This is very serious.

And if Turkey intervenes and topples the regime it may be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Turkey Masses Troops on Syrian Border; Syria Slams Turkey

By Selcan Hacaoglu

October 9 (Bloomberg) — Turkey’s top general inspected newly deployed units on the Syrian border Tuesday following six days of firing by Turkish batteries against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Turkey has deployed additional tanks, howitzers, and missile defense systems on the border since a Syrian artillery shell killed five people in the town of Akcakale on Oct. 3, prompting parliament to give the government a one-year mandate to send forces into Syria if necessary.

General Necdet Ozel, chief of the general staff, today inspected troops in Hatay province, which was hit by seven artillery shells or mortar rounds in the past week, state-run TRT television said.

General Hayri Kivrikoglu, chief of the land forces, accompanied Ozel along with several other senior officers, the state-run Anatolia agency said. Ozel will inspect troops in Akcakale tomorrow, TRT television said.

Tensions between the two countries have risen during the 19-month rebellion against Assad’s government, with Turkey offering support to the rebels.

These worsened in June, when Syria shot down a Turkish warplane it said was in its airspace and on Oct. 3, when the Syrian shell fired over the border killed two women and three children in Akcakale, triggering the cross-border exchanges.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state-run television on Oct. 6 that Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa hadn’t taken part in massacres and could serve as interim leader if Assad leaves office.

‘Confusion, Blundering’

Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said yesterday that Davutoglu’s remarks reflect “obvious political and diplomatic confusion and blundering,” Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said.

“Turkey isn’t the Ottoman Sultanate; the Turkish Foreign Ministry doesn’t name custodians in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, and Jerusalem,” he said.

Syrian forces have continued firing at rebels along the border even though Turkey has responded to artillery shells or mortars landing inside its territory.

At least 27 schools along the border areas in Akcakale remain closed due to fears they could be hit by an errant shell, Anatolia said today.

The two countries share a 911-kilometer (566 miles) border. Turkey, a member of NATO, has a 720,000-strong military, the second-largest army within the alliance.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said late yesterday that although Turkey has no intention to go to war with Syria, it is determined to use the mandate if needed.

‘Solid Ground’

“Concerning Syria, primarily in the face of international law, Turkey will continue to walk on solid ground,” Anatolia quoted Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan as saying during a news conference today.

Turkey shelters nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in 15 camps along the frontier. Syria says Turkey lets rebels use the camps as a safe haven.

More than 30,000 people have died in Syria since the rebellion against Assad began in March 2011, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Local Coordination Committees in Syria said 31 people have died so far today, including 28 in Damascus and its suburbs.

45 Responses

  1. “This is very serious.”

    “And if Turkey intervenes and topples the regime it may be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

    Turkey is a NATO member. This is how the U.S. will get dragged into yet another undeclared Middle East war as a prelude to launching an attack on Iran, and there is virtually no difference between where Obama and Romney stand on this issue. It will all go sideways from there.

  2. Why is it that dictators can brook no contradiction and respond by restricting basic human rights, which, in turn, merely generates resentment and resistance? Is it because they are so invested in the word as the repository of their influence that they are unable to make even the most basic practical calculations? Are dictators overly sensitive to the influence of speech because they themselves are lacking in practical skills?
    Some questions to ask as we consider our latest aspirant to dictator, poor Willard.

    1. @Monica Smith,

      Dictators exist in an unstable equilibrium. The perception of their power is the key to their power. Any challenge to their authority, no matter how small, can bring the whole regime crashing down.

      “Willard” does not aspire to be dictator; he aspires to be the president of a constitutional republic. I can see how you might be confused because a free and confrontational press is essential to constraining the power of the US Presidency, but the last four years have seen a compliant, lapdog press which has allowed the current President to exercise powers beyond what is normally tolerated.

    1. @Dan Lynch,

      Cui bono? As far as I am aware, media reports have not offered any definitive evidence that the mortar and artillery shells landing in Turkey and killing Turkish citizens were fired by the Syrian army. Those shells could also have been fired by the opposition rebels either by accident or on purpose. Beware of false flags.

