Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today's Links

1--Putin: Russia Has Evidence Su-24 Shot Down to Protect Daesh Oil Deliveries

"We have every reason to believe that the decision to shoot down our aircraft was dictated by the desire to ensure the safety of supply routes of oil to Turkey, to the ports where they are shipped in tankers," Putin said


2--Hidden Agenda? Why Washington Wants Turkey to Send Troops to Syrian Border


Washington estimates that a 30,000 strong force will be able to seal off the border. Interestingly, the same number of troops is needed to create a safe zone in Syria, according to the Pentagon's fall assessment. This is not a coincidence, Cartalucci believes, and if so, it could point to a possible and troubling scenario.
"In all likelihood, the West would like to attempt to make an incursion into Syria under the guise of having been provoked at the border, and then 'needing' to cross over into Syria to pursue the provocateurs," the researcher assumed.

3--US and European powers prepare military escalation in Iraq, Syria
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/11/30/syri-n30.html


On “Face the Nation,” Jeb Bush called for the imposition of a no-fly zone and ground “safe zones” in Syria. Newly-deployed US ground troops should “be embedded with the Iraqi military,” and the US should seek to “reengage the Sunni tribal leaders that were effective partners during the surge,” Bush said. In northern Iraq, the US should “directly arm the Kurds,” he said.
US Senator Lindsey Graham called on US forces to launch new operations to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and eradicate Iranian influence in the region during the same segment of the TV show. Graham demanded operations be mounted to “push Assad out and not give away yet another Arab capital.”
Graham advocated sending at least 20,000 US ground troops into both Syria and Iraq, as part of a much larger Arab and European-based force that would seize and occupy areas now held by ISIS...


In an extended commentary published last week, “ISIS: Boots on the Ground?,” the Financial Times (FT) cited top Western military and security officials calling for aggressive new attacks against Iraq and Syria.
The article cites experts recommending new siege operations against Iraqi cities, including Ramadi, Tikrit and Mosul, as well as carpet bombing of civilian infrastructure and civilian areas relied on by ISIS forces.
The bloody 2004 US siege of Fallujah is “a model that should be applied” to ground operations against ISIS, British military expert Afzal Ashraf told the FT. The paper noted that the Fallujah operation “took thousands troops and months of violence,” and that, due to the operation, “the city of mosques became one of rubble.” Nonetheless, it went on to extensively quote Ashraf as he advocated Fallujah-style offensives across Iraq.
“The resources needed to do that were phenomenal,” FT quoted Ashraf, who served has a top counterterrorism official in Baghdad, as saying.
...
“The Turkish government recently increased support for terrorists and the level of supplying them with arms, ammunition and munitions to continue their criminal acts in exchange for oil and antiquities stolen from Syria and Iraq at low prices, taking advantage of the presence of terrorists whom it enabled to control border areas,” the Syrian state media outlet SANA wrote over the weekend.

4---German Air Force Will Not Inform Russia of Flight Plans in Syria



5---Why Erdogan Shouldn't Have Asked for Proof


“Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS (ISIL Daesh), Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Offers Medical Care to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Supports ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil, Turkish Forces Are Fighting Alongside ISIS.”...


The quantities of crude oil that are being exported to the terminal in Ceyhan exceed the mark of one million barrels per day and given that ISIS has never been able to trade daily more than 45,000 barrels of oil, it becomes evident that the detection of similar quantities of smuggled crude cannot take place through stock-accounting methods.” In other words, if Daesh oil was being shipped from Ceyhan, it would essentially be invisible...


“Following the killing of Abu Sayyaf, an ISIL official responsible for oil smuggling in May, a senior Western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at Sayyaf's compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIL members were now “undeniable.”

“From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter [Abu Sayyaf] 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 [ISIL] revenues — and Turkish buyers were its main clients,” the daily then said.
In a follow up of the President Putin’s remarks on the issue, the newspaper has published another article with the reference to a “long list of evidence of Turkish support for Daesh (ISIL) in Syria, compiled by The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.


