When Its Soldiers Were Killed In Syria, Turkey’s Air Force Went to War

Is more war in Syria imminent?

by Sebastien Roblin – March 2, 2020 

 

Key point: 

Just after midnight on December 3, a Turkish military convoy was rolling into a military outpost west of Saraqeb in Idlib province when at 1:13 AM deadly artillery fire came raining down from the sky.

The barrage, which originated from Syrian Arab Army forces, killed eight Turkish soldiers and supporting civilian personnel and wounded seven more.

Since an agreement in 2018, the Turkish Army has maintained several hundred personnel in twelve outposts in Idlib province to observe a ceasefire agreement brokered with Moscow and Damascus supposedly designating the province as a safe haven. These Turkish outposts are in addition to Turkish forces occupying a sizable chunk of Syrian territory in order to deny access to Kurdish YPG separatists.

But in reality, no one expected Assad to honor the agreement in the long term, as Idlib remains the last major stronghold of anti-Assad rebels in Syria following the fall of Aleppo and the eradication of resistance in the suburbs of eastern Damascus. By 2019 the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was back on the offensive.

Despite Turkey’s warming relations with Moscow, Ankara had compelling reasons to be dismayed by the attacks on Idlib. Turkey had already taken in 3.6 million refugees due to the Syrian civil war. Since December 2019, indiscriminate shelling and bombing by Syrian forces and Russian aviation has caused a half-million more Syrians to flee their war-ravaged country.

Finally on January 29, 2020, Assadist forces captured the rebel city of Maarat-al-Numan. Its capture exposed a new line of rebel-held cities along the east-west M4 Highway to attack, including the city of Saraqeb. Syrian forces soon advanced northward up the perpendicular M5 Highway and were engaging rebels on the western outskirts of Saraqeb when they fired upon the Turkish convoy.

Ankara Strikes Back

Despite the fighting ongoing in the region, Ankara maintains that it had notified Russia at 4:13 and 10:27 PM that the convoy was inbound to one of its outposts in order to avoid precisely such an incident. Russia claimed it had not received the report.

In retaliation for the “martyrdom” of Turkish troops, hulking 56-ton Turkish T-155 Firtina self-propelled howitzers in Turkey and on Syrian soil began lobbing 155-millimeter shells at Syrian positions in the provinces of Hama, Idlib, and Latakia as well as Nubl in Aleppo province. The Firtina (“Storm”) is a Turkish derivative of the South Korean K9 Thunder artillery vehicle, and is capable of rapid-fire volleys on targets up to twenty-five miles away.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan stated in a speech that by 6:15 AM Turkey had struck forty-six Syrian targets with 122 artillery and 100 mortar shells, inflicting thirty to thirty-five casualties. The inclusion of mortars, which have a shorter range three to five miles, would imply strikes launched considerably closer to Syrian forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, was only able to confirm thirteen casualties to Turkish shelling: eight in Idlib, three in Latakia province, and two in Hama province. As SOHR also reported the bombardment wounded twenty, some seriously, those numbers may actually be consistent with the Turkish casualty claims.

The geographic dispersion reflects that the Turkish response was a wider-scale attack on targets across Syria, not just on the positions that opened fire in Idlib province.

Ankara also claimed its F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters struck SAA targets. Later, the Turkish defense minister claimed Turkey had launched a total of fifty-four strikes, supposedly inflicting seventy-six casualties.

However, Moscow claimed that no Turkish F-16s entered Syrian airspace. This denial appears to have been undercut by a Syrian-government SANA announcement that Turkish jets had attacked Syria but inflicted no casualties.

As Russian military air defense systems protect Syria, Moscow would have an incentive to deny that it allowed Turkish jets to attack Syrian targets without firing upon them—or worse, failed to detect them.

The clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces threaten to unravel a tense entente with Russia, which recently sold S-400 air defense missiles to Turkey. Ankara’s purchase of the missiles widened a growing rift with the United States and Western Europe, and resulted in Turkey being ejected from the F-35 stealth fighter program.

