Is Turkey Gearing up to Invade Syria and Take Over Mosul? Or Will Russia's New Bases, Russian, U.S. and Israeli Support for the Kurds Deter Neo-Ottoman Adventurism?

Southfront analysis as well as pro-Kurdish sources believe the Turkish army is preparing to invade northern Syria as early as this weekend, by conducting mine-sweeping operations on the Syrian side of the border. The Turks' moves come as Ankara and its allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar's jihadist proxies, contrary to U.S. MSM propaganda, are under enormous pressure in Latakia and Aleppo provinces from combined Russian/Syrian Arab Army forces.

Russia is Moving to Check Turkish Moves in Northern Syria with a New Base and More Air Support for Kurds

Moscow is not surprised by Turkey's increasingly brazen violations of international law. The Russian Defense Ministry is already taking countermeasures, moving air defense systems and more advisers to Kuweires northeast of Aleppo.

The Russians are also reportedly establishing a forward operating base at the Qamishli airport in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria, in the triangle formed by the Turkish-Syrian-Iraqi borders. The Russian moves come at the same time that the U.S. is establishing an air field in northeastern Syria close to the Iraqi border which Damascus has not authorized, meaning according to international law it's a violation of Syria's territorial integrity (you know, that same principal Washington claims to be upholding in Ukraine).

Is VP Joe Biden Blurting Out Whatever Pops Into his Stroke-Addled Head, or the Subject of U.S. Deep State Infighting? Perhaps Both?

Speaking of the sanctity of borders, Vice President Joe Biden also spouted some hot air this weekend in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about the U.S. and Turkey imposing 'a military solution in Syria if no political solution is found.' Since the U.S. is not publically negotiating with the leaders of Daesh, it was easy for the Mideast English language media to interpret the erratic Vice President's threat as being directed at Damascus (and by extension, Moscow and Tehran). Or perhaps Biden was referring to the 'moderate' jihadist groups who aren't negotiating and that share ISIS Salafist ideology, but have not been declared anathema due to their support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- the same countries Biden had criticized in a Harvard speech last autumn for supporting terrorist groups!

If the Vice President of the United States, the presumed number 2 in the Obama Administration (while the real number 2 is Obama himself, who answers to Valerie Jarrett), does not know with his right hand what the left hand is doing, then U.S. Mideast 'allies' including Turkey must be confused as well. But never fear, The Washington Post conveys that the White House has already contradicted Biden (who we've been told has had at least five mini if not serious strokes and at times, barely knows where he is). Just like how the Administration contradicted Biden's earlier statement last autumn about Turkey, the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states sponsoring ISIS and Al-Qaeda (including include Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al Sham and the 'Army of Conquest'):

The White House on Saturday said Vice President Joe Biden “apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL (IS, ISIS) or other violent extremists in Syria.”  The operative word here is “intentionally” – please note that this language does not constitute a retraction of Biden’s claims that the US’s closest Mideast allies armed and funded extremist groups in Syria.

When Joe Biden gets candid, he really lets rip. The US vice president, speaking at the John F. Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, on Thursday told his audience – point blank – that America’s Sunni allies are responsible for funding and arming Al Qaeda-type extremists in Syria.

And he named names: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, specifically. Others – like Qatar – are undoubtedly complicit too, but Biden’s comments were made off-the-cuff during the question and answer period following his prepared statement.

Of course, much of what Biden said has been suspected for years by Syria watchers, but to acknowledge this outright during the early days of President Barack Obama’s much-vaunted ISIL-busting Coalition – featuring these very same Sunni Arab partners – is a jaw-dropping concession.

But that’s not all. Biden also managed to fundamentally undermine his administration’s efforts to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels today, by claiming there is no “moderate middle (in Syria) because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers.”

In the meantime, while the U.S./Turkish dance over the Kurds and Turkey's phony crackdown on its ally the Islamic State continue, retired Army Col. and Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Patrick Lang says the Russians continue setting up shop at Qamishli:

...would be a bold move.  This place is cheek by jowl next to the Turkish border.  IMO it would be supported by air mainly from Russia down over Iran and then west into Qamishli itself.  That would take a lot of airlift.  It would also require some sort of solid base defense.  Who would provide that?   The photo above shows that across the road there is a fully developed base structure, housing, etc.

