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American Resistance To Empire

Comic-Strip Nation

[SEE:  Guts & glory: the making of the American military image in film One Minute to Zero: Camp Carson ;‘LET THERE BE LIGHT,’ JOHN HUSTON VS. THE ARMY ]

Comic-Strip Propaganda

reason

How Washington officials inserted ideas into the funny pages

The U.S. government has a history of inserting propaganda into popular culture, sometimes overtly and sometimes behind the scenes. Comics historian Jeet Heer has dug up a particularly interesting example: Roy Crane’s strip Buz Sawyer. Crane not only coordinated his storylines with Washington during World War II and the Cold War, but he sometimes allowed officials to dictate the details of his plots.

In 1952, for example—just a year before a CIA-assisted coup in Iran—Crane set a story in that country. As part of the process of producing it,

And then to get Mosaddeq out, amirite? 

Roy Cranea State Department official named Eugene V. Brown sent Crane a ten-page memo, explaining in precise detail the plot points the government wanted for Buz Sawyer, along with what purpose those points served. These included finding a way to “stress [the] importance of Private Enterprise” and to portray “the manner in which Communism attempts to discredit development and improvement programs of the West.” Crane, meanwhile, should do his best to steer clear of certain delicate topics. “It would be best to avoid any reference to OIL in discussing Iran.” Because winning hearts and minds was key, Brown wanted a story showing “a strong bond of friendship” between Buz and an Iranian pilot named Sandhu, the purpose of which was to “provide entry of Buz into local situation on common level with indigenous forces.” (Crane followed this direction, although he used the name Ali instead of Sandhu.) Other plot points were designed to provide “further evidence of machinations of Communism” and “display American individual’s ingenuity in coping with operations.” Six months after the strip appeared, Crane praised Brown’s contribution in a letter to Dean Acheson, Truman’s secretary of state and one of the key architects of the cold war…

As Heer notes, the “millions of Americans who read Buz Sawyer in 1952 would have gotten a very distorted image of Iran. They would have seen a country where Americans were chiefly helping to avert a famine, where the major threat of disorder came from Soviet spies, where Americans were good-hearted aid officials, where control of the oil supply wasn’t a factor, and where the U.S. government had no conflict with the democratically elected government.” Such storylines weren’t good for the cartoonist’s craft either, Heer argues: “As Crane became more concerned with tailoring his strips to a political message, they lost the spark that had once made them special.”

To read Heer’s whole article, go here. To read about the government’s efforts to influence radio programs during World War II, go here. For a more recent story of this sort—the messages that the Clinton-era Office of National Drug Control Policy inserted into prime-time TV shows—go here.

Saudi War In Middle East Aims To Forcefully Convert Or Kill All Shia Muslims and Christians

[Anyone who can’t see by now that the real “Sunni Caliphate” will be “Greater Saudi Arabia” has not been paying attention to Saudi aggression in the region.  This has been Obama’s goal from the beginning, to hand control over the problematic Middle East to his Saudi patrons. 

(This seems to confirm the normally scoffed-at conspiracy theory, that it has been the Saudis, NOT THE JEWS, who have controlled this so-called “war on terror” from the beginning.)

  War-mongering king Salman has been arrogantly open about his intentions to cleanse the Middle East of Shiites and other religious apostates (this would include Christians, obviously), even whike he pretends to be fighting against the Caliphate of ISIS.  The Saudi royals and their Gulf subordinates have been creating their own Sunni Caliphate, right before our eyes.  The fact that the world’s only hope for humanitarianism, the United Nations, would allow a tribal Arab king to murder thousands of Shia Houthis while conducting its religious ethnic-cleansing operation on the rest of them is proof that human compassion is just another commodity that can be bought and sold like anything else.]

 We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason [i.e., convert to Sunni Islam–ed.].”–Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir

[Such is the human condition, when laid bare before us. 
Where is God in this equation?]