Turkey has further retaliated by openly considering purchases of Russian Su-35 fighters and (still somewhat buggy) Su-57 stealth fighters instead. Such sales would not only profit Russia financially, but also help further compromise Turkey’s status as a member of NATO.

But when Turkish forces bombard the forces of Moscow’s ally Assad, it places Russia in an awkward position with allies old and new. Nonetheless, this conflict was long foreseeable: Turkey had made clear its objection to an offensive on Idlib province, while it was obvious that Assad would eventually move to crush rebels in Idlib province, and receive Rusian military support while doing so.

If Ankara is sufficiently incensed, it could attempt to impede further attacks on Idlib—particularly Saraqeb—perhaps hoping to avert further swelling of the large population of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Alternatively, Ankara may calculate that it has adequately punished the attack on its forces in Idlib, and that it doesn’t want to risk being drawn into a larger-scale clash with Assad’s forces that might also threaten its overture with Moscow. (Click to Source)

Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including The National Interest, NBC News, Forbes.com and War is Boring. He holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China. You can follow his articles on Twitter. This first appeared earlier this month.

Image: Reuters.

 

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M5.7 Turkey-Iran Earthquake Kills at Least 8 and Injures 30 – Major Infrastructure Collapse in Both Countries

At least 8 dead have been killed following a M5.7 earthquake in Turkey’s Van province on Sunday, February 23, 2020.

More than 30 others have been injured by the strong quake in Turkey as well as in neighboring Iran. Many more are believed to be still buried under collapsed buildings.

The M5.7 earthquake struck the Turkey-Iran border region at a very shallow depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles) and affected at least 43 villages in Turkey and in Iran.

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The M5.7 earthquake hits and kills at least 8 people in the eastern part of Turkey. Map via Al Jazeera

 

Some 1,066 buildings collapsed in the shallow tremor whose epicenter was 25km SE of Saray, Turkey, a rural and moutainous area well-known for strong earthquakes.

Although not a densely populated area, 8 dead (3 children and 5 adults), 30 injured and heavy infrastructure damages have already been reported in Turkey.

And officials suggest there will be more casualities and damages as many homes have collapsed during the early quake.

The earthquake was also widely felt in Iran. However, officials haven’t reported any deaths right now.

This could change as many injured have been brought to nearby hospitals and some villages have suffered 100% damage.

Emergency teams currently dig through rubble in nearby villages.

Although not located along the ring of fire, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.

A month ago, a shallow M6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey killed more than 40 people. (Click to Source)

 

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Severe episode in the Black Sea: Russian ships have been armed by NATO – Intended to be the “Ritsos” (P71)

 

A serious episode in the Black Sea as Russian warships and airplanes encamped NATO ships with the “Ritsos” (P-71) TKK is also targeting.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense’s announcement, Russian warships entered the Black Sea to conduct naval exercises while the NATO Maritime Shield 2019 is under way and “practiced in realistic combat conditions thanks to NATO exercises,” as he attributes.

This is stated in a statement from the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

“The Black Sea Fleet warships sailed from their base to join the naval formation of the other Russian naval units located in the same sea area.

The development of Russian warships took place in pre-determined areas, in order to control and supervise the situation on the seabed, the surface and the air.

In the Russian military mobilization, the Russian A-50 fighter radar, Su-27SM and Su-30 fighters, along with strategic bombers. (they also released video with strategic Tu-160 bombers along with Su-27 fighters flying over the Crimea amid heavy rains)

The South Military Region is ready and the Bal-and-Bastion missiles are activated.

About 50 fighters and helicopters participate in the military exercise, while the 5-hour patrol radars reported 20 targets on the Russian Su-27SM and Su-30 aircraft (20 are also NATO ships).

This is due to NATO’s “Sea Shield 2019” exercise that gave us the opportunity to exercise (!) The Black Sea Fleet at a realistic level of combat, “ says the Russian Defense Ministry.

Earlier, the Russian Navy also made missile shots. The “Ivanovets” and “R-60” corvettes performed drills by launching ultrasonic missiles “Moskit” into surface targets, 30 nautical miles away.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko earlier reported that increased NATO activities in the Black Sea contain risks for the region’s security.

