The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

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habal
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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 19 Feb 2016 15:01

raqqa is like a mofussil town in India, whose name no one heard.
Even long time residents of Syria never heard of the name Raqqa until the middle of civil war and ISIS name associated with the region of Ar-Raqqah.

>> i think turkeys problem is this - kurds are only 10% and sunni turks 87%

this is underestimating the kurds in Turkey by a large margin. Turkey follows country's of middle-east like Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait etc and even Pakistan and does not take census so that their minorities remain unidentified, lest they claim for more power. Kurds are conservatively estimated to be 18% and liberally around 23%.

from wikiturkia
No accurate up-to-date figures are available for the Kurdish population, because the Turkish government has outlawed ethnic or racial censuses. An estimate by the CIA World Factbook places their proportion of the population at approximately 18%.[3] Another estimate, according to Ibrahim Sirkeci, an ethnic Turk, in his book The Environment of Insecurity in Turkey and the Emigration of Turkish Kurds to Germany, based on the 1990 Turkish Census and 1993 Turkish Demographic Health Survey, is 17.8%.[44] Other estimates include 15.7% of the population according to the newspaper Milliyet,[22] and 23% by Kurdologist David McDowall.[45]


then there are turkish alevi's (same as Syrian Alawis, like Bashar Assad). 15-25% of Turkey is Alevi. This crowd was counted along with sunni's as sunni's to hide their real numbers.

minorities
Alevis are the biggest religious minority in Turkey. Nearly 15%[83]-25% of all Turkish population is in this group. They are mainly Turk but there are significant Kurd and Zaza populations who are Alevi[84]

Alevis are also found in same areas as Kurds
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... Alevis.png

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 19 Feb 2016 15:12

eastern turkey is fertile ground for next colour revolution then

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 19 Feb 2016 15:34

Singha wrote:eastern turkey is fertile ground for next colour revolution then


Except those who coordinate and fund colour revolutions are a friend of Turkey.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Shanmukh » 19 Feb 2016 16:56

habal wrote:raqqa is like a mofussil town in India, whose name no one heard.
Even long time residents of Syria never heard of the name Raqqa until the middle of civil war and ISIS name associated with the region of Ar-Raqqah.

>> i think turkeys problem is this - kurds are only 10% and sunni turks 87%

this is underestimating the kurds in Turkey by a large margin. Turkey follows country's of middle-east like Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait etc and even Pakistan and does not take census so that their minorities remain unidentified, lest they claim for more power. Kurds are conservatively estimated to be 18% and liberally around 23%.

from wikiturkia
No accurate up-to-date figures are available for the Kurdish population, because the Turkish government has outlawed ethnic or racial censuses. An estimate by the CIA World Factbook places their proportion of the population at approximately 18%.[3] Another estimate, according to Ibrahim Sirkeci, an ethnic Turk, in his book The Environment of Insecurity in Turkey and the Emigration of Turkish Kurds to Germany, based on the 1990 Turkish Census and 1993 Turkish Demographic Health Survey, is 17.8%.[44] Other estimates include 15.7% of the population according to the newspaper Milliyet,[22] and 23% by Kurdologist David McDowall.[45]


then there are turkish alevi's (same as Syrian Alawis, like Bashar Assad). 15-25% of Turkey is Alevi. This crowd was counted along with sunni's as sunni's to hide their real numbers.

minorities
Alevis are the biggest religious minority in Turkey. Nearly 15%[83]-25% of all Turkish population is in this group. They are mainly Turk but there are significant Kurd and Zaza populations who are Alevi[84]

Alevis are also found in same areas as Kurds
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... Alevis.png


Habal-ji,
You are mixing up Alevis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alevism#Demographics with the Alawites (Assad's group) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alawites#Population. They are not the same. Also, Alevis & Kurds are not a disjoint set. Roughly a quarter of the Kurds are Alevis.

