Institutional Incoherence: The Atlantic Council’s Desperate Scaremongering

Uncle Volodya says, "I don't mind your thinking slowly. I mind your publishing faster than you think.”

Uncle Volodya says, “I don’t mind your thinking slowly. I mind your publishing faster than you think.”

Ooo, see the fire is sweeping
My very street today;
Burns like a red-coal carpet:
Mad bull, lost its way

Oh, children; it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away…

The Rolling Stones, from, “Gimme Shelter

Let me ask you something: if you had only recently wrapped up 24 years at the U.S. Army War College, finishing as Professor of National Security Studies; if you held a B.A. in Russian History from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Russian History from the University of Chicago, and were a recognized expert in defense strategy, arms control and Russia and the post-Soviet space…wouldn’t you think you could be expected to actually know something about Russia?

Dr. Stephen Blank of the Atlantic Council comes admirably credentialed, and doesn’t look crazy in his picture. But his analysis of what Russia – which he at least does not refer to as “Putin”, as if Russia’s real name were “Putinland” or something – is really up to in Syria reads as if it were written by Masha Gessen on Psilocybin. The implication that we are all being hoodwinked – gadzooks! – by the devilishly-clever former KGB man from St Petersburg is so clear that Newsweek reprinted the article under the title, “The Real Reason Putin is Sending Troops to Syria”.

Newsweek – typically, I have to say – got it wrong before they got past the title: “Putin” is, in fact, not “sending troops to Syria” at all, and indeed ruled it out just last week: you would think a publication which considers itself a “newsmagazine” could manage to go more than a week without forgetting everything that happened the week before. I’m afraid this attempt just looks like stupid laziness. But Dr. Blank himself does not get much further before jumping the rails, characterizing something as both “predictable” and “a surprise” in the first sentence. Unless he meant Russia’s intervention in Syria was predictably a surprise to the west because it is so terminally dozy it is completely oblivious to everything going on around it, a sort of Buster Bluth nation. And if so, dash it all, that’s just unpatriotic.

The west cannot wait, Mr. Blank tells us, to address Russia’s larger strategy, even though the west does not know what it is. Just do something, damn it, and we’ll figure out the details later. Can you think of a time or two in the past where an approach like that got the United States in trouble? So can I.

Putin, we learn, intends to sustain Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for as long as possible. What does that mean, exactly? Until he dies? Because that interval was looking like months, maybe, before Russia stepped in. However, you would think an educated man like Mr. Blank might have figured out that Russia’s aim is merely to avert political transition achieved by a violent coup. I can kind of see how he missed that, since political transition by means of killing Assad or driving him out of the country so that a handpicked government could take over was exactly what the USA sought, and it was so close it could taste it. You could kind of guess, from the way the United States Air Force was energetically fighting Islamic State (IS) for almost a year, during which time IS gobbled up two-thirds of Syria and was scratching at the door in Damascus, while Russia sent them running with their hands over their ears in less than two weeks. Russia has been in Syria in force for less than a month, and the Syrian Army – according to Mr. Putin, the only force which can defeat IS on the ground – has gone from Last Stand At Maysaloun Street to an offensive to recapture territory lost to the Islamic militias. How stupid do you think people are?

As if to highlight how silly that analysis is, Assad was in Moscow just yesterday for a meeting with Putin, in which the Russian state offered to help with political transition – not to prop up Assad forever. Mind you, he is popular with his people and there is every chance it will be their will that he continue to lead and represent them. They call that “democracy” in countries in which the United States allows the people to elect their own leaders.

But our learning of new things about Russia is far from complete: Russia, apparently, has “long sought” naval bases in Cyprus and Montenegro. That so? News to me. Anybody? In fact, the only mention I could find of Russia pursuing naval bases in Cyprus and Montenegro was in an item from 2013, in which…Stephen Blank told us they were, at the stars-and-stripes-waving anti-Russian Washington think tank The Jamestown Foundation.  His references were the same newspapers everyone else reads, but I didn’t see anyone else make that connection. I guess that’s what being a PHD brings to the party.

“Russia’s military escalation in Syria confirms and extends the strategic significance for Moscow of owning virtually the entire Black Sea and using it as a base to project power, maintain strategic influence, and enforce gunboat diplomacy throughout the Balkans and the Levant through a combination of arms and amphibious operations abroad.”

Ummm…what? Addled talk like this coming out of the War College explains a lot about why America hasn’t won a war since Korea, unless you count the First Gulf War. This is just a bunch of unrelated homilies strung together plus a gratuitous mention of Blank’s favourite phrase concerning Russia: “gunboat diplomacy”. It reminds me strongly of the peyote adventure that Sarah Palin’s senseless run-on sentences were. What does Russia’s involvement in Syria – which owns a tiny segment of Mediterranean frontage; 120 miles, to be exact – have to do with Russia “owning virtually the entire Black Sea”? The Black Sea is 1000 miles from the Mediterranean (unless you go through Turkey), in a different region influenced by entirely different power players. The entrance to the Black Sea is still controlled by a NATO power which is studded with American and NATO military bases ; the same country, incidentally, has at least double the Black Sea frontage Russia has even if you include Crimea as Russian. In all its recent military actions in the region of the Black Sea, Russia has relied most heavily on the Army, which does not travel by gunboat. Amphibious operations played a very small part in the conflict with Georgia, none at all in Crimea and none in Syria. Who has a reputation for meddling in the Balkans, Pinocchio? The objective of Washington’s Balkan policy is aptly described by Srdja Trifkovic as an ambition toward “a U.S.-dominated post-national world based on propositional abstractions”, generously seasoned with pandering to the military-industrial complex and isolating Russia.

Did I say Blank did not look crazy? Perhaps I spoke too soon. He rants that Russia is trying to create a bloc of pro-Russian Shiite or anti-Sunni states with which to confront the United States and its allies.

Let me summarize what America knows about the Muslim faith in the Middle East; two months before launching the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush did not know Islam was divided into two sects, and believed the people he intended to invade and subjugate (although he would doubtless have preferred “liberate”) were simply “Muslims”. If Putin is planning to create an anti-Sunni bloc using Syria as a chesspiece, he had better spit on his hands and bear down – more than 70% of the population is Sunni. Assad’s Foreign Minister, Vice-President and the head of his National Security Bureau are all Sunnis. Sunnis among the rebels vowed to hunt down the Sunnis who support Assad – back when all the momentum was on the rebel side, thanks largely to the United States Air Force – wherever they fled. I am pretty confident that Syria would not be easily turned into a pro-Russian anti-Sunni bloc.

However, it matters less – from the standpoint of creating or reversing power blocs – what Russia does in the region when compared with what Washington has already done. It wrecked Iraq, causing hundreds of thousands of needless deaths through its invasion of the country, actions such as the “disciplining” of Fallujah, and the shoot-em-up attitudes of its mercenary civilian contractors. Its horrifying practices in Abu Ghraib prison have made the name of the United States a foulness in the Iraqi mouth that makes them want to spit on the ground when they hear it, until at least this generation is gone from the earth. American sanctions in Iraq caused the deaths of half a million children, and Madeleine Albright famously said it was worth it. The CIA overthrew democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, and imposed another 26 years of the hated Shah Reza Pahlavi upon the Iranians. The United States government propped up Hosni Mubarek for 30 years, although in that period his people tried six times to assassinate him. Technically Egypt is in Africa and not the Middle East, but it exercises significant regional influence. The USA has vetoed every UN resolution which sought to censure Israel for its construction of illegal Jews-only settlements in Palestinian territory. I think it’s safe to say all Russia needs do in the Middle East to grow its influence is to not be the kind of neon strobe-light revolving exhibition of sheer assholery the United States has been in the region. More to the point, Washington’s bumbling and thrashing about in the Middle East knocked over all the secular states in the region – Libya (yes, I know, Africa) and Iraq were both secular states which were tolerant of religion and in which religious denominations intermingled with little tension – and energetically applied itself to ruining the last one; Syria. It squawks without letup about the American obligation to bring democracy and freedom to the Middle East, even as its strongest regional allies are monarchies.