Operationally, this would place Russian air power as support for the Kurds in a very favorable position.  It would also make a good SAR [Search and Rescue] base for the US led coalition but, I suppose, the R2P [Responsibility to Protect]ers aren't smart enough for that.

As commenters at retired Army Col. Patrick Lang's blog Turcopolier pointed out early Friday, a joint Syrian/Russian base being outside Al-Qamishli city will be located only 35 miles west of the runway the U.S. has developed to support the Kurds with special operations aircraft and helicopters (the difference being that the Russians have official permission of the host state to be there, the Americans do not).

This proximity suggests that the 'de-confliction agreement' that the Obama Administration reached with Putin's Kremlin in October has been expanded to include not only to AC-130 gunships or Blackhawks used by JSOC and Russian aircraft, but also to polite relations between the spetsnaz and their JSOC/British SAS counterparts who are operating in the same region.

This cooperation tacit or otherwise strongly suggests that Russia, the U.S., France, Great Britain and Israel have all come to some understanding that a linkup between the Kurds western Syrian enclave and their northern Syrian homeland of Rojava -- fiercely opposed by Turkey -- is now in their collective national interests, and may be a prelude to an independent, pro-Western Kurdistan stretching from the Mediterranean to the mountains of northern Iran. What all of these powers have in common, with the possible exception of Russia, is an abiding interest in getting Kurdish crude oil to the Med, if necessary by cutting out the Turkish middle man. Perhaps the real purpose of Biden's visit wasn't so much to threaten the Russians or pro-Iranian elements in Baghdad with a full-blown Turkish occupation of northern Iraq if they don't concede more to Washington, but to reassure the Turks that Uncle Sam still has their back against the PKK (and will keep their YPG allies in Syria on a tight leash).

If the Turks Invade Northern Syria in Depth, They Are Likely to Get Their A----s Kicked by the SAA/Russians Closing the Bosporus is Also NOT a Good Option for Turkey Short of All Out War with Russia

Given this degree of U.S./Russian collusion on behalf of the Kurds, justified by the need for a non-Assad army force ready to fight Daesh, it's no wonder Erdoğan is whining to Vice President Joe Biden about a Russian buildup on his border. The neo-Ottoman strongman is also repeating his threat to prevent any YPG offensive beyond the Euphrates -- which his military chiefs know full well cannot be prevented without Turkish jets confronting Syrian and Russian air defenses, if not the introduction of 'boots on the ground' once the Daeshbags are routed from the area.

Any Turkish incursions into northern Syria risk running into a buzzsaw of Russian and Kurdish resistance, in addition to dissent from the Pentagon against an operation that would alienate the Kurds. As the Russia Analyst has noted before in this space, the same Turkish tough guys online who lauded the F-16 pilot who allegedly shot down the Su-24 on November 24 are silent about how Turkey's U.S.-built F-16s would fare against the S300 and Pantsir SAMs the Russians have quietly deployed to Kuweires, northeast of Aleppo. Since late November, Moscow's de facto no-fly-zone over northern Syria has limited the U.S. Air Force to only flying drone sorties over the area. The USAF retains control over the skies over Iraq, though even in western Iraq it has to share the skies with Chinese-supplied drones and Iraq's Russian supplied jets and helicopter gunships.

Russian 4th generation air defense systems like the S300 and Pantsir networked with the 5th generation, hypersonic and long range S400s in Latakia make northern Syria a lethal zone for Turkish jets trying to cover for an invasion force. Once clear of their own SAM envelope along the border, the Turks would be subject to Syrian Air Force strikes or more likely, attack by long range 'Urugan' rocket and artillery fire. Given Russia's powerful electronic warfare and counterbattery fire dominance demonstrated over the U.S. advised Ukrainians in Donbass, Turkish commanders might not even be able to count on their own self-propelled howitzers being able to suppress Syrian or Hezbollah gunners several kilometers inside Syria. Instead, Turkish gunners who expected to shell territory the Kurds or Syrians have captured with impunity might wind up dead from missiles fired by Russian jets flying over Syrian territory.