“Our position is clear, any NATO effort in the Black Sea is silly from a military point of view.

They will neither strengthen the security of the region nor NATO itself but create additional military risks.

Russia is ready for any challenges to military security in the Black Sea and will take additional defensive measures if necessary, “ Grushko said.

Let us note that the present at the end of the NATO exercise was given by the President of Romania and General Ciuca with their visit to the NATO warships

Let’s note that in the exercise “SeaShield-2019” participated also the Greek TKK RITSOS (P-71).

Exercise supervised by military representatives from Georgia and Ukraine.

This is the largest naval exercise of its kind, with the participation of 2,200 soldiers and 20 warships from Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Turkey, USA and the Netherlands.

In the context of the war simulation exercise, “common combat procedures” against the “threats emerging” in the Black Sea were carried out according to the briefing, due to Russia’s “unacceptable behavior” in the region, as stated previously by the Permanent US Representative to NATO Kate Hattschon. (Click to Source)

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Until April 17th, #HMCSToronto is sailing the Black Sea as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) on #OpREASSURANCE.

We’re conducting a variety of maritime situational awareness patrols and interoperability exercises with other navies 🌊#WeAreNATO @NATO_MARCOM

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Под крылом «Белого лебедя»: звено Су-27СМ военно-морской авиации Черноморского флота сопроводило ракетоносец Ту-160 в небе над Черным морем: https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/20194121144-pZUCz.html 

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Pence Issues Turkey Ultimatum: “Choose Between Remaining NATO Member Or Buying Russian S-400”

wo days after we reported that the US had halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey as part of the ongoing rift over Erdogan’s plans to move forward with taking delivery of the advanced Russian S-4000 anti-air defense system, on Wednesday the US escalated the war of words with its NATO ally when Vice President Mike Pence threatened Turkey’s future role in the NATO alliance, warning it against “reckless decisions,” like following through with the purchase of the Russian-made air defense system.

Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our @NATO alliance?,” Pence tweeted on Wednesday, after making similar remarks at a NATO summit in Washington.

Vice President Mike Pence

@VP

Replying to @VP

.@POTUS has made it clear that we will not stand idly by while @NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries that threaten the cohesion of our alliance.

Vice President Mike Pence

@VP

Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our @NATO alliance?

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Despite repeated warnings from the US, Turkey has refused to drop its scheduled purchase the Russian weapons system, which is scheduled to be delivered in July. After the Pentagon halted deliveries of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet and related equipment to Turkey and halted training of Turkish pilots, Ankara remained defiant with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu telling the NATO summit that the purchase was “a done deal.”

Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are currently meeting head-to-head at the summit to discuss the F-35 dispute.

As RT reports, the Turkish FM said that operating the two weapons systems at once “will not be a threat” to the F-35 or other NATO systems. US lawmakers and military officials disagree and have repeatedly warned that Turkey’s deployment of the S-400 would give the Russian system opportunity to learn how to track and spot the F-35, with potentially deadly consequences for the jet in future conflicts.

Despite the escalating war of words, the US has thus far failed to lure its NATO ally away from the Russian system and to Raytheon’s more expensive Patriot missile system, despite offering it to Ankara at a knock-down rate earlier this year.

Complicating matters, Turkey is a core partner in the F-35 program, which is US’ most expensive military project to date, and is responsible for the procurement of several components of the ultra modern fighter jet. If both sides cannot reach a deal, the US will need to find new suppliers for parts of the fighter’s fuselage, landing gear, and cockpit displays.

So far both Erdogan and Trump have kept a low profile on the topic, refusing to get dragged in and escalating the F-35 delivery matter into a full-blown political crisis which if left unchecked could result in a political fiasco similar to that which unfolded last summer, when Turkey’s detention of US pastor Brunson led to brief US sanctions being imposed against the Asian nation and which culminated with a recession in Turkey and its currency plunging to all time lows. (Click to Source)

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U.S. halts F-35 equipment to Turkey, protests its plans to buy from Russia

APRIL 1, 2019 / 12:32 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

U.S. officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday.

