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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Breakthrough in strained Turkish-Israeli relations
      DEBKAfile December 17, 2015,

      Landmark understandings reached in meetings in Switzerland Wednesday between Israeli Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglui have resulted in Israel’s consent to set up a $20m fund for the victims of the Turkish ship boarded by Israeli soldiers two years ago. No more claims against Israel will be outstanding and the two ambassadors will return to their posts in Tel Aviv and Ankara.
      Ankara also agreed to ban Hamas terror master Salah Arouri’s reentry to his base in Istanbul when he tries to return from a visit to Qatar - a goodwill gesture to Israel. The two parties agreed to launch negotiations without delay on the sale of Israeli offshore gas to Turkey. Ankara also offered to start talking about a pipeline to Europe via Turkey from the largest Israeli gas well, Leviathan, when it goes into production.
      On Dec. 14, DEBKAfile reported that this breakthrough was in the works, propelled by Turkey’s pressing bid for Israeli gas.


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        Dump New Ottomans from NATO: Shoot Down of Russian Plane Shows Turkey to be Dangerous Ally

        Posted: 12/18/2015 6:40 am EST

        Turkey's rash decision to shoot down a Russian plane for violating its airspace hasn't triggered World War III. But Ankara demonstrated where it stands. With the Islamic State and against the West. The justification for Turkey's membership in NATO and America's defense guarantee for Ankara long ago passed. Turkey's irresponsible action proves that it is no U.S. ally.

        The Obama administration's war against the Islamic State is turning into another interminable conflict that serves the interests of other nations far more than America. U.S. policy has been impossibly incoherent, attempting to do everything: oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, shove aside next door Iran, defeat vicious jihadist insurgents, promote ineffectual "moderate" forces, convince the Gulf States to act against the extremists they've been supporting, promote diplomacy without participation by Damascus and Tehran, and convince Turkey to serve U.S. rather than Islamic interests.

        While Russia's September entry into the war outraged Washington, Moscow showed clarity and realism. Russia simply sought to bolster Syria's President Bashar al-Assad against insurgents dominated by radical Islamists. Ironically, this approach was far more likely than the administration's confused policy to advance America's core interest of defeating ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliates such as al-Nusra. The U.S. had little choice but to accommodate Moscow, despite nutty proposals from some Republican presidential candidates to shoot down Russian planes.

        However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan played the fool when last month his military downed a Russian aircraft, involved in striking territory controlled by al-Nusra. No one believes the Putin government had the slightest hostile intent against Ankara. Downing the plane was gratuitously provocative and not necessary for Turkey's defense. The objectives likely were to interfere with Moscow's operations against Islamic radicals and/or discourage future Russian strikes against Ankara-backed Islamists. The action obviously was contrary to Washington's interest, which would be caught in any escalation between Russia and Turkey. Yet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that "we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey." Oddly, the alliance previously protested when Syria downed an errant Turkish warplane over the former's territory.

        Washington should absorb the bitter lessons of Turkey's perfidy and drop the alliance relationship.

        Turkey is a growing threat to Western interests and values. Ankara never has been a true friend of the West. Turkey was a useful ally during the Cold War, though it always seemed readier to go to war with Greece than the Soviet Union. (In 1974 Ankara seized 37 percent of the Republic of Cyprus and war with Athens was narrowly averted.) In those years Turkey was only vaguely democratic. The regime punished anyone whose liberal sentimentalities conflicted with the hyper-nationalist "Kemalist" philosophy of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, the founder of modern Turkey (later named Ataturk, or "Father of the Turks"). The public veneration of Ataturk mimicked the North Korean Kim dynasty's personality cult.

        President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, sweeping away a coalition of feckless, corrupt, and discredited parties. Initially Erdogan, who began as prime minister, played the liberator. But once he pushed the military back in its barracks and won his third election he dropped the liberal gloss, sacrificing most of Turkey's human rights advances. He gained control of the police and judiciary; conducted multiple mass conspiracy trials; and attacked independent journalists, opposition politicians, and business critics. He has pushed, unsuccessfully so far, to establish an authoritarian presidency along the lines, ironically, of that created by Russia's Vladimir Putin.

