Several people have told me over the past few weeks that they miss the articles on the Middle East wars that I used to share on this forum. I’ve been posting links to interesting articles onto my Facebook page, but I take note that many anti-war activists find Facebook an addictive and time-wasting medium that even blocks access when too much of the deep-state machinations are revealed.
So here is a selection of excerpts from the blogosphere that help to clarify what’s emerging from the fronts of conflict between the military powers:
SYRIA SITREP: What now ?
By Patrick BAHZAD, 08 DECEMBER 2015
It has been a little over two months now since Russia started its air campaign in Syria. An already complex equation on the ground, this game-changing move was further complicated by events having taken place over recent weeks in the larger Middle-East and in Europe. While it is now more difficult to make any forecast regarding the timeline of possible military developments, a few conclusions can nonetheless be taken away from the latest round of fighting in Syria…
The Russian airstrikes
On the one hand, we were told for over a month that the Russian airstrikes were not intended at degrading ISIS, but at bolstering Assad’s grip on power and at destroying Western backed “moderate rebels”, an expression now so widely used it can mean almost anything bare ISIS itself. Statistically, it is true that most of the Russians strikes hit rebels in the Aleppo, Idlib and Hama area, meaning rebels not affiliated with ISIS. However, some 10 % of these strikes were directed at ISIS positions in the first five weeks of the Russian airstrikes, then some 20 % in the following month, bringing the average ratio of Russian anti-ISIS strikes to somewhere around 15 %.
Admittedly, not an overwhelming figure, but these 15 % are far in excess of anything the Western and GCC coalition has done in the same period. The decision to target ISIS’ fleet of tanker trucks in particular implies a Russian strategy that is more comprehensive, in terms of targeting the finances of the “Caliphate” as well as its Turkish connection, than anything the Obama administration or other Western governments have come up with so far.
In the past eight weeks or so, more than 1 000 trucks were destroyed that way, out of a fleet that totals roughly 8000 vehicles. This is far from being insignificant and any truck owner or driver moving to and from the “Islamic State” will have gotten the message loud and clear…
Downing of Russian Airliner Reveals Western Schizophrenia …
Paris Attacks as Catalyst for a Broader Alliance …
Dubious Turkish Policies
As if the downing of the Russian airliner and the attacks on Paris were not enough, a third unexpected event of major international consequence took place at the end of November. Of course, the suicide bombings that rocked South Beirut the day before Paris hardly counts in that regard, but it may be worth mentioning that four ISIS suicide bombers were sent to blow themselves up in the ‘Bourj el-Barajneh’ suburb of the Lebanese capital. In ‘expert’ language, that means they were sent to a Hezbollah stronghold … Maybe, true even, but they killed 42 innocent civilians nonetheless.
But in the grand-game of international politics, 42 human lifes in South Beirut don’t count for much it seems, and with this thought in mind we shall turn to the truly capital event that took place while French President François Hollande was in the middle of his PR-tour to Washington and Moscow. Is it a coincidence that two Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian bomber over a 12 second incursion in Turkish airspace during that same period ? I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories and there are plenty of reasons that could explain the Turks’ reckless action over an (almost) non-existent incursion. But if someone had wanted to sabotage the French diplomatic offensive, they might not have come up with a better plan.
We may never know what happened exactly over the Turkish-Syrian border. The Russian bomber may or may not have entered Turkish airspace. What is obvious however, is that this incident was not caused by some border violation. I already mentioned the possible intent at sabotaging any larger understanding between the West and the Russians, which would have been a serious issue for Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. What is beyond doubt though is that this incident highlighted Ankara’s very dubious role as a direct actor and unreliable ally in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Contrary to the expected outcome of this act of war (which caused the death of two Russian servicemen), Russian actions will probably be affected in a way defying the whole purpose of the Turkish provocation. Edogan and Co. may have thought they could soften Putin’s stance on Turkmen Islamist militias in North-Western Syria, dragging NATO into a potentially direct confrontation with the Russians, but their miscalculation in this instance might cost them dearly in the end.
Major Developments on the Ground
If anything, the incident pushed the Russians into intensifying operations over Turkmen areas and bringing in additional aircraft and troops into Syria. What also came to light through this whole episode is Turkey’s double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to fighting ISIS. It is now more or less obvious to anyone that the Turkish government is stirring up things on the Syrian side of the border and that the “Islamic State” is a distant second priority to bringing down Assad and taking apart the YPG/PKK militias that are growing in strength on their Sourthern border.
The end-result of these three separate yet linked events – the downing of the Russian airliner, the Paris terror attacks and the border incident over Turkish airspace – is that the situation on the ground has become even more difficult to assess, as intentions and means implemented by a growing number of parties play a role on the development of the conflict. Of course, the dynamics of the war can still be assessed from a strictly military point of view, but their outcome may depend more upon diplomatic and political efforts by both sides (meaning the Western coalition and the “R+6”). In that regard, the regional players that seem least intend on finding a genuine way out of the Syrian quagmire are the GCC countries and, as mentioned above, Turkey.
As always, the determining element in any negotiation of that kind is the balance of (military) power on the ground and that is also the reason why an analysis of the sole military aspects is warranted. Over the last few weeks, military action has continued at an undiminished rate. The initiative in NW Syria remains with R+6 troops, despite their territorial gains remaining limited so far. What is apparent is that the Russian high command is gearing towards a decisive battle in the area of Idlib and Aleppo, which would break the rebels’ back temporarily, thus providing for a strong position of Assad and his allies at the bargaining table.
The push in southern Aleppo countryside is continuing, with the aim being to cut off the rebels’ supply line into Idlib. Interdicting this LOC could happen in several places, most likely along the M4 South of Aleppo, but also possibly North of the city, where SAA troops might try to join with the Shia enclave of Zahra and Nubl. Further complicating the situation for the non-ISIS rebels, the “Islamic State” has also been trying to cut off this LOC lately, with a thrust further North still, towards Tall Rifaat, the objective there possibly being the control of the border crossing of Azaz and the adjacent territories.
Battle in the Mountains
Another border area that has been the scene of serious fighting is the Jabbal Turkman, the area North-East of Latakia, which is of vital importance both to the Syrian regime and its Russian allies on the one hand, and to the various rebel groups on the other. For the Syrians, taking back these wooded mountains would secure the Allawi coastal heartland around Latakia. For other reasons, namely preventing any rebel counter-attack against the increasingly present Russian expeditionary force in the region, Moscow is also interested in pushing back the frontline. Beyond these defensive goals, there is of course a strategic aspect to this battle: taking back the border-area would further cut off the rebels from their rear-bases in Turkey, and dry up the resupply in weapons and fighters coming through this porous border.
