Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turkish PM Davutoglu and Nasereddin Hoja

Turkish PM Davutoglu and Nasereddin Hoja

 

Mission impossible; Removal of Assad & No-fly inside Syria from Iraq to Mediterranean

 

Recently promoted Turkish Prime Minister Dr Ahmet Davutoglu is a highly qualified academic, professor and diplomat from Konya .As foreign minister he had proclaimed Ankara's policy of zero friction with neighbors. But the reverse has become true .He had also claimed that a leaf could not move in the Middle East without Turkey's approval. But with violence boiling over in Greater Middle East because of policies followed by Ankara and its NATO allies and rich Sunni Gulf states and Jordan, have brought home the violence into Turkey's Kurds, not only in south-east Turkey, but in other major cities of the country and major cities in West Europe, where many millions of Turks, including about 25% Kurds live since many decades .

 

This is how Davutoglu has postulated Turkey's foreign policy options in Syria and in the region;

 

Turkey outlines locations for potential safe zone in Syria

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-outlines-locations-for-potential-safe-zone-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=73054&NewsCatID=338

 

Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu has told Al-Jazeera Arabic that 'safe zones' against ISIL on Syria's border with Turkey should protect 'areas with populations over a certain density,' marking a large region from the Mediterranean to Iraq's border

 

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has clarified the locations of possible internationally sanctioned safe zones near Syria's border with Turkey, outlining a line stretching from the Mediterranean to Iraq.

"The buffer zone we mean here is not a military definition, but a humanitarian safe zone under military protection," Davutoğlu said in an
 interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic on Oct. 15. 

After noting that safe zones should protect "areas with populations over a certain density," the Turkish PM mentioned the need to connect the Turkish border with northern Latakia, "certain areas in al-Hasakah," as well as Jarabulus, Ayn-al Arab (Kobane), Tel Abyad, Idlib and Afrin to protect Syria's Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens.

Davutoğlu stressed that the depth of the safe zone could change according to varying humanitarian situations in these areas, but he reiterated that Turkey would not take the risk of intervention alone.
 

"United Nations Security Council can't take any decisions due to certain vetoes. Then, the international coalition that was created for an intervention in Syria and the coalition of the willing can take certain decisions and provide air protection [for the safe zone]," he said, recalling the internationally sanctioned no-fly zone in Saddam Hussein-era Iraq.

About fighting the US allies and Turkish created Islamic State Jihadis , carrying out their barbaric policies of destruction and beheadings in Iraq and north east Syria who have recently besieged Kobane a few hundred feet south of Turkish border  and torturing and killing its Syrian Kurds belonging to DYP (Party of Unity and Democracy)  , an extension and allies of Turkey's Kurds led and still outlawed leftist , gender equal Marxist PKK , which have been fighting the Turkish state since 1984 for cultural , political and economic autonomy and with which president Recep Erdogan has since 2013 began a peace process to resolve this existential problem , the situation based on statements from Ankara ,Washington and elsewhere remains cloudy and confused .Recently , Erdogan stated that he prefers IS to DYP and PKK .He even bombed  Kurdish region is south east Turkey ,thus breaking the cease fire .

 

As for saving Kobane, Erdogan repeated recently that Ankara would only get involved in Syria if the US-led coalition also targeted President Assad's regime, as well as IS. Also a no-fly zone had to be imposed to halt Syrian regime air strikes and help cope with the refugees. Instead, Washington reiterated that the coalition of the not so willing was focused for now on IS alone. Ankara turned against Assad early on in the war, betting he would fall quickly like Qaddafi.

 

So Ankara has been widely criticised for taking an "anyone but Assad" policy, backing armed groups which have become ever more extreme. Turkey has been uncomfortably close to other  Sunni Islamist militants in Syria, helped them with weapons, fighters and resources crossing a once-porous border.

 

The Turkish government did appear, somewhat woken up to the threat posed by IS - mainly after IS kidnapped 46 Turkish Consulate citizens in Mosul in June, and released them after 100 days following some suspicious deals .Many believe that Ankara is still not serious about tackling IS.

"For us, the PKK and Isil are the same," said President Erdogan this week, using another term for Islamic State. "It is wrong to consider them as different from each other," he added.

 

Ankara fears helping the Kurdish DYP militia in Syria will only strengthen PKK, and extend the latter's powers base into north Syria, adjoining Turkey. Abdullah Ocalan, the iconic imprisoned leader of the PKK since 1999, stated that if Kobane falls to IS, it will spell the end of the peace process. So Turkey is at a critical juncture in its much-criticised Syria policy - failure to intervene in Kobane could feed spiralling protests, strain already tense relations with Washington and sound the death knell for long-lasting peace with the Kurds. Turkey is already embroiled in the chaos south of the border, 180,000 refugees have flooded in from Kobane. But the impact has spread fast and risks reigniting flames that Turkey will struggle to handle at home with even protests abroad which would intensify even more.

 

Of course Turkey and its allies have not taken into account the reaction from Assad' allies, Moscow, Iran, the Hezbollah and Shia controlled Baghdad. It should be remembered how faced with imminent threat of US bombing of Syria in September last year, Putin had out blinked Obama with the  British  poodles too subsiding .

 

How does Nasereddin Hoja come in!