Regardless of whether the fire coordinates and orders are given by a Russian or a Syrian general, Moscow will in any case insist that the artillerymen wiping out Turkish armor and troops are Syrians defending their country, not Russians. Turkey can, of course, hand the neocons their longed for closure of the Bosporus to Russian shipping in response, vastly complicating Moscow's support for Assad and logistically choking the Russian war effort. But thanks to nuclear powered icebreakers, Russia has the option to supply its forces in Syria via the 'long way' from its northern fleet bases along the Barents Sea, or via leased container vessels steaming from Russia's Baltic Sea ports down through the Channel and thence to the Gibraltar Strait.

If tearing up their international obligations as defined in the Montreux Convention on the Straits of 1936 and shutting down the Bosporus to Russian shipping were such an easy way to halt Moscow's war for Syria, the Turks would have done it by now. The fact that they have not suggests, as wrote in December, that Ankara is well aware of Mother Russia's alternate shipping routes. With the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) sitting at record lows, there is no shortage of merchant vessels sitting in Greek or northern European ports for the Russians to lease as part of a 'Syria Express', whose ships include vessels the Russian bought from the Turks prior to the present hostilities. Thus, Washington's anti-Russian neocons desperately hoping for a Turkish blockade of the Dardanelles to leave Russian troops and airmen stranded in Syria without re-supply are grasping at straws. But blocking the Bosporus to Russian shipping would without question force Moscow to temporarily suspend some military operations for weeks until the new Syria Express from the Baltics would ramp up.

Most critically to Ankara's calculations, so long as Barack 'chicken legs' Obama is a lame duck in the White House, Washington is unlikely to do anything to overtly aid Turkish aggression in Syria, if not Iraq. Vice President Joe Biden's criticism of Turkey's illegal incursion into northern Iraq in December and modest Turkish withdrawals from the Bashiqa base to appease Baghdad are the best evidence thus far that any neocon plans to fight Russia, Assad and the Iranians to the last Turk may prove short-lived. Biden's latest statements supporting Turkey's campaign against the PKK are probably just verbal balm for Turkish 'butthurt' and (justified) suspicions regarding U.S./EU/Israeli support for an independent Kurdistan.

On the other hand, Washington neocons may realize that a Hillary Clinton or neocon Republican presidency is by no means guaranteed -- which could make them more desperate to confront the Russians now, using Sultan Erdoğan as their Islamo-kaze proxy. A possibility that the Turkish Army, purged and weakened as it has over the last decade by Erdoğan's Islamists, must carefully weigh, and balance against the risks of a military coup to overthrow Erdoğan. Marching into northern Iraq with U.S. special forces providing human shield cover from Iraqi Shi'a resistance is one thing. Invading northern Syria into the teeth of Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah and Iranian opposition is quite another.

Russia's Asymmetric Information and Economic Warfare Response to Turkish Aggression Against Syria

Ankara has been covertly invading Syria with Turkish MIT intelligence operatives and Grey Wolves fascists disguised as 'Turkomen' since the war began in 2011. After the Turks ambushed a Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber inside Syrian air space near on November 24, Russia pummeled the Turkomens as well as their embedded Turkish 'volunteer' advisers (many of them former Turkish military as well as Saudi Army mercenaries) with heavy bomber strikes. Rather than respond in tit for tat fashion to the Turkish shoot down and thereby give Ankara a pretext to invoke Article V of the NATO treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin has frustrated Turkey's leadership by responding with asymmetric economic and information warfare, leaving NATO's sole Mideast member state increasingly alienated from its European allies and the U.S.