Of course, from the rebels point of view, the objective is the exact opposite and the battle has become truly vital to them, insofar as the “Islamic Emirate of Idlib” is coming under increasing pressure. With the R+6 closing in from the North-East (Aleppo) and with their operations in the mountains West of Idlib gaining in momentum, the rebel groups find themselves in a position where they could lose any strategic depth. This, in turn, would seriously threaten their stronghold in that part of the country and further weaken their position at the negotiation table.
As always when a pond gets smaller, bigger fish starts eating up the smaller one … First signs of such developments have materialized in the area between Idlib and Aleppo, as well further North, closer to the Turkish border. Competition for resources (in this case weapons, ammunition and fighters) or territory (guaranteeing access to the logistical bases in Turkey) has begun. There is no sense of panic yet among the rebels in those areas, but gun battles between factions opposing a common enemy surely are no good sign.
Palmyra and the “Southern Front”
In addition to the main theatre of operation in the North-West of Syria, where the battle will be decided, two more areas have seen serious action in the last few weeks. The “clearing” of rebel pockets all along the Southern front has continued, although at a slower pace. The agreement passed with Jordan is probably the most likely explanation for the relative quiet in that area. The only truly “moderate” rebel groups have been summoned back to their bases South of the border.
Those who remained to keep fighting the SAA – that is mostly splintered FSA units which sided with the Islamic “Jaish al-Islam” – are not in a very good position, but have been lucky so far that the current campaign is fought mostly in the North. Foreign sponsors of “Jaish al-Islam” have been pushing for a larger coalition with the hardcore of “Jaish al-Fatah” (meaning mostly “Jabhat al-Nusra”, “Ahrar al-sham” and a few smaller groups), but questions remain in terms of operational command of such a new coalition, making this prospect rather unlikely in the short run.
Quite recently, the R+6 has opened a new “front” when it pushed towards Palmyra, both for military and PR reasons. Strategically, the desert town is not vital to the regime. But it is ISIS’ closest position to the capital Damascus, and the cultural and archeological heritage at Palmyra – what’s left of it, now that the “Islamic State” has blown ancient buildings to bits – would certainly make for good publicity for Assad and the Russians, should they manage to conquer it back. The fighting at Palmyra is also supposed to emphasize the R+6 commitment at confronting ISIS and thus at undermining the Western narrative, which keeps focusing on the offensive against so called “moderates” only.
“Island Hopping” for Air Bases in the Desert
Without doubt, the most interesting development both tactically and strategically has been the R+6 push for control of a larger number of air bases located in various parts of Syria. The battle for Kuweires has been over for several days already, and the siege was lifted – as had been forecast on SST – but this is not the only instance in which control of joint air bases/forward operating bases has taken place.
Kuweires is not operational yet. The perimeter around it is still in the process of being secured. When this is done however, the Syrian air force will probably resume operations there. Similar efforts are underway in two, possibly three other places, which would give the R+6 strategically important bases from which to launch airstrikes and provide close air support to ground troops:
South-East of Homs, “Shayrat” airbase will host a large Russian fleet, together with the necessary personnel to secure and maintain it,
further East still, en route to Palmyra,”T4-Tiyas” airbase will be used by the Iranian airforce.
Meanwhile Deir ez-Zor and Qamishli, two isolated government enclaves deep in ISIS territory also have fully functional airfields that could be used if security was provided for. While it is too early to precisely assess R+6 intentions with the push for these bases, it is already clear that the air campaign is going to be intensified.
Russia has vowed to deploy up to a hundred additional aircraft and, in such a scenario, the various airbases will be used as launchpads against rebels in the NW of the country (Jableh, Shayrat, Kuweires), while others might be tasked with sorties against ISIS targets (Shayrat, Qamishli and possibly Kuweires again).
Move for a Decisive Battle
So far, air force and artillery have proven to be insufficient to tip the balance in favour of the R+6, even though they keep the momentum and are the only side achieving at least some sort of gains on the ground. While time is not on the rebels side, the R+6 will be keen to reach their strategic objectives by mid-March 2016 at the latest, possibly earlier.
They are still on track as far as the NW of Syria is concerned, but they will need to increase the operational tempo of their offensive and go for a “decisive battle”, which the rebels would be likely to try and avoid. Considering the current configuration of the battle field, the best the SAA and its allies might be able to achieve is to continue grinding down rebel defences, cut off supply lines of the non-ISIS groups and break them in a large pincher move, that will close down on “Jabhat al Nusra”, “Ahrar al Sham” and others around Idlib.
In such a scenario, fighting ISIS comes a distant second, at least for now, but contacts established with Kurdish militias, both in the North-East in North-West (Afrin pocket) show that there is also some longer term thinking behind the current operational pace. Most likely, ISIS would be allowed to prevail in the Eastern desert, making it a problem not so much for whoever is in the charge of Syria’s central corridor and coastal area, but for the Iraqi government and for the US-led coalition.
Posted at 04:06 PM in Middle East, Patrick Bahzad, Syria | Permalink
South of the border, Erdogan actively supports Salafi “moderate rebels”, especially his fifth column Turkmen, heavily infiltrated by Turkish fascists of the Grey Wolves kind, in northwest Syria. But Ankara is clever enough not to — directly — support ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Turkmen have struck de facto alliances with Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria. NATO covers Erdogan’s back.
Russia’s entrance with — literally — a bang in the Syrian war theatre blew up Erdogan strategy’s to smithereens. Couple that with the Obama administration’s penchant to support Kurds across “Syraq”.
The only thing Erdogan wants from NATO is a “safe zone” — an euphemism for a no-fly zone that Ankara will use to prevent YPG Syrian Kurds from unifying their three cantons along the Turkish-Syrian border. For Erdogan, the prospect of Kurds preventing Turks from providing logistical bases and weapons to the whole Jabhat al-Nusra galaxy, and of course ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, is anathema.
So Erdogan had been using the Turkmen against the YPG. Russia went for the jugular. And the Sultan, predictably, went bonkers.
Russia’s strategy — coordinated with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) — will only intensify. The priority is to completely rout Turkmen and al-Nusra all across the Bayirbucak region. Two objectives are crucial. 1) to secure Latakia and thus Russia’s Hmeymim air base. 2) to get rid of the Chechens, Uzbeks and Uyghurs infiltrated among the Turkmen (crucial for Moscow, aware of the “900 km from Aleppo to Grozny” syndrome, and also for China.)
