martes, 23 de enero de 2018

Qué tendrá el petiso?


Por derecha y por izquierda le tiran a Francisco: la corpo, los troscos, las feministas. Qué tendrá el petiso, nos preguntamos, para que tanto papafrita esclarecido salga con los botines de punta cada vez que el susodicho abre la boca. ¿Lo leerán, acaso? Una que lo leyó, y comentó al respecto, es la teóloga Emilce Cuda, quien escribió esta nota para el diario Página/12. :



Título: Papafilia-Papafobia

Texto: De la visita a Chile y Perú del papa Francisco quedará una foto construida por un sector de los medios de comunicación: el supuesto encubrimiento de un obispo sospechado de encubrir pedofilia. Al mismo tiempo, Francisco es el único capaz de juntar multitudinariamente al pueblo. ¿Cuál es la razón?

Dice el tango Qué falta que me hacés: “Si vieras la ternura/ que tengo para darte./ Capaz de hacer un mundo y dártelo después./ Y entonces si te encuentro/ seremos nuevamente,/ desesperadamente/ los dos para los dos”.

Para Francisco, Dios es eso, quien crea un mundo, por pura ternura, para darlo después; y además es capaz de sostenerlo en la vida buena. Un tango. El lenguaje del símbolo, ése de la sapiencia popular, sin metafísica -como dice el poeta Fernando Pessoa-, capaz de hacer presente el todo en la parte; capaz de unir la diferencia sin aniquilarla. Ahí, la relación; la lógica justa del uno para el otro, el amor. Gritar un nombre enamorado.

Por analogía puede pensarse que señor es quien crea un mundo y puede sostenerlo. Si por economía se entiende una promesa de amor sostenida y sustentable, entonces se observa que no cualquiera puede ocupar el lugar del señor. Un dios es quien crea un mundo con la palabra, pero luego lo sostiene con los hechos. Tanto en la teología, como en la política y el amor, se sabe por experiencia que crear mundos es una tarea seductora que puede hacer cualquiera, pero sostenerlo en la vida buena solo es capacidad de un señor verdadero quien, por serlo, será reconocido, entronado y alabado por su pueblo, que en asamblea publica le dirá: ¡Laudato Si, mi Señor! 

De ese modo, la economía sustentable sólo puede ser obra de un señor verdadero y providente, todo lo contrario del falso dios que fundamenta la modalidad relacional actual, la de una “cultura de la muerte” según el Documento de Aparecida y la de una “economía que mata” según Evangelii Gadium. Para Francisco, el dios creador del mundo de los últimos dos siglos, es decir, el dios dinero, no es un dios verdadero. Esta posición social, teologico-politica, genera tensión.

Ante la evidencia de una economía que mata, el Papa habla de injusticia social, pero le responden con moral sexual. Lejos de ser un diálogo de sordos, por sí mismo lo explica todo. Tanto en su Exhortación Apostólica Evangelii Gadium, como en su Encíclica Laudato Si, Francisco demanda al sistema de relaciones económicas asimétricas actuales por generar una “cultura del descarte”. Curiosamente, el sistema le responde con una acusación sobre una de sus exhortaciones apostólicas, Amoris Laetitia,sobre moral sexual privada.

Se sabe –como explican hoy desde Chantal Mouffe hasta Pierre Rosanvallon, por no mencionar autores del pasado como Carl Schmitt y hasta el mismo Homero– que ignorar la demanda social a cambio de señalar la falta moral, es el modo de desconocer en el otro al adversario político legítimo para luego criminalizarlo bajo el paraguas de la corrupción o la herejía. Así, la opinión publica adquiere poder de policía señalando la falta moral como modo de inhibición social. Sabiendo esto –sobre todo entre los papafóbicos, pero amigos del pueblo–, antes de contabilizar las faltas podría reconocerse en Francisco la capacidad de juntar en la calle dos millones de jóvenes, algo que ningún líder político actual, ni siquiera un rockstar, es capaz de lograr. Eso indica que (parafraseando su Discurso a los Sacerdotes y Religiosos en Chile), ser un Papa del Pueblo “se está pagando caro”.

El éxito político se mide por la capacidad de representación. Si se considera el número de personas a las que representa el papa latinoamericano en el mundo, con su legitimidad moral –religiosa y política–, transversal a las fronteras geográficas, sociales e ideológicas, dentro y fuera del catolicismo, no debería asombrar la critica que su discurso profético despierta. No cae en las trampas del debate porque no se siente en falta. A cambio de eso, escucha al necesitado y “Al ver a la multitud” (Mt. 5,1) encuentra el gesto que le permite tender el puente de dialogo con su pueblo.

Un pontífice que tiene un discurso sobre la igualdad y la misericordia con reconocimiento universal es presa nada despreciable para la policía del lenguaje. Si, además, critica el clericalismo y empodera al laico diciendo que “no son empleados del clero”, llama a los pueblos de la Amazonia a organizarse y a que “se autodefinan y nos muestren su identidad”, denuncia el extractivismo, la contaminación ambiental, los diversos modos de imperialismo, la ocupación de tierras con fines comerciales y dice que el término “trata de personas” es un modo de encubrir la esclavización laboral y sexual, entonces es un verdadero profeta urbano del siglo XXI.

Dentro del grupo de los papafóbicos, aquellos que han optado por los pobres parecen no estar lo suficientemente armados ante a las tentaciones modernas que se manifiestan en los discursos hegemónicos y se suman a las filas de la discordia fijando la mirada en lo que no dice. Pero Francisco dice. Habla con el pueblo. No se dirige a los poderosos. Llama a la conversión a los débiles, a disculparse a sí mismos las faltas que el sistema les genera para justificar su exclusión, tanto como las traiciones que genera la desolación de la derrota.