 

 Having spent many years in Turkey and with Azerbaijan as concurrent charge, lectures and travels to major cities of Uzbekistan and visits to Syria and Iran, Turkmenistan and Gulf states, I am reminded of a story about Nasereddin Hoja.

 

Once the Hoja was standing in the Aksehir (white town) lake with a big jar of yogurt, and slowly letting it drip into the lake water. When people enquired what he was doing, he said he is trying to turn the muddy milk like water of the lake into yoghurt. When people laughed and said it is impossible, he replied, what it did happen, ie the lake water turned into yoghurt!

 

Hoja is very well known wise men known for his great sense of rustic humour and witticisms.

 

Who is Nasreddin Hoja

 

Who is Nasreddin ! In (Turkish: Nasreddin Hoca, Ottoman Turkish: نصر الدين خواجه,Persian: خواجه نصرالدین‎, Pashtoملا نصرالدین‎Arabic: نصرالدین جحا‎ / ALA-LC:Naṣraddīn Juḥā, Urduملا نصر الدین ‎ / ALA-LC: Mullā Naṣru l-dīn, Uzbek:Xoʻja Nasriddin, Bosnian: Nasrudin Hodža, Albanian: Nastradin Hoxha, Nastradini, etc etc

 

Nasreddin Hoja was a Seljuq satirical Sufi, believed to have lived and died during the 13th century in Akşehir, near Konya, a capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, in today's Turkey. He is considered a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his witty stories and anecdotes. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool or the butt of a joke. A Nasreddin story usually has a subtle humour and a pedagogic nature. The International Nasreddin Hoja fest is celebrated between 5 and 10 July in his hometown every year.

 

 Claims about his origin are made by many ethnic groups. Many sources give the birthplace of Nasreddin as Hortu Village in SivrihisarEskişehir Province, present-day Turkey, in the 13th century, after which he settled in Akşehir

 

The author visited Hortu village a few times and of course Aksehir city and the lake many times .Nearby are many places for weekends . It is not far away from Ankara

 

Later Nasereddin shifted to Konya then under the Seljuq rule, where he died in 1275/6 or 1285/6 CE. The alleged tomb of Nasreddin is in Akşehir and the "International Nasreddin Hodja Festival" is held annually in Akşehir between 5–10 July.

 

But according to Prof. Mikail Bayram who made an extensive research on Nasreddin Hoca, his full name is Nasir ud-din Mahmud al-Khoyi, his title Ahi Evran (as being the leader of the ahi organization). He was born in the city of Khoy in West Azerbaijan Province of Iran, had his education in Khorasan and became the pupil of famous Quran mufassir Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in Herat.

 

 Nasreddin Hoca was sent to Anatolia by the Khalif in Baghdad to organize resistance and uprising against the Mongol invasion. He served as a kadı (an Islamic judge and ombudsman) in Kayseri. This explains why he is asked judicial problems in the jokes not only the religious ones. During the turmoil of the Mongol invasion he became a political opponent of Rumi, another great figure of the time who also lived in Konya. He was addressed in Masnavi by juha anecdotes for this reason. He became the vizier at the court of Kaykaus II in Konya. Having lived in numerous cities in vast area and being steadfastly against the Mongol invasion as well as having his witty character, he was embraced by various nations and cultures from Turkey to Arabia, and from Russia to China, most of which suffered from those invasions.

 

As generations have gone by, new stories have been added to the Nasreddin corpus, others have been modified, and he and his tales have spread to many regions. The themes in the tales have become part of the folklore of a number of nations and express the national imaginations of a variety of cultures. Although most of them depict Nasreddin in an early small-village setting, the tales deal with concepts that have a certain timelessness. They purvey a pithy folk wisdom that triumphs over all trials and tribulations. The oldest manuscript of Nasreddin dates to 1571.

 

Today, Nasreddin stories are told in a wide variety of regions, especially across the Muslim world and have been translated into many languages. Some regions independently developed a character similar to Nasreddin, and the stories have become part of a larger whole. In many regions, Nasreddin is a major part of the culture, and is quoted or alluded to frequently in daily life. Since there are thousands of different Nasreddin stories, one can be found to fit almost any occasion.

 

 Nasreddin often appears as a whimsical character of a large AlbanianArabic,ArmenianAzerbaijaniBengaliBosnianBulgarian, Chinese, GreekGujaratiHindi, Italian, Judeo-Spanish,KurdishPashtoPersianRomanianSerbian, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu folk tradition of vignettes, not entirely different from zen koans.

 

1996–1997 was declared International Nasreddin Year by UNESCO.[12]

Some people say that, whilst uttering what seemed madness, he was, in reality, divinely inspired, and that it was not madness but wisdom that he uttered.

 

In the Indian subcontinent, a character like Hoja is called Sheikh Chilli.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Turkey’s Syria Border city Antakya ; Its mixed population of Alawites, Alevis, Turks, Kurds and others

Turkey's Syria Border city Antakya and Its mixed population of Alawites, Alevis, Turks, Kurds and others 

 

Part I

 

Nostalgia; My visits to Antakya.

