Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!)

1] What you CAN NOT post.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this forum to post any material which is:
- abusive
- vulgar
- hateful
- harassing
- personal attacks
- obscene

You also may not:
- post images that are too large (max is 500*500px)
- post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or cited properly.
- post in UPPER CASE, which is considered yelling
- post messages which insult the Armenians, Armenian culture, traditions, etc
- post racist or other intentionally insensitive material that insults or attacks another culture (including Turks)

The Ankap thread is excluded from the strict rules because that place is more relaxed and you can vent and engage in light insults and humor. Notice it's not a blank ticket, but just a place to vent. If you go into the Ankap thread, you enter at your own risk of being clowned on.
What you PROBABLY SHOULD NOT post...
Do not post information that you will regret putting out in public. This site comes up on Google, is cached, and all of that, so be aware of that as you post. Do not ask the staff to go through and delete things that you regret making available on the web for all to see because we will not do it. Think before you post!

2] Use descriptive subject lines & research your post. This means use the SEARCH.

This reduces the chances of double-posting and it also makes it easier for people to see what they do/don't want to read. Using the search function will identify existing threads on the topic so we do not have multiple threads on the same topic.

3] Keep the focus.

Each forum has a focus on a certain topic. Questions outside the scope of a certain forum will either be moved to the appropriate forum, closed, or simply be deleted. Please post your topic in the most appropriate forum. Users that keep doing this will be warned, then banned.

4] Behave as you would in a public location.

This forum is no different than a public place. Behave yourself and act like a decent human being (i.e. be respectful). If you're unable to do so, you're not welcome here and will be made to leave.

5] Respect the authority of moderators/admins.

Public discussions of moderator/admin actions are not allowed on the forum. It is also prohibited to protest moderator actions in titles, avatars, and signatures. If you don't like something that a moderator did, PM or email the moderator and try your best to resolve the problem or difference in private.

6] Promotion of sites or products is not permitted.

Advertisements are not allowed in this venue. No blatant advertising or solicitations of or for business is prohibited.
This includes, but not limited to, personal resumes and links to products or
services with which the poster is affiliated, whether or not a fee is charged
for the product or service. Spamming, in which a user posts the same message repeatedly, is also prohibited.

7] We retain the right to remove any posts and/or Members for any reason, without prior notice.


Members are welcome to read posts and though we encourage your active participation in the forum, it is not required. If you do participate by posting, however, we expect that on the whole you contribute something to the forum. This means that the bulk of your posts should not be in "fun" threads (e.g. Ankap, Keep & Kill, This or That, etc.). Further, while occasionally it is appropriate to simply voice your agreement or approval, not all of your posts should be of this variety: "LOL Member213!" "I agree."
If it is evident that a member is simply posting for the sake of posting, they will be removed.

8] These Rules & Guidelines may be amended at any time. (last update September 17, 2009)

If you believe an individual is repeatedly breaking the rules, please report to admin/moderator.
See more
See less

Regional geopolitics

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
    Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
    Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Originally posted by londontsi View Post
      Indeed. As a US citizen I hate this administration and all it's lackeys that protect Turkish interests and provide shelter to islamists.
      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        Originally posted by Joseph View Post
        Indeed. As a US citizen I hate this administration and all it's lackeys that protect Turkish interests and provide shelter to islamists.
        The administration is irrelevant. The whole two party system is a scam. You do not have any choices at all. Had this been a republican president the results would have been identical.
        Hayastan or Bust.


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
          The administration is irrelevant. The whole two party system is a scam. You do not have any choices at all. Had this been a republican president the results would have been identical.
          Finally making some sense. The level that the Anglo-Americans, Turks(including Azeris), and Israel work together is pretty annoying.


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            Russia Vindicated by Terrorist Surrenders in Syria

            Finian CUNNINGHAM | 31.12.2015 | 00:00

            As Syrians gather in their capital Damascus to celebrate, there is a sense that the New Year will bring a measure of peace – the first time such hope has been felt over the past five years of war in the country.

