Category Archives: Turkey

Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket, by Pepe Escobar

Source:RT
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It all started with French President Francois Hollande, after the Paris attacks, having the temerity to advance the idea of France working together with Russia in the same coalition against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip “no excuse” Erdogan thought NATO and Russia by this time would be at each other’s – Cold War 2.0 – nuclear throats, while Washington had brushed off Hollande’s idea with a cascade of platitudes and distortions.

And in less than 17 seconds, Prime Minister Ahmet “I ordered it myself” Davutoglu had authorized Turkey to shoot down a Russian Su-24 – only a few hours before Hollande met with President Obama.

So everything seemed to be falling into place. No chance of a new détente between the Atlanticist powers and NATO. On the contrary. Erdogan was sure he had sabotaged for good the Hollande-Putin face-to-face meeting in Moscow.

Not so fast, Sultan.

In Moscow, Hollande and Putin confirmed that France and Russia will not be torn apart. The French leader declared: “What we agreed, and this is important, is to strike only terrorists and Daesh and to not strike forces that are fighting terrorism. We will exchange information about whom to hit and whom not to hit.”
Continue reading Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket, by Pepe Escobar
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An Invisible US Hand (Turkey) Leading to War? by, DAVE LINDORFF

Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

Source: counterpunch

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In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Putin’s options are actually quite broad, though some carry considerably more risk for everyone, not just for Russia and Turkey. He could have his own air

force in Syria, where Russia is legally acting at the request of the Syrian government to defend it against rebel forces of ISIS and Al Nusra, some of which are backed by both Turkey and the US, calmly wait for a Turkish military jet to cross into Syrian airspace. At that point it could be downed by Russian planes or missiles. No doubt Turkey will be extraordinarily careful going forward to have its pilots keep well away from Syrian air space too avoid that, but it could happen. My guess is that Russian fighter pilots and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria already have their marching orders to take that action, which probably would not activate NATO confrontation with Russia and lead to World War III, as long as there was reasonable evidence that Turkey’s plane was in Syrian airspace.

But should no such opportunity present itself, Russia has plenty of other opportunities to counter Turkey. Remember, Russia is also defending Syria’s coastline, and could sink or capture a Turkish ship that entered Syrian waters (or Russian waters in the Black Sea, which borders both countries).

Russia — knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region — could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

I’m sure there are plenty of other options available to Russia also to turn the screws against both Turkey and NATO, without openly pushing buttons that could lead to a direct confrontation with the US and its NATO fiction. Working in Russia’s favor is that the US aside, the European nations of NATO have no desire to be at war with Russia. There are clearly hotheads in the US Congress, the Pentagon, and perhaps even within the neo-con-infested Obama administration, who are pushing for just such a mad showdown. But in Europe, where the actual fighting would mostly occur, and where memories are still strong of the destructive power of war, there is no taste for such insanity. It could, in fact, have been a big error in the long run for the US to push Turkey into such a deadly provocation, if it leads to more anti-American sentiment among the citizens of such key NATO countries as France, Germany, Italy and Britain.

It should be added that Russia and China have become much closer in recent years, economically, politically and militarily. This means there is also the possibility that the two countries could, in concert, step up pressure on the US in the western Pacific, for example by forcing down one of the provocative US flights near China’s new island projects in the South China Sea. That would force an already stretched US military to shift more forces to Asia from Europe and the Middle East.

It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Towards a reversal of the situation in the Near East, by Thierry Meyssan

Source: Voltaire Network

The days of the « Arab Spring » are almost over. As of now, the White House and the Kremlin are redesigning the contours of the « Greater Middle East ». However, their agreement, which was concluded before the Russian military intervention in Syria, could still be modified by the changes in the balance of power. There is no proof that Moscow will accept the stabilisation of Syria or ignore the partition of Turkey and Saudi Arabia which are soon to begin. In any event, the coming upheaval will modify the status quo which has been in place for the last five years. Most of the powers implicated are therefore scrambling to change sides before the other players.

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Whatever its home country, the Press is currently too occupied with analysing the position of its own State in the Near East conflict to take any note of the ongoing global negotiations between the White House and the Kremlin [1]. As a result, it is misinterpreting certain secondary events. In order to clarify the current diplomatic agitation, we have to revisit the USA-Russian agreement of last September.

