Sultans and Suzerains

August Geopolitical

Not two weeks ago, Turkish Stream was “some way off from a done deal”. But that was so last week: and a week makes a world of difference in End-Time global antics — the $20 billion Gazprom venture is good-to-go again.

The proposed Turkish Stream gas pipeline

Yalova and Istanbul are conjoined at the bridge, while Turkey also builds a nuclear reactor and a giant natural gas storage facility  — all part of a 10-year, $200 billion, infrastructure plan that their president is determined to see through, shrugging off local terror attacks and the recent attempted coup.

Mr Biden made a dash east—by air (not uber-land-bridge)—but was not received by Turkey’s President at the runway. When President Erdogan did finally meet with him, the Vice President was reduced to assuaging host anxieties by issuing ultimatums on another U.S. ally, the Kurds. Washington, he said, had ordered the YPG* to retreat or risk losing American support.

Vice President Joe Biden is greeted by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara [Image: Associated Press]
As the BBC reports:

Ankara wants to force the Kurds to withdraw to the east of Euphrates River, stopping short of establishing a corridor to link two Kurdish-led areas in north-western Syria.

President Obama will meet Turkey’s president this Sunday (September 4) at the G20 summit in China, as Turkey’s air force pursue air-strikes on YPG (northern Syria) and PKK (northern Iraq) bases. In early counting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 40 civilians have been killed as a consequence. Ten more villages have “been cleared of terrorist elements”, the official word came from Turkey. This offensive will continue until “the threat of Daesh and YPG/PKK is over“, according to President Erdogan. This is Operation Euphrates Shield.

According to the BBC:

Both countries [the U.S. and Turkey] have demanded that Kurdish forces withdraw to the east bank of the Euphrates river.

Turkey remains a vital piece in the puzzle, even as America concurrently court the Kurds (and Turkey those Cossacks). But why—up till now—play whimsy with ISIS? It is hard to escape the inference that Islamic State is nothing more than a rabble of mercenaries on a Turkish leash — an abominable rabble that is, admittedly, apt to go rogue on a whim, but a leash nonetheless. Outsourcing, after all, is all the vogue.

A porous Syrian-Turkish border has long been exposed as the rabble’s supply line. The Islamic State receives materiel, as well as distributing booty — oil and relics, and terror destined for Europe to boot—through, for instance, the caravanserai of Jarablus.

News Spike March 30 2001 At Iraq's Backdoor, Turkey Flouts Sanctions
Daesh-Turkish Oil Tankers, Racqa Province, Northern Syria [Image and text: Spike News, November 29, 2015]
Whether by intent or default, ISIS has served Turkish interest well — taking the war both to Syria and the Kurds. Post-terror and post-attempted coup, however; and Turkey has opted to openly take matters into her own hands. Shedding any sense of pretense, Turkey entered Syria and took Jarablus.

Jarablus has been under ISIS control since early 2013. Turkey took it in an effortless operation under air-force cover. As NATO member, and self-proclaimed opponent of ISIS, why had Turkey not done (or been asked to do) this earlier? Turkey had, after all, previously entered Syria when it unilaterally moved the Tomb of Suleyman Shah in February last year — violating Syrian sovereignty seems no impediment.

The answer to that may lie with the U.S. and their feeble war on ISIS—a war that they are waging, more likely than not, on Ankara’s terms. That was until Russia entered the fray, pushing the Islamic State onto the back foot. Suddenly, and with a leg up, the Kurds control an almost contiguous strip of land the length of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Kurdish controlled territory is here coloured in purple

And this is Ankara’s great fear: the Jarablus corridor is not only a nexus for ISIS thoroughfare, but it is the breach in an otherwise Kurdish dominated northern strip of Syria — and the long-feared (for Turkey) realisation of an autonomous Kurdistan.

So much for Syria. What’s with Yemen?

The Houthi mass-rally in Sanaa may bring a smile to the Ayatollah’s face but to the Sunni House of Saud, not so much. Apart from the “Battle of the Books” in these End Times, we are witnessing the unfolding of the final battle in a 1400-year old sectarian war.

[Image: Yemen Press]
As well as obvious and shared hatred for Israel, Sunni and Shiite Muslim seem literally hell-bent on destroying one another — a consuming passion at the expense even of their loath for Israel.