“The partnership that Moscow is cementing with Iran in the face of Washington’s nuclear deal aims to extend the concept of a frozen conflict familiar to us from Eurasia to the Middle East.”  Only if you don’t know what a frozen conflict is. A frozen conflict exists when a province or region of a state rebels against the central government, and declares autonomy and self-rule, resulting in an unresolved dispute over national borders. This constrains certain international partnerships and alliances. Russia has undeniably benefited from such conflicts in the past, notably in that such disputes prevented Georgia and Ukraine from being gobbled up by NATO; however, in what international meddler’s toolbox does partition of target nations feature most prominently? Washington planned from the outset to partition Iraq into “semi-autonomous regions”, and it still hasn’t given up on that dream.  It gloatingly planned the same fate for Syria. Washington has leaned on the Tatar minority in Crimea, hoping to stir up something there, and flatters the obsequious old fool Mustafa Jemilev that he is some sort of international pet in the hope the Crimean Tatars will “rise up” and cause problems which could spark an international intervention to “protect their rights” and perhaps restore the region to Ukrainian control. This although Kiev cared diddly for anything the Tatars said or did for a decade and would go right back to ignoring them – with Washington’s blessing – just as soon as Kiev got Crimea back under its thumb. It should be pretty clear that the politics of divide and conquer are not a tried and true Washington regime-change template by coincidence. 

“Russia’s current policy of building bases and housing for thousands of troops represents the Kremlin’s determination to keep Assad in power. But it’s not really an operation against the Islamic State, since Putin has already said Russian troops won’t fight ISIS; rather, they’ll fight Assad’s other enemies.” Putin did not ever say that, not anywhere in any language. Mr. Blank would have been better off to just leave it at saying “Putin has already said Russian troops won’t fight ISIS“, because Putin has said he was not sending in ground troops to fight anyone, and the appropriate force to liberate Syria from terrorists is the Syrian Army. Putin, nor any other representative of the Russian state, has not ever said Russian troops would fight Assad’s other enemies to the exclusion of ISIS, and the Russian Air Force is getting its targeting coordinates from the Syrian Army. And there is no evidence at all that Russia has constructed housing for “thousands of troops” – show me. It’s bad enough when you have to twist the truth to sway opinion, but when you have to outright lie, you have failed in every way that matters.

“Putin’s plan for a coalition is that essentially all the Sunni states fight Sunni extremists for the benefit of Iran and its terrorist allies, Assad and Hezbollah. Russian and Western sources have revealed that Moscow facilitates the movement of terrorists from the North Caucasus to Syria and Iraq so that they do not fight in Russia—hardly a sign of Putin’s commitment to battle terrorism. In fact, Moscow continues to supply weapons through Syria and Iran to Hezbollah even as it trades with Israel and insists on helping bring Hamas into power in the West Bank—alongside the Palestinian Authority—and denies that Hamas is a terrorist organization.”

Who benefits when states fight religious extremists? Everybody. How does Putin plan to rig it so that wiping out religious extremists – which as recently as 2007-ish, Washington didn’t care much for, either, it’s only in the last two years that official America has discovered just how cuddly and loveable Islamic extremists are (when they are progressing your agenda for you) – only benefits Iran and Assad? Blank’s western source which “revealed” that Moscow facilitates the movement of terrorists from the North Cauasus is The Daily Beast. Seriously, this business of government officials and American academics citing gossip magazines and social media has got to stop. You fucking snoop on everybody, read their mail and listen in on their phone calls – if, after all that, you are still citing The Daily Beast and Twitter, you haven’t got shit and you know it.

Is Hamas a terrorist organization? There can be no argument that it was democratically elected in an election western observers agreed was free and fair. A debate on that very subject took place in 2006, the same year Hamas assumed elected power in the Palestinian territories. The group agreed Hamas, although an elected government, was still a terrorist organization, according to the Canadian definition of “terrorist”; to wit, “…[A] man who murders indiscriminately, distinguishing neither between innocent and guilty nor soldier and civilian.” We can stipulate here that the term “man” is not intended to convey a gender bias, and means “human”.

Oh, dear – the Ukrainian government is a terrorist organization!! Who knew?? I’m being sarcastic, of course; a lot of people knew. Not only does the Kiev government murder indiscriminately in practice, without distinguishing between civilian and military, guilty and innocent, its Prime Minister publicly championed that practice and referred to the eastern Ukrainians as “subhumans”. Who supports that? Her Majesty’s government, the United States government, the Canadian government, the Australian government, the governments of Poland, France, Italy, Germany…I could go on, but I consider the point made. John O’ Sullivan, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the participant in the debate who advocated the application of that definition for “terrorist”, argued that an organization which met those criteria should be treated as international pariahs. For those who don’t know what that means, it means stop giving them money. And the semantics of who is a terrorist are less important to  sanctimonious Washington than who is a useful terrorist – taking the Mujaheddin Khalq (MEK) off the terrorist list was as simple as asking them to confirm they have renounced violence, and will only agitate peacefully for the overthrow of the Iranian government. Those assurances were quickly accepted by the same government which is currently airdropping pallets of ammunition into the Syrian desert without any serious regard at all for who might pick it up, the only stipulation being that it is dropped in areas which are under rebel control. Voice Of America credits the sudden reversal of ISIS’s fortunes in Syria to “tens of thousands of coalition-supported Syrian rebels”, although ISIS was steadily advancing (under Washington’s complacent and paternal gaze) until the intervention by the Russian Federation, and Washington has admitted it has only managed to train and equip “four or five” trustworthy rebels. Meanwhile, what once was labeled the “Free Syrian Army” collapsed last spring and its remnants merged with Jabbat al-Nusra, which is al Qaeda in Syria, and I be go to hell if they are not a terrorist organization which kills indiscriminately. They should be regarded as international pariahs, not running around the desert picking up ammunition pinatas from Uncle Sam.

“Turkey, a NATO ally, is also feeling the Russian squeeze. Once Russia finishes building its bases in Syria, its overwhelming dominance in the Black Sea and air and naval capabilities to the south will sandwich Turkey between them. Even as bilateral energy talks sputter and that relationship has soured, Moscow is now bringing into play new ways of pressuring Turkey. A look at Turkish defense procurements and plans for importing weapons suggests that Ankara has begun to grasp the threat. But no one wants to discuss this pressure on a fellow NATO member.”

For the love of God, please stop speaking of Turkey as if it were some sort of raft adrift on a hostile ocean. As mentioned earlier, Turkey has more than twice the coastline on the Black Sea that Russia has, three times as much if you are from the camp which stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that Crimea is a part of Russia. It is stiff with NATO and American military facilities, and has the entire might of NATO behind it. If NATO is afraid of Russia, say so – but if you say that, then stop with the smirking jibes about its “rustbucket navy” and its dysfunctional conscript army. Turkey has been offered an opportunity to become a profitable energy hub for Europe, dispensing Russian oil and gas, and if the USA was able to do the same thing it would congratulate itself on a smart piece of brinksmanship. If Turkey accepts the overtures, it will be because it wants to make money, not because it is being “squeezed”.

