The US has sent a group of US Marines armed with eight-wheeled Stryker armored carriers to northern Syria as a buffer between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces, after Turkish air strikes killed 20 members of the US-backed Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia, injured 18 and destroyed the local Kurdish command headquarters. Clashes broke out between Turkish and Kurdish forces after the air strikes.
It was the second time American armored troops had stepped in to separate Turkish and the Kurdish YPG militia that leads the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), to which the Americans assign a major role in the offensive to capture Raqqa from ISIS. On March 17, US Marines advanced towards the northern Syrian town of Manbij when the Turkish army was on the point of fighting the Kurdish militia for control of the town. Continue reading
Ankara vows forceful response in event of attack; foreign minister says ‘it is our most natural right’
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara could launch a ground operation in Iraq to remove any threats to Turkey that may arise.
“If there is a threat posed to Turkey, we are ready to use all our resources including a ground operation… to eliminate that threat,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with Kanal 24 broadcaster. Continue reading
US soldiers were Monday ordered to use gas masks after ISIS poured oil on a sulfur mine 70km south of Mosul that continues to burn near the US and Iraqi military center at Qayyarah.One obstacle after another – often unforeseen – is slowing the coalition’s advance on Mosul – as debkafile was the first publication to reveal last week. It is becoming obvious that ISIS is following a plan to circle around Mosul in a wide radius and pouncing on important spots for diversionary attacks:
Last week, they overran Kirkuk; this week, Sinjar and Rutba. Continue reading
Less than a day after its launch, the big Mosul offensive prepared for more than a year by the US, the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and others, ground to a halt Tuesday Oct. 17, debkafile’s military sources report – although none of the parties admitted as much. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said his troops were busy opening up corridors for some million civilians to escape, while US sources suggested that the Islamic State would use primitive chemical weapons against the advancing Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
Both had the ring of cover stories to account for the spearhead forces, the Iraq army’s 9th Armored Division and the Federal Police special anti-terror units, being thrown back Tuesday on their way to Mosul from the east and the south, while still 10-15km short of the city. They sustained heavy losses in lives and hardware.
The 9th Division and its newly-supplied heavy US Abrahams tanks were stopped at al-Hamdaniyah outside Mosul and retreated, recalling a previous defeat at ISIS hands in June 2014, when troops of the same division fled under Islamist attack, leaving their tanks behind. Continue reading
TURKEY’S Islamist government has stepped up its war on Christianity by seizing all the churches in one city and declaring them state property.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement.
The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens. Continue reading
The Russian-Turkish conflict is reflected not only in the military, political and economic tension between the two countries but also in the Russian media, which expresses extreme hostility towards Turkey and its president.
This is evident, for example, in articles in English published recently on the Russian websites NEO and Pravda. One of these articles cites “a leading military expert” as saying that, in the event of a war between the two countries, “Russia will have to use nuclear weapons immediately, because the existence of the nation will be at stake.” The others focus on Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, presenting him as an enabler and supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS) and calling him a “madman” and a “murderer.” One even suggests that Turkey was “a prime mover in the [November 13] Paris attack.”
The following are excerpts from the articles. Continue reading
Last Friday, Turkey invaded Iraq.
That sounds more dramatic than it actually was. Turkey sent around 150 soldiers and two dozens tanks to Bashiqa, just northeast of Mosul in what Ankara described as an effort to replace an existing contingent of around 90 troops that have supposedly been on a “training” mission with the Peshmerga for the better part of two years.
As we documented over the weekend, this is hardly the first time the Turks have entered the country.
However, the circumstances are quite different this time around. That is, this isn’t a anti-terror mission aimed at tracking the PKK. Over the weekend, we asked if Turkey was simply trying to protect lucrative oil smuggling routes run by both ISIS and the KRG. On Sunday, an angry Iraq gave Ankara 48 hours to withdraw the troops – or else. Continue reading
There are many unpredictable aspects of the Syrian conflict, but the downing of the Russian bomber by Turkish jets on Tuesday was not one of them. Indeed, given the simultaneous military campaigns taking place in a relatively small swath of territory by Russian, American, French, Syrian, Iranian, and other forces, it is surprising that such an incident did not happen earlier. Nevertheless, the downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 by Turkish jets marked the first attack on a Russian fighter aircraft by a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state since 1953. Although this incident is not by itself sufficient to provoke an armed conflict between Turkey and Russia, it illustrates the main danger confronting the world in Syria, namely a conflagration between regional powers, many of which are armed with nuclear weapons. Continue reading
Although it was fairly obvious since the refugee crisis started, you can now officially add Turkey to the list of nations successfully blackmailing and destroying Europe. Those already on the list include Greece, Libya, and Russia. Of all these, Russia is the most sinister of all.
