turkey

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Syria: Turks Invade, US Occupy

While the American media is busy with #Memogate, the already complex situation in Syria has become even more confusing. It seems like everyday a “US-backed”, “Pro-Syrian” or Russian force is attackedbombed or almost killed by some faction within Syria, almost setting off an international incident.

I thought it would be important to follow the ever-changing situation there, because one day it will be front page news on CNN, and when that day comes they won’t tell you the whole story.

Places like Steemit are filled with worthy content on the subject, from @saltycat@lordoftruth@haseeb96, to @clarityofsignal and many others, this quick write-up will be more of a resource center than a long-winded piece on the recent events. There is also this amazing real-time map of the conflict I’ve been used to follow the war day by day, along with Southfrontover on Youtube, which @clarityofsignal was a part of previously.

The latest stage in the conflict is the invasion of Turkish troops of Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria. Specifically, the region of Afrin.

President Erdogan of Turkey has declared (past and present) that the Kurds will never control territory west of the Euphrates River. Erdogan has always had issues with the Kurdish population within Turkey, and that doesn’t change when we move south. Erdogan sees the Kurdish YPG in Syria as an extension of his long-time enemy the PKK in Iraq.

Erdogan’s issues with the Kurds may stem from his belief in “Pan-Turkic”, or the idea that all people from Turkish decent should live under a single banner. The man wants Turkey to extend all the way to China, and be a Muslim state.

Since the attempted coup in his country, crackdowns on the disloyal haven’t really stopped. The recent invasion of Syria (fittingly named Operation “Olive Branch”) has only grown those numbers. Critics and protesters of the invasion have been arrested and jailed. The violence has even reached Europe, with a rather intense fight breaking out between Kurds and Turks in a German airport terminal:

Afrin

Operation “Olive Branch” began with the invasion of the northwestern “canton” of Afrin. The Kurdish held region is isolated from the other canton’s under YPG and SDF (Syrian Defense Force) control by a 60 mile area under the control of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) backed by Turkey. Afrin contents no US special forces, and is home to the city of Aleppo. This should be name familiar to everyone not named Gary Johnson.

The Turkish invasion force includes a mix of Turkish army regulars, air power and rebel “shock troops”, some reportedly former ISIS members, evident by the inhumane treatment of civilians and the mutilation of Kurdish female fighters.

The Russians have given the Turks the green light for air strikes over the region, something not unheard of in this conflict: a foreign power having decision making power in a sovereign nation. The weird mix of relationships in Syria makes for an even more complicated situation.

For example, the Russians are allied with Assad, while the US is allied with the Kurds and their own rebels. Separately, the Turks and the Russians are becoming fast friends over oil and arms deals, but the rebels the Turks are backing see the regime in Damascus as their enemy. Still following?

Manbij & US Policy

Here is where the United States comes in. Manbij is the canton directly east of the 60 mile FSA/Turk controlled region separating Afrin from the rest of YPG territory. Manbij is the home of actual US troops, with the number of US troops rising the more east towards the Iraqi border you go.

Erdogan has warned the United States to leave Manbij immediately, stating that once he is done with Afrin it’s on to Manbij. In the same week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the United States has no plans to leave Syria, citing multiple reasons for the illegal occupation of the eastern part of the country.

The US presence in Syria is completely illegal under international law. The Trump administration has used the AUMF from 9/11 as its excuse for staying in Syria. Opposition to the US staying in Syria has raised the theory that the United States has plans to create an area in Northeastern Syria outside of the control of Assad, using the Kurds and a 30K strong border force manned by the SDF to do so. Much like in Iraq previously, the Kurds are used as simple pawns by the United States (and Israel) to advance its policy. The idea of splintering Syria apart is nothing new, cited in “A Clean Break” and laid out in the Wikileaks documents from the mid-2000s.

Tillerson lists the following reasons for the decision to stay in Syria:

  • Keeping a defeated ISIS from growing again
  • Holding Iranian power in the region in check
  • Eventually overthrow of Assad

The third reason is really a geopolitical move directed at Russia. In simple terms, and this is important:
the United States government has illegally invaded another country to destabilize and overthrow the regime in charge. This is nothing new, but all Americans need to focus and understand that this is out in the open this time around. No discussion in Congress, no UN vote, nothing. While you and I were busy deciding if we trust Devon Nunes, our government just doubled-down in Syria.