This entire ream of crybaby rubbish boils down to a petulant splutter-fit because the beautiful and surpassingly-clever Beltway plan to have Assad driven from power by Islamist militias – didn’t really matter which one got there first – and then for American forces to swoop in just moments too late to save him, whereupon a hand-picked government of exiles would be brought to power by the usual kingmakers, was all spoiled by that horrible pipsqueak Vladimir Putin. It is no good to now pretend to lofty altruistic principles for the good of all mankind. As a pungent aphorism has it, don’t piss in my pocket and tell me it’s raining.

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3,271 Responses to Institutional Incoherence: The Atlantic Council’s Desperate Scaremongering

  1. Cortes says:

    The Twisted Genius, a regular poster on the “Turcopolier ” blog Sic Semper Tyrannis of Col. Pat Lang,

    After the NATO meeting, Jens Stoltenberg stated, “we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support its territorial integrity.” After this and the statements of supplication out of Washington this morning, Erdogan is feeling especially froggy. He says he will establish a humanitarian safe zone between Jarabulus and the Mediterranean with his allies. God help us all.

    • Northern Star says:

      Here’s a little insight into Belgium…that may surprise you….
      This is the fourth day that the country has been under a virtual martial law lockdown…

      Brussels is in Belgium……NATO can’t even secure-cover- its home base ass!!!!!!!

    • marknesop says:

      Turkey’s territorial integrity cannot include 5 miles of Syrian territory to which it helps itself as a security zone. And Stoltenberg is a tool who should never be taken seriously. He would institute a NATO tax and pour the money directly into arms purchases if he could – he is a dream leader if you are a defense contractor.

  2. Northern Star says:

    At the WH news today ….Obama was his usual watermouth in chief clown self…..He kept referring to Hollande as “Francois”….as if they were frat boys smokin’ a joint and swillin’ beer…It should have been on this grim occasion “Mr. President”..Not “Francois….Then he continues to flippantly refer to The Russian leader as “Putin”…not President Putin…..How fucking smart (wise) is it to antagonize PRESIDENT Putin…in ANY way….especially when on a global forum addressing billions at a time of imminent potential crisis…AKA WW3.
    But he still is not thru running his unhelpful and provocative trap…He then tries to marginalize the Russkie anti ISIS coalition effort…and condescendingly chides and berates Putin for not toeing the line that Obama hasn’t even thought out as to what or where to tow to begin with!!!
    Then Hollande chimes in with the usual ‘Assad must go’ mantra….

  3. Oddlots says:

    Not to stir the pot… But as someone whose grandfather spent several months in an observation balloon without a parachute and being shot at by Turks at Gallipoli I would like to say out loud: “FUCK THE TURK(MANS).”


    • Fern says:

      My grandfather was also at Gallipoli, Oddlots. He survived, as I hope yours did – he was threatened with a court martial when he insisted his commanding officer test the depth of the water before ordering soldiers to jump off the boats – so many of these young guys, loaded down with kit, drowned. The court martial never happened, his CO never made it back. Sometimes I feel it’s as if the 20th century never happened and its wars and revolutions are going to have to be lived through again by successive generations.

      • Oddlots says:

        He did survive – thanks for asking – and had a long career in the RAF. First non-commissioned officer they had. Quite the “bounder.”

        Your story tempers my present mood if only by suggesting what a pitiless machine the military is. I’m sure it applies to the Russian forces just as well.

        • marknesop says:

          On the contrary, there is no civilian equivalent of the brotherhood felt between military members of the same force, and no diplomatic equivalent of the respect military members feel for members of other military forces, even enemies and even if they must fight them. The military is a microcosm of society as a whole, and so of course there will be the madmen and the sadists, the bizarre Stephen Greens and Clayton Matchees. But the sense of values taught in the military is generally superior to that of any other organization, and its idealism knows no other parallel that I have ever experienced. This is true, in my experience, of all save dictatorships, and in all but dictatorships the military strives to serve its civilian masters; you know, “War is much too important to be left to the military”. Therefore it is all too frequently terrible decisions by the military’s civilian masters which causes it to behave as it does (since orders are not suggestions and therefore debate is not invited) and which frequently results in such terrible loss of life.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I should guess then that your grandfather served in the Lancashire Fusiliers then, Fern?

        That Aussie meme (reinforced by the film “Gallipoli”) that the British were drinking tea whilst the Aussies were being butchered at Gallipoli doesn’t go down all that well in Lancashire. Although ANZAC casualties were scandalous and unbearable in the light of the proportion of the fallen to the then populations of Australia and New Zealand, the numbers of ANZAC fallen were less than the British suffered and even less than the French suffered as well.

        The Lanashire Fusiliers stormed their beach and took it. The regiment was awared 6 Victoria Crosses as a reward for their bloody work that day – “Six VCs before breakfast!” they used to proudly say.

        I don’t think any of the fusiliers had time to have a quick “cuppa” that day.

    • PaulR says:

      Article 42 of Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions (1977), ‘Occupants of aircraft’, states the following:

      1. No person parachuting from an aircraft in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.
      2. Upon reaching the ground in territory controlled by an adverse Party, a person who has parachuted from an aircraft in distress shall be given an opportunity to surrender before being made the object of attack, unless it is apparent that he is engaging in a hostile act.
      3. Airborne troops are not protected by this Article.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t think we need any more evidence of war crimes than that – except that they are stateless and will never be punished at that level. So it will fall to the Russian bombers to turn that area into a moonscape with nothing living in it. Filthy creatures. that’s like machine-gunning lifeboats; which did happen, and you know what we thought of such people. But it is Erdogan and his ain’t-I-crafty policies who must ultimately be punished for it at the state level, especially if his air force deked out of its own country’s airspace to make the shot. Hopefully by this time next month there will be a few F-16 skeletons lying about. Fucking Turk vermin.

  4. Northern Star says:

    The go to guy for oil..huh??? I think the Russkies will find him…

  5. Warren says:

    • Moscow Exile says:


      NATO members are supposed to help other members who are attacked.

      Who attacked whom in this case?

      Why did Turkey turn to NATO after downing a Russian warplane?

      Because they expected retaliation from Russia and were therefore appealling for the 7th Cavalry to come riding to their help?

  6. Fern says:

    NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg has toned down his rhetoric about 900% which strongly suggests he’s well aware that the Turkish version of events is some way from the truth of what actually happened. If NATO believed Turkey had right on its side, its moral posturing and self-righteousness in attacking Russian ‘aggression’ would know no bounds. Instead, we have this:

    “What we are calling for now is calm and de-escalation,” he said during a news conference in Brussels. “Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this question.”
    Stoltenberg also urged further talks between Moscow and Ankara to resolve the situation, and that the international community should “avoid accidents that spiral out of control.”

    I very much hope one good thing to come out of all of this would be folk in the West starting to wake up to the extraordinary folly that is NATO. How many people in Europe understand they’re locked into a military alliance with a huge number of countries over whose actions, policies and behaviours they have not one whit of control? Countries led by the reckless and foolish – and I’m including the Baltic chihuahuas here – for whom poking the bear seems to be some sort of national pastime and who expect the West’s military arsenal to be placed at their disposal should the bear poke back.

    • Warren says:

      Western Europeans like the Germans, French, Italians, Spanish, Dutch, Belgians, Portuguese will never fight a war on behalf of Turkey or the Baltic chihuahuas. If and when Russia retaliates against Turkey or the Baltic chihuahuas, the aforementioned Western European countries will make their excuses and will allow themselves to get dragged into a war that is not of their making.

      The tone and language Stoltenberg as you rightly observe indicates fear of escalation and calamity on the part of Western European members of NATO. NATO is a house built upon sand, that will collapse once tested by a real and credible enemy. Bombing hapless and wretched third-worlders is one thing – going to war with a nuclear armed state is all together different.

      The US doesn’t care if Europe is incinerated and turned into a battlefield.