The Pentagon confirmed the Reuters report that the equipment delivery had been stopped.

“Pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400, deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability have been suspended,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system that the United States has said would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.

The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the next shipment of training equipment, and all subsequent shipments of F-35 related material, had been canceled. The aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

A Pentagon official had told Reuters in March that the United States had a number of items it could withhold in order to send Turkey a signal that the United States was serious about Ankara dropping its ambition to own the S-400.

Turkish officials in Ankara were not immediately available for comment. Turkey has said it will take delivery of the S-400s in July.

NATO SUMMIT

The U.S. decision on the F-35s was expected to complicate Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s visit to Washington this week for a NATO summit. On Sunday, Erdogan suffered one of his biggest electoral losses in decades in local elections.

“Certain Russian weapon systems are seen as inherently threatening to the United States regardless of who is operating them and for what purpose,” Andrew Hunter, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said.

“Because Turkey is not just an F-35 purchaser, but an industrial partner, blocking delivery of these systems represents a major escalation by the United States as it threatens to impose serious costs on both sides,” Hunter said.

Reuters reported last week that Washington was exploring whether it could remove Turkey from production of the F-35. Turkey makes parts of the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays. Sources familiar with the F-35’s intricate worldwide production process and U.S. thinking on the issue last week said Turkey’s role can be replaced.

The United States and other NATO allies that own F-35s fear the radar on the Russian S-400 missile system will learn how to spot and track the jet, making it less able to evade Russian weapons.

In an attempt to persuade Turkey to drop its plans to buy the S-400, the United States offered the pricier American-made Patriot anti-missile system in a discounted deal that expired at the end of March. Turkey has shown interest in the Patriot system, but not at the expense of abandoning the S-400.

Turkey has engaged with U.S. negotiators in recent days about buying the Patriot system, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. The system is made by Raytheon Co.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in March said that despite some issues, Turkish pilots were continuing their training at an air base in Arizona on the F-35, each of which costs $90 million, and that Ankara was expecting the aircraft to arrive in Turkey in November.

By halting jet deliveries, the Pentagon could subsequently delay training of Turkish pilots. Two additional jets are scheduled to arrive in Arizona in April and a significant delay could impact Turkey’s November target date for operations.

U.S. lawmakers also have expressed alarm over Turkey’s planned purchase of the Russian system. Four U.S. senators last week introduced a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the transfer of F-35s to Turkey until the U.S. government certifies that Ankara will not take delivery of the S-400 system.

Following news of the halt, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, one of the bill sponsors, said she was glad to hear the administration was “to delay the transfer of F-35 equipment to Turkey to help ensure U.S. military technology and capabilities cannot fall into the hands of the Kremlin.” (Click to Source)

Reporting by Mike Stone and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; editing by Will Dunham, Howard Goller and Lisa Shumaker

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Furious Over Trump’s Decision on Golan Heights, Erdogan Confirms Hagia Sophia Will Become a Mosque

03-29-2019 – Will Maule, Faithwire

 

The United States converts S.Arabia into a nuclear force under the “Agenda of the Century” and the Turkey-Iran Prevention

 

The US offers Saudi Arabia the secrets of nuclear technology just like Russia does with Turkey, creating an awe-inspiring rival in the Middle East that becomes dangerously “radioactive” in view of the developments of the Age Agreement for which first has informed pronews.gr

An agreement aimed at “lasting peace” between the Sunni Arab states and Israel and the simultaneous isolation of Shi’ite Iran and Turkey’s imperial aspirations.

US Energy Minister Rick Perry has secretly approved six licenses to companies to deploy nuclear-related technology, related services and technical assistance to Saudi Arabia, reveals a document that was brought to the attention of the Reuters news agency yesterday .

The Donald Trump government implicitly seeks to conclude a much broader agreement to make US nuclear technology available to the United States.

Saudi Arabia is known to seek at least two nuclear power stations. Companies from different countries – the USA, South Korea, Russia – are competing for the project. Which or who the sponsor or sponsors is expected to be revealed by Riyadh this year.