The public part of this agreement was formulated by Russia in a document distributed on the 29th September at the UN Security Council [2]. It indicates that in order to re-establish peace and stability in North Africa and the Near East, it is essential – and sufficient –

(1) to apply the resolutions of the Security Council – which notably implies the retreat of Israël to its 1967 borders – and

(2) to combat terrorist ideology – in other words, to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, created by the United Kingdom and supported by Turkey, and the Wahhabism propagated by Saudi Arabia.

It had originally been planned that Russia should call for the adoption of a resolution to this end during the Security Council meeting of the 30th September. However, the United States opposed this initiative less than one hour beforehand [3]. Sergey Lavrov therefore presided over the talks without mentioning his project. This major event can only be interpreted as a tactical disagreement which must not block a strategic agreement.

On the 20th October, at the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin received his Syrian counterpart, Bachar el-Assad, in the presence of his Ministers for Defence and Foreign Affairs, the General Secretary of the Russian Council for National Security and the head of the secret services. The meeting concerned the application of the Russia-US plan, including the agreement of the Geneva Communiqué of 30th June 2012 [4]. President el-Assad pointed out that he was following the instructions of this Communiqué, and in particular, that he had integrated into his government the opposition parties who had requested participation, as required by the description in the Communiqué of a Transitional Governing Body.

Continue reading Towards a reversal of the situation in the Near East, by Thierry Meyssan

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Russia Returns to the Middle East, by Israel Shamir

Source: Information Clearing House

September 26, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – These autumn days are the most important in the Middle East calendar. The Muslims celebrate Eid al Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice; the Jews fast at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; and the Eastern Orthodox Christians rejoice at Nativity of Our Lady Mary. It appears, surprisingly, the best place to be at this time is Moscow, where Putin received in quick succession the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Turkish ruler Recep Erdogan.

They did not come for the lovely Indian summer that blessed Moscow this week, not for the yellow and red leaves covering the maple and birch trees, though this sumptuous new Xanadu is quite fetching this time of the year; its streets refashioned at enormous expense, parks tended by best gardeners; bicycle paths and sidewalks repaved and even its feared traffic jams abated somewhat.

Ostensibly, Abbas and Erdogan came to unveil, together with Putin, the grand new Cathedral Mosque of Moscow, a vast and opulent structure where ten thousand worshippers can pray at once. This city has more Muslims than many a Muslim city has; about two millions of its 14 million dwellers are nominal Muslims.

They unveiled the mosque all right, and used this occasion for a good lengthy talk with Putin. So did Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, who gave a miss to the mosque. And he came with his top brass: the head of staff and the head of military intelligence, after a long-time no-see.

This sudden interest to Moscow is a sign that the Russian entry into the Syrian fray has been playing to a full house. When, some three weeks ago I reported on this decision of Kremlin, my report was met with great doubt, to say the least. Could it be that Russia, after being licked in the Ukraine, will venture that far from home? They were supposed to sulk in the Kremlin under the heavy load of sanctions, not roam around. Now the facts on the ground had justified my previous report. Russian soldiers and marines, Russian weapons, jets and boats are seen on the shore; they are building a new base and fighting the enemy, giving a new lease of life to the embattled Syrian state.

Continue reading Russia Returns to the Middle East, by Israel Shamir

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The Perpetual Russian Invasion Train arrives at Syria!, by Pepe Escobar

Source: RT

Workers repair electrical grids as civilians walk past buildings damaged by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's al-Shaar neighborhood February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ENERGY) - RTR4RA6R
Workers repair electrical grids as civilians walk past buildings damaged by what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s al-Shaar neighborhood February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ENERGY) – RTR4RA6R

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Well, the Russians are always coming. The Russians never stopped coming since those heady Cold War days. The Russians are “invading” Ukraine. Every day. For over a year now. Now the Russians are “invading” Syria.

That’s just a prelude. Soon the Russians will be invading the whole Middle East, the whole of Eastern and Western Europe, the whole Arctic. And then, one day, surreptitiously, they will be back in Cuba, ready to invade Florida and then the whole homeland.

