to amuse, disgust, divert, inform or disinform – a little melange from debkafile

Erdogan locks Pindosi airmen & nuclear arms in Incirlik
DEBKAfile, Jul 20 2016

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Some 1,500 Pindo airmen and their families have been locked in the southern Turkish airbase of Incirlik together with a stock of tactical nuclear bombs since Erdogan crushed an attempted coup on Saturday Jul 16. In the four days up until Wednesday Jul 20, therefore, no air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq have been staged from that Turkish base. This extraordinary situation, reported here by DEBKAfile’s military sources, whereby a large group of Pindosi military personnel are held virtually captive by an allied government, was almost certainly raised in the phone call that took place Tuesday between Obama and Erdogan. But the most outlandish aspect of this affair is that no Pindosi boxtop has raised it in public, nor even the administration’s most vocal critics at the Republican Convention which nominated Donald Trump as presidential candidate. The situation only rated a brief mention in some Russian publications under the heading:

Turkish investigators enter & search Incirlik airbase where Pindo nukes are housed.

Our military sources report that deep bunkers located near the base’s runways house B61 tactical nuclear gravity bombs. Police officers accompanied by Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office investigators are the only people permitted to enter the strategic airbase, and only emergency cases may leave, after coordinating with the Turkish authorities. The base is under virtual siege by large police contingents, cut off from electric power for several days except for local generators which will soon run out of fuel. This pressure appears to be Erdogan’s method of turning hundreds of Pindostanis on the base into hostages, to force Washington into extraditing Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of orchestrating the failed coup from his place of asylum in Pennsylvania. The victims of Erdogan’s strategy of extortion are several Pindosi units deployed in Incirlik under squadron command. They include engineering, communication, logistics, air control, a military hospital with medical and operational facilities, air transportation and more. The Turkish squadron and base commander, Brig-Gen Bekir Ercan, is under arrest, suspected of a senior role in planning and executing the coup, by assigning the aircraft and helicopters to support it, responsibility for the disappearance of a large number of aircraft and aiding the defection of air crews to Greece. Ercan is one of the more than 6,000 military personnel including fellow generals arrested on suspicion of active complicity in the coup plot. By Wednesday, more than 50,000 people had been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs by Turkey’s government in the wake of last week’s failed coup, including 9,000 police officers, the suspension of about 3,000 judges and widening Tuesday to include teachers, university deans and the media who are accused of links with Gulen. However, fears for the fate of the Pindosi airmen trapped in Incirlik and the tactical nukes were exacerbated by the comments of two top officials of the Erdogan regime Tuesday. Turkish PM Yildirim insinuated that in view of the use the plotters made of Incirlik for sending aircraft based there and arming them for the missions of intercepting the President’s airplane (which was never realized) and  bombing the Parliament building in Ankara (which was), the Pindosis may be viewed as partners in the conspiracy, at least passive ones. The Turkish Labor Minister, Süleyman Soylu, was more explicit. He tweeted:

This coup has Pindostan behind it.

The Obama administration’s caution over the scary Incirlik impasse appears to derive from trepidation, shared by Riyadh, Cairo and Jayloomia, that the autocratic Turkish ruler’s Stalinist purge, reaching into all branches of government and all walks of Turkish society, is part and parcel of a comprehensive Muslim revolution under way in Turkey. An incautious word from Washington may quicken the process.

Three senior AQ leaders in Iran hit with Treasury Dept sanctions
DEBKAfile, Jul 21 2016

The Pindosi Treasury Dept said Wednesday that Washington had imposed economic sanctions on three senior members of AQ living in Iran. The step froze any financial assets of Faisal al-Amri al-Khalidi, Yisra Ibrahim Bayumi and Abu Bakr Ghumayn in Pindostan. The three are accused of helping transfer funds from South Asian countries to the Middle East, financing terror, and trade and shipping of arms to Middle Eastern countries.

