Archive for November, 2015

Turkey Attacks Russia: Sarajevo 2015?

November 26th, 2015 Comments off

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, may at present be the most dangerous man on our planet. Renowned as a brilliant politician domestically, who skillfully manipulates Turkish public opinion for electoral gains, he has also established a reputation for shooting from the mouth without much forethought when it comes to foreign affairs. On November 24, 2015 Erdogan went beyond words, authorizing his air force to take down a Russian fighter jet.

While some of the facts regarding the shootdown of the Russian Air Force SU-24 remain in contention between Turkey and Russia, what has emerged  is deeply disturbing. Even Turkey admits that the Russian aircraft was in its airspace for a mere seventeen seconds.  American authorities have informed various news agencies that the SU-24 was  in Turkish skies for only a few seconds, and was actually flying over Syria when it was destroyed by a missile fired by a Turkish fighter. These facts would seem to confirm the allegation made by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the shootdown of the SU-24 was premeditated. In other words, President Erdogan had apparently ordered his country’s air force to destroy a Russian military aircraft as soon as a pretext emerged. An overflight that may have occurred over Turkish air space for a few seconds provided that pretext.

If Erdogan sought to destroy a Russian aircraft, for what purpose would he have engaged in such a dangerously brazen escalation of the already explosive reality that is the failed and disintegrating state of Syria?

The Turkish president maintains that Russia’s claim that it is fighting ISIS is a canard, and that Moscow is primarily targeting the “moderate” opposition to Assad, which Turkey supports. Until the bombing of a Russian airliner over Sinai, that was certainly true. However, after the Metrojet plane was destroyed over the Sinai desert, Russia began shifting its bombing campaign towards the Islamic State. Furthermore, Turkey has been playing the same game, under Erdogan’s instructions. Also claiming to be fighting ISIS in Syria, the Turkish Air Force has actually conducted far fewer  air strikes on the Islamic State than Moscow’s air force. Instead, Turkish aircraft have primarily targeted the Kurdish militias in Syria, the same force that has been the most effective opposition to ISIS in northern Syria. Erdogan is much more interested in preventing the Kurds from achieving any form of sovereignty in the Middle East than in confronting the Islamic State.

The most likely explanation for Erdogan’s astonishing decision to launch an attack on a Russian aircraft was to thwart and strangle at birth the nascent indications of a possible grand coalition being formed to combat ISIS, involving the United States, France and Russia. After the terrorist attacks in Paris and the destruction of the Russian airliner in Egypt, French President Hollande saw a rare opportunity to bring together those three countries in facing a common danger. It must be noted that the Turks downed the Russian warplane on the same day Hollande was in Washington, meeting with President Obama prior to a follow-up meeting with Putin. The shootdown of the SU-24 probably has doomed President Hollande’s vision of a grand alliance working together in fighting the Islamic State.

Irrespective of Erdogan’s immediate objective, his reckless decision has perhaps put the entire planet on the path towards an unintended but potentially devastating war. President Putin will be forced to act  in some form, not only due to his own personal feelings. No matter how cool-headed and cautiously he may intend  to respond to the Turkish attack, he is not immune to Russian public opinion. Not only the shootdown, but the barbaric murder of one of the parachuting Russian pilots by Turkey’s allies in Syria–an act that is in clear violation of the Geneva Convention–will inevitably stimulate great indignation among the Russian people.

In 1914 renegade elements in a foreign intelligence service orchestrated the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo. In the weeks that followed, miscalculations intersected with a system of military alliances that put the world on the path to world war. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Erdogan has already called on NATO for full support in the face of possible future Russian military countermeasures in response  to the destruction of the SU-24. Alarmingly, President Obama has already expressed public support for Turkey’s right to defend its airspace.

Before Turkey’s recklessly irresponsible leader drags the United States into an unintended military confrontation with Russia over events in Syria, President Obama should reconsider his blanket support for Turkey’s belligerent and brazen acts of violence against Moscow, and make clear that the United States–and NATO–will not be dragged into a conflict with Moscow over Erdogan’s dangerous adventurism.


