Mattis declared that “Great Power competition between nations (is) becoming a reality once again.” He continued: “Though we will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists … Great Power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”
The security and military cooperation between Turkey and the U.S., which has served as the bastion of the alliance for the last 60 years, has reached an impasse. In Manbij, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), close affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), are waiting to pull the trigger of the American weapons in their possession against the Turkish army....
Every time Turks question whether the U.S. stance on the YPG is compatible with the one a NATO ally should have, Americans reciprocate by questioning whether the purchase of S-400s from Russia is compatible with being a NATO ally. When Ankara argues: “But the YPG-PKK relationship is an existential threat to me,” Washington insists that Russia poses an existential threat to NATO.
In the meantime, the debate around Turkey’s NATO membership is gaining traction once again in Washington. But this time members of the “We lost Turkey, there is no need to wrestle for this relationship” camp are more crowded. The general mood at Capitol Hill says that Erdoğan’s Turkey is neither a rational actor nor a reliable ally and reflects the pressure point on the Trump administration....Nobody in Washington is really sure whether Ankara is bluffing about attacking the YPG in Manbij. That might be the strength of the Turkish position for the time being as long as this is backed by clever diplomacy in negotiations not by impulsive rhetoric or actions.
7-- Manifestation of heinous intention’: North slams US’ recent sanctions against Pyongyang
“I agree that there is an alignment of Israel and other countries in the Middle East that would’ve been unimaginable 10 years ago, and certainly in my lifetime. I never saw anything like it,” the Israeli premier said.
“Yes, it starts with a common concern for a common enemy which is radical Islam, either of the radical Sunnis, Daesh, before that al-Qaeda, which Israel fights ... and also our common stance against Iran,” he added.
1-- Erdogan has made his choice
Foreign fighters from the United States, Canada and Europe are arriving in Syria’s Afrin region to fight alongside Kurdish forces against the Turkish Army and militant groups allied to it.
2--American, European pro-Kurdish fighters flock to Syria’s Afrin for battle against Turkey-led forces
Ranks of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units based in the Syrian region of Afrin (Aleppo province) have received a boost recently with the arrival of experienced North American and European volunteer fighters.
4--The Saker: Uncle Sam Dumps The Kurds (Yet Again)
The US-Israeli goals in Syria were really very simple. As I have already mentioned in a past article, the initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:
Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces and security services.
Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan, but further north.
Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
Breakup Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and forces the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
Eliminate all center of Shia power in the Middle-East.
In fact, it is pretty clear that the US Americans have, yet again, betrayed an ally: Tillerson has now “greenlighted” a 30km safe zone in Syria (as if anybody was asking for his opinion, nevermind permission!). Take a look at this simple map of the Afrin region and look what 50 miles (about 80km) look like. You can immediately see that this 30km “safe zone” means: the end of any Kurdish aspirations to created a little independent Kurdistan in northern Syria.
Syria, Iran and Turkey now realize a simple thing: only Russia stands between the crazy US-Israeli plans for the region and them. Absent Russia, there is nothing stopping the AngloZionist from re-igniting the “good terrorists” and the Kurds and use them against every one of them....
To say that all these developments make the Russians really happy is not an exaggeration. It is especially sweet for the Russians to see that they did not even have to do much, that this ugly mess of a disaster for the USA was entirely self-inflicted. What can be sweeter than that?
the Russians need to talk to the Kurds and offer them the same deal again: large autonomy inside Syria in exchange for peace and prosperity. The Kurds are not exactly the easiest people to talk to, but since there is really no other option, my guess is that as soon as they stop hallucinating about the US going to war with Turkey on their behalf they will have to sit down and negotiate the deal. Likewise, the Russians will have to sell the very same deal to Damascus which, frankly, is in no position to reject it.
there are also reports that the US is itself stepping supplies of anti tank missiles to the Kurds....
It appears that there was a furious row between Trump and Erdogan, with Trump telling Erdogan to stop his operation against the Kurds in Afrin and with Erdogan refusing to do so.
An angry and humiliated Erdogan has subsequently tried to conceal the extent of the row by claiming that the readout is inaccurate so as to pretend that the row never took place.
This brings up again the question of the seemingly confused state of US policy on the Kurdish question
I have for some time presumed that are different opinions in the White House and especially in the Pentagon with regards to Turkey and the Kurds. The realist-hawks and NATO proponents are on Turkey’s side while the neoconservative “liberal” forces are on the Kurdish side. Yesterday the NYT noted the split:
The White House sent out a message aimed at mollifying Turkey’s president on Tuesday, suggesting that the United States was easing off its support for the Syrian Kurds.That message was quickly contradicted by the Pentagon, which said it would continue to stand by the Kurds, even as Turkey invaded their stronghold in northwestern Syria.