            Russia’s military intervention to help its Arab ally at the end of September has been the seminal event of the year. After three months of sustained Russian aerial operations in support of the Syrian Arab Army against an array of foreign-backed mercenaries, there is an unmistakable sense that the «terrorist backbone has been broken», as Russian President Vladimir Putin recently put it.

            This past week sees several local truces being implemented across Syria with evacuation of militants from towns which they have held under armed siege. The civilian populations in these locations have been effectively held hostage as human shields by the militants, thus preventing Syrian army advances up to now. The Western media, such as US government-owned Voice of America, invert reality by claiming that it is the mercenaries themselves who have been under siege from the Syrian army instead of the fact that the mercenaries have been holding civilians in their midst as hostages, as was the case earlier in the siege of Homs, which was eventually also broken.

            What has changed dramatically is the advent of Russian air power – over 5,000 sorties in three months – which has enabled the Syrian army to wipe out militant bases, oil smuggling and weapons supply routes in northern Syria along the Turkish border. This has left militants further inland to wither from the severance of supply lifelines. Hence the readiness now to accept truces and evacuation deals – under the auspices of the United Nations and International Committee for the Red Cross.

            Thousands of anti-government insurgents are being bussed out of locations around Damascus, including Zabadani, al Qadam, Hajar al Aswad and Yarmouk.

            An air strike reportedly by Russia forces killing the commander of the Jaish al-Islam militant group, Zahran Alloush, in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta, dealt a devastating blow to morale among the self-styled jihadists. Alloush was reportedly killed along with several other commanders. That strike translates into «the game is up».

            What is interesting is how the Western news media are reporting all this. Their reportage of the truces and evacuations are straining to minimize the context of these developments. This BBC report is typical, headlined: «Syria fighters’ evacuation from Zabadani ‘under way’».

            The British state-owned broadcaster tells of hundreds of «fighters» being relocated from the town of Zabadani as if the development just magically materialized like a present donated by Santa Claus. What the BBC fails to inform is that that truce, as with several others around Damascus, has come about because of Russia’s strategic military intervention in Syria dealing crushing blows against the militant networks. The Western media have preoccupied themselves instead with claims from the US State Department that Russia’s military operations have either been propping up the «Assad regime» or allegedly targeting «moderate rebels» and civilians.

            The disingenuous Western narrative, or more prosaically «propaganda», then, in turn, creates a conundrum when widespread truces and evacuations are being implemented. That obviously positive development signaling an end to conflict thanks to Russia’s military intervention has to be left unexplained or unacknowledged by the Western media because it negates all their previous pejorative narrative towards Russia and the Assad government.

            Furthermore, the Western media are obliged to be coy about the exact identity of the «fighters» being evacuated. As noted already, the militants are variously described by the Western media in sanitized terms as «fighters» or «rebels». But more informative regional and local sources, such as Lebanon’s Al Manar, identify the brigades as belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front. These are terror groups, as even defined by Washington and the European Union. So, the Western media has to, by necessity, censor itself from telling the truth by peddling half-truths and sly omissions.

            The Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), whose commander was killed, is also integrated with the al-Qaeda terror network. Jaish al-Islam is funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and serves as a conduit for American CIA weapons to the more known terrorist outlets. Notably, Voice of America referred to the terror commander Zahran Alloush with the euphemistic cleansing term as a «rebel leader».

            What the Russian-precipitated truces and termination of sieges is demonstrating is that the western side of Syria, from Daraa in the south, through Damascus and up to the northern Mediterranean Sea coast around Aleppo and Latakia, are infested with the terror brigades of IS and Al-Nusra and their myriad offshoots.

            Western media have repeatedly accused Russia of conducting air strikes against «moderate rebels» and not the IS brigades, which they claim, were concentrated in the east of Syria. It is true that the IS is strongly based in eastern cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, from where its oil smuggling operations are mounted.

