- 26-07-2012, 11:55 #181
- 28-07-2012, 14:49 #182
Iran-Syria: The Deputy Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, a general, said today, "Neither the friends of Syria nor the (anti-Israel) resistance movement (comprising Iranian, Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanon's Hezbollah forces) have yet entered the scene… If they do, they will deliver decisive blows to the enemy front, in particular to the despised Arabs."
Comment: This is the third high-level Iranian official to threaten expansion of the conflict. Apparently the Iranians judge there are good Arabs and despised Arabs. A consistent theme of all recent statements is Iranian understanding that the fight is between them and Saudi Arabia, as much as between Shiites and Sunnis.
Syria-Turkey-Kurds: Special comment. An ominous side bar. On 23 July, the day after the bombing in Damascus that killed senior defense and security officials, Syria police and security officers left at least six small towns populated mostly by Syrian Kurds. The forces ostensibly were needed elsewhere. The Kurds are as oppressed by Arabs in Syria as they are in in Iraq and by the Turks, so they took over the towns.
There are two versions of what happened in the media. One is that Syrian President Asad deliberately granted semi-autonomy to the Syrian Kurds as a means of putting counter-pressure on the Turks who are backing the Syrian opposition.
The other version is that Syrian government forces left and the local Syrian Kurdish leaders, primarily belonging to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), just took control of Kobane, Derek, Amude, Efrin, Sari Kani and Girke Lege. No deal was struck.
Syrian forces still control the largest Kurdish town in Syria, Qamishli, a town of 185,000, but reportedly are working with the PYD. Overall, the evidence favors a deliberate Arab decision in Damascus to use the Kurds against the Turks.
Syrian Kurds are spread out and intermixed with Assyrians in northeastern Syria. There are less than 2 million Syrian Kurds, far fewer than the Kurds in Turkey or Iraq. Nevertheless, they share the fantasy of a Kurdish independent homeland.
The Syrian Kurds are fractious, but lately have received moral, political and probably economic support from Iraq's Kurdish Autonomous Region government. One rumor is that 600 Syrian Kurds received military training by the Iraqi Kurds and have returned to Syria to defend the towns. The Syrian Kurds in the PYD are affiliated with the PKK, the longstanding secular and socialist Kurdish armed insurgency that has fought for Kurdish independence against Turkey for over 20 years.
The Syrian Kurds have tended to remain neutral in the fighting. While they oppose the Asad regime, they distrust the Sunni opposition, whose titular leader, ironically, is an ethnic Kurd. Sunni leaders already have said the Kurds would be afforded no autonomy in a new Syrian regime. The Syrian Kurds said they would not allow the opposition to operate in their area.
Turks near panic
The most interesting development is Turkey's extreme reaction to the idea of a second region in which Kurds are running their own government. Iraq's is the first. The Turks interpret whatever is happening among Syrian Kurds as a direct threat to Turkey.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that "if the PKK and PYD, in solidarity with one another, take even a single further step by drawing other formations to their side, it is not possible for us to look on with tolerance in this regard, and merely watch this. All precautionary measures are being taken in connection with this issue. Both our armed forces and our other relevant units on this issue are continuing their work." Turkey sent armored reinforcements to the border this week.
Erdogan also said, "There can be no question of our permitting a terrorist organization to set up camp in northern Syria or this to become an element of threat for our country." Prime Minister Erdogan was responding to questions from journalists at Ankara Airport prior to departing for Great Britain in order to attend the opening of the London Olympics.
The threat to Turkey is that northern Syria could become a safe haven for anti-Turkish Kurdish militia fighters from which to stage raids into southern Turkey, as they have done for years from northern Iraq. If Turkey intervenes with military force, the risk for Turkey is that it will appear to be a villainous, covetous country that is exploiting the Syrian fighting for its own parochial interests.
The key points are that all allegiances in the current fight are based on expediency and are temporary. For example, the Syrian militants might ultimately find Iran to be an effective counterweight to Saudi Arabia, the Turks and the US, as long as their long term goal was to defeat Israel.
The ripple effects of the Syrian fighting are unpredictable and uncontrollable. Now that the Western states, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have unleashed the most ancient poisons in Syria, the ethnic and sectarian side effects easily can extend into Turkey, Iraq and far beyond.
Iran, for example, almost certainly would help the Syrian Kurds if that helped hobble the Turks and the American/Saudi-backed opposition. The statement by the Deputy Chief of the Revolutionary Guards signals that the Qods force and the Guards are ready for action, anywhere in the world, but specifically in the Arab states.