6---Closing the border is going to be tough


According to Svobodnaya Pressa journalist Anton Mardasov, the closing of the Syrian-Turkish border, "specifically, the 98 km corridor in the area near Jarabulus, through which fighters in Syria receive weapons, ammunition, funds and warm bodies," is one of the key challenges in the ongoing conflict.
The journalist suggests that Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement earlier this month that the US and Turkey would carry out a 'joint military operation' to close off the Syrian-Turkish border, combined with the shoot down of the Russian Su-24M, and the Turkish military's concentration of forces in the border area "may all indicate Turkey's intention to create a buffer zone in the area, placing refugees there and continuing to supply militants to Syria, as well as protecting their illegal oil business."
...."It is clear," Murakohovski noted, "that over the last few weeks we have really begun to hit the Islamists in their most sensitive points, disrupting their financial and economic base and smashing the prospects for the continued existence of the so-called 'caliphate'.....


Ultimately, it looks as though for now, barring a major strategic breakthrough, the Syrian Army's operations, supported by Russian air support, will be a long, hard-fought slog, hampered by the fact that several external players, including the United States, the Gulf States and Turkey, continue to support rebel groups which seek to oust the Syrian president. ...


Responding to the journalist's analysis, Balmasov noted that Syria and Russia now face "a situation where pro-Turkish militants, including Syrian Turkmen, have already created a de facto autonomy. This corridor, which is in fact just a massive hole in the border, will now be extremely difficult to close. Ankara will have every opportunity to create a buffer zone here. Moreover, Erdogan has already demonstrated his willingness to continue to engage."...

Citing the analysis of Jane's Terrorism & Insurgency Center, the analyst noted that the Syrian army, supported by Hezbollah, Iranian volunteer forces and Shiite militias in Iraq, "has managed to free a little more than.4% of the territory of Syria" in the 60 days since the start of the operation. "In this sense, we are talking at this point not about strategic, but tactical successes. Among them are the liberation of the Kowaires airbase, and the cleanup operations in the area."
The expert explained that "the government offensive continues, but slowly and with great difficulty. Major strategic breakthroughs have yet to be made, and judging by the militants' counterattacks, it appears that the opposition still has plenty of human resources and weapons."

7--Oh sure...It was all "a big mistake"?


He also highlighted the consequences of toppling Middle Eastern dictators – a strategy that continued with President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya.
“It was huge error,” he continued. “As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Muammar Gaddafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”


Flynn said the US had Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the alleged head of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), in the Camp Bucca detention center in February 2004 in Iraq, but he was cleared as harmless by a US military commission and released in December 2004.
“We were too dumb. We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them,’” said Flynn. “Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.”


8--BOMBSHELL: Ambush of Russian Bomber Was Guided by US Reconnaissance


How did it all happen?
 A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece.  A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase.  Both planes were executing a common task—determining the precise location of Russian aircraft.  It is they that picked the “victim.”


Indeed, the interception accuracy of the F-16CJ fighters was augmented by ground-based U.S. Patriot air defense systems, which are deployed in Turkey, or more precisely, their multirole AN/MPQ-53 radars.  The Patriot can work with an E-3 or with MENTOR spy satellites, and it can't be ruled out that the satellite assets involved the Geosat space system as well.
The flight trajectory of the F-16CJ indicates a precision interception of its target by means of triangulation:  A pair of E-3s plus the Patriot's air defense radar plus the geostationary MENTOR spy satellites plus, possibly, the Geosat space system....

So it turns out that the Turkish fighters knew with absolutely certainty where to wait in ambush for our plane?
Of course.  A pair of F-16CJ's flew to the [missile] launch zone and, at a distance of 4-6 kilometers, practically point blank!, launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile into the rear hemisphere of our Russian bomber....

…Turkey does not have its own capabilities for such a detailed and very precise operation.


