US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA

 

American troops deployed in Syria have exchanged fire with rebels that were until recently supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In 2013, soon after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the then-US President Barack Obama instructed the Central Intelligence Agency to provide covert support to fighters in Syria. Acting on the president’s directive, the CIA promptly joined forces with spy agencies from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to assist fighters affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. At that time, Washington saw the Free Syrian Army and forces affiliated with it as ideologically moderate. It also agreed with the group’s main aim, which was to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading

Iraq threatens WAR with Turkey over military occupation

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatens to initiate a regional war if Turkey does not withdraw its military forces from Northern Iraq.

(BAGHDAD/ANKARA) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group. Continue reading

All-out Turkish-Kurd war. Barazani goes to Tehran

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An all-out Turkish-Kurdish war has boiled over in northern Syria since the Turkish army crossed the border last Wednesday, Aug. 24 for the avowed aim of fighting the Islamic State and pushing the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia back. Instead of falling back, the Kurds went on the offensive and are taking a hammering. This raging confrontation has stalled the US-led coalition offensive against ISIS and put on indefinite hold any US plans for campaigns to drive the jihadists out of their Syrian and Iraqi capitals of Raqqa and Mosul. Continue reading

How Turkey is reforming its military

Empowered to issue decrees with the “power of law” authorized by the state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup attempt, the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) government is frantically busy with changes that will radically affect the structure of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the civilian-military relations of the country. Judging from the pace and scope of the changes, this can well be characterized as “revolutionary civilian transformation.” The profound changes that have been introduced to the TSK with the decree issued July 31 include that from now on deputy prime ministers and the ministers of justice, interior and foreign affairs will participate in the Supreme Military Council (SMC), which decides on promotions of generals and other important issues in regard to the TSK. The role of civilians in the SMC used to be restricted to the prime minister and minister of defense. Continue reading

How Far Will The U.S. Go If Turkey Invades Syria?

The Government of Turkey has now put itself in a position whereby it must act rapidly and precipitously to avoid moving to an ultimately losing strategic position in the war against Syria, which could result in being forced back to fight a full-scale civil war to prevent the break-up of the State into at least two compo-nents, one being a new Kurdish state.

Turkey’s leadership, in insisting — in 2011-12 — on sponsoring a proxy war to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has already led to a refugee crisis of irreversible strategic damage to Europe, but Turkish Presisdent Reçep Tayyip Erdo?an [sic], the Saudi Arabian military-political leadership, the U.S. Barack Obama administration, and the Qatari Emir now find themselves with nowhere to go except to escalate further in the hope that the Syrian revival, backed by Russia and Iran, will collapse.

Clear indications are emerging in Washington, DC, that the Pentagon is preparing to support a direct mili-tary invasion of Syria by Turkish Armed Forces, despite the Munich accord in the week ending February 13, 2016, which was meant to bring about a ceasefire in Syrian fighting. US officials have been actively en-gaged [sic]with those of Turkey and possibly Saudi Arabia in the preparations for ground force attacks on Kurd-ish military formations inside northern Syria, and U.S. Air Force Fairchild A-10 strike aircraft have deployed over northern Syrian territory in early February. Continue reading

The battles in N. Syria will determine the fate of the peace process

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The US-Russian plan, approved by the UN Security Council as the lever for activating a political process towards ending the five-year Syrian war, can only go so far towards its objectives. The process is not capable of halting the fighting or removing Bashar Assad from power; just the reverse: progress in the talks is heavily dependent on the state of play on the battlefields of the north while the Syrian dictator’s ouster is a fading issue.

The limitations and obstacles facing the UN-endorsed US-Russian plan are summed up here by debkafile’s analysts:

1. The understanding reached by the Obama administration and the Kremlin in the past month was first conceived as a stopgap measure. It was never intended to bring the calamitous Syrian war to an end or remove Assad, but rather to provide a pretext to account for the expansion of Russia’s ground operation and gloss over America’s military deficiencies in the Syrian conflict. Taking it as carte blanche from Washington, President Vladimir Putin felt able to announce Saturday, Dec. 19, that “the Russian armed forces have not employed all of their capability in Syria and may use more military means there if necessary.”  Continue reading

Turkey’s Wrong Bet on Syria

  • Today, instead of the free movement of labor and capital, there is, around the border area, the free movement of bombs and bullets.
  • Ankara considers the real security threat from Syria as not the jihadists, but the secular Kurds who fight the jihadists.
  • Turkey has worked so hard to create a “Peshawar” (Afghanistan) across its border with Syria — hoping instead to create a Muslim Brotherhood zone.

