Russian/Turkish Navies Heat-Up the Black Sea

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s response: “For a Russian soldier to display a rocket launcher or something similar while passing on a Russian warship is a provocation. If we perceive a threatening situation, we will give the necessary response.”” Indeed.

Turkey Detains Russian Ships In Black Sea, Blasts Moscow For Brandishing Rocket Launcher In Strait

zero hedge

Tyler Durden's picture

Exactly a week ago, we warned that Turkey does have one trump card when it comes to dealing with an angry Russian bear that’s hell bent on making life miserable for Ankara in the wake of Erdogan’s brazen move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian border. Turkey, we explained, could move to close the Bosphorus Strait, cutting one of Moscow’s key supply lines to Latakia. 

We went on to explain, that such a move would probably be illegal based on the 1936 Montreux Convention, but as Sputnik noted, “in times of war, the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish government.”

Obviously, Turkey and Russia haven’t formally declared war on one another, but the plane “incident” marked the first time a NATO member has engaged a Russian or Soviet aircraft in more than six decades and given the gravity of that escalation, one would hardly put it past Erdogan to start interfering with Moscow’s warships, especially if it means delaying their arrival in Syria where the Russians are on the verge of restoring an Assad government that’s Turkey despises.

Well sure enough, the tit-for-tat mutual escalation that’s ensued since the Su-24 crash has spilled over into the maritime arena with Moscow and Ankara detaining each other’s ships.

After five Turkish vessels were held at the port of Novorossiysk for “inspections,” Turkey retaliated on Friday by holding four Russian ships at the Black Sea port of Samsun. The following table reveals a hilarious list of the Russian vessels’ alleged infractions which apparently include fire safety violations, pollution prevention violations, and problems with “life saving appliances.”:

One of the vessels – the cargo ship Crystal – has yet to be released.

“Six ships with a Russian flag were checked at Samsun Port on Dec. 5. The ships were found to be in compliance with Port State Control (PSC) rules, a series of international standards that all ships are required to meet, but some problems were subsequently detected in four of the ships,” Hurriyet says, adding that “three of the ships consequently met the requirements and were permitted to leave, but the remaining vessel has not yet been permitted to depart.”

The Crystal apparently lacks the “required documents.”

Obviously, Russia and Turkey are engaged in a bit of petty mutual escalation here, but it’s worth noting that Samsun isn’t far from the Bosphorus:

And while Turkey now appears content to harrass Russian cargo vessels, one shouldn’t discount the possibility that Erodgan will look to do something more provocative now that it looks like the UN will ultimately be dragged into the ISIS oil smuggling debate.

Indeed, Moscow seems to be taking the Bosphorus issue quite seriously because as Hurriyet reported just hours ago, when the Russian warship Caesar Kunikov made its way through the strait on Saturday, a Russian soldier stood on deck with a shoulder ground-to-air missile at the ready.
And meanwhile, three NATO warships have dropped anchor off Istanbul’s Sarayburnu coast: Portugal’s F-334 NRP Francisco de Almeida, Spain’s F-105 ESPS Blaz de Lezo, and Canada’s FFG-338 HMCS Winnipeg.

Source: Bosphorus Naval News

Islam? No, it is All About Oil

[SEE: America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread]

Islam? No, it is All About Oil

Gord Cowie

We need some perspective here. First we have the senseless attacks on Paris and now an attack on San Bernardino. These are wonderful distractions, one coming right after Obama assured the world that Daesh was contained and the other after he assured America that there were no terrorist plots against it. Does anyone remember the TPP? We are getting close to the vote but we are all talking about these horrible people who are faithful to Islam instead.

The mass media neglects to mention that Muslims, not Islam, have been bombed and killed in their streets and in their homes for more than a decade now by the United States and its allies, Britain, France and NATO. If there is Islamaphobia in the west then it surely comes from an intense sense of guilt, with a healthy dose of incessant propaganda. If there are radicalized middle easterners, then they surely come from watching their countries destroyed and from burying their relatives in the prime of life for far too long now and in ever increasing numbers.