Turkey's tourism industry has been devastated by a Russian boycott that will cost tour operators billions in lost revenue. Meanwhile Egyptian, North African and South American produce have replaced Turkish fruits and vegetables in Russian supermarkets this winter. Moscow also hosted Selahattin Demirtas, a senior representative of Turkey's largest Kurdish political party, outraging Ankara. Most critically for the Islamo-nationalist government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey was exposed by President Putin, Moscow's Defense Ministry and Russian media (RT/Sputnik) as a state sponsor of the Islamic State. And so was the major financier of Turkey's Islamist AKP government, Saudi Arabia.

Although EU/NATO controlled Western media and propaganda outlets sought to deflect these allegations while promoting Turkish denials, the overwhelming geographic and visual evidence demonstrated that ISIS oil and other smuggling routes for arms, fighters and sex slaves all flow through the borders of a NATO member state. And Turkey's support for ISIS exists on top of Ankara's massive aid to jihadists who share the Daeshbags' Salafist ideology, like Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch Jabhat al-Nusra or the Saudi/Qatari funded Ahrar al-Sham (aka the 'non ISIS rebels' that the mainstream media has complained about Russia bombing since the start of Moscow's operations in late September).

Turkey Under Erdoğan is Becoming an International Pariah and a Headache for Washington -- the NATO @AtlanticCouncil and @EUvsDisinfo Hacks Denying the Turks Have Been Smuggling and Buying ISIS Oil Look Like Idiots

Meanwhile, anger at Ankara is growing in the European Parliament, with the so-called 'left' sympathizing with repressed Kurds and Turkish human rights activists, while the 'right' loathes Erdoğan as a neo-Ottoman sultan flooding Europe with modern day Islamic invaders (mostly male 'refugees' of military age). As more evidence emerges regarding the covert and not so covert 'G'NGOs that aided hundreds of thousands in crossing from Turkey to Greece and thence through the Balkans to Germany in 2015, the collusion between Ankara and globalist kingpin George Soros will increasingly be conspiracy fact, rather than a conspiracy theory.

In addition to being put in the awkward position of trying to defend Turkey as a NATO member state while distancing themselves from Erdoğan's vicious campaign against the Kurds on both sides of the Turkish-Syrian border, there have been other headaches for Atlanticist propagandists in recent weeks. Disinfo operatives like the German T&A tabloid Bild's Julian Roepcke first tried to deny any gains for the Syrian Arab Army's offensive, presenting the rebels as invincible and their CIA/Saudi provided TOW missiles as wunderwaffen (wonder weapons) that would help the jihadists withstand massed Russian firepower.

By late December, as the jihadists' lines broke around Aleppo and their positions began to crumble in the rugged terrain of northern Latakia, Roepcke and the neocon fanatics turned to humanitarian appeals against the Russians. Roepcke in particular accused the Russians and Assad government of staging refugees from Madaya as 'regime actors', in cahoots with the Red Crescent. Unfortunately for Bild's fanatical Twitter warrior known as #JihadiJulian (who has never set foot on either pro-Assad or rebel-held Syrian territory), Roepcke's allegations backfired, and made him look like a total tool for denying his beloved rebels were the ones starving Madaya.

Evolving U.S./UK Media Narratives Follow Behind Western Diplomatic Concessions to Moscow

While it's easy to mock al-Nusra fanboy #JihadiJulian, U.S./UK media Narrative about Syria has morphed from 'Putin has stepped into a quagmire and the Russians/Syrians will never dislodge the rebels' to 'Moscow and Damascus are making gains thanks to Russian airpower' to 'Washington and Moscow have cut a deal on Assad going into exile, so the U.S. still partially wins'. While the Financial Times story published on Friday about a supposed grand bargain whereby Washington would drop the Ukraine/Crimea related sanctions in return for Moscow accepting Assad into exile in the Russian capital or its rich Rublyovka suburb is one thing, reporting from the chief international correspondent for Kuwait's Al-Rai news agency is more intriguing.

After speaking to his pro-Assad sources as well as the Foreign Minister of Iraq Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari, Elijah J. Magnier concluded this week that a deal has indeed been struck between Washington and Moscow (the intense talks on implementing the Minsk 2 peace agreement in Ukraine between Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and Putin's key aide Vladislav Surkov in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad are a different story).

