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Furious Erdogan threatens US over Incirlik air base

Furious Turkish government responds to US failure to provide Turkish troops fighting ISIS near Al-Bab with air support by for the first time publicly calling into question US use of Incirlik air base.

Alexander Mercouris

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At the peak of the optimism about the Russian-Turkish rapprochement in the summer rumours circulated of Turkey expelling the US from Incirlik air base in Turkey.

Incirlik is the single most important US and NATO air base in the east Mediterranean region.  Built by US engineers in the 1950s with a 3,000 metre concrete runway,  there are 5,000 US personnel permanently stationed there, in a base equipped with 57 hardened aircraft shelters and which stores US tactical nuclear missiles.

Russia’s Khmeimim air base is by comparison a hurriedly improvised affair using the 2,800 metre asphalt runway of a former civilian airport, which is less suitable for high performance aircraft such as supersonic fighters and (especially) bombers since their high engine heat can cause the asphalt to melt.

Incirlik was a key US asset during the Cold War, but it has also been used by the US to project its air power into places like Iraq and Lebanon.  It is a key US and NATO strategic asset, and though it is the US air force which dominates the base, the British, German and Turkish air forces also operate from there.

Incirlik’s size and importance means that the US would be certain to react very strongly to any serious threat to its use of the base.  Suffice to say that its loss would be an exceptionally heavy blow to the US strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East.  The importance of Incirlik to the US however also means that it provides a valuable tool for Erdogan and the Turkish government to gain leverage over the US if they are minded to use it.

Back in the summer, when rumours that Turkey was reviewing US use of Incirlik first circulated, I was extremely skeptical and discounted them, just as I discounted parallel rumours that Turkey was preparing to grant Russia use of Incirlik to conduct air operations in Syria.  In the event the weeks passed and the US was neither expelled from Incirlik, nor was Russia allowed there, nor was there any evidence of Turkey restricting US air operations from there.

What was however just a rumour in the summer is now for the first time becoming a genuine public threat.  Over the course of the last few days senior ministers of the Turkish government have called into question the US’s use of Incirlik to carry out air operations in Iraq and Syria.

The reason this is happening is because of the US refusal to provide air support to the Turkish troops fighting ISIS close to the strategically important Syrian town of Al-Bab.  Lack of air support caused the Turkish army to suffer a stinging defeat at the hands of ISIS close to Al-Bab, resulting in a call from Turkey to its erstwhile NATO ally – the US – to provide air support to its troops fighting ISIS near Al-Bab.  The US, caught between its loyalty to Turkey as a NATO ally and its support for the Kurds, immediately refused, provoking a furious reaction from Turkish President Erdogan, who accused the US of supporting ISIS.   This has caused Turkey to turn to its new friend Russia, which is providing Turkey’s troops with limited air support near Al-Bab in place of the US, though it is doing so in a quiet and discrete way.

These events have no led to the Turks for the first time using seriously the leverage Incirlik gives them to put pressure on the US.  A string of statements has come from senior Turkish ministers questioning why the US is being allowed to use Incirlik when it is refusing to provide air support to Turkey.  Here is what Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu is reported to have said

Our people ask, ‘why are they using the Incirlik Airbase. We allowed not only the US but also other countries’ jets to use Incirlik to jointly fight [Islamic State].  What purpose are you serving if you do not provide aerial support against Daesh [Islamic State] in the most sensitive operation for us?  The U.S. is a very important ally for us. We have cooperation in every field. But there is the reality of a confidence crisis in the relationship at the moment.

(bold italics added)

Çavuşoğlu’s talk of a “confidence crisis” in relations between the US and Turkey will ring particular alarm bells in Washington.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Işık has been if anything even more outspoken, and has made the link between Turkish anger over US use of Incirlik and the US’s failure to provide air support to Turkish troops fighting ISIS near Al-Bab crystal clear

We hope that all coalition forces, primarily the U.S., give air and other support that Turkey needs in the Euphrates Shield operation and the necessary step will be taken soon.  But it is thought-provoking that despite the fact we have been NATO allies for years, and that a coalition has been established to fight against ISIL, the coalition does not support the Euphrates Shield operation launched by the Free Syrian Army and supported by the Turkish Armed Forces. Al-Bab is a very critical location in the anti-ISIL fight

(bold italics added)

RT meanwhile is reporting that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak has told broadcaster A Haber that the issue of the Incirlik is on “the [Turkish] government’s agenda”.

Reaction from the US has been predictably swift, with RT reporting US Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the US anti-ISIS coalition spokesman, telling reporters in Baghdad in response to the Turkish statements that any steps to limit or ban air operations at Incirlik would be “disastrous”.

The entire world has been made safer by the operations that have been conducted there.  It’s a very important base to the coalition and to the ongoing fight against Daesh (ie. ISIS – AM).

It is important at this point to say that Turkey is not threatening to throw the US out of Incirlik or to make the base available to Russia, as was being wrongly reported in the summer.  The only threat Turkey is presently making is to limit or ban US operations from Incirlik against ISIS.  Moreover this threat is so far being made only implicitly, with Turkey merely “questioning” the “usefulness” of the US’s of the base, not actually threatening to stop it doing so.

It is also important to say that these Turkish statements have about them a frankly theatrical look.  Frankly they look more like threats and complaints, rather than serious warnings of future action.

It remains most unlikely that Turkey would risk the massive rupture with the US which would certainly happen if it were to throw the US out of Incirlik, whilst it is difficult to believe that Turkey – which is regularly accused of helping ISIS – would risk the media storm if it were to place restrictions on US anti-ISIS operations from Incirlik.

What this episode however shows is how fraught relations between Turkey and the Obama administration have become.  Even allowing for the fact that President Erdogan is a difficult partner, a situation where a key NATO ally like Turkey is now publicly threatening – however implicitly – to limit US operations from a NATO base, is practically unprecedented, and should never have been allowed to happen.  It is further testament to US President Obama’s disastrous mishandling of US foreign policy.

In their comments the Turkish ministers have been careful to leave the door open to Donald Trump to repair the damage.  No doubt he will act swiftly to do so.  Until then the question mark over Incirlik forms a not insignificant item in the bulging in-tray of foreign policy problems Barack Obama is bequeathing him.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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