Al Maliki in Iraq must help Syria or risk an escalation of the new Sunni uprising in Iraq. Hezbollah and Hamas also will have a role in undermining the western support operations for the Syrian opposition.
Turkey will be tempted to send special forces units into Syrian Kurdistan, as it has done for years into Iraqi Kurdistan.
In the past 30 years the strategic foundation of the Middle East rested importantly on a relatively predictable Syria as well as on a strong Israel. The organizational skills of Islamists and the inept meddling of outside powers have undermined that foundation in the past two years and the next stable set of conditions is not foreseeable. The turmoil and forces now in motion are much more dangerous than any previously seen in two generations.
If the Alawite government falls, all the Arab governments will be at increased risk. The outlook for the security of Israel is growing darker.That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
- 28-07-2012, 18:14 #183
Kurdish worries drag Turkey deeper into Syria war | Reuters
The issue is whether Assad has quietly granted his Kurds autonomy to free up infantry for the never ending series of mini-Stalingrads he is fighting, or whether they have quietly moved into a power vacuum left behind by collapsing central rule. Either way, Turkey is no fan of the PKK, and will probably be looking to stop them getting a foothold there. I think the last paragraph says it all, really. No-one seems to know what to do, and no one seems to have any sort of consistent policy, or war aim.
"Turkey may be some way from acting on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's threat to strike Kurdish separatists in Syria, but week by week it finds itself sucked ever further into its neighbour's worsening war.
The shooting down of a Turkish reconnaissance jet last month was seen by many as a turning point, prompting Ankara to join Saudi Arabia at Qatar in semi-covert support for the Free Syrian Army fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.
On Friday, Reuters revealed the existence of a secret Turkish operations centre where it worked with the two Gulf states to provide aid and weaponry to the rebels.
For most foreign powers, events in Syria's Kurdish provinces are largely seen a sideshow compared Assad's battle to survive. But Erdogan's comments on Thursday made it clear that Turkey is alarmed by worries over Kurdish PKK rebels taking advantage of the chaos.
The Turkish leader - once a friend to his Syrian counterpart who helped to rehabilitate Assad on the international stage, but now apparently an increasingly implacable foe - accused Damascus of allocating five provinces to the PKK.
Both Ankara and most Western powers view the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist group, blaming it for a long-running conflict that has killed some 40,000 people since it took up arms in 1984. Turkey regularly strikes PKK bases in Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish enclave, and Erdogan made it clear the same option was being discussed for Syria.
"We will not allow a terrorist group to establish camps in northern Syria and Turkey," he told a news conference before travelling to London for the opening of the Olympics. "If there is a step which needs to be taken against the terrorist group, we will definitely take this step."
Rising numbers of refugees crossing the border could put further pressure on Turkey. If, as many expect, Assad's forces target the partially rebel-held city of Aleppo in the coming days, numbers could soar. Turkey has already closed its borders to commercial traffic but says it will allow fleeing civilians through.
Whatever might happen on the Kurdish front, a senior Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity said support for the rebels was set to continue - although clear caution remains.
"Naturally we are watching developments in the Kurdish region, but Ankara will not give up on its support for the whole revolution because something has happened in the Kurdish region," he said.
"We have been saying from the start, we do not think it is right to impose a regime from outside... The Syrian people must decide its own future."
The official declined to comment on what Turkey might do if the PKK established itself in the region.
CROSSING RED LINES
What Turkey is desperate to avoid is a scenario in which Kurdish parts of Syria quietly break away from the rest as the government, rooted in Assad's Alawite minority sect, slugs it out with the predominantly Sunni Muslim opposition.
"Any area which serves as a potential haven for the PKK or its affiliated groups poses a direct threat to Turkish security and Ankara's jingoistic rhetoric should be judged in this context," says Anthony Skinner, head of the Middle East practice at UK-based security consultancy Maplecroft.
"Any government which allows the PKK to set up training camps represents a red line for Ankara.... Ankara is again warning Damascus not to cross Turkey."
But if it is to take military action, Turkey's options are somewhat limited. Turkey might have the largest military in the region, but a large-scale ground incursion is seen as unlikely for now.
An airstrike on a known PKK facility - or perhaps a Syrian government post believed supporting them - seems a much more probable approach. But while air defences over Kurdish areas are seen as a much less sophisticated than those along the coast, the loss of one Turkish jet already points to the dangers of entering Syrian airspace.
"If Turkey could prove that there was an attack coming out of Syria against Turkey, then it could launch an air strike, if it could identify a specific PKK camp in Syria," said Istanbul-based security expert Gareth Jenkins. "The problem is there would inevitably be civilian casualties because these camps would be put near civilians."