[SEE:UN Capitulation To Saudi Demands Equals Partnership In Ethnic-Cleansing of Middle East]

Religious eugenics

Russia-Today

How Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a frightening new movement in the ME

Catherine Shakdam

© Khaled Abdullah
Blanketed by its wealth and protected by political alliances, Saudi Arabia has covertly run and promoted a new movement in the Middle East: religious eugenics, under the false pretense of opposing the rise of Iran. From Syria to Bahrain and Yemen the evidence is overwhelming.

Earlier this August, the Red Cross added its voice to those of other humanitarian and rights groups in its condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, lifting the lid on Riyadh’s little house of horrors in southern Arabia.

In no uncertain terms Peter Maurer, the head of the international Red Cross told reporters he had seldom witnessed such degree of devastation. He said: “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years … The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria.”

He stressed “the firepower with which this war is fought on the ground and in the air is causing more suffering than in other societies, which are stronger and where infrastructures are better off and people are wealthier and have reserves and can escape.”

A country in ruins, Yemen is also a nation in permanent mourning, as every day its people are relentlessly slain – casualties of a violent and murderous colonial war – the latest victims of Riyadh’s expansionist military campaign in the Middle East.

According to official UNICEF tallies, “close to 2,800 people have been killed and almost 13,000 people injured (including 279 children killed and 402 injured, respectively). An estimated 1 million people have been internally displaced (an increase of 122 percent since the crisis began), and some 400,000 people have sought protection in neighboring countries.”

While such figures are horrifying, they fall short of the truth. Agencies on the ground have already said that well over 500 children have been killed in Saudi-led air raids, most specifically in northern Yemen, where the war has been most devastating and aggressive. On average, children account for a quarter of all deaths and casualties.

For those who have managed to find shelter, living conditions are catastrophic. With no water, no electricity, little food and no access to health facilities ten million children are at risk of disease and starvation – again, North Yemen has suffered the brunt of this crisis.

Never in its history has Yemen experienced such a degree of pain and utter despair. But while wars are generally ugly affairs since they require their fill of blood before the canons finally fall silent, Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen is far from ordinary.

But not only that, Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Middle East is betraying a disturbing and rather ominous covert agenda, one which resonates with ethnic engineering and religious eugenics.

And if so far few have connected the dots, their hands tied by Riyadh’s overbearing and overarching control on media outlets and the grand political narrative, it is high time we learn to recognize Al Saud’s campaign for what it really is: a concerted effort to cleanse the region of all religious minorities, beginning with Shia Islam, its self-appointed nemesis.

To put it in simple terms – under Saudi Arabia’ suffocating grip, religious minorities are dying a slow and painful death.

From Syria to Bahrain, the kingdom’s eugenics campaign threatens the region’s religious and ethnic patrimonies, in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when Jews and Gypsies were labeled undesirables.

Saudi Arabia is now building 600 mile wall to keep dangerous people out. What a concept! #tcot#pjnet#FoxNewspic.twitter.com/u056SB7HxW

In an interview this April, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir lifted the veil on Riyadh’s determination to carry through its agenda, no matter the price, no matter the impact. He asserted: “This campaign is having a huge impact in Yemen and it is not over yet. For us failure is not an option. We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason.”

If subtitles were running they would read – the Houthis will be destroyed because they represent a religious challenge to Wahhabism’s hegemony in the region. The Houthis, and the majority of all northerners in Yemen are Zaidis, a branch of Shia Islam.

Is it then a surprise that while South Yemen has benefited from humanitarian aid, North Yemen has witnessed a spike in violence, its seaports targeted to prevent food and medicine to be ferried in? Riyadh is quite simply profiling aid to carry out its religious cleansing, punishing millions for their rejection of Riyadh’s religion.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocracy, and as such its very raison d’ être is rooted within its violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism, the ideology which inspired the likes of Al Qaeda and Islamic State. One of the main tenets of Wahhabism actually calls for the destruction of all religious sects, Islamic or otherwise. For Wahhabis there can be no greater glory than to massacre “apostates.”