Alevis haven't revolted against Turkey in quite some time, IIRC.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 19 Feb 2016 18:08

Alevis & Alawi. Both are followers of Ali. Both are shia.
In subcontinent they are called 'Alvi'.
I know the Syrian Alawis are further evolved and more into gnosticism and mysticism, they are more in touch with their druze & Christian communities.
My guess is that Syria was majorly Christian country before mameluks and Ottomans set foot in levantine. This Alawi community retained some hereticism because they called themselves 'followers of Ali' and basically within community did what they wanted. They thus are more closer to proto-christians of the mid-east.
That is how they attract so much antipathy from Saudis and so much affection from Russia.
Russians consider themselves de-facto mentors and patrons of orthodox christianity.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 19 Feb 2016 19:05

Isis sending children to die at unprecedented rate, report warns

http://flip.it/CFHzL

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 19 Feb 2016 19:17

rise of the khalifa...as prophesied...
One ordinary Wednesday the power was turned off and it didn't come back again. The world went beyond the tipping point (...) Those who could, left the city to a slow death. Those with muscle and ruthlessness (...) ex-jarheads, devildogs with high and tight haircuts, caches of weapons and the will to use them, men in search of something more, a vision of a new world rising from the ashes of the old world. Their leader, the militant Colonel Joe Moore

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby TSJones » 19 Feb 2016 19:46

Singha wrote:rise of the khalifa...as prophesied...
One ordinary Wednesday the power was turned off and it didn't come back again. The world went beyond the tipping point (...) Those who could, left the city to a slow death. Those with muscle and ruthlessness (...) ex-jarheads, devildogs with high and tight haircuts, caches of weapons and the will to use them, men in search of something more, a vision of a new world rising from the ashes of the old world. Their leader, the militant Colonel Joe Moore


is this where we all get our a$$less chaps and football shoulder pads to wear?
Last edited by TSJones on 19 Feb 2016 20:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 19 Feb 2016 20:00

But they look so cool holding the M-16 in the crook of one (muscular) arm while firing a TOW launcher from the other, b4 grabbing a 155-mm cannon and bonking someone on the head with its base.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 19 Feb 2016 20:01

15 civilians die in U.S.-led coalition bombing in northeast Syria

DAMASCUS, Feb. 18 At least 15 civilians were killed Thursday in U.S.-led bombing in Syria's northeastern province of al-Hasakah.

The bombing targeted areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in al-Hasskah.

The air bombing apparently came in support of the Syrian Kurdish-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), which is approaching the IS terrorists held city of Shaddadi in the countryside of al-Hasakah.

Syrian officials have repeatedly questioned the intention and seriousness of the so called U.S. coalition in the war on terror.


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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 19 Feb 2016 20:02

its a history thing from mad max fury road

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 19 Feb 2016 20:30

Singha wrote:Isis sending children to die at unprecedented rate, report warns

http://flip.it/CFHzL


As if on cue Terror Monitor has these pictures

errormonitor.org ‏@Terror_Monitor 3m3 minutes ago
#SYRIA
#IslamicState Released VDO Shows Suicide Bomber Father Farewell His Son, Justified His Son Bombing In #Aleppo

Image
Image
Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 19 Feb 2016 20:36

**** SENIOR SAUDI COMMANDERS WRITE TO SAUDI CROWN PRINCE NOT TO GO TO WAR IN SYRIA *****

http://whatsupic.com/news-politics-worl ... 23935.html

Text:

"Saudi Senior Army Commanders: Sending Forces to Syria Shall Entail Serious Repercussions for the Kingdom

Print Friendly and PDF

Yesterday, a confidential letter from senior Saudi commanders to Prince Muhammad bin Nayef--the Crown Prince, first Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia—was leaked out in social websites.

In this epistle, the Saudi generals pleaded with the Crown Prince to abort any probable Saudi interference in Syria due to Kingdom's military debacles and inability to defeat the moderate strength of Yemeni revolutionaries let alone to intervene in Syrian quagmire.

The letter signed by ten outstanding Saudi generals read as follows: "We, the military experts of Saudi Arabian Royal Army with our unwavering loyalty to the faith ,King and fatherland ; hereby declare that all military goals indented for Operation Decisive Storm are not fulfilled due to professional incompetence of our forces and the Middle-East's complex situation."

In spite of the incendiary rhetoric made by Saudi military spokesman Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri regarding the immediate and irrevocable decision to send forces to Syria; the above-mentioned Saudi generals reiterated that getting involved into Syrian crisis will certainly threaten the Saudi national security and would lead to fatal consequences for the oil-rich Kingdom.

The signatories importuned the Crown Prince to revise the alleged plans to dispatch Saudi forces to war-ravaged Syria.