        President Erdogan also is moving Turkey in a more Islamist direction. Although no one expects him to turn his nation into another Iran or Saudi Arabia, he has done more than end strict Kemalist secularism. Worse, his government has enabled the Islamic State, allowing relatively free transit of personnel and materiel for the most dangerous and destabilizing force in the Middle East. Moreover, there is evidence of more direct assistance--providing equipment, passports, training, medical care, and perhaps more to Islamist radicals. While refusing to take military action against the self-proclaimed caliphate on its border, Ankara has attempted to manipulate the U.S. into ousting Syrian president Assad, who controls the important ground forces containing ISIL. Despite recently agreeing to assist Washington against the Islamic State, the Erdogan government appears to have played the U.S., directing most of Turkey's fire against America's Kurdish allies.

        Shooting down the Russian aircraft was even more irresponsible. Whatever the circumstances of the alleged incursion, Ankara knew that no attack on Turkish forces was planned. President Putin stated the obvious when he declared: "our pilots, planes did not threaten Turkish territory in any way. It is quite clear." Downing the plane was a direct attack on Moscow for supporting the Assad government against various insurgents, of whom the Turkish-supported radicals are the most important. Whether to punish Russia for opposing Ankara's objectives or deter Moscow from taking further action, the attack raises tensions not only with Turkey but also NATO, including America, the alliance's most important member. Striking nuclear-armed Russia for an alleged overflight lasting just a few seconds appears to be seeking war. The U.S. should shun Ankara for playing chicken with Moscow.

        Turkey demonstrates that NATO is a bad deal for America. Military alliances should be based on circumstances and defense guarantees should serve U.S. interests. Any conceivable existential threat against Turkey ended along with the Cold War. Ankara and Russia had no conflicting issues likely to lead to war. Turkey's large military far outclassed those of its neighbors, especially after the U.S. invaded Iraq and Syria collapsed into civil war.

        At the same time, the shared interests between Turkey and the West dissipated. The Erdogan government has moved Turkey in a much more independent and even hostile direction. Doing so is Ankara's prerogative, but eliminates any lingering justification for the West to guarantee Turkey's security. The alliance should not be responsible for defending Ankara as the latter attempts to overthrow the Assad government and, even worse, commits a gratuitous act of war seemingly designed only to provoke Moscow.

        Indeed, Turkey is merely the latest example of alliance members seeking to drag the U.S. into conflicts of no interest to America. Britain and France largely orchestrated the Libya war, in which Washington helped deconstruct yet another Muslim country without purpose. NATO members in Eastern Europe, most notably the Baltics, want American garrisons even though they were not viewed as vital U.S. security interest even during the height of the Cold War. Georgia and Ukraine are more distant and aren't members of the alliance but they, too, lobby America to confront a nuclear-armed power on its border over interests at most peripheral for Washington. Turkey is more powerful than its neighbors and Europe is more powerful than Russia. The U.S. should disentangle itself from the defense of its free-riding "allies."

        Moscow is a better and more reliable partner than Turkey for America in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin is a nasty character. Under him Russia is acting like a traditional great power, focused on protecting security and winning respect, without the slightest concern for liberal Western values. He has created an ugly autocracy at home, suppressing the civil liberties and political freedoms Americans and Europeans value.

        But President Erdogan differs little from President Putin. The former profits from power, jails journalists, seizes media companies, abuses presidential power, and triggers conflict for political gain. It should surprise no one that Ankara's chances of entering the European Union are nil. Indeed, after having squeezed all of the political benefit from formally seeking membership, President Erdogan probably doesn't want to join.

        Where Presidents Putin and Erdogan dramatically diverge is their policies toward radical Islamists. As noted earlier, Ankara has consistently aided the murderous jihadists of most concern to America. Turkey once was committed to maintaining a stable and moderate political environment in the region. Now the Erdogan government is aiding ISIL and al-Nusra, targeting Kurdish and Syrian government forces, and shooting down Russian aircraft bombing Islamic extremists.

        In contrast, in the Middle East U.S. and Russian interests broadly coincide. Exactly why the U.S. feels duty-bound to oust Assad--whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once described as a "reformer"--isn't clear. Both Iraq and Libya dramatically demonstrated that it's not enough to get rid of the bad guy. You need a good guy as successor. Washington has none in Syria. The Obama administration merely pretends that if Assad fled or ended up hanging from a lamppost that Syria's George Washington would magically emerge, unify the insurgents, protect the minorities, and get everyone to hold hands while singing Kumbaya and roasting marshmallows around a fire.