    2. @Dan Lynch,

      here, here, Dan.

      that’s really what this is about, isn’t it?

      i hear that half the military has mutinied. and the US has admitted that it’s “involved” somehow.

      mutiny, “civil unrest,” foreign interference… dictator or not, how does your “average” head-of-state handle a situation like that?

      what did ol’ honest abe (lincoln) do?

  3. Total global mashup on the horizon unless some leader gets arms around it. Turkey-Syria; hyperinflation in Iran. Spain and Greece in pre-revolutionary state. The global outlook is bleak. And in the US we are having an election 100% devoted to neo-austerian budgetary bean-counting.

    1. @Jim,

      They are making it as confusing as possible so nobody knows what the heck is going on while the conquest continues……….just like the banking/money thing

  4. But Dan, the Zionist and NATO strategies mesh very well; don’t be fooled by “good cop, bad cop” appearances. The US game plan has always been destabilization of the Middle East and regime changes to secure energy resources and transport, cutting out or blocking China and Russia, and this fits ih very well with the Zionist ambition of Eretz Ysrael. Absolutely nothing has changed except for changes or disagreements regarding tactics, not strategy.

    1. @Jim,

      It never takes long for the tinfoil hat brigade to show up whenever we discuss the Middle East.

      “The US game plan has always been destabilization of the Middle East …”

      Completely wrong. The US game plan has always been stabilization of the Middle East. Not that the courses of action chosen over the years have actually contributed to that.

      “… Zionist ambition of Eretz Ysrael.”

      The “Zionist ambition” is security. Israel only cares about land insofar as it provides a buffer against military and terrorist attacks. What does a super high-tech society need land for otherwise? You don’t need a lot of land to design computer chips or write software.

      1. @ESM,
        You cannot eat or drink electronics.
        It is ok while you can sell high tech stuff, but every smart country strives to be able to feed itself, or at least to be able to feed itself – just in case… That is part of “security”.
        Israel is not a stupid country… Thus they grab land

      2. @Gary,

        First of all, in today’s world, high-tech electronics is close to fungible with money which is close to fungible with foodstuffs. Second, technology makes it possible to grow food and recycle or desalinate water more efficiently. In fact, Israel is a pioneer in high-tech agriculture, and they certainly don’t need very much land to feed themselves. Third, I disagree that smart countries strive to be able to feed themselves. Dumb countries do, which I suppose includes most of them. I doubt Singapore can feed itself, and I don’t imagine the people there are sweating that particular problem. New York City can’t feed itself either by the way. In fact, Manhattan gets all of its drinking water through two 100yr old pipes, which would collapse if the water was ever shut off.

        And just what land has Israel grabbed anyway? Are you talking about the land they conquered when they were attacked by Arab countries in 1948? Or perhaps the land they still hold onto after they were threatened with extinction by Egypt and Syria (and subsequently Jordan) in 1967, all of which has been returned except the West Bank – which Jordan has renounced, and the Golan Heights – which has always been on the table in exchange for a peace treaty? Do you have any examples of land-grabbing in, say, the last 45 years?

      3. @ESM,

        Today’s world is not necessarily tomorrows world. Tomorrow people may not find electronics so useful, but eating is not going away.

        Regarding land grab – I am not particularly interested in details, dates, etc.
        Land was grabbed and not returned. Excuse is a detail.
        However, taking land to distance themselves from the terrorists sounds kind of ridiculous.
        I guess at certain point when enough land is taken the terrorists will all live in inside the same country…

      4. @Gary,

        “Regarding land grab – I am not particularly interested in details, dates, etc.”

        Not interested in details? Details are all that separates right from wrong, good from evil, order from chaos. If I punch you in the mouth, is it a mere irrelevant detail that I did it because you punched me first? If you claim I stole property from you, is it a mere detail that I claim I purchased it? Or that I took it as compensation for damage that you did to me?