 

Personal note; I have great feelings of nostalgia about Turkey and its beautiful touristic sights and places ,old ancient and unbelievable heritage and its very simple, warm, proud and hospitable people, especially those away from big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, etc . I have seen changes, which however necessary, logical and inevitable, but looking nostalgically I can say I love my Turkey and its people from the days of late 1960s and early 70s than of 20 years later .I will be most uncomfortable in Erdogan's Turkey of today enmeshed in self brought in strains and stresses ready to explode . I had travelled equally extensively from 1992 to end 1998. I have left behind many of my travel books on Turkey at my flat in Bucharest, but what I miss most is a travel guide, published by Turkey's chain of state operated petrol company ; Petrol Ofisi Stations all over Turkey on which I had to rely for travel and touristic guidance during my first tenure in Turkey.

 

As most people known to me and wishing to travel to Turkey come to me for information, I had lent them all my travel maps, booklets, etc. I requested a couple of times those working at the embassy here and other related organisations for travel literature. Unfortunately, no one responded to my requests. It is clear that in the official Turkey, barring a few friends here, I am almost a persona non grata , because of my honest views on Turkey and its future, which is not acceptable, which is understandable, but unfortunate. I have equally honest views about USA and even Indian governments.

 

It was in the later half of 1969, that my family, including my daughter and son travelled to South Western Turkey, via Adana, famous for its hot kebabs called Adana kebabs. I had read about the famous museum of Antakya and was very keen to see its mosaics and murals. Antakya, ancient city established by Siliceous Nikator , one of Alexander's generals ,is an old and ancient capital city .It is located on the banks of river Orantes valley and one can see mountains around it .Apart from its great museum ,its other ancient monuments  had not been fully restored or even discovered. We missed out on rock carved St Peter's Church , where he preached his first sermon .It was also the first city where followers of Jesus Christ were first called Christians .It has been occupied by many emperors and Kings throughout the turbulent history of the region and as a gateway to Syria from Anatolia. Alexander the Macedonian went this way too halting here .

 

Fom my notes on travel in Turkey via Antakya

 

 After passing by the modern port of Mersin, come to Tarsus, birth place of St Paul, where Cleopatra seduced Mark Antony. Up north in the mountains are Cilician gates, from where Alexander ( & other conquerors going east or west) passed through to the Cukurova plains, littered with Crusader castles; Issus, where Alexander defeated Darius III in 333 BC. After crossing the Syrian gates and passing by Ottoman mosques and medresses, come to Antakya (ancient Antioch) on river Orantes founded by Sileucus Nikator (who knew well Chandra Gupta Maurya), with its most magnificent collection of mosaics. Here followers of Jesus were called Christians for the first time, St Peter and St Paul first preached here. It changed hands between Persians, Arabs, Byzantines and others. Down south Cleopatra married Mark Antony and there is a village where Moses came to meet prophet Hizir.

 

http://tarafits.blogspot.com/2010/12/fwd-illustrated-sweep-through-history.html

 

In 1969 there were  no  motorable roads down south to very old other ancient biblical and Roman and other historical places on the Eastern Mediterranean coast like Saman Dag  and its Titus/Vespasianus Tunnel-Samandagı and the antique city of Seleukeia Pierria , just north to the border with Syria. The old ancient river Orantes was still there, but like many historic rivers had lost its splendour ,cleanliness and image. I was equally disappointed when posted at Amman in Jordan in early 1990s , I drove over to the eastern bank of River Jordan, just before highly mineral laid laden almost a rivulet joins the Dead Sea. It reminded me of the gandalala a sewage full channel of New Delhi's Defence Colony (now covered mercifully).

 

Such are the disappointments of having been gripped by writings and expectations raised about ancient history and its marvels. Not all of them are disappointment, but some of them are. Like Hawa Mahal a.k.a. airy Palace in Jaipur, the Bridge on the River Thames in London or for that matter, the British ruler's residence aka Buckingham Palace. I saw it first in 1974 when I went over to London, while posted at Paris, with its beautiful well organised symmetrical architecture, with its major arteries like Champs Elysees, and the whole area around Concord and the drive along river Seine. It was Haussmaan who created aesthetic architecture, really beautiful and reordered and relaid major boulevards, avenues, and streets, basically for political purposes. London itself was a great a disappointment and come down. It is roads and streets were helter-skelter, with most of the houses nothing but boxes and boxes. So I remarked to my friend's son who was driving me around the city," what a good-looking building, thank God .There is one decent building." He laughed loudly almost crashing into another car and said,"Uncle. This is the Buckingham Palace. The anglophiles or those who had studied there go gaga over London.

 

Reverting back to Antakya, there were really not much worthwhile. After going around the excellent museum and its unsurpassable collection of Mosaics and a few other places of historical interest, we returned to our so-called Hotel in which we had been booked into. It was nothing but a combination of rectangle godown (large storage) rooms... So after checking out and having a non-descript lunch, we felt so let down that we left Antakya for our next stop Gaziantep.

 

The town is now very much in the news like Antakya, and was known as Antep. But the city put up a brave defence against the French forces from down south, now Syria after World War I, that Turkey's all-time greatest leader Kemal Ataturk added the word Ghazi, the victorious, and hence it became Gaziantep. We were delighted that the hotel had even a suite, which we never encountered in our travels and, not even Adana, or elsewhere , I went around , not even in Diyarbakir , our next stop after going around Mardin .It was so even along  the Black Sea in Samsun and Trabzon, also known as Trebizond, where the Greek levies had , after they had gone to Babylon on efforts to return back were hounded and chased by Kurdish tribes , still doing the same now to the Turks and managed to reach the Black Sea .When they sighted the Black Sea from the hills of Trabzon, they cried and shouted in triumph, Ocean ,.Ocean, if not Eureka ,Eureka.