Francisco es un signo de los tiempos que algunos pasan por alto en honor a la opinión pública que sabe dónde encontrar la falta. Siempre el poder moral pontificio fue una amenaza a la soberanía absoluta. La novedad es que el pontífice está con el pueblo. Solo con predicar la lógica de la unidad en la diferencia Francisco ya es una amenaza, para lo cual su Homilía en el Aeródromo de Temuco es una clase magistral. Por consiguiente, el problema está en lo que dice y a quienes visita, porque con Francisco el discurso teológico dejo de ser solamente el relato de la opción preferencial por los pobres para convertirse en una práctica cultural de “opción radical por la vida”, como dijo en Chile haciendo suyas las palabras de Gabriela Mistral.

Francisco no habla de la pobreza sino de la riqueza como origen de la desigualdad. Según Thomas Piketty el 1 por ciento de la población poseerá en el siglo XXI el 90 por ciento de la riqueza. La concentración de la riqueza alcanzará en el siglo XXI los niveles del siglo XIX. Se estará nuevamente ante una sociedad patrimonial y rentista de alta concentración de capital y baja productividad. Si bien la utilidad marginal junto a la educación, la formación y la tecnología explican en el largo plazo la evolución del capital general de una sociedad, en el corto plazo el capital estará encarnado en el 1% de la población. Para Piketty, “una desigualdad tan extrema se sostiene no solo con la eficacia de un aparato represivo, sino también con la eficacia de un aparato de justificación”.

Las normas sociales generan la aceptabilidad tanto de la pobreza como de la riqueza. En los sistemas de creencias respecto a la contribución de unos y otros en la producción y el crecimiento del país es, según Piketty, donde debe intervenirse. Si el problema está en las creencias que sostienen la actual percepción de la riqueza, se trata entonces de una Teología de la Cultura, de una conversión cultural en el modo de justificación de la desigualdad. ¿Lo estará haciendo Francisco? Sera esa la razón por la cual no pasa inadvertido ni para el pueblo ni para los medios hegemónicos?



lunes, 22 de enero de 2018

Mauricio en Moscú

Nos preguntamos a qué va Mauricio a Rusia en estos días. Seguramente hay una razón. De la nota que sigue, de Russia Today, saltan algunas palabras: gas, cobre, trenes. Veremos. 



Título: "Impulso a la cooperación estratégica bilateral": Mauricio Macri llega a Moscú en visita oficial

Subtítulo: Durante su gira, el mandatario argentino se reunirá con el presidente Vladímir Putin y empresarios rusos.

Texto: Este lunes 22 de enero comienza la visita oficial del mandatario argentino, Mauricio Macri, a Moscú. El presidente llega a Rusia acompañado por el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Jorge Faurie y el secretario de Asuntos Estratégicos Fulvio Pompeo.

Rusia es el primer país que Macri visita en su gira europea, que también le llevará al Foro Económico Mundial de Davos y a Francia, donde se reunirá con el presidente Emmanuel Macron.

En opinión del embajador argentino en Rusia, Ricardo Lagorio, la visita demuestra el alto nivel de relaciones que se ha establecido entre Moscú y Buenos Aires. Aunque la visita sea breve, lo importante es el contexto y el ambiente en el que transcurre, ha subrayado Lagorio en una entrevista a TASS. Desde su punto de vista, la reunión de Macri con Putin "va a dar un impulso a la cooperación estratégica integral de Rusia y Argentina".


Desayuno con empresarios

El primer punto del programa oficial de Mauricio Macri en Moscú será un desayuno de trabajo con representantes de importantes compañías rusas previsto para el martes.

Según los datos del servicio de prensa de la administración del presidente de Argentina, en la reunión estarán presentes altos directivos de las compañías Gazprom, Biocad, Gazprombank, Phosagro, Rosatom, Sinara y Uralkali. También se espera la participación de representantes de Yandex, Mail.ru Group, RZhD, Rússkaya Médnaya Kompániya (Compañía Rusa del Cobre), Transmashholding y del banco VTB.

Después, Macri acudirá a la ceremonia de inauguración de la plazoleta de Argentina, situada en el centro de Moscú, cerca de la Embajada del país latinoamericano. En septiembre del año pasado, en la capital argentina también se bautizó una plaza con el nombre de la Federación de Rusia.

A continuación, se prevé que el mandatario argentino deposite una ofrenda floral en la Tumba del Soldado Desconocido en la Muralla del Kremlin y finalmente se reúna con Vladímir Putin.


Reunión con Vladímir Putin

Se espera que en la reunión de Mauricio Macri con el presidente ruso Vladímir Putin, las partes discutan el desarrollo de las relaciones estratégicas ruso-argentinas en el ámbito político, económico-comercial y cultural, e intercambien opiniones acerca de temas actuales de la agenda internacional, ha comunicado el servicio de prensa del Kremlin.

Se prevé que en las negociaciones participe el ministro de Exteriores ruso, Serguéi Lavrov, el asesor del presidente Yuri Ushakov y el jefe de la agencia rusa para la supervisión veterinaria y fitosanitaria Rosseljoznadzor, Serguéi Dankvert. Argentina va a estar representada por el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Jorge Faurie, el secretario de Asuntos Estratégicos Fulvio Pompeo y el embajador Ricardo Lagorio.

Al término de las negociaciones, los presientes firmarán una declaración conjunta.


Cooperación estratégica integral

"Las relaciones políticas entre nuestros países, como bien se sabe, llegaron al nivel de cooperación estratégica integral, según quedó reflejado en la declaración de los presidentes de ambos países en 2015", ha recordado el embajador de Rusia en Argentina Víktor Koronelli. Asimismo, el embajador, que ha subrayado que las relaciones bilaterales se siguen desarrollando y reforzando, ha destacado en entrevista a RIA Novosti que entre ambos países se ha establecido un diálogo diplomático estrecho.

