"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." This sharky Wall Street expression seems applicable to the situation of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today, the man we predicted back in August would become the 'fall guy' for the spectacular rise of ISIS, which was certainly supported by Erdoğan's Islamist Turkish government. While we don't feel sorry for Erdoğan, neither do we accept his status as the father of ISIS when he was at best, a hired hand for the super-terrorist group's true patrons in the Persian Gulf Arab capitols, London, Paris and Washington. Nonetheless, as a once useful globalist dupe with neo-Ottoman delusions of grandeur fueled by the Muslim Brotherhood, we won't be sorry to see Erdoğan's go -- hopefully via the ballot box rather than the Turkish army ammo box.A curious constellation if not convergence seems to be underway between the interests of the pro-Kurdish voices in Washington, the Israelis (who thanks to the MV Mavi Marmaraprovocation, have no love lost for the would be neo-Ottoman sultan in Ankara), and the Kremlin's Mideast allies. And by the latter, the Russia Analyst means firstly Damascus and Tehran, but also Baghdad, Cairo and...Irbil?
Watching cellphone video footage of Russia's Kalibr cruise missiles zipping low over Kurdish northern Iraq en route to obliterating ISIS ammo dumps in Syria, we were struck by the locals' rather relaxed reaction to these low-flying missiles. The Kurds may have presumed these were American Tomahawk missiles flying toward the Islamic State/Daesh targets, and only found out later that they witnessed Moscow striking jihadists from 1,500 kilometers away.
Russia's Plan to Engage the Syrian Arab Army, Iranians, Iraqis AND Kurds Against its Terrorist Enemies
Nonetheless, the Kurds have shown signs that they could be prepared to attack ISIS lines more aggressively and make a push west towards the Euphrates, potentially cutting off Al-Nusra (aka Al-Qaeda) supply lines just as Iran and the Syrian Arab Army are attacking Aleppo from the southwest. If the Iraqi government backed by Russian intelligence and airpower keeps punching holes in the group's porous front lines and continues killing off many senior lieutenants of the Daesh syndicate, the strong mistrust between Baghdad and the Kurds might be overcome on this issue. This would represent the 'three hammers, one anvil' to smash Daesh and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda in Syria we spoke of on Friday night's Guerrilla Radio program, which we believe was Putin's (#Brutalistan) plan all along.
Over the weekend the Iraqis claimed to have wounded Abū Bakr al-Baghdādi, the kingpin of ISIS himself. We remain skeptical that al-Baghdadi's leadership was ever as important to ISIS as the mainstream media has tried to portray, with its simplistic 'kill the boss' and win the video game style narratives. Some in the alternative media have even suggested that al-Baghdadi might be an actor, like the bin Laden esque Ben Kingsley character 'the Mandarin' in Iron Man 3. Others have claimed that Sen. John "bats--t crazy neocon" McCain met with al-Baghdadi who was 'out of character' that day in 2013 after slipping into Syria for a photo op with the future Cobra Commander of the Levant. In any case, we've noticed just in the past 48 hours some major diplomatic and media war developments which hint at a diplomatic breakthrough, facilitated by Russia's intervention in Syria.
First, in our previous column for RogueMoney we pointed to the Saudis and United Arab Emirates sending their crown princes to Moscow -- with purported Saudi heir apparent Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud the most prominent Gulf Arab envoy, in certain respects outranking the Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir. We noted that approximately 30-year-old bin Salman al Saud was meeting behind closed doors with Vladimir Putin for the second time since late August. We also pointed to al-Jubeir's announcement after the meeting that Syria was discussed and the Saudi demand that Assad step down remained, but Riyadh was willing to accept a transition period of intermediate length. We suggested this represented not only the Western powers but also the Saudi hardliners finally bowing to reality on the ground in Syria, at least grudgingly. If the Saudis are negotiating with Putin, then it stands to reason that even the Jordanians and Israelis have to quietly back away from their proxies in Syria as well.