            Russia has stepped up its air strikes on IS smuggling routes in eastern Syria with devastating results. But also integral to the air operations is the cutting off of weapons routes in the northwest to fuel the insurgents along the entire western flank, including around Damascus.

            The surrender of the various mercenary brigades and the breaking of sieges around Damascus is vindication of Russia’s military tactics; and also its narrative about the nature of the whole conflict in Syria.

            The Western notion of «moderate rebels» and «extremists» is being exposed as the nonsense that it is. And so Western media are compelled to evacuate any meaningful context from their coverage of recent events in Syria.

            Riad Haddad, Syria’s ambassador to Russia, spoke the plain truth in recent days when he said: «We are at a turning point in the Syrian army operations against terrorists – namely the transition from defense to attack… [because of] the effective work of the Russian air force in Syria». But the ambassador’s comments were scarcely, if at all, reported in the Western media. Simply because those words vindicate Russia’s military intervention and its general policy towards Syria.

            Also missing or downplayed in the Western media coverage of the truces across Syria is the question of where the surrendering mercenaries are being evacuated to. They are not being bussed to other places inside Syria. That shows that there is no popular support for these insurgents. Despite copious Western media coverage contriving that the Syrian conflict is some kind of «civil war» between a despotic regime and a popular pro-democracy uprising, the fact that surrendering militants have no where to go inside Syria patently shows that these insurgents have no popular base.

            In other words, this is a foreign-backed war on Syria; a covert war of aggression on a sovereign country utilizing terrorist proxy armies.

            So where are the terrorist remnants being shipped to? According to several reports, the extremists are being given safe passage into Turkey, where they will receive repair and sanctuary from the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and no doubt subsidized by the European Union with its $3.5 billion in aid to Ankara to «take care of refugees».

            Again, this is another indictment of the state-terrorist links of NATO-member Turkey, which the EU is recently giving special attention to for accession to the bloc.

            Russia is not only vindicated in Syria. The Western governments, their media and their regional client regimes are being flushed out like the bandits on the ground in Syria.

            If the UN-sponsored peace process due to start in the New Year succeeds to end the conflict in Syria, it will be largely down to Russia’s military campaign that has wiped out the terrorist proxies working on behalf of the Western criminal enterprise for regime change in that country.
            Hayastan or Bust.


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Following much debate about whether or not to join the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria Britons are wondering if their contribution is even effective after it has become clear that Britain carried out only four air strikes in the month since the country began strikes into Syria in addition to their ongoing aerial campaign in Iraq.

              "There is an almost complete disconnect between the heated political debate in Britain over Syria and what the government has actually done," a military aviation expert named Jon Lake told The Telegraph newspaper. "Britain's air campaign in Syria so far is basically a non-event which can have had little, if any impact on the balance of power on the ground."

              Manned British jets have sought to target economic targets they believe will undermine ISIS. On December 3 (the opening salvo) they hit the ISIS held Omar oil fields in eastern Syria.

              Two more similar air attacks were conducted around the same area on December 6. Then nothing until December 25 when an unmanned Reaper drone hit an ISIS outpost in the Syrian city of Raqqa with a Hellfire missile. That case was the only one where it is believed a British air strike killed ISIS terrorists in Syria.

              Aside from that British jets have not carried out any other strikes ever since. Raising questions about just how effective Britain's contribution is following so much impassioned argument by Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative party about whether or not to begin strikes in Syria.

              The lessening number of clear targets coupled with strict rules of engagement aimed at preventing civilian casualties are possible reasons for such a low number of bombing runs.

              Britain continues to support coalition air strikes in Iraq and gave close air support the Iraqi Army when it recently forced ISIS from the city of Ramadi.
              Hayastan or Bust.