The former director of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, takes the pro-Kurdish position. Linking to the NYT piece above he says:
Richard N. Haass @RichardHaass – 12:00 PM – 24 Jan 2018
Pentagon right; US should be working w Kurds in Syria for moral and strategic reasons alike. A break with Erdogan’s Turkey is inevitable, if not over this than over other differences. Time for DoD to come up with plan to substitute for Incirlik access.It is not only the Incirlik air-base which is irreplaceable for NATO’s southern command. Turkey also controls the access to the Black Sea and has thereby a say over potential NATO operations against southern Russia and Crimea.
In a Bloomberg oped former U.S. Supreme Commander of NATO Stavridis takes a pro-Turkish position:
At the moment, Washington is trying to sail a narrow passage between supporting its erstwhile Kurdish combat partners and not blowing up the relationship with Turkey. But the room for maneuver is closing and a choice is looming. What should the U.S. do?
W]e simply cannot afford to “lose” Turkey. …
The Turks have a strong and diversified economy, a young and growing population, and have stood alongside the U.S. for much of the post-World War II era. Their importance both regionally and globally will continue to grow in the 21st century. Yes, U.S. officials can and should criticize Turkish actions where they violate international law or human rights — but in private, at least at this stage of the situation.
[T]he overall U.S. strategic interest lies in keeping Turkey aligned with NATO and the trans-Atlantic community. It would be a geopolitical mistake of near-epic proportions to see Turkey drift out of that orbit and end up aligned with Russia and Iran in the Levant.
9--Turkey Will ‘Target’ US Troops If They Keep Supporting Syrian Kurds
Deputy PM Says US Is 'Risking Confrontation' With Turkey
10--- North Korea Issues Statement Calling for Breakthrough in UnificationUrges All Koreans to Push Bilateral Cooperation
Hassan Hassan, a Syrian analyst and author, said that the Americans repeatedly had broken promises to Turkey about the alliance: They said the Syrian Democratic Forces would not cross the Euphrates River. It did. They said it would withdraw. It stayed.
The Americans also said that the Y.P.G. would refrain from promoting P.K.K. ideology outside Kurdish areas. But Y.P.G. fighters hoisted a huge poster of Mr. Ocalan in the center of the city of Raqqa after wresting it from the Islamic State last year, a huge embarrassment to the United States.
16--The Pentagon Gets Its War in Syria
17--anti-Trump FBI Official Identified As Leaker To WSJ, WaPo Reporter
19-- Permanent war on terror? gareth porter
20 Russiagate implodes
21-- Korea, Raimondo
The initiative did come from Seoul. Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since taking the White House has caused many of the more hysterical NeverTrumpers to squeal that he’s about to launch a first strike at Pyongyang. Folks, it ain’t happening. His rhetoric no doubt helped motivate South Korean President Moon Jae-in to take the initiative in fulfilling his campaign promise to revive the “Sunshine Policy” and pursue better relations with the North in a serious way.
History isn’t all about us. Sometimes – and, in the future, I believe this will increasingly be the case in a multi-polar world – it’s about people independently determining their own destiny and pursuing the path of peace.
22-- ‘Operation Olive Branch’: Key points of Turkish military campaign against Syrian Kurd
On Jan. 24, Donald Trump used the harshest language that a US president has ever directed against a NATO ally, expressing “concern about destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey, and about United States citizens and local employees detained under the prolonged State of Emergency in Turkey,” and warning Turkey “to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees.” Turkish stocks were unchanged.
Turkey meanwhile has reached a strategic accommodation with Russia over the future division of Syria: Turkey will abandon Sunni rebels whom it supported in the past in return for Russia’s forbearance while Turkey reduces Kurdish forces friendly to the United States. According to a Jan. 22 TASS press summary, Kirill Semenov, the head of the Islamic Research Center of the Institute of Innovative Development, explained: “Turkey’s operation in Afrin could have only happened as a result of agreements with the Russian side, particularly taking into account the fact that the Turkish air force used the Syrian air space.
26-- Fed loses control of US Economy
27--How did the US rename a terror group to work with it?
Notes and links--
Facebook Says ‘Insignificant’ Overlap Between Russia Ads, Trump