 

Below is an article on the current city of Antakya with its very mixed population, simmering with tensions, with controlled emotions, which could explode nay time, thanks to the incomprehensible policies of Neo Ottoman pretender Recep Erdogan and his Sancho Panza, now Prime minister, who had propounded a policy of no frictions with neighbors, when in the region no leaf stirred without Ankara's permission.  But the description below paints a very scary picture.

 

K. Gajendra Singh ,19 October, 2014.Delhi


Syrian war changes Turkish border towns

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/10/turkey-syria-isis-extremist-border-towns.html

 

ANTAKYA, Turkey — For the past month, the news media have monitored the battle for Kobani — the Syrian town with a majority Kurdish population — from the southeastern border town of Suruc. From there, the media have also covered the Kurdish protests in Turkey that have left 40 dead. Yet, in the Turkish province of Hatay, about a 4-hour drive from Suruc, residents kept silent on both matters.

 

 In Turkey's Hatay province, Islamic State militants have come to impact the daily lives of Turkish residents.

 

Author Tulin DalogluPosted October 17, 2014

This province, which received the first batch of Syrian refugees, is unique for its diverse social fabric that includes Arab Alawites, Sunnis, Christians and Jews. Here, the groups live harmoniously and respect each other's customs and traditions. This multicultural society has high rates of literacy and an overwhelming number of doctors and lawyers...

 

"This silence here is, indeed, a mirror of Syrian sectarianism and proof that it found reception on this end, too," Huseyin told Al-Monitor. "Just as our proverb says, 'Let sleeping dogs lie,' people here wonder why Kurds did not equally care about what happened inKassab. Why haven't they been more vocal for all that has been going on in Syria for about four years now? The Turkish government was wrong then, too."

 

He said: "Kurds were wrong to keep silent then, and people here are wrong today to be cold toward Kobani. More and more people focus exclusively on their core community's interests, turning their backs on others. The Alawites marked the 'peace day' [Sept. 21] here this year by carrying [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad's picture. To them, he fell victim to an international conspiracy and is fighting for his country."

 

A year ago, Syrians — and cars with Syrian license plates — were more visible in Antakya's downtown. "The security took all the poor Syrians sleeping in parks, or begging on the streets, to the camps. People really had it with them. There are still instances of robbery and abuse of our women, but it is now better under control, when compared to last year," said Sema, a shopkeeper at the Long Bazaar, or Uzun Carsi.

 

Minorities in Antakya, such as the Christians and the handful of Jews, especially, share the same concerns on security issues. Speaking to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, many residents said that the last time they were targeted as a result of their identity was in the years prior to the 1980 military coup. "We don't have any problem here with the locals. It is all us," a member of the Jewish community said. "But there are so many Syrians here, and you see them walking around with long coats hiding their weapons. If one psychopath comes and kills us because we are Jews, who could say a thing? No one can give any guarantee here any longer that this is a safe place."

 

Bedia, from Yayladagi, a village near the Syria border crossing, said the sounds of fighting and bombing have not ceased since the beginning of the war across the border. In her late 60s, she sounds resolved but concerned. "There seems to be no end in sight to this war. I milk my cow; make cheese, butter and all of that. Our chickens make good eggs, too. It is all fine, but they don't like to pay for them. Our order here is gone," she said. Yayladagi is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Antakya's city center. The other side of the border is controlled by the regime's foot soldiers.

People's sense of security wanes significantly, however, when talking about Reyhanli, which is about 42 kilometers (26 miles) to downtown Antakya, with a population of 91,000.

 

"I used to live in Reyhanli, but I can no longer let my family sleep there," Dogan told Al-Monitor. "We moved to Antakya and have tried to make a life here. I don't allow my wife and my daughters to go back there to see their friends." Sema, the shopkeeper, echoed a similar sentiment. "My daughter was assigned to a school there, but I told the authorities here that she would either lose a year and not go to school there, or that they should find her a school here in Antakya. It worked, and she is now going to school here."

 

Reyhanli is an interesting place. While driving into town, I saw a woman in her 30s wearing pink trousers, a black top and black high-heel shoes. After being welcomed to town in such a fashionable way, it was difficult to fathom that Reyhanli was a place where extremists could breathe easily. "All these groups like the Islamic State (IS), Jabhat al-Nusra and what not, come and go through here," a Reyhanli resident told Al-Monitor, asking to remain anonymous. "Take Mustafa Demir. He is from here. But IS has given him an emir position in Raqqa. He just told me the last time he was here that I should join them and that they would make me an emir, too." The same Reyhanli resident added: "He has some presence here. He says that neither he nor anyone else should pray behind an imam being paid by a secular state."

 

The Reyhanli streets are wide, quiet and clean. The main street is named after the republic's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The local security directorate can be found on this street. "Do you see this barber shop?" a Reyhanli resident asked Al-Monitor. The barber shop is about 300 meters (984 feet) away from the security directorate. "That barber's name is Omer Demir. He is the IS recruitment officer here. If you are going to join them by going through Turkey, here is the first contact you make with IS."

