October, 2015 Security-Intelligence

By Milton Ezrati
The refugees' arrival exacerbates existing immigrant tensions that already are no stranger to violence.
Sincere as humanitarian feelings in Europe no doubt are, the influx of Syrian refugees carries huge threats. The problem is less the refugees themselves than that their arrival exacerbates existing immigrant tensions that already are no stranger to violence.

DEBKAfile Special Report 
ashington and Moscow appear close to agreeing to their armed forces teaming up for war operations in Syria and Iraq. Nothing definite has so far emerged about this potential collaboration, or even if it is to be conducted covertly and experimentally ad hoc or seriously and out in the open.

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

The distance as the crow flies between Russia’s Syrian air base Al-Hmeineem near Latakia and its Iraqi host facility at Al Taqaddum Air base is 824 km (445 nautical miles). From the Latakia base to Israel, the distance is just 288 km or 155 nautical miles, a hop and a skip in aerial terms.

cc Flickr DVIDSHUB, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Geopolitical Monitor, Scott N. Romaniuk & Marinko Bobić
Discussions of conflict and threats to states have been dominated by the word “asymmetry,” and by the idea of the “asymmetric expectations” of states today. Ever since 9/11, the general hybridity of asymmetry and symmetric war has been conspicuously overlooked.

Afghan Taliban militants gather around parts of a US F-16 aircraft that was struck over in  the Sayid Karam district of Paktia province [AFP]

Haroun Mir
The Taliban's stride in Kunduz City on September 29, which coincided with the anniversary of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani's inauguration, is considered an important setback for the National Unity Government. It has defied the official narrative that the insurgents will never be able to take over a sizable urban centre.

Douglas J. Feith
In recent weeks, Arabs armed with knives and hatchets have struck at dozens of Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, Beersheba, and elsewhere. Victims include children, women, and elderly men.
Imagine how the American public would react to a political group that incited supporters to knife people on the streets of New York, Cleveland, Denver, and Seattle.

Project Syndicate, Moha Ennaji
FEZ – Over the past several months, an encouraging trend has begun to emerge in North Africa: the number of jihadi recruits for Daesh (the pejorative Arabic acronym for the “Islamic State”), particularly from Morocco, has begun to diminish, owing largely to the implementation of rigorous security measures. But, if the threat is to be eliminated entirely, much more work needs to be done.

By AT Editor
Days after the International Monetary Fund gave a warning that Saudi Arabia may become bankrupt by 2020 if the government maintains its current policies, comes a report that a family revolt could bring down the House of Saud.

Pelin Cengiz

I participated over the weekend in the “Development Priorities in Northern Anatolia and the Impact of Public Investments in the Region” meeting held in Sinop by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (HCA), which works in the fields of peace, democracy, pluralism and democratic governance.

Geopolitical Monitor, Felix Imonti
The caliphate faces an enemy more deadly than the bombs being dropped upon it. It has not been able to construct a viable economy to provide all of the necessities that a society requires and people will not wait forever to fill their stomachs or for the lights to work.

A recent article in theNational Interest by Hans Rühle, former Head of the Planning Staff in the German Ministry of Defense, argues that Turkey is positioning itself similarly to Iran in its leveraging of civilian nuclear power for potential nuclear weapons breakout capability.

Moscow is sure to eye any increased role in Afghan affairs warily. The Soviet Union's calamitous 1979-89 military venture killed or displaced millions of Afghans and sapped precious resources in the Soviet Union's dying decade.

Moscow is sure to eye any increased role in Afghan affairs warily. The Soviet Union's calamitous 1979-89 military venture killed or displaced millions of Afghans and sapped precious resources in the Soviet Union's dying decade.

Reading Turkey’s uncertain policy on Syria is a complex undertaking: Ankara’s reluctance remains rooted in domestic politics.

By Svante E. Cornell

BACKGROUND: Whether in Ottoman times or in the Republican era, the Turkish state has made control of religious affairs a priority.

P5+1 participants in Vienna

By Christina Lin
On Sept. 29, the foreign ministers of Iran and P5+1 countries (or what Europeans call E3+3) consisting of the US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany met in New York and discussed the possibility of holding talks on Syria, two months after successfully concluding a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

Author Hazem Balousha
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas source said the group might curtail its armed actions temporarily to avoid a crackdown that could stifle a nascent intifada. Hamas is pushing for the intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which it believes could help its members there in light of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) security grip on them and the freezing of security coordination with Israel.

By Daniel Byman
Washington should focus on more than just the Islamic State. It should also work to contain the violence in Iraq and Syria to prevent it from spilling over into the wider Middle East.