    • marknesop says:

      Good analysis, Fern; if Stoltenberg the pathological Russophobe is talking de-escalation, it is a virtual certainty he knows Turkey was in the wrong – he consistently wants to up the ante if he thinks he has a genuine stick to beat Russia with. He is a real piece of work. Amazing how you think the outgoing guy can’t possibly be topped as an hysterical asshat, and the incoming guy is even worse. I was wrong in thinking George W. Bush was impossible to top as a aw-shucks lunatic, because Obama is much worse despite not being such a hillbilly simpleton, and I was wrong in thinking nobody would ever top Fogh Of War Rasmussen for agit-rhetoric. Stoltenberg is much worse.

  7. Warren says:

    • Jen says:

      Mark Galeotti is the “blithering moron” identified by Off Guardian who said this over at The Guardian’s live feed on the attack:

      “I suspect neither Moscow nor, at the very least, the other European Nato powers will want to let this go too far. Russia cannot fight hot diplomatic wars on too many fronts, and Europe clearly wants Moscow to be part of the solution in Syria and maybe Ukraine, too. And, frankly, there is in many capitals concern about Turkey, its agenda and its role in the region. Much will depend on where Washington falls, of course, but if Moscow can get even a crumb of contrition from Ankara or sympathy from Europe, then we can expect this to be splashed on Russian TV and allow the Kremlin to let this slide a little.

      But even in this best-case scenario, I don’t imagine that will be the end to it. Moscow has already been willing to operate inside Turkey covertly, and is engaged in political tussles over influence in the South Caucasus as well as Middle East. I would expect some uptick in ‘mischief’ – perhaps some support for the Kurds or other violent extreme movements, for example – as well as a more assiduous campaign to push back and stymie Turkish regional ambitions.

      It’s often said, with good reason, that Putin really wants a return to 19th century geopolitics, when might made right and realpolitik was all. Let’s not forget that one of the defining [19th-century] conflicts was that between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, which were sometimes openly at war, sometimes ostensibly at peace, but never anything than enemies. Here we go again.”

  8. Warren says:

    Turkey Russia jet: Marine killed in pilot rescue bid

    A Russian marine has been killed on a helicopter mission to rescue the crew of a jet downed by Turkey near the Syrian border on Tuesday.

  9. Kulobi says:

    On an unrelated and lighter note, Tony ‘Shirtfront’ Abbott admits that “almost nothing had given him more satisfaction than working with Ukraine during the past two years”. That ‘almost nothing’ must refer to his mates in the Liberal party who dumped him like a piece of garbage a few months back..
    Glory to heroes!

    • marknesop says:

      I should imagine the Ukrainians flattered and sucked up to him, and were awed by being in the presence of a real NATO leader. I’m sure it tickled his vanity in a way that being laughed at as a gormless clown – as the rest of the world does – never could. Everyone likes to hang about where he or she is appreciated, and if that happens to be the playground of cynical oligarchs, bedeviled by Nazi ideologues and peopled by hopeless paupers who have nothing left but nationalist pride even as their country shrinks, so be it.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


      He looks much happier in this shot:

      • Jen says:

        He was supposed to be shirt-fronting Putin, not rubbing the fur off his koala.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          I didn’t notice that until you pointed it out. Now that I see it, and now that my mind has produced the obvious explanation, I will never be able to close my eyes again without picturing Tony Abbott f***ing a drop-bear.

        • yalensis says:

          I think the animal just has a touch of the mange.

          (In case you were wondering, I am referring to Tony, not the koala, who is just spotty.)

  10. Lyttenburgh says:

    So-called Russian liberals, oppositioners, kreakls and democratic journalists (and EuroUkrs – this goes without saying) are jubilant at this jet another “peremoga” and “blow to the bloody regime of Vlad Putin”.

    Max Katz – former Bolotnaya activist. hipster, kreakl, former Moscow rayon Duma’s deputy. Mortal enemy of Lekhaim Podvalniy. Spend most of his life in Israel, still it’s citizen. Likes trams and byciles.

    1) “And we don’t know, when will this all end and how many people will die, because insane maling dwarf ecided to play into Superpower”
    2) “In the normal system [of government] khuylopravleniye would have ended long time ago by receiving only 10% during the elections, and the country will then switch to do actually do things (which there are a lot!)”

    “Кац предлагает сдаться” (c)

    Meilakh Khodorkovskiy – A Single Ray of Light in the Land of Mordor. The Only Hope of Gussian Libegalism! Honest, principled and heroic man, whon still wants to steal $50 billions from Russia. “Our Evertyhting” for a cohort of the old and new grant-eaters.

    “What a bad finale. And they were so porud and loud about success in Antalya! C’mon, search for your pilots, dumb-wits”

    Bloody pastor Turchinov – now, the head of the Ukrainian Security council.

    “Our armed forces will act like their Turkish counterparts, if the Russian planes will violate Ukrainian airspace”.

    Lil’ horsy Ksenia Bakhcha – daugter of Putin’s former boss, “Russian Paris Hilton”, journalist (without education in the field), stronkly willed opposition activist and just a stupid cunt.

    “So Turkey goes for the open conflict with Russia, and we now know, that its one thing to flex your muscles and strike a fucking pose, and its another matter – to go into war with the NATO member?”

    Lekhaim Podvalniy – fearless борцун with corruption convicted for corruption by the bloody regime of Putin. President and Dark Overlord of over 9000 of Russian krealks, office plancton, battle net-hamsters, and Libertarians (all 11 of them). The only hope of This Country if he becomes a president.

    “I want the state Medi to repost this their own political cartoon”

    P.S. And then the Enlightened West wonders – why the most natural desire of any normal Russian upon hearing anything coming from the rotten hole of liberast mouth, is to hang them on lamposts?

    • marknesop says:

      Perfect. Let Turkey be judged from the perspective of who applauds its actions – degenerates, nose-pickers, glad-handing oligarchs and Nazis. What a sensational roundup.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You know, as well as I do, Lyttenburgh, how much the regular Russian Joe Soap (and Jane Soap as well) absolutely loathe those shits quoted above and others of their ilk.

      It must be because they’re either totally brainwashed by the Kremlin controlled media or they’re scared shitless of the Putin regime.

      Yeah, that must be it.

      And that must be why nobody votes for the “liberal opposition”.

      Bloody obcvious, innit?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

      Rotten Liberals are our enemies’ accomplices.

  11. Warren says:

    Downing of Russian jet ‘violated international law’

    • kirill says:

      Erdo-turd-land claims that the Russian jet flew a distance of 1.15 miles in 17 seconds over Erdo-turd-land territory. So the Su-24 was doing 391 km/hour or stall speed. Erdo-turd lickers can’t get their story straight, so Russian version is bound to be the correct one.

      • marknesop says:

        They warned it 10 times in 5 minutes, but it was in Turkish airspace for 17 seconds? What were they warning it of during the other four and a half minutes? It’s totally legal for them to be in Syrian airspace – they are there by invitation of the government.

  12. Warren says:

    Published on 24 Nov 2015
    What does the downing of a Russian Air Force jet by Turkey tell us about the war against the Islamic State? How many sides are there in the conflict? And who benefits from a very divided front? Is ending the Syrian civil war as elusive as ever?

    CrossTalking with Joe Lauria, Afzal Ashraf, and Flynt Leverett

  13. Cortes says:

    John Helmer’s take on yesterday’s events…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      A generation ago, a Greek prime minister, whom the Soviet Politburo in Moscow underestimated, defeated a Turkish attack on Greek territory. That was Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou; the victory was the battle of the Aegean of March 26, 1987. Before that, no Russian had defeated a Turkish attack for more than a hundred years. Since 1991 Russians say Turkey has been “not merely a close neighbour, but a friendly state.”