 

Reyhanli residents talked about an incident that took place about three weeks ago. A mother from a well-known family came to the barber shop and broke all its windows. "Her son joined IS and she took out all her anger on Omer. That was a big event," a Reyhanli resident told Al-Monitor, asking to remain anonymous. "Omer reported the incident to his higher-ups in Syria, and about 30 to 40 IS militants crossed the border to here. They declared the whole family infidels. They were going to kill them all. People in town got scared. A top security official from the Adana counterterrorism department came here with his crew. They talked to the people and brought the situation under control. But then we learned that there are seven sleeper cells here, and that they are all closely monitoring them, as well as Omer's activities."

 

Al-Monitor asked to interview both the barber and the mother. The barber said he would get back to us — he needed to consult with his superiors in Syria. His answer was negative. IS, unfortunately, also warned the mother not to talk to the media. Al-Monitor did find out that this mother took her son back and does her best to keep him alive. There are other family stories that are near impossible to verify. But it's clear that some people became accustomed to crime, and normalized this cruelty as a part of life.

 

"Even the imams here follow their orders and make announcements as they wish," a Reyhanli resident told Al-Monitor. "You need to be careful here. No one knows who is who."




 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Re: The Saudi oil war against Russia, Iran and the US




 

Lower oil prices, good news for India's Finance Minister

 

Not used to so much of hard work and burdened with two heavy ministries,  Finance & Defence,  Arun Jaitley, will be happy that Prime Minister Modi , after his four months of preoccupation with mostly foreign affairs, and then elections in Maharashtra and Haryana,  has found time to appoint a new economic adviser in the Ministry of Finance and a new economic affairs secretary. Of course, in the last few weeks,the oil prices have come down, thus reducing the import burden on India's finances.

 

The reason for the decrease in energy prices is of course slowdown of EU's economic engine, Germany, and presumably of USA too and its so-called less reliance on imported energy. However, the fact remains that in the interconnected economies of the world, and enforced coalition of the willing and unwilling, we are being controlled by interconnected economic casinos ie central banks , with the control  in the hands of Washington through the Bretton Woods agreement and dollar as the reserve currency. With nearly USD 3 trillion stimulus by Washington, which cannot be fruitfully invested in USA, whose trade deficit remains around  USD 1/2 trillion every year , this stimulus freely gifted to big US banks at almost no interest rates  goes around floating to the stock exchanges of the world, especially in Asia. These funds are also used for futures trading in minerals , energy and commodities thus skewing the real economic situation in a free capitalist system.

 

Pepe Escobar says that Saudi Arabia is at the back of bringing down and keeping the price of oil low. But I believe that it is US approved plan to hit Moscow whose economy depends on export of energy .While I am not in full agreement with Pepe's assessment ,since his article is interesting as most are, it is reproduced below.

 

K.Gajendra Singh 16 Oct.,2014

 

The Saudi oil war against Russia, Iran and the US

 

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Published time: October 15, 2014

http://rt.com/op-edge/196148-saudiarabia-oil-russia-economic-confrontation/

 

Saudi Arabia has unleashed an economic war against selected oil producers. The strategy masks the House of Saud's real agenda. But will it work?

 

Rosneft Vice President Mikhail Leontyev; "Prices can be manipulative…Saudi Arabia has begun making big discounts on oil. This is political manipulation, and Saudi Arabia is being manipulated, which could end badly."

 

A correction is in order; the Saudis are not being manipulated. What the House of Saud is launching is"Tomahawks of spin," insisting they're OK with oil at $90 a barrel; also at $80 for the next two years; and even at $50 to $60 for Asian and North American clients.

 

The fact is Brent crude had already fallen to below $90 a barrel because China – and Asia as a whole – was already slowing down economically, although to a lesser degree compared to the West. Production, though, remained high – especially by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - even with very little Libyan and Syrian oil on the market and with Iran forced to cut exports by a million barrels a day because of the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions.

 

The House of Saud is applying a highly predatory pricing strategy, which boils down to reducing market share of its competitors, in the middle- to long-term. At least in theory, this could make life miserable for a lot of players – from the US (energy development, fracking and deepwater drilling become unprofitable) to producers of heavy, sour crude such as Iran and Venezuela. Yet the key target, make no mistake, is Russia.

 

A strategy that simultaneously hurts Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Ecuador and Russia cannot escape the temptation of being regarded as an "Empire of Chaos" power play, as in Washington cutting a deal with Riyadh. A deal would imply bombing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh leader Caliph Ibrahim is just a prelude to bombing Bashar al-Assad's forces; in exchange, the Saudis squeeze oil prices to hurt the enemies of the "Empire of Chaos."

 

Yet it's way more complicated than that.

 

Sticking it to Washington

Russia's state budget for 2015 requires oil at least at $100 a barrel. Still, the Kremlin is borrowing no more than $7 billion in 2015 from the usual "foreign investors", plus $27.2 billion internally. Hardly an economic earthquake.

 

Besides, the ruble has already fallen over 14 percent since July against the US dollar. By the way, the currencies of key BRICS members have also fallen; 7.8 percent for the Brazilian real, 1.6 percent for the Indian rupee. And Russia, unlike the Yeltsin era, is not broke; it holds at least $455 billion in foreign reserves.

 

The House of Saud's target of trying to bypass Russia as a top supplier of oil to the EU is nothing but a pipe dream; EU refineries would have to be reframed to process Saudi light crude, and that costs a fortune.