And while Riyadh’s neo-eugenics movement has taken on different forms, operating under various denominations depending on the countries it has targeted, the underlying current has been the destruction of religious pluralism.

Let me ask you this: Is there a real difference between Manama’s campaign to strip Shia Bahrainis from their nationality because the House of Al Khalifa seeks to eliminate all political and religious competition, and Islamic State’s murderous rampage against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria? And though Bahrain’s campaign might appear more “elegant” in that it is more covert and pernicious, the intent remains the same.

From the language used to the policies it has carried out in the Middle East, Riyadh has pushed the sectarian card, christening the resistance movement against its eugenics movement, the so-called Shia crescent threat.

The real threat here lies with Riyadh’s twisted crusade and sickening sectarian agenda.

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. Her writings have been published in world-renowned publications such as Foreign Policy Journal, Mintpress News, the Guardian, Your Middle East, Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye, Open Democracy, Eurasia Review and many more. A regular pundit on RT, she has also contributed her analyses to Etejah TV, IRIB radio, Press TV and NewsMax TV. Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and consultant for Anderson Consulting, her research and work on Yemen were used by the UN Security Council in relation to Yemen looted funds in 2015.

US Navy Eager To Pick A Fight With China To Create Mission For Useless Littoral Combat Ship

[The US Navy might as well dream-up its own missions, to justify their place in the war of terror, the Army has been doing it since the beginning of this global disaster.  The Army, Marines and CIA have been training terrorists and posing as terrorists in order to justify their fight against terror, why shouldn’t the Navy do the same in its shift to the Pacific?  Compounding tensions in the shallow S. China Sea to keep Congress from cancelling the LCS program is merely par for the course.  (SEE:  What Price Freedom? Questions Surround LCS-1 US Navy’s First Littoral Combat Ship Enters Dry Dock for Repairs)]

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

military dot com

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

The speed, maneuverability and shallow draft of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship makes the platform well suited for the South China Sea, Pentagon leaders said while releasing a new Asia-Pacific maritime strategy document.

“The LCS is ideally suited for a role in the South China Sea. It is fast, light and flexible and it has a fifteen foot draft so it can go places other vessels cannot go. We plan to have four LCS ships in Singapore on a rotational basis by 2018,” David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told reporters on Friday.

The service has long planned to rotate the ships through Singapore as part of the Pentagon’s shift to the Pacific. However, the increasing LCS fleet size underscores the potential value of the platform in the South China Sea region, where there are many shallow ports inaccessible to larger-draft ships.

The Navy is preparing to receive four more of its shallow-water Littoral Combat Ships between now and February, effectively doubling its current fleet and paving the way for more deployments.

On Aug. 11, the Navy formally accepted delivery of LCS 6, the USS Jackson, during a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

Following this delivery, the service is preparing to accept delivery of LCS 5, the USS Milwaukee, in October of this year and the USS Montgomery, LCS 8, in December of this year, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson recently said.

On the heels of these deliveries, the Navy plans to receive the USS Detroit, LCS 7, in February of next year, he added.

“By early next year, the Navy will be operating eight littoral combat ships and we’ll be accepting four more by the end of 2016. The Navy will continue to accept ships at that rate for the next several years making the LCS class the second largest surface combatant class in the fleet and the key to our ability to operate in shallow, coastal waterways around the world,” Johnson recently told Military​.com.

Shear explained that stepping up LCS missions in the South China Sea is part of a broader strategic effort to maintain presence and patrol the area in light of China’s recent efforts to build artificial land structures in the contested Spratly Islands.

China’s island building, referred to by Pentagon officials as land reclamation, has been ongoing effort to further fortify their territorial claims in the region. Pentagon officials have said the China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres of area over the last 18 months, more than all other claimants in the region combined.

In June, Pentagon officials publicly acknowledged that China was placing weapons on the reclaimed islands.