Second, in another column and in our Friday night appearance on the Guerrilla Radio program, we pointed out many reasons why Turkey could not afford a direct conflict with Russia over Assad and would likely seek a face-saving 'out'. The idea for example, that Turkey and its mostly low value added industries and power grid could manage without 20 billion cubic feet of annual gas imports from Russia, seemed unlikely. As did the laughable notion that Turkish farmers, tour operators and resort owners, many of them with relatives in or other connections to the military and 'Deep State' security services, were prepared to sacrifice their lucrative trade with the Russians for the sake of the Beltway bandit losers saving face in Syria!
As we pointed out to the Guerrilla, the Turks had not even managed to impose a single 'safety inspection' on Russian military cargoes along the 'Tartus express' through the Bosporus, and it seemed hardly likely now given the Turks' sense of abandonment by Washington that they would provoke a fight with the Russians to make NATO hawks happy. Furthermore, we also mentioned that the Turkish military and at least some elements of the 'Deep State' had been trying to diversify the country's military hardware to include Russian and Chinese armaments for some time, eventually backing down due to Washington's objections.
Last but not least among our stated reasons why Turkey would not pick a fight with Russia, as demonstrated by the Turks accepting Moscow's apologies for inadvertent air space violations, was the risk of the Kurdish insurgency suddenly receiving a major influx of Russian weapons perfect for guerrillas like the Kornet ATGM. Time did not permit us to add on the Guerrilla Radio show Ankara's fears about kompromat emerging regarding Erdoğan personally. Including his alleged relatives ties to the Al-Nusra if not ISIS jihadists and the lucrative kickbacks from the Islamic State's illicit oil smuggling out of territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.
How The Saker's 'brothers in arms' at Southfront think the humiliated Empire will Strike Back in Syria...
The Russia Analyst Was Right...Faced with the 1,200 ib Russian Bear, the Turkish Wolf Seems to be Backing Down Will Washington Recognize its Allies in Ankara, Amman and Riyadh Aren't Willing to Bleed to Punish Russia?
On Tuesday we received some confirmation that the Russia Analyst's assumptions were likely correct.
Although we are not experts on Turkey and its Deep State politics or economy by any means, we do know how many tens of billions in annual trade both licit (gas, tourists, and produce) and illicit (hash?) depend on Ankara remaining at least a 'frenemy' of Moscow, as Turkey has been for the past four years. Here are the signs Turkey might be turning Vlad's way:
- Sputnik reports "Turkey Ready to Discuss Syrian War Settlement with Russia, Iran". Now that the Russians are a party to the conflict at Assad's behest there is no ambiguity any Ankara peace proposals with Damascus and Tehran having to go through Moscow. "Ankara is ready to discuss the Syrian civil war settlement with Russia and Iran, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday. According to Davutoglu, the intention to cooperate on the issue does not mean that Ankara shares Russia's position on Syrian President Bashar Assad who Moscow considers to be the legitimate power in Syria."