              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                Social Europe
                Jan 4 2016

                Turkey's Military Onslaught On The Kurds: Why Are Europe And The US Silent?

                by Mehmet Ugur on 4 January 2016

                In a way that revives the memories of the Armenian massacres from
                1894-1915, the Turkish state is now embarked on a new wave of ethnic
                cleansing against the `separatist-terrorist' Kurds. It can be argued
                that the military onslaught on Kurdish towns and cities is a farce
                given that the Turkish state is still not sure of its unity a century
                after the Armenian genocide. However, the farce is already producing
                tragic consequences. Since July 2015, 108 civilians have been killed,
                of whom 54 are children. The death toll is set to increase, given the
                number of troops mobilised, the duration of the sieges around towns
                and neighbourhoods, the military's deliberate targeting of drinking
                water and electricity supplies, and the approaching cold winter in the

                Yet, the international community has been largely silent. There is
                very little information about the scale of the military operation in
                the Kurdish region. Whatever information we have reflects official
                statements from the Turkish government and briefings by European and
                US governments. As the latter justify the onslaught on the grounds
                that the Turkish state has the right to defend itself against
                terrorism, Western media outlets roll out cheap information that
                depict the situation in the Kurdish region as clashes between the PKK
                guerrillas and Turkish security forces. In what follows, I will make a
                plea to reconsider the facts.

                Turkish State's Fear Of Its Citizens

                Once, quite a few academics made successful careers writing about the
                `strong state tradition' in Turkey. This argument was well received
                because it coincided with extensive state involvement in the economy
                and import-substitution policies. The more the statist model got into
                trouble, the more the argument has featured in journal articles and
                PhD theses. But then Turkey embraced the market in the 1980s. Since
                then the narrative has been about Turkey's potential to be a secular
                and democratic role model for Muslim countries in the Middle East.

                Both lines of arguments are simplistic and reflect the wider
                ideological currents of the time. As I argued in the late 1990s, the
                Turkish state is strong against individual citizens but weak against
                organised interests. This was the case not only during the early
                Republican era, but also throughout the following decades. That was
                why Turkey's commitment to EU membership has not been credible;
                several coups have been staged as and when the state felt it was
                losing control; Kurdish demands for recognition and autonomy have been
                met with mass killings in the 1920s and 1930s; and with mass torture,
                imprisonment, displacement and extrajudicial killings in the 1990s.

                The Turkish state has not been able to come to terms with the concept
                of individual liberty because it has woven an ideological cocoon
                around itself with three sets of beliefs: (i) the Turks have
                established sixteen states, fifteen of which collapsed and the last
                one (the Republic of Turkey) must not face the same fate; (ii) the
                state is a father figure and the first duty of its sons (daughters are
                excluded explicitly or implicitly) is to obey the father's authority;
                and (iii) the Turkish state is surrounded by all sort of enemies who
                work with internal collaborators to destabilise the country and
                prevent it from fulfilling its full potential.

                Organised interests in Turkey (business organisations, their lobby
                groups, bosses of co-opted trades unions, most university rectors, the
                religious establishment, etc.) have read this script correctly. They
                presented their specific interests as true reflections of the national
                interest, which the Turkish state served in return for continued
                loyalty. That is why both sides have always been in tune when it comes
                to suppressing any opposition that questions the de jure or de facto
                rules of the game. Any change in the rules can happen only when the
                `father state' and its allies are happy to grant it. Because this
                unholy alliance lacked generosity, demands for institutional change
                have continued; and so has the suppression of demands for fairer
                institutions ` whether made by students, workers, farmers or the
                Kurdish people.

                Are The Kurds Threatening Turkey's Unity Or Security?

                There are three issues to consider before an answer can be attempted.
                First, the Kurds feel that they had been robbed of a promise for
                autonomy after the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which recognized the
                boundaries of modern Turkey. Under the treaty, Turkey relinquished any
                claim to its former Arab provinces and recognized British possession
                of Cyprus. In return, the Allies dropped their demands of autonomy for
                the Kurds in Turkey. Yet Kurdish autonomy had been promised by Mustafa
                Kemal from 1919-1922, with a view to securing Kurdish support for the
                War of Independence. The Turkish state's failure to deliver on its
                promises was the main driver behind a number of Kurdish insurrections
                in the 1920s and 1930s.