Israeli-Turkish accord: core of new line-up vs Iran
DEBKAfile, Jun 27 2016

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The reconciliation agreement announced on Monday Jun 27 for restoring full normalization between Israel and Turkey after six years of animosity will restart intelligence and security cooperation between the two countries and entail joint military exercises, and investments in energy and defense. DEBKAfile’s security experts evaluate the deal as offering a valuable and timely increment for Israeli’s national interests on eight scores:

  1. It fits neatly into the current joint Toad/Egypt bid for Israel to bolster their emerging alliance with Turkey that is designed for drawing a Sunni line against Iran’s expansionist moves in the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea, the Straits of Aqaba and in uncomfortable proximity to the Mediterranean shores of Israel and Egypt.
  2. It is designed as the forerunner of a series of interlocking deals. DEBKAfile can disclose that the next bilateral accord expected to be concluded is a reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Egypt for Erdogan and Sisi to bury the hatchet. In at least one respect, this one will be modelled on the Turkish deal with Israel: Turkey is committed not to let Hamas act against Israel from its soil, and by the same token, not to permit Hamas’s parent and Sisi’s arch-enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, operate from Turkey.
  3. In this regard, Egypt and Turkey will maintain intelligence cooperation.
  4. The bilateral intelligence mechanisms to be set up between Turkey and Israel and Turkey and Egypt will pool their input on Iran.
  5. This key aspect of the renewed cooperation between Ankara and Jayloomia lends it a military-intelligence dimension rather than that of a diplomatic protocol. This dimension finds expression in the decision to devolve its implementation not on the holders of political office but the heads of the military-intelligence services of the two countries. IDF CoS Lt-Gen Gadi Eisenkot, to whom the head of military intelligence defers, will in fact be in charge of these exchanges, as well as the joint military exercises which are in the active planning stage. Realizing he had been passed over for this important facet of cooperation with Turkey, new Defense Minister Yvette Lieberman announced he was opposed to the deal. This was treated as no more than a token protest that will not impede it.
  6. Jordan has been slated as another member of the new alliance. King Abdullah is currently in the process of quietly dismantling the Muslim Brotherhood networks in his kingdom (I’ve been hearing this for 50 years – well, almost – RB). Many of is members belong to the Palestinian Hamas.
  7. Under the agreement, Israel and Turkey will begin formal talks to build a gas pipeline between the two countries, through which Israel might sell its natural gas, with Turkish assistance, to Europe. DEBKAfile rates this provision as fundamental to the entire process and of cardinal importance to both their interests. Israel is in need of a major client to boost the development of its offshore gas fields. Turkey wants to be that client. Russia is after a piece of the energy bonanza (rather ungenerous – RB) and most of all a contract to build the pipeline to Europe (most of all any outlet to Europe that doesn’t go through Ukraine, the 404 state – RB). Up until recently, Israel put up a keep out sign for Moscow, mainly under pressure from Washington. But in recent months the conversations between Bibi and Putin have progressed into an inclusive strategic dialogue on Middle East issues, especially on Syria. This opened the door to a Russian role being broached in the export of Israeli gas.
  8. This role took another step forward Monday. On the table now is Israeli-Turkish-Russian military and intelligence collaboration for securing the Israeli offshore gas in the Mediterranean, a prospect that brought the Turkish president to finally apologize for his air force downing a Russian Su-24M bomber over the Syrian-Turkish border on Nov 24 2015. For the sake of these promising relations, Turkey was ready to offer compensation in the case of the dead pilot, just as Israel agreed to pay compensation for the nine Turks killed in a clash with Israeli troops during an illicit attempt to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip on the Mavi Marmara. Israeli-Turkish-Russian cooperation and goodwill for their mutual benefit on the gas issue may also generate joint efforts in other spheres too.