As for the notion that Erdogan will now abandon his Turkmen strategy and start fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, that’s a myth. Erdogan will never accept the American support for the YPG. The thing is there’s not much he can do about it.
Sultan Changes the Subject
The downing of the Su-24 was a crude attempt by Erdogan to force NATO to choose his Turkmen/al-Nusra/anti-Kurd strategy instead of any possible coordination with Russia to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
Talk about a monumental blowback; Erdogan handed Moscow on a plate the deployment of the S-400s to Hmeymim. Short-term, this means any Turkish F-16 entertaining funny ideas over Syrian skies will be summarily shot down. Mid-term, this means the “Assad must go” obsession is now six feet under. But the cherry in the cake is long-term; Russia has solidified a permanent strategic stake in the eastern Mediterranean.
Across the battlefield, the most important development is that Russia, and not Iran, has taken over tactics, planning operations and also re-equipping the SAA with everything from 152-millimeter MTSA-B guns to the absolutely devastating TOS-1A Solnitsa rocket launcher, able to fire 30 220-mm thermobaric (incendiary) rockets in a single salvo.
Freshly arrived Russian Marines are also about to advise the SAA counter-offensive against Daesh in Tadmur, western Palmyra.
The Russian tactic is essentially to blow everything up, big time. Of course this implies a serious risk of civilian casualties — something that can only be alleviated by good ground intel, provided by the SAA. It’s the SAA that is actually capturing those areas on the ground.
With his back against the wall in Syria, Erdogan — what else — changed the subject and made a play in Iraq, via the now famous “incursion” of alleged 150 Turkish troops along with 20-25 tanks.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu swears Ankara had been “invited” in by the Nineveh provincial government, with Baghdad’s approval (a bald-faced lie). A spokesman for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq said everything is legit.
Turkish daily Hurriyet spun it as Ankara holding a permanent military base in Bashiqa, near Mosul, to train Peshmerga forces, a deal signed between KRG President Massoud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu earlier last month.
But Ankara, we got a (huge) problem. Mosul and Bashiqa are not even part of the KRG.
So this has nothing to do with training Peshmerga — as much as Erdogan and the AKP heavily hedge their Kurd hatred: the KRG racket and the Peshmerga are “good Kurds”, while the PYD/YPG and the PKK are “bad Kurds”.
When in doubt, follow the oil. The Barzani Mob is selling oil that belongs to Baghdad to Turkey — illegally. They literally own the oil racket in the KRG; and they make a killing, thanks to cozy relations with partner Genel oil, whose chairman is Tony “Deepwater Horizon” Hayward.
It has been widely proved that Erdogan’s son in law cum Energy Minister Berat Albayrak holds the exclusive rights to move KRG oil through Turkey. Following evidence collected by the Russian Defense Ministry, Daesh stolen oil may well be mixed with KRG oil along the way. And a key beneficiary of the whole scheme is Erdogan’s son Bilal, a.k.a. Mini Me, through his BMZ shipping company which delivers the oil mostly to Israel. Mini Me is now self-exiled in Bologna, Italy, where he manages untraceable amounts of cash safely ensconced in Swiss bank accounts.
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151207/1031367231/erdogan-turkey-syria-iraq-oil-su-24.html#ixzz3tp4VLiTb
Erdogan: the Trojan Horse of Terror
by Ghassan Kadi, 8 Dec 2015
After the downing of the Russian Su-24, many conspiracy theories were proposed, and this is not unusual. The big questions that many analysts and observers tried to, and are still trying to resolve, is what made Erdogan do it and who was behind his decision.
There are two main possibilities; Erdogan either acted on his own accord or in conjunction with a second party. The second party can only be the United States. It cannot be NATO because the European side of NATO is currently bogged down in trying to establish where Europe should place its focus and action in the wake of the Paris attacks. And even though the EU seems to have recently rewarded Turkey by granting it funds to curb the influx of refugees and for making more promises regarding the prospect of Turkey joining the EU, France is adamant about fighting ISIL and Hollande’s recent trip to Moscow and subsequent military involvement in the skies of Syria speak volumes.
Even the UK and Germany have joined the fight, not so much under a Russian umbrella, but the European determination to fight ISIL seems to be gaining momentum.
So did the USA whisper in Erdogan’s ear to make him shoot down a Russian jet?
If the answer is yes, then both parties, ie the USA and Turkey, would have something to gain from this action. Many theories have been put forward in an attempt to explain what America would gain, but in reality, they do not hold any ground at all given that such action can evoke a full-on confrontation between America and Russia.
Even the foolhardy George W Bush would not risk an all-out war with Russia. Why would Obama do it now and for what reason?
Obama had, and still has, his chance to intimidate Putin militarily if he wishes to do so in Ukraine. If anything, any such intimidation would be more effective given the location of Ukraine relative to Russia. So why would America choose Turkey to intimidate Russia if this can be better done in Ukraine? No logical answer can be found, because there isn’t one.
Perhaps some early clues emerged in the outcome of the extraordinary NATO meeting that Turkey asked for almost immediately after shooting down the Russian jet.
The NATO meeting defended Turkey’s right to protect its sovereignty. It is not unusual for an organization like NATO to defend one of its members. The subtle messages however have to be read in between the lines.
The meeting reached the conclusion that this matter was up to Turkey and Russia to resolve. Obama made it much clearer when he said that “Turkey and Russia must talk and de-escalate”.
What must be gleaned from this is that NATO, and of course America, are both distancing themselves from Turkey on this count. If Turkey wants to fight Russia, they are implying, Turkey will have to do this alone. The USA’s refusal to accept Russian evidence on the oil smuggling business between ISIL and Turkey is nothing more than cheap talk. This is not to forget that as the USA refutes such evidence, it is at the same time calling Turkey to close its borders with Syria.
What does this say about the big question as to who was behind the decision to shoot down the Su-24?
There is little doubt that the decision was Turkish and only Turkish.
The self-proclaimed invincible Erdogan has taken yet another huge gamble, believing that God is by his side and that he will defeat the “infidels”.
When Turkey became a NATO member, the world was different, the power structure was different, the ideologies were different, and it is truly a comedy of errors that in the time of global war against Islamic terrorism, Turkey continues to be a NATO member when it is one of the biggest supporters of Islamism. But the West is yet to wake up.
NATO cannot abandon Turkey all out, and there is no reason for it to do so either. That said, there must be some growing European unrest, especially in France, as to how to deal with a NATO member that is clearly supporting ISIL.