                Secondly, the Turkish state and the `white Turks' have treated the
                Kurds as second-class citizens and denied them the right to be
                educated in their mother tongue. In fact, during the military regime
                of 1980-1983, the Turkish state fabricated `theories' that asserted
                that the Kurds are nothing but mountain Turks, who came to be known as
                Kurds because of the sound they made when walking on the snow. (See
                also here).

                Finally, neither the PKK nor the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is
                demanding independence from Turkey. True, for a period in the 1980s
                and 1990s, the PKK was deliberately vague on the issue. However, since
                the arrest of its leader in 1999, the PKK has been demanding autonomy.
                This is because the nation state is now considered an anachronistic
                institution; and local democracy (including recognition and
                representation of distinct identities) has been embraced as a solution
                not only for the Kurdish question but also for democratisation in
                Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

                Despite these facts, and detailed findings and recommendations by an
                international delegation of human rights lawyers in 2005, the Turkish
                government has been reluctant to agree to meaningful peace
                negotiations and eventually pulled out of a half-baked `peace process'
                just after the elections in June 2015. Indeed, the withdrawal from the
                peace negotiations, the following rise in state-orchestrated terror
                from June to November 2015, Turkey's interference in Syria and its
                support for terrorist organisations including ISIS were all hallmarks
                of a political choice made by President Erdogan with the government
                and other state institutions in his tow. The political objective was
                to ensure the continuity of AKP rule, preferably with a large majority
                required to change the constitution and institute Mr Erdogan as a
                president with no checks and balances. The Turkish military both
                agreed to and supported this move because it appealed to its
                security-based approach to the Kurdish problem ` and also promised a
                more prominent standing for an institution that has lost part of its
                halo among conservative Turks.

                To put it bluntly, there is no ground to justify the Turkish state's
                ongoing assault on the Kurds as a reaction to a security threat ` let
                alone any threat of cessation. On the contrary, there has been a clear
                consensus and a genuine desire for peace across a wide spectrum of
                Kurdish groups and organisations. That was why the latter signed the
                Dolmabahce Agreement with the AKP government on 28 February 2015.

                The agreement consisted of 10 articles that set the framework for
                resolving the Kurdish issue, including the `national and local
                dimensions of the democratic solution'. It was President Erdogan who
                scuppered the Agreement in July 2015, after the AKP failed to win a
                majority in the elections in June. The government, five months after
                it announced the Agreement publicly together with HDP representatives,
                had to backtrack and follow the line of denial imposed by Mr Erdogan.

                The President and the AKP government has put an end to the peace
                process because they feared a `Turkish Spring'. The scare had a
                material basis because successive AKP governments have been involved
                in widespread corruption, violent oppression of peaceful protests,
                interference in Syria, and support for terrorist organisations
                operating in Syria. Given these liabilities and the risk of failure to
                win a majority in the snap elections in November, the AKP government
                has initiated the process of state-orchestrated violence that I
                discussed in an earlier Social Europe article.

                Facts About The Military Onslaught On The Kurds

                Turkey is now a de facto divided country. Whereas people in
                non-Kurdish provinces pretend business is as usual, people in the
                Kurdish region fear dying any minute as a result of unprecedented
                state violence perpetrated both by the military and special
                paramilitary units. Known for his blunders, the Turkish Prime
                Minister, Mr Ahmet Davutoglu, inadvertently revealed that the military
                build-up and the arbitrary curfews in the Kurdish region were planned
                already in November 2013. Speaking to a sympathetic journalist, he

                We had considered 12 critical towns in our deliberations in November
                2013. If you look at the struggle over the last 2-3 months, you can
                see Lice, Silvan, Varto, Kulp. Cizre is still going on. Next we have
                Dogubeyazit and Yuksekova. We have established control in most of
                these towns. Now there are only 4-5 towns where the struggle is
                intense: Sur, Cizre, Silopi, Nusaybin, Dargeçit. We are concentrated
                there at the moment.

