Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Talking Turkey, TPP

by lizard

I wrote yesterday about direct actions blooming on multiple fronts. People are mobilizing, and that’s a good thing.

As that is happening the imperial lust of U.S. hegemony is faltering significantly, which will make the last two years of the Obama regime very dangerous.

Talking Turkey, Michael Whitney explores the seemingly dumbfounded non-reaction by the Obama regime on the news Monday of Putin’s surprising gas deal with Turkey:

How can this happen? How can Putin waltz into Ankara, scribble his name on a few sheets of paper, and abscond with a key US ally right under Washington’s nose? Isn’t there anyone at the White House who’s smart enough to anticipate a scenario like this or have they all been replaced with warmongering ding-dongs like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers?

The Obama administration has been doing everything in its power to control the flow of gas from east to west and to undermine Russian-EU economic integration. Now it looks like the nimble Putin has found a way to avoid the economic sanctions, (Turkey rejected sanctions on Russia) avoid US coercion and blackmail (which was used on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia), and avoid Washington’s endless belligerence and hostility, and achieve his objectives at the same time. But– then again– isn’t that what you’d expect from a level-headed martial arts pro like Putin?

“I won’t beat you,” says Bad Vlad. “I’ll let you to beat yourself.”

And, so he has. Just ask the befuddled Obama who has yet to prevail in any of his encounters with Putin.

But why the silence? Why hasn’t the White House issued a statement about the big Russian-Turkey gas deal that everyone’s talking about?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because they don’t know what the hell just hit them, that’s why. They were completely blindsided by the announcement and can’t quite figure out what it means for the issues that are on the very top of their foreign policy agenda, like the pivot to Asia, or the wars in Syria and Ukraine, or the much-ballyhooed gas pipeline from Qatar to the EU, that was supposed to transit– you guessed it– Turkey. Is that plan still in the works or has the Putin-Erdogan alliance put the kibosh on that gem too? Let’s face it, Putin has really knocked it out of the park this time. Team Obama is clearly out of its league and has no idea of what’s going on. If Turkey turns eastward and joins the growing Russian bloc, US policymakers are going to have to scrap the better part of their strategic plans for the coming century and go back to Square 1. What a headache.

Other headaches Obama is expected to sell to Americans are the still murky trade deals like the TPP. Ben Beachy, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, looks at revived fast-tracking and lists a bunch of materials linking these kinds of trade deals with increased economic inequality. From the link:

Obama acknowledged yesterday that TPP proponents will have a tough time arguing that this time is different — that reviving Fast Track authority in attempt to push through Congress another more-of-the-same trade pact would not fuel further inequality growth. Fast Track was the Nixon-created maneuver that allowed the executive branch to railroad through Congress controversial, inequality-spurring pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by negotiating and signing the pacts before Congress got an expedited, no-amendments, limited-debate vote. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that were the TPP to be Fast Tracked through Congress, all but the wealthiest among us would lose more to inequality increases than we would gain in cheaper goods, spelling a pay cut for 90 percent of U.S. workers.

Recognizing the unpopularity of Fast Track and the TPP, Obama told the business executives: “There are folks in my own party and in my own constituency that have legitimate complaints about some of the trend lines of inequality, but are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to opposing TPP, and I’m going to have to make that argument.”

It’s tough work dismantling American sovereignty and losing allies to an emerging Russia. Obama only has two years left to create a teflon legacy capable of covering the disaster his presidency has been.

by lizard

Today is Veterans Day, a federal holiday. It used to be called Armistice Day, but for some reason that changed in 1954. Maybe it’s because the war to end all wars didn’t end all wars, so a broader remembrance of all veterans created by US imperial ambitions became necessary.

The Middle East has been rendered a clusterfuck of chaos, death and destruction from decades of war. The US is directly responsible. Obama has sent 1,500 more troops to Iraq and now Congress is stirring, blearily recalling a distant time when Congressional Approval was necessary for war. From the link:

A senior Democratic senator said Monday that Congress should vote on whether U.S. troops should be fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), calling the previous Iraq War a “terrible mistake.”

“We are going to have to have a vote on this. We know what a terrible mistake the first Iraq War was,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on NBC.

“It cost us close to $3 trillion, thousands of lives to go after weapons of mass destruction, which never existed in the first place. And if we’re going to go into this, how many other places are we going to? We should have a full debate on it,” he added.

Yeah, let’s have a full debate. And how about including in that full debate facts, like our ally, Turkey, helping ISIS:

Until recently, it was speculated that Turkey had provided indirect support to Daesh; there did not appear to be evidence showing direct Turkish assistance to ISIS fascists. New evidence leads to the latter conclusion.

On 7 November, Newsweek published “’ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally’: Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation.” The piece is based on testimonies by a former ISIS communications technician who goes by the pseudonym Sherko Omer. Omer traveled to Syria to fight against the bloody Assad regime — a regime with brutal state terrorist campaigns of mass bombing, torture, starvation, and rape of civilians, including children — yet soon “found himself caught up in a horrifying sectarian war, unable to escape.” He never planned on joining ISIS; he was not a Salafi extremist. Omer was trapped in a terrifying snare — a sectarian, international proxy war — and feared for his life, knowing full well that Daesh murders defectors.

Omer managed to escape by surrendering to Kurdish forces (ISIS extremists would not have spared his life after such a surrender), and subsequently detailed to Newsweek what he saw in his time working for the fascist group.

He notes that Turkey allowed trucks from the Daesh stronghold in Raqqa to cross the “border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.” He later adds that, not only did they travel “through Turkey in a convoy of trucks,” they even stayed “at safehouses along the way.”

As a communication technician, Omer recalls “connect[ing] ISIS field captains and commanders from Syria with people in Turkey on innumerable occasions,” reporting that he “rarely heard them speak in Arabic, and that was only when they talked to their own recruiters, otherwise, they mostly spoke in Turkish because the people they talked to were Turkish officials.”

“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” Omer says.

Another facet of this full debate should include Libya. Glenn Greenwald, in a piece at The Intercept, asks what I’ve been asking—What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans with Bombs and Drones? The answer is they scuttled away to the shadows, unwilling to acknowledge that the critics were correct. Libya has descended into abject chaos, and now features the first city outside Syria and Iraq to pledge fealty to ISIS:

On a chilly night, bearded militants gathered at a stage strung with colorful lights in Darna, a Mediterranean coastal city long notorious as Libya’s center for jihadi radicals. With a roaring chant, they pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

With that meeting 10 days ago, the militants dragged Darna into becoming the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to join the “caliphate” announced by the extremist group. Already, the city has seen religious courts ordering killings in public, floggings of residents accused of violating Shariah law, as well as enforced segregation of male and female students. Opponents of the militants have gone into hiding or fled, terrorized by a string of slayings aimed at silencing them.

ISIS should come with a Made in America label.

It’s pretty impressive that US troops are back on the ground in Iraq fighting the consequences of America’s insanely reckless foreign policy with nary a peep from the somnambulist American populace. I have stopped wondering what it would take to jar Americans out of their slumber.

So enjoy the federal holiday, dear citizens! War will remain on our horizon for the foreseeable future because there is no anti-war movement mobilizing against the insanity, another unfortunate byproduct of Democrats failing to distinguish themselves from their Republican counterparts.




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