      That’s not quite true. The Russian Empire managed to beat off Ottoman attempts to regain former Ottoman territories in the Caucasus that they had lost in the the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78.

      In April 1916, the Russian Caucasus army, having earlier captured Erzurum, advanced to capture Trabzon and thence pushed deeep into Anatolia, driving the Ottoman army before it. Bitlis became the last defensive point for the Ottoman Army by which they hoped to prevent the Russians from moving into central Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

      In July 1916, General Yudenich then countered an Ottoman attack with an offensive of his own towards Erzican with the Battle of Erzincan (July 2–25). On July 2, Erzincan was captured and an Ottoman offensive against Trabzon was also halted.

      In August 1916, the Ottoman Army was finally overwhelmed by the Russians and the entire region fell to the Russian Empire and Armenian volunteers.

      From September 1916 up to the October 1917 Russian Revolution, the Russian Navy still dominated the Black Sea.

      The rest of the year 1916 was spent by the Turks trying to re-organize and making operational changes on their Caucasian front. The Russians were quiet during this period, the winter of 1916–17 being an extremely harsh one, which made fighting nearly impossible.

      And then in 1917 there came the February revolution in Petrograd, the abdication of the Tsar, the povisional government and the Bolshevik putsch of October .

      The WWI Russo-Ottoman Caucasus campaign ended with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 1917.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian jet hit inside Syria after incursion into Turkey: U.S. official

    The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The official said that assessment was based on detection of the heat signature of the jet.

    Obama: ‘Turkey has the right to defend its airspace’

    “Turkey, like every country, has the right to defend its territory and its air space…”

    And the right to defend its territory and air space beyond its territory and air space Erdogan seems to believe.

    • cartman says:

      Conversely, Syria has the right to defend its airspace, and its choice of foreign warplanes does not change that one bit.

  15. Apparently the other pilot of the downed Russian jet is alive and rescued by the SAA. Really good news.

    Russia is also bringing S-400 to Syria!

    • Patient Observer says:

      Yes, there will be a no-fly zone, just not the one envisioned by Turkey, Hilary and the rest of the nincompoops.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    The cause of Erdogan’s anger.

    No doubt because it hits him hard in the pocket.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    Three hours after the downing of the Russian warplane:

    Outside the Russian Embassy, Ankara: several dozen demonstrators materialized right on cue; almost all of them wearing the same tabards; all voicing their well-rehearsed chants; many carrying well made and printed posters which proclaimed: “Brutal Russia, get out of Syria!”, “Hey, Putin! Get out of Syria!”, “The Syrian people are not alone!”

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      They’re the same hateful savages they were in Bogdan Khelmnitsky’s day, every one of them.

      • yalensis says:

        In Bogdan’s day they were at least REAL savages.
        Not rent-a-savage.

      • Jen says:

        The savages of Bogdan Khmelnitsky’s time looked savage and had more fun:

        but those savages outside the Russian embassy in Ankara looked like robots and were chanting in unison from the same script.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Oh, and only recently I mentioned Zaporozhians. Is time for a second “Letter to Turkish Sultan”? I’ll remind you the first one:

          “Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

          O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we’ve no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.

          You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

          So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

          – Koshovyi Otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.”

          In Ukrainian it’s even better!

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    My son has just come home and told me that the metro WiFi has been hacked by ISIS. When you log in on the metro you see an ISIS statement:

    Yesterday – Paris: today – Moscow.

  19. Jeremn says:

    Ambivalent US official reaction as to whether it is right to shoot at pilots coming down in parachutes. Won’t please pilots anywhere, and puts US pilots at risk I would have thought. This from the State Dept spokesperson yesterday:

    QUESTION: Turkoman forces in Syria said they killed the two Russian pilots as they descended in parachutes.

    MR TONER: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Turkoman forces are supported by Turkey and are fighting against the Syrian Government, they are part of the rebel force there. Do you consider these rebels to be a moderate force in Syria?

    MR TONER: So a couple of thoughts, one – or a couple points: One is we’ve seen conflicting views, as I think Said just mentioned. We’ve also seen that one pilot may not have been killed. If these were – if these Turkoman were actually the – being attacked by these Russian strikes, they have every right to defend themselves. But that said, we don’t – that said, we don’t know —

    QUESTION: And they have the right to shoot at the pilots in parachutes?

    MR TONER: We don’t have a clear, clear understanding of everything that happened today, okay? I’ve said that and I can keep saying it all day. We’re still trying to determine what happened. It’s easy to rush to judgments and to make proclamations and declarations after an incident like this. You need to gather the facts, you need to be clear about what happened, what occurred, and again, with the emphasis – where the – where we want the emphasis to be is de-escalating and communications between Turkey and Russia going forward.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    “Russian airlines and Russian aircraft are not entitled to use Ukrainian airspace anymore”, Yatsenyuk has announced during a cabinet meeting today (Wednesday, November 25).

    My God! How will Russia survive this latest move by the Killer Wabbit?

  21. Patient Observer says:

    Although the engagement range of the S-400 is 400 km, presumably that is against high altitude targets such as high flying aircraft or ballistic missile given that radar waves travel in a straight line. I understand the electromagnetic waves spread due to diffraction but I have no idea if this causes a significant deviation from the assumption of straight line travel.

    Per the internet, the horizon is about 13 miles away for an observer (or a radar) located 100 feet above the local terrain. So radar waves could reflect off an object about 26 miles away if that object is also 100 feet above the local terrain. As a rough approximation, an object (aircraft or cruise missile) 500 feet above the local terrain could be detected by a radar 100 feet above the local terrain at abut 40 miles.

    Using the above constraints the S-400 could protect a radius of about 40 miles from low altitude attack. An aircraft would need to at about 35,000 feet to be detected at 400 km.

    The S-400, as advanced and effective as everyone says, is still is constrained by physics. It could take several installations spaced roughly 80 miles apart to lock down the air space. I wonder if we will see more S-400 installed in the near future to provide that sort of coverage.

    • et Al says:

      Those are the official specs. It wouldn’t surprise me if it had some network capability, i.e. with disparate antennas from other systems placed elsewhere combined with satellite data and links to tie in all together. Single, isolated systems are obsolete as you take down one radar then it is blind. It needs redundancy.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Russia accuses Turkey of ‘hypocrisy’ after Erdogan admits airspace violation ‘does not justify attack’

    Turkey has been accused of hypocrisy over the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, after it emerged that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself said “a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack”.

    The Russian jet which came down on Tuesday morning entered a small sliver of Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, according to the Turkish military’s own data, while the Russian defence ministry says the Su-24 bomber was in Syria at all times.

    The incident has echoes of a reverse situation in 2012, when the Syrian regime shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom which, it said, entered its airspace off the country’s north-east coast.

    Then, Turkey spoke of its “rage” at the decision to shoot down the jet, which was on a training flight testing its own country’s radar systems.

    “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack”, Mr Erdogan said at the time, threatening in response that “every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border… will be assessed as a military threat and treated as a military target”.

    Who is being humiliated now?

  23. Warren says:

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    German yellow press at its worst:

    Bild Zeitung was forced towithdraw tha article in the end.

    See: Putin Attacks Turkey

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Eyewitness report:

    The sole survivor of the downed Russian warplane, its navigator no less, categorically denies that his aircraft crossed into Turkish airspace. He also says no visual or radio warning was given before his aircraft was fired at.

    See: Turkish jets gave us no warning before shooting

  26. Northern Star says:

    More heroic deeds by the courageous IDF warriors of God’s Chosen People….as armed and enabled by the Exceptional People!!