By Alexey Malashenko and Alexey Starostin for Carnegie Moscow Center
This article was originally published by the Carnegie Moscow Center on 30 September 2015.

What steps should political and religious leaders take to blunt the growth of radical Islam in Russia’s Ural Federal District? Alexey Malashenko and Alexey Starostin’s recommendations include instituting youth education programs and proactively regulating the growing number of migrants in the region.

Bottom Line Up Front:
• On October 16, Putin revealed that there were 5,000-7,000 fighters from the former Soviet republics fighting in Syria; the potential for their return to destabilize Russia’s border regions is a serious concern for Moscow

by BurakBekdil
If a "mere" 11.3% of Turks thought so generously of the Islamic State, it meant that there were nearly nine million Turks sympathetic to jihadists. Only 5% of that would mean an army of nearly 450,000.

Author Pinar Tremblay
The Turkish Supreme Court began the appeals process for the notorious Ergenekon case Oct. 6. Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s former chief of staff, appeared before the court with a three-hour defense. In August 2013, Basbug was convicted for plotting a military coup against the government and for establishing and leading a clandestine organization called Ergenekon.

USS Ronald Reagan

By Bill Gertz
After delaying for months, the Obama administration has authorized the US Pacific Command to send warships into the disputed South China Sea, and China is threatening to confront the naval presence as part of an aggressive buildup in the region.

Author Week in Review
US, Turkish divisions on Syria greater than ever. Fehim Tastekin reports that the charge made by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Oct. 14 that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may have collaborated with the Islamic State (IS) in the terrorist bombings in Ankara four days earlier “is being whispered persistently into the ears of journalists and opinion-makers. An extraordinary effort appears to be underway to lead the public by the nose rather than to shed light on the attack.”

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report  

On Sunday, Oct. 18, Russian and Israeli air force headquarters near Latakia in Syria and Tel Aviv began practicing procedures for using the hot line they established last week to coordinate their operations in Syrian skies.

George Petrolekas

The failure of American strategy in Iraq and Syria threatens faith in U.S. leadership. As the situation develops, allies need to exchange frank views without diplomatic niceties or political spin.

Houthis step up retaliatory attacks on Saudi military bases in Yemen

By Salman Rafi
While Saudi Arabia seems to be serious about ‘co-operating’ with Russia in ‘eliminating’ Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, the real motive behind this co-operation and increased engagement with Moscow may be the continuing need to stabilize the oil market.

Author Fehim Taştekin
In an apparent attempt to hide its negligence, the Turkish government has imposed a media blackout on the probe into twin suicide bombings that claimed at least 99 lives at an Oct. 10 peace rally in Ankara.

By Dimitri K. Simes, Paul J. Saunders
"U.S. leaders should respond to Moscow with a combination of strength and pragmatism rather than weakness and inflexibility."

 Palestinians using slingshot in Bethlehem. (Photo: MCT)

Yaron Friedman
Analysis: Palestinians committing violence are mainly interested in being hailed as heroes online; Arab world surmises that without support from Fatah and Hamas, the 'knife intifada' won't devolve into anarchy
The first intifada in 1987 was called "the intifada of stones," the second in 2000 "the al-Aqsa intifada."

Russia's strategy is based on both realism and the experience of two decades since the fall of communism, writes Lieven [AP]
Anatol Lieven

The Russian government has a number of different motives for its intervention in the conflict in Syria. Among these are the desire to help an old ally, to be seen once more as a great power on the world stage, and establish a position that will force US and European leaders to treat Russia's views with greater respect, especially over the Ukraine crisis.

Editorial Desk
There's no mistaking it any longer: the self-styled Islamic State is making inroads in Pakistan.In a militancy-riven landscape like that of Pakistan, where violent extremist groups have had a long run virtually unimpeded by state action until recently, this signifies a dangerous new dimension in the war against terrorism.

RICHARD N. HAASS Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – There has been no shortage of scrutiny of what Russian President Vladimir Putin is up to in Syria and why. Much of the analysis, though, has been narrowly focused on the short term and may be too negative in assessing his actions’ likely long-term consequences.


By M.K. Bhadrakumar 

The Russian diplomacy took two significant steps toward the Middle East during the past couple of days – engaging Saudi Arabia and sounding out Turkey.

Israeli Arabs take part in a pro-Palestinian rally in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin [REUTERS]

Marwan Bishara
In 1988, Israel's then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered his lieutenants at the height of the first Palestinian Intifada to "break the bones" of young Palestinian inciters and stone throwers to "bring them under control".