This mess has nothing to do with Islam which is no more than today’s Japanese Americans, all interned by the USA during WWll as potential terrorists, or Mexican immigrants who are all rapists according to Presidential candidate Donald Trump, currently ahead in all of the polls. They are the modern day African Americans, the ‘N word’ people. We have to stop buying in to this racial discrimination that is always perpetrated to advance western objectives that their own people would never agree to in the absence of a terrifying enemy, real or imagined.

The western allied incursions into Syria came one year after Bashar al-Assad declined to allow an American/Qatari consortium to run a pipeline from Qatar to Europe across his country. Syria has been a close ally of the Russian Federation ever since it was the USSR and this proposal ran contrary to his country’s national interests. America and friends gathered up Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and began an illegal insurrection against the legitimately elected government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Iran and Iraq, both Islamic States, along with Hezbollah, joined with Russia in responding to the Syrian governments request for assistance, under the terms of long standing agreements with the Russian Federation and in full conformity with international law. They mounted a campaign to eliminate Daesh that is proving to be highly effective. As the combined offensive reached the northern borders, Turkey was exposed as the facilitator that enables Daesh to sell oil on the open market, making them the de-facto financiers of this terrorist group

When the Russian offensive interrupted the illegal flow of oil from both Syria and Iraq, Turkey foolishly downed a Russian aircraft over Syrian territory with no advanced warning. Russia showed that until now, Baghdad and Damascus each control the southern parts of their respective countries all the way up to the oil fields that Daesh is exploiting. Above that line are the Turkish and the American allied forces.

Now Turkey has sent hundreds of troops, tanks and heavy artillery into Iraq without getting consent from Baghdad. This is a clear violation of international law. They are camped just 800 metres from the Daesh controlled oil fields, with the CIA on their right and the Kurds on their left. It looks like these guys are getting ready to protect the oil flow through Turkey and the cash flow to Daesh. Western policy has long called for the division of Iraq into different countries, separating the oil rich north from the south of the country.
This has nothing to do with Islam, it’s all about oil folks. Stick to the facts and this mess isn’t all that complicated to understand.

The Recalcitrant Hippy

Iranian Fighter Jets Joining Russian Bombing Campaigns In Syria

Iran’s air force to enter
Syria conflict: report

now lebanon

Al-Rai also reported that Russia has provided the Syrian regime with S-300 aerial defense systems.

Iran jet. (AFP/Ebrahim Norouzi)

BEIRUT – Iran is preparing to deploy two fighter jet squadrons to Syria to conduct strikes on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, according to a Kuwaiti daily with close access to Moscow’s military intervention in the war-torn country.


“The Iranian participation [in the Syrian conflict] is headed for more advancement with preparation for the arrival of two fleets of Iranian planes,” sources in the Damascus joint operations room of the “4+1” military coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah told Al-Rai‘s newspaper’s chief international correspondent, Elijah J. Magnier.


The sources added that Russian-manufactured Sukhoi jets would be deployed to the Tiyas (T4) airbase east of Homs after Iranian engineers finish preparations at the facility, which is near the Al-Shayrat base where Russia already plans to begin operating from.


“Iran and Russia have agreed that Moscow will perform all repair operations needed by these combat fleets along with provision of the necessary ammunition and the development of the launch systems of these Iranian planes,” the sources added.


Al-Rai also reported that Iran sees its planned aerial intervention in Syria as an opportunity for its pilots to gain valuable operational experience.


Iran jets

Iranian F-14 jets escorting a Russian bomber en-route to Syria. (image via The Aviationist)


Iran has already provided logistical assistance to Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria; with The Aviationist blog run by Rome-based journalist David Cenciotti noting that Iranian F-14 Tomcats had escorted Russian strategic bombers flying over Iran en-route to Syria.


The Iranian jets were spotted in a video released by Russia’s Defense Ministry on November 20 showing Russian Tu-95 bear bombers conducting bombing runs as part of Moscow’s military intervention in Syria.


Al-Rai’s Magnier has written a number of articles in recent weeks on Russia’s bombardment campaign in Syria, claiming access to sources in both the Baghdad and Damascus operation rooms for the “4+1” military coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah.