History now repeats itself under the eternal recurrence of farce. About the best illustration of the propaganda modus operandi underlying the current exceptionalist hysteria over Russia’s alleged “military incursion” in Syria was penned way back in 2011 on Counterpunch by the late, great Alex Cockburn. Enjoy:

“Suppose the CIA leaks a national security review concluding that the moon is actually made of cheese, and the Chinese are planning to send up a pair of gigantic bio-engineered rats to breed in numbers sufficient to eat the cheese and thus sabotage US plans for Missile Defense radar deployment on the moon’s dark side.

The headlines will initially proclaim, “Doubts on Chinese Rat Threat Widespread. Many scoff.” The lead paragraph in news stories in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal will quote the scoffers, but then ‘balance’ will mandate respectful quotation from ‘intelligence sources’, faculty professors, think tank ‘experts’ and the like, all eager to dance to the government’s tune: Many say rat scenario ‘plausible’, etc.

Lo and behold, by the end of a couple of days of such news stories, the Chinese rat plot is firmly ensconced as a credible proposition. News reports then turn to respectful discussion of the US government’s options in confronting and routing the Chinese rat threat: Vice President says ‘all options are on the table,’ etc.”

There you go. China – as well as Russia – are of course major threats, according to the Pentagon’s military doctrine; as bad if not worse than ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. So Russia must have a rat threat of its own. Which brings us to the “The Russians are Coming” Syria plot, which has submerged think tanks such as the CIA front Stratfor in profoundly thoughtful speculation, everything of course based on prime, second-hand, ideologically-corrupted, lousy – and fake – intel.

Continue reading The Perpetual Russian Invasion Train arrives at Syria!, by Pepe Escobar

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The Refugees Are Coming!!!, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Counter Punch

Calais – anti refugee walls.
Calais – anti refugee walls.

I don’t really know, I don’t understand how it feels: to live in a rich European country, which is rich mainly because it has been directly plundering many poor nations around the world. Or it has been plundering by association, through its membership in some extremist organization like NATO. To live there, refusing to acknowledge why it is rich, how it became rich.

Palaces, theatres, railroads, hospitals and parks in that rich country are built on broken skeletons and restless specters, on lakes of blood and shameless theft.

Then, when one looted country after another begins to sink, when there is nothing left there, when children begin dying from hunger and when men commence fighting each other over tiny boulders and dirty pieces of turf, pathetic boats, or dinghies, begin crossing the waterways, bringing half starved, half-mad refugees to the European sea-fronts decorated with marble.

What a horrifying sight! As if a woman, her hair waving in disarray, her lips broken, comes begging a man who raped her after killing her husband – begging for shelter and at least some work and piece of bread. She decided to abandon all her pride, because her children are sick and starving, because it is either this, or death.

That is what you reduced the world to, Europe – you, and your huge, insatiable offspring – North America!

Too egocentric, too cruel, you lost the ability to judge, to feel. All moral standards collapsed. There are no higher principles, anymore, only self-interest.

In Calais and Kos, in Paris, London, Stuttgart, and Prague, I heard the same questions posed with absolutely straight faces: “How are we going to absorb all those hordes of immigrants?”

Almost no one in the West is wondering aloud: “How did the people on other continents manage to endure those long centuries of colonialism and neo-colonialism, of shameless plunder, of slavery, of constant locust-like onslaught of corporate and neoliberal cannibalistic hordes? Wouldn’t a set of keys issued to each and every citizen of robbed, formerly or presently colonized country, be the tiniest, the most basic token of justice?”

Congolese refugees in Goma.
Congolese refugees in Goma.

Is it morally acceptable that a thief, an arsonist, a rapist, a liar, a serial killer, all in one, would be allowed to live in a mansion, surrounded by slums housing his victims?

In the West, in the Christian West, in fundamentalist West, such arrangement is obviously tolerable.

