Saturday, June 27, 2015

Oxford Nanopore

Erdoğan says Turkey not to allow Kurdish state in northern Syria - Today's Zaman

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his country will not allow the establishment of an independent state in northern Syria, once again voicing Turkey's concerns of a Kurdish autonomous region being formed in the void left by Islamic of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the region.
“I am appealing to the whole world. We will never allow the establishment of a state in Syria’s north and our south. We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs. They want to complete the operation to change the demographic structure of the region. We will not turn a blind eye to this,” Erdoğan said during a fast-breaking dinner hosted by Kızılay (Turkish Red Crescent) on Friday....

-bth: I don't think Erdogan could be clearer on the matter.

GAO Rejects Air Force Arguments to Retire A-10 Warthog Fleet -

The long-range plans of the Air Force and the Pentagon to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt took another hit Thursday from a non-partisan government report questioning Air Force projections on the savings from mothballing the fleet.
The Air Force estimate of $4.2 billion in savings over five years was unreliable and "may overstate or -understate the actual figure," the Government Accountability Office said in a preliminary report to Congress on the decision to retire the fleet.
Air Force leaders have said the service must retire the A-10 due to budget cuts in order to pay for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has told Congress the A-10 is not flexible enough and the service can depend on a mix of other aircraft like the B-1, F-16 and F-15 to fulfill the close air support mission.....

-bth: This was a pretty calculated attempt by the Air Force to force congress to increase its budget to save the popular and necessary A-10. The thought that a B-1 could substitute for an A-10 is just insulting to Congress. Sadly PFCs and Lance Corporals die over issues like this and the Air Force could care less.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Turkey becomes first domino for emerging market debtors as politics split country - UK Telegraph

Turkey’s currency has plunged to an all-time low as the country slides into political turmoil and its foreign debts turn toxic, becoming the first big casualty of the gathering storm in emerging markets (EM).

-bth: this is an excellent analysis of the Turkish financial crisis which is imminently going to unwind. When the US Fed starts to raise interest rates the problem will only be aggravated further.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

'Iraq is no more': Congress, Pentagon coming to terms with 3-way split - Washington Examiner

Carter said the Defense Department does consider a future that involves three Iraqs, not one. The nation could be split into a Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite territory if Iraq's central government cannot convince Sunnis and Kurds they will be an inclusive and protected part of a unified Iraq.
"What if a multi-sectarian Iraq turns out not to be possible?" Carter said. "That is an important part of our strategy now on the ground.
"If that government can't do what it's supposed to do, then we will still try to enable local ground forces, if they're willing to partner with us, to keep stability in Iraq, but there will not be a single state of Iraq," he added.
In the past 10 months in which the U.S. has sent more than 3,000 U.S. forces to Iraq and conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the average daily cost of the operation has steadily risen to about $9 million a day. During that time, about 7,000 Iraqis have gone through training provided at one of the five U.S.-run training sites; far less than the 24,000 goal, Carter said.
But the Sunni population, which feels disenfranchised from the Shiite-dominated central government and abandoned during key battles against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, still has no reason to believe they will be included and protected, said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.
"I think it's important as we look at this question of what is our strategy to defeat [the Islamic State], it's important that we operate in the world that actually exists, not the one that we hope or we wished could exist or would exist in the future," Gabbard said. "It's important to recognize that while these ideals are good to have, we're operating in the world that exists today.
"Even as we hear rhetoric from Prime Minister Abadi, the reality is that experts, both who wear the uniform and those who have studied the Middle East for a very long time, all say for practical purposes, you have three regions in Iraq. It's a fractured country with the Kurds in the north. The Shias have their stronghold in Baghdad, essentially, and you have the Sunni territories largely to the west."...

-bth: This shift in Pentagon policy toward the reality of the situation in Iraq is a good thing in my opinion.  It also would fall into place as what appears to me to be US stand alone airbases in each of the three territories, Anbar, Kirkuk and Shia Iraq.