The following idea, of Erdogan’s secret Shi’ite proclivities, is total bullshit, let’s be frank:

The covert dimension of Israeli-Egyptian ties
DEBKAfile, Jul 10 2016

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Israel on Sunday Jul 10 and the two conversations he held with Bibi that day underscored the intensified ties between the two governments and their leaders, Bibi & Sisi. The Palestinian issue rated a mention in passing, mostly as useful camouflage to disguise the real business under discussion. This, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal, revolved around a fresh update on the Syrian war and most of all on the sudden reversal of Assad’s fortunes: from wanted war criminal whose head Obama demanded to the master of a regime and an army which is suddenly in the highest demand even by Obama as the only reliable military force capable of pursuing the war on ISIS. This astonishing reversal came to the fore in the last week of June. While putting the final touches on his reconciliation pact with Israel after six years of discord, Erdogan sent his intelligence chiefs on a clandestine mission to meet Assad’s aides and test the ground for burying the hatchet with him too. This move was not taken into account by Netanyahu. Erdogan acted on the quiet, while in the midst of yet another maneuver, this one advanced talks for mending relations with the Egyptian president with the help of Algerian mediators who are flitting between Ankara and Cairo, DEBKA’s sources report. While taking briefings from his foreign minister on the talks in Jerusalem, El-Sisi tried to assess whether Erdogan’s feelers to Assad would ripen into a deal between them. If so, the Turkish leader was perfectly capable of jumping aboard the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah line-up on the Shi’ite side of the Middle East map and ditching the moves led by the Toads, Egypt and the UAE for a counter-alignment of Sunni nations. The answer to this question will determine whether Iran’s position in Syria is strengthened or weakened. Egypt and Israel share a strong common interest in this answer.

But this but is interesting, the Mistrals:

Meanwhile the balance of military strength in the region underwent a radical change with the delivery to the Egyptian Navy of its first helicopter carrier, an advanced Mistral-class vessel made in France and paid for by the Toads to the tune of half a billion dollars. The second carrier is due later this year. These acquisitions substantially upgrade Egypt’s military capabilities as the only power operating in the region in possession of helicopter carriers except Russia. The highly versatile French amphibious assault ship, equipped with state-of the-art radar navigation and missile defense systems, can carry 16 helicopters plus a battalion of 40 Leclerc tanks and 450 soldiers. This makes the Egyptian navy the primary sea and air arm for defending the shores of the Sinai Peninsula, Suez Canal, the Gulf of Suez, the Red Sea and the approaches to the Gulf of Aqaba – not just against Islamist terrorists but also Iranian expansion. Since the Saudi, Egyptian and Emirate governments are in close military and intelligence sync for combating the two threats, the Egyptian foreign minister had plenty of urgent business to discuss with Netanyahu.

This is the background to the Mistral sale:

France hands first ‘ex-Russian’ Mistral ship to Egypt
RT.com, Jun 2 2016

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Egypt’s flag has been raised over the first Mistral amphibious assault ship, which Cairo has purchased from France. Originating from a severed Moscow-Paris contract, the ship and its twin are equipped with Russian electronics. The warship has been named “Gamal Abdel Nasser ” and from the moment it flew Egyptian colors it officially entered the Egypt’s Navy, even though the ceremony was still taking place in Saint-Nazaire, western France.“We now have advanced capabilities in confronting terrorism within our borders and on our shores,” Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhi said at the ceremony.“The helicopter carrier has been formally handed over to Egypt. Next week it will leave the port and set course towards its final destination,” the spokesman for the DCNS naval defense industrial group, Emmanuel Gaudez, also said as cited by TASS news agency.The second similar vessel obtained by Cairo from Paris will head to Egypt in late September. The DCNS spokesman ducked the issue of contract value.“It remains a commercial secret,” Gaudez said. Last year unconfirmed reports claimed the vessels were sold for €950m. The Mistral-class ships host up to 16 helicopters, up to 70 armored vehicles and 450 Marines. Both the ships were initially constructed for, and partly in, Russia as part of a contract signed in 2011. When the first ship was ready in 2014 and the crew was already on board mastering the vessel’s equipment, France froze the ship’s delivery. Paris explained the withdrawal by Russia’s alleged participation in the developments in eastern Ukraine. Following long and thorny negotiations, Paris agreed to return Moscow €949m and Russian military electronic equipment already installed. In Sep 2015, it was announced that Egypt would buy both Mistral ships from France. In April, military sources told TASS that the Egyptian military asked Russia to supply electronic systems for the helicopter carriers.

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