The names of the signatories:

1) Gen. Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah Al-namlah

2) Gen. Saleh bin Ali bin Mohammed Al-mhya

3) Gen. Ali bin Mohammed bin Ali Al-Khalifa

4) MG. Morih bin Hassan bin Ali Al-shhrani

5) MG. Abdul Rahman Bin Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Murshid

6) MG. As'ad ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Zuhair

7) MG. Majed bin Talhab bin Hamad Al-Otaibi

8) MG. Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Orfaj

9) Lt Gen. Aoun bin Ali bin Ahmad Al-Shmrani

10) Lt Gen. Ali bin Halhol bin Jarvan Al-ashja'i Al-Rovyli"

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 19 Feb 2016 20:37

Saudi generals do not want to go to war in Syria and have asked the official no.2 in Saudi not to. The no.2 guy is Ibn Nayef, the nephew of the current king, but in reality the real power resides with the supposed no.3, ibn Salman, the son of the king. Why then did these senior generals appeal to the official no.2 bypassing the actual source of real power these days, Mohammad ibn Salman?

Perhaps they wanted to remind ibn Salman, that "legally" (whatever there is of "law" in Saudi) ibn Salman is junior to Nayef.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 19 Feb 2016 20:48

nice play by the yemenis. if they really signed that letter, prince salman will get on their case. even if they did not sign, will be under suspicion and not given the syria assignments, so more sycophants and bag carrier generals will get the saudis in even more trouble than expected.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 19 Feb 2016 20:52

ten outstanding Saudi generals

Soon 2 b Ten Out-thrown Heads of Late Former Jarnails.
But it looks like there is hope of a post WW-1 Return 2 Moscow type development in KSA? King Abdullah bin Salman bin Saud al Severed-Head-On-a-Posti?

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 19 Feb 2016 22:46

Al Shadadi town seems to be under YPG control.

Syrian Lion(الأسد (ن ‏@SyrianLion_ now6 minutes ago
kurdish militias captures Al Shadadi city from isis scumbags in south #Hassaka countryside #Syria

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby fanne » 20 Feb 2016 00:09

deejey Sir, a request. That story was very haunting. I would request you not to post inline/rather do not post at all, the pictures. Story is ok. It really made me sick. It reminded me of my little one. He is a sick father. But seeing that really makes one sick. I am just not myself.
Thanks,
fanne

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 02:31

One of several million such horrible stories, Fanne. All we can do is laugh and pretend not to see or feel. The Iraqis, the Libyans, the Yazidis, the Syrians.. does it never end?

As the Syrian spokesman said,
If you want to help Syrian civilians, help Syria eliminate the terrorists from Syria

No other way. Look at how things have changed since Sep. Now it is the ISIS that is facing wholesale pest-e-sha'eed in Raqqa.
When someone says "Freedom is not free" I'll never again think it is a corny statement.

Unfortunately this war cannot end until Saudi Arabia and Turkey are brought to their knees, and have a complete reconstruction. Turkey may be able to avoid it if they rise and hang Erdogan and drive out his terrorists but KSA is going to be a horror all its own. All their misdeeds...

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Y. Kanan » 20 Feb 2016 03:44

UlanBatori wrote:One of several million such horrible stories, Fanne. All we can do is laugh and pretend not to see or feel. The Iraqis, the Libyans, the Yazidis, the Syrians.. does it never end?

As the Syrian spokesman said,
If you want to help Syrian civilians, help Syria eliminate the terrorists from Syria

No other way. Look at how things have changed since Sep. Now it is the ISIS that is facing wholesale pest-e-sha'eed in Raqqa.
When someone says "Freedom is not free" I'll never again think it is a corny statement.

Unfortunately this war cannot end until Saudi Arabia and Turkey are brought to their knees, and have a complete reconstruction. Turkey may be able to avoid it if they rise and hang Erdogan and drive out his terrorists but KSA is going to be a horror all its own. All their misdeeds...


No, they're going to get away with it scott free. Thanks to the US, they always do...