As Kevin Freeman points out, this is economic warfare via migration. Moreover, the aim is of divide and disintegrate Europe to the point where it can be conquered because there is no unified approach to keeping the European continent secure while the nation states are busy bickering at one another. It’s a simple game of divide and conquer.
Don’t ever allow for the last few decades of peace to lull you into a false sense of security or think large-scale war can’t happen again. The next world war is already underway and this generation will live to see it. History always repeats itself and Europe seems to be leading the way to the next dark ages. Historically, it has always been home to the world’s bloodiest wars.
The resounding win by the Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party: AKP) in the Nov. 1 parliamentary elections in Turkey relied heavily on the support given to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP because of his promise to resolve the strategic challenge to Western Europe caused by the influx of illegal migration from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan through Turkey, and from Libyan ports.
But evidence is now mounting that the upsurge in the migratory wave was the result of deliberate efforts by Erdogan to facilitate and push the flow of migrants in order to blackmail and punish the EU into supporting him. Continue reading
On Friday we checked in on two of the world’s most important conflicts: 1) that which is unfolding in Turkey where President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has effectively granted Washington access to Incirlik (you know, for “anti-terror” sorties) in exchange for NATO’s acquiescence to a brutal crackdown on the Kurds as AKP looks to usurp Turkey’s fragile deomcracy, and 2) that which is unfolding in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting to restore the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
In Turkey, Erdogan has successfully undermined the coalition building process necessitating new elections in November when he hopes the escalation of violence across the country will prompt voters to restore AKP’s parliamentary majority allowing the President to rewrite the constitution and consolidate his power. Journalists are being arrested, a terror “tip line” has been set up, a 24-hour Erodgan Presidential TV channel is in the works, and the country has, for all intents and purposes, been plunged into civil war with ISIS acting as a smokescreen for Erdogan’s power grab. Continue reading
In case you missed this overlooked breaking news from last month:
Putin issues an ultimatum to Turkey, “End all military support for ISIS”
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador issued a verbal ultimatum calling for an immediate end to Turkey’s support for ISIS and violations of Syria’s sovereignty. In doing to, Putin has drawn a red line over Syria, after weeks of escalating NATO moves against that beleaguered nation.
In a startling move, Russian President Vladimir Putin castigated Turkish President Recep Erdogan, calling him a “dictator” and threatening to sever diplomatic ties with Turkey over what Putin claims is Erdogan’s continued support of the ISIS terror organization. Continue reading
Essentially, a revived Ottoman Empire is what Erdoğan wishes for. As stated here a few times, the Turkish incursions in Syria were never about ISIS, but eliminating the Kurds. The Kurds are just one small stumbling block in the way of gaining a foothold in Syria. Also, the Kurds are not allied with Syria, but are stuck in the middle and could eventually face extinction as Washington has now turned its back on them.
Washington gets to do what it wants in Syria as well as Turkey, per the deal allowing U.S. military additional base access in exchange for turning a blind eye.
Meanwhile, ISIS gets free access to Turkish hospitals when in need of care while America stages minimal impact bombing runs on ISIS and fakes its outrage at Turkey’s massacre of Kurds.
Turkey’s relentless military campaign against Kurds and her pseudo fight against the Islamic State has certainly opened up many new questions regarding the future of the Middle East.
With Saudi-US bi-lateral relations experiencing some stress due to the yet-in-the-making Iran deal, Turkey has resurfaced as a potential U.S. ally, capable of not only virtually replacing the House of Saud, but also on the way to becoming the latest Mid-Eastern behemoth. Continue reading
Some of the most successful fighters against the Islamic State are being isolated and attacked by America’s new favorite ally in the region.
Kurdish militias are achieving the stated goals of the Obama administration — to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS — as well or better than any other fighting force. From Kobane to the recent liberation of Tel Abyad, Kurdish militias have won hard-fought victories against ISIS fighters in Syria, while preventing the advance of ISIS into northern Iraq.
What’s more, the Kurds in northern Syria have established a political order like few others in this region of the world. Known as Rojava, the Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria are governed through participatory decision-making forums that include councils made up of women, Christians, Yazidis and Muslims. David Graeber, a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement, calls Rojava a “remarkable democratic experiment.” Continue reading