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Continue reading The Refugees Are Coming!!!, by Andre Vltchek

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UNTOLD SUFFERING IN FOUA AND KAFARYA: TWO NORTHWESTERN SYRIAN VILLAGES UNDER SIEGE AND ASSAULT BY NATO’S TERRORISTS

-by Eva Bartlett

Source: In Gaza

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Rimas Al-Nayef, killed by terrorist shelling of Foua village on August 10, 2015

Part One of Two

Infant Rimas Al-Nayef was one of at least 5 children killed by NATO-backed terrorists’ shelling on August 10, 2015 in the northwestern Syrian village of Foua. Another 25 residents were killed by the up to 1,500 rockets and mortars which Jebhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) and other terrorist factions rained down on Foua and neighbouring Kafarya village, just north of Idlib. Scores more were injured on that day alone. Yet, scarcely a peep in the corporate media, as massacres committed by western-backed “moderates” do not merit media coverage, do not suit the war agenda.

The attack was waged by a number of different factions, primarily al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Fattah (the so-called “Army of Conquest”), and Ahrar al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Movement) along with other “moderates” of the umbrella organization Jabhat al-Islamiyah (the Islamic Front).

Crescent International reported: “The barrage of rockets has intensified; Western, Saudi and Turkish-supplied 500 kg rockets are fired at the villages accompanied by incursions with the clear aim to capture them.”

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The villages, less than 10 km northeast of Idlib, had already been suffering an over 4 year long siege by al-Nusra and affiliates.

Until late March, residents—although surrounded by militant factions—still had an access road, thus supplies for their survival. With the militants’ occupation of Idlib at the end of March, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had to withdraw forces from bases in the province. Foua and Kafarya became utterly isolated.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading UNTOLD SUFFERING IN FOUA AND KAFARYA: TWO NORTHWESTERN SYRIAN VILLAGES UNDER SIEGE AND ASSAULT BY NATO’S TERRORISTS

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Clinton, Juppé, Erdoğan, Daesh and the PKK, by Thierry Meyssan

Source: Voltaire Network

The resumption of the repression of Kurds in Turkey is nothing more than a consequence of the impossible task of implementing the Juppé-Wright plan of 2011. While it was easy to deploy Daesh in the Syrian desert and the provinces of Niniveh and d’al-Anbar (Iraq), which are mostly Sunnite, it proved to be impossible to take control of the Kurdish populations of Syria. In order to realise his dream of a Kurdistan outside of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no other choice but civil war.

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Published in 2013, the Wright plan is based on the Juppé plan for Libya, Syria and Iraq. However, Robin Wright goes further by including projects for Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Published in 2013, the Wright plan is based on the Juppé plan for Libya, Syria and Iraq. However, Robin Wright goes further by including projects for Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

When they took power in Ankara in 2003, the Islamist party AKP modified Turkey’s strategic priorities. Rather than using reports on the post-« Desert Storm » balance of power, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan harboured the ambition of freeing his country from the isolation it has known since the end of the Ottoman Empire. Based on analyses provided by his advisor, Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu, he advocated solving century-old problems with Turkey’s neighbours, and becoming progressively the inevitable regional mediator. In order to do so, Turkey had to become a political model and build relations with his Arab partners, without losing its alliance with Israël.

This policy, known as « zero problem », began sucessfully at first.Ankara no longer feared Damascus and its support for the PKK, and also asked Syria for help in negotiating an exit. In October 2006, the Kurdish party declared a unilateral truce and began negotiations with the Erdoğan government. In May 2008, Ankara organised indirect negotiations between Damascus and Tel-Aviv, the first talks since Ehud Barack’s rejection of the Bill Clinton / Hafez el-Assad plan. But President Bachar el-Assad withdrew from the discussions after Israël attacked Gaza in December 2009.

Realising that because of the Palestinian conflict, it was impossible to maintain good relations with all the states in the region, Ankara chose to support the Palestinians against Israël. This was the period of the Davos and Freedom Flotilla episodes. Backed by vast popular support in the Muslim world, Ankara approached Teheran and accepted, in November 2010, to participate in a Turkey-Iran-Iraq-Syria common market. Visas were repealed ; the rights of the Customs were considerably reduced ; a consortium was created to manage the oil and gas pipe-lines ; an authority was created to enable the management of water ressources. The overall structure looked so inviting that Lebanon and Jordan presented their candidacy. Sustainable peace seemed possible for the Levant.

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Continue reading Clinton, Juppé, Erdoğan, Daesh and the PKK, by Thierry Meyssan

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