        In fact, despite the obliviousness of most Republican presidential wannabes, such as Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, American policy in the Mideast has failed catastrophically: persistent intervention has triggered sectarian war in Iraq, turned religious minorities into refugees, spawned the Islamic State, empowered Iran, turned Libya into another failed state filled with conflict and terrorists, discouraged a negotiated settlement in Syria, backed the least effective Syrian insurgents, inadvertently armed the most dangerous insurgents, and conducted a largely ineffectual campaign against ISIL without apparent end. Yet the Obama administration is committed to doing more of the same in the forlorn hope of achieving a different result. The majority of GOP candidates believe there's no problem that another war or two wouldn't solve.

        Nor does President Putin's policy elsewhere challenge fundamental allied security interests. It's not fun being a onetime Soviet republic on his border. Just ask Georgia and Ukraine. However, contrary to claims of an imminent Russian blitzkrieg, in 15 years this supposed Hitler-lite has "gained," if one can call it that, Abkhazia, Crimea, Donbass, and South Ossetia. That's a pitiful empire. Indeed, there is no evidence that Moscow has the slightest interest in conquering non-Russian areas. His bullying of his neighbors rightly offends the principles of justice, but is no cause for military conflict with the West.

        Cooperating with Russia against the Islamic State and other dangerous radicals doesn't require befriending President Putin or creating a formal alliance. Rather, such a policy would be simply transactional, with the two governments working together where and when doing so serves both nations' interests. That's more than occurs with Turkey today. It is difficult for the U.S. to articulate a single genuine shared interest with Ankara.

        The Turkish shoot down of the Russian jet moves the Mideast conflict into a dangerous new phase. With some justification President Putin called the action "a stab in the back by the terrorists' accomplices." The chief lesson for Washington should be to abandon outdated alliances and stop covering for "the terrorists' accomplices," most importantly Turkey. Russia may not be an ally, but at least it is friendlier and less dangerous than Ankara today.

        The justification for Turkey's membership in NATO and America's defense guarantee for Ankara long ago passed. Turkey's irresponsible action proves that it is no U.S. ally.


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          A paper written in the las four years titled ... The Network of Global Corporate Control, by S. Vitali, J.B. Glattfelder, and S. Battiston.
          When one talks of geopolotiics but doesn't include this group in the conversation ...


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            NATO is making sure our land stay in Turkish hands.
            Hayastan or Bust.


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              Houthis ballistic missile strike reportedly kills 90 Coalition fighters in southern Yemen 0
              BY LEITH FADEL
              DECEMBER 19, 2015

              The Saudi-led Coalition Forces and the Hadi loyalists have reportedly suffered another devastating blow in the Mareb Governorate of southern Yemen, when a Toshka ballistic missile belonging to the Houthis struck their camp, killing an alleged 90+ fighters.

              In addition to killing 90+ Hadi Loyalists and Saudi-Coalition fighters, the ballistic missile strike also destroyed two Apache Helicopters and destroyed an entire weapons depot.

              More to come….


              • Re: Regional geopolitics


                13:38, 18 Dec 2015
                Siranush Ghazanchyan

                The Russian Air Force has conducted 59 combat missions hitting 200
                ISIL targets in 7 Syrian provinces over the past 24 hours, the Russian
                Defense ministry said.

                "Over the past 24 hours Russian warplanes have conducted 59 sorties,
                hitting 212 ISIL targets in the Syrian province of Aleppo, Idlib,
                Lattakia, Hama, Homs, al-Hasakah an Raqqa," the Defense Ministry
                spokesman told journalists.

                Aircraft from Russia's Aerospace Forces in Syria have also destroyed
                more than 300 militants and scores of armored vehicles over the last
                24 hours, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said
                Wednesday, Sputnik reported.

                "More than 320 militants and 34 armored vehicles of terrorists,
                including two tanks, one infantry fighting vehicle, 15 jeeps equipped
                with large-caliber guns were destroyed," Konashenkov told journalists
                in Syria's Lattakia.

                In the past 24 hours, Russian jets have also destroyed a column
                of tanker trucks and more than 100 fuel-transfer stations used by
                terrorists, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov added.