Koronelli también ha subrayado que en Argentina "han percibido con agradecimiento y gratitud" la participación rusa en la búsqueda del submarino argentino ARA San Juan, desaparecido el 15 de noviembre.

En el ámbito económico, en 2017 los países lograron cambiar la tendencia de la disminución del intercambio comercial, ha destacado el embajador ruso. Mientras que en 2016 el flujo comercial bilateral solo alcanzó los 800 millones de dólares, en los primeros 11 meses de 2017 la cifra ya era de 825 millones, ha informado el diplomático.

En cuanto a las perspectivas de cooperación bilateral, Koronelli ha recordado que el Gobierno argentino prevé realizar un programa de recuperación y desarrollo del transporte ferroviario nacional. "Hoy en día, tres compañías rusas han mostrado su interés en la participación en estos programas: RzhD, Transmashholding y Sinara Tránsportnye Mashini [Vehículos de transporte Sinara]", ha señalado el diplomático. Igualmente, se siguen manteniendo contactos en el sector energético.


En 2017 también se restableció el funcionamiento del Consejo Empresario Argentino-Ruso, lo cual sirve de estímulo para todas las relaciones económico-comerciales bilaterales, ha subrayado Koronelli.


domingo, 21 de enero de 2018

¿Quién gana en Afrín?


A partir del mapa de arriba, notará el lector que el condado sirio de Afrín está exactamente en la frontera con Turquía; de ahí la susceptibilidad de los turcos ante la posibilidad de enclaves kurdos autónomos en esa y otras regiones del norte de Siria. Uno se pregunta qué hay detrás de los últimos movimientos de Turquía en la zona, quién gana, quién pierde y quién empata. Acá van algunas posibles respuestas, por parte del sitio web Moon of Alabama:



Título: Syria - Turks Attack Afrin, U.S. Strategy Fails, Kurds Again Chose The Losing Side

Texto: After negotiations between Russia/Syria and the Kurds of Afrin had failed, the Russian side made a deal with Turkey. Now Turkey attacks Afrin while everyone else looks aside. The main impetus for this development was the announcement of a U.S. occupation in north-east Syria with the help of the Kurdish YPG/PKK. The occupation strategy is already failing. The Kurds made the false choice. They will be the losers of this game.

We had wrongly predicted that Turkish threats against the Kurdish held north-west area of Afrin were empty:

The threat is not serious:
...
Afrin is under formal protection of Russian and Syrian forces.
The real danger to Turkey is not Afrin but the much larger Kurdish protectorate the U.S. publicly announced in north-east Syria.

The Turkish threats and its artillery noise have led to counter noise from Syria and more silent advice from Russia. The Syrian government wants to show that it is the protector of all Syrian citizens be they ethnic Arabs or Kurds. Russia is proud of its role as the grown up who is calming down all sides.

Turkey is now attacking the Afrin canton in full force.

The Turkish operation to go after Afrin was triggered by two events. The more important one was the U.S. announcement of a permanent occupation of north-east Syria with the help of a 30,000 men strong SDF "border protection force" consisting of mainly Kurds and some Arabs who earlier fought under ISIS. We had noted at that time:

The Turks were not consulted before the U.S. move and are of course not amused that a "terrorist gang", trained and armed by the U.S., will control a long stretch of their southern border. Any Turkish government would have to take harsh measures to prevent such a strategic threat to the country.

The U.S. move was amateurish. It ignored the security needs of its NATO ally Turkey in exchange for an illegal and unsustainable occupation of north-east Syria. Secretary of State Tillerson tried to calm the Turks by claiming that the "border protection force" was not for border protection. Reports from the training ground expose that as a lie:

"This force will be a foundational force to protect the borders of north Syria," proclaimed the announcer at the graduation ceremony.

A second motive for the Turkish operation was the success of the Syrian army in the east-Idleb where "Free Syrian Army" and al-Qaeda Takfiris supported by Turkey were eliminated by Syrian Army attacks.

The now unfolding Turkish operation was preceded by several rounds of negotiations.

The Syrian government and its Russian allies offered the Afrin Kurds to protect them from any Turkish attacks:

Nearly a week ago, [a] meeting between Russian officials and Kurdish leaders took place. Moscow suggested Syrian State becomes only entity in charge of the northern border. The Kurds refused. It was immediately after that that the Turkish Generals were invited to Moscow. Having the Syrian State in control of its Northern Border wasn't the only Russian demand. The other was that the Kurds hand back the oil fields in Deir al Zor. The Kurds refused suggesting that the US won't allow that anyway. The meeting was not exactly a success.

This account was confirmed by Kurdish negotiators:

Aldar Xelil (@Xelilaldar), member of the Democratic Free Society Tev-Dem: “In a meeting Russia proposed to the Afrin Administration that if Afrin is ruled by the Syrian regime, Turkey won’t attack it. #Afrin Canton Administration refused this proposal.”

The Kurds made a counteroffer. They would raise some Syrian flags and give up on the (mostly destroyed) Menagh air force base they hold but they were unwilling to give up any border control:

A translation from the Diken newspaper:

Amberin Zaman talked to Rojava officials Nobahar Mustafa and Sinam Mohammed. They say:

- Russia aims to weaken the YPG and to turn Afrin over to "the regime."
- We're still in negotiations with Russia. They said if you turn over Afrin to the regime it will protect you. We refused. We offered to turn over Menagh airbase and some other checkpoints but they refused.
- We may pull out of Sochi
- New alliances will be formed with Saudi, UAE, and Egypt.
- Rojava forces commander General Mazlum and Ilham Ahmed have met Brett McGurk to ask the US to stop the Turkish attacks. This is a test of how reliable an ally the US is.