“Our approach to the South China Sea has been robust. We have engaged China repeatedly at the highest levels to implement a permanent halt to reclamation. We of course have a very strong and persistent military presence designed to maintain peace and stability,” he said.

The Spratly Islands includes an area of more than 750 reefs, small islands and atolls in the South China Sea off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Highly disputed for centuries, the area is rich in oil and natural gas. Countries claiming rights to territory in the Spratly Islands include China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, and Brunei.

Shear referenced an ongoing congressional effort to add funds to the 2016 defense bill slated for arming and training U.S. allies in the Pacific.

The South China Sea includes strategically vital waterways, important to international trade. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has criticized China’s artificial island-building and said the U.S. would not be deterred by China’s moves.

“China has said it has stopped reclamation but it is not clear to us if they have stopped or are just finishing up. There is the potential for militarization of these features. We call for a permanent halt to all of these activities. The U.S. does not recognize the sovereignty claims of these artificial islands,” Shear said.

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, negotiated in the 1980s and updated in the 1990s, an island is defined as a “naturally formed area of land above the water at high tide.” Also, article 60 of the U.N. Convention says “artificial islands are not entitled to territorial seas.”

Shear added that the U.S. would continue to step up its military presence in the area and work closely with allies in the region. He cited the deployment of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and two new missile-defense capable destroyers to Japan. Furthermore, the Navy’s new high-tech DDG 1000 Zumalt-class destroyer is slated for the Pacific.

“US forces currently present in the South China Sea conduct a variety of presence operations. We are in the South China Sea on a regular basis,” Shear said.

Shear also added the Navy’s new P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane will also continue to help military efforts in the Pacific. “We have a vested interest in ensuring that territorial claims are resolved peacefully,” he explained.

NATO propaganda centre is opened in Riga

NATO propaganda centre is opened in Riga

pravdaPravda.Ru

NATO propaganda centre is opened in Riga. Riga

Source: Pravda.Ru photo archive

An official ceremony marking the opening of the Strategic Communications Center known as NATO Center of Excellence was held in Riga today. Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand, and the US Senator John McCain were present at the event.

The Centre is meant to coordinate the NATO activities, and prepare informational and psychological operations of the Alliance.

The main objective of the Centre, as it was declared, is combating the so-called Russian propaganda.

Such NATO information offices are also present in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The capital city of Latvia Riga is to host a special conference on the strategic communications during the next two days. Representatives of the NATO countries, as well as Ukraine and Georgia plan to discuss the role of social media during the conflicts. Influence of the Mass Media on the society in the period of critical situations will be also discussed by the experts.

NATO worries over the fact that more than a quarter of Latvian residents have Russian roots and speak Russian, that leads to support of the Russian Mass Media they consider to be propagandistic

– See more at: http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/20-08-2015/131696-riga-0/#sthash.XipPkVcN.dpuf

Ankara’s Lies On Syria Contradicted By Washington’s Liars

Ankara disinformation on Syria causes diplomatic fiasco with Washington

bgn news

Washington has had to dismiss statements from the Turkish Foreign Ministry three times in the past two weeks pertaining to developments concerning Syria and the coalition efforts against ISIL.
Ankara disinformation on Syria causes diplomatic fiasco with Washington
On Thursday, a day after Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said that the United States launched air raids against ISIL from the İncirlik airbase in southern Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu caused controversy when he proclaimed to the press that, “The US has yet to hit Daesh [ISIL] through Turkey,” adding that only “reconnaissance flights” started from the base.

Later in the day, both the US Central Command and the Turkish Military confirmed that the strikes took place. Çavuşoğlu’s aide claimed the prior statement was a “misunderstanding.” He added, “Mr. Minister had wanted to say that there were no Turkish jets [hitting ISIL targets].”

The safe zone that never was

Thursday’s back and forth between Ankara and Washington served only as a mirror for Wednesday.