                As to what this `struggle' involves, we can refer to a recent report
                by Human Rights Watch. It involves: artillery shooting in densely
                populated neighbourhoods; disconnection of water and electricity
                supply; denying access to medical treatment; preventing burials; and
                abusive and disproportionate use of force against any peaceful
                protest. According to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human

                Imposing open-ended, round-the-clock curfews in entire neighbourhoods
                or towns until further notice represents a massive restriction of some
                of the most fundamental human rights of a huge population. Their
                frequent and widespread use in South-Eastern Turkey since August does
                not appear to satisfy the criteria of proportionality and necessity in
                a democratic society.

                There is also evidence that the Turkish military is using school
                buildings as garrisons. Schools are empty not only because of curfews
                but also because the Turkish government has ordered teachers to leave
                their schools in many towns and cities, including Diyarbakir. The
                graffiti on the walls and class whiteboards written by security forces
                include: `in the name of god, the Almighty', `time to send you to
                hell', `it is our turn to educate you', `obey or leave'; `my teeth had
                the smell of blood'.

                The mainstream Turkish media does not report these atrocities ` with
                the notable exception of Cumhuriyet, the chief editor of which is
                currently in prison charged with treason for reporting on Turkey's
                arms supply to terrorist organisations in Syria. Instead, the Turkish
                media depict all people in besieged towns as terrorists. Its
                `reporting' is embellished with photographs of top brass officers
                drawing attack plans in front of town/area maps or with masked
                military personnel equipped with deadly weapons. Casualties are
                reported as `annihilation of terrorists' as opposed to the `martyrdom
                of security personnel'. The judiciary is completely in the
                government's tow: even the High Court has recently rejected an appeal
                by an HDP MP to rule on the legality of arbitrary curfews on the
                grounds that the petition was not submitted by somebody affected by

                Why The Turkish Government Has A Free Hand

                A recent article by Seymour Hersh sheds some light on why the Turkish
                government is having a free hand in its onslaught on the Kurds.

                Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more
                indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of
                disdain for Assad and support for ErdoÄ?an. Dempsey [the retired
                chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] remains mystified by Obama's
                continued public defence of ErdoÄ?an, given the American intelligence
                community's strong case against him ` and the evidence that Obama, in
                private, accepts that case. ¦ The Joint Chiefs and the DIA [Defence
                Intelligence Agency] were constantly telling Washington's leadership
                of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The
                message was never listened to.
                Hayastan or Bust.


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  It is this US support that Turkey counts on in its onslaught on the Kurds.

                  Turkey also counts on political support from Germany and the UK, and
                  from France despite evidence of some movements of the perpetrators of
                  the November 13 Paris attacks through Turkey. Chancellor Merkel rushed
                  to be photographed with Erdogan after sealing a deal on refugees while
                  the UK Prime Minister still has not uttered any critical word against
                  the AKP government's conduct either in Syria or against its Kurdish
                  citizens. This political support also explains why NATO is putting a
                  positive spin on its air defence support to Turkey even though the
                  Turkish government is not wholly trusted. It also explains why the EU
                  postponed the publication of a critical progress report until after
                  the elections in November and agreed to `energise' EU-Turkey relations
                  on 29 November 2015 against a background of excessive state violence
                  in the Kurdish region.

                  This complicity is unfolding in a context where Kurds in Turkey and
                  Syria are the only effective political actor with secular and
                  democratic policy objectives. They demand autonomy and local democracy
                  within existing state boundaries. They have realised significant
                  achievements in the empowerment of women. They have demonstrated that
                  they are highly effective in the fight against ISIS. They have secured
                  significant support in two elections in Turkey, despite mob attacks on
                  HDP offices and state-orchestrated violence that killed hundreds of
                  participants in rallies organised or supported by HDP. Last but not
                  least, the Kurds have not been involved in any hostility towards
                  Western interests in Turkey, Syria or Iraq. The only exception is the
                  Barzani-led administration in Northern Iraq, which receives full
                  support from the US and European governments despite conspiring with
                  Turkey to allow the latter to violate Iraq's sovereignty.