 

Geopolitically, it gets juicier when we see that central to the House of Saud strategy is to stick it to Washington for not fulfilling its "Assad must go" promise, as well as the neo-con obsession in bombing Iran. It gets worse (for the Saudis) because Washington – at least for now – seems more concentrated in toppling Caliph Ibrahim than Bashar al-Assad, and might be on the verge of signing a nuclear deal with Tehran as part of the P5+1 on November 24.

 

On the energy front, the ultimate House of Saud nightmare would be both Iran and Iraq soon being able to take over the Saudi status as key swing oil producers in the world. Thus the Saudi drive to deprive both of much-needed oil revenue. It might work – as in the sanctions biting Tehran even harder. Yet Tehran can always compensate by selling more gas to Asia.

 

So here's the bottom line. A beleaguered House of Saud believes it may force Moscow to abandon its support of Damascus, and Washington to scotch a deal with Tehran. All this by selling oil below the average spot price. That smacks of desperation. Additionally, it may be interpreted as the House of Saud dithering if not sabotaging the coalition of the cowards/clueless in its campaign against Caliph Ibrahim's goons.

 

Compounding the gloom, the EU might be allowed to muddle through this winter – even considering possible gas supply problems with Russia because of Ukraine. Still, low Saudi oil prices won't prevent a near certain fourth recession in six years just around the EU corner.

Mohammed

Go East, young Russian

Russia, meanwhile, slowly but surely looks East. China's Vice Premier Wang Yang has neatly summarized it; "China is willing to export to Russia such competitive products as agricultural goods, oil and gas equipment, and is ready to import Russian engineering products." Couple that with increased food imports from Latin America, and it doesn't look like Moscow is on the ropes.

 

A hefty Chinese delegation led by Premier Li Keqiang has just signed a package of deals in Moscow ranging from energy to finance, and from satellite navigation to high-speed rail cooperation. For China, which overtook Germany as Russia's top trading partner in 2011, this is pure win-win.

The central banks of China and Russia have just signed a crucial, 3-year, 150 billion yuan bilateral local-currency swap deal. And the deal is expandable. The City of London basically grumbles- but that's what they usually do.

 

This new deal, crucially, bypasses the US dollar. No wonder it's now a key component of the no holds barred proxy economic war between the US and Asia. Moscow cannot but hail it as sidelining many of the side effects of the Saudi strategy.

 

The Russia-China strategic partnership has been on the up and up since the "epochal" (Putin's definition) $400 billion, 30-year "gas deal of the century" clinched in May. And the economic reverberations won't stop.

 

There's bound to be an alignment of the Chinese-driven New Silk Roads with a revamped Trans-Siberian railway. At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit last month in Dushanbe, President Putin praised the "great potential" of developing a "common SCO transport system" linking "Russia's Trans-Siberian railway and the Baikal-Amur mainline" with the Chinese Silk Roads, thus"benefiting all countries in Eurasia."

 

Moscow is progressively lifting restrictions and is now offering Beijing a wealth of potential investments. Beijing is progressively accessing not only much-needed Russian raw materials but acquiring cutting-edge technology and advanced weapons.

Beijing will get S-400 missile systems and Su-35 fighter jets as soon as the first quarter of 2015. Further on down the road will come Russia's brand new submarine, the Amur 1650, as well as components for nuclear-powered satellites.

 / Hamad I Mohammed

The road is paved with yuan

Presidents Putin and Xi, who have met no less than nine times since Xi came to power last year, are scaring the hell out of the "Empire of Chaos." No wonder; their number one shared priority is to dent the hegemony of the US dollar – and especially the petrodollar - in the global financial system.

 

The yuan has been trading on the Moscow Exchange - the first bourse outside of China to offer regulated yuan trading. It's still at only $1.1 billion (in September). Russian importers pay for 8 percent of all Chinese goods with yuan instead of dollars, but that's rising fast. And it will rise exponentially when Moscow finally decides to accept yuan under Gazprom's $400 billion "gas deal of the century."

 

This is the way the multipolar world goes. The House of Saud deploys the petrodollar weapon? The counterpunch is increased trade in a basket of currencies. Additionally, Moscow sends a message to the EU, which is losing a lot of Russia trade because of counter-productive sanctions, thus accelerating the EU's next recession. Economic war does work both ways.

 

The House of Saud believes it can dump a tsunami of oil in the market and back it up with a tsunami of spin – creating the illusion the Saudis control oil prices. They don't. As much as this strategy will fail, Beijing is showing the way out; trading in other currencies stabilizes prices. The only losers, in the end, will be those who stick to trade in US dollars.

 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Islamic State Terrorists Trained in Jordan and Turkey

 

 

Islamic State Terrorists Trained in Jordan and Turkey

Its Fighting Abilities & Hardware

 

ISIL, the Khmer Rouge of Islamism ;MUSTAFA AKYOL in Hurriyet Daily News.

 

From time to time Washington blatantly announces how it will give hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions in bringing about democracy through its overt organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy et al but it also has the temerity and audacity against all international laws that USD 500 million would be spent to overthrow the recently re-elected Syrian Pres Bashar Assad. It has been suggested that more such terrorists would be trained in, of all the places Saudi Arabia. Who will train them, Pakistani ISI, CIA or British special groups?