Whatever the intricate details within NATO may be and what goes on behind the scenes, Russia knows well that Erdogan stands alone in his offensive. NATO will not support him.
The onus is now on Russia to decide how to deal with the aftermath of the downing of the Su-24. Contrary to the rhetoric of many cynics who see that President Putin has been cornered, in reality, he has many options and he is in the rightful and privileged position to be the one who can make the choice.
One must admit that nearly two weeks after the downing of the Su-24, the mosaic of forces that have come into play is making the situation volatile and requires a lot of wisdom on the part of Russia for it to be contained and prevented from causing a serious escalation.
That said, there is no doubt that Russia holds the key and has the military presence that is most dominant. Russia can respond in many different ways according to her own choosing. In between the extreme options of taking it on the chin and nuking Ankara, and/or having a full-on confrontation with NATO forces in Syria and beyond, Russia has a myriad of choices; all of which can downsize Erdogan putting him in the corner in which he belongs.
It would be shortsighted to even think that the quick punitive measures that Russia took against Turkey are going to be sufficient. Discouraging Russian tourists of visiting Turkey and canceling military cooperation, and even suspending the TurkStream project and other similar measures, hardly constitute what one would put in the basket of a befitting punitive measure given what Turkey has done. It is not about tomato trade as Putin has clearly put it recently.
However, any escalation resulting from a Russian “retaliation” would be unwise, and can lead Russia into a military bog that she does not need.
The deployment of the frigate Moskva with its S-400 arsenal is realistically more of a media stunt and cannot be effective if those highly effective surface-to-air missiles are to be deployed from the Mediterranean against targets in far eastern Syria. After all, even with their enormous 10-Mach plus speed, they become virtually ineffective if used against enemy planes engaged in a dogfight hundreds of kilometers away. Such surface to air missiles will need to be planted alongside the Turkish-Syrian borders. In the meantime, Russian air-to-air missiles will do the job.
Even though individual NATO countries have made presence for themselves in Syria, and even though America is sending troops to Kurdish-controlled Northern Syria, Russia continues to deal with them as partners in the war against ISIL; albeit without a central command that unites them. In reality however, with its surface-to-air, sea-to-air and air-to-air defenses, Russia controls who can and who cannot fly in the skies of Syria.
Moscow and Damascus should therefore “use” those forces for as long as they are bombing ISIS and avoid any confrontation with them at all cost. All the while, Moscow and Damascus should continue with their resolve to free up the Idlib-Aleppo region, which is conveniently close to the Mediterranean and the defense systems bases already on the ground, with a special attention and focus on moving north towards the Turkish borders. This move must be done whilst sticking to two major rules; 1) providing air defense to fighter bombers using interceptor jets which will be ready to shoot down anything that looks least suspicious, and 2) trying hard to avoid any deliberate confrontation not only with NATO, but also with Turkey.
The more Turkish loyal forces currently located in Syria get pushed away north towards Turkey, the more Erdogan is going to feel most intimidated and hurt. Later on, the more the get pushed east, it will hurt Turkey even more.
As Syrian troops supported by Russian air power liberate the Aleppo region, S-400 batteries will need to be deployed in those newly-liberated regions, on the ground, and the push to take land back from the terrorists should move east with more and more S-400 batteries deployed to eventually cover the 1000 Km border line between Syrian and Turkey. There is no better humiliation for Turkey than doing just this, without creating any reason for a major escalation.
Russia must also remain steadfast in her support to her key reliable partner in the war; the Syrian Army.
The world is changing, and Europe is definitely the best place to witness this change. Had Erdogan decided to shoot down a Russian jet prior to the Paris attacks, he might have got some sympathy from his EU partners in NATO, but a lot has changed ever since the Black Friday of Paris, and the European focus is now on fighting terrorism and curbing the influx of refugees with the full knowledge that they will be infiltrated by Islamist terrorists.
If Europe has not woken up to the fact that Turkey is and has been supporting ISIL despite all the evidence, it must surely and finally realized that Turkey is and has been the gate keeper of the so-called Syrian migrants who have been infiltrated by Islamist terrorists. The “bribe” money offered to Erdogan to stop refugees is a testimony of this realization. Unless they are all absolute morons, someone in Europe must at least be beginning to realize that Turkey is not a strategic NATO partner, but rather an Islamist Trojan Horse.
Again, there is little doubt that Erdogan has acted alone. In his action, he is putting much at stake, including a confrontation with Russia at a time that Europe, especially France, is trying to be Russia’s partner in the war against terror, and at a time in which NATO would go out of its way to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia.
Any speculation that Erdogan was pushed by his senior partners is most unlikely.
Back to how Erdogan regards himself as “the” protector of Islam and the “one” whose support comes directly from up above.
As an Islamist first and foremost and a Turkish nationalist second, Erdogan sees himself as the custodian of Islam and Muslims. He is not against ISIL in its ideology and doctrine. He is only sometimes against it when its decisions do not match his own or do not come from his command room.
He has thus far survived tumultuous events domestically, regionally, and internationally.
He managed to fool the Saudis and Qataris and used their funds to establish his own dreams. He now even wants to build a military base in Qatar. He smiles to the Israelis and plays the partner game with them. He has capitalized on the NATO status of Turkey, a status it achieved when Islamist terrorism did not exist and when Turkey was a very secular country. He smiles to the Iranians and even struck huge business deals with Russia. Many find him hard to understand, because they do not really look at his Islamist agenda.
Despite many policy failures, he is still standing. A survivor he may well be, but Erdogan will eventually fall on his sword.
In downing the Su-24, it is highly likely that he has finally bitten much more than he can chew. This is potentially the mistake of his life that will bring him tumbling down.
Give any megalomaniac enough rope, and he will hang himself. Erdogan is no exception.
DECEMBER 8, 2015
Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War
by PEPE ESCOBAR
Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields…
It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline from its own North Field – contiguous with the South Pars field, which belongs to Iran – traversing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria all the way to Turkey, to supply the EU.
Damascus, instead, chose in 2010 to privilege a competing project, the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria, also know as «Islamic pipeline». The deal was formally announced in July 2011, when the Syrian tragedy was already in motion. In 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Iran.
Until then, Syria was dismissed, geo-strategically, as not having as much oil and gas compared to the GCC petrodollar club. But insiders already knew about its importance as a regional energy corridor. Later on, this was enhanced with the discovery of serious offshore oil and gas potential.