DONALD TRUMP 2016: America’s Next President? is available on Amazon:…/…/B0156PAAVM


Sheldon Filger's photo.


Bloodbath In Paris: ISIS Ramps Up Its Global War

November 15th, 2015 Comments off

By Allah, we will take revenge!

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi



The attack by battle-hardened jihadists in the French capital on Friday, November 13, 2015 was not the first time terrorism directed at the residents of Paris had occurred. Yet, even in a large metropolis that has experienced urban terrorism with North African and Middle East connections many times before, there was an unprecedented ruthless efficiency  in the barbarism unleashed  on undefended soft targets and the resulting mass carnage. In its impact, the attack on Paris will likely be compared to 9/11 in the United States and 7/7 in London.

The Islamic State, aka ISIS, has taken credit for the mass killings in the French capital. Should the claim by ISIS be proven accurate, it marks a grave–but not unpredicted–escalation in the global jihad being waged by the Islamic State against an enemy it has defined as essentially the entire world that lies outside the boundaries of the nascent caliphate. In the summer of 2014, shortly after the armies of the Islamic State had begun their territorial grab in Iraq and conquered Mosul, the second largest city in that war-torn country, the self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivered a sermon in that town’s  Great Al-Nuri Mosque.  The essence of his proclamation was that the formation of the caliphate was not an end in itself, but a means to an end, which he stated without a trace of ambiguity was perpetual jihad–holy war– against the non-Islamic world. His prose was stark and uncompromising, and for those who listened, al-Baghdadi made clear his intention of utilizing the ever-expanding Islamic State as a platform for unleashing vengeance upon the non-Islamic world.  The appalling slaughter in Paris followed by only two weeks the destruction of a Russian Metrojet airliner over the Sinai desert, which ISIS has proudly claimed responsibility for–and a growing body of expert analysis tends to confirm the connection, which killed 224 passengers and crew. The day before the Paris atrocity, suicide bombs detonated in a largely Shiite neighborhood in Beirut killed 43. Again, the Islamic State identified itself as the force behind the attack.

The French president, Francois Hollande, described the jihadist attack on Paris as an act of war committed by ISIS. For the first time, a Western leader appears to understand that the Islamic State is not a traditional non-state actor engaging in terrorism, but an actual state entity conducting warfare, asymmetrical in character, but with a clear strategic focus. Will President Hollande, along  with President Obama, draw the proper conclusions? Unfortunately, the past year and a half since the emergence of the Islamic State as a regional and now global actor does not give rise to optimism. The U.S. president, in particular, has displayed indecisiveness and a lack of clarity in confronting the challenge of the Islamic State.

Obama, however, is not alone. The Russian president, Putin, has been equally lacking in leadership. While boasting that his military intervention in Syria’s civil war is for the purpose of fighting ISIS, Putin has been using the Islamic State threat as cover for supporting the Assad dictatorship and its Iranian Shiite allies, in the process facilitating support for the Islamic State by Sunni Muslims in the Arab world, who increasingly look upon ISIS as the only force that can protect them against their perceived enemies, especially Iran and “infidel” foreigners conducting air raids on their lands.

In contrast with the confusion and strategic incoherence among his enemies stands the caliph of the Islamic State. However barbarically inhumane he may be, al-Baghdadi is not incoherent in relation to his long-term objective and the tactical and operational means required for its attainment. He wants the world outside the caliphate, including moderate Arab countries, to be struck down with massive social, political and economic chaos. Mass casualty attacks on the civil population of his perceived enemies are the method. The likelihood, in the absence of  coherent and strong leadership in the target nations, are future attacks that unfortunately will dwarf the bloodbath in Paris in their murderous impact.




DONALD TRUMP 2016: America’s Next President? is available on Amazon:…/…/B0156PAAVM


Sheldon Filger's photo.