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Thursday, February 18

"Turkish-backed rebels fire U.S. manufactured missiles at U.S. backed rebels"

[banging her head on the keyboard] AMN has the story, which ends with this observation, 
However, there is not much the U.S. can do anymore, as their Gulf allies have invested too much time and money in proliferating weapons to groups that fall short of being considered “moderate”. All the U.S. government can do now is watch this comedy of errors from afar.
Beyond qualifying "comedy' with "macabre" there's not more than can be said about the debacle. 

In other Screw-Up News, Tony Cartalucci and his pesky long memory dredged up embarrassing information on just who's in control of Azaz, the Syrian city Erdogan has vowed to defend to the last drop of Turkish blood to protect his 'Turkish brothers" there:
For several days now, Turkey has been firing across the border at the pivotal Syrian city of Azaz. The city is on the verge of being overrun by Kurdish fighters who will for all intents and purposes shut down one of ISIS' last remaining logistical hubs supplying their fighters in Syria from Turkey.
Turkey has vowed not to allow the city fall and has implied it is willing to go as far as invade Syria to ensure that it doesn't.
While Turkey poses as an enemy of ISIS and has not mentioned its presence in the city of Azaz or why it would attempt to protect them, it would be in 2013 that the BBC itself would declare Azaz "seized" by the terrorist group. In their article, "Isis seizure of Syria's Azaz exposes rebel rifts," the BBC would report:
...the Free Syrian Army lost the town of Azaz to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or Isis, the most hardline group linked to al-Qaeda on the rebel side. As a measure of the grip the jihadis have in Azaz, one eyewitness inside the town said no-one was smoking on the streets - tobacco is forbidden according to strict Islamist doctrine.
Other reports from last year indicated that ISIS was either near or in the city -- suggesting not that it had ever lost control of Azaz but that at various moments during the conflict it suited the West and its regional allies better to pretend "moderate rebels" held it instead.

It should be noted that in all Western media stories, it is never precisely mentioned who the Kurds are fighting in Azaz -- because it is ISIS. 
Considering this, Turkey would be quite literally intervening to save ISIS and other hardcore terrorist groups sharing the city with it.
Tony is less hopeful than AMN that the USA can do little in response to Turkey's machinations; he closes with these grim observations:
While the US and Europe attempt to distance themselves from Turkey, they have at the same time committed to a campaign of disinformation attempting to frame ongoing security operations moving ever closer toward Turkey's border as "targeting civilians" and attacking "moderate rebels" at the expense of fighting ISIS.
This is to lend Turkey and Saudi Arabia rhetorical cover, however tenuous, ahead of any actual intervention.
What will ultimately determine whether this remains mere "saber-rattling" or transforms incrementally into wider war, will be the actual deterrence Syria and its allies, including nuclear-armed Russia, are prepared to meet continued provocations with.
The next few days pose a critical test to Syria and its allies - a test that may determine whether or not this conflict passes through the gateway toward greater war.
As to whatever happened to all those Syrian "moderates" -- according to what the co-founder and acting head of the Kurdish PKK, Murat Karayılan, told RT:
It was the interference of Ankara and Riyadh that stripped the Syrian opposition of the remaining democratic and moderate attributes, Karayılan added.
That would make sense; the big fish eat the little fish and in Syria who gets the most weapons, ammo, training and funding determines which fish get big. 

Karayılan also told RT that the PKK has "documentary evidence" that Turkey's regime is a supporter of jihadis operating in Syria:
“Along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has been sponsoring jihadists [in Syria] that emerged from Al-Qaeda… These states backed and armed radical Salafi groups, which base all of their actions on sharia [law],” he said.
He thinks Turkey's aspiration to be a regional leader "forced it to get bogged down in the Syrian crisis."  I'm not so sure that's the main driver, at least not since the Russians entered the fray; it could simply be the threat of lost money from oil smuggling. 

The smuggling operation is so big, and involves so many countries, I don't see how it could have ever been merely a family affair. I think Turkey's regime was fully involved, leading to the question of how much revenue it stands to lose when -- or if -- the Iraqi and Syrian smuggling routes are sealed off.


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