  27. et Al says:

    EU Observer: North Stream pipeline won’t get EU money, says commissioner

    The North Stream pipeline between Russia and Germany “will not benefit from EU financing,” EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic told the EU Parliament Tuesday. It “would not give access to a new source of supply” and would increase dependency on Russian gas, he said.

    Sweet surrender?

    • Northern Star says:

      The handwriting for this latest development has been on the wall for some time…

      • marknesop says:

        Sefcovic has got nothing and is full of shit – Nord Stream II is not going to impact East European energy security unless they do not trust Germany as a new gas hub over Ukraine, whose energy-pirate shenanigans have resulted in the gas supply to Europe being shut off before (which Europe cares about) and constant theft of European gas by siphoning off its own supply without paying for it (which it does not, since Russia is expected to make up the didfference without charge while still paying transit fees for it). Which is the more reliable partner – Germany, Europe’s biggest and most dynamic economy, or Ukraine, the pauper and desperate groveler for handouts? Gazprom is an “export monopoly” only insofar as Europe does not have another high-capacity supplier and is not going to get one. The pipeline is not owned by Gazprom but by a consortium, and if Sefcovic wants to be told to find another job, he can just keep shilling for the querulous East Europeans who would have benefited from South Stream, but chose instead to posture and prance for their NATO leash-holders.

        “We need to know if there is some kind of intention to close down the Ukrainian transit, what this project may mean for Ukraine and central Europe.” So much for the inclusive European policy of hiring for high positions individuals who are too stupid to read. Russia announced prior to last summer its intention to bypass Ukraine completely except for national gas sales, if any, and reaffirmed it in June. Sefcovic can hardly pretend he did not know, considering he was quoted only a month later saying “If you look at the construction and plans of gas pipelines, one of the goals is to make the Ukrainian transit system less relevant, or to cut off supplies through Ukraine completely. This would have very negative consequences for energy security in Europe, because the Ukrainian transit is very important, it is the largest, at 140 billion cubic meters per year” . Was that a stunt double, or something?

        Which kind of renders his sole identifiable complaint moot, don’t you think? He says cockily, “The EU’s regulatory arm needs, among other things, more details on the justification for the expansion given that the existing infrastructure uses only around half of its capacity.” That’s because it has to make room for another 140 BCm annually, you Slovak putz. Do I have to think of everything myself?

        If Sefcovic had any actual legal grounds to stop it, he would be citing them triumphantly, and this is exactly as I forecast – the EC scents an opportunity, in the current furball between Russia and Turkey, to renew the pressure to continue using Ukraine as a transit country because the EU is not interested in subsidizing its economic recovery, although it is still intensely interested in using it as a physical wedge against Russia.

        Russia announced an expansion of the Yamal gas pipeline – which runs right through Poland, the squalling Poles could get it in a dipper from their back yard, I don’t know how much closer they want it – in April 2013, and World Review’s response was that it “made no economic sense” in view of Europe’s declining gas consumption!! Make up your mind, Sefcovic, you idle pudding.

    • Patient Observer says:

      EU and Germany:

      The tectonic shift has begun (I hope).

    • marknesop says:

      On the contrary – a trap. The expectation is that Gazprom will put up the money, at which point the EC will say it is a Gazprom monopoly and try to kill it dead with that same old you-can’t-own-both-the-gas-and-the-pipeline song and dance, although it regularly grants exemptions for its own non-Russian pipelines by calling them “Field Pipes”. Since this is gas hardball for the brass ring, I’m confident the consortium of which Gazprom is a part is far too smart to fall into such an obvious pit. Investors will be found easily to fund the expansion and then the quavering EC will not have a leg to stand on, as well as having sold out any interests it might have held to commercial concerns. If you sat down around a table and said, “Let’s brainstorm this – what would be the absolute stupidest response we could make to this initiative?”, it would have been difficult to beat “Say that we won’t fund it”. That will blow up in their plump inbred faces as surely as God made little apples.

      • kirill says:

        The EU has exactly zero case to do anything. Germany is free to connect a pipeline through international waters to Russia as a bilateral deal. The EU would only have a say in how the gas is then redistributed from Germany to other EU states. The EU has no authority over the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland and its charter does not limit state sovereignty enough to allow Brussels to dictate these sorts of deals.

  28. Warren says:

    ‘Turkey gave no warning’ – downed Russian pilot

    The surviving pilot of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border has said no warning was given.

    • marknesop says:

      The Turkish story is rapidly falling apart, and NATO by no means broadly supports it. The USA has privately said (through the usual unnamed officials who are not auhorized to blablabla…) that the IR trace of the Russian aircraft did not at any time put it in Turkish airspace. It seems pretty clear that Turkey set an ambush, and as I pointed out yesterday, you cannot warn somebody to turn away when they are in their own or allied airspace – it’s like accusing somebody of shoplifting while they’re still in the store: how do you know they’re not going to pay for the item? How do you know the aircraft intends to enter your airspace? And then it is impossible to have passed 10 warnings, or even 5, in 17 seconds, which is the time the Turks say the plane was in Turkish airspace.

      But the biggest skewer of all comes from Douchebag Erdogan himself, when he was Prime Minister in 2012: “Even if Turkey’s version of what happened on Tuesday is true, the response to alleged violation by Russia appears to be disproportionate and contradicting Ankara’s own position. In 2012, Turkey lost an F-3 Phantom warplane to a Syrian attack after it strayed into Syrian territory…A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then-Turkish prime minister, told BBC at the time as he expressed rage over the downing of the plane.”

      I remember that incident very well, and the Turks tried to generate an enormous conspiracy theory around it; to wit, that a Russian warship “lurking in the vicinity” had actually shot down the Turkish plane with its close-range air defense guns. I had a field day with that one; such guns are normally limited in effective range to around 2000 yards, and their automatic processors require that the target be closing the gun position on a direct heading with a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) of less than a mile or thereabouts. In other words, the Turkish jet would not be attacked by that weapon unless it was heading directly at the ship on which it was fitted and at a range of no more than three miles. Unfortunately, they abandoned that accusation fairly early.

      And the Phantom is actually the F-4. I remember being surprised at the time that any were still flying; in their day they were as iconic as the F-14 Tomcat, but they’re awfully old now. They were new during the Vietnam War.

      • Warren says:

        Western media is now giving the Russian perspective more prominence and simply not accepting Turkey’s version of events at face value. This to me indicates that Western governments are very anxious to not allow the crisis to escalate.

        Cameron the most anti-Russian politician and leader in Western Europe is calling for Russia and Turkey to talk to each resolve the crisis. To me this looks like the UK retreating from supporting Turkey in its confrontation with Russia.

        UK’s Cameron encouraged Russia, Turkey to talk directly over warplane: spokeswoman

        • marknesop says:

          I think what is of most pressing concern to them is Russia moving heavy-duty Air Defense assets into the theatre, which it is now clearly entitled to do for the protection of its forces thanks to Erdogan’s grab for glory. All bombing missions will have CAP (Combat Air Patrol) cover from some of the most capable air-superiority fighters in existence – capable of turning an F-16 inside-out – and naval Air Defense capability will backstop them from seaward. Incidentally, that will add another layer of very capable air surveillance and processing, which can be moved as necessary; as well, Russia is considering finally moving the S-400 system into Syria, finally catching up with numerous rumors that it was already there. The Syrian-Turkish border will be alive with electronic monitoring by personnel anxious to avenge the vicious murder of one of their colleagues.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            It would be wise of the Kebab eaters to ground their air force for a few weeks.

            • marknesop says:

              It would be wise of everyone on that side, after this nonsense – check this out.

