islamic militants in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, the Caucasus, and Syria.
  • The United States overthrew the secular governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and is trying to do the same with Syria, thus giving great impetus to the rise of ISIS. Said Barack Obama in March of this year: “ISIS is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”
  • More than a million refugees from these wars of Washington are currently over-running Europe and North Africa. God Bless American exceptionalism.
5---Restoring vital supplylines to aleppo

The liberation of the Khanasser-Ithriya Highway was of the utmost importance for the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command these last few days, as the roadway is the only supply route the Syrian Armed Forces can use to continue their fight against the Islamist rebels and ISIS in the Aleppo Governorate.
For ISIS, the loss of this highway ends their brief east Hama offensive that cost them over 200 combatants and the destruction of their heavy weaponry

6---The US is moving jets intended for air-to-air combat to Syria — and Russia might be why

7---Soros plan for "national suicide" PCR

We have to first ask the question whether Soros’ progressive causes are real or merely a cover for rule by the 1 percent,” Roberts said. “You see, when political boundaries are broken down the result is a power vacuum to which Washington and the 1 percent can move in their pawns.”

One consequence of Washington’s wars over the course of three presidencies has been to “destroy stable countries and leave in their place disorganized, small fiefdoms that war on one another,” Roberts said.
“What Soros means is: ‘European values’ means you lost your national identity and you become a hodgepodge of different cultures and different nationalities and your traditional historical existence is dissolved in this pot of diverse peoples.”...

“George Soros is in effect saying: ‘We are redefining Europe. Europe no longer consists of Hungarians, British, French, Germans and Greeks, etc. It now consists of everybody. And all of you historical people to be European means you have to be part of everybody. You can no longer be yourselves.’ That’s the message.”...

Ultimately, the work of these philanthropists and non-governmental organizations “is designed to break apart European national identity in order to prevent any sort of loss of the American empire to independent foreign policies among European countries,” Roberts says.
“If you don’t have a country, you can’t have a foreign policy. What is the foreign policy of Libya [laughs]? What is the foreign policy of Iraq? What is the foreign policy of Afghanistan? What is the foreign policy of Somalia? They have none; they have no governments. They have no national identities.”

8---Today some 25-30 thousand foreign terrorist mercenaries are fighting for ISIL, including those from the Pacific Rim countries and, unfortunately, Russia too. Should they return home, carrying the potential for violence and extremism, they will be preaching radical ideas in our countries or will organize subversive activities,” Antonov said.

9--Cargo plane crash-lands in S. Sudan, 41 reported dead

10--Break of Dawn: Damascus Residents Feel Optimistic After Russian Airstrikes

11--Puppet gov in safe zone?  President of Syrian Interim Government: ‘We will run a safe zone free of ISIS, Nusra and PYD’

Gaziantep, Turkey – Ahmed Touma, President of the Interim Government that was formed by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to lead the transitional phase in war-torn Syria, said that the safe zone will be an opportunity for his government to prove its role in “making a real change in Syria”.
Turkey and U.S. agreed on establishing a safe zone in northern Syria to ease refugees’ pressure on neighboring countries, hoping that the project would prevail to other war-torn areas in the country where more than 250,000 people have been killed over the past four years. 

In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Touma said that the Interim Government cannot accomplish the aspirations of the suppressed Syrian people without moving from its base in Turkey to the “liberated Syrian territory”.
“We cannot make a real change in Syria if the Interim Government didn’t move to the Syrian territory, supported by a central military force under the umbrella of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Defense Ministry of the Interim Government in order to protect areas liberated from the regime,” he said.
“If this is achieved and the Syrian Interim Government was able to enter Syria and operate there, this would represent a great step towards change on several levels. Moving (from Turkey) into Syria would give the Interim Government an opportunity to provide services to the people and to gain more credibility on a local and international level,” Touma said

“Such a step would also prove the importance of this government as a crucial player in preserving public institutions in Syria and keep its essential entity as a state. On an international level, the issue of maintaining the country’s public institutions is very essential for the post-war era,” President of the Syrian Interim Government told ARA News.

