Yemen : US Mission Creep

The chance of US military Mission Creep in Yemen as well as Iraq and Syria appears to be ratcheting up with the departure of the Obama Administration. The further deployment of US Forces in both Iraq and Syria, aiming to destroy ISIS in the Levant and support Syrian rebel forces, has seen a constant incrementalism over the past 2 years as numbers grow. Now the US forces  deployed in Yemen also appear to be ratcheting up, as the US is drawn deeper into the stalemated Yemeni civil war. Comparing Yemen’s belligerent forces over the past two years shows almost no movement in core territorial gains for any side.

Stratfor

YEMEN :March 30, 2017

Stratfor

The US Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between the US and Iran by the outgoing Obama administration, to reduce the chances of direct US-Iranian armed altercations in the Middle East, was part of the de-escalation process that also saw the roll back in US sanctions against Iran. The obverse of this policy was a rise in Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concerns about US future commitment to their defence. Especially so after the recent meeting between the Iranian Quads Force Commander Qassem Soleimani with rebel Houthi forces in Yemen. The Yemen Civil War has reached stalemate with both the Yemeni  forces under President Hadi, the al-Houthi rebels in the NW and the al Qaeda/ AQAP / ISIS aligned bedouins holding almost the same regions today, as at the outbreak of the civil war. Meanwhile the ‘peace talks’ in Switzerland drag on with no side in any hurry to compromise.

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President Erdogan of Turkey melts down over Europe

The Turkish President Recep Erdogan has unleashed invective against the Dutch specifically and in general against the EU as a whole, as relations between Europe and Turkey crash to an all time low. Prior to the recent Dutch elections the Turkish government attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the Dutch electoral process by actively electioneering for the Erdogan administration, in another Sovereign State’s territory.

PA

Erdogan demanded that Holland open itself up to the Turkish electoral process by allowing electioneering by the Turkish ‘firebrand’ Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and access to campaign in Holland amongst Dutch resident Turkish citizens. Such an outrageous demand by a foreign power galvanised the normally quiescent Dutch administration into a response. They absolutely forbad Turkish campaigning in Holland, and backed up that rejection by banning  Cavusoglu’s entry into The Netherlands.

This ban immediately triggered Erdogan into a tirade against Holland which rapidly grew into a hate-fest against the whole of Europe. The old chesnuts regarding the ban on Islamist headscarfs and associated head and body coverings, because of their inflammatory cultural/political connotations roared back, with Erdogan inflammatory rhetoric, in the Turkish daily Hurriyet, suggesting a return to the Crusades and a ” struggle between Cross and Crescent”. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/headscarf-ruling-touches-off-battle-between-cross-crescent-president-erdogan-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110893&NewsCatID=510>. The Turkish President then upped the ante by accusing the EU of reverting to a Nazi type ‘spirit of Fascism’ roaming the streets of European capitals.

Not to be outdone the excluded Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, engaged in a most undiplomatic outburst about how a Jihad Holy War would soon engulf the whole of Europe. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-warns-of-holy-wars-in-europe-in-remarks-on-dutch-elections–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110874&NewsCatID=510> .

Once the dust had settled and the Dutch elections were over, Cavusoglu rejoined the overheated rhetoric with, … “When you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist [Geert] Wilders. All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe.”

Whilst  the rest of the European leaders were congratulating the Dutch Prime Minister for successfully seeing off the challenge from Geert Wilders, the leader of the right wing Freedom Party, Cavusoglu and Erdogan took  to thumbing their noses at the Netherlands, taunting re-elected Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “O Rutte! You may have been first in the elections, but you have lost a friend like Turkey.” Newly re-elected PM Rutte must have thought, ‘with friends’ like these who needs enemies.’

Erdogan continued, “there is no such prime minister here – give it up, you have lost” after Rutte, understandably, declined an invitation from Erdofan and Cavusoglu to dine with them and  receive a further personal tirade of hatful rhetoric. 

Erdogan’s undiplomatic language is symptomatic of his current tentative grasp on power, as he lurches hard fascist right, into a potentially sharia compliant Islamic State in Turkey. By purging most of his opponents, within the former Turkish secular administration, Erdogan appears to be emboldened, however he must know that he has generated a serious groundswell of opposition against his administration. His ‘attack dog’, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu is playing to the semi-literate tailings in the Eastern electorate hinterlands of Turkey, who epitomise the current move towards a single party Islamist State and away from a secular NATO ally.

Threatening the EU with Jihad Holy War and suggesting that Turkey will flood Europe with millions more displaced Syrians and other Islamic populations, appears to show Erdogan’s true face. Threatening to scuttle Turkey’s migrant readmission agreement with the European Union and demanding more ‘Danegeld’ reparations from Europe is classic extortion writ large.