Available evidence strongly suggests, however, that the shoot-down was ordered by the Turkish government in advance, after consultations with the US and NATO leadership, as an intentional provocation. The Russian plane had crossed into Turkish airspace for mere seconds before being shot down, leaving little choice but to conclude that Turkish forces were under orders to seize on any excuse to carry out such a strike.
The shoot-down incident has served to throw a wrench in negotiations between the Western powers and Russia, through which certain factions of the European bourgeoisie have sought to forge a rapprochement with Moscow over Syria.
From the beginning, these diplomatic maneuvers were viewed with suspicion and hostility by the more hardline militarist and anti-Russian elements within the ruling elite. Given that the main political effect of the shoot-down has been to scuttle these talks, and prepare conditions for a fresh military escalation embracing broad areas of both Syria and Iraq, it is not difficult to detect the hand of US and NATO elements behind the incident.
...
“The Turkish-Syrian border is a national security border, and it is also a NATO border. Its violation was also a violation against NATO,” Davutoglu said. “No country should ask us to apologize.”
Both leaders’ remarks included ominous references to future incidents similar to last week’s shoot-down, with their language clearly implying a belief that further hostile engagements and accidents will occur among the various militaries contending for a parcel of Syria....


According to a report published Monday in the Guardian, Idlib has provided a base of operations for combat operations led by US commandos. US forces based out of Idlib have been directly leading the fighting, in contradiction to the repeated assurances of the Obama administration that US forces have not been involved in ground combat.
In light of these revelations, the fact of Russian bombing runs against Idlib underscores the immense dangers posed by the growing NATO and Russian interventions in the country. Given the secret character of the US base, the Russian strikes could easily have resulted in significant US casualties...


10--ISIS


The number of people fighting for Isis is more difficult to gauge. In 2014 the CIA estimated its strength at up to 31,500 fighters in both Iraq and Syria. Since airstrikes began the US says it has killed at least 10,000 militants in both countries, though the arrival of fresh fighters from outside the country may not have significantly hit its overall strength. Some have estimated there are up to 50,000 Isis fighters in the region.


11--Raqqa's Rockefellers: How Islamic State oil flows to Israel -
http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/11/26/raqqas-rockefellers-how-islamic-state-oil-flows-to-israel/


In August, the Financial Times reported that Israel obtained up to 75 percent of its oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. More than a third of such exports go through the port of Ceyhan -


IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation.The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets -...


12---Blocking of the Turkish-Syrian Border With the Help of Russia
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-blocking-of-the-turkish-syrian-border-with-the-help-of-russia/5492580


Russia is ready to coordinate practical steps to block the Turkish-Syrian border in cooperation with Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday after talks with his Syrian counterpart. Lavrov recalled that French President Francois Hollande earlier voiced same proposal. If Russia, Syria, France block the border, many terrorists groups in Syria, such as ISIS and al Nusra, will be cut from the supplies through Turkey.
On Saturday, the Syrian army spokesman, Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub, said, the Turkey military fired a number of mortar shells toward Syrian army positions from the Mount Jebel Aqra area, which is on the Turkish side


13--NATO rewards Turkish aggression with interceptor fighter aircraft fitted with AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) radar unit


'Air defense: NATO wants to support Turkey more strongly in Syria'
The alliance has plans to provide interceptor fighter aircraft fitted with AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) radar units. It also wants to strengthen Turkey's anti-aircraft missile systems, and improve Turkey's air traffic control and air defense systems.
Die Welt also reported that some members of NATO see the need for greater transparency and new security mechanisms regarding military maneuvers carried out by Turkey's air force.


Turkey previously used air-to-air missiles to shoot down a Russian Su-24 bomber carrying out operations against jihadist militants in Syria, leading to the death of two Russian servicemen. The terrorist organization Daesh itself has no air force
14--The Gangs' all here:  The Land of Terror: Is Daesh Syria’s Only Deadly Menace on the Ground?


Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and Ajnad al-Sham, Jaysh al Fateh (“Army of Conquest”),

15---Putin winning the information war:  Divided Over Turkey, European Media Changes Its Line on Russia
Europeans can take pleasure in a rare phenomenon: diametrically opposed narratives on major international issues being laid out before them by the media


the crisis of Russia-Turkish relations that developed this past week over the downing of a Russian bomber at the Syrian-Turkish border. In their response to what President Putin immediately called a ‘stab in the back’ from Ankara, the Kremlin set out in great detail its allegations that Turkey is a facilitator of terrorism through its large scale and illicit purchases of oil from fields in northern Syria controlled by the Islamic State, the key source of financing for the jihadists. The son and daughter of Erdogan himself were said to be implicated in these transactions along with corrupt Turkish officials. Moreover, the Turkoman enclave in northern Syria where Russian plane was brought down was identified as an essential part of the porous border Turkey has allowed to exist for passage of outside fighters joining the IS forces and their return to Europe. In this context, Russia presented Turkey as a major cause of the security and refugee threats Europe is facing rather than a prospective part of the solution.


Indeed, on Friday Euronews had two featured news stories in its hourly programming that turned very favorable attention to Russia and its take on Turkey. One was a segment showing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterpart, the Syrian Foreign Minister at a news briefing in Moscow during which Turkey was accused of trying to take over territory in Northern Syria for the past five years, thereby pursuing its own selfish interests while fueling the Syrian civil war. Lavrov stressed the cynicism and duplicity of the Turkish position in the US-led coalition. The news conference was by no means a major event, and it was a surprising editorial decision to give it such prominence in the programming. The other odd choice for a featured news segment was a video recording of mourners in the home town of the second Russian airman who died at the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday, a member of the helicopter crew searching for the downed navigator of the bomber. The distraught faces of his family and community attending his funeral were shown with all due respect for the depth of Russian feelings over the Turkish ‘stab in the back.’


In addition, the news of Friday from Turkey, as developed by Euronews’ own reporters on the ground, gave its audience serious reasons to listen closely to the Russian narrative. These news items were devoted firstly to the killing of a Kurdish civil rights leader in what one eyewitness described as a political assassination. The second news item described the court actions being taken against two of Turkey’s most prominent print journalists from the daily Cumhuriyet: editor-in-chief Can Dundar, and senior editor of the paper in Ankara, Erdem Gul. The reason for their arrest speaks directly to Russian allegations about official Turkish connivance with the Islamic State jihadists. The journalists are charged with violations of state security over their expose of Turkish arms deliveries to Syrian opposition forces linked to terror. The case puts in question the whole logic of Europe’s pending rapprochement with Turkey at the very moment when the government’s authoritarian leanings and zealous crushing of journalistic independence are there for all to see. This makes a mockery of the EU’s values-driven foreign policy, the argument otherwise used to justify sanctions against Russia...


as Putin explained, the Islamic State forces in Syria can only be defeated on the ground, and there is only one military force in existence today, the regular Syrian Army of President Assad. This very reasonable logic just happens to fly in the face of everything Washington, and official France as well, has been saying about the Syrian civil war



Note: 
 It seems to me that Putin is conducting a very impressive PR campaign.
By linking Turkey to ISIS oil receipts, the public has something it can really sink their teeth into, corruption.
Everyone understands that. It's not hard to grasp like the subtler geopolitical issues like the removal of assad and the splitting up of the country. These might be more important to the people who direct the policy, but they are more difficult to communicate to the public.
The benefit for Putin is that it casts Erdogan, and by implication, his NATO and US allies as part of a vast criminal conspiracy using the war on terror as cover for common thievery.
This may be an oversimplification of what is really taking place in Syria, but it creates a hard-to-challenge counter narrative that makes Putin look like the guy in the white hat while the US and Nato are in  bed with ISIS.








...there should be a litmus test for guys like me who write about US foreign policy.We should have to prove that we have some vague idea what the US is trying to achieve.
But I have to admit, after looking at Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Iraq...I'm still in the dark.
What was gained...BY ANYONE even the big oil guys???
Shouldn't the warmongers like McCain and Clinton have to explain "how we are better off after these interventions before we go off on the next???

And what about the whole "evil dictator" thing?
Can't we  agree now that a dictatorship is better than widespread terrorism and anarchy?







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