- One can dismiss Sputnik as a pro-Kremlin, state-funded Russian source. But this headline from Reuters which has been strongly pro-Kiev and NATO in this second Cold War is harder to shrug off: "Turkey Warns U.S., Russia against backing Kurdish militia in Syria". If the Turks are such a staunch member of NATO and buddy-buddy with Washington, why should Ankara be worried about the Americans and Russians deciding it's time for a de facto expanded Kurdistan at their expense? Isn't Russia NATO and the Turks enemy that evilly invaded Ukraine, suppressing those Crimean Tatars Turkey claims to care so much about? Isn't the Kremlin now propping up the bloody-hands dictator Bashir al-Assad through direct force a sign of failure, as a flustered Big Zero told CBS News? To put in layman's terms, what ya got to worry about Mr. Erdoğan if Jens Stoltenberg and NATO have your back (maybe a knife in it)?[embed]https://twitter.com/MaxAbrahms/status/653992230827466752[/embed]
- Despite the hot air we linked to above coming from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about how the Alliance is gearing up to defend Turkey's air space from rascally Russian jets, talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. The U.S. and Germany pulling their Patriot missile batteries out of southern Turkey, where they had created a no-fly zone for Assad's air force close to the Turkish border, is a tacit admission that the U.S./NATO won't oppose Russian jets bombing ISIS/AlNusra/'Free Syrian Army' everywhere they like in Syria. Including everywhere up to the Turkish border. Also, if the Turks were gearing up to fight the Russians at their border or inside Syria, they certainly wouldn't be allowing Russian aircraft to photograph their military installations this week under the Open Skies Treaty. Again in blunt language, Stoltenberg and the MSM outlets that breathlessly quote his blather about defending Turkey from the Russian threat are yapping toy poodles.[embed]https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_Eng/status/652008315623481344[/embed]
- Given point no. 3 and Obama's weak response to the Russian offensive consisting of parachuting ammo from C-17s to anyone and everyone who wants it in northern Syria, including Al-Nusra, no sane Turkish leader should have any illusions anymore about being able to threaten or bleed the Russians into backing down.[embed]https://twitter.com/SenJohnMcCain/status/653947393331888129?lang=en[/embed] Nor should they count on the likes of Sen. McInsane, his BFF Sen. Lindsey Queenie Graham, or New Jersey Governor Krispy Kreme, or the old globalist consigliere Z. Bzrezinski cajoling Obama into doing anything other than folding.[embed]https://twitter.com/antiwar1984/status/654149672295137280[/embed]
- Underscoring point no. 4 in this logical chain of analysis is the Reuters-advertised Iranian ground assault on Aleppo, which could be underway by this weekend. Reportedly commanded by none other than Iranian Revolutionary Guards Gen. Qassem Soleimani, this assault will be backed by the full aerial fist of Russia's growing jet and helicopter gunship fleet in the country, which is reportedly being expanded with even more machines at Latakia airport. Thousands of Iranian soldiers and Shi'a militiamen from Iraq who can act as Arabic interpreters are expected to participate in a major pincer move attack to cut off the city's Al-Nusra and 'Free Syrian Army' defenders from resupply.[embed]https://twitter.com/newgreatgame/status/654054400395247616?lang=en[/embed] The northern Syrian city has been a rebel stronghold after they took it in bloody urban combat, grinding down the SAA over many months in the civil war's 'Stalingrad'. Again, as we've stated once before here at Rogue Money, amateurs talk tactics, professionals analyze logistics. Without their Euphrates lifeline, not only Al-Nusra front but also ISIS will die in very large numbers. And without wholehearted Saudi support for the jihadists, there is little prospect of a counterattack or major influx of fighters and arms via south from the Saudi Kingdom and Jordan either. The Qataris can talk tough all they like but it won't be their bases and warehouses full of their TOW missiles bound for Syrian jihadists getting blown up by 'Yemeni resistance/Houthi fighters' in a protracted proxy war.[embed]https://twitter.com/Ibra_Joudeh/status/653934609504317440[/embed][embed]https://twitter.com/OffGuardian0/status/653970537400537088[/embed]Sorry neocons, but your jihadi manpower for the Syrian meatgrinder isn't limitless. Who knew?Remember, unlike in Daily Beast/Brookings Doha/'Free Syrian Army' twitter propaganda, there's a hell of a lot more to resisting a massive combined arms assault and being able to counterattack than just getting some TOW missiles and MANPADs.[embed]https://twitter.com/BosnjoBoy/status/654081828358369280[/embed]Particularly when Russian gunship pilots are trained and conveying to their Syrian proteges wolfpack tactics that allow Mi-24 crews to spot for each other and swarm over the battlefield, looking for the first plume of a MANPAD or TOW launch to kill the gunners before they can slip away.[embed]https://twitter.com/Ibra_Joudeh/status/653593162821320704[/embed]The Syrian Arab Army, for all its losses in armor the first week of its ground offensive, also seems to be learning from the Russians how to set infantry screens for the tanks (as seen in the Donbass with the Novorossiya Armed Forces training videos published on YouTube). The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah will also start using their own Kornet ATGM gunners to spot and blow away the alCIAeda TOW missileers who thought they were invincible and their CIA-provided satphones/radios undetectable by Russian electronic warfare planes. The more out in the open any 'rebel' or ISIS unit, the more prone it is to being bombed or spotted by Syrian (and Iranian/Russian?) special forces who can call in a massive artillery strike, especially on units trying to flee in those Toyota Tundra and Hillux pick up trucks the Treasury Department says it wants to know how the rebels and ISIS obtained.The sub-room temperature IQ morons who haven't shaved off their beards and run like hell for Turkey yet left in ISIS' ranks are going to find it even worse, as they don't even have the cover of urban or semi-urban terrain to provide them with cover from Russian bombing and GRAD/Smerch saturation rocket attacks.At any rate, the neocons' fantasies of reliving their Rambo III and Charlie Wilson's War version of the Soviet-Afghan war will have to wait, as Vladimir Putin has already ruled out Russian ground troops. Moscow may lose helicopter pilots, Russian jets may suffer maintenance issues under the constant pressure of round the lock combat sorties, but the relief crews appear to be on their way, along with more air frames. And for the foreseeable future, Putin has vowed not to deploy Russian ground troops, instead letting Moscow's airpower support the Syrians, Iranians and...Iraqis plus Kurds?