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Prem » 20 Feb 2016 04:38

France's Hollande warns of risk of Turkey-Russia war over Syria
http://in.reuters.com/article/mideast-c ... NKCN0VS2CT

French President Francois Hollande said on Friday that there was a risk of war between Turkey and Russia over Syria, adding that Moscow should stop backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia's foreign ministry said earlier on Friday that it intends to call a session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Turkish government's statements about a possible ground operation in Syria."There is a risk of war between Turkey and Russia," Hollande told France Inter radio. "There is an escalation.""Negotiations must resume, bombardments must stop, aid must come," he said."There must be pressure on Moscow so that we have negotiations," Hollande said. "Moscow will not succeed by unilaterally backing Bashar al-Assad."Hollande said in the radio interview that he had told Russian authorities: "You are not striking the right spots and you are striking civilian populations, which is unacceptable."Turkey, opposed to the government in neighbouring Syria and worried about advances by Kurdish militants in Syrian territory, this week had to deny a media report that it had already sent troops over the border.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also told Reuters this week that his country, Saudi Arabia and some European powers wanted ground troops in Syria, though no serious plan had been debated.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 20 Feb 2016 05:47

& we want to buy planes from this terror-sponsoring rat.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 05:47

I want to hear Lavrov's response to THAT. I mean, every time the French open an aperture, they prove that they are 100% oiseules. "You are not striking the right spots" :rotfl

Coming from an oiseule whose Rafales are sitting on his aircraft carrier with their champagne bottles up their afterburners.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 05:51

On Friday morning in the Aleppo Governorate’s western countryside, the extremist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group), Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Jabhat Al-Shamiyah, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched a large-scale counter-offensive in order to recapture the territory they lost to the government forces. However, from the get-go, the rebel offensive was doomed for failure; especially after reconnaissance planes captured footage of a large concentration of extremist fighters traveling from the Bab Al-Hawa border towards Aleppo’s western countryside. The extremist rebels would launch their large-scale assault at dawn when they stormed Al-Famayli and the Air Defense Battalion headquarters, resulting in a series of violent firefights with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF), and the pro-government Palestinian militia “Liwaa Al-Quds” (Jerusalem Brigade).

Following a long and violent battle, the extremist rebels were forced to retreat from Al-Famayli and the Air Defense Battalion headquarters, marking an abrupt end to what was supposed to be their resurgence in western Aleppo. According to a military source inside the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate, the extremist rebels lost over 40 militants and 2 armored vehicles (including 1 tank) during their failed offensive on Friday. Deeply angered by their lack of progress, the extremist rebels chose to vent their frustrations on the civilian population in Aleppo City. The rebels would fire several hellfire cannons and mortar shells into the densely populated neighborhoods of Aleppo, killing 10 civilians, including an entire family.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/re ... 40-killed/ | Al-Masdar News

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/re ... 40-killed/ | Al-Masdar News

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 05:55

Somebody tells it like it is: On the Boston Globe, of all places!

Opinion | Stephen Kinzer
The media are misleading the public on Syria
By Stephen Kinzer February 18, 2016
Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.

For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.

This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.

Militants, true to form, are wreaking havoc as they are pushed out of the city by Russian and Syrian Army forces. “Turkish-Saudi backed ‘moderate rebels’ showered the residential neighborhoods of Aleppo with unguided rockets and gas jars,” one Aleppo resident wrote on social media. The Beirut-based analyst Marwa Osma asked, “The Syrian Arab Army, which is led by President Bashar Assad, is the only force on the ground, along with their allies, who are fighting ISIS — so you want to weaken the only system that is fighting ISIS?”

This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a “liberated zone” for three years but is now being pulled back into misery.
View Story
On Syria: Thank you, Russia!

The US would be more secure if it had followed Russia’s foreign policy lead in the past.

The great dumbing-down of US foreign policy
Does peace in Syria stand a chance?
Putin should have listened to Obama about Syria
In Syria, the US has nothing but bad options

Americans are being told that the virtuous course in Syria is to fight the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian partners. We are supposed to hope that a righteous coalition of Americans, Turks, Saudis, Kurds, and the “moderate opposition” will win.

This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.

Under intense financial pressure, most American newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks have drastically reduced their corps of foreign correspondents. Much important news about the world now comes from reporters based in Washington. In that environment, access and credibility depend on acceptance of official paradigms. Reporters who cover Syria check with the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, and think tank “experts.” After a spin on that soiled carousel, they feel they have covered all sides of the story. This form of stenography produces the pabulum that passes for news about Syria.

Astonishingly brave correspondents in the war zone, including Americans, seek to counteract Washington-based reporting. At great risk to their own safety, these reporters are pushing to find the truth about the Syrian war. Their reporting often illuminates the darkness of groupthink. Yet for many consumers of news, their voices are lost in the cacophony. Reporting from the ground is often overwhelmed by the Washington consensus.