        “However, taking land to distance themselves from the terrorists sounds kind of ridiculous.”

        Yes, well perhaps it would to people who don’t like to think about details. It must be a terrible mental strain to think about details like the distance a Katyusha rocket can travel or how far an armed terrorist can travel on foot before his probability of interception rises to unacceptably high levels.

      5. @ESM,

        Right analogy would be:
        You start a fight
        I win
        I take your house and make you prisoner
        50 years later
        Your kids are still prisoners of my kids in your own house
        Is it important to your kids that you started a fight 50 years ago?

        If the problem is simply of foot travel and katyusha rocket flight distance – then it must be easily solved, right?

  5. @ESM

    You are free to have your opinions, of course, but please refrain from unintelligent and disobliging name calling. It is the mark of someone who has opinions but not much knowledge.

    Now, as far as regards destabilization, simply look at the evidence rather than at your wishes. Secondly, read the documents, whether you go back to Brzezinski’s books or to the various neocon documents. As regards Israel, no comment. You are either blind to the obvious or a Zionist yourself. But go ahead and read Israel Shahak, Shamir, Liebenthal, Jabotinsky, etc., etc., etc.

    1. @Jim,

      This: “please refrain from unintelligent and disobliging name calling”

      also applies to that:

      “You are either blind to the obvious or a Zionist yourself”

      Do you remember how the communist propaganda in the Soviet Bloc called Jews or even people with a distant Jewish ancestry who were lucky to survive WW2? It looks that very little has changed, the same old line is being parroted again and again, not only by the members of the Iranian regime.

      So do you deny the right of Israel to exist?

      I can say – if true, get out of the place where you live and return it to the descendants of the previous inhabitants who were uprooted (whoever they were, American Indians, Aboriginals, Germans, Slavs, Turks, Greeks, Baltic People, Finns, Tatars etc.)

      BTW if we apply this logic further then Land of Israel belongs to Jews much more than to Arabs.

      It is true that a nasty war is gradually engulfing the region. Unfortunately frequent and bloody wars were normal in that region for at least last 5000 years – well before drilling for oil started. Appeasement or siding with the enemies of the West will not save any human lives and has nothing to do with “democracy”. I sincerely hope that Assad and Ahmadinejad are going to meet Gaddafi in the gutter of history and that this war is not mishandled as one in Iraq.

      1. @Adam (ak)

        “I can say – if true, get out of the place where you live and return it to the descendants of the previous inhabitants who were uprooted (whoever they were, American Indians, Aboriginals, Germans, Slavs, Turks, Greeks, Baltic People, Finns, Tatars etc.)”

        Wasn’t that the exact justification used to create Israel?
        You cannot have it both ways.

    2. @Jim,

      If you spout obviously silly conspiracy theories, expect to be called out as a conspiracy theorist. The idea that the US government wants instability in the Middle East is just absurd on its face.

      Instability means higher oil prices, and stability means lower oil prices. It doesn’t really matter who owns the oil.

      During the Cold War, we wanted stability in order to reduce the chance of a military confrontation with the Soviet Union. Since the Cold War ended, we’ve wanted stability to tamp down international terrorism.

      And going back 40 years, every US President has considered it his moral duty (for reasons I don’t understand) to bring peace to the “Holy Land.”

      “You are either blind to the obvious or a Zionist yourself.”

      I am a supporter of Israel, but I am not a Zionist. I don’t care much for religion, don’t think it’s necessary for Jews to have a homeland, and have no affinity for the land itself. That being said, I also believe Jewish nationalism is as legitimate as any other form of nationalism. More importantly, I think you have to deal with reality, and the reality is a Jewish state exists, and it has existed for over 60 years. I would be very happy if all Israelis packed up voluntarily and relocated to Arizona (legally, I hope), and the Arabs got to celebrate their miraculous victory over the evil Zionists and then went back to carrying on with their usual business. But that’s not going to happen, so instead I’ll just support the Israeli people’s continued survival.

