It's fitting that today, on the 73rd anniversary of the German surrender at Stalingrad the Russian-backed Syrian Arab Army moved to complete a decisive encirclement of the jihadists north of Aleppo. After 100 days of wishful thinking and false claims that the Russians and their local allies were making little progress in war-torn Syria, the U.S./UK mainstream media can no longer hide that Washington's Syrian rebel clients are facing a crushing defeat. [embed]https://twitter.com/NinaByzantina/status/694380300957143041[/embed]
The proxy war that began so promisingly for those geopolitical players in 2011 who sought Bashir al-Assad's removal followed by the installation of a Sunni Persian Gulf states client regime in Damascus and, perhaps a Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey and Europe, is now turning on the proxy masters. While the Saudis continue to suffer losses in Yemen and along their southern border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complains during a visit to Latin America that PKK insurgents battling his army are using Russian weapons (really Mr. Erdoğan, how do you know they aren't Chinese or Iranian knock offs?). It seems to slowly dawn on the Saudi princes and neo-Ottomans alike that proxy war is a two way street, and that after destroying Syria by proxy they can be richly repaid in their own coin.
#TurkishFail: Little US/NATO Enthusiasm for Ankara's Calls to Defend 'Muh Airspace' in Wake of Treacherous November SU-24 Shoot down
The Turks' latest attempt to paint Russia as an aggressor against NATO by claiming their airspace had been violated led to a predictably muted response from the alliance and the U.S. The Pentagon and NATO confirmed the Turks claims that a Russian jet violated their air space last Friday, but also said they appreciated Turkey's restrained response. But the Russians were having none of this nonsense and pressed the Turks to substantiate their claim with evidence. Thus far not even one-sided recordings of Turkish military air controllers repeating claims about Russian jets approaching their territory have been released, unlike after the November 24 ambush of a Russian SU-24 along the border.
The Syrians and Russians have countered Turkey's claims by releasing video evidence the Russian Defense Ministry says shows the Turkish Army shelling Syrian forces inside Syria. The mainstream media has predictably played up Turkey's claims while downplaying Moscow's retorts. However, criticisms of Erdoğan's crackdown on free speech and insults of his person throughout the country, as well as the brutal counterinsurgency campaign the Turkish Army is waging against the Kurds inside Turkey continues to frustrate Ankara. As does the Turkish military's apparent impotence in the face of Russian advisers, artillerymen and spetsnaz commandos aiding a Syrian offensive within sight of the border that has forced many of the Turks' jihadi proxies to flee. But the worst is still yet to come for Erdoğan in the next few days and weeks.
The Guns of February and Turkey's Fateful Choice: Double Down and Directly Intervene or Accept Defeat?
A renewed offensive by the Kurdish YPG forces Ankara has denounced as supportive of PKK 'terrorists' would cross the neo-Ottoman sultan's 'red line' at the Euphrates river Syrian border city of Jarabulus. This border town is controlled by the Islamic State and although Turkey has promised artillery support to the alleged 'moderate' jihadi groups fighting ISIS the 'moderates' have proven to be ineffective in making Daesh budge.
With the Azaz border crossing under regular Russian air force bombardment and cut off from northern Aleppo and Idlib by the SAA's latest advances, Turkey's proxies face the prospect of siege and slow strangulation. Even getting U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles through the blockade much less heavier weapons like GRAD rocket launchers or heavy machine guns mounted on the infamous Toyota Hillux pick up trucks will prove extremely difficult.
Constant Russian drone surveillance and combined Russian/Syrian airpower have already forced the dispersal of jihadist supply convoys and their use of dirt roads at night to bypass heavily bombed or strafed highways.
Without supplies the rebel factions in Idlib and what's left of their positions in Aleppo may start to bicker and collapse in a flee for all to the Turkish border, with free stuff in Germany beckoning to many of their young fighters. As Patrick Bahzad writes for former DIA analyst and retired U.S. Army Col. Patrick Lang's blog:
As SST had forecast yesterday, the junction between SAA controlled Aleppo and the Shia enclaves of Nubl and Zahra, located some 7 miles North-West of the city's outskirts, was completed by armoured units of the R+6 in a matter of 24 hours. Despite the rebels throwing everything they got at the advancing SAA and NDF forces, the last village standing in the way of total junction was taken a couple of hours ago.