Washington-based reporters tell us that one potent force in Syria, al-Nusra, is made up of “rebels” or “moderates,” not that it is the local al-Qaeda franchise. Saudi Arabia is portrayed as aiding freedom fighters when in fact it is a prime sponsor of ISIS. Turkey has for years been running a “rat line” for foreign fighters wanting to join terror groups in Syria, but because the United States wants to stay on Turkey’s good side, we hear little about it. Nor are we often reminded that although we want to support the secular and battle-hardened Kurds, Turkey wants to kill them. Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington.

Inevitably, this kind of disinformation has bled into the American presidential campaign. At the recent debate in Milwaukee, Hillary Clinton claimed that United Nations peace efforts in Syria were based on “an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva.” The precise opposite is true. In 2012 Secretary of State Clinton joined Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in a successful effort to kill Kofi Annan’s UN peace plan because it would have accommodated Iran and kept Assad in power, at least temporarily. No one on the Milwaukee stage knew enough to challenge her.

Politicians may be forgiven for distorting their past actions. Governments may also be excused for promoting whatever narrative they believe best suits them. Journalism, however, is supposed to remain apart from the power elite and its inbred mendacity. In this crisis it has failed miserably.

Americans are said to be ignorant of the world. We are, but so are people in other countries. If people in Bhutan or Bolivia misunderstand Syria, however, that has no real effect. Our ignorance is more dangerous, because we act on it. The United States has the power to decree the death of nations. It can do so with popular support because many Americans — and many journalists — are content with the official story. In Syria, it is: “Fight Assad, Russia, and Iran! Join with our Turkish, Saudi, and Kurdish friends to support peace!” This is appallingly distant from reality. It is also likely to prolong the war and condemn more Syrians to suffering and death.

Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Follow him on Twitter @stephenkinzer.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 06:00

This Kinzer is an interesting writer.

Opinion | Stephen Kinzer
The great dumbing-down of US foreign policy

By Stephen Kinzer February 16, 2016

American presidential campaigns no longer offer voters reasoned debate about world affairs or foreign policy. Candidates compete with each other to promise that they will keep America safest, build the strongest military, and kill the most enemies.

At town-hall meetings and other events during the current campaign, voters have rarely asked foreign policy questions. When they do, they ask only two things. The first is: What will you do to crush ISIS? Inevitably the reply is some variation of “They are savages, and I will destroy them.”

The only other question that comes up regularly runs something like this: Who are our enemies, and how will you fight them? This gives candidates the chance to rant against Russia, Iran, China, or whichever country is the enemy du jour. Almost never are they asked what they would do to calm global tensions.

When Republican candidates speak of diplomacy, it is usually to denounce President Obama for using it. Some promise to close the newly reopened American embassy in Cuba. Most vow to “rip up” last year’s nuclear accord with Iran. This would allow the rest of the world to continue the normalization process without us, and make billions in the process. Pointing that out, however, suggests that the United States does not control the world, a truth too uncomfortable for most candidates to pronounce.

The complexity of foreign policy does not lend itself to one-liners. Nonetheless candidates have already come up with some good ones. They focus our attention and offer insight into the minds of prospective presidents.
View Story
Mooning, Profanity, and Stalin: highlights from the latest GOP debate

How is Donald Trump the voice of reason for the GOP on Iraq and 9/11?

The first memorable foreign policy line of this campaign came from Ted Cruz. Rather than simply promise to kill every insurgent in the Middle East, he said: “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.” Being a mom in Raqqa or Fallujah must be miserable now, but Cruz seems ready to put an end to that misery by carpet bombing.

Donald Trump has more experience in the art of the pithy sound bite than any other candidate. His background as a television host, as well as his refusal to accept Republican orthodoxy, makes his outbursts highly entertaining. When asked if he would tolerate waterboarding, he replied that he would go “a hell of a lot further,” and then added a line that may reveal something about his conscience: “It wouldn’t bother me even a little bit.”

During the recent debate in South Carolina, Trump did something Republicans are not supposed to do. He called the invasion of Iraq — the major Republican initiative in world affairs during this century — “a big fat mistake.” Then, referring to President George W. Bush and his advisors, Trump said: “They lied! They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none!”

