The Paris Terrorist Attacks and the Journalists (November 2015)

Many journalists, or common people, wonder how is it possible for all countries to be against ISIS (the Islamic State), and still ISIS being alive and kicking? These are very silly questions, and they make me very suspicious, at least when they come from professional journalists.

First of all not everybody is against ISIS. Turkey and Qatar are pro-ISIS, and Turkey has one of the strongest armies in the world, and Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world. Of course they would not openly admit that they support ISIS.

Second, the United States is indeed against ISIS and it is bombing ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However by bombing ISIS the United States is destroying its alliance with Turkey and Qatar, and we know how badly the US needs these two countries. Therefore the Americans are targeting ISIS but they also try not to destroy their alliance with Turkey. This alliance has already been hurt.

Third, Russia is also against ISIS, but she also hesitates to bomb ISIS, because Turkey is the second largest importer of Russian natural gas, with Germany being the largest. Russia is hoping to send her natural gas to Europe through Turkey and she needs Turkey. Moreover if Russia targets ISIS there will be retaliations from the Muslim population of Russia. We saw that when Russia sent her army in Syria ISIS hit two Russian airplanes with civilians. Finally Russia does not want to lose the Turkish support in Ukraine. If Russian-Turkish relations deteriorate, Turkey will stop being quite about Ukraine, and she will also use the issue of the Crimean Tatars against Russia. The Tatars are Crimean people of Turkic origin, they are repressed by Russia, and they ask Turkey for help.

Please note that it was after the crash of the two Russian airplanes that Russia dared to bomb Raqqa, which is the capital of ISIS. Before that Russia was mainly targeting the moderate Sunni Muslims who were against Assad, and were supported by US and its allies i.e. the Free Syria Army etc. See “Dozens killed after Russia strikes de facto ISIS capital in Syria”, November 2015

Map of Syria and Iraq

If Russia, who is Turkey’s main rival during the last centuries, is hesitant and afraid about striking ISIS, you expect the US to target ISIS more forcefully, when the United States need Turkey even more than Russia needs Turkey?

Third, France is against ISIS, because France has very problematic relations with Turkey, and France has also become the main ally of Saudi Arabia, after the Saudi-American relations went sour. Therefore France wants to hit ISIS, and she did hit ISIS oil facilities on Sunday 8th November 2015. Yesterday you saw the retaliations. If you think that you can target ISIS without consequences you are wrong. See “French strike hits IS oil facility in Syria”, November 2015.

Forth, Iran is against ISIS and it is already combating ISIS, and that’s why there is a war in Syria.

Fifth, many people confuse the air strikes with the ground operations. The Americans and the Russians can use their air force to bomb ISIS, but if they try to send troops in Syria and Iraq they face severe protests internally. On the other hand the Sunni and Shiite Islamists do not have to worry too much about their dead soldiers, at least as far as the public opinion is concerned. It is one thing to bomb from the air, and another to send troops on the ground. You saw the price the US had to pay in Afghanistan. The US and Russia might handle the financial cost of the operations, but they cannot handle the human cost. This is not the case for ISIS. ISIS has plenty of soldiers to spend.

2 thoughts on “The Paris Terrorist Attacks and the Journalists (November 2015)”

  1. Iakovos, I’m finding it odd that countries like the US and Australia are downgrading their domestic energy sources in the cause of green fetishism. The moment seems poorly chosen. More so since yesterday.

    Domestic energy security would surely be at the forefront of western policy given the global tensions over energy hotspots, pipelines and sea lanes, matters such as you deal with here. Yet the western nations seem to be sleepwalking toward greater energy dependence and vulnerability. Some dependence is inevitable, but a POTUS opposing Keystone, coal and nukes is baffling. (Surely a Chicago Machine graduate can’t be that green and idealistic!)

    Australia has centuries’ supply of premium Permian black coal, much of it in the backyard of her largest city. As you’ve pointed out elsewhere, we also have enormous LNG supplies. Then there’s all our uranium and brown coal. Yet we have no nuclear power and our coal power generation is ageing, though we rely on it utterly. Coal is like the dirty old servant out the back who does all the hard work yet is despised, cheated, maligned and mistreated by the toffs in the salon. If you want to see Australian coal burnt efficiently you need to go to Asia (where they still make stuff). Our own energiewende state, deep green South Australia, has gone from something of an industrial powerhouse to an economic basket case. It’s now worse off than deep green Tasmania.

    I note that two western leaders, Harper and Abbott, have been abruptly replaced by “greener” types who both strike me as flaky. While I find it hard to believe in conspiracies, I can certainly vouch for a constant barrage of anti-Abbott feeling from the Australian mainstream media, even sections of the Murdoch press. While the guy had his faults (and a tin ear), he only had to bite into an onion, look at his watch or wink and he could find himself at the top of the news for another “gaffe”. I’m told it was similar treatment for Harper, but I wouldn’t know much about that.

    Not suggesting conspiracy, rather a dangerous shift in mood about the very things which have enabled western wealth and stability. So we have acres of solar panels in Brandenburg at 50+ degrees north and American forests are being chipped for incineration in England. The idea used to be to speak softly and carry a big stick. Our present approach is to speak loudly, interfere greatly, attack only from a distance, and carry a flimsy twig. A green twig, of course.

    Do you think I’m right in suspecting that the US would rather be bombing Assad but has to bomb ISIS? It makes no sense, but since the removal of Gaddafi, few things are making sense. Supporting Turkey only makes sense long-term if it is a Kemalist Turkey. I know you won’t offer facile explanations to such tangled questions, which is why I like popping in here – but my puzzlement grows by the day. England wasted centuries trying to own lumps of France, France wasted decades trying to own lumps of Italy. Maybe it’s like that now? There really is no sense to western policy because the kids (aka technocrats) have the run of the kitchen?

    Sorry if I’m raving.



    1. Why do you say that the US and Australia are downgrading their energy sources? They have both significantly increased their production.

      Very interesting information about Australia. I don’t know much about the Australian energy sector, so I will simply take your word for it.

      For the US in Syria it very difficult to say. The US want to support the Syrian Kurds for sure. But can the US count more on Turkey or on Iran? I mean who will be the more reliable ally for the US in the future? None of them will be very reliable, but who is going to be more reliable? I believe it would be better for the US if Iran controlled Syria, now that the US has problems with Turkey. What the Americans want in the Middle East is peace so that the oil and gas can flow freely, without them having to spent billions of dollars to protect this oil.

      If Iran could export oil and gas to the Mediterranean Sea through Syria, and Turkey through the Caspian Sea, I think it would be an ideal situation for the US. I am not saying that this can easily happen, I am just saying that it would be good for the US. But there is also the problem that the Syrian population is mostly Sunni, and that gives the Turks and the Arabs an advantage, because they can talk about democracy, since Assad is an Alawite. The Americans cannot overlook that, and they do not want to cause more problems in their relationship with Turkey. That’s how things are, but if you ask me what will happen I really have no idea.

      And why do you say that Turkey would be a US ally only if the Kemalists were in power? Strong alliances are not based on religious ties but on mutual interests. The US and Saudi Arabia were very close for the second half of the 20th Century, and yet the Saudis were fanatic Islamists. Maybe things would become a bit easier if Kemalists were in power, but I do not think this is a sufficient condition.


      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s