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Putin imposes sanctions against Turkey following its downing of Su-24 bomber in Syria

© Mikhail Klimentyev / Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing a package of economic sanctions against Turkey following its downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria. The measures include banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods.

A decree on "measures providing the national security of the Russian Federation and the protection of its citizens against criminal and other unlawful acts, and on imposing special economic measures in relation to Turkish Republic" was signed on Saturday, the Kremlin press service said.

Under the decree, the import of certain products originating from Turkey will be temporarily banned or restricted.

A number of Turkish organizations operating in Russia will also be restricted.



The Russian airliner, the Paris attacks, and Russian bomber downing

© Defencetalk.net
Three important events influenced the course of the Syrian war in the course of last month: the Metrojet flight 9268 crash in Sinai October 31, the Paris attacks on Friday November 13 and the downing of a Sukhoi 24 on November 24, 2015.

The Metrojet

The Metrojet crash was not deemed an act of terror to start with. First accounts concentrated on the poor state of the charter plane, on the lack of proper maintenance, on its previously troubled record (a tail strike it had suffered some years earlier), on a possible engine failure. The reports were confusingly contradictory. The pilots had asked permission for emergency landing, - no, they hadn't. The airliner violently steered off the course, rapidly changed its altitude a few times, - no, it did not. There were no traces of explosives - there were traces of explosives all over place.

In a course of a few days, the whole body of conspiracy and anti-conspiracy versions grew around the crash, both in Russia and elsewhere, for instance an explosion of hydrogen-filled diving cylinder of a sort regularly used by Sharm el Sheikh divers.

I noticed an interesting coincidence: there was the Blue Flag air exercise of Israeli and American air forces in the vicinity of the crash area. The crash occurred within 30 miles of the Israeli border, and Israel happens to use its drones to kill its enemies in Sinai. The exercise included "firing simulated weapons against fictional enemy missile launchers, convoys and aircraft", according to the official report. What if some of these weapons weren't "simulated"? I would not suggest intentional destruction of a civilian Russian liner, but friendly fire is not unheard of. A missile could go astray. The Blue Flag was supposed to last until November, 3. However, after the Metrojet crash, it was claimed that the exercise was over October, 29.

An Israeli news site asked the Army spokesman when the exercise was finished, and received the answer: November, 3. The site asked again, while referring to the Russian liner crash. This time, the answer was: October, 29. This discrepancy is not a proof of anything; and anyway, this version gained little currency. However, it was expanded by an American site and later by a hard-core radical Russian site (they accused me of "cover-up" for balking at considering Israeli ill intent). I do not think this is the true explanation; just another version in absence of the truth established.

For a long while the Russians denied the crash was caused by enemy action and looked for a technical failure, though the UK and the US suggested a terror attack. Daesh (ISIS) claimed they downed the airliner by a missile and they published a video of this alleged feat. This claim was met with scorn, as MANPAD missiles can't reach the airliner altitude. It was said that soon Daesh will claim the Sinking of the Titanic.

The Russians mourned their dead, and their campaign in Syria continued with some successes on the ground, while the West continued to condemn it for going against 'moderate opposition' and paying lip service to the war on Daesh. The Russians insisted they were fighting Daesh "or other similar groups".


Kremlin: Erdogan requests meeting with President Putin in Paris

© atimes.com
What is there to say? Maybe more than we think.
Russia said on Friday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had requested a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Paris on Nov. 30.

"A proposal from the Turkish side about a meeting at the level of heads of state has been delivered to the president," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call on Friday. "That's all I can say."

Putin and Erdogan will attend the global climate summit that begins in Paris on Nov. 30.

Peskov also said that Erdogan had telephoned Putin seven or eight hours after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday. Erdogan told the France 24 television channel on Thursday that he had called Putin after the jet downed but that the Russian leader had not yet called him back.

"This request was also delivered to the president," Peskov said.

Comment: Erdogan is on an accusatorial rant which will go a long way in persuading Putin. With the West/NATO threatening excommunication for Turkey, it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall if this meeting ever occurs. The next move (or non-move) is Putin's.