Iran for its part is an established oil and gas powerhouse. Persistent rumblings in Brussels – still unable to come up with a unified European energy policy after over 10 years – did account for barely contained excitement over the Islamic pipeline; that would be the ideal strategy to diversify from Gazprom. But Iran was under US and EU nuclear-related sanctions.
That ended up turning into a key strategic reason, at least for the Europeans, for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear dossier; a «rehabilitated» (to the West) Iran is able to become a key source of energy to the EU.
Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance.
The «Assad must go» obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the «4+1» alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants.
Thus Washington’s strategy so far of injecting the proverbial Empire of Chaos logic into Syria; feeding the flames of internal chaos, a pre-planed op by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the endgame being regime change in Damascus.
An Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is unacceptable in the Beltway not only because US vassals lose, but most of all because in currency war terms it would bypass the petrodollar. Iranian gas from South Pars would be traded in an alternative basket of currencies.
Compound it with the warped notion, widely held in the Beltway, that this pipeline would mean Russia further controlling the gas flow from Iran, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. Nonsense. Gazprom already said it would be interested in some aspects of the deal, but this is essentially an Iranian project. In fact, this pipeline would represent an alternative to Gazprom.
Still, the Obama administration’s position was always to «support» the Qatar pipeline «as a way to balance Iran» and at the same time «diversify Europe’s gas supplies away from Russia.» So both Iran and Russia were configured as «the enemy».
Turkey at crossroads
Qatar’s project, led by Qatar Petroleum, predictably managed to seduce assorted Europeans, taking account of vast US pressure and Qatar’s powerful lobbies in major European capitals. The pipeline would ply some of the route of a notorious Pipelineistan opera, the now defunct Nabucco, a project formerly headquartered in Vienna.
So implicitly, from the beginning, the EU was actually supporting the push towards regime change in Damascus – which so far may have cost Saudi Arabia and Qatar at least $4 billion (and counting). It was a scheme very similar to the 1980s Afghan jihad; Arabs financing/weaponizing a multinational bunch of jihadis/mercenaries, helped by a strategic go-between (Pakistan in the case of Afghanistan, Turkey in the case of Syria), but now directly fighting a secular Arab republic.
It got much rougher, of course, with the US, UK, France and Israel progressively turbo-charging all manner of covert ops privileging «moderate» rebels and otherwise, always targeting regime change.
The game now has expanded even more, with the recently discovered offshore gas wealth across the Eastern Mediterranean – in offshore Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. This whole area may hold as much as 1.7 billion barrels of oil and up to 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. And that could be a mere third of the total undiscovered fossil fuel wealth in the Levant.
From Washington’s point of view, the game is clear: to try to isolate Russia, Iran and a «regime-unchanged» Syria as much as possible from the new Eastern Mediterranean energy bonanza.
And that brings us to Turkey – now in the line of fire from Moscow after the downing of the Su-24.
Ankara’s ambition, actually obsession, is to position Turkey as the major energy crossroads for the whole of the EU. 1) As a transit hub for gas from Iran, Central Asia and, up to now, Russia (the Turkish Stream gas pipeline is suspended, not cancelled). 2) As a hub for major gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean. 3) And as a hub for gas imported from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.
Turkey plays the role of key energy crossroads in the Qatar pipeline project. But it’s always important to remember that Qatar’s pipeline does not need to go through Syria and Turkey. It could easily cross Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Egypt and reach the Eastern Mediterranean.
So, in the Big Picture, from Washington’s point of view, what matters most of all, once again, is «isolating» Iran from Europe. Washington’s game is to privilege Qatar as a source, not Iran, and Turkey as the hub, for the EU to diversify from Gazprom.
This is the same logic behind the construction of the costly Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, facilitated in Azerbaijan by Zbigniew «Grand Chessboard» Brzezinski in person.
As it stands, prospects for both pipelines are less than dismal. The Vienna peace process concerning Syria will go nowhere as long as Riyadh insists on keeping its weaponized outfits in the «non-terrorist» list, and Ankara keeps allowing free border flow of jihadis while engaging in dodgy business with stolen Syrian oil.
What’s certain is that, geo-economically, Syria goes way beyond a civil war; it’s a vicious Pipelineistan power play in a dizzying complex chessboard where the Big Prize will represent a major win in the 21st century energy wars.
This piece first appeared at Strategic Culture Foundation.
How Russia Is Smashing the Turkish Game in Syria
Moscow determined to make Ankara regret its ambush of Russian warplane
Pepe Escobar 9 December 2015
So why did Washington take virtually forever to not really acknowledge ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is selling stolen Syrian oil that will eventually find its way to Turkey?
Because the priority all along was to allow the CIA – in the shadows – to run a “rat line” weaponizing a gaggle of invisible “moderate rebels”.
As much as Daesh – at least up to now – Barzani mob in Iraqi Kurdistan was never under Washington’s watch. The oil operation the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) runs to Turkey is virtually illegal; stolen state-owned oil as far as Baghdad is concerned.
Daesh stolen oil can’t flow through Damascus-controlled territory. Can’t flow though Shiite-dominated Iraq. Can’t go east to Iran. It’s Turkey or nothing. Turkey is the easternmost arm of NATO. The US and NATO “support” Turkey. So a case can be made that the US and NATO ultimately support Daesh.
What’s certain is that illegal Daesh oil and illegal KRG oil fit the same pattern; energy interests by the usual suspects playing a very long game.
What these interests are focused on is to control every possible oil asset in Iraqi Kurdistan and then in “liberated” Syria. It’s crucial to know that Tony “Deepwater Horizon” Hayward is running Genel, whose top priority is to control oil fields that were first stolen from Baghdad, and will eventually be stolen from the Iraqi Kurds.
And then, there’s the Turkmen powder keg.
The key reason why Washington always solemnly ignored Ankara’s array of shady deals in Syria, through its fifth column Turkmen jihadis, is because a key CIA “rat line” runs exactly through the region known as Turkmen Mountain.
These Turkmen, supplied by Ankara’s “humanitarian” convoys, got American TOW-2As for their role in preserving prime weaponizing/ smuggling routes. Their advisers, predictably, are Xe/Academi types, formerly Blackwater. Russia happened to identify the whole scam and started bombing the jihadis. Thus the downing of the Su-24.
The Turkmen fifth column
Now the CIA is on a mission from God – frantically trying to prevent the “rat line” from being definitely smashed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on the ground and Russia in the air.
The same desperation applies to the Aleppo-Azez-Killis route, which is also essential for Turkey for all kinds of smuggling.