12---Syrian rebel groups break with exiled opposition

Nearly a dozen of Syria's powerful rebel factions, including one linked to al-Qaida, formally broke with the main opposition group in exile Wednesday and called for Islamic law in the country, dealing a severe blow to the Western-backed coalition.
The new alliance is a potential turning point, entrenching the schism within the rebellion and giving President Bashar Assad fuel for his long-stated contention that his regime is battling Islamic extremists in the civil war.
The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition — the political arm of the Free Syrian Army rebel group — has long been accused by those fighting inside Syria of being a puppet promoted by the West and Gulf Arab states supporting the Syrian rebellion.
Wednesday's public rejection of the coalition's authority will likely be extremely damaging for its future in Syria, particularly at a time when the U.S. and Russia are pushing for peace talks.
"If the groups involved stand by this statement, I think this could be a very big deal — especially if it develops into a more-structured alliance instead of just a joint position," said political analyst Aron Lund.
"It basically means that some of the biggest mainstream Islamist forces within the so-called FSA are breaking up with the political leadership appointed for them by the West and Gulf states, to cast their lot with more hard-line and anti-Western Islamists," he said.
13---Erdogan will push for referendum in quest for absolute powers

The finally tally is almost everything Erdogan wanted, although he fell short of his dream of a supermajority that would let him change the nature of the Turkish political system from a parliamentary government to one ruled by a powerful and centralized executive—himself.
There are 550 seats in the Turkish parliament. The AKP took 49.4 percent of the vote and won 317 seats, an increase of 64 over the June election. While 276 seats is a majority, what Erdogan wanted was a supermajority of 367 seats that would allow him to change the constitution without involving the electorate. He did not achieve this...

Erdogan set out to change the Turkish constitution back in 2007 and has pushed to reconstruct the country’s politics ever since. However, the AKP has never had 330 votes in the parliament, the number needed to place a referendum before the voters. Erdogan did not get that magic number this time either, but he is close and may be able to pry a dozen or so voters from the ranks of the rightwing nationalists and get his referendum.
The AKP won almost five million more votes than it did last June. Voter turnout was over 86 percent.
A referendum is a disquieting thought. Erdogan is a relentless campaigner, and opponents are worried that, while most Turks do not show much enthusiasm for his constitutional changes, scare tactics, repression, and money will push such a referendum through. Pre-election polls predicted that the AKP would get about the same number of votes in November that it got in June. They were dead wrong. Erdogan’s formidable political skills and his willingness to polarize the country are not to be underestimated

14--The Fallacy Of Erdogan-Style Democracy

This election for turkey has been like no other, because Turkey has now embarked on a new path; the Erdogan republic.
This now truly marks the end of the Ataturk era. Out with the old and in with the new. Erdogan continues to brandish the portrait of Ataturk in his office, but in reality he has dismantled everything that Ataturk has built and stood up for.
Politicians who were deposed by the army, were (an in accordance with the constitution) not allowed to run for office ever again.
The military deterrent was mean to keep politicians honest or face the consequences. The constitution was amended several times and the last significant change was back in 1982, but the army kept its stature.
Erdogan changed this, and the Turkish military does not have that moral upper hand any longer. The final say is back into the hands of the politicians.
But this is not all.
Erdogan has one more task to perform. He wants to change the constitution again giving more power to the president; ie himself and turn Turkey into a state in which the president has unprecedented power. The link below is an excellent reference to the constitutional changes that preceded Erdogan as well as what he has implemented and endeavours to do.
This article however is not about the Erdogan changes per se. It is about the manner by which they have been done, both at the level of Erdogan as well as the Turkish people themselves.
Erdogan has used fear and a slogan that meant “AKP or Chaos” in order to polarise voters and get them to revise their June 2015 vote and vote AKP. But this is not new. All Western-Style politicians use all sorts of tactics and dirty tricks in elections.
What is pertinent in the Erdegan-Style Democracy are a number of serious issues.
To begin with, Erdogan has used the democratic process in order to take power away from the army and political rivals and give more power and autocracy to himself.
Would Erdogan go as far as calling for a referendum that abolishes democracy altogether?

In essence, if the public is polled and approves the abolishment of democracy and the instalment of autocracy, then the public’s wish will be granted. Democracy, in its pure form, Western-Style or Erdogan-Style therefore carries a licence for suicide with total impunity and lack of provisions to prevent any ensuing dictatorship.
What is more interesting in the outcome of the very recent November 2015 Turkish parliamentary elections is that Turkish voters did not really favour an Erdogan-Style autocracy against democracy, they have favoured a Theocratic-Style Democracy against secularism.
This is a potentially serious and dangerous development....

Erdogan has played an instrumental role in the “War On Syria” and Turks are quite aware of this. His gamble has failed abysmally in Syria, and within Turkey itself, his stand has rekindled ethnic and sectarian divides, and Turks are quite aware of this as well.
On the matter of choosing to side with ISIS or those fighting it, including Kurds, Erdogan chose to support ISIS, and this too is not a secret as all Turks are aware of this.
It was mentioned above that some anti-Erdogan Turkish activists are claiming that the elections were rigged. This is a link to one of those claims:
It would be rather difficult for anyone to make impartial assessments about such claims. Certainly however, if the elections were indeed rigged, then there is a serious problem in the way Erdogan’s party practices politics. However, if the elections were not rigged, and if the Turkish people have indeed decided to side with Islamic fundamentalism, then this constitutes a much more serious problem.

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