Light Saber

Actually Russia is winning in Syria

© Unkown
Though there has been no breakthrough Russia is making progress towards achieving its objectives both on the military and the diplomatic fronts.

Ever since the Russians intervened militarily in Syria there has been a constant drumbeat of criticism.

Much of this takes the form of an argument of "equivalence" - saying that what Russia is doing is the same or no better than what the US has been doing in the Middle East and will end as badly.

Russia Insider has published a classic example of criticism by our contributor Jacob Dreizin.

Before discussing Jacob's argument in detail, there are some points about Russian Turkish relations I want to make.

Jacob expresses concern that in the event of a major escalation of tensions with Turkey, Russia's economy will suffer as well as Turkey's, and that Turkey may close the Dardanelles, thereby cutting off the supply routes to its force in Syria.

None of the scenarios of Russian retaliation Jacob rightly worries about are in fact going to happen.

The Russians are not going to impose an economic blockade on Turkey or cut off gas supplies to Turkey. Nor are they going to arm the Kurds. Nor are the Turks going to take retaliatory measures that are contrary to their own interests. There will be a temporary cooling of relations but that is all.

The Russians are every bit as alive to the dangers of taking the sort of extreme steps that Jacob worries about as is Jacob himself. Besides engaging in economic warfare and fomenting subversion in another country is not the Russian way.

The Russian response to the shoot-down of the SU24 has in fact been carefully calibrated.

The Russians have cancelled the visa agreement with Turkey - which will hit the Turkish tourist industry - and are reviewing some joint projects with Turkey. They may use their food standards agency to block certain Turkish food imports. It will not go beyond that.


US Army general: Remove Turkey from NATO

© www.newsbusters.org
Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane over Syria has proven that the country is a liability to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and must be "ousted" from the Western military alliance, says a retired US Army General.

The shooting down of a Russian aircraft near the Syrian border was in line with Ankara's struggle to establish itself as a "dominant" power, retired US Army Major General Paul Vallely said Thursday. Vallely said Turkey must be removed from NATO because it poses a "big and important issue" in many ways for other members.

Comment: General Vallely founded "Stand Up America," a multi-media org spouting and glorifying the Exceptional American Experiment, beacon of hope...yada yada yada.

"I think NATO, if they have any resolve, they would oust Turkey out of NATO because they are not cooperating against ISIL, they are not cooperating at all with some of the forces inside of Syria, and they want to see [Syrian President Bashar] Assad removed or replaced by another government," the retired General told Russia's RT.

Comment: So how is this different from the US's and NATO's objectives? It is all about saving illusion and a dupe is required. If Turkey's bad-boy issues were crucial (negatively) to the Western plan of action, NATO would have addressed and rectified it many months/years ago. Therefore it has/had purpose.

Comment: Perhaps NATO needed a patsy or desired to shed Turkey as a rogue country and has found a convenient means. Did Turkey actually do the deed completely on their own or were they hoodwinked into the hot seat by NATOian subversive tactics, as in "kill two birds with one stone." Given all that, everyone has an opinion and there seems to be no restraint on expression, except on the part of Russia. Losing Turkey from the Puppet Masters might be dicey for the West, as all bets would be off as to controlling its vassal. It would then be a pariah, since Russia wouldn't want it either. That makes it a loose cannon with new and useful plusses and minuses. Caution: Masterful manipulation ahead.


South Front Crisis News: Russian response to downed jet; France to cooperate with Russia in Syria

Crisis News (Nov. 28)

Comment: See also: The Struggle for Hearts and Minds: Putin Continues to Call NATO's Bluff


Reuters: The joke's on Washington when it comes to Syria - Putin keeps on winning

"The bear is not going to ask permission of anyone."
When Russia began its military campaign in Syria, the Obama administration and its allies quickly claimed it was a disaster in the making. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called Russian President Vladimir Putin "impulsive" and said he was "winging it" in Syria with no long-term strategy. Former United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul ridiculed Putin's "supposed strategic genius," arguing the Russian leader "cannot restore Assad's authority over the whole country." Even President Barack Obama joined the chorus, publicly warning Putin that he risked an Afghanistan-style Russian "quagmire" in Syria.