The advanced arm of the “4+1” alliance – Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – is taking no prisoners trying to re-conquer these two key corridors.
And that explains Ankara’s desperation – with a little help from ‘His Masters’ Voice’ – to come up with an entirely new rat line/corridor through Afrin, currently under Syrian Kurd control, before Damascus forces and Russia air power get there.
Once again it’s important to remember that a gaggle of Turkmen outfits are Ankara’s fifth column in northern Syria.
Most Turkmen live in Kurdish territories. And here’s the ultimate complicating factor; the majority happen to live in the Jarablus region, currently controlled by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. It’s exactly this area that is cutting the geographic connection between the two Kurdish cantons, Kobani and Afrin.
So imagine a continuous Syrian Kurd control/autonomy/corridor all across the Turkish-Syrian border. For Ankara this is the ultimate nightmare. Ankara’s strategy is to move its Turkmen pawns, with added “moderate rebels”, all across the Jarablus region. The pretext: wipe Daesh off the map. The real reason: prevent the two Kurdish cantons – Afrin and Kobani – from merging.
And once again Ankara will be directly pitted against Moscow.
The Russian strategy rests on very good relations with Syrian Kurds. Moscow not only supports the Syrian Kurd canton merger, but qualifies it as an important step on the way to a new Syria rid of takfiris. Russia will even officially recognize the PYD (Democratic Union Party) and allow them a representative office in Russia.
Ankara regards the PYD and its paramilitary arm, the YPG (People’s Protection Units) as branches of the PKK. It gets curioser and curioser when we know that both Moscow and Washington are cooperating with the YPG against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
The predictable All-Out Ankara Freak Out came in the form of ‘Sultan’ Erdogan declaring the Euphrates a “red line” for the YPG. If they try to move westward to fight Daesh, sending them out of the Jarablus area, the Turkish Army will strike.
It’s absolutely key for Turkey to control this area between Jarablus and Afrin because here is the site of the would-be “safe zone”, actually a no-fly zone, which Ankara dreams of implementing using the three billion just extorted from the EU to house refugees but also control northern Syria. Turkmen would be in charge of the area – as well as the Azez-Aleppo line, assuming the SAA does not clear it for good.
The case for UEBA
So Ankara is looking at two very unpleasant Turkmen-filled scenarios to say the least.
Turkmen becoming instruments of Ankara and gatekeepers against the Kurdish YPG; that means a nasty sectarian divide, orchestrated by Turkey, whose greatest loser is the unity of the Syrian nation.
Meanwhile, the SAA and Russian air power are on the verge of total control of Turkmen Mountain.
This will allow the “4+1” to go much deeper fighting against the so-called Army of Conquest and its twin-headed reptile, Jabhat al-Nusra (a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham, the whole lot “supported” and weaponized by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The “4+1” inexorable advance comes with extra benefits; the end of all rat lines in the region, and no more possible threats to Russia’s air base in Hmeimim.
Make no mistake that Moscow will inflict as much pain on ‘Sultan’ Erdogan as possible.
As Turkish newspaper Radikal quoted him, Prof. Abbas Vali of Bogazici University confirmed, “The PYD was pleased about Russia’s intervention in Syria. An alliance between the PYD and Russia is inevitable. Russia’s bombardment of the radical Islamist groups on the ground will have a huge impact on the PYD operations.”
So no matter which way we look, Turkey and Russia are on a serious collision course in Syria. Moscow will support Syrian Kurds no holds barred as they push to link the three major Kurdish cantons in northern Syria into a unified Rojava.
As for Washington’s “strategy”, it now boils down to the CIA need for a new “rat line”. That could imply sitting on the – weaponizing – sidelines watching Turkmen and Kurds slug it out, thus creating an opening for the Turkish Army to intervene, and the Russian Air Force to prevent it, with all hell guaranteed to break loose.
‘Sultan’ Erdogan badly needs a new CIA-secured “rat line” to weaponize not only his fifth column Turkmen but also Chechens, Uzbeks and Uyghurs. And Bilal Erdogan, a.k.a. Erdogan Mini Me, desperately needs new oil smuggling routes and a couple of new tankers; Russia is watching their every move. The latest news from Russia’s Defense Ministry has struck like a volcanic eruption; the Erdogan family mob was branded as “criminals”, with Moscow presenting only an appetizer of the all the evidence it has in store.
So we have the Afghan heroin rat line. The Libyan oil racket (now over). The Ukraine fascist rat line. The Libya to Syria weapon rat line. The stolen Syrian oil trade. The northern Syrian rat lines. Let’s call them UEBA: Unregulated Exceptionalist Business Activities. What’s not to like? There’s no business like war business.
Virginia state Senator Richard Black describes Turkish government’s illegal oil trade with the Islamic State and explains how Turkey secured the border north of Aleppo for ISIS supplies by bombing the Kurds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VgWiHQi81k
Did The Turkey And Russian Spat Change The Fake War On ISIS Into The Real Deal?
Friday, December 4, 2015 8:07 PM EST
Common sense and Turkey’s behavior tells us that the war on ISIS is fake. Figuring out the war on ISIS is like figuring out the war on terror before it. There are bits and pieces of a puzzle, that come to light from time to time. We are not in the field, but not all information is hidden.
One wonders, for example, why John Kerry would put a condition on the destruction of ISIS? That condition is a cease fire in Syria leading to regime change. That shows where the heart of the American government is, for regime change and not for taking out ISIS! American pilots have acknowledged that three quarters of their bombs are not dropped on ISIS because missions are blocked. Environmental reasons for not dropping bombs are clearly flimsy in the wake of the pilot accusations that this has made ISIS stronger and in the light of Kerry’s revelations.
Let’s talk about Turkey. Evidence is reaching a critical mass, that Turkey is buying Syrian oil and Iraqi oil from ISIS at a massive discount proves what I have been saying all along. Even Russia had other objectives than ISIS, primarily the protection of Assad, but that may be changing. That subject is also discussed below.
So, we have an ally, a NATO ally of the United States, buying oil from ISIS that we claim we are fighting a war against. The evidence that ISIS is selling oil to Turkey comes from well known websites, which I am not recommending, but that have some connection to information that leads them to publish this view. Here are just a few stories collected for you from these sites:
From Business Insider is an article that appeared in July, 2015, speaks to the black market selling of oil to Turkey:
Links Between Turkey and ISIS Are Now Undeniable
From the FT is a report back in 2014, that ISIS sells oil to Turkey, and that from the US Treasury Department:
ISIS Sells Smuggled Oil to Turkey and Iraqi Kurds, Says US Treasury
(Good luck if you can open the page without emptying out your wallet!)