After the negotiations with the Kurds had failed Syria and Russia, which was the negotiating entity, made a deal with Turkey. Turkey had agreed to a de-escalation zone in Idleb but never proceeded to set up the promised observation posts in the al-Qaeda ruled area. Turkey had supported al-Qaeda. Fighting it directly is against Turkish interests. It is itself too vulnerable as many al-Qaeda fighters have family and friends living within Turkey.

The new deal will give Syria control over most of Idleb in exchange for Turkish control over Afrin (if the Turks can indeed take the area). In parallel to the start of the Turkish operation the Syrian army took the air base Abu Duhur in east-Idleb. It will eliminate whatever is left of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the now closed cauldron. It will then proceed further into Idelb governorate.

Having Turkey take over Afrin is bad for Syria. The Syrian government clearly dislikes the deal the Russians made in its name. Any agreement with the shifty Turkish President Erdogan will likely not hold for long. But having the Kurds ally with the U.S. in a permanent occupation of the north-east is even worse.

The Syrian government has rejected Turkish claims that it was informed about the attack and officially condemned the Turkish move. But it can do little against it. Its army is depleted and engaged elsewhere. Neither Russia nor Iran would support an open conflict with Turkey.

Turkish media are in full war mode:

Turkish papers this morning:

- Hurriyet: Our jets hit #Afrin. Turkey’s heart beats as one
- Sabah: We hit them in their den
- Haberturk: Iron fist to terror, olive branch to civilians
- Sozcu: We said we would strike despite the US and Russia. We struck the traitors


Turkey has launched a quite large operation against Afrin. Its air-force is bombarding the area. It is now sending its most modern tanks. The al-Qaeda-"Free Syrian Army" Turkey supports and controls will be its front line infantry that is sure to bleed the most. Afrin is mountainous and it will be a difficult fight. Two Turkish tanks have already been destroyed. The Kurds are well prepared and armed. Both sides will have lots of losses.

Meanwhile the Syrian army and its allies will have time to take over Idelb.

The U.S. is left with a mess. Its strategy for Syria, only announced last week, is already falling apart. Its Central Command rejected any responsibility for the Kurds in Afrin while allying with the Kurds in the east. These are the same people. The Kurdish military commander in Afrin earlier fought in Kobane. Now Turkish planes are taking off from the U.S. build Incerlik air base to bomb the Kurds in the Syrian west while U.S. tanker planes take off from Incirlik to support the U.S. alliance with the Kurds in the east.

The Arab group Jaysh al Thuwar was part of the Arab fig leaf that disguises the Kurdish command over the U.S. supported SDF in the east. It has now turned sides and is back under Turkish tutelage. More elements of the SDF will change sides. We can expect "insider attacks" against the U.S. forces who are training them.

The Kurdish command blames Russia for the Turkish attack on Afrin. That is laughable. Syria and the Russians had supported the Kurds throughout the war. They were the first to deliver weapons and ammunition to the Kurds for the fight against the Takfiris. It were the Kurds that changed sides and invited the U.S. occupation. It is the Kurds that announced they would ask for Saudi support.


Just a few month ago the Kurdish project in Iraq failed miserably. The Iraqi government took back all gains the Kurds had made over a decade and the U.S. did nothing to help their Kurdish "allies". Why do the Kurds in Syria believe that their immense overreach will have a different outcome?


sábado, 20 de enero de 2018

Afrín


Continuando con su política de malos perdedores en Medio Oriente, los EEUU se decidieron a apoyar activamente a las milicias kurdas emplazadas al norte y noreste de Siria. Esto trajo consecuencias: los turcos están que arden y acaban de anunciar incursiones militares en la región de Afrín, casi en la frontera entre Turquía y Siria (véase el mapa de arriba). Así lo contaba ayer Russia Today:


Título: Turquía anuncia que emprenderá una operación militar en Afrín (Siria)

Subtítulo: El ministro de Defensa turco, Nurettin Canikli, considera que "no hay otra opción".

Texto: El Ministro de Defensa Turco, Nurettin Canikli, ha anunciado una intervención militar en el enclave sirio de Afrín, al considerar que "no hay otra opción".

La oposición siria, por su parte, ha mostrado su apoyo los planes de Turquía.

El ejército de turco ha estado movilizando tropas y vehículos durante las últimas horas en en los municipios de Hassa y Kirikhanla, cercanos a su recién declarado objetivo.


Tensión entre EE.UU. y Turquía

La tensión aumentó tras el anuncio de EE.UU. de armar y entrenar a 30.000 pertenecientes a milicias kurdosirias para habilitar una nueva fuerza y desplegarla en las fronteras con Turquía e Irak. Poco después, el gobierno norteamericano negó que su intención fuese construir una fuerza fronteriza y argumentó que se trataba de un malentendido, en un aparente intento de calmar la ira turca, pero las declaraciones beligerantes de Ankara han continuado.


"Afrín será vuestro cementerio"

La ciudad fronteriza de Afrín está bajo el control del llamado Partido de los Trabajadores del Kurdistán, al que el gobierno de Turquía considera una organización terrorista.

Por su parte, los kurdos turcos ya habían protestado contra los planes de intervención militar, saliendo a la calle en manifestaciones multitudinarias  en las que se escucharon consignas como "Afrin será vuestro cementerio".


Las cartas de EE.UU.

La frontera a lo largo del río Éufrates separa el país en dos partes, una de ellas de predominio kurdo, lo que Damasco califica como una violación a su soberanía. El historiador César Vidal recuerda que no es la primera vez que EE.UU. juega "la carta de los kurdos", que en este caso amenaza con "debilitar la situación" del presidente turco como parte de la actual política estadounidense.