It turns out, though, that the joke's on Washington: Thanks to shrewd tactics plus tailwinds from the Paris attacks, Syria is turning into a major strategic victory for Putin. Here's what he's accomplished and how he did it.

For starters, as Putin explained in both 2013 and during his recent United Nations speech, what he fears most is power vacuums filled by extremists. As Putin stated early in Russia's bombing campaign, Russia did not plan major ground operations, since its goal was simply "to stabilize the legitimate government" to prevent its immediate overthrow. For this reason, as director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dimitri Trenin argues, Putin never meant to help Bashar al-Assad achieve complete military victory, but rather to stave off Syria's collapse.

Putin has already met this first objective. The Assad regime is no longer in imminent danger, and with Russian air support it has actually re-taken key areas in central Syria and Aleppo. As a result, the regime's key territory in its Alawite heartland no longer faces the risk of being overrun.

Comment: Even the MSM can't deny that Putin has been a skilled player on the geopolitical chessboard. All the West's attacks on him and Russia tend to backfire. For example: The Struggle for Hearts and Minds: Putin Continues to Call NATO's Bluff

Bad Guys

Say goodbye to Erdogan

A supporter of Zaman holds a copy of the newspaper behind a Turkish flag during a demostration against the arrest of journalists outside the Istanbul police headquarters on December 15, 2014.
There's little doubt now in NATO circles and among the leading countries of the alliance - the US, Britain, France, Germany that the downing of Russia's bomber Su-24 was indeed an act of aggression. In fact, the Turkish Air Force has been trying to ambush Russian bombers in border areas for days. Everything was planned, including the presence of professional cameramen from a Turkish channel.

Once Washington acknowledged that the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian bomber over Syria, Ankara has been desperately trying to push the blame on Obama in order to hide behind Washington's back. On November 26 a number of Turkish TV-stations presented reports that the downing was allegedly approved by Barack Obama at the G-20 summit in Antalya. But it's way too late, Erdogan is caught at a murder scene with blood on his hands. His political career is almost finished - the murderers of Russian pilots have no place in politics. There's a already a contender for his post - Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who considerably strengthened his positions in the recent elections.

Experts from around the the world have been guessing what Russia's response will be, for now one can already name a number of steps that Moscow has made:

Comment: It looks like Erdogan has served his purpose and is about to be 'expired'. In the meantime he'll be scapegoated for what Washington has been complicit in all along:


US urging Turkey to close off its Syrian border to ISIS

© Murad Sezer / Reuters
Washington is urging Ankara to seal off a 100-kilometer stretch of borderline with Syria currently used by Islamic State for transportation of fighters and supplies into the Syrian war zone. The Turkish Army would need an estimated 30,000 personnel to do this.

The Obama administration is urging Turkey to ensure Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria receives no supplies through the Turkish border, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources in Washington. The request involves sealing off part of the frontier between the western Turkish town of Kilis and Jarabulus in eastern Syrian.

"The game has changed. Enough is enough! The border needs to be sealed," the WSJ cited a senior Obama administration official as saying in a message from the US government to Turkey. "This is an international threat, and it's all coming out of Syria and it's coming through Turkish territory."

Comment: There seems to be some frustration between Turkey and the US.


There have been no US airstrikes in Syria since Russia deployed S-400 systems

© Dmitriy Vinogradov / Sputnik
An S-400 air defence missile system is deployed for a combat duty at the Hmeymim airbase to provide security of the Russian air group's flights in Syria.
Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes "has nothing to do with the S400 deployment" in Syria.

Comment: Of course the US doesn't want to admit the S-400 system is a deterrent.

"The fluctuation or absence of strikes in Syria reflects the ebb and flow of battle," the spokesperson said, adding that CJTF-OIR deliver airstrikes when and where it needs to, dedicating a lot of time to researching targets to ensure maximum effect and minimizing civilian casualties.