The SAA and RuAF are slowly pushing the 'moderate' Turkish, Saudi and Qatari proxies out of Damascus suburbs, Daraa and the Aleppo countryside

While Magnier's version of the story is very different from the FT's, Magnier concludes that the U.S. has essentially conceded the defeat of its proxies in Syria to the Russians, in return for a free hand and less Iranian interference (as seen from Washington's point of view) in neighboring Iraq. Whether said 'free hand' will include the Turkish Army, the only competent Sunni military capable of intervening on Washington's behalf, occupying Mosul as the Islamic State miraculously melts away is routed by the Turkish army, which is so much more capable and competent than those evil Syrians, Russians and Shi'a Iraqis who couldn't do the same, remains to be seen. The Russia Analyst has his doubts, because even if Moscow could tell Baghdad to play it cool, the Iranians might not like Turkey de facto annexing its old Ottoman province of Mosul, particularly now when there aren't any Turks and very few Kurds living there.

Whether Iranian backed militias kidnapped several Iraqi-American citizens from Baghdad last week, in a bid by Persian hard liners to influence such a deal, remains to be seen. What is clear is that the Iraqi government in Baghdad is -- like many other regional players -- straddling the fence between the U.S. and the Eurasian bloc. Contrary to the Russia Analyst's prognostications in autumn, in the near term there will be no Russian or Chinese forces deployed to the country -- beyond the Russian commanders and spooks already leading the joint operations center/intelligence sharing room in Baghdad.

The Iraqis will remain patient, not authorizing major attacks on the Turkish occupiers of their country in the Assyrian town of Bashiqa outside Mosul, at least not before the city of nearly a million is liberated from the Daeshbags, who are in cahoots with the Turks (Iraqi sources complained to Magnier that the purported attacks by ISIS on Turkish troops near Mosul were fabricated and PR by the Turks to disavow the allegations that they've been working with Daesh for years).

The Iraqis can afford a slower reckoning with the U.S. and Turkey, because their oil lifting costs remain low, though not as low as for the Saudis, and the Chinese announced a multi-billion dollar reconstruction and oil infrastructure upgrade package with great fanfare during President Xi Jinpeng's visit this month. China's CNPC already accounts for nearly a half million barrels a day of Iraqi output, with even more projects in the pipeline in neighboring Iran:

CNPC says it produced 23.64M tons of its crude last year in Iraq, or nearly 475,000 barrels/day, exceeding its annual target by 12% and accounting for a third of its overseas production; the company owns stakes in Iraq’s West Qurna 1, Rumaila and Halfaya oil fields.

No One Besides Saudis and Neocons Are Going to Back a Turkish Invasion of Syria (Even One Advertised as a 'Campaign Against Daesh'), Baghdad and the Peshmerga Kurds are Biding Their Time Waiting for the U.S. Mideast Position to Weaken

From the start of the Russian intervention in Syria in late September 2014, we predicted that Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be the two biggest losers from the failed years-long gambit to topple the Assad government through all-out proxy war. Since the Russian moves accompanied by an Iranian diplomatic coup, the U.S. and Israel have exercised the option of quietly dropping their 'Free Syrian Army' and other assorted proxies, leaving the Saudis and Turks to hold the bag.

The Russia Analyst predicted as early as August 2015 that the Turks would become the fall guys for the spectacular rise of the Islamic State. We also said that ISIS, having exceeded its military competency or ability to maintain the territories under its control, the super-terrorist/mercenary army would begin to crumble under dedicated assaults from all directions. Especially once Putin's intervention in Syria forced the Obama Administration to stop its campaign of half-assed, phony air strikes over the objections of many in the U.S. military, and actually support the Iraqi army's assault on Ramadi (Obama had publically stated that helping the Iraqis out too much against Daesh might remove Washington's leverage over the Shi'a majority government in Baghdad). Not surprisingly, after a series of bloody and failed assaults against Syrian Arab Army units backed by Russian airpower at Deir Ezzor and other strong points, as well as its defeats in Iraq, the Islamic State's recruitment and propaganda offensives began to wane.