The faux coup d’etat of 2016 in Turkey, using the pretext of a ‘Gullan plot’ against the Turkish State, has swept away much of the expertise and experience within the Turkish Armed Forces, Bureaucracy and Courts. It has also relegated any hope of Turkish admission to the EU moot, for the foreseeable future. Erdogan’s dream of a neo-Ottomon empire appears to have reverted to the back burner for now, as the Assad Regime slowly regains power over Syria. This realpolitik from Erdogan is reflected in his apparent rapprochement with both Russia and Israel. Faced with a shocked EU, a traditionally hostile Arab Saudi Arabia on his doorstep, a galvanised Kurdish threat to his Southern Borders, and a challenge from a Shi’a, soon to be nuclear, Iran, Erdogan needs all the allies he can get.

Expect the Erdogan Administration to turn inward over the next few years as he bolsters his internal grip on power. Erdogan must be feeling vulnerable as his reconstituted ‘allies’ have had recent experience of Erdogan’s capriciousness and he must question just how much support he might actually get from them.

 

 

 



NS Advisor Mike Flynn’s departure: Combination of NSA ‘bear trap’ and personal failure to tell the whole truth

National Security Advisor Gen. Michael T. Flynn (ret.) — who resigned Monday — was the victim of a “hit job” launched by intelligence operatives, Obama government holdovers and former Obama national security officials, according to former intelligence officials who spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.Flynn didn’t help himself much either when he foolishly failed to fully brief VP Mike Pence and thereby exposed him to ridicule in the partisan media who played their part in this staged managed soap opera. 

PA
The talk within the tight-knit community of retired intelligence officers was that Flynn’s sacking was a result of intelligence insiders at the CIA, NSA and National Security Council using a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” to create a crisis atmosphere. The former intel officers say the tactics hurled against Flynn over the last few months were the type of high profile hard-ball accusations previously reserved for top figures in enemy states, not for White House officials.
“This was a hit job,” charged retired Col. James Williamson, a 32-year Special Forces veteran who coordinated his operations with the intelligence community.
Noting the Obama administration first tried to silence Flynn in 2014 when the former president fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Williamson called Monday’s resignation, “stage Two of ‘Kill Mike Flynn.”

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INTEL Wars: The CIA under Brennan was out to get General Flynn

Writing in Bloomberg News today, Eli Lake comes to a similar conclusion and adds a good deal of background in a fine piece of reporting. Flynn, he concludes, was just the appetiser: the knives are now out for President Trump. The fake news media is in a feeding frenzy, including this attack on Kellyanne Conway and this bill of indictment of the Trump Administration from the Washington Post. Without full access to all of the facts one can’t evaluate the White House decision to let Flynn go, but the practical result of the decision will be to escalate attacks on the Trump White House, not reduce them. The Elitist Establishment, of the DNC, Beltway pundits and elements of the RNC, is a wounded beast fighting for its existence in the era of the ‘non-politician. This is a take-no-prisoners, no-quarter-asked-or-given war.

AP

How come no-one is accusing NSA Director Michael Flynn of taking bribes from Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan? Not long ago, they did. Last November 18, Commentary Magazine’s Noah Rothman called Flynn a “dubious choice” for the National Security Council because his consulting company had a Turkish client, adding that Flynn’s views on Turkey raised a “conflict of interest.” Flynn had published an article in The Hill on Nov. 8 warning that America’s dalliance with the messianic Turkish Islamist and alleged coup plotter Fethullah Gulen might undermine the country’s relationship with NATO, at a time when Russia was giving Turkey the full-court press.

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A-10 Lightning II (Warthog) still needed down in the weeds

The U.S. Air Force won’t consider retiring the A-10 Warthog <http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-air-force-now-plans-to-keep-the-a-10-warthog-flying-1788309985#_ga=1.41855211.836898836.1483458923>  from service at least until 2021, according to news reports. That’s a relief for ground troops who have come to rely on this workhorse of a plane.

USAF

Defense News <http://www.defensenews.com/a10%20retirement%202021>  reports talks over the A-10’s future are still ongoing, with some deliberations over if the platform needs to be replaced with a new program altogether. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said today that he would like to see the conversation around the close air support mission (CAS) move from a “platform-centric discussion” that focuses on whether the A-10 is needed or not, to a more “family of systems” approach that recognizes that a variety of aircraft support operations on the ground.
Translation from bureaucrat to real English: the Warthog, like any other plane, is not a multi-purpose aircraft, and the military these days loves multi-purpose everything, as the great F-35 can program makes clear. <http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/f-35-a-great-plane-now-thanks-to-president-trump-1791824958#_ga=1.121287112.1551709916.1441293991>  The A-10, on the other hand, needs to be discussed with the purposes it was built for in mind.

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