It had been four years since the enclave was cut off government controlled areas in Aleppo. Gaining access to it already represents a huge symbolic victory for the R+6, after the previous major siege they lifted around Kuweires airbase in November 2015. Additionally, and this is much more important in military terms, the R+6 will now make sure they can secure these territorial gains, withstand a probable rebel counter-attack, and then expand the area under their control, so as to make sure the rebels' Northern LOC with Azaz and Turkey is definitely interdicted.
With R+6 gaining more and more control over the border areas in the North and West of Syria, the rebels around Idlib are being confronted with the increasingly likely prospect of encirclement and destruction at the hands of SAA, NDF or Hezbollah forces, or a run for their safe havens and rear bases in Turkey, as long as some of the border posts remain open to them. For the time being, they still control Bab al-Hawa, in the West of Aleppo, but it is questionable whether they will be able to cling onto it for very much longer.
Another option some of the most radical groups will consider is to try and join ranks with ISIS in the Eastern desert or Euphrates valley. Some of the "independent" Jihadi outfits that have been wrongly dubbed as "moderates" might definitely fancy their chances with an Islamic State they have had good - although informal - relations with for months, and sometimes years. Such a development would certainly strengthen Russia's case, which has been arguing since the start of its involvement that it will fight in Syria "until all terrorist [read all those who won't formally negotiate with Assad or at least the Russians] groups are destroyed".
Video footage from Lebanon's pro-Hezbollah Al-Manar TV and other pro-Assad sources on the SAA's offensives this week. Note the SAA's use of modernized T-72 MBTs upgraded by the Russians with infrared jamming systems designed to foil older model U.S. anti-tank missiles
Above SAA armor advances, below NDF and Syrian Arab Army infantry advance the old fashioned way, using heavy machine guns and sniper fire
Washington Times Bill Gertz: 'dozens' of Russian spetsnaz are embedded with Syrian and Hezbollah soldiers north of Aleppo
Turkey's Once Lucrative Tourism Industry is Circling the Toilet Bowl
You can read more about the unfolding military disaster for the 'moderate' Turkish and Saudi backed jihadi rebels here, but suffice to say, the ongoing talks in Geneva remain a sideshow to the 'negotiations' on the battle field.
Meanwhile, Turkey's tourism industry, which depended on Russians and Germans who have been antagonized by Ankara's aggressive and immi-vasion promoting policies, is collapsing, just as we predicted here at RogueMoney. As Today's Zaman reports (h/t Russia Insider):
The Mediterranean resort of Antalya has the highest number of tourism facilities -- 410 -- that are listed for sale, followed by the provinces of Muğla, which has 349 for sale; İzmir, 203; Aydın, 162; Balıkesir, 139; Çanakkale, 35 and Denizli, which has 20 in total listed...
Denizli Colossae Thermal Chairman Abdurrahman Karamanlıoğlu said a number of hotels in resort towns were left on the brink of bankruptcy after Russia imposed sanctions against Turkey after the latter downed a Russian warplane in November last year.
“We talk the realities but officials put a brave face on the issue. We have been heavily affected from the jet crisis. Especially the hotels in Antalya; being closed for the last four months, most of those are on the verge of bankruptcy,” Karamanlıoğlu said.
Turkey is 'On the Menu' for Destabilization as the Deeper Game of a Greater Kurdistan and New Mideast Order is Revealed
As Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Dr. Jim Willie and our team at RogueMoney have pointed out for many weeks now, Turkey appears to be 'on the menu' in the sense that its Western 'allies' are increasingly distancing themselves from its policies in Syria and repression of the Kurds. Despite Vice President Joe Biden throwing the Turks crumbs about a 'military solution...to Daesh' and affirming that the PKK if not the U.S. and Germany aided YPG are 'terrorists', the Turks have no reason to feel comfortable. Not when their renewed diplomatic partners the Israelis are publically stating in Greece that the Turks sell ISIS oil and allow Islamic State members and other jihadists to freely transit their territory.
The Americans' alleged Kurdish puppet Masoud Barzani has called this week for a 'non-binding' referendum on Kurdish independence, from the de facto Kurdish oil capital of Erbil that officially remains a part of northern Iraq. Many NATO countries led by Hungary but also Poland are angry at the immi-vasion the Turks have cynically unleashed on Europe. NATO's much ballyhooed unity as promoted by G-NGOs like the Atlantic Council is understood by the Russians to be a joke. There is no way that even if the U.S. would send troops or equipment to Turkey that NATO as a whole will back any Turkish incursion into northern Syria, and the Turks know despite their numerical superiority that any invasion would be bloody.