Bush’s brother Jeb was standing on the same stage. He indignantly accused Trump of “going after my family,” and then gave an odd justification for his candidacy: “My mom is the strongest woman I know.” Trump shot back with the perfect insult: “She should be running!”

Lindsay Graham had dropped out of the race by then, which was a shame because he might have chimed in with a line he used in Iowa: “I miss George W. Bush. I wish he were president right now.”

Democrats have been calmer on foreign policy, but the two remaining candidates had a wonderful exchange during their last debate. Bernie Sanders launched into a tirade against Henry Kissinger, whom he called “one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the history of this country.” That spotlighted Hillary Clinton’s ties to a figure many Democrats detest — and, by extension, her reliance on mainstream foreign policy veterans who are responsible for much of the world’s mess. Clinton replied that Kissinger’s background is “incredibly useful,” and added that she does not know who advises Sanders on foreign policy.

“Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger, that’s for sure!” Sanders shouted.

In this campaign, the foreign policy fun may be just beginning. John Kasich had it right when he marveled, “This is just crazy. This is just nuts. Jeez! Oh, man!”

Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Follow him on Twitter @stephenkinzer.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 20 Feb 2016 06:07

from FT of all places,

Erdogan should take a reality check on Syria

FT is not pursuing their usual narrative, which would be something like "Erdogan enters the fray to defeat IS (because Assad is only helping them)".

Nobody sides with a loser I guess.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Prem » 20 Feb 2016 06:16

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/mi ... -ban-.html
Russian fighter jet sale to Iran ‘would violate arms ban’

A reported sale of Russian combat aircraft to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo if it occurred without advance U.N. Security Council approval, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.Russia’s RIA news agency on Wednesday reported that Russia will this year sign a contract to sell a batch of its Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighters to Iran.As the United States and five other major powers negotiated the July 14 nuclear deal with Iran, the six agreed to maintain a ban on conventional arms sales to Iran for five years unless they were blessed in advance by the Security Council.“U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits the sale to Iran of specified categories of conventional arms ... without approval in advance on a case-by-case basis by the UN Security Council,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.Toner said all U.N. members, and especially those such as Russia that negotiated the resolution as part of the nuclear deal, “should be fully aware of these restrictions.” He said the ban covered “combat aircraft,” including the Su-30SM fighter.“If the media reports are accurate, we will address it bilaterally with Russia and with the other members of the U.N. Security Council,” Toner added.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 20 Feb 2016 06:47

a alarm bell has been sounded that saudi ground water will run out in 13 years. this will force even more expenses to run desalination plants at higher scale. might spell the end of saudi agriculture. the kingdom has no surface water ie rivers and lakes to speak of except a few small bellandur lake type things near Buraydah NW of riyadh.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby UlanBatori » 20 Feb 2016 07:07

So I conclude that the Culinary Institute is writing papers (c above, and straws in the far*s from F**T) that warn that the Foggy Bottoms are all wet and going to get dunked further. All such "think tanks" have resident Senior Fellers who are also designated as Official Resident Chef. Not saying that any particular person is anything, just a general observation on some of these Tanks.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Shreeman » 20 Feb 2016 07:20

with the infinite emergency imposed on france O'llunde is just as much a dictator as asad. perhaps more so with aircraft carriers at his dispojal. Cot is calling petal black.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 20 Feb 2016 08:30

Something about the TOW and Syrian conflict - things which will linger after the conflict is over (if ever?) in the weapons domain:

Tweets From Aleppo ‏@halabtweets now59 minutes ago
When your $50k TOW is neutralized by a $200 home-made gadget. #Syria #SAA #LOL

Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby member_29325 » 20 Feb 2016 08:39

Hollande is a shade worse that Obama in supporting ISIS in the name of freedom and democracy -- utter sphincters, both of them. It will be a good day when this POS obama is no longer president...unless hillary/sanders is the next one.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 20 Feb 2016 08:46

@fanne, I had put those pictures after some thought. There is a lot of things wrong about this conflict and the way children have been treated sits at the top of this wrong pile. All this when the policies makers of the world sat and funded the scums who use children like you saw in the pictures above. They are disturbing (even without the blood and gore).

These events are a result of the carefully orchestrated drama which caused the color revolutions across MENA not very different to the drama we are seeing now in India. If things go wrong here the catastrophe will be a million times worse.