  6. One can have no doubts about the immense brutality of the Assad régime. So don’t take me for pro-Assad. Nonetheless, there was a fascinating opinion piece yesterday on Al Jazeera’s website: journalist Pepe Escobar writes about “Syria’s Pipelineistan war: This is a war of deals, not bullets.” See

    It is a very interesting piece. One thing that I find implausible in Mr. Escobar’s argument is that Turkey would be willing to go to war for the dubious benefits of controlling the pipeline s mentioned.

  7. Guys, there is nothing “conspiratorial” in Jim’s post, so far as I can see. Plenty of people, Jews, Israelis, and high officials and academics, have commented on the neocon “takeover” of Middle East foreign policy, the way Israel is a taboo subject in the US, the supine attitude of Congress, and so on. Unquestionably Israel is a factor destabilization in the Middle East, owing to its actions towards Palestine, among others. It is also a nuclear state–stolen, by the way.

    However, to keep from the side of opinion and move towards the side of solid documentations and testimony, I can offer a short list:

    A Basic History of Zionism and its Relation to Judaism
    Hanna Braun, London

    The Zionist Plan for the Mddle East–Shahak

    Hegemony and Propaganda: The Importance of Trivialisation in Cementing Social Control

    General Wesley Clark tells of how Middle East destabilization was planned as far back as 1991

    Elements in Iran and US that Want War

    Col. Wilkerson: US War w Iran ‘3 yrs. Away’

    The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War

    Rebuilding America’s Defenses–Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

    Letter to President Clinton

    Brzezinski: U.S. Has Contributed To Destabilization Of Middle East

    A Clean Break:
    A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

    Playing skittles with Saddam

    Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”

    Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:

    Leslie Gelb, Leslie Gelb before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The CFR: January 23, 2007:

    Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has ‘no strategic interest’ in united Iraq. International Herald Tribune: January 29, 2007:

    Sarah Baxter, America ponders cutting Iraq in three. The Times: October 8, 2006:

    Secret Government–Bill Moyers

    The Three Pillars of Middle East Policy

    Many of the most serious dangers facing Americans today stem from our “special relationship” with Israel”

    How Israel Empowers Islamist Movements

    Why I Dislike Israel

    Open Door Policy

    Downing Street Memos

    Secret Government–Bill Moyers

    1. @Sam,

      “Guys, there is nothing “conspiratorial” in Jim’s post, so far as I can see.”

      Jim implied that “Zionists” and the US (acting through Turkey via NATO presumably) have somehow been a driving force behind the Syrian civil war and Turkey’s increasing involvement in it. Since this would require coordinated action impossible to hide from the media and the public, and since there are far more plausible explanations which have nothing to do with Zionism, Israel, or US geopolitical strategy, it is classic tin-foil hattery to believe it.

      “… Israel is a taboo subject in the US …”

      I always find this claim hysterical. It is almost politically-incorrect to be pro-Israel among the left-wing or on college campuses these days. It certainly doesn’t hurt anybody’s career to spout anti-Israel views. Helen Thomas spouted virulent anti-Israel views for over 50 years, yet had the front row middle seat at White House press briefings, even after she was no longer working for a legitimate media outlet. She only got into trouble when her thinly veiled anti-semitism (a separate but related pathology) was uncovered.

  8. These new movements in the Middle East need to take religion out of politics entirely or this whole experiment with democracy will fail. It’s sad to see the people who started the revolution in Egypt marginalized and find that the majority of brainwashed masses would vote for theocracy. It reminds me of the book “Animal Farm” in which the pigs restore a different type of dictatorship.

    And good luck to those on the site trying to resolve territorial disputes without first defining what is a “Jew” or “Arab” or forgetting that there are “Arab Jews” not to mention a whole variety of religions aside from the Muslim varieties that dominate the Arab world. The only thing that unites Arabs is a language. In the 60s and 70s, Arabs were divided with nationalism, and now they are divided with religion (Sunni, Shiah, Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Assyrian, Druz, Jewish, Yazidi, Chaldean, Zorastian, etc etc etc). 5000 years ago, most Arabs were Jewish before being converted to Christianity and Islam.