En otro plano, Vidal señala que los que apoyan este "intervencionismo" pretenden difuminar el triunfo del presidente sirio, Bashar al Assad, y de Rusia contra el terrorismo islámico.


Desarrollo de infraestructuras de seguridad

Mientras los militares turcos preparan su operación en Siria, sus ingenieros, al parecer, han completado la primera fase de un sistema de seguridad instalado a lo largo del muro que se ha erigido en la frontera entre Turquía y Siria.

A 20 kilómetros de la frontera en el área de Afrin, el llamado 'Kayi Border Security System' cuenta con sensores y armas controladas a distancia para defender a Turquía de posibles intrusos.


Turquía ha erigido un muro de hormigón a lo largo de una gran parte de su frontera de 911 kilómetros con Siria en los últimos años, y está mejorando la estructura con medidas de seguridad adicionales en algunos lugares. La seguridad adicional está habilitada para la protección contra amenazas provenientes de personas, vehículos y drones; y cuenta con sensores subterráneos para detectar excavadoras de túneles.


***


Las noticias de hoy confirman los anticipos de ayer. Hay acción en Efrin, parece. Leemos también en Rusia Today:


Título: Turkish field op against Afrin Kurds ‘de facto underway’ – Erdogan

Texto:  Ankara has “de facto” begun its operation against Kurdish forces in Syria’s Afrin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after the army called the military strike “legitimate self-defense.”

“The Afrin operation has de facto been started on the ground,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in the city of Kutahya, as cited by AFP.

 “This will be followed by Manbij,” he added, referring to a Kurdish-controlled town in northern Syria, about 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates.

Both Afrin and Manbij are controlled by the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia.

“The promises made to us over Manbij were not kept. So nobody can object if we do what is necessary,” Erdogan said, referring to previous US assurances that the YPG would move out of Afrin.

“Later we will step-by-step clear our country up to the Iraqi border from this terror filth that is trying to besiege our country,” he concluded.

The army said it shelled Kurdish positions in Syria’s Afrin region on Friday and Saturday, destroying shelters and hideouts used by militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

In a written statement, the Turkish General Staff said the army hit the terrorist organization’s shelters “within the scope of legitimate self-defense,” as cited by Turkish news agency Anadolu.

According to Ankara, Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG) are allegedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.

Turkey’s Defense Minister said on Friday that Ankara has no option but to carry out a military operation in the north-western Syrian enclave of Afrin (a Kurdish-held area of Syria.) The minister added that the operation has actually ‘de facto started’ with cross-border shelling.

According to Anadolu, at least ten howitzer shells were fired on targets in Syria by Turkish artillery deployed in the Kirikhan and Hassa districts of Hatay province. The Turkish military said they are preventing the creation of a “terror corridor” connecting Syrian Kurdish enclaves along the border.

RIA Novosti cited an YPG source as saying on Friday that “more than 70 artillery rockets” coming from the Turkish side had landed in the Afrin area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Monday that "the operation [in Afrin] may start at any time” adding that “operations into other regions will come after.”

Turkey’s allies should think twice before they consider helping what he called terrorists in Syria, Erdogan said.

“We won’t be responsible for the consequences,” the Turkish leader warned.

Over the past week, tanks and self-propelled howitzers have been arriving in the border areas inside Turkey, local media reported. Notably, the army has deployed signal jammers, indicating that the intervention might also include electronic warfare.

The looming military op in Afrin is a follow-up to Turkey’s seven-month Euphrates Shield Operation that was meant to target Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and drive Kurdish forces out of their enclaves in northern Syria.


 ***

Finalmente, en la nota que sigue (también de RT) se advierte sobre la significación de estas acciones en el contexto de las relaciones entre EEUU y Turquía:


Título: Afrin knot: How the battle for a small Kurdish enclave could be the death knell for US-Turkey ties

Texto: Turkey is gearing up to move troops toward Afrin, a Kurdish-held area of Syria. The battle over the tiny enclave, which many would struggle to find on the map, could put Ankara in open conflict with NATO ally the US – here’s how.

This week, the countdown began for Afrin, a Kurdish-held enclave in the north of Syria which is feverously preparing for a major Turkish offensive. Over the past few days, international media have been reporting about Turkish troops, tanks and armored vehicles rolling towards the Syrian border.

The upcoming intervention in Afrin is said to be an extension of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, the declared goal of which was to target Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and drive Kurdish forces out of their enclaves in northern Syria.


As soldiers on both sides prepare for what is shaping up to be a fierce battle, we look at how the likely siege of a small enclave adds fuel to the fire of already-strained US-Turkey ties, and how America’s policy of developing bonds with groups at odds with one another is leading to failure for Washington in Syria and beyond.


Turkey’s likely military plans

Not much is known about Ankara’s exact strategy of capturing Afrin, but a ground offensive seems to be the backbone of Turkish plans. Over the past week, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers have been arriving to the border areas inside Turkey, according to Turkish press reports. Notably, the army has deployed signal jammers, which indicates the intervention might also include electronic warfare.

However, it will not be the Turks themselves that lead the fight. In its previous operations on Syrian soil, Ankara heavily relied on pro-Turkish rebels who made up most of the manpower to fight against the Kurds. This time promises to be no different. On Tuesday, when asked if Syrian rebels would be involved in the Afrin operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Of course they will, together. This struggle is being conducted for them. Not for us.”

Some Turkish media suggested that the offensive will start with airstrikes on 149 targets of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), with the air raids involving fighters and drones. Haberturk reported, citing military forces, that Afrin and the adjacent areas have been monitored for several weeks by Turkish special forces, who will also be taking part in the offensive.