These points bring us back to the title of this article: are the Turks getting ready to finally throw in the towel on their efforts to overthrow Assad and Salafi/Takfiri-ze Syria?
The Russia Analyst won't know for certain for a while, with the hard fighting this autumn and early winter likely to tell the tale. If the Al-Nusra front and the 'FSA' start running for their lives and huge holes open in their lines, with the Syrian Arab Army re-taking all of Hama and Aleppo, then we can be almost certain either the supply lines from Turkey were cut to the jihadists or Ankara quietly threw its jihadis under the bus. The double-tap killing of scores during an Ankara peace demonstration by two Daesh suicide bombers operating in tandem last weekend has underscored the dangers of blowback to the Turkish State. So too has the increasing onslaught of bad press and suggestions that the Turkish security services themselves may have been behind the terrorist attacks receiving increasing prominence in Western mainstream media. When the conservative, hawkish Cold Warrior 'Moonies' at the Washington Times and the pro-Putin Ft. Russ blog are both bashing Erdoğan, then we do not believe his political career is long for this world.
Again, the same Turkish government that believes Washington is about to throw it under the bus -- and might have secret handshake deals with Putin on the creation of Vice President Biden's proposal of an internationally recognized Kurdistan -- is going double down on MORE money, weapons and feeding jihadi cannon fodder against Syria and Iran? Really? If Turkey does join in McInsane-esque half-baked plans for a suicidal jihadi counterattack against Russian intervention, then we can only say: the country will have either a military coup to stop that nonsense or a real civil war. And not just between Turks and Kurds, but also between Turks slavishly loyal to the Empire and those willing to at least keep their Eurasian options open. You can bet, given how well Ankara has alienated millions of pro-Western secular minded Turks, how quickly that fight will be over. And without use of Turkey's land and support for the jihadists fighting Assad, it's game over for the Saudis, Qataris and Israelis on the southern Syrian front as well. A fact Riyadh and Jerusalem both seem to have acknowledged in private with Putin since August.
Speaking of Vladimir Vladimirovich, in an interview with Russia's leading news show host Vladimir Solovyov, expressed his condolences to the Turkish President and people. He also reiterated his calls for Turkey and the U.S. to join with Moscow in eradicating the terrorists.
The propaganda campaign insisting that Russia isn't bombing ISIS and is using anti-Daesh missions as a cover to cynically preserve Assad hasn't worked very well, even among many Americans, as well as politicians and citizens of NATO member European states. The Russia Analyst remains concerned that the Empire's nastiest Deep State minions, the same people that brought Ukraine the false flag shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17, could make a desperate false flag or other attempt to shift the momentum back to their side. However, we are convinced based on the open source diplomatic and military evidence we've compiled in the past week that the Guerrilla is correct, and a new Eurasian order out of the Empire's chaos is emerging in the Middle East.