On Monday, the journalist reported that Russia was moving to deploy jets in the Al-Shayrat base located approximately 35 kilometers southeast of Homs.


The following day, a US defense official confirmed to Fox News that Russia was already operating helicopters out of the base, and was preparing to land fixed-wing aircrafts at the facility.


Syria receiving S-300s


The dramatic Al-Rai article also claimed that Russia has supplied Syria with an advanced aerial defense system.


“Damascus has received a group of Russian high-end S-300 missiles and these missiles are ready to enter active service,” sources told daily’s Magnier.


“Most importantly, Damascus will announce with this special development that any state that sends any plane into Syrian air space without coordinating with it will be considered an enemy plane and dealt with without warning,” the sources added.


“Safe passageways will be specified for planes that wish to enter the war on terror after coordination with Syrian military command.”


The S-300, which was first introduced into service by the Soviet Union in 1979, is considered one of the top air defense systems in the world.


After Turkey shot down a Russian jet on November 24, Moscow declared that it had deployed the more advanced S-400 to Syria in order to defend its aerial assets, however the Syrian regime itself has no operational control over the advanced air defense system.


Russia began its aerial bombardment campaign in Syria on September 30, striking rebels in the Homs, Hama, Latakia and Idlib provinces while also claiming to have hit ISIS targets further east.


Despite Moscow’s claim it was hitting ISIS, most of its airstrikes have been conducted in coordination with Syrian regime ground operations against rebels in the northwest of the country.

US Warplanes Bomb Syrian Army Forces Overnight—3 Dead Soldiers

[SEE: Syria strongly condemns the aggression of the US alliance to a Syrian Arab army camps in Deir al-ZourSANA]

Syria conflict: ‘Coalition strike’ kills government forces


French fighter jet is seen on the runway at an undisclosed location (17 November 2015)
The coalition’s air strikes targeting IS in Syria are not not co-ordinated with the government   Reuters

An air strike on an army camp has killed three soldiers, the Syrian government says, blaming the US-led coalition for the attack.

It said warplanes fired missiles at the camp in Deir al-Zour province, which is largely controlled by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

The ministry condemned what it called an act of “flagrant aggression”.

However, a coalition spokesman denied that its forces had carried out any strikes in the area.

The coalition has been targeting IS militants in Syria since September 2014, and does not co-ordinate with the authorities in Damascus.

Last week, the UK decided to participate in the air strikes in Syria, extending its existing bombing campaign against IS in Iraq.

The Syrian foreign ministry said four coalition warplanes fired nine missiles at the camp in Deir al-Zour province on Sunday evening, killing three soldiers and wounding 13 others.

Three armoured vehicles, four military vehicles, heavy machine-guns and an arms and ammunition depot were destroyed, it added.

The ministry did not say which camp was hit, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier reported that coalition jets had bombed part of the Saeqa camp, near the town of Ayyash in western Deir al-Zour.

The UK-based monitoring group put the death toll at four.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this flagrant aggression by the US-led coalition forces, which blatantly violates the objectives of the UN Charter,” the foreign ministry warned.

The ministry called on the UN Security Council to “take urgent measures to prevent such aggressions from occurring again”.

It added that such “aggression hinders the efforts to fight terrorism, and proves that the US-led coalition lacks seriousness and credibility to effectively fight terrorism”.

However, coalition spokesman Col Steve Warren denied it was responsible.

“We’ve seen those Syrian reports but we did not conduct any strikes in that part of Deir al-Zour yesterday. So we see no evidence,” he told the AFP news agency.

Col Warren said the coalition’s only strikes in Deir al-Zour were some 55km (34 miles) away from the area where the Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed.

A separate strike believed to have been carried out by the coalition in the nearby city of Deir al-Zour overnight killed a woman and two of her children, the Syrian Observatory said.

IS controls most of Deir al-Zour province, including almost all of its capital.

The province links the group’s headquarters in Raqqa with territory controlled by the group in western Iraq, and its oilfields are also a major source of revenue for IS.