                  Since the early 1920s, the Turkish state has oppressed political
                  dissent in general and committed repeated atrocities against the Kurds
                  in particular. The motive has always been the same: preserving the
                  oppressive mould of the state and the power asymmetry between the
                  political-economic elite on the one hand and the ordinary individuals
                  on the other. This is a recipe for state failure ` as Acemoglu and
                  Robinson have warned. More to the point in the context of this
                  article, this is also an indication that the US and Europe are
                  propping up a state and a regime that tick all the boxes of bad
                  governance and may be liable for trial under international law.

                  Given this background, European and US governments may be repeating
                  the historical mistake that Germany committed in 1915, when it turned
                  a blind eye to the massacre of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in
                  return for the latter's declaration of war against Russia.

                  Our mission is to strengthen democracy by discussing solutions to the most pressing political, economic and social issues of our time.
                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Jan 6 2016

                    First the Middle East, now Central Asia slipping away from Turkey

                    Author: Zülfikar DoÄ?an
                    Translator:Timur Göksel
                    Posted January 6, 2016

                    Turkey ' which with its deterioration in relations with Syria, Iraq,
                    Libya, Egypt and Israel lost its economic, political and diplomatic
                    influence in the Middle East ' is now on the verge of losing Central
                    Asia because of Ankara's crisis with Russia stemming from events in

                    The sanctions Moscow imposed after the Nov. 24 downing of a Russian
                    plane are spreading to Russian spheres of influence in Central Asia
                    and the Caucasus, as Central Asian countries that had established
                    close ties with Ankara after the collapse of the Soviet Union appear
                    to be preparing to distance themselves from Turkey. At the December
                    2015 Moscow summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) '
                    which includes the Turkic states of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and
                    Tajikistan in addition to Russia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and
                    Armenia ' calls were made for Turkey to apologize to Russia.

                    Armenia holds the term presidency of the CIS-Collective Security
                    Treaty Organization, a military alliance of former Soviet republics.
                    The military chiefs of member states met before the gathering of heads
                    of state to hear their term chairman, Gen. Yuri Khachaturov, Armenian
                    chief of the General Staff, harshly criticize Turkey. Khachaturov
                    noted, `Chiefs of staff of all member states of the organization
                    supported the Russian actions and denounced Turkey's attack against
                    the Su-24 plane which was seen as an incendiary, shameless aggression.
                    As Russia said immediately after the attack, we also saw it as a stab
                    in the back.'

                    Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, term chairman of CIS, also asked
                    the summit to express its support for Russia and denounce Turkey. He
                    said, `As member states, we declared our support for the Russian
                    position and decided to urgently declare unity to combat terror.
                    Turkey's attitude and its shooting down of the Russian plane have been
                    a setback to the struggle against terror.'

                    The real shock for Ankara was not Sargsyan's words, but those of the
                    Kyrgyzstan head of state, President Almazbek Atambayev, who in the
                    past had addressed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as `my older
                    brother.' After the August 2014 presidential elections, Atambayev had
                    appeared with Erdogan, who was delivering his victory speech, and
                    lavishly praised him. At the CIS summit, Atambayev expressed support
                    for Moscow and President Vladimir Putin and suggested Erdogan and
                    Turkey apologize to Russia.

                    The support for Russia among the Central Asian Turkic republics, which
                    have received billions of dollars of credit and financing support from
                    Turkey, and Atambayev's call for an apology shocked Turkey,
                    disillusioning Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party
                    government. In 2014, the Cooperation and Coordination Agency of Turkey
                    had provided the republics more than $3.5 billion. When asked about
                    Atambayev's comment, Erdogan spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said, `If
                    nothing else, it was an unfortunate statement.'