              That’s what comes up as a link in this National Interest story – entitled, amusingly enough, “Turkey Shoots Down Russian Su-24: What We Know, Don’t Know and Fear”. There is no way on God’s green earth that the Russian side released that as evidence to back its claim, and everyone here will recognize it immediately as the same bogus graphic introduced to purportedly provide evidence of a Ukrainian aircraft shooting down MH17. The country depicted is not Syria at all, and it looks like something that would appear in The Onion, or crudely drawn by Charlie Hebdo. The National interest implies Russia is trying to pull our legs again, because the aircraft pictured is not an SU-24.

              • yalensis says:

                I thought Turkey was to the North and Syria was to the South. Did they switch places somehow?

              • spartacus says:

                “The National interest implies Russia is trying to pull our legs again, because the aircraft pictured is not an SU-24.”

                It doesn’t matter what type of aircraft is shown in the picture when the date stamped on it is 17th July 2014. It is the same picture used for the MH17 story. They only swapped the passenger plane with a Su34 (I hope I got the model right)

                • marknesop says:

                  There is no way the Russians submitted that abortion as evidence that its plane did not cross into Turkish airspace. It is plainly a fake, so crude a child could spot it, even if it was not one of the most recognizable photos on the internet. The two aircraft shown are not the same type, and neither one is the type that was shot down. Anyone who believes it was offered as evidence would think the Russians are stupid beyond belief.

        • Patient Observer says:

          CNN needs to better vet its commentators – embarrassing and very off-script.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Wonder why they keep calling hima pilot? He was the navigator.

      Suppose this is indicitive of present-day journalistic inexactitude.

      Like Sovchenko is always called a “pilot” as well.

      Sounds more exciting, I suppose.

      • bree says:

        I’m guessing just a bit of a translation issue. In Russian, he’s frequently (and correctly) referred to as a “lyotchik”. If translated literally to English, this would be “flyer”, something of an archaic/rarely used term. So most translators probably just replace it with the more modern and common “pilot”.

        • marknesop says:

          Compounded by the design of the SU-24, in which the space required to be made available for the nose radar dictated that the two occupants sit side-by-side rather than pilot-in-front-weapons-director/navigator-in rear as most configurations do.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Journalists – especially the six o’clock news variety – are not sticklers for accuracy. Hence why an M-4, a Kalashnikov, and anything else that isn’t a 19th-century musket gets referred to as a ‘machine gun’.

  29. Warren says:

    Turkish embassy in Moscow pelted with eggs

    A protest has taken place outside the Turkish embassy in Moscow over Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian border.

    Eggs and stones were thrown at embassy windows, some of which were smashed.

    The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford reports from Moscow.

  30. Warren says:

  31. Warren says:

    Published on 25 Nov 2015
    Itar-Tass reported some 900 people turned up outside the Turkish embassy on Wednesday to pelt it with eggs, tomatoes and stones in protests. The demonstration lasted some 15 minutes.

  32. Warren says:

    Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen

    WASHINGTON — The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.

    It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    В Екатеринбурге открыли Ельцин-центр

    «Борис Николаевич хотел, чтобы наша страна стала сильной, процветающей, счастливой, — заявил Путин, — Он обладал волевым, прямым, мужественным характером, способностью проявлять предельную решительность. И во многом благодаря этим его качествам наша страна не свернула с избранного демократического пути развития». Глава государства поблагодарил создателей центра, а также выразил надежду, что Ельцин-центр станет важной просветительской площадкой.

    Дмитрий Медведев отозвался о Ельцине как о волевом и мужественном политике, который не боялся ответственности за свои решения. Глава кабмина поделился впечатлениями о первой встрече с Ельциным. «Борис Николаевич приехал и пламенно выступал, отвечал на вопросы. Я в первый раз его увидел, и это было, наверное, самое сильное впечатление. Я понял, что приходит новая эпоха — эпоха таких людей, как Ельцин», — отметил Медведев.

    “Boris Nikolaevich wanted our country to become strong, prosperous and happy”, Putin said, “He was a strong-willed, direct, masculine character, and had the ability to exercise the utmost determination. And largely because of these qualities, our country did not turn from the chosen democratic path of development”. The President thanked the founders of the centre and expressed the hope that the Yeltsin Centre would become an important educational area.

    Dmitry Medvedev praised Yeltsin as a courageous and strong-willed politician who was not afraid of the responsibility he had for his decisions. The Prime Minister shared his impressions about his first meeting with Yeltsin. “Boris Nikolaevich arrived and acted with a fiery passion and answered questions. The first time I saw him, was probably when my impressionof him was the strongest. I realized that a new era had arrived — the era of people such as Yeltsin”, Medvedev said.

    What a load of tosh!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      В судьбе, в самой личности Бориса Николаевича Ельцина в полной мере отразились колоссальные вызовы, трудности, противоречия того времени. Он обладал волевым, прямым, мужественным характером, способностью проявлять предельную решительность. И во многом благодаря этим его качествам наша страна не свернула с избранного демократического пути развития.

      Именно тогда, в условиях сурового политического противостояния, была принята Конституция нашей страны, и на её основе, на её чётких положениях начался созидательный период нашего развития.

      Борис Николаевич глубоко понимал драматизм кардинальных преобразований, пропускал это через себя – через свою совесть, через душу, через сердце; сомневался, мучился, переживал, знал, через какие тяжелейшие испытания приходится проходить нашему народу. И когда принял решение об отставке, то обратился тогда, как мы помним, к народу России с искренними, поистине исповедальными словами. В этом была и его сила, и его честность, и его открытость.

      It was fateful, indeed, that the the enormous challenges, difficulties, and contradictions of the time were fully reflected by those very personal characteristics of Boris Yeltsin. He possessed a strong-willed, direct, masculine character, and had the ability to exercise the utmost determination. And largely because of these qualities, our country did not turn from the chosen democratic path of development.

      It was then, in harsh political confrontation [when people were dying in White House as it was being bombarded by artillery fire on that drunken pig Yeltsin’s orders – ME] that the Constitution of our country was adopted [quite illegally – ME], and on its basis, on its clear provisions, there began the creative period of our development.

      Boris Nikolayevich was deeply aware of this dramatic transformation and felt it himself, in his conscience [whenever he was fully conscious, I suppose – ME], and through his heart and soul: he doubted; he was worried and troubled; he knew what hardships our nation would have to undergo [He, meanwhile, was opening offshore accounts for his family – ME]. And when he took the decision to resign [more like he was told to fuck off – ME], we all recall how he addressed the Russian nation with sincere and truly contrite words. [He sounded pissed out of shape to me, as usual – ME] In this was his strength and his honesty and his candour.

      See: Открытие Президентского центра Бориса Ельцина


      Sick bag!!!!

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Yeltsin was kulak’s son. That… explains a lot.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          He was pig ignorant.

          I remember watching an interview with the UN top synchronous interpreter after she had retired. She was asked who was the most difficult person she had ever interpreted and without a moment’s hesitation she said “Boris Yeltsin”. She went on to say that essentially he was a boor and had the mentality of a peasant, and used the boorish peasant trick of responding to questions that he could not or did not wish to answer by sitting in silence and scowling at his interlocutor.

          A boorish Yeltsin incident that I recall was when the British head of state visied Russia. As is the custom, on the last day of her visit, the British monarch gave a banquet in honour of her host, and, again, following the custom, the banquet was held on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, which had docked at Saint-Peterburg.

          When the party was over, down the gangplank tottered the drunken Yeltsin, as Queen Elizabeth and her consort gazed down at the departing oaf and the Royal Marines band played on the after-deck.

          The yacht cast off and slowly pulled away from the quay, where a host of Russian journalists were waiting to interview the First President of Russsia.

          One of them asked what the food had been like.

          “Not bad”, slurred Yeltsin, then, after a short pause in order to gather his befuddled thoughts together, he leered: “but not as good a Russian food”.

