Thursday, February 04, 2016

Is Turkey preparing to invade Syria? Is all hell about to break loose?

The American establishment is finally turning against the Syrian misadventure: Not long ago, we saw a study (produced by I-forget-which think tank) which claimed that Nusra (a.k.a. Al Qaeda) was an even greater menace than ISIS. This, mere months after David Petraeus was telling Americans that we should partner up with Nusra.

Perhaps the shift in the winds explains why Turkey may do something bold or desperate or stupid:
The Russian military said Thursday that it has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that Turkey is making intensive preparations for a military invasion of neighboring Syria.

Images of a checkpoint on the border between the Turkish town of Reyhanli and the town of Sarmada in Syrian taken in late October and late January show a buildup of transportation infrastructure that could be used for moving in troops, ammunition and weapons, spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in an English-language written statement.

He said these were among growing signs of "hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.

"Maybe, in peacetime, these facts would indicate the expectation of trade turnover growth between the neighboring countries," Konashenkov said. "However, during wartime, in such a way the transport infrastructure is preparing on the eve of military intervention."

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the ministry would have no immediate comment.
"No comment" is the most ominous comment of all.

Why would Erdoğan contemplate such a horrific move? Moon of Alabama notes:
The decisive Syrian government victory yesterday cuts off the foreign supported insurgents in Aleppo and Idleb from they supply sources in Turkey and deprives them of their fuel supplies.

In reaction to that victory the supporters of the insurgents and terrorist in Syria are likely to increase their efforts. The negotiations in Geneva failed over the Syrian victory and the Saudis had already promised that such a failure would lead to an increased support. The Saudi Defense Ministry declared today that Saudi ground forces could take part in action in Syria. It is doubtful that the Saudis have a real capability to do so.

But the Saudis and others will now again shower the insurgents and Jihadis in Syria with money and new weapons. A Turkish invasion could add momentum to such a move.
So the Saudis are paying the Turks to put their young men in harm's way. Typical.

M of A says that Turkey won't take this step, but may mount an invasion using a proxy force, an ethnic group known as the Syrian Turkmens.
These "Turkmen" had occupied northern Latakia where they are just being kicked out by the Syrian army and its supporters. They consist of Turkish "Grey Wolf" fascists, Turkish Islamists and Chechen and Uhigur Islamist mercenaries. They are controlled by the Turkish secret service MIT.
Wow. So, just as the fascist Azov battalion is fighting against Russian-speakers in Ukraine, we will now have the fascist Grey Wolves fighting against Russian interests in Syria.

It's World War II all over again, except this time the US is backing the goosesteppers.

I don't think that the Grey Wolves are powerful enough to affect the tide of battle (which is currently going against the jihadists). An invasion by the regular Turkish army may well occur, though perhaps not right away.

CNN says that Turkey does not plan to invade:
Turkish forces aren't preparing to invade northern Syria and Russia's allegation that they are is an attempt to hide Moscow's crimes in the war-ravaged nation, a source within the Turkish Prime Minister's office told CNN on Thursday.

"Simply they are diverting attention from their attacks on civilians as a country already invading Syria," the source told CNN. "Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security."
Russia has not attacked civilians: They have kicked jihadist ass. That last statement -- "Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security" -- seems pretty damned ominous to me.

Since Turkey is a NATO ally, this whole thing could spin out of control very easily. A counter-attack on Turkish forces could very easily lead to American involvement.

And then there's the Kurdish factor -- about which, see here.
Many observers believe that Putin could supply Kurdish militants along the Turkish-Syrian border with advanced arms, such as modern anti-tank missiles that could have a devastating effect on the Turkish army.
Yet it’s not World War III that analysts worry about the most — at least not in the conventional sense. The bigger danger is that the crisis could fragment NATO, where many voices have started to question Turkey’s role in the alliance.
The Kurds, who number approximately 28 million, may be the largest ethnic group in the world without its own country. What the Kurds consider their ancestral homeland is a contiguous area that runs from southeastern Turkey into parts of Syria, Iraq and Iran. In recent conflicts against jihadists, including the Islamic State, the Kurds have proved themselves the most reliable local ally for the West.

Westerners consider Turkey an ally, but many believe Turkey has aided ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria. Some observers even suggest Turkey has colluded with the extremists against the Kurds. In fact, the two-year ceasefire collapsed when Kurdish militants killed two Turkish policemen whom they accused of helping ISIS conduct an attack that killed over 30 Kurdish youth activists in July.
The US also takes care not to offend Turkey. When Vice President Joe Biden visited Ankara on January 23 to ramp up the regional alliance against ISIS, he spoke out against attempts to curtail freedom of speech, but then proceeded to parrot the Turkish government’s position that the militant Kurdish People’s Party (PKK) is as much a “threat” to Turkey as ISIS itself.

To be sure, the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU (though other Kurdish groups involved in the conflict aren’t). And most analysts agree that Kurdish attacks against the Turkish army and police have contributed significantly to the spiralling violence.

Still, the US and other Western governments have long turned a blind eye to the civil and human rights abuses of their allies — Oman and Uzbekistan were most recently in the headlines, though Saudi Arabia may well be the most glaring example.
"Allies" like Erdoğan, Prince Salman and (of course) dear old Bibi exemplify everything wrong with American foreign policy. Quite simply: We are on the wrong side.

So the conspiracy theory about Turkey is they bottled up 2 million migrants and then unfurled them into Europe to create unrest in Europe and destabilize the Euro. The U.S. appreciates that gesture and that makes Turkey an ally in good standing.
The bigger conspiracy theory is whenever any currency challenges the U.S. Dollar as the currency used for exchange rates and for trading that the U.S. comes up with a plan to destabilize the up and coming currency.
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