Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, November 25, 2015
We are not at war, but the situation is serious. Turkey fired first and clearly not in self-defense, so their call for a NATO convention is not likely to get the entangling alliance into a shooting war with Russia; spin and propaganda will continue.
It is becoming more clear what happened. The Turks fired on the Russian Su-24 warplane during the minute it was over Turkish territory; the missiles struck the Russian plane after it left Turkish air space and was over Syria. The Russian airmen parachuted over Syrian territory; one of them was killed in the air over Turkmen rebel-held Syrian territory as his parachute descended and his body displayed to celebrating rebels; the other was rescued by Russian and Syrian government special forces. A Russian air/sea rescue helicopter was sent to the aid of the original airmen and was destroyed by the rebels with one reported casualty.
Turkmen rebels claim that they killed both Russian airmen while they were in their parachutes, but it is reported that one survived and was rescued, and claims they were never in Turkish airspace; whether they were or not, they could not have been over Turkey for very long. http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-state-media-russian-syrian-special-forces-rescue-095540893.html
The Russians are now moving Surface to Air missile assets, both land (to be deployed at the rapidly growing Russian base in Latakia) and sea – a Russian missile cruiser off the Syrian coast – into the area. It is very likely that Russian cruise missiles will ruthlessly bombard the Turkmen areas, causing a large surge of refugees from Syria to go into Turkey. Turkey doesn’t particularly want them, and will try to get Europe or the United States to accept them.
“So, does this mean that they want NATO to serve the Islamic State?”
Putin noted that Turkey’s contacts with NATO member states after the attack against the Russian aircraft look like an attempt to make the alliance serve terrorists.
The Russian leader said that instead of immediately establishing contacts with Russia after the bomber incident, “the Turkish side applied to its NATO partners to discuss this issue, as far as we know.”
“It seems as if we have shot down a Turkish plane and not vice versa,” the Russian president said.
“So, does this mean that they want NATO to serve the Islamic State?” Putin noted.
I think we have not seen the last of this. The Turks want to end Russian bombardment of Turkmen rebels in Syria; I do not think that shooting down Russian aircraft is the way to do that, and shooting descending parachuting survivors is probably not the best way to win favor with Russia.
Abdul Abulbul Amir
The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah,
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.
If you wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
For Abdul Abulbul Amir.
Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
In the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go where he trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.
Young man, quoth Abdul, has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel, know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.
So take your last look at the sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty skibouk,
Singing, “Allah! Il Allah! Al-lah!”
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
They parried and thrust, they side-stepped and cussed,
Of blood they spilled a great part;
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on the spot.
They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.
As Abdul’s long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, “Huzzah!”
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh,
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.
There’s a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
And graved there in characters clear,
Is, “Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.”
A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back,
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
‘Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps,
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
When I was in high school a very long time ago, we read among much else Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game”, https://archive.org/stream/TheMostDangerousGame_129/danger.txt which I quite enjoyed; but in the class discussion one of the students pronounced the name of one of the characters ‘EEvan”, which was correct; but I and a couple of other students incorrectly and impolitely shouted “EYEvan”, which drew Brother Daniel into the discussion. He first told us that either pronunciation might be correct, because it is pronounced differently in some countries; and it is likely, since the character in question was not American not was his master, “EEvan” was likely the pronunciation intended by the author. More important, though, was the impertinence of those who had interrupted the discussion with such an irrelevant point. Since clearly the intent of those who called out “EYEvan” was to to demonstrate their superior intellects — But first, he said, those who spoke out of turn will please raise their hands. This being the school that it was, the three of us who were guilty did so.
“There is a poem, not in your book and not likely to be in the school library, about a Russian named Ivan Skavinsky Skiver, and the poem makes it clear that the pronunciation intended by the author of the poem was ‘EYEvan’. It is not long. You will bring me a copy of that poem, and you will also recite it to me. Now may we get on with the discussion?”
Understand, this was just after World War II. There was no Internet, nor electronic data bases. We also got no hint whatever as how to proceed. We certainly were not told that the poem’s name was Abdul the Bulbul Amir. I bicycled to the downtown Memphis library where I was well known, but librarians in those days were not all that well educated, and the ones on duty at the time had no clue. Eventually someone told me to try to find the poem Abdul a Bulbul Amir, and probably around the turn of the century, and that after a bit of search did it. It wasn’t hard to memorize or to copy, and I have remembered it – mostly – ever since. Some of the verses I found were different from those in the rendition above, but I have no idea of what collection I found it in in 1948, so I will defer to those more familiar with it than I.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
Re the above, it’s hard to decide whom to more believe, Turkey or Russia… Both nations would feature highly in my personal “Top Ten List of Bad Regimes”, and both have leaders in whom one cannot place any great degree of trust and who display increasing avarice in matters planetary (in fairness though, few world leaders nowadays strike me as any better, especially the current usurper in my own land of Australia).
In this instance, my sympathies, such as they are, tend to be more on Putin’s side than Erdogan’s; he is less likely to do something stupid, and has more of a western background and outlook than his opponent here. That said though, Russia itself has been guilty of numerous and deliberate if brief incursions over national airspace and in territorial waters of many countries. Even in the circumstances as we currently understand them to be, I find it hard to credit this one as any more accidental than the others were.
Not war; but if Russia wants an excuse for military action, this is one pretext it could use.
I don’t like the way things are shaping up. It’s like watching a chessboard where everything is steadily being moved into position, by a malevolent hand to guarantee an all-out disaster, and every current world leader is either an idiot, an incompetent, an avaricious tyrant, or a maniac… 1914 springs to mind, much more than 1939.