 

It would appear that the training of these nearly 30,000 odd black robed, their faces covered, somewhat like the Tuareg nomads in Sahara Desert, who normally use dark blue colour, was organised in Jordan and Turkey. This number also includes reportedly a few thousand from EU and USA, either Muslims or even some Christian converts.

 

Islamic State's war machine

According to Metin Turcan , who has a master's degree in security studies writes in Al-Monitor this is how Islamic state jihadis have been fighting. He certainly knows a thing or two.

 

Although much has been written to explain the tactical military successes of the Islamic State (IS), there has not yet been a comprehensive assessment of how, since June 2014, IS has managed to rule over terrain larger than Lebanon to include 8 million Iraqis and Syrians.


Fluid and decentralized command control structure

IS does not have permanent and centralized command and control structure in the traditional sense of warfare. Unlike contemporary armies of the world, IS doesn't make sharp distinctions between strategic, operative and tactical levels. In their traditional warfare, tactical achievements are the way to achieve strategic objectives. For IS, the basic goal is to score tactical successes and expand on them step by step. Deviating from the traditional approach, what IS fields is a bottom-up command structure focused on a fast pace for small military achievements. At the moment, US-led airstrikes have been mostly against IS communication and training facilities. It is extraordinary that there is not a single control facility that has been hit by allied airstrikes.

 

IS warfare combines and hybridizes terrorist tactics, urban guerrilla warfare and conventional warfare.IS is adept enough to conduct armor attacks at night and is skilled in accurate firing of their main tank guns with thermal cameras, and is capable of planting improvised explosive devices in critical areas and routes. It wages hybridized guerrilla warfare and conventional armored warfare by deploying eight to 10 men teams carrying out building-by-building, block-by-block clear and hold operations in urban terrain.

 

After the recent air attacks, IS has dispersed its forces to the extreme. Its teams have been minimized to two or three vehicles and eight to 10 men. Their concealment has been highly professional. IS' executive orders are brief, setting out what the mission is in simple terms, leaving how it is to be carried out to field units.

It is imperative to acknowledge that a typical IS militant is endowed with a win-win mindset that assures him that to kill in jihad is a blessing, but if he is martyred he will end up in paradise also. No wonder IS combatants are high-adrenalin fighters who can kill and get killed without hesitation.

 

A typical IS operation goes like this: An IS armored unit of tanks or a mobile unit of eight to 12 fighters with two to three vehicles are informed by WhatsApp, a message on Facebook or Twitter or phone text message, and if this mode is not available through their own radio net, to assemble at a certain place at a certain time. This is the first time we are seeing combat units making use of social media in combat operations. Before its operations, IS disseminates propaganda messages via social media to enemy fighters and civilians living in the targeted urban settlements to demoralize and dishearten them. IS operations and logistics units that are thus alerted assemble at a meeting point within two to three hours, and after another 1 ½ hours of coordination discussions and logistics preparations the operation is underway.


IS terrorists trained in Jordan and Turkey

 

Jordanian officials recently revealed that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS) were trained in 2012 by U.S. military instructors at a secret base in Jordan, which had first made violent advances through northern and western Iraq, then north east Syria, videotaping executions of civilians and soldiers and even taking over Mosul – Iraq's second largest city.

ISIS' ultimate goal is to create an Islamic caliphate state in Iraq and Syria based on Sharia law. Later IS terrorists also made serious advances in north east Syrian region populated by Kurds, whose fighters have links with Marxist PKK fighters of Turkey. ISIS have besieged the Kurdish city of Kobane in north Syria , close to the Turkish border , creating a very serious and inflammable situation with long term consequences and ramifications for the region and the world.

 

Jordanian officials claimed these Syrian rebels were screened to ensure they had no ties to Al-Qaeda or any other overly radical Islamic group. They also said that this training had no intention of being used in Iraq.

 

It appears that these U.S.-trained forces are better prepared than their Iraqi counterparts. Many American-trained Iraqi soldiers threw down their weapons and uniforms or didn't offer much resistance to the invading Islamic forces. The Jordanian officials who spoke to World Net Daily are also concerned this sectarian violence will spill over into their country.

 

From WND:

JERUSALEM – Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

 

The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

 

Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

 

Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms. The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

 

The Jordanian officials spoke to WND amid concern the sectarian violence in Iraq will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.

 

WND also reported that, according to Jordanian and Syrian regime sources, Saudi Arabia has been arming the ISIS and that the Saudis are a driving force in supporting the al-Qaida-linked group.

 

WND further reported that, according to a Shiite source in contact with a high official in the former government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Obama administration was aware that the al-Qaida-inspired group that has taken over two Iraqi cities and now is threatening Baghdad was also training fighters in Turkey.

 

The source told WND that at least one of the training camps of the group Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria, the ISIS, is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where American personnel and equipment are located.

 

He called Obama "an accomplice" in the attacks that were threatening the Maliki government the U.S. helped establishes through the Iraq war. The source said that after training in Turkey, thousands of ISIS fighters went to Iraq by way of Syria to join the effort to establish an Islamic caliphate subject to strict Islamic law, or Sharia.