Another controversy erupted when foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu claimed that both sides had agreed that a safe zone was to be created in Syria. “The control and protection of this region cleared of (ISIL) will be conducted by Syrian opposition forces and the necessary air defence and support for this … will be provided by the United States and Turkey.”

The response from Washington came with Mark Toner from the US State Department emphasizing “We’ve been pretty clear from the podium and elsewhere saying there’s no zone, no safe haven—we’re not talking about that here. What we’re talking about is a sustained effort to drive ISIL out of the region.”

The PYD and YPG

Another point of difference between Turkey and the United States regarding tackling ISIL has been the role of Syrian Kurdish Groups such as The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed structure, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), with Ankara against the principle of supporting the groups.

The state-run Anatolia News Agency was on the forefront saying that Turkey and the US agreed not to allow the PYD to enter any area cleared off from ISIL. When asked if the US will allow a potential attack from Turkey against the PYD and the YPG, Toner answered back “No, no, our understanding with Turkey is that they will not attack, and we would not agree to that.”

August 13, 2015 | BGNNews.com | Istanbul

Obama Now Erdogan’s “Bitch” Over ISIS/KURD Deception

“A Turkish officer entered the allied headquarters in the air war against ISIS and announced that the strike would begin in 10 minutes and he needed all allied jets flying above Iraq to move south of Mosul immediately,” the source said. “We were outraged.”

Senior US military official: Turkey ‘needed a hook’ and tricked us on ISIS

business insider

turkey pkkREUTERS/Umit BektasA woman after having her nails painted with the colors of the flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), during a gathering celebrating Newroz, which marks the arrival of spring and the new year, in the border town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on March 17.

A senior US official has accused Turkey of pulling a bait-and-switch by using a recent anti-Islamic State agreement with the US as a “hook” to attack the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s clear that ISIL was a hook,” the senior military official told The Journal, referring to the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh).

“Turkey wanted to move against the PKK, but it needed a hook.”

On Tuesday, an American military source told Fox News that US military leaders were “outraged” when Turkey began its bombing campaign, giving US special forces stationed in northern Iraq virtually no warning before Turkish jets started striking the mountains.

“A Turkish officer entered the allied headquarters in the air war against ISIS and announced that the strike would begin in 10 minutes and he needed all allied jets flying above Iraq to move south of Mosul immediately,” the source said. “We were outraged.”

The confrontation highlights the tension growing between the US and Turkey, which became a reluctant ally in the fight against ISIS after years of turning a blind eye to the militants’ illicit activity on its southern border during the Syrian civil war.

Ankara officially joined the coalition fight against ISIS on July 24, striking ISIS (and the PKK) on the same day. It also recently began allowing the US to use the Incirlik airbase in Turkey to carry out strikes against ISIS.

But Turkey has conducted 300 strikes against the PKK and three against ISIS since July 24, according to data compiled by IRIN news. All three ISIS strikes occurred on the first day of the campaign.

Nearly 400 Kurdish militants have been killed, IRIN reports, compared with nine ISIS militants.

When asked about Turkey’s commitment to fighting ISIS, a senior defense official said “there are still question marks out there. Our folks are very eager to put it to the test.”

And if Turkey keeps going after the PKK while trying not to provoke ISIS, “it will leave the US without a Syria strategy,” geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer told Business Insider by email.

“Access to Incirlik airbase matters, but the additional bombing it enables will only help contain ISIS, not roll it back,” Bremmer added. “And it will leave Washington without the improved relations with Ankara that the Obama administration is hoping for.”

ISIS map as of July 27 2015Reuters

The ongoing bombing campaign against PKK strongholds in northern Iraq came as a surprise, but it probably shouldn’t have: Turkey has long seen the PKK — a designated terrorist organization that waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey — as more of an existential threat than ISIS, which refrained from launching attacks inside Turkey even as its militants lived and operated along the border.

