Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Today's Links

1---Turkey urges training so-called moderate militants in Syria

Turkey has called for the swift implementation of its proposals concerning the ongoing crisis in Syria, among them training and equipping the so-called moderate militants operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"We insist on creation of safe zones liberated from terror and implementation of proposals to train and equip moderate opposition," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a Tuesday speech to a group of neighborhood officials in Ankara while his comments were broadcast live on television.
The Turkish president put forward the proposals two months ago as the key to stopping the influx of refugees.
"If we would like to resolve the refugee issue, there are three things we have to do," Erdogan said in early October, "One is to focus on training and equipment. The second one is to declare a safe zone that would be protected from terrorism and the third is a no-fly zone."
In order to continue their support for the militants fighting to topple the Syrian government in the face of the undeniable atrocities committed by terrorists like Daesh Takfiris, the Western governments and their regional allies have classified the militants into "extremists" and "moderates."...

The Russian ministry statement, however, read that it is "premature" to announce the negotiations for that date amid a failure by participants in the talks to make a distinction between terrorists and opposition members active in Syria.
"Not having a collective understanding of who in Syria is a terrorist and who is an opposition member, it is impossible to hold talks on the internal Syrian political process or on such an important and urgent matter as the ceasefire," the Russian Foreign Ministry statement read.  
2--Russia censures Turkey's troop deployment to Iraq as 'reckless'

3---Time's Up: Iraq Demands Cancellation of US Security Agreement

Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee is going to review a security agreement with the United States over Washington’s inability to tackle the crisis in the country, committee member Hamid al-Mutlaq told Sputnik on Wednesday...

“The government and parliament need to review the agreement signed with the United States on security because the United States does not seriously care about its fulfillment. We demand that it be annulled,” al-Mutlaq said.
“Iraq will be protected only by its sons, and Turkey must withdraw [its troops] because Iraqi soil is holy and its sovereignty is the red line. We have the right to give this issue international character and demand Turkish troops be withdrawn through the UN Security Council,” al-Mutlaq continued.
On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi gave Turkey 24 hours to withdraw its troops from Iraq to avoid the matter being reviewed by the UN Security Council. Turkey has refused to do so

4--Dollar Troubles
5--Why is Turkey stirring the Iraqi cauldron?

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded by saying Turkish troops have been in Bashiqa since March 2015 with the blessing of the central government, regional authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Government sources in Ankara said the deployment had been agreed to in December 2014 during a Davutoglu visit to Baghdad for talks with Abadi. In a letter to Abadi after the latest crisis, Davutoglu said that Turkey respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq better than others and that it would not send more troops to Bashiqa “until the sensitivities of the Iraqi government are placated.” Government officials in Ankara also said that the troops sent to Bashiqa, with the knowledge of the central government, are part of a routine rotation.
The Turkish media reports claim there is currently a 600-strong special forces unit in Bashiqa, along with the 25 tanks. Reports also cite officials saying that if the need arises, the number of troops could be increased to 1,200. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the troops already there would stay. “It is our duty to provide security for our soldiers providing training there,” Cavusoglu said in a TV interview.....

Assuming Mosul is cleared of IS with a ground operation, what will Turkey’s second step be? Who will control the region?” asked Yilmaz, now a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party, in an interview with Hurriyet.
“If Mosul falls to Kurdish hands, like Sinjar — and the Kurds have been waiting a long time to get hold of Mosul and Kirkuk — then we face another scenario,” he said. “In that case, the KRG’s borders will grow, and it will become a larger state. The PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party] in Syria will also control a large area. Does this mean we have prepared the ground for others to expand their lands?”
Yilmaz added, “I fail to understand what Turkey is trying to achieve. How can we read a foreign policy that does not know what its second and third steps are?”
The bottom line is that this development has left in its wake unanswered questions about Ankara’s motives and its ability to formulate coherent policies for Iraq and Syria that do not stir the cauldron and also avoid creating negative repercussions for Turkey.

6--The smoking gun: 4 US-led coalition jets seen over Deir ez Zor in Syria day govt troops attacked - Russian MoD

“Pentagon officials said that on December 6, American aircraft were operating in that area, but striking a target some 55 kilometers away from the [affected Syrian] installation is true to an extent. But it’s not the complete truth,” Konashenkov stressed.

“Two pairs of warplanes from two other countries, members of the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition, were operating in the Deir ez-Zor area on the day of the attack,” Major-General Konashenkov said. “If they were not involved in that airstrike, than why are the Pentagon’s representatives, as leaders of the anti-ISIS coalition, hushing up the presence of their allies aircraft in the Deir ez-Zor region on December 6? Isn’t it because the [anti-ISIS] coalition air force gets all the information on Islamic State targets in Syria from the Pentagon?” General Konashenkov asked.
“I’m sure, very soon we’ll learn who really inflicted the airstrike on the Syrian troops, as soon as the Syrian authorities make public the results of the investigation of that incident and the type of munitions used in the airstrike,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman said.
Damascus says the airstrike against Syrian troop positions was carried out by the US-led coalition.

7--The Pentagon's hand in ISIS, pepe escobar--The gift

And that brings up the question, once again, of how Daesh was able last year to conquer Mosul – the second city in Iraq - without a fight. And this after their notorious convoy of gleaming white Toyotas crossing the desert from Syria to Iraq managed to evade detection by the most sophisticated satellite surveillance system in the history of the Universe.
Regarding the mystery, persistent intel rumblings across the Middle East and among the “4+1” coalition are bound to turn into a volcano.