ISIS remains geographically isolated if not 'contained', to use President Barack Obama's unfortunate choice of words. As Elijah J. Magnier has written, it is not as close at hand in northwestern Syria and therefore as high a priority target for the Russian-led 'R+6' as the Turkish-backed Al-Nusra, Ahrar al Sham and Army of Conquest. But make no mistake, the Emir of Qatar would not have bothered with flying to Moscow to meet behind closed doors in person with Vladimir Putin last week, unless he had something substantive to offer the Kremlin.

The Geopolitical Implications of Saudi Defeat in Yemen, the Improbability that Turkey Will Occupy N. 'Syraq' Without Painful Casualties

Since Putin has shown no signs of abandoning Damascus or Assad himself, it is unlikely that the Qataris could imagine false promises to collude in the global natural gas market would persuade Vladimir Vladimirovich. Thus the reasonable conclusion is that the Qataris are putting out peace feelers, ultimately so that the al-Thanis can avoid the same fate as their far larger and even more detested neighbors the al-Sauds. Turning to the larger geopolitical chessboard, the defeats of the Turks by proxy in Syria and the Saudis directly in combat with the Houthis in Yemen are opening the door to a major realignment across the Middle East.

If poorly equipped Houthi tribesmen can rout the U.S.-equipped but poorly motivated Saudi army, then the Russian-backed Syrians and Hezbollah can also create a 'Highway of Death' along the Euphrates for the better led Turks, should Erdoğan risk his political if not personal hide on a roll of the dice invasion (naturally couched as a 'humanitarian/defeating ISIS' operation). The Turkish contingent at Bashiqa in northern Iraq would also become a much more convenient target of opportunity for Iranian-backed Shi'a Iraqi militias, should Ankara be distracted with an invasion of northern Syria and neglect to notice that its troops there are as vulnerable to infiltration and Tochka ballistic missile attacks as the Backwater mercenaries inside Yemen or southern Saudi Arabia. And all it would take is a couple of big Antonov airlifters landing in Baghdad with Tochkas in their cargo holds, plus GRU operators for the Iraqis to be ready to use them against Turkish occupiers.

The Russia Analyst hopes and prays that Erdoğan's generals, if not the ambitious colonels who have chafed under the Sultan's Islamist purges directed against the Turkish Deep State, will recognize these facts and act accordingly. Why should young Turkish men come back from Syraq in body bags because of a few crazy neocons whispering in the ear of a neo-Ottoman maniac that even President Obama tells comedian Jerry Seinfeld is unhinged?

A Deep State Divided Cannot Stand? Seymour Hersh's Reporting, Biden's Utterances, and Other Signs of Policy Disarray in D.C.

Turning to the Pentagon, if Seymour Hersh's bombshell story published earlier this month about the Joint Chiefs colluding with other powers (including Germany) to undermine Obama's policy of arming Syria jihadists is any indication, then U.S. forces in northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq would likely stay out of the Russians' way as the Turks were destroyed only a 100 miles away or less. Washington's neocons, presently preoccupied with their losing war on Donald Trump, might scream and urge from the pages of their dying publications that America DO SOMETHING to save a NATO ally and its proxies from a humiliating defeat (and prevent the Russians from showcasing a crushing defeat for an American/NATO allied and equipped force, in much the same way that the first Gulf War revealed to the world the obsolescence of Iraq's mostly Soviet-built hardware).

Donald Trump said 'it looks like Turkey is backing ISIS' after Ankara's premeditated shoot down of a Russian Su-24

Nonetheless, under this President, Washington might not even extend more than mealy mouthed words of support to an 'anti-ISIS' Turkish invasion, and is extremely unlikely to provide the Turks with the air cover or ground support they would need to establish a 'buffer zone' inside Syria. They might not provide a level of support the Turks would deem adequate in Mosul. Here's why: if the U.S. Joint Chiefs weren't willing to see Americans die to topple Assad in the autumn of 2013 when Assad's government was on the ropes, they are hardly about to put American lives at risk trying to change an outcome that's already been decided in Moscow; Assad or his successor isn't going anywhere, and there will be no Turkish 'buffer zone' in Syria to save the jihadis from defeat. The best the Turks can hope for at this point is to try to ride in as heroes into Mosul, accepting modest casualties from a few of their Daeshbag proxies, while the bulk of the ISIS jihadis in the city are allowed to slip away or get airlifted out to fight another day for their Saudi employers.