Permissions signed by Perry (“810 Authorizations”) allow US companies to start preparatory work with a view to an agreement, but not to dispose of equipment to be installed in a plant, he explained a source informed of the licenses that were approved, subject to not to be named.

The fact that the permits were signed, the Daily Beast news site first revealed.

According to the Ministry of Energy, the companies were those that the Trabble Government has asked to keep the authorization approvals secret.

US parliamentarians are deeply worried that if the US shares nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, it could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Saudi Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told CBS last year that the kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if Iran did so, which Riyadh considers his main rival in the region.

In addition, the kingdom reacts to the American claim that any sale accompanied by two clauses would prevent it from acquiring material suitable for the construction of nuclear weapons secretly: a ban on uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

Congressional concerns over the sale of nuclear technology and the availability of know-how in Saudi Arabia intensified in early October 2018, after Jamal Kassogi, a self-exiled journalist in the United States, was murdered in the consulate of the kingdom in Constantinople.

Authorizations were approved after November 2017, but it is unclear in the document the Reuters saw if some of them were signed after the killing of Casagi.

Democratic MP Brad Sherman has asked US Secretary of State Mike Pombeo to publish the names of the companies that received these licenses by mid-April. Pompeo replied that he would examine it.Sherman also complained that the Government of Trab is trying to avoid Congress in the availability of nuclear technology in Saudi Arabia. Pompeo argued that the government is working to ensure that any agreement on the transfer of nuclear technology does not increase the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Last month, Democratic MPs complained that White House executives are defying warnings that they may violate the law by working with former officials and the group

IP3 International to promote a multi-billion dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

It is ignored if IP3 International is among the licensed companies.

It is noted that Moscow first revealed for the first time that Mr Trump promotes the “Agreement of the Century”, an agreement between the US, Israel and the Arab states, provides for a plan to resolve the Palestinian and Syrian “Israeli mold” and an attack on Iran, something that has been sounding for a long time, but no one confirms it.

It is an agreement that, if achieved, will change the face of the Middle East. For this reason, “diplomatic fever” prevails in all European capitals, Moscow, Washington and throughout the Middle East.

This US government decision is part of the “Solution of the Century” of the pro-Israeli US plan in the Palestinian, ie the implementation of Israeli plans for full annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Jerusalem-West Bank) by Israel, but also full recognition of the Palestinian state. (Click to Source)

New Turkey-Iran-Qatar axis is rising in Middle East, and it has Saudi Arabia furious

Published time: 22 Mar, 2019 16:34

A new alliance being formed by Qatar, Turkey, and Iran, with the potential to receive the backing of Russia and China, is a major concern to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The aftermath of over eight years of war in Syria has changed the regional dynamics in a way almost certainly never envisioned by the United States and its allies. Through leaked documents, we have known for some time now that Washington’s interim goal was to, at the very least, destabilise the Assad government in the hopes of scaling back Iranian influence. (Its ultimate goal was quite clearly regime change, which was very close to fruition during at least one stage of the war).

This anti-Assad strategy has, of course, backfired to the point where Iranian-backed forces have essentially amassed along the Syria-Israel border, threatening Washington’s most beloved ally in the region. The other notable – and realistically, most important – development is that Russia, not the United States, emerged out of the rubble of Syria as the major power-broker and military tactician.

However, it seems as though the aftermath of Syria is just the beginning of a tectonic move in a massive direction away from the status quo. Eight years on since the war in Syria broke out, and we are now beginning to see some other major concrete shifts within the regional alliances which has Washington’s traditional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, starting to tremble.

As of now, Qatar, Iran, and Turkey are forming a regional alliance, which is irking Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States – and they only have themselves to blame. After Saudi Arabia led a coalition of nations that attempted to bully Qatar into submission and accept a long list of inconceivable demands in June 2017, Qatar soon found it could rely on some key partners to weather the Saudi-led storm. These partners are now openly forming a new alliance, which will upend the entire balance of power in the Middle East.

