Syrian rebels blow up Russian rescue helicopter with TOW missile.
The ecstatic ululations of “Allahu Akbar!” make my blood boil, and here we find ourselves, allied with Turkey which just shot down a Russian fighter in defense of Islamist insurgents.
But, as Walter Russell Mead points out, if we don’t stand by Turkey, who ever is going to believe we will stand by the Baltic States or Poland and the rest of Central Europe or do anything meaningful to stop Russia swallowing Ukraine?
The rapid deterioration of global order took an ugly turn this morning and we all moved a little closer to the abyss: Two Turkish F-16s have shot down what appears to be a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border. Two Russian pilots parachuted out of the plane as it went down in flames. One pilot was captured by Turkmen fighters in Latakia province, with early reports indicating the second pilot did not survive the ordeal. Turkey is claiming the bomber was warned ten times about being in Turkish airspace before it was shot down. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called for a special consultation with Turkeyâ€™s NATO allies.
The facts of the case arenâ€™t clear as I write. The Kremlin is calling it a â€œvery serious incidentâ€ but said it was still studying the specifics. Russiaâ€™s initial spin appeared to be that the plane was brought down by fire from the ground, but that story is not likely to hold for long given that Turkey is insisting it did the shooting. The plane was â€œexclusively over Syrian territory throughout its entire flightâ€, Russiaâ€™s foreign ministry maintained. â€œThis is recorded by objective controls.â€ Turkey, however, has released a radar trace of the incident purporting to show that the plane had crossed into Turkish airspace over the province of Hatay.
Russia has been flying missions over Latakia province since it began combat operation in Syria at the very end of September, and has by some accounts upped their intensity since Russia fingered ISIS as the party responsible for the downing of its civilian airliner over the Sinai. ISIS is not known to be operating in Latakia, however, and just yesterday, Prime Minister Davutoglu had said that Turkey would â€œnot hesitateâ€ to act on Syrian soil to protect the Turkmen people. (The Syrian Turkmen minority is one of many groups scattered between China and Bulgaria who speak a Turkic language and share cultural and historical roots with the Turks of Turkey.)
Regardless of the facts of this case, the root cause of the problem is continued aggressive Russian activity in and around Turkish airspace. That aggression was bound to cause problems at some point. Whether Russia or Turkey is more to blame with respect to this particular situation, overall there is no doubt that Russia is the country that bears the political responsibility for the incident.
Itâ€™s now critical that Russia not be allowed to intimidate or pressure Turkey over the episode. That means NATO support. Turkey, unlike Georgia and Ukraine, is a full-fledged NATO member, and failing to stand behind it threatens to unravel the alliance. Putinâ€™s number one goal, we must remember, is to break NATOâ€”or at minimum to show that it is a paper tiger.
Ankara— Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known by the MÄ°T acronym, has drawn a lot of attention and criticism for his controversial comments about ISIS.
Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President’s staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law.
A more cheerful perspective comes from an anonymous Facebook friend who is apparently some sort of US spook, and who is very hostile personally to Russian intervention in Syria:
Never forget that Turkey’s army is 3X larger than Russia’s, is better trained and equipped, has far better air support, and that they have access to 60 nuclear weapons held for them in a U.S. bunker at Incirlik.
And then there’s this: Turkey is a member of NATO, has been forever, and has as much right to invoke Article 5 as do Germany, France, UK or the US.
Putin was warned, explicitly, by dozens of us that the risks of a shoot down like yesterday’s were “very high” when he put his foot in the shitpile. He didn’t listen.
And those are our proposed courses of action, Mr. President,â€ concluded the CENTCOM commander.
â€œWhen I was elected, I told you I wanted to be briefed on your plan to utterly destroy ISIS, General,â€ the President said. He was young and usually quite calm, but as a Cuban-American son of immigrants, he understood tyranny and knew how to deal with it. â€œGeneral, what you gave me are timid half-measures that donâ€™t begin to meet the intent I expressed to you. Now, I may not have served myself, but I understand the old game of manipulating civilian leadership by providing just the options you want instead of the ones the commander-in-chief requested. Youâ€™re relieved of command, General. Fired. Agents, show the general out.â€
He turned to his chief of staff. â€œGet the Wildman on the line.â€ As the Secret Service agents bum rushed the stunned four star out of the Oval Office, the President took the phone.
On a Florida golf course, the secure cell phone of the retired Marine everyone called â€œThe Wildmanâ€ rang, ruining his putt. The Wildman was a legend for his aggression, hence his nickname. President Obama had naturally felt it necessary to replace him with a more pliable, passive CENTCOM commander. He answered, then listened.
â€œGeneral, this is the President. We need you. I am ordering you off the retired list and back to active duty as CENTCOM commander, effective immediately. I want to see your plan for the total destruction of ISIS in 72 hours. Your rules of engagement are simple. Wipe them out.â€
The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiqâ€™s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Romeâ€™s Waterloo or its Antietam.
â€œDabiq is basically all farmland,â€ one Islamic State supporter recently tweeted. â€œYou could imagine large battles taking place there.â€ The Islamic Stateâ€™s propagandists drool with anticipation of this event, and constantly imply that it will come soon. The stateâ€™s magazine quotes Zarqawi as saying, â€œThe spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify â€¦ until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.â€ A recent propaganda video shows clips from Hollywood war movies set in medieval timesâ€”perhaps because many of the prophecies specify that the armies will be on horseback or carrying ancient weapons.
Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. Western media frequently miss references to Dabiq in the Islamic Stateâ€™s videos, and focus instead on lurid scenes of beheading. â€œHere we are, burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,â€ said a masked executioner in a November video, showing the severed head of Peter (Abdul Rahman) Kassig, the aid worker whoâ€™d been held captive for more than a year. During fighting in Iraq in December, after mujahideen (perhaps inaccurately) reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts or hostesses upon the arrival of the first guests at a party. …
Need I explain further? Send enough US led troops to liberate Dabiq, then hold it against what should be the inevitable ISIS counterattacks. Hey, they want to die there and we want to kill them, so this is what we call a win-win.
John Gabriel refers to Barack Obama and the Office of the Petulancy.
But what we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough. …
â€œ[W]hat Iâ€™m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. Iâ€™m too busy for that.
Even members of the MSM are getting fed up with Obama’s smugness and ever-ready condescension, his total and absolute certainty of his intellectual superiority and the consummate perfection of the liberal pieties constituting his entire world view.
US Marines on Facebook today were applauding the owner of this shield which bears the marks of most of a magazine of AK-47 rounds and a fair amount of suicide vest shrapnel.(picture source: iTele French TV)
Claire Berlinski reports that graffitists in Paris have responded to the attacks by painting on walls the city’s medieval Latin motto.
This phrase is the motto of Paris. It means, roughly, â€œtossed by the waves, but not sunk.â€ You can see it in the cityâ€™s coat of arms. It derives from theCoat of Arms 5 Seine boatsmanâ€™s corporation, the Marchands de lâ€™eau. They were a Middle Ages hanse, an organization of merchants (as in the Hanseatic League), organized in 1170 to control all trade conducted on the Seine River. Its jurisdiction was â€” in principle â€” limited to commerce, but you know how these things go; they became powerful enough to organize a whole city government outside the reach of the French crown. An uprising in 1383 forced them to disband, and they never regrouped. But Paris has been well and truly fluctuat since then, nec mergitur.
I like the slogan for a few reasons, but among them is the message: Weâ€™ve been around since the Romans. Youâ€™ve been a caliphate since June 29, 2014, we believe?