According to the rumblings, the official - Pentagon - narrative that the Iraqi Army supposed to fight Islamic State in Mosul last year got scared and simply ran away is a myth.
As we know, the Iraqi Army, trained by the Pentagon, left behind a wealth of tanks and heavy weapons duly captured by IS. And IS couldn’t be luckier in collecting this almighty ‘gift’.
The new narrative rules that the Pentagon deliberately “instructed” the Iraqi Army to run away, as a sort of tactical retreat, leaving behind all that fabulous hardware.

So what we have here is the Pentagon fully protected by plausible deniability.
And Islamic State duly weaponized as a proxy/regime change army in Syria. A perfect chaos-provoking tool aligned with the strategic objective of the ‘Empire of Chaos’ in Syria. Which, by the way, does include, in the absence of full regime change, the formation of a ‘Sunnistan’ in Syria as well. 
Oh, but the Pentagon would never engage in such practices, would they?

8---Vast Energy Reserves Discovered in Syria

The only way out is the path of negotiated settlement among the indigenous forces in conflict. The Syrian government has declared all along that it is willing to negotiate with domestic opponents. Russia is present in accord with Syria’s rights of sovereignty. It has declared, in the Vienna agreement, for a process of distinction between domestic belligerents and invasive forces against the government, such as ISIS. Its presence exerts some restraint on the western powers. A negotiated peace is still a real possibility.....

In 2011 a scientific study of Syria’s offshore energy resources was published in a journal called GeoArabia. The journal is exclusively distributed to big energy corporations including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Aramco, and Shell, a few other corporations, and some universities.

The study identified three blocks in Syria’s offshore territory. They are estimated to hold about 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 3.6 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. That is more gas than China has. The maximum depth throughout the Syrian basins is less than 250 meters (around 800 feet), which poses no problem for drilling. Syria’s total proven petroleum reserves come to a hefty 25.3 billion barrels.
As the world is today, the possession by a small country of vast natural wealth leads to all kinds of trouble from international robbers large and small.

There are also large petroleum reserves in the Golan Heights. The area was seized by armed force by Israel in 1967, and illegally declared annexed by Israel in 1981.

9---Enter Sunnistan: Turkey's Imperial Motive In Attacking Syria And Iraq

A former head of Israel’s National Security Council Giora Eiland writes in The Guardian:
About a year before that meeting with the Russian, I met a senior Turkish official. That was at a time when relations between Jerusalem and Ankara were excellent. At that meeting, the Turkish official spoke openly about his country’s world view. “We know that we cannot get back the lands that were under the control of the Ottoman empire before 1917,” he said, “but do not make the mistake of thinking that the borders that were dictated to us at the end of the first world war by the victorious countries – mainly the UK and France – are acceptable to us. Turkey will find a way to return to its natural borders in the south – the line between Mosul in Iraq and Homs in Syria. That is our natural aspiration and it is justified because of the large Turkmen presence in that region.”...

All the above is just to show that Turkey under Erdogan has a neo-Ottoman expansionist view. It wants parts of Iraq and Syria incorporated into Turkey. This view is popular in the ethnic Turk parts of Turkey. Erdogan is getting some support - or at least little resistance - from his NATO allies in pursuing this aim.
The overall Turkish plan is to re-establish the Ottoman administrative units or vilayets of Aleppo, Diyarbekir in its southern extend to the Euphrates and Mosul. These areas include large oil and gas fields in Syria and north Iraq. The Russian intervention in Syria frustrates the Aleppo plan. The temporary U.S. alliance with the YPK Kurds in Syria hinders the southern extension of Diyarbekir to the Euphrates. A serious move on Mosul started last weekend and has not yet been challenged by force. If diplomatic pressure fails to dislodge the Turks from the area Iraqi militia will attack the new Turkish positions near Mosul.

10--Exporting war: Mercenaries in Yemen, the US connection

An article in the New York Times revealed that 450 Latin American soldiers, among them Colombians, Panamanians, Salvadorans and Chileans, have been deployed to Yemen. The mercenaries receive training in the United Arab Emirates before deployment, in part from U.S. trainers....
Since the beginning of Plan Colombia, between 2000 and 2015 the U.S. spent almost $7 billion to train, advise and equip Colombia’s security forces. In the last few years, the U.S. government has carried out a strategy to prepare the Colombians for an emerging industry: the “export of security.”...

It cannot be known for sure if the hundreds of Latin American mercenaries were trained in the United States or by the U.S. military in their own countries. The U.S. government does not reveal the names of the soldiers or police that it has trained. Nor is there a public registry of mercenaries. Although the practice is legal in certain contexts, it forms part of the underground world of war, in which shadow powers dictate the conditions in which we live–and often die.
What is certain is that contracting Latin American mercenaries follows the logic of the new style of war designed by the Pentagon. This strategy reduces risks to U.S. troops, increases civilian deaths and feeds war profits. Drones–unmanned airplanes–kill thousands of civilians without risking a single life on the part of the aggressors. They’re shielded from the blood of their victims and the horror of their screams.
While technology makes long-distance war possible, another aspect of proxy war is to get others to fight your battles

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