It was supposed to be Turkish gambit: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days in power were numbered; the Nusayri (Alawite) man would be toppled by Syria’s Sunni majority in a popular revolt. The Sunni majority would set up in Damascus a Muslim Brotherhood type of regime that would be subservient to Ankara, and Turkey’s southern border with Syria would be now be a borderless Sunni “Schengen” zone; cross border trade would flourish with the free movement of labor and capital. Peace would prevail along the 900-km border, and Turkish and Syrian Sunni supremacists would advance their agenda in the not-always-so-Sunni lands of the Middle East. Continue reading

Turkish Army to be Authorized In Iraq and Syria, Davutoğlu Says

ISTANBUL — Turkish government will ask for the parliament’s authorization for military operations in Syria and Iraq, the newly-elected PM Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference on Tuesday. Continue reading

Turkey scrambled F-16s to stop Syrian air operations near border

ANKARA — Turkey has been preparing for an air war with Syria.

The Turkish military said four U.S.-origin F-16 multi-role fighters were sent to the Syrian border on Oct. 5. Continue reading

Turkey plans legal reform to prevent coups

The Turkish government has plans to make a slight change to its laws to prevent coups. The contentious point in the constitution – Article 35 – has been used as justification by instigators of past coups.

Since 1960, there have been four military coups in Turkey that threw out elected governments. The last time a coup threatened the government in Turkey was 2007, when the military had a stand-off with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Now, the government is considering a historic step: changing Article 35 of the Turkish military’s internal laws. This would be an attempt to avoid future military coups by passing an amendment that would remove the possibility of the military getting involved in domestic affairs. The change in Article 35 would make the military only responsible for “threats from abroad.” Continue reading

Generals opting out as Turkish military seen ‘turning from secular to Islamist’

ANKARA — Turkey’s once powerful General Staff is reportedly struggling
amid the resignation of senior military officers.

Military sources said senior officers were increasingly choosing early
retirement rather than confront the intervention of Prime Minister Recep
Erdogan.

They said many of the officers were dismayed by the return of
personnel linked to Islamist groups as well as the arrest of 400 officers accused of supporting a coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party. Continue reading

Turkey shells targets in Syria despite new diplomatic push

BEIRUT — While the Turkish military fired on targets in Syria on Friday, the governments of Turkey and Germany threw their weight behind calls for a Syrian ceasefire during a Muslim holiday next week, and the international envoy for the conflict arrived in Damascus to push for the plan. Continue reading

Turkey finds ‘illegal cargo’ on Syrian plane

From the “passenger” plane that Turkey recently forced down:

Turkish state media reported Thursday that a Syrian passenger plane grounded by Turkish military jets was carrying radio receivers and possibly “missile parts.” Syria hit back saying the interception amounted to “piracy.” Continue reading

Turkey Warns Syria It May Use ‘Greater Force’

As fighting near the 550-mile border has unfolded over the past week, several mortar bombs have landed on Turkish soil, prompting Turkish gunners to return fire. It has not been clear whether the Syrian mortar is deliberate or the result of inaccurate fire in clashes between government forces and rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading

Turkey returns fire ‘after fresh Syria shelling’

…and now for a second time. These recent escalations can only continue for so long before it turns into a full-scale war, which will likely light the entire middle east on fire.

Turkey’s military has returned fire across the border after a Syrian mortar round again landed on Turkish soil, television channels say.

The incident happened in southern Hatay province on Friday afternoon, Turkish media said. No injuries were reported.

On Wednesday Syrian mortar fire killed five Turkish civilians in the town of Akcakale. Continue reading