Then, there is the risk of severe retaliation. Earlier this week, Syria's government said that while it would not use chemical weapons against its own people, it might against any foreign intervention.
"Unlike with Iraq, attacks in Syria can very likely draw Turkey into a prolonged military confrontation with the Assad regime, which has a formidable military and the political will to respond," says Hayat Alvi, lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at the US Naval War College. "Syria and Turkey are both heightening the rhetoric, but it would be a huge gamble for both sides to engage in military confrontation."
Turkish leaders have long regretted the way in which northern Iraqi Kurdistan effectively seceded after the 1991 Gulf War. At worst, Turkey now fears Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish areas might try to come together to form a larger Kurdistan - an entity that might yearn for swathes of Turkish territory.
SIMPLY SABRE RATTLING?
Already, commentators in Turkish newspapers express growing concern that that is exactly what is happening. What the PKK may end up running in parts of Syria, they say, may not just be assorted training camps but a de facto Kurdish state.
The image of PKK members directing traffic and performing other civic duties, some Turks worry, could help swell its support both amongst Kurds and more broadly. At the very least, the PKK would probably have access to both new recruits and some of the weaponry made available by Syria's wider and fast-growing conflict.
"The recent developments could provide the PKK with significant military opportunities. If the government doesn't take any precautions and wastes this most precious time, Turkey will face serious security problems," Nihat Ali Ozcan, a security analyst at the Ankara-based think tank TEPAV, wrote in Hurriyet Daily News.
"The PKK wants to harvest the political opportunities these military advantages would provide, will rise up and be more ggressive about reaching its aims."
Exactly how much support Syria might be giving Kurdish separatists is far from clear, although some Syrian opposition figures accused the PKK's local partners, the PYD, of acting as enforcers for Assad.
Under both Assad and his father, Hafez, Turkish accusations of Syrian backing for the PKK were points of contention and occasionally led to threats of outright conflict.
In 1998, Turkey moved tanks to the border and explicitly threatened to send them into Syria if Damascus did not expel PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, at the time sheltering in Syria. Hafez al-Assad took the threat seriously enough to evict Ocalan - who was shortly afterwards captured in Kenya by Turkish forces and probable US support.
Some kind of at least tacit agreement from Washington might still be needed for the Turks to be willing to take action.
"The Turks have been going for a gold medal when it comes to sabre rattling," says David Lea, regional analyst for Control Risks, a consultancy firm.
"But someone - most likely the Americans - has been sitting on their tail. I don't think the Turks would do anything unless they knew the Americans were with them. They want to act, but they don't have any good options. It's a microcosm of the whole Syria situation."
Last edited by HectortheInspector; 28-07-2012 at 18:39.I am not the official representative of the Digital Outreach Team from the House of Commons; we are politically impractical and cannot comment on government policy or give a political opinion.-'cos they haven't made up their minds yet.
- 28-07-2012, 18:53 #184
and the Beeb have the story as well.
BBC News - Crisis in Syria emboldens country's Kurds
"What is happening in Syria cannot be taken in isolation. The protracted upheaval in one of the Middle East's biggest,
most powerful and most influential countries is affecting the entire region and, most critically, its immediate neighbours.
Like Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon Turkey has already absorbed - almost without hesitation - thousands of Syrians fleeing the fighting, in particular from the northern cities of Hama and Aleppo.
Turkey is understandably concerned that the number of civilians fleeing across its relatively open southern border will increase as the fighting intensifies in Syria.
Some of those refugees also bring their own political baggage with them and there have already been disturbances in the border camps.
Occasionally ethnic and regional tensions spill over as thousands of displaced Syrians live cheek by jowl in tents under the blisteringly hot summer sun.
But for Turkey, the refugee issue is a mere inconvenience compared to what it thinks will be the biggest fall-out of the Syrian crisis - the Kurds and Kurdistan.
In an almost mirror image of what happened in Iraq after 1991, Kurdish nationalists in northern Syria are making the most of the turmoil and violence in the rest of the country to strengthen their own identity and position.
For Turkey, it is like a red rag to a bull.
As the Assad regime pulls in regular Syrian troops from peripheral areas for the military assault on Aleppo, there is clear evidence that others are almost seamlessly moving in to the vacuum left behind.
And in some Kurdish parts of northern Syria the opposition forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and other smaller factions have all but taken over.
The leader of the PYD, Salih Muslim, spoke to the BBC in recent days about his movement's strategy and aspirations.