The strengthening of ties between this axis of nations is quite remarkable, when one considers that they each held completely paradoxical positions regarding the Syrian conflict. The horror of this shift from a Western perspective can be seen brilliantly in an Asia Times article entitled ‘America’s Syrian humiliation is worse than it looks’.

When Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border and the UAE in turn blocked shipments from its ports to Doha, Qatar quickly found friends in Oman, Turkey, and Iran to bypass this nonsensical blockade. Qatari flights were rerouted over Iranian airspace and Turkey upped the ante on its military presence in the country as a sign of strength and commitment. Eventually, daily life in Qatar could continue quite reasonably. This is not to say that Qatar didn’t experience difficulties, particularly regarding oil prices, real estate prices, tourism, and the slowdown in economic growth. Then again, Qatar was able to draw from its reserves to counter the effects, minimising the damage done by its neighbours.

By the end of 2017, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan had all increased bilateral trade with Qatar, benefitting all four countries. In the less than six months since the ‘Qatar crisis’ had begun, trade between Iran and Qatar reportedly increased by 117 percent. At the time, experts studying the crisis predicted that commercial relations between the two countries would remain intact, even following the closure of the Saudi-led Qatar crisis.

Iran, Qatar, and Turkey also signed a land transportation pact in August of that year which would help reduce the cost and transit period for the exchange of goods. Seeing as Saudi Arabia effectively blockaded the flow of goods into Qatar, it should not be hard to see that even this agreement alone bore major significance.

Qatar for its part has invested heavily in Turkey, well over $20 billion in total. As explained previously by Al-Jazeera, this is the second-highest in terms of value by any country, demonstrating the importance these two nations have given to each other.

By most accounts, the Gulf States need Turkey on their side in order to contain Iran. A recent report published by Middle East Eye revealed how Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt hatched a plan with Israel to scale back the regional influence of Turkey and Iran, with Turkey deemed to be the biggest military threat to these Gulf states’ interests.

As it transpires, the Qatar-Turkey-Iran axis could potentially provide a major buffer to the so-called Arab NATO, which will be headed by Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia appears to have managed to bring Pakistan on side, it still remains that Pakistan shares a border with Iran and relies heavily on China, another key ally of Iran. Islamabad’s anti-Iran stance can therefore only stretch so far.

The fact is that this alliance on the face of it will likely bear the support of Russia and its military will also be of a major concern to the anti-Iran alliance. As it stands, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves. Not to mention that Iran and Qatar share the world’s largest gas field, another major concern for the Saudi-led bloc.

Saudi-owned media has already voiced its opposition to this newfound alliance, which can be seen most openly in an article in Al Arabiya entitled ‘How Iran, Turkey use Qatar to undermine regional security and US interest’. According to Al Arabiya, there is a “risk” of Qatar “breaking away from the Arab orbit and posing a serious threat to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.” The Qatar-Iran entente, “previously concealed, is out in the open,” the article also notes.

To put it simply: Qatar has irrevocably joined with Ankara and Tehran against its former Arab allies,” the article’s sources surmise. “It has conclusively positioned itself in a regional alliance that pursues geopolitical dominance by driving instability.”

Qatar is “playing with fire” the article states. At around the same time, Qatar had called for a new alliance to replace the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), further demonstrating this shift in perspective.

According to Russian think tank Katehon, the new Qatar-Iran-Turkey axis is already well underway and has the power to control Asia, west India and Pakistan and challenge the “demonic trio” of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Do not underestimate the role of small Qatar in this triple alliance with latent empires,” the think tank is cited as saying. “The fact is that the huge financial resources, as well as the successful geographical location of the emirate, allow it to resist even the all-powerful Saudi Arabia, which also claims regional domination.

Thus, international pressure and economic restrictions prompted three completely different states, despite geopolitical differences, to begin rapprochement in the economic sphere. How this will turn out in the future depends primarily on the actions of the United States, which, undoubtedly, will try to break up the emerging triple alliance.” (Click to Source)

 

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‘It will be bigger’: Orban warns of SECOND migrant crisis, says Hungary is ‘ready’

Published time: 3 Mar, 2019 15:33

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that the 2015 migrant crisis – which saw millions of migrants pour into Europe – was just the beginning and that a new wave of African migrants may soon overwhelm the continent.