    1. @Zaid,

      With regard to destabilizing the Middle East either intentionally or by accident, consider that the Arab Spring uprising which gave rise to the current civil war in Syria was initially triggered by protests in Algeria in January of 2011 over rapidly rising food prices which quickly spread to Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

      Was it just a coincidence that the Fed was in full force QE2 mode at the time? I think most of us on this website agree that QE is not inflationary per se, because it is just an asset swap and if anything it is deflationary because it drains interest income from the real economy. However, I also think that most market participants saw QE2 as the Fed printing money and hence inflationary. In this context perception becomes reality which is why traders sold dollars and Treasuries and bought risk assets like equities, credit and COMMODITIES.

      The surge in commodity prices took a huge chunk out of North African and the Middle Eastern household budgets which were unable to absorb the spike in prices of basic food staples like wheat, sugar and corn. Bernanke testified before Congress that the inflation registered at that time was not a product of QE2, never mind that the Fed had already communicated to the market that QE2 was designed to raise inflation back up to the Fed’s comfort level of 2%. Instead, Bernanke blamed the inflation on rapidly rising oil prices attributable to production disruptions in Libya. But the oil production disruptions in Libya were a direct knock on effect from the Arab Spring uprising which was shifting into high gear.

      So, Ron Paul is probably misguided in wanting to End the Fed because it could prove to be a potent asset to the Department of Defense and Pentagon. So many regimes have been toppled and with the exception of Libya the U.S. hardly had to fire a shot.

      1. @Ed Rombach,


        Ethanol subsidies and mandates are a much bigger driver of higher food prices. Of course, we don’t have these in order to create instability in the Middle East. We have these because Iowa goes first in the Presidential primaries/caucuses.

      2. @ESM,

        Right, but we’ve had ethanol subsidies for a long time. Don’t get me wrong because I’m all against burning up our food supply, but the spike agricultural commodities at the start of 2011 did happen to coincide with the timing of QE2 which commenced a couple of months before.

  9. Esm: “The idea that the US government wants instability in the Middle East is just absurd on its face.”

    General Wesley Clark disagrees. He said the exact opposite. I won’t bother to inundate you with further references. You obviously have your mind made up. You are a supporter of Israel. Fine. That is your right. I am not a supporter. I think the evidence is very clear that it is a rogue state, a racist-apartheit state, and a terrible burden, an undue influence, and a very serious danger to our country. I mean, of course, Israel inasmuch as it is governed by right-wing Zionism.

    You should read the neocon US documents (such as “A Clear Break) as well as Israel Shahak’s translation of Oded Yinon’s work. Divide et impera is an integral part of that strategy. See also Mearsheimer’s “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

    1. @Jim,

      “General Wesley Clark disagrees.”

      Not really relevant to the discussion, but I’ll use this as an opportunity to point out that Wesley Clark deserves to be tried as a war criminal for his actions during the Kosovo War. He is also insane, which I suppose is actually relevant to the discussion.

      “I think the evidence is very clear that it is a rogue state…”

      I think we’re in agreement that Israel is a rogue state.

  10. Israel: Has Our Expiration Date Arrived?
    The question is not whether Israel will still exist in 10 years, but what kind of Israel will be here in 10 years?

    By Kobi Niv

    October 11, 2012 “Haaretz” – – Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said not long ago that in 10 years there would be no more Israel. What foolishness, right? Clearly, Israel will survive forever. First of all, because that is what our leaders say. Second, we have a fine army, smart bombs, a stable economy and high tech, too. And third, because God is with us. These are facts.

    Ok, suppose Clark is “insane.” Whatever. The question is, is Zionist strategy divide and conquer? Is US action in the Middle East divisive and destabilizing? To say so is not “conspiratorial.” And so what if someone avers that something is a conspiracy–which the OP did not? That does not make it false, as if conspiracies do not exist.