The Validation of the Sarin Gas Scandal

Maybe more shocking than the lack of media coverage of the US occupation, is the admission by General Mattis that the United States has NO EVIDENCE that Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Fittingly, this story broke in the Washington Post, the same rag that pushed the sarin narrative dating back to 2013.

This admission should end all support for the US presence in Syria, but the American people are completely distracted at the moment.

What it does do is validate the great reporting work of the late-great Robert ParrySeymour HershPhil GiraldiAntiwar.com, and tons of other true journalists who’s credibility was questioned by the complicit mainstream media.

What this all means for the future of the geopolitical chessmatch in Syria is yet to be seen, but in this week’s episode I give my thoughts.

Content

This episode can be found on here, with the full archive on Podomatic and ITunes.

Image sources: 1234567

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Episode: Billy and The Boys

In this episode, I update you on India-China, North Korea and ask why no one on Facebook is sharing videos from Mosul, Iraq. I get domestic and discuss healthcare, Rand Paul’s good week, and the trans-ban.

episode link

Sources

China Adds Troops To India Border, Will Defend Sovereignty At “Whatever Cost”
Why Is the World Not Outraged at Mass Civilian Death in Mosul?
North Korea claims all of U.S. in strike range as Trump says China has done “nothing”
One in every 45 people in Yemen is expected to contract cholera, Red Cross says
Thousands of worshippers surge into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, 113 injured
Rand Paul Blocks DOD Authorization Until September
White House Sacks Top Iran Hawk Amid Ongoing Disagreements

Episode: A Game of Thrones

In this episode I update you on the situation between Turkey and it’s NATO allies, especially Germany. I cover the protests at the Temple Mount in Israel, and point out that India and China both have nukes and don’t like each other very much.

Episode Link

Photo credit

Sources

Mahmoud Abbas freezes contact with Israel over al-Aqsa
Six Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Rages Across West Bank
US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To “Depart Immediately”, Bans Tourists From Visiting
Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad
Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana
Germany overhauls Turkey policy
Germany continues war of words with Turkey, reviews arms sales
Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”

Episode: 20 Years in Prison for Boycotting a Foreign Government

I wasn’t planning on this episode. But an article over at The Intercept prompted me to drop everything and dive into this story: The US Congress has a bill, with support, to make it a felony to join any movements with the purpose of boycotting Israel. It carries a fine of 250k and up to 20 years in prison. Such a violation of the 1st Amendment.

So in this episode I break down this law, and the influence of the Israeli lobby behind it. I give some backstory of the Israel lobby in this country and how it’s interests are not Americans interest. No matter what DC tells you.

I also follow up on the Turkey-NATO split and the revenge killings in Mosul.

Episode link

Picture source

Content sources:

Revenge Attacks Grow in and Around ‘Liberated’ Mosul

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

AIPAC Still Our Biggest Foreign Agent

US Imperils Nuclear Deal With New Iran Sanctions

Why Isis Fighters Are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria

Episode: Turkey-NATO & Gaza in the Dark

Quick update on the situation in northern Iraq, how it relates to Turkey’s turn towards Russia, and how a population of 2 million people are in the dark with no place to go.

Episode link

Photo credit

Sources:

Darkness in Gaza as last power plant shuts down
House Approves $696 Billion Military Spending Bill

Trump Wants Authority to Build New Bases in Iraq, Syria

Turkey Ousts Over 7,500 More, Mostly Troops, as Post-Coup Purge Continues

US cannot prove IS chief is dead: Mattis

Ankara denied German lawmakers permission to visit Bundeswehr troops stationed at a NATO base near the Turkish town of Konya

Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense

Trump envoy announces Israeli-Palestinian water deal

Episode: Sunni? Shia? Shite? Kurds?

Episode link

I try to get my thoughts together long enough to give you a quick breakdown of the fallout of Mosul, Iraq being “liberated”.