If Turkish armor rolls down the Euphrates valley many Europeans would be cheering for the Russians and Syrians, not their 'NATO allies', as the latter massacre the invaders with massive thermobaric bombs, cluster munition rockets and anti-tank missiles. In fact, if the infamously paranoid and touchy Erdoğan has any sense, he ought to be asking himself whether the same Washington neocons whispering in his ear about closing the Dardanelles to Russian shipping and attacking northern Syria aren't the same people who egged on the Saudis to invade Yemen. In other words, have both Turkey and Saudi Arabia been 'set up' by the same globalists to not only take the rap for supporting ISIS, but also to take the fall when the New World Order finally buries the old Sykes-Picot borders in a 'reformatting' of the Middle East?
Sen. John McInsane (R-AZ) tells SecDef Ashton Carter to admit for the record that Islamic State oil trucks rolled into Turkey, Carter claims the U.S. didn't bomb them to spare the people of Syria (rather than because the Obama Administration's real policy was to leave ISIS' revenue sources alone and use the Islamic State to put pressure on Assad and Baghdad)
Bavarian Diplomacy: Is Horst Seehofer Plotting Merkel's Downfall with Putin and Also Asking Russia to Help the Syrian Refugees Go Home?
Returning to this week's diplomacy, the Prime Minister of Bavaria, one of the richest, most independent-minded parts of Germany, is in Moscow meeting with Putin this week. As Bavaria is the 'Texas' of Germany, this is equivalent to the Governor Greg Abbott blowing off President Barack Obama's policy of 'isolating' Russia over Crimea to fly to Moscow for talks on Russian investment in Texas City refineries. While moderating or dropping the anti-Russia economic sanctions the U.S. demanded may be on Horst Seehofer's agenda when speaking with Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev and Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, intelligent Turkish observers cannot fail to note the timing.
Beware the Furor Teutonicus of a patient German man: German grandparents shout at the disgusting mayor of Bad Schlema, Jens Müller, after he tells their daughters and granddaughters not to "provoke" Muslim male refugees to grope or otherwise sexually molest them
Bavaria has been hit harder than almost any other region of Germany by the globalists' engineered immi-destabilization, of which the Turks have been the key enablers. Munich in particular is being swamped with young Muslim male migrants, many of whom aren't even Syrian, triggering incidents like this and many other altercations that German police and media admit they're under pressure from the Chancellery not to report. Seehofer is not only giving Merkel the finger by meeting with Putin the same week that the German Chancellor hosted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, he's also extending a big fat Bavarian middle finger to Erdoğan for shoving over a million migrants into Germany's lap.
The only way the immi-vasion can be stopped is with barbed wire fences and tough border policing. The Hungarians have proven this can be done. But the only way it can be reversed is through mass deportations and the establishment of peace or at least nominal ceasefires in Syria and Libya. And the only man whose forces and allies can deliver that to Seehofer and other allegedly conservative European politicians is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
The United States and NATO are clearly doing nothing to stop the immivasion and are likely secretly supporting it, as are the spineless EU jellyfish through their 3 billion euros of danegeld paid to the Turkish government. Which in any case, might as well have been flushed down the toilet since there is little sign that the Turks are doing anything to prevent more migrants (including non-Syrians) from reaching the Aegean coast and trying to cross over to Greek islands (knowing that the Greek coast guard has an obligation under international humanitarian law to rescue them from their rickety boats).
No wonder then that neocon Trotskyites like Michael D. Weiss and Peter Pomeranzev are unhappy with how Russian media is exploiting the immivasion crisis to depict, in Pomerantzev's words, "Europe going to sh-t".
#MerkelMussWeg chanted at a Munich protest accompanied by police to protect demonstrators from 'anti-fascist' activists, January 2016
The question now becomes, facing economic collapse, the encirclement of his proxies in Syria and the loss of Turkish alliances, will Erdoğan gamble his power if not his life on a desperate aggressive war? Putin appears to be betting Erdoğan won't or can't start a war with Russia even if his neocon enablers in Washington clearly wouldn't mind him kicking one off. However, as a prudent man, Putin is taking precautions and sending signals that Russia wants peace, but is prepared for a larger war in Syria.