‘Capturing Afrin is no easy task’

Meanwhile, experts have expressed doubt that Turkish military’s operation to enter Afrin will be an easy ride. Grigory Lukyanov, professor of the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics, told RT by phone that some of the Turkish Army’s most battle-hardened officers were expelled from the military or persecuted after the failed 2016 coup, and such “cleansing of the ranks” might have weakened the armed forces. “The Euphrates Shield offensive has shown that Turkish military leaders… have little experience in conducting complex operations involving combat aircraft, ground forces and heavy armor,” Lukyanov said.

While the army has no shortage of ammunition and manpower, Lukyanov said it still lacks personnel able to operate systems such as drones and manned aircraft. Previous Euphrates Shield offensives came at a high cost for the Turkish military, Lukyanov added, as large numbers of soldiers were killed or injured, and multiple armored vehicles were destroyed beyond repair.

The Kurds, for their part, have managed to build up a reliable fighting force, having received training and modern weapons from the US, Lukyanov said, adding that the combat experience that Kurdish militias have accumulated during their fight against Islamic State makes them a “near-peer opponent” of the Turkish forces.


Russia quiet, Turkey puzzled

Though a ground offensive seems the safest option for Turkish military planners, it certainly won’t be without air support. The Turks cannot afford a high number of casualties among their troops, which makes airpower a game changer in the Afrin invasion.

In addition, the Kurdish enclave lies close to Russia’s Khmeimim Airbase, and Moscow’s attitude towards the Afrin operation is probably the trickiest question for Ankara. The airbase is protected by sophisticated S-400 air defense systems, and the adjacent province of Idlib, including Afrin itself, is certainly within reach of its surface-to-air missiles.

However, Igor Korotchenko, Russian military expert and editor-in-chief of ‘National Defense’ magazine, says S-400s are deployed to protect the airbase against enemy intrusion, and have nothing to do with covering other parts of Syria. “When it comes to some missions of foreign aircraft in Syria’s airspace, this is the area of responsibility of Syria’s air defense forces, not Russia’s,” he said.

Moscow has generally been wary of Turkish actions in the north of Syria, urging respect for the war-ravaged country’s territorial integrity. But to stay on the safe side this time, Ankara needs to keep the Russian military updated on every step it takes, and do its utmost to avoid dangerous incidents.

In recent days, Russia has been noticeably quiet on Turkey’s plans to invade Afrin. The only official statement was that of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who urged on Monday for people to refrain from coercive actions and move to the negotiating table. “Indeed, the Kurds are part of the Syrian nation,” he told a news conference. “Their interests must be taken into account.”

In the meantime, as Turkey amasses troops and armor along the border, the Kurds are far from sitting idle. Kurdish militias, many of them trained by American instructors, have been honing their combat skills and receiving considerable arms supplies from abroad. And this is where the US comes into play.


Friendly foes: America between Turkey & the Kurds

Washington’s Kurdish policy has been ambiguous since the start of the US-led anti-IS operation. On one hand, the US has designated the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turks since the mid-1980s, a terrorist organization – as has the European Union and Turkey itself.

On the other hand, the US cultivated ties with Syria’s Kurdish YPG militia, despised by Ankara. YPG fighters proved effective in the fight against IS and Syrian government forces, and the group – which was set up by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – quickly became America’s key ally on Syrian soil.

And here is where it gets even more interesting – the US maintains that Turkey has the right to suppress the “terrorist” PKK, while at the same time siding with the YPG.

To make things worse, the Pentagon has launched a training program for Kurdish and Arab border guards in Syria to prevent the resurgence of IS. Details of the initiative soon came to light, with the US-led coalition unveiling a plan to set up a 30,000-strong “border force” on the basis of Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) veterans, who are set to make up half of the recruits.

The move caused predictable outrage in Ankara, with Erdogan promising “to drown this terrorist force before it is born.” The army of “traitors” that Washington seeks to create will point their guns against US troops at the first threat, Erdogan cautioned. Separately, Turkey raised the issue with NATO, demanding that the military bloc take action against the creation of the “terrorist army.”

Fueling the unfolding spat, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “bluntly told” US counterpart Rex Tillerson this week that the step“could threaten our bilateral ties and could lead us down an irreversible route.”

Some Turkish politicians have even called to ban the US Air Force from using Incirlik Airbase until the Pentagon ends its alignment with the Syrian Kurds. Dogu Perincek, leader of the left-wing Vatan Party, suggested that the American troops from Incirlik be removed and cooperation with Russia and Iran be forged “to deter the United States.”

Notably, major Turkish media have also followed suit, ramping up rhetoric over the US presence in Syria, with leading newspaper Hurriyet writing in an opinion piece: “Is the US army ready to open fire on the Turks if the Turks open fire on forces that the US also once recognized as terrorists?”“Is this not a move that could lead to a de facto division of Syria and open another Cold War-era style politics, Mr. Trump?”


Afrin operation: Lose-lose for US

The US currently has an estimated 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria which were deployed without an invitation from Damascus or mandate from the UN Security Council. American soldiers were embedded with YPG forces taking part in a major offensive to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State last year.

As the outrage mounted, the Pentagon quickly backtracked on its support for the YPG or the Kurdish border force. “We don’t consider them as part of our Defeat ISIS operations which is what we are doing there and we do not support them,” Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway told the Turkish state Anadolu news agency. “We are not involved with them at all,” the military official reiterated, adding: “There is no train, advise and assist program going [on] in Afrin.”