“The PKK is a bigger threat to us, as it is active within the country,” a Turkish official told The Wall Street Journal. “They stage attacks on our security forces on a daily basis, in many cities. ISIS is more active in Syria, and is therefore less urgent now.”

kurds kurdish populationREUTERS

Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party’s absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, also a member of the AKP, said on Thursday he would prefer an election to be held “as soon as possible”, Reuters reported.

“The AKP needed the Kurdish angle to sell the war to ultranationalists inside Turkey,” whose main priority is to curb Kurdish territorial gains along its southern border, Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider last month.

But Erdogan’s gamble has come at a price: Nearly 40 Turkish police officers and military officials have been attacked and killed by PKK militants since the war began, and that number is increasing every day.

turkeyREUTERS

Erdogan has also complicated his party’s relationship with Washington further: While the White House was relieved when Turkey announced it would allow the US to launch airstrikes against ISIS from Incirlik airbase in its southeast, the PKK is a politically contentious target.

The militia was working with US-backed Kurdish fighters to repel ISIS from northern Iraq and is also closely linked to the Kurdish YPG militia, which, backed by US airstrikes, has proved to be the most effective force fighting ISIS on the ground in northern Syria.

Now the US is reportedly embracing an all-out partnership with the YPG to make up for the failures of its $500 million Syrian train-and-equip program — a move that is sure to anger Ankara and inflame tensions even further.

“To fully embrace a Kurdish force would complicate an already fragile strategy, two [US] defense officials concluded,” Nancy Youseff of The Daily Beast reports.

“The Turks … would not welcome an emboldened Kurdish force on its southern border. Neither would many of America’s Arab allies, who are also threatened by Kurdish sovereignty movements.”

Turkey Feigns Fight Against ISIS, Just As We Pretend To Fight “Al-Qaeda”

“Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect…nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption.”

[Is the quotation above about Turkish airstrikes or American drone strikes?  How do we know that any “legitimate media” war report is true?]

Instead Of Fighting ISIS, Erdogan Pushes Turkey Toward Chaos And Despotism
forbes


Untitled Melik Kaylan

I cover conflicts, frontiers and upheavals mired in history.

In Turkey, an ISIS suicide bomb kills 30 and wounds many more in the Kurdish area town of Suruc. The Kurdish insurgent terrorists, the PKK, then start killing Turkish policemen and soldiers while ISIS attacks a Turkish military border post. Peace demonstrations ensue in some cities which police put down with the, by now, familiar methods of severity against civilians. Ankara and Washington reach an agreement allowing the US to use its bases inside Turkey against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Erdogan’s spokesmen announce that Turkey’s air force has conducted raids against both PKK and ISIS targets across the border. Turkish authorities arrest some 900 people nationwide, mostly Kurds, for allegedly belonging to terror networks. Turkish tanks shell Kurdish villages in Syrian borderlands near Kobani. Meanwhile, news leaks that the US has solid evidence of Turkish collusion with ISIS in months past. Let us pause here and dispel some of the fog.

First, let us remember that Turkey conducted a national election on June 7 and still hasn’t formed a government. All these decisions in a time of crisis are being taken by somebody. Someone’s running the country. We’ll get to the full implications later but initiatives are being taken, orders given. The air raids for instance. Worth a little scrutiny. For example, you have to wonder, since the Turkish air force knew of PKK targets in Iraq, so quickly and easily neutralized, why didn’t it act before? And why attack Syrian Kurds near Kobani who, after all, are busy fighting off ISIS? Especially if you’ve declared ISIS the enemy because it has killed 30 people in a suicide bomb inside Turkey.

On the ISIS front, it’s worth viewing the video put out by Ankara of the air strikes against several sites by F-16s using laser-guided munitions. All the targets seem to have one thing in common: they’re each at a safe distance from residential complexes in ISIS territory. They’re set apart in open fields. They betray no marks of military activity. Now, humanitarian though this might seem – which itself begs the question – you still have to wonder. Does ISIS keep strategic targets clear of population centers? And, if so, why were such targets still so manifestly available. The US has waged its air war against ISIS since last September. They left a few for the Turks? The skeptic might ask if these were meaningful targets at all.