Russia is just learning how to be a country again after a long nightmare. They won’t be good at it – never were actually, but better than now. But they are a part of western civilization, and communism was a western heresy. Turkey was, under Ataturk and the Brotherhood he left as his legacy, learning to be a part of the west. No longer, and the guardians of the secular state no longer exist. Turkey may revert to something like Iran. They may not.
Our stake in this is arguable, and sometime I may discuss it; but it certainly includes heaping measures of stability and tolerance. That may require new boundaries, and we may have to be involved in their defense. We cannot nor need not absorb their refugees, but we do have reason to protect them while they establish themselves.
Russia to outfit Egypt’s Mistral ‘tin can’ warships — RT Business
It is interesting that this deal was negotiated before the recent terrorist attacks on Paris.
One the face of it, it would appear that this is an end run around the decision to not sell the helicopter carriers to Russia in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea. Egypt has no strategic use for the ships nor the money to buy much less operate them. I would expect that they would have ended up in Russia’s fleet even if the terrorists hadn’t attacked. Now there will be no significant objection.
From April, 2007 : www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view463.html
COL North’s essay on the consequences of the Reid-Pelosi Strategy:
<LARGE snip, but I cannot see how to soft pedal this conclusion>
…classified U.S. intelligence assessments, military contingency plans and staff studies evaluating the consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, coupled with the lack of funding for political reform measures, as contained in the legislation just passed by Reid’s party, paint a far more dismal picture than anything that happened after Vietnam.
— Within months, an immediate upsurge in vicious sectarian violence fomented by Iranian intervention on behalf of Shiite militias and Wahabbi-supported, Al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups. As U.S. forces retreat to a half-dozen staging areas for retrograde through Kuwait and Jordan, American casualties will dramatically increase as suicide bombers seek “martyrdom” in their victory.
— Inside of 18 months, the fragile democratically elected government in Baghdad will collapse, precipitating a real sectarian civil war and the creation of Taliban-like “regional governments” that will impose brutal, misogynistic rule throughout the country. The ensuing flood of refuges into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran will overwhelm relief organizations, creating a humanitarian disaster making what’s happening in Darfur pale by comparison.
— The Kurds in northern Iraq are likely to declare an autonomous region that could well result in Turkish, Iranian and even Syrian military intervention.
— In the course of withdrawing U.S. combat brigades and support units, billions of dollars in American military equipment and ordnance will have to be destroyed or left behind. More than $40 billion in reconstruction projects for schools, health-care facilities, sanitation, clean water, electrical distribution and agricultural development will be abandoned. Plans to exploit the new West Qurna oil field in southeastern Iraq will be forsaken.
— The governments of Kuwait, Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, intimidated by Iranian boldness in acquiring nuclear weapons, will likely insist on the withdrawal of American military bases from their territories. Such a move will jeopardize U.S. naval operations in the Persian Gulf and logistics, intelligence collection and command and control facilities supporting operations in Afghanistan.
— As Iraq becomes a battleground for the centuries-long Sunni-Shia conflict, radical Islamic terror organizations will use the territories they control to prepare and launch increasingly deadly terror attacks around the globe against U.S. citizens, businesses and interests.
Reid and his cohorts in Congress who believe “this war is lost” have acted to ensure that it will be. No one asked them: “If we lost, who won?” The answer should be obvious.
Of course this was my fear before we ever went in there. I am told that several retired 4-stars declined the job of warlord in Mesopotamia.
The costs of staying in are large, but perhaps not in comparison with the costs of leaving. What we must not do is lose it and stay in; and any admission that we will, sometime in the near future, cut and run is a loss. If we are getting out, then best we just get out. If we are staying in, we need to start recruiting constabularies to supplement the US Army.
Three brigades of MP’s would be a good start. It will be expensive, but all our choices are expensive.
Self-Driving Cars: A Coming Congestion Disaster?
‘When they fail, of course they are desperate to blame others.’
So, I’ve looked at this Turkish BS for a day or so now. I looked at maps and so on and I’ve been suspicious from the beginning and now I call BS:
“Disregarding these warnings, both planes, at an altitude of 19,000 feet, violated Turkish national airspace to a depth of 1.36 miles and
1.15 miles in length for 17 seconds from 9:24:05 local time.”
So, as RT notes, even if we buy Turkey’s story (i.e. if we accept that Russia actually did violate Turkish airspace), then it would appear that Ankara has something of an itchy trigger finger. That is, Turkey was apparently willing to risk sparking a wider conflict between NATO and Russia over a 17 second incursion.
But something doesn’t sound right.
Journalists: Learn to do basic maths. Look at Turkey’s statement to
UN: 1.15 miles / 17 seconds x 60 x 60 = 243 miles/hour = 391 km/hour
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 24, 2015
In other words, as Sputnik put it earlier this evening, “according to those numbers, the Su-24 would have had to be flying at stall speed.”
The Su-24’s max speed is 1,320 km/hour.
So if we assume the Su-24 was actually going much faster, was 17 seconds more like 5 seconds? Or perhaps even less?
The idea that Turkey wanted to create a conflict among Western nations that would otherwise exercise influence in the Middle East was a hypothesis of mine since I heard about this incident. This evidence weighs against competing hypotheses — for me — at this time, making this the most likely hypothesis since it has the least evidence refuting it compared with competing hypotheses.
Let’s see if the low info, maladjusted policy makers allow us to get sucked into this one too….
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Turkey has discovered that we can live without their friendship. They desperately want us to need them. They want to drive wedges into all our other coalitions. Most of Turkey probably wants to be left alone, but their secular Republic is no longer guaranteed, and those who see jihad as a command from Allah see those who disagree as heretics.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.