[Image: Deutsche Welle]
Millions of anti-Saud pro-Iranian Houthi rally in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Flushed with paternalistic pride at the resolve in Sanaa, and on the back of easing international sanctions, Iran is busy making moves. Her banking system is moving to adopt Basel II and Basel III standards. The Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) and National Development Fund have arranged, starting March 2017, for a $1 billion credit line to international buyers of their technical, engineering services, and other goods and to launch Iranian infrastructure and construction projects in host countries.

Central Bank of Iran governor, Valiollah Seif, said that:

After the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and P5+1 in January 2016 and termination of all nuclear related sanctions, Iran is fully open for business, including in banking, finance and foreign investment.

And moving to an orchestrated plan, Iran has also moved her newly-acquired Russian S-300 system to their Fordow nuclear site.

S-300 missile defense system

Entrenching defensive readiness amidst perpetual regional tensions, Israel is still not showing signs of slowing in her innovation and cooperation, emerging as another state on the move. Utilising a revolutionary anti-biofouling technology, it costs only 58 cents for the new Solek Desalination plant to produce 1,000 litres of drinking water. Coupled with unparalleled efforts to recapture 86% of grey water, one of the smallest and driest countries in the world may yet become the fountainhead of the entire Middle East [perhaps not for the first time!].

The Soleq Desal Plant near Tel Aviv

Hoping to lead into an era of international economic cooperation, as the world pivots east, China’s pragmatic business style sees her extend invitations to a record number of developing countries, including Egypt, to the G20 summit to be held in Hangzhou. Oil-poor China has long been courting African nations. But this is a great leverage opportunity for the Egyptian economy, which is still lagging despite recent giant infrastructure spending such as the Suez canal expansion, which is celebrating its first year in operation.

A humanitarian disaster in Maiduguri (Borno province), in northeast Nigeria, looks to be averted for 40,000 victims of the 2014 Boko Haram insurgency. Aid from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing food items and farming grants, as families are being resettled to their communities. Two-hundred of these farm-families—of between two and 10 members—will each be given a half-hectare of land, fertiliser, superior bean seeds, and the assistance of a farm extension officer.

Grafik DER SPIEGEL 01/2010 Seite 79 Caption: Baumermann 0110 Nigeria Scharia Afrika Kamerun Niger Benin Abuja Datum: 4. Januar 2010 NIGER BENIN NIGERIA CAMEROON Lagos Gulf of Guinea Niger Delta Kano Kaduna Abuja Jos Jos Plateau Bauchi Maiduguri States with Sharia Law
[Image: DER SPIEGEL, January 2010]
They will also each receive a 25 kg bag of rice and a 10 kg bag of beans. All the more timely, as these folk are now seeing a rise in new polio cases after difficulties with implementation of a vaccine program. And all of this as the central Nigerian government continues to be plagued by accusations of nepotism.

Ms Rousseff, rightly or wrongly [and more wrongly than rightly one suspects], is now Brazil’s ex-president. One wonders for the reaction in the streets of Caracas? In Sucre? Quito? Wonder no more.

Gaze turned now upward, from gutter politics to polity in the sky: NASA to launch probe to investigate ‘Armageddon’ asteroid. The Independent reports that the Bennu asteroid will be performing an earthly fly-by in 2135:

That 2135 fly-by is going to tweak Bennu’s orbit,
potentially putting it on course for the Earth later that century.

Transport, trucking, containers on shipping vessels, are all key economic indicators that are trending low and down, amid the turn to negative interest rates to help prop a Bond market on the verge of catastrophic structural failure. And problems in the German banking system may have prompted the dramatic move by its government to issue a catastrophe warning to its people to stock up on food items. It will not go down very well, in Italy for instance (where bail-ins are being invoked), for German banks to request ECB bailouts. Finally, it has been revealed that the addition of the Chinese RNB to the IMF Special Drawing Rights came at the expense of the hapless Euro.

Everything is compounding so quickly, so remember to keep your head in these days of evil: Revenge is the Lord’s.


  • *The PKK-freedom fighters, linked to the YPG (Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units), is a terrorist organisation in the eyes of Turkey, but it enjoys U.S. support against ISIS.



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