The sectarian divide is expanding, and it is confusing. As this episode is proof of.

I also talk about the G20, and how I don’t understand everyone’s obsession with being the cool kid at the big criminal party.

After Mosul: The coming break-up of Iraq and end of the Middle East

Two firms win bids on new $600 million US consulate project in Erbil

Turkey’s Erdogan says Iraq should avoid independence referendum

Dead again? Syrian group claims ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is gone

Video Shows US-Backed Syrian Kurds Torturing Detainees

Australian Journalist’s Trump Teardown Goes Viral Amid Interest in G-20

Russian Oligarch Who Plotted to Aid Trump Was Named in Private Intelligence Dossier

Photo credit

 

Russia Cuts Off Ukraine Gas Supply To 6 European Countries

From Zerohedge:

Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian state energy giant Gazprom to cut supplies to and through Ukraine amid accusations, according to The Daily Mail, that its neighbor has been siphoning off and stealing Russian gas. Due to these “transit risks for European consumers in the territory of Ukraine,”Gazprom cut gas exports to Europe by 60%, plunging the continent into an energy crisis “within hours.” Perhaps explaining the explosion higher in NatGas prices (and oil) today, gas companies in Ukraine confirmed that Russia had cut off supply; and six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas. The EU raged that the sudden cut-off to some of its member countries was “completely unacceptable,” but Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller later added that Russia plans to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey; and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated unequivocally,”the decision has been made.”

As Bloomberg reports

Russia plans to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey, a surprise move that the European Union’s energy chief said would hurt its reputation as a supplier.

The decision makes no economic sense, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president for energy union, told reporters today after talks with Russian government officials and the head of gas exporter, OAO Gazprom, in Moscow.

Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural gas supplier, plans to send 63 billion cubic meters through a proposed link under the Black Sea to Turkey, fully replacing shipments via Ukraine, Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said during the discussions. About 40 percent of Russia’s gas exports to Europe and Turkey travel through Ukraine’s Soviet-era network.

Sefcovic said he was “very surprised” by Miller’s comment, adding that relying on a Turkish route, without Ukraine, won’t fit with the EU’s gas system.

Gazprom plans to deliver the fuel to Turkey’s border with Greece and “it’s up to the EU to decide what to do” with it further, according to Sefcovic.

Which, as The Daily Mail reports, has led to a major (and imminent) problem for Europe…

Russia cut gas exports to Europe by 60 percent today, plunging the continent into an energy crisis ‘within hours’ as a dispute with Ukraine escalated.

This morning, gas companies in Ukraine said that Russia had completely cut off their supply.

Six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas shipped via Ukraine today, in a sharp escalation of a struggle over energy that threatens Europe as winter sets in.

Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey all reported a halt in gas shipments from Russia through Ukraine.

As Bloomberg goes on to note, Gazprom has reduced deliveries via Ukraine after price and debt disputes with the neighboring country that twice in the past decade disrupted supplies to the EU during freezing weather.

“Transit risks for European consumers on the territory of Ukraine remain,” Miller said in an e-mailed statement. “There are no other options”except for the planned Turkish Stream link, he said.

“We have informed our European partners, and now it is up to them to put in place the necessary infrastructure starting from the Turkish-Greek border,” Miller said.

Russia won’t hurt its image with a shift to Turkey because it has always been a reliable gas supplier and never violated its obligations, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters today in Moscow after meeting Sefcovic.

“The decision has been made,” Novak said. “We are diversifying and eliminating the risks of unreliable countries that caused problems in past years, including for European consumers.”

Was Turkey Really Behind the Syrian Sarin Attacks?

It has been written about and discussed since last August that the United States government did not KNOW that Assad was behind the sarin attacks.

CIA analysts have publicly refused to trump up evidence to back Secretary Kerry’s figure pointing in front of Congress on August 30th of last year. Members of the CIA analyst crowd had learned from the Iraq invasion of 2003.

The government never even received an “intelligence assessment” from the CIA. The White House had to come up with a “government assessment” based on no evidence. Sound familiar.

The article below doesn’t point the finger directly at Turkey, but it makes the case.

“For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’”

Source