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3 options for Turkey in Syria

Erdogan can do this the easy way or the hard way.

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In the aftermath of the Astana Memorandum and its subsequent implementation, Turkey finds itself in a precarious position. This awkward position is entirely of Turkey’s own making. Rather than staying fully out of the Syrian conflict, let alone choosing one side and sticking to it, Turkey has managed to be on several sides simultaneously.

–Militarily, Turkey is fighting the Syrian government using both its own troops and its terrorist proxy FSA

–Militarily, Turkey is also fighting the Kurds who in turn are fighting jihadists, including the Turkish backed FSA

–Politically, Turkey is part of the effectively Russian led Astana Peace Talks, thereby partly bringing Turkey into Russia’s political orbit in the region

–Politically and militarily, Turkey is a member of NATO and technically a long term US ally, though one increasingly at odds with the US, particularly over America’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The aforementioned list is filled with more contradictions than drinking to get sober, but that’s where Turkey is under President Erdogan. Where does Turkey go from here?

Here are three possible directions.

1. Continuing to Fight A Losing Battle

Turkey clearly has no reservations about violating international law. Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Syria is manifestly illegal and totally immoral. The same goes for all other countries operating in Syria with the exceptions of Russia and Iran. Likewise, Hezbollah fighters have been invited by Damascus, though no other non-governmental fighters have been.

There is every possibility that Turkey will continue to illegally push further into Syria, even in the aftermath of the Astana Memorandum creating so-called de-escalation zones.

If Turkey does this, it will mean that little has changed in the regions of Syria that Turkey has and continues to molest.

This however would not mean that the Astana Memorandum is a failure. The Astana Memorandum ought to be understood as a political document designed to force Turkey into a corner, isolate the United States from having a meaningful negative role in the conflict and simultaneous to that, isolating the Gulf from its NATO allies.

READ MORE: 5 reasons the Astana ‘safe zone’ Memorandum is good for Russia and Syria

In this sense, the Memorandum is all ready partly a success. The political balance of power has shifted away from Syria’s enemies and towards a Russian dominated settlement. Because Russia is genuine when it says that only Syria can determine its own political destiny, this new geo-political alignment of power works in the favour of a sovereign Syria.

Turkey can continue to engage in battles and skirmishes in Syria, but unless Turkey wants to be bogged down in a war with Syria for years to come, it will be a war that Turkey will have to back away from either sooner or later.

Furthermore, the Turkish public are quickly losing any appetite for foreign war, especially in the Arab world. If Erdogan continues with his obstinate mindset, it may be his undoing on the domestic front.

2. Finding New (old) Enemies

If Turkey wants to remain a serious member of the Astana Group and all ready Syria does not take Turkey seriously and fellow Astana member Iran has its deep suspicious (as does Russia in private), Turkey ought to refrain from interfering militarily in Syria. Turkey according to this scenario, should also refrain from  making any unilateral political statements. It is almost certain that audacious statements will be made at home, but the Turkish government ought to restrain itself from such remarks when the ears of the world are listening.

Under this scenario Turkey would concentrate only on fighting Kurdish forces. This also necessarily implies that Turkey would come to loggerheads with the US. Such things are all ready manifesting themselves.

READ MORE: America’s collision course in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict

If Turkey insists on achieving something in Syria but does not want to alienate itself from the Russian dominated peace process, it could indeed focus entirely on the Kurdish question. This however could mean trading the US for Russia in terms of a kind of ‘ally’. Would Turkey be willing to do this? There are certain signs indicating that Turkey has all ready prepared to do so, certainly in terms of trade.

READ MORE: Is Turkey pivoting closer to Russia?

3. Peace With Honour

This is a phrase coined by Richard Nixon to imply ‘retreat while saving face’. Although Erdogan has had ample time to take advantage of many easy exit roots from the Syrian conflict, most of them laid out by Russia, Erdgoan has thus far not taken advantage of any of these.

With Syria winning the war on the ground against terrorists, including those backed by Turkey and America digging in along side the Kurds, this would be the most practical option for Turkey.

By signing up to the Astana agreement, Turkey would be allowed to have the honour of having its name on a political settlement that many understand as meaningful. This would give Turkey the de-facto prestige that Erdogan’s ego craves.

The problem is that Erdogan is not a practical man. He is ambitious and driven by ego and fanaticism. That being said, even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Erdogan only needs to be correct once to absolve himself of his crimes.

Russia nor America will ever see him prosecuted for his crimes against humanity. He ought to count his blessings and take this option as soon as possible.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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