French bombs have been falling on Syria since the end of September, reinforcing France’s tough new image in the international and English-speaking press. The French have been known for many years as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” owing in part to their refusal to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This new intervention further contributes to France’s transformation from a caricature into “frogs of war.”

Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst

Tensions along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have intensified from September 24, with skirmishes including the use of heavy artillery by both sides. Tensions have grown to a level where the danger of a large-scale confrontation should be seriously considered.

BURAK BEKDİL, Hurriyetdailynews

“Friend-less” Turkey has not only tried to survive in a quagmire maps call the Middle East, but it has remained confident that it would be the mighty game-maker in the quagmire. Former Ottoman lands would cheerfully unite under the emerging Turkish empire.

By Manuel Almeida
"The way the current conflict has strengthened regionalist feelings in Yemen is one of the key aspects the US government and all other international players concerned about the country’s future should bear in mind."

Ankara bombing


The Ankara bombing of a peace rally organized by Kurds, labor unions, and civil society groups was the worst single act of terrorism in Turkish history. Among both Turks and those outside Turkey, it has shaken confidence in Turkey and its stability. No terrorists have issued a claim of responsibility.

 By Andrey Sushentsov

A view from Moscow on Russia's strategy behind its Syrian move.Russians are once again proving to be cold-blooded strategists. The Kremlin’s recent move in Syria has caught off guard not only ISIS, but also most Western intelligence services and analysts. 

<p>A time of mourning.</p> Photographer: ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

By Marc Champion
Turkey suffered the worst terrorist attack in its modern history on Saturday, when two suspected suicide bombers killed at least 95 people at a peace march organized by Kurdish and left-wing political parties. The government's response: attempt to ban media coverage, obstruct Twitter and smear the victims.

By David P. Goldman
We do not know just who detonated the two bombs that killed 95 Kurdish and allied activists in Ankara Saturday, but the least likely conjecture is that President Erdogan’s government is guiltless in the matter. As Turkish member of parliamentLutfu Turkkan, tweeted after the bombing, the attack “was either a failure by the intelligence service, or it was done by the intelligence service.”

GÖKHAN BACIK, Todayszaman

Turkey is in a nightmare. The nightmare gets worse every day. On Saturday morning, bombs exploded in the middle of Ankara, Turkey's capital. At least 95 people were killed. A media blackout is ongoing. The editor of Today's Zaman, Bülent Keneş, was arrested because he tweeted. It is not only Bülent Keneş. Many journalists, of diverse ideological bent, face similar problems. Opposition TV channels have been removed illegally from digital-media platforms.

A general view of deserted streets and damaged buildings in the central Syrian town of Talbisseh in the Homs province on 30 September 2015. Photo by Getty Images.

Nikolay Kozhanov

Any attempts to browbeat Moscow into stopping its military activity in Syria, not to mention changing its longstanding stance on the conflict, are a waste of time.


Being in Turkey these days feels like permanent déjà vu. And not in a good way. Turks once again have that feeling of being encircled by enemies and threats. They feel insecure.

By Natasha Ezro
(CNN)Tensions are rising fast between Turkey and Russia after Russian jets apparently violated Turkey's airspace twice, leading to heated exchanges between Ankara and Moscow. Russia claimed that an SU-30 warplane had entered Turkish airspace by accident due to bad weather conditions and navigational error -- an explanation that was dismissed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan who said that Russia risked losing a friend and warned of possible NATO involvement.

Asia’s Security Architecture: The China Factor

 Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang
The Rebalance authors Mercy Kuo and Angie Tang regularly engage subject-matter experts, policy practitioners and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into the U.S. rebalance to Asia. This conversation with Dr. Mathieu Duchâtel – Head of the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – is the nineteenth in “The Rebalance Insight Series.”

The Spoils of a Single-Minded Focus on War
By Philip T. Hoffman, 

Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe, establishing colonies and spreading their influence across every inhabited continent. This was not inevitable. In fact, for decades, historians, social scientists, and biologists have wondered: Why and how did Europe rise to the top, even when societies in Asia and the Middle East were far more advanced?

<p>Happier days (last month).</p> Photographer: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Image

By Marc Champion

One success of Russian foreign policy in recent years has been a remarkable improvement in relations with Turkey, historically a regional rival with which it fought multiple wars. So why Russia would put those gains at risk to start flying combat aircraft into Turkish airspace takes a bit of explaining.

Mahmut Bozarslan, TranslatorTimur Göksel

BISMIL, Turkey — There is a street in the town of Bismil, in Diyarbakir province, whose entrance is covered with large drapes. Behind the barrier, a group of young people is armed with Kalashnikov rifles. Their faces are covered, with only their eyes visible. Their average age is about 20.