    You are simply pro-Israel. Fine, as Jim said. Give it a rest. Let’s get back to economics here, please. The blogosphere is too full of highly opinionated and gratuitously aggressive ideologues who emit far more heat than light.

    1. @Sam,

      “Give it a rest. Let’s get back to economics here, please.”

      Happy to, although I’ll wrap up by pointing out that a) you just posted 25(!) links to anti-Israel and anti-neocon material (presumably, I haven’t actually checked all of them); and b) I’ve never seen you post here before about economics (certainly nothing memorable).

  11. Therefore….

    I’m here to learn, not to open my mouth and vent my precious opinions. There are people here who know far more about economics than I do. However, occasionally one feels a need to react.

  12. Erdogan’s Janissaries
    Turks, Cease Fire!

    “The people of Turkey do not want war with Syria; even Turkish generals are not keen to unleash the dogs of war. Only pro-NATO Westernisers within Turkish leadership desire to overturn the legitimate government in Damascus. Other Turks remember that doing Western bidding never led Turkey – or Russia – to any good result.”

  13. ESM, your statement that the posted list is of “anti-Israel,” “anti-neocom, gives an insight into your mindset. It is an educational list, ESM, and not an “anti” list. It lists documents written by so-called neocons–not anti-neocon documents. It lists some historical material. Some of the items have nothing to do either with Israel or the neocons at all, but rather point to different aspects of geopolitics. Only one article–Giraldi’s–is strictly an “anti” article, but it refers exclusively to the current Likudist government. You have this knee-jerk reaction towards such material.

    By the way, here is a very significant snippet from the article on Turkey that Jim posted:

    “I remember snowy February 2003 in Istanbul, when I came to argue for banning the US army passage to Iraq. I told them that “the long standing Zionist plan is being realised. First, Iraq must be destroyed. After that, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, until all the former Ottoman Empire and its neighbours from Pakistan to Africa are turned into a Zone of Special Interests for Israel, policed by the Turks.

    This plan was outlined by General Sharon many years ago, re-formulated by the Zionist Neo-cons Richard Perle and Douglas Feith in 1996, and is now upheld by the Wolfowitz Cabal, the people who run the US foreign policy. If it will be done, it will have been done with the connivance of Turkey, of its ‘Islamic’ government.”

    Of course, what does Shamir know, that nitwit. You know better: he is just another “conspiratorialist.”

    1. @Sam,

      Thanks Sam. I didn’t know anything about Israel Shamir but now have looked him up. I think I understand better where you and Jim are coming from if you are willing to quote him as a reliable and objective source.

  14. Pretty ample investigation here:

    Roots of the Iranian Crisis in 3 parts:

    Good bibliography:
    The Middle East: archetypical “dangerous subject”

    A Basic History of Zionism and its Relation to Judaism

    Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby
    John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt explain in this interview why they decided to speak out against the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

    1. Seems I can never find anything written that’s ‘intellectually honest’ on this subject.

      Seems to me you have 6 million people living on a small piece of barren land on the coast surrounded by hundreds of millions largely generally publicly sworn to kill all of them given the chance. and so, for better or worse, they tend to act accordingly.

      It is also my personal belief that if the region went to floating fx currencies and policies to support domestic full employment at all times national attentions would generally turn inward as they seem to always do and most of today’s issues would soon be forgotten.

  15. Great video (also very intellectually honest):

    When Everything You Know Is Not True

    Miko Peled Debunking Jewish Myths

    “If Anybody here, came hoping to hear a balanced presentation, then they are going to be sorely disappointed. I say this, because a lot of the things that you are about to hear to night are difficult to hear.”

    “Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He has credibility, so when he debunks myths that Jews around the world hold with blind loyalty, people listen. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai.

    Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, whose father was the renowned Israeli general Matti Peled, speaking in Seattle.

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