 

Jordan

Jordan, the Hashemite Kingdom's survival depends on Dollars from USA and Rials from Saudi Arabia. The late wise King Hussein was born of an Arab mother, unlike his son King Abdulla II, whose mother was the daughter of a British colonel training Jordanian forces. Late King Hussein, whom I came to admire during my tenure as ambassador in Amman from 1989 to 1992, was a statesman, personally brave and generous. During the 1990-91 crises and the U.S.-led coalition war to remove Iraqi troops from Kuwait, he adroitly did not join the coalition and maintained neutrality. He was clear in his mind that Washington would need his intelligence, dexterity and political and strategic acumen for any peace process in Middle East, even a temporary one.

 

I fear for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,

 

Jordan's history;

When Turkey sided with Germany in WWI, Britain, to protect its Indian possession and the Suez Canal lifeline, encouraged Arabs under Hashemite ruler Sharif Hussein of Hajj to revolt against the caliph in Istanbul (and deputed spy T E Lawrence to mislead). The war's end did not bring freedom to the Arabs as promised; at the same time, by secret Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and French arbitrarily divided the sultan's Arab domains and their warring populations of Shi'ites, Sunnis, Alawite Muslims, Druze, and Christians. The French took most of greater Syria, dividing it into Syria and Christian-dominated Lebanon. The British kept Palestine, Iraq and the rest of Arabia.

When Sharif Hussein's son Emir Feisal arrived to claim Damascus, Syria, the French chased him out. So the British installed him on the Iraqi throne. When the other son, Emir Abdullah, turned up in Amman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dining in a Jerusalem hotel, reportedly drew on a napkin the borders of a new Emirate of Trans-Jordan, encompassing wasteland vaguely claimed by Syrians, Saudis and Iraqis.


By 1917 Britain's Balfour Declaration had also promised a homeland for Jews in Palestine. European Jews began immigrating to Palestine, and the trickle became a flood with the rise of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe. After World War II, the state of Israel, carved out of British Palestine, was not recognized by the Arabs. The 1948 Arab-Israeli war allowed Israel to expand its area, while Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza. In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured the West bank and Gaza. Thus were laid the foundations for most of the problems of the region.

I am not surprised that Jordan has been a major centre for training the Islamic states fighters. Before I left a man for Ankara in July 1992, I was surprised to see a grand very large new American embassy compared to a very small one in the centre of Amman.


Despite very strong control by the security establishment in Jordan, mostly manned by loyal tribesmen, the country with nearly a 60 percent population of Palestinian origin remains a place of acute underground activity. Daily killings and counter-killings across the border in the occupied West Bank and Gaza make things worse.


Jordan has produced many well-known jihadis, like Ibn-al-Khatib and others like Zarqawi, from Amman's neighbourhood. There are now two new factors. The reported linkages between Jordanians of Caucasus origin and Chechens. Most of them are Circassians, known as Cherkes. It could be a very dangerous development because the Cherkes are the Hashemite kingdom's palace guards and hold important key positions in the police establishment and elsewhere.

Although only about 15,000 in number, a seat in parliament is reserved for them. After World War I, when Emir Abdullah, son of King Hussein of Hejaz and great great-grandfather of King Abdullah II, stopped at Amman to reclaim Syria, which had been promised by the British to the Arabs for revolting against the Ottomans, the Cherkes community, which had been established since the 19th century, was the first to express its loyalty to him. Although the Cherkes community has remained loyal, there are now murmurs of disaffection. The number of Circassians in Syria is much higher, but then Syria exercised very strict control over such groups. Since 2011, thoughtless efforts by the US neo-conservatives to destabilize Syria are having devastating consequences.

The new US embassy in Amman, which I visited in 1992 just before leaving, is like a fortress, replete with underground chambers.

 

During the 1990- 91 Gulf crises and war, King Hussein adroitly remained neutral, much to the anger of the Anglo-Saxons, but the masses remained peaceful and under control. King Abdullah is not as nimble or experienced, and many Jordanians feel that he is siding with the Americans and extending them help, so there remains a danger to the throne.


We must never forget that what is happening in the deserts of eastern Syria and north-west Iraq and elsewhere in the region is nothing but part of a getting hotter Cold War between U.S.-led West and Russia's Putin, with China, Iran, and many other countries on his side, so far covertly. This Western poker game of brinkmanship is being played both in Ukraine, a country which has been destroyed like the countries of Middle East, on way of further destruction by the warmongers and criminal leaders in Washington, London, Paris and newly installed dictator president of Turkey, Erdogan.

 

Erdogan has already led Turkey into a civil war with its Kurds, who form 20% of the population .There are also disaffected Alevis, 15%, similar to Alawite Bashar Assad in belief, apart from Erdogan making all stakeholders in Turkey his enemies, like its armed forces, secular elite and businessmen and lastly till December last year, his ally Fatheullah Gulen resident in USA. If something happens to president Erdogan, there is always Gulen and his supporters. Perhaps even ex-President and sober and moderate Abdullah Gul, Erdogan's predecessor .Even at the peak of friendship and alliance between Ankara and Washington, America took no serious steps to control PKK fighters in Washington's enclave since 1991 in north Iraqi mountains, home of PKK fighters .It is also quite clear that Erdogan was just using the so-called peace process to eliminate his opponents and enemies. One by one, and had never any intention of working out a solution with the Kurds of Turkey.

 

Amb. (Retd) K.Gajendra Singh.16 October, 2014.