Now, consider that Obama sent a request to declare war on ISIS. But I have said that this war on ISIS is fake. It appears that the war on ISIS is at least being set up to be a no win war, a war that has no goal or no results. There is a reality element to no win wars, as some people die but nothing changes. According to the Washington Post, the Iraqi soldiers also believe that the US is collaborating with ISIS. Indeed, some have observed the US dropping water to ISIS, and weapons to ISIS, with which to kill the Iraqi soldiers. If we arm ISIS, the USA becomes a terrorist state.
We armed ISIS as McCain said, on the video, yet our government denies it. I believe McCain because he is like truth serum for the globalists. He told the truth about our motives for going into Iraq, to gain oil reserves for our oil companies. Even Joe Biden said that the anti ISIS coalition armed ISIS.
Matt Drudge tweeted in November, 2015 that the US has been secretly arming ISIS. He called it a shocking truth. The tweet has been deleted but there are screenshots of it online.
ISIS appears to be the designated third part of the perpetually warring three part Iraq, called for over 30 years ago by Oded Yinon. ISIS sells oil to the Kurds, and the Kurds profit, most likely, from the resale of that oil. But this arrangement does not indicate that the Kurds are allies to ISIS in any way.
ISIS and Israel could be cooperating militarily, although this is not independently confirmed.
So there could be a lot of players benefiting from discounted oil in the middle east. I had said that ISIS is useful to the USA if oil ever dropped too much, as it could harm supply.
Business Insider already thought of that as well, with an article entitled ISIS Is Making the Biggest Threat to Oil Prices Even Worse.
But ISIS is now selling so much oil, estimated to be $100 Billion Dollars per month, that it could impact prices lower as well. Certainly ISIS coupled with lower oil prices weakens Iraq as a nation.
So, what is in it for Russia, to remain part of the fake, US lead, coalition to not destroy ISIS?
Russia appears to be bombing rebels who oppose Assad while spending less time on ISIS. However, this “arrangement” was rocked by Turkey’s destruction of the Russian jet. That could spell curtains for ISIS.
What better way is there for Putin to get back at Turkey and the west than to make the fake war on ISIS real?
It has been reported that Russia, after the Turkey jet debacle, is planning on launching a massive war against ISIS. Please be advised that there is no mainstream media coverage of this planned attack. This is all from alternative news. So, while it is logical, this massive planned attack upon ISIS is not independently confirmed, not that main stream media has done such a great job lately.
But there is a hint of this possible future break with the fake or no win ISIS war, as Putin has said one more downed jet would cause a separation of policy and separation from the alliance on the part of the Russians.
The US and its friends are not worried about the oil prices rising because of ISIS. They seek the destruction or weakening of Syrian, Iranian and Russian economies through low prices.
Perhaps Putin is coming to the realization that more Shiite victories in the middle east will be crucial to propping up oil prices going forward. That could include attempts to destroy ISIS, take back Iraq for the Shiite government, and make Assad strong again. A massive proxy war between Shiites and Sunnis that could escalate into WW3 should be sobering to all of us. If Putin was betrayed by a government leader he trusted, it may cause him to take more forceful action, causing oil prices to escalate.
See also this Guardian piece:
Turkey Could Cut Off Islamic State’s Supply Lines. So Why Doesn’t It?
And from Zero Hedge :
Turkey’s Trump Card: Erdogan Can Cut Russia’s Syrian Supply Line by Closing Bosphorus
And from the BBC:
Turkey Challenges Russia Over IS Oil Change
Is Overthrowing the Syrian Government Worth Risking Nuclear War with Russia?
Tulsi asks: What is so important about overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad that justifies risking a nuclear war with Russia? Tulsi argues the U.S. must end its illegal war to overthrow the government of Assad and instead focus on defeating ISIS and other Islamic extremists who are waging war against the West. She cites recent history of Libya when the United States overthrew Gaddafi and now we have ISIS with headquarters in Libya, continuing to expand. The very same thing will happen in Syria if the United States is successful in its objective of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad. ISIS will walk in the front door, take over all of Syria and pose that very direct and greater threat to the region and increase the humanitarian crisis there ten-fold. https://www.facebook.com/VoteTulsi/videos/964967603559659/?pnref=story
Turkish Opposition MP Set to Reveal Evidence linking Erdogan to Daesh Oil 3-Dec-2015
Eren Erdem, a lawmaker from the Republican People’s Party, Turkey’s largest opposition party, says that he may have found the evidence linking President Recep Erdogan’s son-in-law to the dirty oil trade with Daesh.
The Russian Defense Ministry held a major briefing on new findings concerning IS funding in Moscow on Wednesday 2 Dec. 2015.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, Russia is aware of three main oil smuggling routes to Turkey.
“Today, we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region,” Antonov said, adding that this oil “in large quantities” enters the territory of Turkey via“live oil pipelines,” consisting of thousands of oil trucks.
Antonov added that Turkey is the main buyer of smuggled oil coming from Iraq and Syria.
“According to our data, the top political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – is involved in this criminal business.”
1) Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov during the briefing “Russian Federation Armed Forces fighting against international terrorist. New data”:
Turkey is the main destination for the oil stolen from its legitimate owners, which are Syria and Iraq. Turkey resells this oil. The appalling part about it is that the country’s top political leadership is involved in the illegal business — President Erdogan and his family…
We know how much Erdogan’s words are worth. He has already been caught red-handed by Turkish journalists, who have unearthed arms and munitions shipments from Turkey to the extremists, masked as humanitarian convoys. For that, those journalists have been jailed…
It is interesting that no one in the West do not ask themselves a question, why the son of the Turkish President is the head of one of the largest energy companies and the son-in-law – the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources?
2) Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lt.Gen. Sergei Rudskoy:
As Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has already mentioned, illegal oil trade is the main source of income for terrorists. To terminate this source of funding, the Russian Aerospace Forces have been delivering airstrikes on oil extraction, storage, refining and transportation facilities in ISIS-controlled areas…
According to the most conservative estimates, the terrorist group’s revenues from its illegal oil operations have gone down from $3 million to $1.5 million a day. Multiply that figure by 4 years. After Russian strikes the terrorists’ income has decreased and constitutes 1,5 million dollars a day. However, terrorist organizations continue to receive considerable financial resources, as well as weapons, ammunition and other supplies for their activities. Certain nations (Rudskoy avoids stating the obvious culprits Saudi Arabia and Qatar, focussing on the immediate threat posed by …), primarily Turkey, are directly involved in Islamic State’s large-scale business project, thereby aiding the terrorists. The General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces has irrefutable evidence of Turkey’s involvement based on aerial and space reconnaissance data…
We will show you the entire chain of oil supplies into Turkey, from extraction to refining facilities. Along the Western route, hydrocarbons produced from the oil fields near Al-Raqqah are transported to the north-west of Syria by motor vehicles. The image made on November 13, 2015 shows the stretch of the highway near the town of Azaz linking Turkey and Syria where you can see a concentration of vehicles carrying petroleum products. The area “A”, located on the Turkish side, shows 240 oil tanker trucks and semi-trailer vehicles. In the area “B”, located at the Syrian side, you can see 46 oil tanker trucks and vehicles waiting to cross the border. According to available data, a number of tanker trucks are disguised as simple heavy vehicles.
Similar map can be seen near Reyhanli. Despite the fighting in the Aleppo province, you can see a constant two-way flow of motor vehicles, as well as a large amount of motor vehicles on Turkish territory. The video shows vehicles, which are freely crossing of the border. Here the Syrian territory is controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra illegal armed grouping, which allow the oil tanker trucks and heavy vehicles with oil to enter the territory of Turkey. These vehicles are not checked at the Turkish side of the border. There are hundreds of such vehicles…
Space reconnaissance data confirmed that after crossing the border oil tank trucks and semi-trailers are heading to the ports of Dörtyol and Iskenderun, where special mooring places for tankers are equipped. There, one part of the oil is loaded into the vessels and is sent to oil proceeding facilities beyond the borders of Turkey. The other is sold on the domestic Turkish market. On average, one tanker is loaded with oil in these ports every day. The space images of this ports dated November 25, 2015, show a concentration of petrol tank vehicles, which are waiting for shipment. 395 petrol tank vehicles were detected in Dörtyol, and 60 in Scanderoon.
The next route leads to Turkey from the oil fields located at the Euphrates right bank. The region near Deir ez-Zor is one of the largest oil extracting and oil refining centers that is currently under the ISIS control. A large number of oil refining facilities is located here, one of them can been seen at the screen. In this region, a concentration of petrol tank vehicles awaiting shipment is constantly registered. Photos of automobile columns with little distance between each other are presented. In the area of Deir-ez-Zor, space intelligence means detected 1722 oil transporting vehicles on October 18, 2015. Most vehicles were on the unequipped parking areas. It is worth mentioning that the number of trucks at waiting areas, located in Deir-ez-Zor as well as in other Syrian regions has been significantly decreased since the beginning of the operation carried out by the Russian Aerospace Forces against the ISIS oil infrastructure…
Finally, the most part of oil is being transferred from the Eastern Syria to a large oil refinery plant in Batman (Turkey), which is located 100-kilometers far from the Syrian border.
The third oil transportation route to Turkey is laid from oil fields located in the North-East of Syria and North-Western areas of Iraq through Karachok and Cham Khanik Syrian towns and Zakho and Tatvan Iraqi ones…
Taking into consideration the fact that there are no strikes by the US-led coalition, the coordinates of active concentration areas with tanker trucks near certain inhabited areas will be published on the Russian Defence Ministry web-site after the briefing.
Then the trucks are crossing the borderline near Zakho with no restriction. Oil products are transported from Zakho to refinery plants. The nearest one is located in Batman. Oil products can be also transported to the large logistics center of the route, which is located close to the border between Iraq and Turkey, near Silopi…
The Russian aviation group will continue performing tasks concerning liquidating oil infrastructure facilities of the ISIS terrorist organization in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Russian Defence Ministry also encourages the coalition colleagues to such actions.
3) Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of Chief of National Centre for State Defence Control Lt.Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev:
It is to be stressed that financial flows from the resale of oil products aim not only to enrich the leadership of Turkey; they are partially, but in large quantities, returned to the Syrian Arab Republic in terms of weapons, ammunition and mercenaries of different kind. This week, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra has been reinforced with up to 2,000 militants, approximately 120 tons of munitions and 250 pieces of automobile hardware coming from Turkey.
According to the hard evidence gained in the course of intelligence, the Turkish party has been providing such activities regularly and for a long time. They do not even plan to stop doing it. Certainly, next week we will inform you about delivery of weapons, ammunition, components of explosives, communication and other means by the Turkish party, training of terrorists in camps in the Turkish territory.
Lately, Russia has filled the vacuum of competence in Syria, cleaning up a mess that America left with its two-decade-long crusade to leave a train of broken governments everywhere in the region. A few weeks back, Mr. Putin made the point before the UN General Assembly that wrecking every national institution in sight among weak and unstable nations was probably not a recipe for world peace. President Obama never did formulate a coherent comeback to that. It’s a little terrifying to realize that the leader of our former arch-adversary is the only figure onstage who can come up with a credible story about what needs to happen there. And his restraint this week following what may have been a US-assisted shoot-down of a Russian bomber by idiots in Turkey is really estimable. It all looks like a feckless slide provoked by our side into World War III, and for what? To make the world safe for the Kardashians?
12 Oct 2015 The Ankara Massacre and the State as a Serial Killer in Erdogan’s Turkey
Emrah Yildiz wrote: With the imposition of a media blackout on all reporting about the (10 October 2015) Ankara Massacre, Erdoğan and his puppet Davutoğlu administration might be devising another crafty plan to manage this atrocity. I simply join tens of thousands of people in streets of Turkey as they demand that Erdoğan and his entourage be held accountable for the biggest massacre targeting a group of peaceful demonstrators in the modern history of Turkey. It is precisely the ordinary people of Turkey who are hurting, and they demand justice in the face of lawless mafia executions of Kurds, Alevis, leftists, and any other self-identified dissident factions that stand together in opposition to an increasingly callous and criminal authoritarian regime. And against all odds they want peace. If these people are calling for peace despite everything that has transpired, this call deserves a reply of solidarity and critical coverage, particularly in English-language media. And the Turkish state needs to be exposed for what it is in light of six massacres of massive proportions over the course of their “rule”: a criminal serial killer. Since the June 7 Elections, the total death toll in Turkey: 694 people.
Gearóid Ó Colmáin explains the rising popularity of French far-right politician Marine Le Pen while the nominally left-wing parties in France appear to be incoherent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–DFt91w3S4
Words spoken over a year ago are just as pertinent today in every arena of war of the US military-industrial hegemon: https://www.facebook.com/Shashaps/videos/824990964178183/?theater
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