On Wednesday, the Pentagon tried to downplay the significance of the 30,000-strong Kurdish force. “The US continues to train local security forces in Syria,” it said. “This is not a new ‘army’ or conventional ‘border guard’ force.” The US military is “keenly aware of the security concerns of Turkey, our Coalition partner and NATO ally,” the statement added.

Washington’s statements seem to have had little effect on Ankara’s plans. Chairing a four-hour National Security Meeting on Wednesday night, President Erdogan said Turkey will never allow the creation of “a terrorist army” in Syria. “It is regrettable that a state, which is part of NATO and our ally in bilateral relations, declares the terrorists as its partner and provides them with weapons, without any concern for our safety,” the Turkish leader said. He also demanded that weapons and equipment supplied to the YPG “be collected without delay,” adding that Turkey is losing patience.

The troops fully deployed along the Turkish-Syrian border are still awaiting the signal to move, providing a small window of opportunity to find a peaceful solution to the Afrin knot.

But will the Trump administration be able to pacify the Turks, calm down the Kurds and persuade the two to sit down and talk? Given the absence of a clear American strategy for the Middle East, the answer is probably ‘no’.

Indeed, it is chaotic, ambiguous and inarticulate US policy which is causing America to lose on every front in the region. A NATO partner engaging in an all-out war on your regional ally is a clear sign that something has failed in your foreign policy.


Why else would your friends become enemies?



viernes, 19 de enero de 2018

Descomposición del Estado Profundo


Nos llamaron la atención dos noticias que hablan del estado de descomposición del “Estado Profundo” en las entrañas del Imperio. Agencias de inteligencia desbocadas, casi independientes del poder político, trazan líneas de acción frecuentemente contrapuestas con aquellas del gobierno. La primera de las notas es de carácter general y viene del sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation:


Título: How the Establishment Undermines American Democracy

Texto: There is a growing consensus among many observers in Washington that the national security agencies have become completely politicized over the past seventeen years and are now pursuing selfish agendas that actually endanger what remains of American democracy. Up until recently it has been habitual to refer to such activity as the Deep State, which is perhaps equivalent to the Establishment in that it includes financial services, the media, major foundations and constituencies, as well as lobbying groups, but we are now witnessing an evolutionary process in which the national security regime is exercising power independently.

In a devastating critique former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer John Kiriakou has described how the Democratic Party, as part of its frenzied effort to bring down President Donald Trump, has embraced a whole group of former intelligence and law enforcement officers who appear to be on the same side in seeking a more responsible and accountable executive branch but who are in reality pursuing their own agenda.

Formerly intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted under the direction of the White House but without any political bias. Transitions from Democratic to Republican administrations were consequently seamless for the employees of CIA, FBI, DIA and the NSA, but this has changed. In the 2016 election a line-up of retired senior officers from those organizations openly supported the Clinton campaign and even went so far as to construct elaborate conspiracy theories regarding Trump and his associates, including the claim that Donald Trump is actually an agent of Russia.

The desire to discredit and ultimately delegitimize Trump even involved some active duty senior officers, including John Brennan, Director of CIA, who exploited Agency relationships with foreign intelligence services to develop information on Trump, and James Comey of the FBI who initiated an investigation of Trump’s associates. Both were involved in the later surfacing of the notorious Steele Dossier, a collection of fact mixed with fiction that sought to destroy the Trump presidency even before it began.

Kiriakou cites recent activity by Brennan as well as former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden as well as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, all of whom have been politically active. The three men appear frequently on television as self-described “senior statesmen,” but, as Kiriakou observes they are “…monsters who have ignored the Constitution…and international law. They have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.” They together with lesser figures like George Tenet, Jose Rodriguez, Michael Morell and John McLaughlin authorized technical spying on nearly everyone, torture, rendition of suspects so they could be tortured by others, random killing of “profiled” foreigners and targeted killing of American citizens. Brennan was in charge of a “kill list” for President Barack Obama.

Former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts meanwhile asks why liberal international organizations like Amnesty International are fundraising to oppose Trump when the real threat to a better and safer world and country is coming from the largely unaccountable “security agencies, the police, the neoconservatives, the presstitute media and the Republican and Democratic Parties?

Antiwar activist Justin Raimondo also picks up the gauntlet, describing how the national security agencies and the Democratic Party have joined forces to create a totally false narrative that could lead to nuclear war. They and the media appear to truly believe that “…the country has been taken over by Vladimir Putin and the Russian State…Trump is an instrument in their hands, and the independence of the United States has been fatally compromised: the president and his top aides are taking their orders from the Kremlin.” He concludes that “Our intelligence agencies are at war with the executive branch of government…to reverse the [2016] election results.” Raimondo believes that Trump is being particularly targeted because his unpredictability and populism threaten the wealth and power of the elites and he notes “If you think they’ve ruled out assassination you’re being naïve.”

Raimondo believes that something like a civil war is coming, with the war party Establishment fighting to defend its privileged global order while many other Americans seek a return to normal nationhood with all that implies. If true, the next few years will see a major internal conflict that will determine what kind of country the United States will be.



***


La nota que sigue, por su parte, es muy reciente y viene de Zero Hedge. Será esta la gota que derrame el vaso?



Título: "Explosive", "Shocking" And "Alarming" FISA Memo Set To Rock DC, "End Mueller Investigation"

Texto: All hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. tonight after a four-page memo detailing extensive FISA court abuse was made available to the entire House of Representatives Thursday. The contents of the memo are so explosive, says Journalist Sara Carter, that it could lead to the removal of senior officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice and the end of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.

These sources say the report is “explosive,” stating they would not be surprised if it leads to the end of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into President Trump and his associates. -Sara Carter

A source close to the matter tells Fox News that "the memo details the Intelligence Committee's oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance." An educated guess by anyone who's been paying attention for the last year leads to the obvious conclusion that the report reveals extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election.