That said, I shall avoid those inline images.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 20 Feb 2016 08:54

erdogan bussing in foul-looking moderate rebels into azaz.

https://www.facebook.com/FunnyNekat.mad ... 8558391901

video evidence

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Satya_anveshi » 20 Feb 2016 09:26

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/d ... ns/ri12936
Did Russia Just Threaten Turkey With Nuclear Weapons? - Feb 20, 2016

Parry’s exact words are as follows:

“A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught.

Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.”
Generally I would be skeptical of such a story from an anonymous source. However Parry is a journalist of the highest reliability and integrity so there can be no doubt he actually has been told this by a real source.



The Turks are publicly sticking to their position that they will not send their troops into Syria unilaterally - which could be taken to mean they will not invade Syria unless they have US agreement and unless the US contributes ground troops to the invasion force.

Turkish action so far has been limited to cross-border shelling of Kurdish forces near Azaz and demands the Kurds stay away from Azaz, which is near the Turkish border and which the Turks say they want to make part of a buffer zone.



With every day that passes without a Turkish ground invasion the prospects of it happening grow less. The next few weeks should decide the issue.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby Singha » 20 Feb 2016 09:33

those an124 could have flown and parked some iskander in a show of force and dhamki for nato sats to pick up

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby habal » 20 Feb 2016 09:39

>> Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

If Turkish troops are attacked inside Syria, then it could be unlikely. But with USA one never knows what devious depths they may plumb to, but then again what can they do. They have much more to loose than anyone else.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 20 Feb 2016 10:17

Cartoons of the crisis :)

The 'Nimr' Tiger ‏@Souria4Syrians now12 minutes ago
Erdogan your time is up

Image

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc) - II

Postby deejay » 20 Feb 2016 10:30

The planned Jisr Al Shughour offensive has a lot of revenge quotient in it for SAA. Their retreat from the city and the massacre at National Hospital in the town by the rebels are among the most gut churning events of this war. SAA while retreating were hammered at the National Hospital, unable to save the people there or themselves.

There are videos of National Hospital both on youtube and live leak.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-commandos-begin-long-campaign-to-jisr-al-shughour/

Last Spring, the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of 11th Tank Division began their massive retreat across the Idlib Governorate, conceding the provincial capital and the strategic cities of Ariha and Jisr Al-Shughour to Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) en route to their embarrassing exit from this province in northern Syria.

Following the loss of the Al-Ghaab Plains’ northern countryside, Jaysh Al-Fateh began to shift their attention the Latakia Governorate, attacking the Prophet Jonah Mountains (Jabal Nabi Younis) and capturing several points along the Hama-Latakia border. Fear began to spread among the 3.5 million civilians living in the Greater Latakia area: was the province next to fall?

Hope Springs Eternal:

In late September, the Russian Federation turned the tide of the war and strengthened the morale of the Syrian civilians living in the government-controlled areas after they began their massive aerial campaign across the country. The tumultuous thunder of Russian airstrikes could be heard as far south as Tartous – the Syrian Arab Army was no longer alone.

Three months after the Russian airstrikes began, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard had seized several hundred kilometers of territory in northeastern Latakia. Then, the dominoes began to fall: Salma, Rabi’iyah, and Kinsibba were all captured by the Syrian Armed Forces in stunning fashion. Not only were the Syrian Armed Forces rolling through the Latakia countryside, they were capturing rebel strongholds that were nearly impregnable months prior.

Road to Redemption:

The Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade and their allies are nearing the border of the Idlib Governorate; this means that the strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour is within striking distance. While the loss of Idlib and Ariha were embarrassing, the Syrian Army’s defeat at Jisr Al-Shughour delivered the deepest blow. Video footage of their retreat from the city and then the disastrous attempt to flee the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital magnified the Syrian Army’s inability to forestall Jaysh Al-Fateh’s blitzkrieg assault.

Now, the tables have turned: the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade is quickly approaching Jisr Al-Shughour and the Islamist rebels are tattered and in disarray. On Friday morning, the Syrian Armed Forces transferred a large amount of soldiers to the Kabani-Sirmaniyah front in what is likely to become the first major push to Jisr Al-Shughour. The road will not be easy; and it would be foolish to assume Jaysh Al-Fateh is just going to lay down and let the Syrian Army enter their heartland.

However, if there was ever a chance at victory for the Syrian Armed Forces; it is right now.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/sy ... -shughour/ | Al-Masdar News


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