"We are able to govern ourselves - we have the power for it," he said. Mr Muslim was careful to insist, at this stage at least, that he wasn't calling for an independent Kurdistan but an autonomous region within a new, democratic Syria.
It is thought that Kurdish militias now control at least four main towns and cities in northern Syria. They reportedly include at least parts of Qamishlo, Efrin, Amude, Terbaspi and Ay El Arab.
More remarkable is that although there were sporadic clashes and some loss of life many of them appear to have been secured without much of a fight.
"We warned them to leave the Kurdish areas, otherwise we would resort to different measures," says Muslim, referring to civil administrators and officials from Damascus who used to run the towns."
They were aware of the people's demands and that's why they gave in without blood being spilled."
Quite deliberately choosing to describe the region of northern Syria as "West Kurdistan" the PYD leader said most people in the region stood with the movement and supported their aims.
Those aims are certainly not supported by the Turkish government, which has, for decades, fought its own often bloody battles with Kurdish separatists and nationalists of the PKK - the Kurdish Workers' Party.
In a blunt message at the end of this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it abundantly clear he saw the creation of a separate Kurdish enclave in northern Syria as a direct threat to his own country's interests and security.
Mr Erdogan said that Ankara would not accept the creation of a "terrorist" structure in the region.
"It is our most natural right to intervene (in northern Syria) since those terrorist formations would disturb our national peace," said the Prime Minister in a television interview.
Turkey, a one time ally of the Assad regime in Syria for pragmatic and economic reasons as much as anything, has all but given up on Damascus. On more than one occasion Mr Erdogan has called on President Bashar al-Assad to stop the onslaught against his own people and to step down before more lives are lost.
Some in Turkey also believe that a desperate President Assad has deliberately abandoned, or handed over, the northern regions to the PYD in order to create tensions with Turkey and also divide the already fractious opposition movements
The crisis has emboldened Syria's Kurds but some analysts say their relationship with the FSA is tense
"In the North, (Assad) has already allocated five provinces to the terrorists (Kurds)," Mr Erdogan was quoted as saying by a Turkish news agency last week. Ankara simply regards the Syrian PYD as a branch of its own, outlawed PKK. But the criticism and allegations of trying to create regional instability aren't limited to the pariah that is the regime in Damascus.
The autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has now admitted it has been training Kurdish-Syrian fighters on its territory.
In a recent interview the regional leader, President Massoud Barzani, openly confirmed the presence of a military training camp where "a good number of young Kurds" have been trained.
With as many as 20million Kurds in Turkey alone, watching their brethren to the east quite literally marking out their territory, the famously nationalist Turks are, to put it mildly, concerned.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davatoglu is being dispatched to northern Iraq in the coming days where, according to reports, he will talk with Kurdish officials there about the situation in Syria and Turkish "sensitivities."
Many things are still unclear; relations between the Syrian Kurds and other opposition groups (the Free Syria Army) are said to be tense.
In some Syrian Kurdish towns under the de-facto control of the PYD, pro Assad troops have remained in their barracks, raising questions about a deal, of sorts, between Damascus and the Kurds.
And, the biggest question of all, will Turkey carry out its threat to intervene militarily in northern Syria to prevent the creation of a Kurdish "entity".
One thing is certain. If and when President Assad is driven from power, the country he leaves behind will for some time be divided, damaged and violent.I am not the official representative of the Digital Outreach Team from the House of Commons; we are politically impractical and cannot comment on government policy or give a political opinion.-'cos they haven't made up their minds yet.
- 28-07-2012, 20:14 #185
New York Times
Fighters Replace Tourists Crossing Over From Syria to an Idyllic Turkish Town
ANTAKYA, Turkey — People here call it Tuscany with minarets.
Turkey’s southeastern quadrant, along the Syrian border, is one of its most picturesque, where olive groves dot the rolling farmland and the mountains are sluiced by Evian-clear streams. In the mornings, old women come down the hills to pluck apricots from the market. In the evenings, tourists stroll along the cobblestone promenades, happily searching for a simit, a bagel-like roll, or a scoop of lemon ice cream.
But recently there has been a surge of new arrivals: Syrians, especially battle-hardened Syrian fighters. It is not unusual to see rebel soldiers limping around the holiday town of Antakya on crutches, and countless apartments across this area have been turned into makeshift combat field clinics, crammed with young, burly men nursing gunshot wounds.
Turkish security services insist that they are closely patrolling the 550-mile border. But medical supplies, matériel and fighters slide across the frontier every night, making this charming, quaint part of Turkey the most important base for the growing Syrian rebellion.