                "In order to disrupt terrorists' sources of income, Russian Su-34
                bomber jets destroyed 94 fuel-transfer stations near Deir Ezzur,"
                he said.

                According to Konashenkov, in the al-Hasakah province during the "free
                hunt" mission Su-34 has destroyed column of 15 fuel tankers which were
                carrying oil in northern direction extracted from terrorist-controlled

                Having received the intel from the Syrian opposition, the Russian
                aviation has destroyed an ISIL base in the Homs province and
                terrorists' stronghold in the Aleppo province, Igor Konashenkov said.

                "Near the Al-Qaryatayn in the Syrian province of Homs Su-24M destroyed
                a hidden ISIL base. In the dungeons terrorists have organized a
                command post, arm depot and outqaurters," Maj. Gen. Konashenkov added.

                He noted that terrorists' objects were destroyed using direct strikes.

                A Russian Su-25 fighter jet has destroyed a major military base
                of ISIL terrorists in Maarrat al-Nu'man, Syrian province of Idlib,
                the General said.

                Konashenkov said all Russian aircraft had successfully returned to
                the Hmeymim air base after the mission.

                Russia has been assisting both the government and civilians in
                the war-torn Syria. Since September 30, Moscow has been conducting
                precision airstrikes on terrorists positions in Syria, following a
                request from president Bashar al-Assad.

                Hayastan or Bust.


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  Iraq Confirms 9 Killed in US Friendly Fire, Pentagon Blames 'Both Sides'



                  20:28 19.12.2015(updated 20:42 19.12.2015)

                  Iraq's minister of defense has confirmed that eight soldiers and an officer were killed following a US airstrike on Iraqi security forces in Fallujah province on Friday. The Pentagon, meanwhile, suggests that the deadly case of friendly fire may have been the result of "a mistake that involved both sides," AP reports.

                  Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi has confirmed that nine soldiers, including an officer, were killed following an US airstrike near the city of Fallujah on Friday.

                  "The coalition air forces were covering the advance of army ground troops near Fallujah because the Iraqi army helicopters were not able to fly due to bad weather. The final death toll of the strike is nine soldiers killed, including an army officer," al-Obeidi said, speaking at a news conference on Saturday.

                  US Air Force file photo shows a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) fired during testing

                  © AFP 2015/ US AIR FORCE

                  Video Allegedly Shows Deadly US Strike on Iraqi Forces
                  Later on Saturday, having expressed his condolences to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a telephone conversation, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the friendly fire incident may have been the result of "a mistake that involved both sides."

                  Carter added that he and the al-Abadi had "agreed that this was an event that we both regretted and that there would be an investigation of it, but that these kinds of things happen when you're fighting side by side."

                  In a statement late Friday, the Iraqi defense ministry said that "the distance between our forces and the enemy was very close, meters. Our forces got mixed."

                  However, one of the officers injured in the attack questioned the assessment, saying that "we were moving forward and Daesh were retreating, when suddenly the bombing took place on the forces that were behind us." The officer suggested that the fact that officers had been injured (and one killed) confirmed that the airstrike wasn't targeting the frontline.

                  Following the strike, Hakim Zamili, the head of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik that he had asked the prime minister to launch an investigation into this "very serious" incident. "We will go to court over this crime, there will be a hearing," Zamili added.

                  Share this story

                  Read more:
                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • Re: Regional geopolitics


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Russia Warns Cancelling Nord Stream Project Would Hurt Europe
                      December 22, 2015

                      Russia warned December 21 that any move by the European Union to cancel the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia's Baltic coast to Germany would only hurt Europe.

                      "The sides have reached considerable progress in terms of legal, technical, economic, and financial aspects of this agreement," Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said December 21 in Brussels.

                      "Failing to implement it now would be a shot in one's foot from the side of whoever would want to do it." he said.

                      "This is about Europe's energy balance, safeguarding security of supplies, these are most important questions."

                      The Nord Stream-2 project, which involves German and Dutch companies as well as Russia's Gazprom, fell into question last week after Italy raised it as an issue during debate over extending Russian economic sanctions.

                      Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Berlin's plans to turn Germany into a hub for the distribution of Russian gas through the project, which was intended to bypass Ukraine, "left a dubious taste," especially after a similar South Stream project that would have benefited Italy was blocked by sanctions last year.

                      Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and TASS