At least, that's how the Russia Analyst and many smart people that he reads like retired Col. and DIA analyst Patrick Lang see the situation. Like his Saudi patrons, Erdoğan has gambled and lost big time at the Mideast high rollers casino table. Now all that's left is playing out more losing hands. Just like the Anglo-American globalists who are playing their four dimensional chess game, exploiting Turkey's Kurdish insecurities and neo-Ottoman ambitions to accelerate the destabilization of Turkey, the Turks are also 'playing' their sponsors. And as Vladimir Putin famously asked in his September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, who exactly is playing whom here?

In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.

To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most 'moderate opposition' is the best proof of it.

We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous. This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.

Unfortunately, dear colleagues, I have to put it frankly: Russia is not an exception. We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. No one wants this to happen, does he?

Putin at the Valdai conference of October 2015: "does anyone believe the U.S. [intelligence community] doesn't know who is buying ISIS oil?"

UPDATE1 Sunday morning, January 24, 2016: The Russia Analyst left this comment for RogueMoney reader 'Joyann', expressing our concerns about the large hydroelectric dam on the Tigris River in Iraq and the possibility of a false flag operation to breach it and flood millions of Iraqis downstream, as a pretext for 'humanitarian' U.S.-Turkish intervention against Daesh and the disaster:


I was listening to a BBC story this past week that featured an interview with an Iraqi goat herder living near the Mosul Dam at Dohuk. I found the story here:

It would appear that the Turks fear insurgency vs. U.S. Iraq occupation style 2003-2009 RPG/ATGM ambushes and roadside bombs planted by the Iraqi Shi'a fighters if they push big into Mosul or set up a full fledged occupation zone under the cover of fighting Daesh (but actually securing an alternative ISIS oil smuggling route to the ones the Russians destroyed in Syria). But if they go in with U.S. forces as human shields alongside them, that problem is solved -- at least in the minds of Erdogan, Davatoglu and their globalist handlers, which it wouldn't surprise me may include Soros. Especially given that GS is the man Poroshenko is talking to the second most after Biden in Ukraine. The Ukrainians and Turks are forging a military alliance with Turkish mercs being withdrawn from near certain death on Syrian battlefields to Turkish-influenced Crimean Tatar communities in Kherson facing Crimea. That in turn, may be part of a 'Syrianization of Ukraine' op I described on V's show many months ago which would involve efforts to get hardcore jihadists smuggled through Ukraine into Poland and Germany who might not be able to get in via the EU side of the Polish border.

One way to create a pretext for finally going in is to have this dam breach and send a wall of water downstream through the Tigris valley that devastates Iraq. The decay of the dam for years after Saddam's overthrow is real and it's quite easy to direct the propaganda machine into putting the major blame on the 'Iranian stooge' Baghdad government for neglecting Sunni areas, even if the initial blame could be placed on an act of Islamic State sabotage or nihilism.

I hate to sound so cynical, but the whole operation appears to be an elaborate setup and Biden looked quite chipper when he walked off the plane coming back from Turkey. The Anglo-American globalists are planning something to try to salvage what they can from their defeat at the hands of the Eurasian bloc in Syria. But Turkey can't just 'go in' as we saw in December without a better pretext than 'fighting Daesh'. They need something big to make it look like a humanitarian operation. Because they figure Iran and the Iraqi Shi'a would never dare attack Turkish armor and troops operating with U.S. forces providing humanitarian cover. I don't know how much flooding in Mosul itself the dam bursting or a partial breach would cause but it would probably be several feet to several meters of water. Perhaps even the Daesh bags would have to admit Turkish troops and the fraternizing caught on cellphone cams could be explained as Muslims helping Muslims, not the collusion between Turkey and ISIS that's been underway all along.