“The Turkish police are watching the border, but with their eyes closed,” said Ahmed al-Debisi, a Syrian pharmacist and opposition member based in Antakya, who is trying to clandestinely make gas masks out of Coke cans and cotton balls, in case the government of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, unleashes chemical weapons.
Syria’s intensifying civil war is turning into a raging national security headache for Turkey. Beyond the strain of hosting more than 40,000 refugees — which Turkish officials said was initially manageable but is now “creating problems” — a Syrian border post just fell into the hands of a group linked to Al Qaeda, and about a dozen Libyan fighters with bushy beards and black backpacks were recently spotted hanging around Antakya’s main hospital, waiting for their wounded “brothers.”
It seems the Antakya area is becoming a magnet for foreign jihadis, who are flocking into Turkey to fight a holy war in Syria. One Turkish truck driver said he passed through the Bab al-Hawa border post on Wednesday night and spotted four foreign fighters with guns and rough Arabic accents, leading him to believe they were Pakistani, Afghan or possibly Chechen.
Another border zone, just inside Syria, was seized by Kurdish militias, leaving the Turks deeply concerned that the rapid unraveling of the Assad government could reinvigorate Kurdish militants in Turkey.
When asked a few days ago whether Turkey would strike inside Syria if Kurdish militants used Syria as a base, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said: “That’s not even a matter of discussion; it is a given.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/wo...pagewanted=all“The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” Genghis Khan
- 28-07-2012, 20:54 #186
- 28-07-2012, 21:23 #187
And you've got Baghdad and Erbil arguing over the Exxon deal for the Kirkuk field, Big Oil Gets the Boot From Iraq...
Something's got to give
There are numerous ways this situation could play out, with different impacts on investors. We could see either the KRG or the Iraqi central government acquiesce peacefully to the other, or perhaps come to some sort of mutual profit-sharing agreement. If the majors are allowed to remain in Kurdistan with production sharing contracts, that is great news for investors. If they are forced into service contracts, it is not so great news. However, if this situation were to erupt into violence, which is always a risk, then nobody wins.
Any Kurdish ructions will be making Foggy Bottom nervous about getting very angry calls from the far more important people in Irving Texas.That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
- 28-07-2012, 22:20 #188
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Why are they so crap at fighting wars? Just like the Lybians, Beirut unloads all over the gaff, no appearance of OBUA tactics, crap use of cover etc etc"See The Little Faggot With The Earring And The Make-Up
Yeah Buddy That's His Own Hair
That Little Faggot Got His Own Jet Airplane
That Little Faggot He's a Millionaire"
- 29-07-2012, 15:38 #189
Foreign Office investigates reports of Britons among Islamist kidnappers of journalists in Syria - Telegraph
Birmingham and South London accents apparently noted.
Glad the gents are free and alive.
During their time in captivity they were threatened with death unless they converted to Islam, and both were shot and slightly wounded when they attempted to flee barefoot
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut [the one-ness and indivisibility of God] and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
And before anyone starts chucking around the verse of the swords, that is not as clear as al-Zawahiri and his loons would want you to believe.
It would be really quite productive (if there are British passports holders running around Syria) for some thing like this to be arranged.
PS- Apologies, taghut is of course that which is forbidden or idolatrous. Tawheed is of course the oneness of God.
They still need a hellfire dropped on them.
Last edited by Boumer; 29-07-2012 at 15:41. Reason: islamaboo-boo based mistake.
- 29-07-2012, 16:20 #190
Well, it's not as if there probably aren't numbers of pork eating crusader contractors flocking to the honeypot as well. Someone's got to train all the FSA (ours) as opposed to the FSA (Riyadhs).-
And, quite frankly, being an British born Jihadi is a bit of a problem nowadays.-Thanks to the extradition arrangements, it's a one way trip in a orange jumpshit to the USA.
On the other hand, doing the 'jihad thang' in Syria- Well, is MI6 and CIA going to be as worried as about someone flying out to Istanbul as someone flying to Islamabad with a Bergan full of NVG's? This is a 'socially acceptable' democratic uprising, not some 'unacceptable' Islamofascist insurgency. (For this week, anyway). Best of all, the odds of surviving are better- Assad doesn't have fleets of Predators waiting for you to make an unwise telephone call back to Bradford.I am not the official representative of the Digital Outreach Team from the House of Commons; we are politically impractical and cannot comment on government policy or give a political opinion.-'cos they haven't made up their minds yet.