                    Russia's freeze on issuing transit permits to Turkish truckers in
                    October has severely disrupted Turkish exports to the Central Asian
                    republics. Concerned with the prospect of losing the Central Asian
                    market, where Turkey has sizable construction contracts and
                    investments, Ankara began using the Caspian Sea for its exports thanks
                    to Azerbaijan opening its gates.

                    Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, ordered that Caspian port
                    capacity be increased and transit documents waived for Turkish trucks.
                    Even if Turkish truck traffic through the Caspian reaches 50,000 a
                    year, it would still fall far short of sustaining exports to the
                    Central Asian market.

                    With the sharp decline in oil and natural gas prices, Azerbaijan had
                    to devalue its currency 47% against the dollar and euro. Given the
                    economic bottlenecks it faces, no one can be sure that the country can
                    indefinitely be a contributor in regard to Turkey's commercial and
                    energy needs.

                    Moreover, an Aliyev-Sargsyan meeting in Switzerland Dec. 19 did not
                    yield a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. Instead, both
                    countries announced that their cease-fire had ended. This development
                    greatly concerns Turkey, because it could negatively affect its use of
                    the Azerbaijani route for its exports. Meanwhile, Russia and Armenia,
                    which have been boosting political and economic links, in late
                    December decided to also expand their military cooperation.

                    In mid-December, Putin announced that visa requirements for Georgian
                    nationals would be eased and soon thereafter abolished. It has become
                    clear that the Russian-Armenian air defense agreement, normalization
                    of Russian-Georgian relations and resumption of fighting between
                    Azerbaijan and Armenia will impede Turkey's access to the Caucasus.
                    There are also fears that Russia, which has been firing cruise
                    missiles from its navy based in the Caspian, could block passage
                    through that sea, severely restricting Turkey's access to Central Asia
                    via that route.

                    Russian also made use of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to move
                    against Turkey's relations with the Turkic republics. Turkey-EEU
                    negotiations to establish a free trade zone were suspended, and
                    instead, Putin announced, the EEU would enter into talks with Iran.
                    Thus Russia is helping advance Iranian economic interests in Central
                    Asia by closing the doors on Turkey advocating a customs union and
                    regional free trade. No doubt, this brought Turkey one step closer to
                    losing Central Asia in the wake of its isolation in the Middle East.

                    Having lost influence in the Middle East, Turkey finds itself increasingly isolated from Central Asia and the Caucasus after its dust-up with Russia in Syria.
                    Hayastan or Bust.


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces launch a critical offensive in northeastern Aleppo
                      Written by Leith Fadel on 08/01/2016

                      The U.S. backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) have launched an imperative offensive to capture the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) stronghold of Menbeij in the Aleppo Governorate’s northeastern countryside on Thursday afternoon.

                      This news from Menbeij comes just two weeks after the Syrian Democratic Forces – backed by the U.S. and Russian Air Forces – captured the strategic Tishreen Dam that links the Aleppo and Al-Raqqa Governorates in northern Syria.

                      The city of Menbeij is situated just south of the Turkish border and directly west of the Al-Raqqa Governorate; its capture would leave ISIS in a difficult situation at Jarabulus (Aleppo Governorate) and ‘Ayn Issa (Al-Raqqa Governorate).

                      ISIS has long controlled this area without any-sort of resistance from the Kurdish forces, the Islamists (Nusra, FSA, and Ahrar Al-Sham), and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA); this is due in large part to the substantial amount of territory under the control of the self-proclaimed “Caliphate” (Arabic var. “Khalifa”).

                      Both the U.S. and Russian Air Forces have aided the Syrian Democratic Forces in their war against ISIS; however, the Russians have become more active as of late, striking several ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) strongholds in both northern and northeastern Aleppo.

                      Al-Masdar News

                      Talk is about the zone Turkey eyed for its "security zone" in Syria.
                      The famous red line turks draw west of the Yeprad, for the kurds not to cross, and link to the Afrin Kurdish enclave East of Alexandrette.