Lawmakers who have seen the memo are calling for its immediate release, while the phrases "explosive," "shocking," "troubling," and "alarming" have all been used in all sincerity. One congressman even likened the report's details to KGB activity in Russia. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News. “It's troubling. It is shocking,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., offered the motion on Thursday to make the Republican majority-authored report available to the members.

The document shows a troubling course of conduct and we need to make the document available, so the public can see it,” said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the document. “Once the public sees it, we can hold the people involved accountable in a number of ways.”

The government official said that after reading the document “some of these people should no longer be in the government.” -Sara Carter


Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Immediately #ReleaseTheMemo #FISAMemo & ALL relevant material sourced in it. Every American needs to know the truth! We wouldn't be revealing any sources & methods that we shouldn't; only feds' reliance on bad sources & methods.
10:28 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Josh Caplan
@joshdcaplan
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) nods his head *Yes* before conceding he can't talk specifics when Sean Hannity asks if Comey knew about FISA abuses. #ReleaseTheMemo
3:58 AM - Jan 19, 2018
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Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Just read the classified doc @HPSCI re FISA abuse. I'm calling for its immediate public release w/relevant sourced material. The public must have access ASAP! #Transparency


Lee Zeldin
@RepLeeZeldin
Releasing this classified info doesn't compromise good sources & methods. It reveals the feds' reliance on bad sources & methods.
6:28 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Ron DeSantis
@RepDeSantis
The classified report compiled by House Intelligence is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about the upper echelon of the Obama DOJ and Comey FBI as it relates to the so-called collusion investigation.
5:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Ron DeSantis
@RepDeSantis
Replying to @RepDeSantis
While the report is classified as Top Secret, I believe the select committee should, pursuant to House rules, vote to make the report publicly available as soon as possible. This is a matter of national significance and the American people deserve the truth.
5:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) echoed Sara Carter's sentiment that people might lose their job if the memo is released:

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein
“I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice,” he said, referencing DOJ officials Rod Rosenstein and Bruce Ohr.


Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gatetz (R-FL) said not only will the release of this memo result in DOJ firing, but "people will go to jail."

Ryan Saavedra
@RealSaavedra
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on FISA memo: "I think this will not just end with firings, I believe there are people who will go to jail!" #ReleaseTheMemo
2:45 AM - Jan 19, 2018
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Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino says "Take it to the bank, the FBI/FISA docs are devastating for the Dems."


Dan Bongino
@dbongino
Take it to the bank, the FBI/FISA docs are devastating for the Dems. The whole image of a benevolent Barack Obama they’ve disingenuously tried to portray is about to be destroyed. The real Obama, the vengeful narcissist, is going to be exposed for all to see.
8:24 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Dan Bongino
@dbongino
My sincere apologies for the expletive but SHIT IS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN.
The former Obama administration’s going to have a lot of explaining to do. #Obamagate
9:16 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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The dossier was used in part as evidence for a warrant to surveil members of the Trump campaign, according to a story published this month. Former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier in 2016, was hired by embattled research firm Fusion GPS. The firm’s founder is Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who has already testified before Congress in relation to the dossier. In October, The Washington Post revealed for the first time that it was the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC that financed Fusion GPS.

Congressional members are hopeful that the classified information will be declassified and released to the public.

We probably will get this stuff released by the end of the month,” stated a congressional member, who asked not to be named. -Sara Carter

Releasing the memo to the public would require a committee vote, a source told Fox, adding that if approved, it could be released as long as there are no objections from the White House within five days.


Reactions from the citizenry have been on point:


Imperator_Rex
@Imperator_Rex3
Obama's FBI colluded with the Clinton campaign to destroy a Presidential candidate - and then an elected POTUS & his family. It's the greatest scandal in American history & the public need to know the truth. https://twitter.com/RepDeSantis/status/954083561350553600
6:07 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Christopher G. Adamo
@CGAdamo
Replying to @Imperator_Rex3
All of this is good to know. And it's perfectly understandable that the members of the House committee are outraged. But if the end results is not a series of indictments and prosecutions for flagrant criminal sedition, the Obama/Hillary corruption will be enshrined as law.
6:10 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Mike Tokes
@MikeTokes
The swamp runs deep and it is about to be EXPOSED. #ReleasetheMemo #Obamagate
11:43 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Kambree Kawahine Koa
@KamVTV
When you have congressmen getting on National Television stating the Intelligence memo they just read could threaten our Democracy, you damn well better #ReleaseTheMemo.
This DC swamp scum game needs end.
8:37 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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PHIL????????4TRUMP??
@PinkBelgium
#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo#ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo #ReleaseTheMemo
11:48 PM - Jan 18, 2018 · Elsene, België
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Carrie America
@carrieksada
@SenFeinstein is it possible for you to get a bladder infection long enough to leak ?? the FISA Memo?
America is asking. #ReleaseTheMemo #MAGA
11:55 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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thebradfordfile
@thebradfordfile
Replying to @thebradfordfile
Obama: what wires?#ObamaGate #ReleaseTheMemo
11:20 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Even WikiLeaks has joined the fray, offering a reward in Bitcoin to anyone who will share the memo:

@wikileaks
#ReleaseTheMemo: Do you know someone who has access to the FISA abuse memo? Send them here: https://wikileaks.org/#submit
WikiLeaks will match reward funds up to $1m sent to this unique Bitcoin address: 3Q2KXS8WYT6dvr91bM2RjvBHqMyx9CbPMN
or marked 'memo2018': https://wikileaks.org/donate
11:53 PM - Jan 18, 2018
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Of all the recent developments in the ongoing investigation(s), this one is on the cusp of turning into a genuine happening.