“Everything that we experienced in 2015 will happen again, and it will be bigger,” the nationalist leader told German newspaper Die Welt. “Soon the Arab countries will surpass the European countries in population. And I haven’t mentioned Africa yet, where soon there will be more people than can be fed.”

Orban has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of non-European immigration in recent years. As waves of migrants flowed from the Middle East in 2015, Orban constructed a razor-wire border fence and refused passage for asylum seekers whose claims were rejected. Since then he has refused to meet EU migrant relocation quotas and has criminalized individuals and NGOs suspected of “enabling illegal immigration.”

“Hungary is a frontier country,” Orban told Die Welt. “We live our lives in complete readiness. We have many thousands of soldiers and policemen at our southern border,” he added, warning that “today it depends only on decisions of the Turkish government whether the many millions of refugees that are there will set out for Europe.”

As the migrant crisis dragged on, Africa replaced the Middle East as the source of Europe’s migrant influx. Orban called for the establishment of a new body of ministers in Europe to deal with any future immigration from the continent of 1.3 billion people.

“A separate body needs to be created for this, where only the interior ministers of the Schengen zone would sit,” he explained. “The interior ministers of the Schengen zone would need to turn this into a very strong council, where questions that concern the whole Schengen zone would be decided in the manner of experts and not of politicians.”

EU leadership is unlikely to look to Orban for policy advice, however. The European Parliament voted to sanction Hungary for Orban’s anti-migration policies in September, and momentum is currently building to expel the Hungarian leader’s Fidesz party from the European People’s Party umbrella group. (Click to Source)

 
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Turkey: Uniting An “Army of Islam” To Defeat Israel

BY UZAY BULUT/GATESTONE INSTITUTE FEBRUARY 22, 2019

Istanbul recently hosted the second “International Islamic Union Congress,” sponsored mainly by the Strategic Research Center for Defenders of Justice (ASSAM), which is headed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, a retired lieutenant general and an Islamist .
At the conference, Tanriverdi delivered a speech detailing the inner workings of the “Islamic Confederal State” that ASSAM aims to establish with 61 Muslim countries. In his address, Tanriverdi said that a “rapid deployment force” should be created.
Judging by an article Tanriverdi penned in 2009, the purpose of this joint Islamic force is to defeat Israel, which “should be made to get engaged [in war] and the length of the war should be extended.”
“If Israel has to call all of its reserve soldiers to duty,” he explained, “there will be no one left at home or in their businesses. It cannot continue like that for a long time.”
Tanriverdi also suggested how this could be accomplished:
“The Defense Ministers of Islamic Countries should be invited to an urgent meeting, at which possibilities for ‘defense cooperation’ should be examined; Turkey, Iran, Syria, the Iraqi Resistance Organization and Palestine should be the core of this cooperation.”
Within this context, he said, a “‘rapid Deployment Force of Islam,’ which will consist of an amphibious brigade, an armored brigade and an aero-landing brigade, should be encouraged.”
He went on:
“A peace force of Islamic countries should be deployed in Gaza… International efforts should continue, and the use of military force in Islamic countries should be encouraged. A joint military operation by our ground, naval and air forces should be carried out in the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Aid convoys from Turkey, accompanied by Turkish warplanes, should land at the Gaza port. The resistance movements in Gaza should be supported with anti-tank and low-altitude anti-aircraft weapons.
“An aid fund should be formed by Islamic countries; the monthly budget of the legitimate Palestinian government should be paid from this fund and every adult individual in [the Palestinian territories] should be paid a monthly salary… Egypt should be pressured to open the Rafah border crossing. Syria should be encouraged to enhance its military presence on the Israeli border.”
Tanriverdi also claimed that:

“Turkish states, throughout history, prevented 21 crusades through which the West targeted Islam. Turkey did not get involved in the invasions following World War II, the establishment of the State of Israel and the US invasion of Iraq, which we could call the 22nd, 23rd and 24th crusades. It is Turkey’s duty to rectify this. Avoiding this responsibility would be contrary to our historic mission, our commitment to the civilization to which we belong and to Turkey’s survival.”