I remember during the Iraq war that Ankara would announce with fanfare various bombing sorties to hit PKK camps nestled in the Zagros mountains in retaliation against one or other PKK atrocity inside Turkey. Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect? The PKK never slowed down. Barzani grumbled about territorial integrity. The White House mumbled about Turkey’s right to self-defense. I queried Kurds from Iraqi Kurdistan, from both Suleymaniah and Erbil, during those years about any publicly mooted information about those recurrent air strikes. While they expressed outrage at territorial violation by Turks, nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption in Turkey.

Let’s keep firmly in mind the overarching attribute of Turkey’s AKP leaders throughout the last decade: they’re invariably long on demagogy and short on solutions. The goal always is to stay in power, mute criticism, corrupt all necessary institutions, suppress dissent, play the populist card. And play it so unscrupulously that the country polarizes step by step. Protestors are terrorists. Critical journalists are atheists. Gulenists serve a foreign power. Kurdish politicians are fronting for the PKK. The mayor of Ankara, a top Erdoganista, sued a journalist for accusing him of – wait for it – being Armenian!

Much of the time nobody knows what’s really going on after any eruption of internal conflict first gets reported – they only get exposed to propaganda and polemics. The media gets muzzled and social media suspended. It happened after two gas cylinder bombs exploded at a HDP Kurdish party rally ahead of the elections killing two and wounding over 100.

It has happened after the Suruc horror by ISIS. Erdogan’s main objective, to befog with theater when he can’t hide the reality, hasn’t wavered. Hence the display of signing the Incirlik Airbase deal with the White House. Hence the bombing runs against ISIS. These add up to a manifest U-turn as he and his party have publicly abetted ISIS in myriad snide ways, even giving cover to its foremost vociferous advocate in Turkey, the noisy and sinister Halis Bayancuk whom they’ve just re-arrested. Previously arrested in 2014, he was released by the authorities while the prosecutor and judge who had moved against him were demoted. The government then defended him publicly as a victim of the ‘deep state’ conspiracy, one of Erdogan’s favorite polemical bogeys.

Meanwhile, as many domestic commentators now say, Turkey is hovering on the brink. Similarly, others are pointing out that the country now faces total crisis not accidentally but in line with Erdogan’s plan to monopolize power, become the indispensible figure amid chaos. In the old days, when fractured elections led to paralysis and conflict, the military would step in and tidy up the mess, acting as last-chance custodians of the Republic. These days their role resides, democratically, with the President. Alas, the ‘honest-broker’ is also a dishonest protagonist in the fray, namely Erdogan himself. The office of the Presidency requires him to stand above politics. He hasn’t – even though the country voted away his party’s parliamentary majority for that reason, as a rebuttal of his ambition to make the Presidency paramount. He planned to re-enact the Putin/Medvedev tango, Turkish-style, moving between the position of PM and President to avoid term limits.

As I wrote here after the election produced no winner six weeks ago, Turkey has never fared well with coalitions. In this case, the coalition didn’t even materialize. While the various parties continue to negotiate on forming a government, they’ve left Erdogan in charge by default. What I warned then, is coming to pass (even quicker than expected) when I said, “and here’s the most scary part: as things deteriorate it will be up to the President to impose order by one means or another” and “a fundamental player in the equation (Erdogan) has no interest but to let things get very bad indeed”.

And so here we are. For Erdogan it’s even better that there’s no government. He rules by diktat. To do so, he needs crises. He’s busy creating them. Stoking the Kurdish conflict simply polarizes the country further, catalyzes civil war Assad-style. He will call a sudden election when things are bad enough. There’s some chance he might have miscued though. After all, he has no coalition to blame. Instead of seeing him as the indispensable strongman, the country might hold him responsible for all the chaos. If there is still a country by then.

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