          Well maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but what an uncultured response to be made by one head of state as regards another head of state’s hospitality.

          Whenever I watched Yeltsin rambling on half-pissed, I always though he had been born a hundred years too late, for he seemed to me to be how I imagined the elder of a village mir to have been circa 1880.

    • yalensis says:

      Ugh! Why are Putin and Medvedev cramming Yeltsin down the throats of the people?
      They must be up to something no good…

  34. Warren says:

    Fred West friends jailed for sexually abusing children

    A husband and wife who were friends of the serial killers Fred and Rose West have been jailed for sexually abusing 10 children over a 15-year period.

  35. PaulR says:

    Interesting response from Yuri Butusov to the shooting down of the Russian jet in Syria, which could get MH-17 conspiracy theorists buzzing, as it shows that Ukrainian air defence systems were in Donbass and did get orders to open fire:

    Помню, как летом 2014-го российский истребитель глубоко вторгся в воздушное пространство Украины и направился к авиабазе Краматорска. Он был в захвате украинской зенитно-ракетной батареи, была получена команда открыть огонь. В 45 километрах от Краматорска, за пару секунд до достижения рубежа пуска наших ракет, российский нарушитель отвернул и вышел из нашего воздушного пространства. Источник:

    ‘I remember how in summer 2014 a Russian fighter penetrated deep into Ukrainian airspace and headed towards Kramatorsk air base. It was picked up by a Ukrainian ant-aircraft battery, and the order was received to open fire. 45 kilometres from Kramatorsk, a couple of seconds before reaching the range of our rockets, the Russian turned back and left our airspace.’

  36. Patient Observer says:

    Sounds impressive and a major breakthrough in radar technology:
    Seems like it would completely defeat stealth technology as it apparently operates at or near optical wavelengths.

    Here is a story with more detail on an early proof-of-principle prototype:

  37. Warren says:

    Turkey releases audio of ‘warning’ to downed Russia jet

    The Turkish military has released an audio recording of what it says were warnings to a Russian warplane before it was shot down on the Syrian border.

    • kirill says:

      The Russian plane, if it did cross the 1.15 mil section as claimed by the Istanbul Caliphate, would have spent around 5-8 seconds doing it judging from video and photographs clearly showing its wings swept back indicating a speed in excess of 800 km per hour. This “recording” is a joke and the testimony of the living pilot proves it. Any warning to stay out of the 5 mile self-declared Caliphate security zone over Syrian territory has no legitimacy and does not merit attention.

      It is gratifying to see the attack on the arms trucks entering Syria from the Caliphate. Anything trying to cross into Syria should be destroyed.

    • marknesop says:

      The only thing that is recognizable is “change your heading south”. There is no indication to whom the speaker is directing this warning, if such it is, and the audio quality is awful. What would anyone on the receiving end make of it? And you cannot just say “Change your heading south” and consider your responsibility to warn someone you are about to shoot them down satisfied.

  38. PaulR says:

    My thoughts on the shooting down of the Russian plane:

  39. Lyttenburgh says:

    Quick, someon – sacrifice a black goat and appeal to the Satan! We must summon Karl to witness this tremendous developing!

    Finland is finally relevant!

    And Estonia is relevant too! What I find strange – the lack of Iceland and Byelarus among the “crusader states”. Proably Daesh is too frightned of Icelandic Wadanist vikings (and “Game of the Thrones” filming crew here). But why did they take an exception to vily Bat’ka?

    Karl – you shoukd celebrate this news!

  40. marknesop says:

    Totally unrelated, I’m afraid, but very interesting nonetheless: an intensive and apparently coordinated Twitter campaign, largely managed by netbots, steered refugees to Germany by a great majority. The author speculates the intent was to swamp Germany under a tide of refugees and damage its economy. This Twitter campaign appears to have originated outside Europe, although that is difficult to say with any certainty.

    • marknesop says:

      And another, from the same site – I don’t know why I don’t go there more often, because many of their articles are top-notch and the best of their genre – this one for “Kaliber” junkies. Lots of detail on which ships (all smallish, corvette-size vessels) carried out the launch, and excellent refutation of the canard picked up quickly by the popular press that four missiles had gone astray and landed in Iran. That was plainly a spur-of-the-moment invention purposely inserted into the reporting, and not even the oleaginous State Department would commit to it when specifically questioned. Kirill and Drutten will enjoy this one.

  41. astabada says:

    John Bolton is the former US Ambassador to the UN, and former Foreign Minister under Bush. In his article on the International NYT, he proposes to “defeat ISIS” by creating a Sunni state between Iraq and Syria, with capital Damascus.

    A Sunni state between Iraq and Syria, doesn’t that remind you guys of anyting?

    I suggest we call it the Sunni State of Iraq and Syria (SSIS). However, given that Sunni people are the only real Muslims, it does not need to be called Sunni: Islamic will do just right.

    I know what you are thinking, but this time it will be different, this time it’ll be a democracy.

    How cavalier of Mr. Bolton to think about the problems of Syrian and Iraqi Sunnis. Oh no, they don’t need to worry about anything, we’ll sort everything for you from outside. No need to plan anything, we have already designed the new state, even its capital has been chosen.
    I bet if the need to fight will arise, the US will provide even the fighters to create the new entity (just ask friendly Al Saud).

    • marknesop says:

      Partitioning of Middle Eastern states to a U.S-directed pattern is an American dream of long standing. That was the plan for Iraq, too; you can’t find it anywhere any more, it’s gone down the memory hole, but originally Iraq was to be partitioned into three ethnic states, each headed by a U.S. General as military governor until they got it together on their own – Tommy Franks was to be just one of three.

  42. Jlaus says:

    Yeah the Atlantic Council has had some gross distortions:

  43. Jlaus says:


    Originally posted at the Atlantic Council website and rightly ridiculed by Russia Insider –

    The author of the Atlantic Council piece, Agnia Grigas, appears to have a penchant for suggestively distorting Russian intentions:

    As a follow-up to the tabloid title of her book “Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire”, Crimea’s reunification with Russia was triggered by a coup in Kiev against a democratically elected Ukrainian president, followed by increased anti-Russian activity, connected (in one or the other other) to the regime that replaced him. The numerous specifics on this occurrence can’t be legitimately disputed. They’re noted towards the end of this article:

    Post-Soviet Crimea was willing to exist in Ukraine’s Communist drawn boundaries within a reasonable degree. It’s unreasonable to expect a majority pro-Russian population in a historically Russian area to willingly live under an anti-Russian leaning regime that took power under suspect conditions.

    It’s also erroneous for Grigas to suggest that Russia instigated the disputes in the former Georgian SSR. If Russia is so bad, why do the majority of Abkhaz and Ossetians seem to prefer Russia over Georgia? Russia hasn’t taken in the rebel held Donbas area and hasn’t accepted Pridnestrovie’s twice elected desire to reunify with Russia. As is true with the contentious situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Kremlin didn’t instigate the differences within the former Georgian SSR.

    Linked at the very top of this correspondence, Grigas’ Atlantic Council and Newsweek promoted piece on Russia supporting ethnic Lithuanians in Poland lacks substance. The at times complicated Polish-Lithuanian relationship hasn’t resulted in Lithuanians en masse looking to Russia as a savior. Crimea is overwhelmingly pro-Russian, in a way that can’t be said of Lithuanian patriots and Lithuanians in general.

    This isn’t the first time (or second or third…) that the Atlantic Council has run suspect commentary against Russia and/or Putin. (The two are often connected. Putin remains quite popular in Russia.)

    As one example, refer to an Atlantic Council piece by Adrian Karatnycky. His claim in question is a prime example of a gross distortion. That piece is linked in the beginning of this article with a critical follow-up:

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