Tanriverdi’s views are the impetus for the founding in 2012 of his company, “SADAT International Defense Consultancy.” On its official website, Tanriverdi writes:

“The Turkish Armed Forces give services of training, consultancy and equipment to 22 friendly Turkish and Muslim countries. But it is impossible for them to respond to all the needs of 60 Islamic countries in the defense sector.
“In order to give services in needed fields, to prevent dependence on crusader-minded colonialist countries, to help form an environment of defense industry and defense cooperation among Islamic countries, and to serve the Islamic alliance, SADAT was formed by 23 founding shareholders and with the support of 64 army officers and non-commissioned officers who have successfully served the Turkish armed forces and who are respectful of the religious sensitivities of Islamic countries.”
Four years after SADAT’s establishment, Necati Yılmaz, an MP from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted a written parliamentary motion to then-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, questioning SADAT’s activities and international connections. The motion read, in part:
SADAT states on its official website that that it tries to ‘help establish a military force in the Islamic world that will be self-sufficient.’ With what countries does SADAT have connections? Is there any other country to which SADAT gives military and intelligence training? Does it have camps in other countries?
“Is it true that Sadat has connections with al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and ISIS? Is it true that Sadat has trained ISIS militants?”
Yıldırım did not answer the motion during his tenure, but allegations about SADAT’s providing military training to jihadist organizations abroad and to some pro-Erdogan groups in “secret military camps” in Turkey have not subsided. Tanriverdi and other SADAT officials have repeatedly denied the accusations, going as far as to sue some newspapers that published pieces repeating them.
In an interview last January with the pro-government newspaper, Habertürk, Tanriverdi called claims about SADAT “slanderous” and “imaginary.” Replaying SADAT’s “founding objective,” he insisted that it “engages with the state organs of friendly nations and provides them with services of corporate consultancy, training and equipment in line with their laws in their own countries.”
He continued:
“With very pure and decent feelings, we just want to transfer the experiences of our armed forces to Islamic countries. That is all. We also want the Islamic countries to get united.”
He failed, however, to remind readers that SADAT’s objective is to unite against the West and Israel. He also omitted comments from his 2009 article entitled “Palestine too should have an army”, such as:
“The states whose peoples are Muslim should either protect Palestine with their own armed forces or form a modern armed force for Palestine to deal with Israel.”
Although Tanriverdi’s dream of an “army of Islam” to fight Israel has yet to be realized, his company, SADAT, seems to be aiding Palestinian-Arab jihadist organizations targeting Israel. In February 2018, for instance, Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said that Hamas was funneling terror funds to the West Bank and Gaza through Turkey.
The Shin Bet statement also accused Turkey of aiding Hamas’ military build-up via SADAT. Kamil Tekeli, a Turkish law professor who was arrested in Israel in mid-January, told his interrogators that SADAT sends money and arms to Hamas. Tekeli, after being interrogated, was deported back to Turkey, according to the Israeli media. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, rejected the Shin Bet’s accusations.
Tanriverdi’s statements and his company nevertheless appear to reflect Erdogan’s worldview.
“We as Turkey and myself — as long as I am in charge — can never have a positive view of Israel,” Erdogan said in 2014. “The obvious reality is that Israel is the country that threatens peace in the world and in the Middle East.”
More recently, on December 15, Erdogan repeated one of many hostile claims he has made over the years — comparing Israel to the Nazis.
Erdogan and his chief military advisor are obviously engaging in projection. It is Turkey that has ethnically cleansed itself of Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, that refuses to recognize the religious rights of the Alevi minority and that is now targeting Syrian Kurds.
It is the Turkish government’s continued aggression against various peoples in Israel, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and other countries that is a threat to world peace, not Israel. It is Turkey, not Israel, whose destabilizing foreign policy needs to change.
Originally published at reposted with permission. (Click to Source)